Friday, October 31, 2014

Jablonski ready for 'Night to Believe' with Wild

Jack Jablonski is determined to turn a tragic event in his life into a reason to believe in miracles.

It was almost three years ago, in December 2011, when the then-sophomore was hit from behind while playing hockey for Benilde-St. Margaret's High School against Wayzata High during a game at a holiday tournament in St. Louis Park, Minn.

The check pushed him straight up against the boards and left Jablonski motionless on the ice. Following a 2 1/2-hour operation five days later, it was determined he had sustained a severed spinal cord in the neck. He was paralyzed from the chest down, and doctors felt at the time that it would take a miracle for Jablonski to recover full use of his arms and legs.

"When they told me there's a good chance I wouldn't be able to do this or do that, I said that's not how it's going to work," Jablonski told "I'm going to do that. They said it was going to take some time and I told them not to worry about it; I'll do it. Since then I've always kept that attitude."

With the aide of his family and friends, Jablonski has made a miraculous turnaround.

The 19-year-old took an ESPN personality to his prom and was voted high school homecoming king. He has his own weekly radio program on Sports Talk 105 The Ticket in Minneapolis, and through hard work at the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute in Minneapolis four days a week has regained full range of motion in his upper body and has been able to move his arms.

The Minneapolis native, who will enter the University of Southern California as a communications major in January, also helped establish the Jack Jablonski Bel13ve in Miracles Foundation in 2013.

On Saturday, the Foundation will team with the Minnesota Wild and Minnesota Hockey to kick off #StickTap2Hope during a "Night To Believe," a social initiative to raise awareness of recovery treatments available for people with spinal cord injuries.

"My message is all about staying positive," Jablonski said. "I realize there's always someone out there in a worse position. That's one thing I've tried to live by, knowing that I'm fortunate that my family and friends are there for me. You could always look at the negative, but there's no reason to dwell on it. As long as you're enjoying life and taking it for what it's worth, that's what is really important."

During the first intermission of the game between the Wild and Dallas Stars at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday, Jablonski, good friend and U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member Jeremy Roenick, and 1980 "Miracle on Ice" U.S. Olympic Team members Neal Broten, Rob McClanahan and Dave Christian will lead an entire arena in hockey's largest stick tap event. Jablonski's parents, Mike and Leslie, will be in attendance among the thousands of fans participating in the stick tap.

"When someone gets injured in a hockey game and then gets up after a few minutes, teams from both sides usually tap their sticks on the ice as a sign of support and encouragement, and that's the theme we're going for on Saturday," Jablonski said.

Everyone in the arena will receive hockey thunder sticks so they can join in.

"I'm looking forward to it and excited to help promote awareness for others going through the same activity that I've been going through," Jablonski said. "It means a lot and I'm happy and feel fortunate to be in a position to help others."

The Foundation will host its annual gala before the game at the River Centre Exposition Hall; the event will feature a dinner, silent auction and special guest appearances. Proceeds will fund spinal cord injury recovery.

The Foundation awarded $100,000 for research grants and scholarships to provide others with similar injuries the treatment needed and for spinal cord research.

"I've been supported locally and throughout the hockey community and even nationally," Jablonski said. "I consider myself so lucky to be a part of a rehabilitation program, receive donations and raise money. That's where the hockey side kind of comes into play. Hockey and life require a team game, and I needed help from other people and have been fortunate to be given that opportunity, so I'm just trying to give back as much as I can."


Flyers' Laughton impressive early in Lehigh Valley

Scott Laughton has been a first-round NHL draft pick, debuted in the NHL at 18 years old, and left a lasting impression on many of the sport's biggest decision makers.

But it's not his age that sets him apart anymore. In a league full of younger players looking to reach the NHL, it's the poise Laughton, the 20th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, has shown on the ice in tough situations that is helping differentiate him from his peers.

Beginning his first pro season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, American Hockey League affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, Laughton, now 20, has made an early statement.

"He makes a lot of plays that generate a lot of space for himself," Phantoms right wing Andrew Gordon said. "You'll think the defense has him cornered but he'll be able to open himself up and find six feet of space to get that next play made. That's a sign of maturity in his game, his ability not to panic and to make something out of nothing."

Gordon, 28, is a two-time Calder Cup champion and two-time AHL All-Star in his eighth pro season. He and rookie left wing Taylor Leier have flanked Laughton so far this season, and they have accounted for seven goals and 14 points in the Phantoms' first seven games.

"Scott got some NHL time really early in his career so he's hungry to get back there and you can sort of see that in his game," Gordon said. "He's got the pace of [the AHL] down pat already. If he keeps going he's not going to be in this league very long."

For Laughton, who cites Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux (who shined for half a season in the AHL as a rookie in 2008-09) as one of the players he watches closely, the expectations set, fairly or not, often are background noise as he moves through the day.

"I try not to let it affect me, and I think pressure is a good thing," he said. "I think I've played well under it and I'm just trying to continue to play my game and not worry about the outside stuff too much."

That plan seems to be working well so far; he's tied for first among AHL rookies with five goals and tied for third with seven points.

His play has ignited Lehigh Valley to start the season, something that has not gone unnoticed.

"Right from the drop of the puck in Game One he was really impressive to me with the way he makes plays under pressure," Gordon said. "The game just comes very naturally to him."

On Oct. 20 Laughton was named CCM/AHL Player of the Week after he had four goals in two games, including two power-play goals Oct. 17 against the Adirondack Flames. His first goal of the season was the first goal scored at PPL Center, the Phantoms' just-opened home in Allentown, Pa.

Laughton made his debut with the Flyers just seven months after he was drafted and had 10 shots on goal in five games early in the 2012-13 season before being returned to his junior team, the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League. He got his first taste of the AHL that spring and had one goal and two assists in six games with the Adirondack Phantoms.

Adjusting to pro hockey isn't easy. Laughton knows that, and learning from the leadership group in Lehigh Valley has helped him grow his game on and off the ice.

"The stuff in the gym is a lot different than in junior hockey where you're coming from school and you're just kind of getting right on the ice," he said. "But this is your job now. It's your lifestyle. The way guys like [Darroll Powe and Gordon] spend their extra time on their game after practice. … It's been huge for me to see them doing what it takes."

Attitude is everything and so is perspective. Both are things Laughton has in abundance.

"That's the biggest thing for me: To get better and hopefully make my way up [to Philadelphia] at some point and stay there and try and be a reliable guy," he said. "When I go up I want to stay and try to make an impact."

Every player's dream is the NHL, and Laughton's brief taste of being with the Flyers hasn't faded from his memory. But his focus is on the present and fine-tuning his game.

"We've gotten off to a pretty good start and I think we've been close in every game," he said. "I definitely want to help this team make the playoffs. They've been out the last three years or so and I want to help try and get us back in there and have a good push."

For the latest news, scores and stats from around the American Hockey League, visit .

Playing experience guided Shapiro in 'Hockey Saint'

Playing three years of high school hockey, Howard Shapiro discovered a few things about himself and what he wanted to become. Although Shapiro said he wasn't very good, hockey taught him lessons that he applied to his life and opened creative doors to what would be a series of books on how the game brings people closer together.

"Those three years of being a really bad player, the game itself taught me so much, things I was able to learn from playing that I applied in school and in my professional life. And friendships that last to this day," Shapiro said.

Since playing professional hockey was out of the question, Shapiro became an accountant and author. His latest release is his first hockey graphic novel, "The Hockey Saint." It's the story of 21-year-old Jeremiah Jacobson, the world's best hockey player but unprepared for the scrutiny of stardom, and his evolving friendship with college player Tom Leonard, an average sophomore trying to find his place in the world.

Howard Shapiro's graphic novel 'The Hockey Saint'

Shapiro's 'The Hockey Saint'. (Click to enlarge)

Their bond is shared through their hockey and life experiences.

"I find the game a great source for stories not only about playing the game, but also what the game can teach you both on and off the ice, more so than other sports," Shapiro said. "I've played other sports too, but for some reason [hockey] has taught me so much about working hard, being part of a team, the work ethic and seeing results from hard work. Things like that I just applied to the rest of my life."

Shapiro's first hockey book was "Hockey Days," a 2007 picture book written in tribute to his father, who had passed away the year before. The sequel, "Hockey Player For Life," is about a 13-year-old coping with failure and questioning his desire to play. The story has been used in community and educational initiatives by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers.

Shapiro took the next step creatively with his first graphic novel, "The Stereotypical Freaks," a prequel to "The Hockey Saint."

"I write in a visual kind of way as well, so doing graphic novels really works for me in that regard too," Shapiro said. "Graphic novels are a very fun and extremely creative genre or format to work in. I love to collaborate with the artists, and the best part is watching the book literally come alive and jump off the page."

In addition to the evolving friendship between Jacobson and Leonard, another theme of "The Hockey Saint," says Shapiro, is the overemphasis of sports in society. Jacobson is the reluctant superstar who shuns outside pressure from the media and turns the focus on who he believes are true role models.

"I think most people should kind of back off a little and realize what it is, which is entertainment," Shapiro said. "Jacobson sort of rebels from all that. He just wants to play. He doesn't follow any media. He distances himself and realizes it's just a game. It's something he does but he doesn't want to have all that responsibility as the voice of the league and the face of the league.

"I've always wanted Jake to be the anti-Sidney Crosby, who is what you would want as the face of the League. He accepts that role, is always speaking to the media, he's available. He is exactly what you'd want your best player in the world to be like as far as a role model, so to speak. I wanted Jake to be the complete opposite of that. He wants nothing to do with any of it."

The story of Jacobson and Leonard will continue in the trilogy's third book, which will be released before the 2016-17 NHL season. Set 10 years after "The Hockey Saint," "Can You See The Light?" is the working title of a tale that sees Jacobson coping with the end of his career and how that affects his relationship with Leonard. The common thread in the trilogy is friendship and the twists and turns that happen with any relationship. The premise is hockey, a sport that has shaped Shapiro personally and creatively.

"It's had a huge impact on me," Shapiro said. "The one line that Jacobson had about 20 feet from where I get out on the ice the world's a better place ... I go see the [Pittsburgh Penguins] play or when I go see the Leafs play, there's just something really special and everything in the world seems right. It still has a real big impact, even now as just a spectator."


New season sees Rangers' Nash an elite scorer again

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The puck dropped in front of Rick Nash as if it arrived gift-wrapped with a card on it that read, "Open for a goal."

It dropped at the feet of the New York Rangers forward, which were positioned perfectly in front of the crease. The bounce was timed perfectly with the blade of his swinging stick.

Forgive Nash for getting a chuckle out of his good fortune. Forgive him for feeling that he deserves some.

"Last year during the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs I would go to the net and that puck would never drop on my stick like that," Nash said.

It did 4:48 into the third period Monday against the Minnesota Wild at Madison Square Garden. Nash made it count for his ninth goal in nine games. He scored three goals in 25 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.

"For that to land perfectly as I'm swinging and go in the net," Nash said. "It's just funny to think about how it goes in."

There was nothing funny about Nash's postseason scoring slump last season. He couldn't explain it. He couldn't believe it.

Before the Eastern Conference Final, after 14 games and zero goals, Nash called his scoring drought the "elephant in the room," even though the Rangers were winning.

He finally broke out, if you can even call it that, with three goals in the Rangers' six-game series win against the Montreal Canadiens. That was it. He used up all his good fortune.

Nash didn't score in the Stanley Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings. He didn't have a point. He couldn't even find the back of an open net in overtime of Game 5, his shot instead hitting the shaft of Slava Voynov's stick to prevent the Rangers from forcing the series back to New York.

"That sums it up pretty good," Nash said.

It wasn't for lack of effort or opportunity. New York coach Alain Vigneault said Nash was the Rangers' leader in scoring chances during the playoffs. He led the League with 83 shots on goal.

He has nine goals on 29 shots this season.

"Just wasn't finishing for whatever reason," Vigneault said of Nash's postseason run.

How infuriating.

"Obviously it was tough," Nash said. "I was trying to score every game, trying to help the team. But in saying that I helped in other areas. The penalty kill was really good and I had a part in that. I was out there in a lot of defensive moments."

All true. All important. All part of the reason why the Rangers reached the Cup Final. But the Rangers aren't paying Nash $7.8 million to be a checker.

That's not a concern now.

Nash has nine goals through the first nine games of the season for the first time in his career. He scored eight through nine games in 2007-08, when he finished with 38 goals. He scored six in nine games in 2003-04, when he scored 41 goals, enough to share the Rocket Richard Trophy with Jarome Iginla and Ilya Kovalchuk.

How does Nash explain his production?

"It's just the puck is going in," Nash said. "I always found myself a streaky player. I think some of the goals this year, I'm shooting where I wasn't aiming and it still goes in. A few lucky bounces."

Maybe so, but they're earned lucky bounces. Nash might not feel that he's doing anything differently, but the results are different because the effectiveness he is having every time he swings his legs over the boards is different.

Nash typically is the most noticeable Rangers player when he's on the ice, using his power and big frame (he's 6-foot-4, 220 pounds) to stickhandle around and through defenders. When he's at his best, as he is now, it takes two or three players to knock him off the puck.

"He's such a big body and commands so much respect on the ice that if you're defending him, he attracts a crowd," Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said. "When he's attracting guys to the front [of the net], it opens things up for other guys. That's big for us."

Nash is getting to the front of the net and staying there, whereas during the playoffs last season he'd find himself stuck on the outside far too often. His goal against the Wild is the perfect example. He came off the bench on a line change and immediately went to the net. The puck came to him.

"When you're in those ruts you find yourself on the outside a lot," Nash said. "One of the things you focus on when you're struggling is to get to the inside. Going to the net, that's where the goals come from."

Nash is leaner and appears quicker, byproducts of a change he made in his offseason training. He incorporated more running, long distance and sprints, into his training.

"The young players coming into the League are so quick," Nash said. "It was to keep up with them."

There might be a change in Nash's mindset that is allowing him to get to the front of the net more and with ease this season. He isn't thinking about a head injury.

Nash sustained a concussion in the third regular-season game last season. It was his second concussion in less than eight months. He missed the next 17 games.

He came back and scored 26 goals to lead the Rangers, a number he said was "pretty good," especially after missing 17 games, but some of Nash's fearlessness was gone because of the multiple concussions.

"For sure it's tough to gain that confidence after having a couple of head injuries in a row," Nash said. "It makes you think when you have those head injuries that there are other things in life. You see what happens in other sports to guys that are older and retired and you understand there's a bigger picture in life and we've got to live the rest of our lives with these bodies."

Nash's effectiveness this season (his goals are a byproduct of that) hasn't changed regardless of his center. He has produced with Martin St. Louis, Kevin Hayes and Derick Brassard. Ironically, the center Nash played with most during the playoffs last season, Derek Stepan, hasn't played this season because of a broken leg.

"We're trying to sort out the personnel in the middle, and the good thing is anybody that I play with Rick, he seems to be producing anyway," Vigneault said. "I just need to sort out the other pieces around him right now."

It wasn't long ago Nash was trying to sort out his own game and scoring problems. Now it seems like he can do no wrong.

He's skating with power and confidence. He's playing to his size and looks like the biggest man on the ice, creating room for himself in prime scoring areas. Is it any wonder then that pucks are dropping at his feet, in time to be struck by the blade of his swinging stick?

"He was there [in front of the net] before, he was getting the looks, and now they're going in," Vigneault said. "You know goal scorers; sometimes they get hot. And there's no doubt right now he's pretty hot."


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thomas Vanek’s legal troubles continue in money laundering report

Oct 30, 2014; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Thomas Vanek (26) looks to pass during the third period against the San Jose Sharks at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Sharks 4-3 in a shootout. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

Report: Thomas Vanek involved in money laundering scandal

According to a report in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, current Minnesota Wild forward Thomas Vanek was involved in a money laundering scheme.

The report alleges that while a member of the Islanders, Vanek endorsed a pay-check in the amount of $230,000 to Mark Ruff to cover a gambling debt.

On Thursday, Ruff pleaded guilty in federal court to illegal gambling and money laundering. Ruff, 40, admitted helping manage a gambling operation with his brother, Joseph Ruff, and Paul Borrelli.

Local attorney James Wolford did not confirm Vanek’s involvement; however, Vanek was linked to a Rochester, NY gambling investigation during the summer.

Vanek spent nine seasons in the Buffalo Sabres organization. Buffalo’s American Hockey League affiliate is the Rochester Americans – where Vanek turned pro during the 2004-05 season.

Video: Devils (finally) win a shootout

The New Jersey Devils finally won in a shootout Thursday night snapping an 0-18 in slump in the breakaway competition.

Jacob Josefson scored the shootout winner as the Devils upended the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 – their first shootout win since March 10, 2013, which also came against the Jets.

Michael Ryder scored in regulation for the Devils while Blake Wheeler had the lone Jets goal.

Cory Schneider made 24 saves for the win and Ondrej Pavelec stopped 26 shots in the loss.

Video: Bruins’ Marchand scores off his glove

Just when it looked like the Buffalo Sabres might upset the Boston Bruins, Brad Marchand had a Loui Eriksson shot deflect off his glove and past Jhonas Enroth tying the game 2-2.

The play was reviewed and ruled a good goal.

Not a bad night for Marchand, who was reportedly a game-time decision.

With his assist on the goal, Eriksson picked up his 400th career point.

Video: Ducks’ Fistric leaves with upper body injury

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Mark Fistric has left tonight’s game in St. Louis with an upper body injury and is questionable to return.

Fistric suffered the injury on a harmless looking collision with Blues’ forward Alexander Steen late in the first period.

Unmasked: Oilers' Scrivens has mask with a message

Simply stopping pucks isn't enough for Ben Scrivens.

Scrivens sees his position as a goaltender for the Edmonton Oilers as an opportunity and an obligation to do more. So he is lending his name and his mask to raise awareness and funds for mental health in general, and the Schizophrenia Society of Alberta in particular.

Scrivens has started Ben's Netminders, a program that will turn his mask into a canvas for four Edmonton-area artists diagnosed with schizophrenia. Scrivens is raising awareness by wearing the first mask, based on a painting by Richard Boulet. The fundraising will come when the game-worn masks are put up for auction, but more important is giving a voice to those who often are marginalized.

Scrivens wants more people to understand schizophrenia beyond the pop culture stereotypes. He wants people to know it is a brain disease that can be treated and people with it can recover. He wants those struggling with any mental illness to feel like it's OK to ask for help, and he wants more attention directed toward research and understanding.

"You go to the doctor and take an X-ray of your arm and they can see your arm is broken and have a remedy to fix it," Scrivens said. "But with mental illness it is not as cut and dry as that. Two people can have the same diagnosis but it's in a completely different system and treatment might not work in the same way. It's a field that needs more discovery, more work and a lot more awareness around it."

Scrivens, who said he is "quite interested in psychology," was first exposed to artists living with schizophrenia during his time at Cornell University.

"The characteristics they run with are quite compartmentalized and detail driven and I thought it was something that could transition really well to a goalie mask," he said. "It was only later I thought it would be a good idea to use my mask to accentuate how talented these artists are and use it for a good cause at the same time. It was a no-brainer to pair up and create a mental health awareness campaign."

Some of the messages Scrivens hopes to convey with the campaign can be found in the words used in the first mask painting by Boulet, who has a master's degree in fine arts. They include the phrase, "I'll walk a mile in your shoes if you show me how," and the words "Hope" and "Empathy," which Scrivens' long-time personal painter, Steve Nash of EyeCandyAir, displayed prominently along the edge of the mask.

Those same words could be applied to being a goalie, especially under the spotlight that comes with playing the position in a Canadian market. But as much as Scrivens works on his own mental game between the pipes, he is careful to separate that process from this project, not wanting to lessen the impact of Boulet's experiences and art.

"The messages Richard was trying to convey are specific to how he viewed his recovery," Scrivens said. "But that said, empathy goes a long way in all walks of life, whether it's family or friends, on Twitter or dealing with people who are sick, people who are old, people who are young. Empathy is what sets us apart from other animals."

Just as being seen as a stereotype can set professional athletes and those dealing with mental illness apart from others. So when an athlete shares their experiences with mental health issues, or gives a voice to the experiences of others, it strikes a bigger chord.

"Pro sports can be a good barometer for society as a whole to see how we deal with and accept and treat people in different situations than what we are going through," Scrivens said. "People tend to view athletes as not being real people. They are dehumanized in some senses. They are impervious to pain and they don't have the same problems that 'normal' people do. But when something hits home and you see someone you watch on TV going through something that's troubling and you as a person can resonate with that, it kind of puts it into perspective that these problems don't look at race and they don't look at gender and they don't look at all these other discrepancies. They affect everybody equally. Whether you are hockey player or a fan, mental illness will affect you or someone you know."

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Video: Ovechkin talks Olympic disappointment, Caps changes

The 2013-14 season was pretty brutal for Alex Ovechkin.

As the brightest star representing Russia with home-ice advantage in the 2014 Winter Olympics, Ovechkin’s group experienced crushing disappointment by failing to even nab a medal. His NHL season was ugly in its own right: the Washington Capitals failed to make the playoffs and cleaned out its front office.

So far, the Barry Trotz experiment has been pretty successful. The Capitals are 4-2-2 while holding opponents to 19 goals in eight games.

Still, Ovechkin’s in a career-long slump, which is probably why he notes that he needs to get better:

Frederik Andersen’s ‘Reservoir Ducks’ mask is bloody fantastic (Photo)



“Listen shooter, I'm not gonna [expletive] you, all right? I don't give a good [expletive] what you know, or don't know, but I'm gonna torture you anyway, regardless. Not to make a save. It's amusing, to me, to torture a shooter. You can say move you want cause I've seen it all before. All you can do is pray for a five-hole, which you ain't gonna get. Now, you ever listen to K-Billy's 'Super Sounds of the Seventies' weekend? It's my personal favorite.”Frederik Andersen, probably ...

It doesn’t get much cooler than the dialogue from Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs” and it doesn’t get much cooler than honoring that pivotal film with a goalie mask.

Frederik Anderson of the Anaheim Ducks has done just that, thanks to artist Dave Gunnarsson. And not only does he have the “Reservoir Ducks” featured – including the black tie on the front of the mask – he specifically features Michael Madsen’s “Mr. Blonde.”

With a duck holding a straight razor. Near the ear, of course.



From Gunnarsson:

Frederik and me loves to come up with new design ideas for every new mask... And a Reservoir Ducks mask feels so good... And more movie themed Andersen masks will come :)

And if you have seen the Reservoir movie you will see Mr Blonde is not a very nice guy... And on the side of the mask you will find Mr Blonde again, with his team, as ducks of course... And he is holding his razor...

And on the other side the Ducks logo, and as a true Reservoir Duck of course he wears sunglasses...:)

This is actually the second Tarantino-inspired hockey mask we’ve seen, as Kari Lehtonen used to rock The Bride from “Kill Bill.” Alas, no one has mined “Pulp Fiction” for a mask yet, even though Sam Jackson’s hair from the movie would seem natural for a lid.

Images via Ducks.

Mason wants ‘right into the fire,’ but Flyers expected to stick with Emery vs. Bolts

Here’s Philly goalie Steve Mason — who hasn’t played in over a week — talking about his adjusted role as Ray Emery‘s backup in each of the last three games:

Emery took over starting duties last Wednesday — the night after Mason was in goal for a 4-0 defeat to Chicago — and has run the table, posting wins over the Penguins, Red Wings and Kings, stopping 73 of 77 shots combined in the latter two contests.

Based on today’s media availability, it sounds like Sugar Ray is in line for a fourth consecutive nod when the Flyers play in Tampa Bay Thursday night, and why not? Philly has secured at least one point in all six games Emery’s played this season, a far cry from Mason, who’s 0-3-1 on the year with a 3.83 GAA and .878 save percentage.

Should the Flyers indeed give Emery the Tampa Bay game tomorrow, it’ll set up Mason for the “easier” of the two games on the Florida trip — Saturday’s date in Sunrise against the Panthers.

Maybe now’s a good time to go back and re-read this. Or this.

NHL suspends John Moore five games for illegal hit to head

Here is my story from

By Rick Carpiniello

GREENBURGH – After an in-person interview at league headquarters Wednesday, the NHL suspended Rangers defenseman John Moore five games for an illegal hit to the head of Minnesota’s Erik Haula on Monday.

Moore had a prior offense – he was suspended two games for a hit to the head of Montreal’s Dale Weise during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final last May—which likely was the reason this suspension was more than two or three games. By keeping it under six games, the NHL also avoided the possibility of an appeal by Moore to an independent arbitrator.

The league ruled that “Haula’s head absorb(ed) the brunt of Moore’s shoulder” even though it acknowledged that Moore’s shoulder initially contacted Haula’s chest. Moore was assessed a match penalty for the illegal hit to the head by on-ice officials during the game.

As a repeat offender, and based on his average annual salary, Moore will forfeit $51,859.75. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Moore’s suspension begins immediately and he will be eligible to return Nov. 11 vs. Pittsburgh. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said on Wednesday that he is comfortable going with the six remaining healthy defensemen he has, which means Michael Kostka will probably play against Winnipeg Saturday.

Vigneault, though, indicated that things could change once he learned of the length of the suspension and upon discussing other options with members of the front office. The most likely callups, if any, from Hartford (AHL) are Conor Allen and/or Dylan McIlrath.

Vigneault also said that Derek Stepan, out since the preseason with a broken leg, could rejoin the team for practice in the next several days. Stepan is eligible to come off the long-term injured reserve list after the 10th game, which is Saturday, meaning he could play as early as Monday against St. Louis.

Vigneault said that Stepan would have to have at least a couple of full practices before he would be activated, however. The team is off on Thursday and resumes practice Friday.


Here is the official announcement of the suspension from the NHL, with a link to the suspension video explanation:



NEW YORK (Oct. 29, 2014)—New York Rangers defenseman John Moore has been

suspended for five games, without pay, for an illegal check to the head of Minnesota Wild

forward Erik Haula during NHL Game No. 122 in New York on Monday, October 27, the

National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.

Moore is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining

Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, will forfeit $51,859.75. The money goes to

the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Moore was assessed a match penalty 7:12 into the second period.

For a full explanation of the Department of Player Safety’s decision, complete with video, click here.

old RR logo

Photo by Getty Images.

Twitter: @RangersReport.

Blue Jackets' Letestu out 2-4 weeks with groin injury

Video: Stajan hurt by knee-on-knee hit

Calgary Flames forward Matt Stajan left Tuesday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens late in the third period after a knee-on-knee hit by Montreal’s Jarred Tinordi.

Stajan collapsed in pain and struggled to get back up. Eventually he was helped off the ice.

You can see the incident below:

Tinordi was given a two-minute minor for kneeing, which the Flames couldn’t capitalize on. Montreal went on to earn a 2-1 shootout victory.

Miller wins 300th, Canes finish Oct. without single victory

Ryan Miller has certainly worked out for Vancouver so far. The 34-year-old goaltender turned aside 29 of 30 shots to lead the Canucks to a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Miller surrendered two or fewer goals in each of his last three starts and that’s allowed Vancouver to win each of those contests. He now has a 6-1-0 record, 2.33 GAA, and .916 save percentage in his first season with the Canucks. This night was particularly special though as it marked Miller’s 300th career victory.

“Means I’ve been playing a while,” he said, per PHT’s Cam Tucker. “It’s a collection of a lot of good teams, good players.”

Miller is just the 30th player to join the 300-win club and he’s in a position to climb up a handful of spots on the all-time list in the near future. He’s tied with Tomas Vokoun (300 wins) for 29th place and isn’t far behind Mike Richter (301), Turk Broda (302), Olaf Kolzig (303), and Billy Smith (305).

On the other end of the spectrum, the Hurricanes fell to 0-6-2 this season. They’re the only team without a win this season — in fact all other clubs have at least two by now. Carolina won’t play again until Nov. 1 (Arizona, 7:00 p.m. ET), so they’ve missed their last chance to earn a victory in October. Even the return of Eric Staal (upper body) wasn’t enough to save them, although he did record an assist and logged 19:50 minutes of ice time.

Devils ‘humbled’ in ‘ugly’ loss to Penguins

It all started so well for the New Jersey Devils. That statement could apply to either Tuesday’s game or their season in general. The Devils nearly set a franchise record when Dainius Zubrus scored just nine seconds into their contest against the Pittsburgh Penguins. They ultimately lost 8-3 tonight though.

New Jersey had a 3-1 lead in the second period, but the Penguins broke out with four unanswered goals before the end of the frame, including a run of three markers in just over six minutes. That led to Devils goaltender Cory Schneider being yanked.

Scott Clemmensen replaced him, but stopped just seven of 10 shots in the third.

“It was ugly,” Schneider told the Bergen Record. “It got away from us there in the second half of the game and I think it’s one you’ve just got to definitely learn from the mistakes and go over them, but I think you just sort of put it behind you and almost forget it even happened. Just move on to the next one. We’ve been a pretty good road team so far this year, but that was completely not a good one.”

Moving on to the next game is all the Devils can do, but it would be a more meaningful mantra if New Jersey wasn’t in the midst of a slump. The Devils got off to a 3-0-0 start this season, but they’ve lost five of their last six games.

“It’s humbling,” said Devils coach Pete DeBoer of their latest setback.

New Jersey is set to begin a three-game home stint on Thursday. The Devils will host Winnipeg, Columbus, and St. Louis.

Tarasenko finishes first hat trick with OT winner vs. Stars

Vladimir Tarasenko was the St. Louis Blues’ hero in a 4-3 overtime victory against the Dallas Stars.

The 22-year-old forward had his first career hat trick and recorded an assist. He first found the back of the net early in the opening frame courtesy of a powerful shot that Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen couldn’t handle. With Dallas up 3-2 in the third period, Tarasenko shone again. This time he accepted a long pass from Jori Lehtera and then outmaneuvered Ryan Garbutt before collecting the game-tying goal:

He completed his hat trick in style by launching a one-time shot to end the contest in overtime:

Lehtera also deserves a lot of credit tonight as he finished the game with a goal and two assists. The 26-year-old now has two goals and six points in seven games after excelling in the KHL over the previous four campaigns.

Five things to watch as Capitals host Red Wings

Odds are there won't be any surprises Wednesday at Verizon Center, where Barry Trotz and Mike Babcock square off against one another in their latest battle of coaching wits as the Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings play in the NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry game (7:30 p.m. ET).

Trotz, in his first season coaching the Capitals, and Babcock, in his 10th season in Detroit, are so familiar with each other they could probably switch sides and nothing would change.

4-2-2 (4th, Atlantic)2014-15 Record4-2-2 (3rd, Metropolitan)
2778-2330-815-109All-Time Record1374-1319-303-110
46-40-16-2Head-to-Head Regular-Season Record42-43-16-3
1-0-2Streak vs. Opponent4-0-1
0-3-1 @ WashingtonHome/Road Streak vs. Opponent4-0-0 vs. Red Wings
11Stanley Cup Championships0
48Hockey Hall of Fame Members6
Gordie Howe Most Famous AlumnusMike Gartner
9Hart Trophy Winners3
62Postseason Appearances24
Adam Oates (1985-89)Best Player in CommonAdam Oates (1997-2002)

Trotz's and Babcock's teams have played against each other 62 times in the past 11 regular seasons, including 60 times in the same conference and 52 times in the same division, all with Trotz as the coach of the Nashville Predators.

Babcock has the slight edge with a 33-21-8 record combined with the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings. Trotz went 29-26-7 against Babcock's teams as the coach in Nashville.

They have met twice in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Red Wings and Predators each winning a series. Trotz owns a slight edge with a 6-5 record.

However, the game Wednesday does feature a series of firsts for the Trotz-Babcock coaching rivalry.

1) After 10 seasons of coaching against each other in the Western Conference, this is the first time Trotz and Babcock are coaching against each other in an all-Eastern Conference game.

2) Trotz has never faced Babcock as the coach of the Capitals.

3) This is the first time the Trotz-Babcock coaching rivalry has featured Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin.

So while there may not be any surprises Wednesday night, at least there will be some new storylines surrounding the familiar coaches.

Here are five things to watch in this week's Wednesday Night Rivalry game, the Trotz-Babcock edition:

1. Detroit's PK vs. Washington's PP

Power on power here, as the Red Wings entered play Tuesday with the NHL's best penalty kill at 96.2 percent (25-for-26) and the Capitals with the fourth best power play at 25.9 percent (7-for-27).

Detroit's PK has done a good job at limiting chances against, as it has allowed one goal on 39 shots. It is allowing 1.5 shots on goal per PK.

"They've been pretty sound and they've got good goaltending, but more than anything they've really got good sticks," Trotz said. "They've got good angles and good sticks, and when you bobble they've got some pressure points. They really flood down low and seal off a lot of your exit options."

Washington has been efficient with seven power-play goals on 35 shots in its 27 opportunities. The Capitals have scored two goals on eight shots in eight power plays totaling 11:06 in their past four games.

"What I like about our power play is that there are a lot of interchangeable parts, be it [Evgeny] Kuznetsov and [Andre] Burakovsky vs. [Nicklas] Backstrom, [Marcus] Johansson and [Mike] Green. We could take losing a guy or two and still have the same set because they're interchangeable that way," Trotz said.

2. Detroit's power play, more aggressive?


Caps return home to host Red Wings

By Brian Hunter - Staff Writer

All three games between the Detroit Red Wings and Washington Capitals last season needed extra time to decide, and two went to a shootout. READ PREVIEW ›

Scoring has been problem for the Red Wings, who are averaging 2.25 goals per game and have two or fewer goals in six of eight games. It wouldn't be as big a problem if the Red Wings could get their power play going.

Detroit hasn't scored in 20 consecutive power plays and is 2-for-30 with 35 shots on goal this season. The Red Wings were at least averaging almost five shots on the power play per game through seven games, but the bottom fell out against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, when they went 0-for-3 with one shot on goal in 5:36 of power-play time.

It wouldn't be surprising if Babcock changed some of the personnel on the power play. At practice Tuesday he moved Gustav Nyquist back to the first unit to play with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. Tomas Jurco bumped down to the second unit.

"We've got to attack more," Zetterberg told the Detroit Free Press. "Just shoot, that will help. We're too careful. We're afraid of losing the puck, so we're not shooting. We've got to shoot, and if the goalie makes the save, we've got to retrieve the puck."

3. Wilson in or out?

Trotz said he will decide after the morning skate Wednesday if forward Tom Wilson is going to make his season debut.

"I would say there is probably a 75 percent chance that he'll be in the lineup," Trotz said.

Wilson has been out because he fractured his fibula in the offseason and required surgery. He played two games with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League before he was recalled Monday. If he plays he'll likely start on the fourth line with Michael Latta and Liam O'Brien.

If Wilson plays, Trotz said he will evaluate his performance before deciding if he needs more time in the AHL.

4. Free hockey

The Capitals and Red Wings have been working overtime a lot so far this season. Seven of their combined 16 games have gone into overtime, including four that had to be decided in the shootout.

The Capitals are 1-2 in the shootout, as all three of their overtime games have extended that far. Two of Detroit's four wins have come in overtime on goals by Zetterberg (against the Toronto Maple Leafs) and Justin Abdelkader (against the Pittsburgh Penguins).

The Red Wings have had six games decided by one goal or in the shootout. They were close to a seventh Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers before Michael Raffl scored an empty-net goal at 19:29 of the third period to give Philadelphia a 4-2 win.

Close games tend to occur when your penalty kill is at 96.2 percent and your power play is at 6.7 percent. The Red Wings aren't giving up much (16 goals), but they aren't scoring much either (18 goals).

Washington has played in four one-goal games. It was close to a fifth this past Sunday against the Vancouver Canucks before Radim Vrbata scored an empty-net power-play goal at 18:59 of the third period.

5. Burakovsky playing with Ovechkin

Trotz was high on Burakovsky coming out of rookie camp in September and he hasn't changed his mind. Burakovsky, Washington's 19-year-old rookie center, has seven points in eight games. He'll get a chance to play with Ovechkin on Wednesday.

Trotz said he'll start the game with Burakovsky playing between Ovechkin and Joel Ward, leaving Backstrom to play between Troy Brouwer and Marcus Johansson. He said if it doesn't work he'll flip Backstrom and Burakovsky, but he wants to see the new dynamic.

Andre Burakovsky

Left Wing - WSH

GOALS: 2 | ASST: 5 | PTS: 7

SOG: 13 | +/-: 4

"He's a guy that's got a high hockey IQ. That's where it starts," Trotz said of Burakovsky. "He works at his game. He produces in the game. He's not intimidated by the lack of time and space. He's got good poise for a young man. I like all those things. And he's learning a new position and he's excelling at it. I like that."

Trotz said he's separating Ovechkin and Backstrom to make it harder on Detroit. The Red Wings would normally try to match Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson against Ovechkin and Backstrom, but Trotz wants to force Babcock into a tough decision.

"It's a harder matchup for teams that have only one big pair of defense," Trotz said. "What we saw on the road is they had a full dose of [TJ] Brodie and [Mark] Giordano, and they had a full dose of [Dan] Hamhuis and [Kevin] Bieksa. It's another way of just making it a little tougher for the other team."


Capitals' Backstrom quietly puts up big-time numbers

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Midway through a first-period power play against the Edmonton Oilers last Wednesday, Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom contemplated his options.

Near the right half-wall where he orchestrates the Capitals power play, Backstrom's stick blade danced around the puck before he settled on defenseman John Carlson, who was lurking in the high slot with his stick cocked.

Backstrom slid an effortless pass in Carlson's direction, and the defenseman fired the puck past Edmonton goaltender Ben Scrivens to tie the game 1-1.

The assist, his 500th NHL point, was quintessential Backstrom: understated but effective. The 26-year-old's career has been characterized by such subtlety, an extension of his reserved personality.

"He is sneaky good. I knew he was, but you appreciate it more when you see it every day," said defenseman Matt Niskanen, who signed with Washington on July 1. "Quietly is always in the right spot, always has the puck. A lot of times, it doesn't look like he's doing a whole lot, but he has it and he's just waiting for someone to be out of position or find a teammate busting, and he's really, really good at getting people the puck in a position where they can make something happen."

Defenseman Brooks Orpik, who regularly matched up against Backstrom as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, said, "He's not a real, real loud guy, but he's a guy you can tell right away all his teammates respect him a ton."

The Capitals have won three of five coming into their game against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TVA SPORTS, SN1). Backstrom has two goals and five assists through eight games.

Throughout the season, coach Barry Trotz has heralded Backstrom's all-around acumen, previously referring to him as "one of the most complete players in the National Hockey League."

"I'm a big advocate of his," said Trotz, who is in his first season as Capitals coach. "Doesn't get any fanfare, doesn't get a lot of the love that he should around the League. I think he likes being under the radar. That's probably why he doesn't like me talking about him, but I think he deserves it. He's earned that respect around the League and I think other people should know it."

Backstrom does not mind such praise, but has always been indifferent to attracting that sort of personal attention.

"That's not who I am," Backstrom said. "I like to come here and do the best I can, work hard every day. And I'm here to learn too."

Spending nearly three-quarters of his career even-strength ice time with Alex Ovechkin, a bona fide superstar, has allowed Backstrom to stay out of the spotlight without difficulty.

Backstrom and Ovechkin juxtapose each other seamlessly, with Ovechkin's uncontainable exuberance contrasted by Backstrom's restrained elegance. The two, however, will always be intertwined; Backstrom has assisted on about 44 percent of Ovechkin's 329 regular-season goals since Backstrom's rookie season in 2007-08.

Bolstered by Backstrom and Ovechkin, the Capitals power play ranks third (25.9 percent) in the League this season after finishing tied for first in 2013-14.

Delving into Backstrom's career statistics uncovers a quietly impressive resume.

Nine players have more points than Backstrom since he entered the League. Four have more assists. None had more primary power-play assists in his first seven seasons, and only Ovechkin has more power-play points.

Five active players needed fewer games than Backstrom's 501 to reach 500 career points: Sidney Crosby, Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Jaromir Jagr and Dany Heatley. He is also the first player selected in the 2006 NHL Draft to reach that milestone, and that class includes Phil Kessel, Jonathan Toews and Claude Giroux.

Yet Backstrom, unlike the aforementioned players, has never been an All-Star. Outside of a second-place finish in Calder Trophy voting in 2007-08, he has never received serious consideration for any individual awards either.

That lack of individual recognition has never bothered Backstrom. In fact, he prefers it that way.

"I only have one goal in my career and that's the Stanley Cup," he said. "Like if something else happens during my career, that's just a bonus, but I don't take too much time to think about that, to be honest with you.

"We have one goal here together, and that's go to the Final and win it and win the Cup. That's what motivates me and that's what makes me love coming here every day."

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Expect more of the same (on John Moore) from NHL Player Safety

Here’s my story from

By Rick Carpiniello

GREENBURGH – Here is what should be expected in the first head-shot incident of the NHL season, and the first for new NHL director of Player Safety St├ęphane Quintal since he permanently got the job:

The same.

This would be a great time for a statement, that finally the NHL is going to start doing something stupendous to get head shots out of its game, with the Rangers’ John Moore all teed up, a repeat offender coming off what the on-ice officials deemed to be a deliberate blow to the head of Minnesota’s Erik Haula on Monday night.

You’ve read it here before, that there needs to be far more punishing penalties in order for this stain on the game to disappear.

But you’ve also read it here before that the Player Safety department has its hands tied by A) most of the 30 owners/general managers who don’t want long suspensions being handed down and B) a players union that isn’t terribly interested in protecting its victims as it is its perps.Minnesota Wild v New York Rangers

So expect Quintal — whose Rangers’ career ended badly, and who was in on the decision to suspend Moore for a head shot on Montreal’s Dale Weise during the Eastern Final last May, and who became Brendan Shanahan’s permanent replacement in the off-season — to dole out what’s always doled.

Minimal punishment. Best guess: Five games. And that would be two or three if not for Moore’s prior, for an incident that was far worse than this one.

This one is at least questionable from some replays. Moore came across the ice, didn’t leave his feet, and appeared that he may have caught Haula’s chest before the elbow/arm/shoulder hit Haula’s head. The Wild said Haula has not yet been diagnosed with a concussion, and he did not play in Boston Tuesday.

So many previous head shots went unpunished — Milan Lucic on Rick Nash, Chris Neil on Brian Boyle come to mind — because the primary point of contact, the league determined, was not the head. The head was targeted in a predatory manner in those cases. Moore didn’t seem bent on removing Haula’s head, but he probably won’t get as lucky as Lucic and Neil.

Moore has an in-person hearing with Player Safety on Wednesday. A phone hearing carries a max of five games. In-person could mean more, but doesn’t necessarily. Repeat offender status matters. The injury to the player does also, though there’s no reason it should.

Moore was unavailable to reporters after practice Tuesday, lip zipped until his day in NHL court.

His teammate, Chris Kreider, was spared supplemental discipline after taking a major and game misconduct for boarding Jonas Brodin earlier in the same game.

Kreider’s hit, reckless and dangerous at worst, was a product of today’s game, where players are protected from being hit from behind, or from being driven from a distance into the boards. They rely on that protection, and at times put themselves in vulnerable positions. They often are trying to draw a penalty, risking injury to do so.

In Kreider’s defense, Brodin — who returned to the game — stopped and turned. Kreider has to learn that it’s a hit that must be avoided. On the other hand, if Brodin turns and skates away, Kreider is not doing his job by pulling up. That’s no-man’s land.old RR logo

Twitter: @RangersReport

Photo by Getty Images.

Randy Carlyle Post Game – Leafs 4 vs. Sabres 0

Randy Carlyle addresses media following the Leafs 4-0 win over the Sabres on Tuesday night.

Founded in 2008, Maple Leafs Hotstove (MLHS) has grown to be the most visited unofficial team-focused hockey website online (Quantcast). Independently owned and operated, MLHS provides thorough and wide ranging content, varying from news, opinion and analysis, to pre-game and long-form game reviews, a weekly feature piece, the "Leafs Notebook", along with a Web TV show the "Maple Leaf Hangout".

Game 9 Scoring Chances: TOR 4 vs. BUF 0

After getting a lot of media heat from Saturday night’s loss, the Leafs had the perfect response.

They played what was, by the numbers, easily the most dominant single performance from a Leaf team in a long time, as they allowed Buffalo just ten shots on net, and had over 80% of the chances at even strength. Through most of two periods, they were playing with fire a little, not having turned the domination into any goals, but in the third Buffalo ended up paying for their struggles, and the Leafs were able to win easily.






These numbers are nuts; to call this game one-sided underestimates the gap between the two teams. Buffalo posed almost no offensive threat all game, and never really looked like scoring a goal. Since I started tracking chances at the start of last season, this was the best defensive performance from the Leafs by a wide margin, the only time I have them conceding single digit chances against in a game. The thirty-one chances for are also tied for the most in one game I’ve tracked.

Were the Leafs that good or the Sabres just that terrible? The numbers suggest it was an intersection of both.

Details are below.










TORES119:4900Kadri wide from Kessel438119344563802645734
TORES117:5400Lupul drives wide43811944464563802664134
TORES112:3300Lupul drives post438119344581923416134
TORES112:0300Rielly from Winnik24261844464582344556134
BUFES109:5100Hodgson drives427121125145171921556134
TORSH107:3600Van Riemsdyk drives post242144445-191221415734
TORPP106:0000Franson from Kessel428121451452845734--
TORPP105:2800Franson from Gardiner42812145145284415734-
TORPP105:0800Clarkson wide from Kadri4319713444581766134-
TORPP105:0200Kadri from Lupul4319713444581766134-
TORPP104:5800Kadri from rebound4319713444581766134-
TORES104:5400Lupul from loose puck431971344458172166134
TORES101:0000Lupul drives438119444645171921556134
TORES100:5400Lupul from rebound438119444645171921556134
TORES100:4400Kessel from loose puck438119444645171921556134
TORES217:2800Van Riemsdyk drives42712112514517192145734
TORES215:3200Kadri wide from loose puck43811944464582344556134
TORES215:2400Kadri from rebound of Rielly shot43811944464582344556134
BUFES211:5600Ennis deflects Stewart shot2418394464563802645734
TORPP209:5400Bozak wide from Franson4281214514588266134-
TORPP209:4200Van Riemsdyk drives wide4281214514588266134-
TORPP208:5900Lupul drives43197134445172845734-
TORES208:2800Rielly from Kadri431971344458282145734
TORES208:2400Clarkson wide from Kadri431971344458282145734
BUFES206:1000Stewart deflects Ennis shot wide42812112514563802664134
TORPP203:3100Bozak from Kessel42812145145172845734-
TOREN201:3700Lupul from Rielly4243197144412824416134
TORPP200:5000GOAL! Bozak drives42812144514582145734-
TORES315:4210GOAL! Kessel from loose puck2581193445282182556134
TORES314:4220GOAL! Van Riemsdyk from Rielly42712144464517192164134
TORPP313:2330Bozak deflects Gardiner shot wide42812145145172845734-
TORES311:4130Lupul from loose puck43197112444519232145734
TORES310:4330GOAL! Gardiner wraparound25264712514528128264134
BUFSH305:0940Gionta deflects Benoit shot2421444645-231244576134
TORES302:2240Kessel wide from Kadri43811944514563802645734

The player-by-player data:













Van Riemsdyk103719:0222012:4112-1

The new line combinations ended up seeing Lupul and Kadri both put up staggering +11s at ES close, and neither was on for a Buffalo chance all night. Those are the highest I’ve seen in any game since I started tracking Leaf scoring chances. Kessel didn’t quite equal those numbers, but was a major driver of chances as well. In fact, that top line drove virtually all of the Leafs‘ great play, as none of the other lines generated many chances. In particular, JVR and Bozak, who both ended up scoring goals, weren’t consistent scoring threats the way the Kessel line was, while the third line was also quiet offensively.

Morgan Rielly had a great game again, up there with Kadri and Lupul in terms of chances. He was on the ice for twenty total chances between ES and PP, the best I’ve had for any Leaf player while tracking chances. Polak also had great numbers, and Dion Phaneuf, despite an injury scare, was another player not on for a Buffalo chance.

Cumulative numbers this season:













Van RiemsdykF93952-1342.9%13:472231-941.5%

After such a dominant game, there are now seven Leafs above the 50% mark at ES close, headed by Lupul and Kadri, who were the biggest movers.