Posts Tagged ‘Taylor Hall’

Top Line: Is home ice a disadvantage?; trouble with P.K. Subban; more links

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David Backes and the St. Louis Blues

David Backes and the Blues might want to reconsider the value of chasing the Presidents’ Trophy. (Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

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

• A nice bit of outside-the-box thinking here from veteran reporter Dave Hodge who offers a fresh take on home ice advantage for the Stanley Cup playoffs. I wonder how many organizations, if given this option, would take it?

• Ted Bird says Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien has every right to come down hard on P.K. Subban.

• Elliotte Friedman says Evander Kane is too valuable for the Winnipeg Jets to give up on but after the winger copped an attitude about his benching on Saturday night, it’s fair to ask if their bridge is worth repairing.

• Barry Petchesky says the failures of the Maple Leafs prove the genius of advanced stats. I still take issue with the unshakable faith placed by some people in proxy numbers like Corsi, but until the NHL decides to track actual possession time, we’re not going to hear the end of it.

• GM Steve Yzerman’s tenure in Tampa Bay has seen its share of problems — the Martin St. Louis situation and last season’s playoff DNQ come to mind — but there’s no denying that he has the Lightning on the right path. The four-year extension he was awarded on Monday is proof of their faith in his approach.

• What was Vancouver’s problem this year? Jason Botchford has John Tortorella’s answer in this outstanding edition of The Van Provies.

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  • Published On Apr 08, 2014
  • Top Line: Stars win for Rich Peverley; Torts loses the room; more links

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    Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars vs. the St. Louis Blues

    After promising that the Stars would play for their fallen teammate, Jamie Benn was Dallas’s hero. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

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

    • The Stars honored ailing teammate Rich Peverley with a gritty overtime win in St. Louis on Tuesday night. Dallas fan or not, you had to be rooting for the Stars to pull the game out.

    • Jiri Fischer knows better than anyone that Peverley’s life will never be the same after he suffered a cardiac event on Monday night. Here’s what actually happened to the Dallas forward’s heart and how it could affect his future.

    • Peverley’s collapse put his teammates through an emotional wringer. Good to hear that Alex Chiasson is feeling better.

    • The question has to be asked in Vancouver: Has coach John Tortorella lost the room? Another effort by the Canucks like the one in the third period of their 7-4 loss to the Islanders on Monday night and he might not get to finish the season.

    • So much for all the talk about the potential for radical rules changes coming out of this week’s general managers meetings in Florida. Although there may be some minor tweaks, it doesn’t appear that any significant tinkering is in the cards.

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  • Published On Mar 12, 2014
  • Top Line: Martin St. Louis trade rumor; Stamkos not ready to play; more links

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    The Rangers could be trading captain Ryan Callahan (24) to the Lightning. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

    The Rangers could soon be trading captain Ryan Callahan (24) to the Lightning. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

    By Allan Muir

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

    • Noted NHL rumormonger Boomer Esiason says he’s hearing that the Rangers will trade Ryan Callahan for Martin St. Louis sometime in the next week. Believe it or not, the former NFL QB has actually been on the money with his hockey tips a couple of times in the past.

    • Andrew Gross writes that letting Callahan get away is something that New York could live with, but that trading Dan Girardi would be a mistake.

    • How close was Steven Stamkos to playing for Team Canada? Not very. Doctors still haven’t cleared him, and it looks like it could be awhile yet before he makes his NHL return. That’s a tough break for Stamkos, but at least he was able to share in a little post-Sochi joy yesterday.

    • The Red Wings’ road to the playoffs is riddled with sinkholes now that back surgery has sidelined Henrik Zetterberg for the rest of the regular season. Look for Detroit to put Hank on long-term IR to free up some cap space in hopes of making a deadline acquisition or two.

    • Sportsnet has assembled a comprehensive trade deadline primer. Just click on your favorite team for their needs and the list of available free agents.

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  • Published On Feb 25, 2014
  • Ranking the Replacements: Who takes place of Stamkos for Canada in Sochi?

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    Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes

    He’s not the sexiest pick, but Eric Staal makes a lot of sense for Team Canada. (Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    It was supposed to be a great day for Steven Stamkos, the day when doctors finally gave him the green light to return to the Lightning this weekend, just in time to secure his role with Team Canada for the Sochi Olympics.

    Instead, the CT scan he underwent on Wednesday revealed that the leg he fractured back on Nov. 11 has not healed as well as initially thought. He can be re-evaluated in another two to three weeks, but that’s too late for him. And too late for Canada.

    For Stamkos, this decision means he now focuses on using the Olympic break to get healthy for Tampa Bay’s playoff drive. But for Canada, it means finding a replacement for the player who was expected to be the focal point of the team’s offense as it aimed to defend its gold medal.

    Let’s get this out of the way right here: No matter the depth of Canada’s talent pool this is an absolutely devastating loss. There’s no replacing what Stamkos would have brought to the table. There is no one who can match his release or his shot or his knack for finding space on the ice. That guy doesn’t exist.

    But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t quality options for Steve Yzerman and his staff to consider. There are the snubs whose omission stunned observers as well as others who have played their way into the mix in the month since the rosters were first announced on Jan. 7. The trick will be to find a player who is willing to accept a role as Canada’s 13th/14th forward, but also is capable of playing on the top line if necessary.

    Here are the players that Team Canada is likely sizing up at this moment.

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  • Published On Feb 05, 2014
  • Top Line: Henrik Lundqvist shines vs. Stars; overworked goalies; more links

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    Henrik Lundqvist was brilliant against the Dallas Stars.

    Henrik Lundqvist was brilliant against the Stars, but are the Rangers leaning too heavily on him? (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

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

    • Henrik Lundqvist was pretty good last night, making 41 stops to steal one in Dallas. Funny how the hockey gods work, eh? Two nights after being robbed of a victory against Boston when Tuukka Rask stood on his head, the Rangers got one back that they had no right winning.

    • After spending much of the season on IR with a concussion, Rick Nash finally scored his first goal last night against the Stars. It was pretty nice:

    • Now why did owner Jim Dolan have to go and spoil the day for Rangers fans after a night like that?

    • Is your team overworking its No. 1 goaltender? Here’s a chart that lays it all out.

    • Being separated from linemate Zach Parise helped Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu find his game. And it wasn’t long after that the red-hot Wild found theirs. Remember the name of Mike Yeo as a dark horse Jack Adams candidate.

    • Alex Ovechkin went out of his way for Adam Oates last season so, naturally, the coach did the same for his star player.

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  • Published On Nov 22, 2013
  • Taylor Hall of Edmonton Oilers to miss four weeks with knee injury

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    Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers will be out for four weeks with a knee injury.

    Taylor Hall’s hellbent playing style has made him vulnerable to injury. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    As if things haven’t gone badly enough to this point for the Edmonton Oilers, what with their ECHL-caliber goaltending, a porous defensive scheme, and a 2-6-1 start that has them in last place in the Western Conference. Now they have to deal with the loss of their best player for the next month.

    The Oilers confirmed today that Hall could miss up to four weeks while recovering from a left knee injury he suffered during Saturday night’s win in Ottawa.

    MUIR: Oilers still floating near bottom of NHL Power Rankings

    The unspecified damage (suspected to be a minor ACL tear) may have occurred when he was checked awkwardly by Ottawa’s Eric Gryba, but if that didn’t do it, getting nailed in the knee by Kyle Turris as he exited the penalty box a few minutes later certainly sealed the deal.

    It’s a tough break, but hardly a first for the hard-luck Hall. Here’s a rundown of his lengthy list of injuries, courtesy of the Edmonton Journal:

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  • Published On Oct 22, 2013
  • Top Line: Florida Panthers trade rumors; another goofy goal; more links

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    Marc-Andre Fleury is now under the gun with Tomas Vokoun out three to six months

    Marc-Andre Fleury allowed a soft goal from center ice on Saturday night. (Hans Pennink/AP)

    By Allan Muir

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

    • Bruce Garrioch speculates about an impending fire sale in Florida, trade options for the Oilers and the possible availability of Rangers prospect Chris Kreider in this week’s Sunday column.

    • Another night, another entry into the brutal goal-allowed club. This time, it was Marc-Andre Fleury revisiting his playoff form by allowing one from center ice. Forget how nicely he’s rebounded from last spring’s playoff debacle. That softie is exactly why there’s almost no chance Team Canada officials consider him for Sochi.

    • Cory Schneider’s first exposure to the Devils/Rangers rivalry went pretty well. He earned his 10th career shutout and helped the team snap a franchise record seven-game losing streak as New Jersey won its first game of the season.

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  • Published On Oct 20, 2013
  • NHL’s 10 most exciting players

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    By Allan Muir

    It’s no wonder the hockey world went bananas over that amazing goal scored by the Sharks’ Tomas Hertl last week. What with suffocating systems and chip-and-chase ruling the day, conservative play rather than creativity, is the widest path to the NHL. And anything that veers from the straight and narrow, whether it’s a between-the-legs shot, a rules-testing spin-o-rama or some shootout parlor trick, is bound to generate some buzz.

    But as curmudgeons from Adam Oates to Don Cherry proved, there’s always someone waiting to drop a “respect for the game” anvil on any player who has the skills, creativity and guts to try something truly special.

    Shame on them for that.

    Honestly, is a little extra personality and style really so bad? Of course not. That’s why we shouldn’t just encourage the sort of flash that Hertl displayed, but celebrate it . . . even if it means suffering through a little hotdogging every now and then.

    Let’s free up the next generation of potential stars like Hertl to be as bold and original as they want to be. And let’s recognize the guys who’ve already proved that they’re more than worth the price of admission. I mean the players who can pull you out of your seat with a stunning burst of speed, a sweet dangle and a dazzling how’d-he-do-that? finish . . . or maybe something else that’s uniquely their own.

    With those factors in mind, here are the 10 most exciting players in the NHL today.

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  • Published On Oct 17, 2013
  • Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall pave way for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ $42 million deal

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    (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

    Injury-plagued, underachieving Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was the first-overall pick in 2011. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    There was a good case to be made if the Edmonton Oilers had chosen to play short-term contract hardball with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

    His first two seasons have been marked by their share of blemishes. He’s had trouble finishing — just four goals last year — and he’s suffered through a career’s worth of injuries, missing 20 games his rookie year, followed by a shoulder problem that cut last season short and will keep him out of Edmonton’s lineup until November.

    It’s the sort of track record that affords a flinty general manager plenty of leeway over an already unleveraged RFA.

    But Nugent-Hopkins is also the sort of breathtaking talent whose immense promise demands to be considered on its own terms. His pedigree — he was the first-overall pick in 2011 — and his spectacularly appointed tool box project him as an elite, first-line center. Greatness has eluded him these first two years, but it won’t for much longer.

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  • Published On Sep 19, 2013
  • Top Line: Time running out on Ryan Miller; Saddledome miracle; more links

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    Goaltenders Jimmy Howard and Ryan Miller at USA Hockey's Olympic Orientation Camp.

    At 33, Ryan Miller (right) may be nudged off Team USA by younger goalies like Jimmy Howard (left). (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

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

    • Ryan Miller comes into this season knowing he has plenty to prove, both to the Sabres and to Team USA’s management. But as one of the oldest players at camp this week, his time may have already passed.

    • Ilya Kovalchuk says he didn’t return to Russia to kill time before the Olympics, and he expects to test the limits of his abilities in the KHL.

    • Steve Conroy breaks down Peter Chiarelli’s history as the Bruins GM, and says that signing him to an extension was a no-brainer.

    • With repairs on schedule, it looks as though Calgary’s flood-damaged Saddledome will be ready for the start of the season. Amazing. I need to get those guys to take a look at my roof.

    • Lightning center Valtteri Filppula put on the old gear for one last skate with some of his former teammates in Detroit.

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  • Published On Aug 30, 2013


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