Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

Ryan O'Reilly

At six feet tall, Colorado Avalanche center Ryan O’Reilly weighs 200 pounds. Like most hockey players, the bulk of that is thighs and ass which give him a stable center of gravity that makes him hard to knock off the puck, and allows him to have some jump in his first few strides after stopping. He’s hard on opposing defenders, is good in puck battles, and isn’t afraid to go to the front of the net. He’s good at hockey in general.

Oh, and also…

Zero PIMs this year. Not a single penalty minute. Not one mis-call that saw him have to sit in the box through 1,316:03 of ice time (basically 22 hours of hockey). That’s the most of any Avalanche forward, a little under 20 minutes per game.

Which brings about these two tweets that I also found relevant. Read the rest of this entry »

Connor McDavid

Not many of us can relate to the pressure Connor McDavid is going through. Actually, unless Sidney Crosby is reading this, none of us can. He’s only 17, yet he’s been hockey’s “next one” for years. He’s draft eligible in 2015, and NHL teams are legitimately considering burning next season entirely for the chance to draft him. We’ve all seen what Crosby – that’s you, reader Sid – did for the Penguins organization. It might be worth it.

But not everyone is equipped to handle the pressure – hell, I know I wouldn’t have been at that age. With great power comes great responsibility, and being awesome at hockey super young doesn’t necessarily mean you’re mentally built to deal with the latter part of that.

Yesterday Connor McDavid did an interview with Rob Pizzo (the world’s greatest hockey host, of course…oh, and also my old podcast cohost) and Craig Simpson, and he said something fairly innocuous, but the honesty of it all shook me a bit. He is nervous about the expectations on him, he is aware of what people think he should become…because hey: he still is a young teenager. He’s being half-shoved into a spotlight brighter than most of us could calmly handle, and he doesn’t have the type of ego some young prodigies have that renders pressure a non-factor. (You can listen to the full interview here.)

Below is McDavid’s smart, candid response about playing yet another season of junior as the limelight grows brighter. His composure and honesty are really refreshing.
Read the rest of this entry »

TJ Oshie

When T.J. Oshie went to bed on Saturday night in Russia, he did so after taking six shootout attempts in an Olympic hockey game, scoring on four of those, carrying the American men’s hockey team to victory over the host country, being mentioned in a tweet by The White House, and having slain and eaten a unicorn raw. (Can’t confirm last part, just rumors so far. David Booth will be jealous if it’s true.)

It was a good day.

As you likely know, after three attempts in the shootout you can send whoever you want in international play, and the Americans had planned before the tournament started to ride Oshie if they found themselves in that situation, mostly because he’s nails in the shootout (unlike that slug Patrick Kane). The craziest thing about Oshie’s six shootout attempts: his two best moves were the ones he didn’t score on (one great save, one missed net).

Anyway, I’m a bit familiar with Oshie from playing him in the WCHA when he was at North Dakota. He was four years younger than me and six times better, so naturally I hate him. (Not really.)

If you’re not familiar with him, I thought I’d help him out. His Twitter following grew like the Grinch’s heart at the end of that movie, so apparently people are interested in him.

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oshie-2

He has great mitts

The U.S. didn’t pick Oshie to go in the shootout on a whim, then see him score and decide to ride him. He’s currently second among active NHLers in shootout percentage (among guys who’ve taken at least 20 attempts). He’s 25 for 46, and he’s potted seven of 10 this season. You know how when someone is suuuper good at something it looks annoyingly easy? That’s Oshie in the shootout.

He hits like a truck, and he’s a clean player

He’s an absolute refrigerator of a guy, but he doesn’t look like it. He’s just got the density of a neutron star or something. He’s the master of the reverse hit too – you think you’re going to plow him, or that he’s only partially aware of you coming to hit him, and all the sudden your tailbone hurts and you’re staring at the rafters. Read the rest of this entry »

Toronto Maple Leafs v Tampa Bay Lightning

Nearly a decade ago, Martin St. Louis had a pretty good year. He was 29-years-old and playing on a darn good hockey team. He climbed from being very much not a point-per-game player to far more than that. He led the NHL in scoring at the end of the regular season (right when it was at its pre-lockout slogging worst – 94 points got the job done), edging out Ilya Kovalchuk, Joe Sakic, Marcus Nasland and a 25-year-old Marian Hossa. He scored 24 points in 23 playoff games, the Lightning won the Stanley Cup, then he hopped on a Pegasus and flew to Mount Money where he was greeted by Victoria’s Secret models on clouds of fluffy cotton candy. If my memory serves me correct, anyway.

But he didn’t get fat and happy and watch his stats go in the tank as so many NHLers do once their age begins with the number three. He’s played in 613 NHL games since (only missing seven games, including a run of five straight 82 game seasons), and scored 651 points in those contests. The Lightning have only been back to playoffs three times since The Year, but it certainly hasn’t been for a lack of him contributing.

But all NHL players enter into decline eventually (oh humanity, you cruel beast), and 37 seems like about the time you’d expect to see some. Or like, lots. But nutrition and training have changed over the years, and we’re seeing more and more older players maintain value into their later years. Teemu Selanne was nearly a point-per-game guy last year over age 40, Jaromir Jagr is still doin’ it to it, and Patrick Elias remains a viable offensive threat. And if there’s anyone who seems to be into fitness and nutrition…

martin st. louis ripped

Read the rest of this entry »

Vancouver Canucks v Nashville Predators

Sam Page of the Nashville Predators blog “On the Forecheck” has passed along a fantastically comprehensive piece we’re proud to present to you today. We hope you enjoy.

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- by Sam Page

Here’s what’s been more or less written 100 times about the trade the Predators and Capitals made at the final hour of the NHL trade deadline:

The Nashville Predators traded Martin Erat and Michael Latta to the Washington Capitals in exchange for Filip Forsberg. Nashville, with their worst regular season record in ten years, looks unlikely to make the playoffs (Editor’s note: it’s official after last night, they’re mathematically eliminated). Erat, drafted by the Predators in 1999, has played with the team his entire career, but requested a trade when it seemed the team was destined to miss the playoffs for just the second time in nine years.

Detroit Red Wings v Nashville PredatorsWashington hopes that Erat, freed from the notoriously defense-first system of Predators’ coach Barry Trotz, will be more productive offensively. Nashville hopes Forsberg, the eleventh-overall pick in the 2012, will live up the potential that caused NHL Central Scouting to rank him the second-best forward in last year’s draft behind Edmonton’s Nail Yakupov.

No deadline trade seemed more explicable. Capitals GM George McPhee, his own team struggling to make the playoffs, traded to save his job. For a Nashville team ever-strapped for goals (even Erat had managed only four this season), getting a potentially elite sniper in Forsberg was too good to pass on.

Yet, as much as pundits and fans for both teams have called it an overwhelming win for Nashville, it’s a trade no Preds fan would ever expect them to make, and a residual reluctance tinged all of GM David Poile’s post-deadline interviews.

For any close observer of the team, it’s a franchise-defining trade both potentially and literally–potentially because Forsberg could transform the team, literally because every facet of the deal is imbued with the Predators’ complicated history. Read the rest of this entry »

The KHL’s leaderboard is peppered with NHL players who felt like staying in shape and earning some dollars instead of sitting on the couch getting fat during the lockout. Because of that, the list of the top-10 scoring leaders includes Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk, Alexander Ovechkin and Predator-of-yore Alexander Radulov.

None of those fine gents, however, sits first in points. That honour belongs to Sergei Moyzakin.

Moyzakin was drafted in the ninth round (263rd) by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2002, and like most Russian picks Columbus has made, he didn’t pan out for the organization. More specifically, he didn’t suit up for a single game for them. Read the rest of this entry »

theScore caught up with Paul Bissonnette for our own little episode of “Cribs,” and we think it’s safe to say you’ll be surprised when you see how BizNasty lives.

He’s not exactly a minimalist, but you might have expected something different: Read the rest of this entry »