Posts Tagged ‘Dustin Byfuglien’

Top Line: Meltdowns in Toronto, Calgary; Bruins struggle; more links

Decrease fontDecrease font
Enlarge fontEnlarge font
Randy Carlyle and the Toronto Maple Leafs

Horror in Hogtown: Randy Carlyle (standing, center) must wonder, “Can’t anybody here play this game?” (Icon SMI)

By Allan Muir

An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

• In the eight days since the Winter Classic, the Maple Leafs have gone 0-3 and been outscored 18-5. Chris Johnston explains why Toronto is unraveling before our eyes.

• Talk about raking these Leafs. Ouch.

• As bad as things are in Toronto, they might be even worse in Calgary, where a successful zone exit is celebrated like a bar-down one-timer these days.

• This statistic does not speak well of the Flames’ offensive proficiency.

• Here’s how a minor-league hockey chaplain decided he wanted to play in the NHL again.

• Mike Harrington says the first order of business for new Sabres GM Tim Murray is figuring out what he wants to do with Ryan Miller and Ted Nolan. It’s hard to believe that Murray wouldn’t want to keep the coach. The decision about the goalie, though, might be out of his hands.

• John Vogl explains how Murray impressed Pat LaFontaine to earn the job.

Read More…


  • Published On Jan 10, 2014
  • Are desperate Winnipeg Jets moving Dustin Byfuglien back to forward?

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Winnipeg Jets coach Claude Noel and Dustin Byfuglien

    His Jets in a death spiral, coach Claude Noel is trying to get Dustin Byfuglien’s attention. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    It’s no secret that the Winnipeg Jets are in a tailspin, playing some of their worst hockey since moving to Manitoba from Atlanta three years ago.

    They’ve lost four straight, prompting talk of blockbuster swaps or the firing of coach Claude Noel as the means of getting the team back on track before it’s too late.

    But with cap issues strangling the trade market and Noel seemingly immune to accountability for the team’s consistent failings, the Jets might be looking in a different direction to change their mojo:

    Read More…


  • Published On Jan 09, 2014
  • The USA Sochi Olympics all-snubbed hockey team

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson was left off the 2014 USA Olympic hockey team.

    Blueliner Jack Johnson’s fire will likely be missed in big games. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    A look at the worthy players who were left out when the roster for Team USA was announced today in Ann Arbor:

    MUIR: Cuts show depth, potential of Team USA

    Goaltender

    Ben Bishop (Tampa Bay Lightning): No American has more wins or a better save percentage than the 27-year-old, but his lack of experience hurt. He would have been slotted at No. 3 at best, so he was unlikely to have seen action in any case.

    Cory Schneider (New Jersey Devils): A real talent and a big-game player, but he’s never really got his feet under him since his trade to the Devils.

    Read More…


  • Published On Jan 01, 2014
  • The NHL’s 13 biggest hits of 2013

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    Niklas Kronwall of the Detroit Red Wings Kronwalls Cory Conacher of the Ottawa Senators.

    The NHL still packed plenty of crunch despite growing concerns about player safety. (Icon SMI)

    By Michael Blinn

    Many fans worry that the NHL is slowly but steadily legislating physicality out of the game, and this year delivered plenty of fuel for debate about player safety in the form of  big, thundering checks that sent players end-over-end, tumbling into benches, and, on rare occasions, through the glass. Most of the hits were well within the rules, while others were cause for supplemental discipline as the NHL continued to place added emphasis on preventing head injuries. After sorting through nine-plus months of game highlights, we present  the 13 most bone-rattling hits of 2013:

    MORE: 13 best players | Goals | Games | Memes | Tweets | Weird moments | Most painful | Front office moves

    Read More…


  • Published On Dec 24, 2013
  • NHL’s new rules, emphasis on offense should ignite these 12 players

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    By Allan Muir

    The storylines are the same almost everywhere you look around the league. The Rangers need more scoring. Blue Jackets hope to increase offense. Bruins need to improve power play.

    That desire to light the lamp with greater frequency isn’t an isolated issue. Scoring has steadily decreased since the 2004-05 lockout, and while there’s little that can be done about the root causes — stringent attention to defense and goalies who are bigger and better trained than ever — that hasn’t stopped the NHL from trying to solve the problem anyway.

    In his cover story for this week’s NHL preview issue of SI magazine, Michael Farber visits with Kay Whitmore, the NHL’s “goalie cop” who is spearheading the effort to cut netminders down to size. The league has imposed a new series of restrictions on the size of goalie equipment for this season,  shortening leg pads by about two inches (depending on the height of the goalie). This, in theory, creates a five-hole that’s about four inches wider when a keeper drops to his knees in the butterfly position. Most will quickly close it, but even a split-second opening could lead to some pucks slipping through that would easily have been blocked in the past.

    There’s also a reformatted net that’s shallower — creating more space behind the net for playmaking and allowing for quicker wraparound opportunities — and with different corners that create new angles for shooters to exploit.

    They’re both good ideas, and should pay off with bigger numbers for traditional sharpshooters like Steven Stamkos, Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.

    But those guys were always going to put up their share of points. That means teams will be looking within for something extra from players who are ready to step up and handle a bigger share of the load.

    Here are some of the guys who could  be up to the task.

    GALLERY: NHL’s greatest offensive performances

    Read More…


  • Published On Sep 26, 2013
  • NHL training camp and preseason notes

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals tucks in his jersey.

    A classic trademark look is now being frowned upon by the NHL to the consternation of players. (Alex Brandon/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    As someone who has to identify players from press boxes located halfway up to the heliosphere, I can selfishly get behind the push to enforce a rule that’s been on the books for nearly 50 years. It’s a whole lot easier to pick up a number when it’s not obscured by being crammed into the back of someone’s breezers.

    Still, given the contentious debate about the league’s sudden decision to get tough on jersey tuckers, this seems like a lousy fight for the league to pick with its players. Sure, there are arguments to be made that uniforms are supposed to be, by definition, uniform and that there’s marketing value in making it easier to identify the stars of the game. And there might even be some safety/insurance element involved, though honestly when you’re passing out weekly wrist slaps to players who nearly separate someone’s head from his shoulders, this isn’t exactly a high road position.

    Whatever the reason, the optics are lousy for the league. It feels pointless and petty. On the bright side, remember that crackdown on interference? They were serious about that for a while, too.

    Joffrey Lupul brings up an interesting point:

    Read More…


  • Published On Sep 20, 2013
  • Top Line: Stanley Cup Final talk; Jets star too fat to trade; more links

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    David Krejci of the Boston Bruins

    David Krejci has quietly become the postseason scoring leader with His nine goals and 21 points. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • Consistency, not flash, defines the success of Boston’s emerging superstar, center David Krejci.

    • How important will special teams be in the final, really?

    Hockey Night In Canada has 10 tidbits about the Bruins and Blackhawks. Any story that touches on the Windsor Spitfires connection in this series is one that deserves to be read, I say.

    • Hold it…here’s an entire column on how their time in Windsor shaped the two men who will determine the shape of this series. What, you think I’m gonna miss a chance to plug the Spits?

    The Boston Globe offers a pretty sweet (and in-depth) introduction to the Blackhawks.

    Read More…


  • Published On Jun 11, 2013
  • Top Line: Vanek wants out of Buffalo, Nieuwendyk done in Dallas, more links

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Thomas Vanek has likely played his last game as a Buffalo Sabre.

    Did Thomas Vanek take his last look at Buffalo’s Niagara Center as a Sabre? (Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • “I’ve thought about it. If it looks like it’s a long rebuild, then it probably makes sense for both parties to move on.” The thoughts of Thomas Vanek on his future in Buffalo lead off the QMI Sunday notes column.

    • The Stars have reportedly hired Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill to be Nieuwendyk’s replacement. That’s one way to change a losing culture. We’ll have more on this later this morning.

    • With a goal and an assist in a 5-3 season-ending loss to Florida, 37-year-old Martin St. Louis became the oldest player in NHL history to capture the Art Ross Trophy. Steven Stamkos finished second, making for a more dubious mark: the first time teammates from a non-playoff club have finished 1-2 in the scoring race.

    • The Penguins welcomed James Neal back into the lineup and he looked like he hadn’t missed a shift, let alone eight games. His third career hat trick led Pittsburgh to an 8-3 win over the Hurricanes.

    • After spitting the bit last night in Washington, the Bruins have one more chance to claim the Northeast title. Personally, I’d bet on this baffling bunch coming up short…again.

    • Don Cherry offered up his thoughts on female reporters in the dressing room. Don’t suppose that will stir up any controversy, eh?

    • The Blue Jackets are left to ponder what might have been after falling one point short of the playoffs.

    • A 3-0 playoff-clinching win over Dallas proved why Jimmy Howard has emerged as Detroit’s MVP.

    • Whether you think it’s worse that the Maple Leafs are being outshot or outscored, they didn’t do enough of either down the stretch. And that does not bode well for their first playoff run since 2007.

    • Maybe their top prospect, big center Joe Colborne can help. He’s looked good in a late audition.

    Read More…


  • Published On Apr 28, 2013


  •