Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

There was a stretch of hockey during the Kings Stanley Cup run, specifically during the Phoenix series, where Dwight King was scoring all teh goalz. He had four in three games, and all the sudden a lot of fans, myself included, found ourselves having a “Wait, who’s that guy” moment.

I laughed him off a bit (I’m sure there’s podcasts that’d back that up), because he’s kinda of a goofy looking, big hulking dude who, at a glance, you would think is an enforcer. I mean, he’s huge.

Still, he kept doing things that made me sit up and take notice in playoffs. If you recall the third goal the Kings scored on their now-infamous Three Goal Powerplay in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, he comes up the ice with a lot of speed for a guy who’s 6’3″ and some 234 pounds, drives wide, puts the puck under the d-man’s stick (that’s the part that gets me – skills), and gets the puck to the dangerous part of the ice. Then Trevor Lewis puts it home, and King has one of his two assists in the Cup-clinching game. Read the rest of this entry »

I may have mentioned this in the past, but our video team is pretty exceptional (did you catch Alfie Rises?). This week they’ve put together a piece on the Subban family, and it’s pretty darn cool too.

Enjoy getting to know them:

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6'3", 202lbs, 67 points in 62 games in the OHL. Pic from David Bebee of the Waterloo Region Record.

With the NHL draft looming, last night I spent some time trying to learn a little bit more about the names we’d be hearing tonight. In the process, I stumbled onto a TSN video about Radek Faksa, an 18 year-old Czech prospect who’s predicted to go fairly high in the first round.

What a story.

Faksa is from Opava, a city of 60,00 people located in a poor region of the Czech Republic, just minutes from Poland’s border. He has two siblings, and with divorced parents, all three lived with their Mom. He was an exceptional hockey player.

Opportunities for a talent like him in a town like that were almost nil. His family was barely scraping by, and all he wanted to do was be a hockey player.

Well, people had noticed his unique gifts, and one option arose.

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Major strength of Beagle's: puck protection

A lot of people watching the playoffs these days may be tuning in to see the Washington Capitals play, and finding themselves curious about who this guy Jay Beagle is. Well, he’s the center who logged more minutes than another Caps forward last game, and I’m here to fill you in on the way he plays.

Beagle and I were teammates for two seasons during our time at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and I got to know him pretty well. I’m proud of where he’s at (y’know, the whole “getting more ice time for the Washington Capitals in playoff games than Alex Ovechkin” thing), so I thought I’d share a little bit about his game then and now for those of you who are unfamiliar with him.

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Ilya Kovalchuk leads the NHL in a bizarre penalty killing stat category

This weekend, a select group of players converge in Ottawa to take part in a bizarre annual ritual that involves an exhibition game with no defense or goaltending in an effort to bring together all the best players in the world and have them compete against one another.

That’s all well and good, but while I frequently hear the argument “the game isn’t played on paper” I will retort with the argument “the game isn’t played on a highlight film”. Many players do things that we don’t notice night-after-night that help their team win, whether that’s shutting down a star forward, slowing down the pace of the game in the neutral zone, or dominating possession by repeatedly setting up shots on goal.

Here at the Backhand Shelf’s Research & Development department (one guy in his underwear in his basement) we have put together a list of six players who have one odd statistical trait about them, which you may find interesting. I will call this the Statistical Oddity All-Star Team, and, like the actual All-Star game, is a fun way of dissecting some of the numbers I use quite often around here.

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One of the perks of the job that is covering the NHL for theScore was getting to participate in the media game before the Winter Classic.

A film crew captured the game, then interviewed Rob Pizzo and I “24/7″ style and put this feature together for you.

The game itself? …Meh, it was okay.

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Last night I re-tweeted something from a buddy who was giving himself a little pat on the back, but it was well deserved.

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