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Flames sign T.J. Brodie to 5-year extension (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:37:42 PDT)
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -- The Calgary Flames have signed defenseman T.J. Brodie to a five-year contract extension.

Hurricanes-Jets Preview (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:26:54 PDT)
With some reinforcements on the way, the Carolina Hurricanes can confidently focus on earning their first victory.

What We Learned: An etiquette guide to throwing your NHL jersey in protest (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 20 Oct 2014 07:38:01 PDT)

It's Trevor Daley time! (Rotoworld)
(Mon, 20 Oct 2014 06:57:00 PDT)
It may be hard to believe but the Stars Trevor Daley is tied for the NHL lead with three power play goals.

NHL Three Stars: Ducks blank Blues; Quick goes wild (Puck Daddy)
(Sun, 19 Oct 2014 22:05:51 PDT)
No. 1 Star: Sami Vatanen, Anaheim Ducks   The Anaheim defenseman had his first multi-goal game in the NHL, propping up the Ducks’ struggling power play with two goals in their 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues. Fredrik Andersen made 28 saves to move to 25-5-0. No. 2 Star: Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings Quick made 40 saves as the Kings defeated the Minnesota Wild, 2-1. Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson had the goals. No. 3 Star: Mason Raymond, Calgary Flames Raymond had a goal and two assists at the Flames closed out a successful road trip with a 4-1 win at the Winnipeg Jets. Honorable Mention: Henrik Lundqvist made 33 saves at the New York Rangers blanked the San Jose Sharks, 4-0. Rick Nash scored his seventh and Carl Hagelin scored his first. … Jonas Hiller had 34 saves for the Flames; Kris Russell was a plus-3. … Mark Scheifele scored his first for the Jets. Did You Know? Andersen joined Ross Brooks of the Boston Bruins in 1972-74 as the only goalies in NHL history to win 25 or more of their first 30 decisions. (AP) Dishonorable Mention: Mirco Mueller, Chris Tierney, Eriah Hayes and Brent Burns were a minus-2 for the Sharks.    

Raymond has 3 points to lead Flames past Jets 4-1 (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 19 Oct 2014 20:49:13 PDT)
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) -- Mason Raymond and the Calgary Flames finished their successful road trip on a high note.

T.J. Brodie to sign 5-year deal with Flames (Puck Daddy)
(Sun, 19 Oct 2014 19:53:11 PDT)
T.J. Brodie’s going to get paid, and rightfully so. Elliotte Friedman reports that Brodie, 24, is going to ink a 5-year, $23.25-million contract extension with the Calgary Flames. He had six points in his first six games for the Flames this season, after getting 31 in 81 games in 2013-14. He averaged 24:04 last season on average, up nearly four minutes per game over the previous lockout-shortened season.  That $4.65 million cap beginning in 2015-16 slots him right below Ryan McDonagh of the New York Rangers ($4.7 million). Hopefully he buys Mark Giordano a steak dinner or something, considering that veteran’s impact on Brodie, who was second to Gio in Corsi relative to quality of competition last season.

National Hockey League roundup
(Sun, 19 Oct 2014 16:50:38 PDT)
(The Sports Xchange) - The Tampa Bay Lightning recalled left winger Jonathan Drouin and defenseman Luke Witkowski from their AHL affiliate in Syracuse on Sunday. Drouin, the third overall pick in the 2013 draft, was assigned to Syracuse for conditioning Thursday after suffering a minor fracture on his right thumb, causing him to miss the Lightning's training camp. In two games in the AHL, he scored a goal while adding two assists with a plus-4 rating. ...

Toews scores in OT as Blackhawks beat Predators (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 18 Oct 2014 21:22:02 PDT)
CHICAGO (AP) -- For the second straight game, the Chicago Blackhawks took lots of shots, but didn't have much to show for it.

Flames-Jets Preview (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 18 Oct 2014 16:08:27 PDT)
The Winnipeg Jets scored six goals in their first game this season. They have scored just once in the three games since.

NHL Three Stars: Zetterberg's big night; goalies draw blanks (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 17 Oct 2014 23:08:22 PDT)

Bobrovsky, Blue Jackets hold off Flames 3-2 (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 17 Oct 2014 19:47:03 PDT)
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A three-goal lead turned into bedlam for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Edmonton Oilers can't possibly be this bad, can they? (Trending Topics) (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 17 Oct 2014 14:38:49 PDT)
Just about everyone predicted that the Oilers wouldn't be very good this year. They'd have been picked to finish last in their division were it not for the existence of the Calgary Flames, and these days even their southern provincial rivals are doing much better than the Oilers are.   Regardless of those low expectations, Edmonton is even worse through four games than many expected, winning just one point (in a shootout loss to Vancouver), scoring just 11 goals (2.75 per), and allowing a whopping 22 (5.5 per, dead last by a mile). The reasons why this is the case should be more than a little obvious, but even here the Oilers are going above and beyond to blow up the holes in their roster — of which there are several — into bigger problems than they need to be. Right off the hop, any observer would have to acknowledge that the NHL is a league driven by two things: Goaltending first, and center depth second. If you don't have a goalie, you essentially don't have a team, and if you don't have at least two quality centers, you might have a team but you don't have a very good shot at winning most nights. Especially in the Western Conference, where teams hoard centers like so much precious treasure. It's also important to note here that it's dangerous to draw too many conclusions about a team after they've played just under 5 percent of their full league schedule has been played, but these two issues in particular are those that many, many people cited as some huge question marks for the Oilers coming into the year. The Oilers' goaltending problems are obvious; the 22 goals (all but one into an empty net) they've allowed in regulation have come on just 124 shots, giving Viktor Fasth and Ben Scrivens a combined save percentage of .831 to start the year. This is, of course, no way to win a hockey game but Scrivens, the team's presumptive starter, has gotten off to a nightmarish beginning to the season. You could say, “Oh, well, after three appearances, even one bad game can torpedo your save percentage.” And you'd be right, except Scrivens has had three phenomenally bad starts. He stopped 21 of 26 against Calgary (.808), 12 of 15 before after relieving Viktor Fasth against Los Angeles (.800), and 23 of 29 Wednesday night in Phoenix (.793). This from a guy who came in with pretty good career numbers, and who went a respectable .916 in 21 contests for the Oilers last season, even as he faced a ludicrous number of shots. The goalies, obviously, have been an issue in Edmonton, but they're also running at about 70 or 80 points below where one could reasonably expect them to be. People had their doubts that Scrivens could carry the water for a full season, but no one is this bad forever, or even over 10 games. It's just about impossible for an NHL goalie to stop less than 89 percent of the shots he faces over any reasonably long period of time, and given Scrivens' career numbers one might be safe to bet on a pretty hefty rebound — not dissimilar to the kind he's been kicking out to every opposing forward within 30 feet of him for the past three games — in the next week or two at the very latest. The Oilers really don't have any other options, and thus they're going to have to be content with riding the storm out with Scrivens. He will be fine. The center problem is a more persistent and worrisome one. They entered the year with their depth chart going “Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Boyd Gordon, (shrug emoticon), (sad face emoticon).” The two other centers they've rolled out for significant minutes to this point are Mark Arcobello and Leon Draisaitl, but “significant” is being kind to both their actual time on ice, and the situations in which they were deployed. The only one being used in any kind of defensive situation (i.e. when the Oilers start in their own zone) is Gordon, because all three other centers have offensive zone starts approaching or exceeding 80 percent in score-close situations, which is amazing. However, that was before Nugent-Hopkins injured himself in a fight in the second game of the season. (Oh, excuse me, the Oilers say it was on the hit before the fight. Which makes the fight okay, apparently.) In his stead, they've used Matt Hendricks (meh), Will Acton (hoo boy), and Bogdan Yakimov (???) at center. And again, “used” is a pretty liberal definition for centers who have taken eight, seven, and five draws, respectively. Of those guys, only Arcobello has faced anywhere near the quality of competition the departed Nugent-Hopkins has. This is a huge point of concern. The Oilers were already vulnerable in that position, and so all those people who spent the summer asking, “Yes, but what happens when, not if, Nugent-Hopkins gets hurt?” are now able to say, “Yeah, exactly.” It's unquestionably an untenable situation, and the fact that a number of borderline centers went through waivers over the last few weeks un-grabbed by Edmonton is frankly bizarre. Maybe they're a team that wants to get into that rumored Eric Staal sweepstakes or something, but dude has a no-trade and even the most desperate player isn't going to approve a swap that would send him to this Edmonton team as it's currently constituted. But as with the goaltending conundrum, Dallas Eakins' hands are tied. The solemn and sad faces he makes on the bench every time his team concedes belie the fact that he can't really do anything to prevent his team's faceoff percentage staying well below 50 percent. These patchwork not-really-NHL-level center schemes lead to his team getting punished up the middle and in transition. You can't underrate the importance of a competent center at jamming up things in the neutral zone and keeping things flowing in the right direction for your club, and the Oilers just don't have that. Edmonton's TOI among quote-unquote centers last night had Mark Arcobello as the clear No. 1 — a condition in which you never ever ever ever ever ever ever want to find yourself — with 22:53 in all situations. Gordon was a distant second at 16:32, Draisaitl came in at 11:36, and Hendricks got just 9:36. Nothing to be done about it, but that's not helping. And with all that having been said, Eakins is managing at least one part of his bench like an amateur, and it's totally avoidable. Have a look at the average shift chart at even strength for the Oilers' defensemen and see if you can explain any sort of reasoning for it, in a manner that makes sense. Your Nos. 1-3 defensemen in terms of ice time per game are Justin Schultz (18-plus minutes), Nikita Nikitin (nearly 17) and Andrew Ference (a little more than 16). In the Coyotes game alone, Schultz got 27 minutes in all situations. Let's get one thing straight about Schultz. He was brought in as a tantalizing offensive prospect first and foremost and has somehow — without proving anything with his actual on-ice performance — become a guy who, in the view of the Oilers brain trust, could some day win a Norris Trophy. The problem, however, is that Schultz is not very good at all at defending, no matter how much everyone wants to believe he is. Go watch the highlights (using that term loosely as well) of any Oilers game, and you'll see Schultz or Ference in the thick of things as the team gets scored upon again and again. Nikitin, meanwhile, is a guy who couldn't even hack it respectably getting third-pairing minutes with Columbus, and he's now facing some of the toughest competition in the West every night. Relying on him is always going to be a recipe for disaster. Snicker at all the screenshots of 14 Oilers on the left side of the ice while Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr sit in acres of space on the right. Draw little arrows all over your telestrator. Blame Dallas Eakins' system for all these breakdowns. It's not totally undeserved. But at some point you have to say that the players he's given aren't good enough to begin with — it's not like he has Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie and he's giving them both eight minutes a night; his best option by far is Jeff Petry, which isn't saying much — but it's only compounded by the fact he's using them wrong. Now, as for Petry, he's clearly done something to end up in Eakins' doghouse, not only this year, but last season as well. The numbers suggest that he's a pretty decent defenseman if used correctly. Certainly better than Schultz, Nikitin, and Ference. And he's only playing soft competition as a result of his apparent misdeeds, but he's destroying them to the tune of 61.54 percent score-close possession. He only got 14:49 against the Coyotes, and ended up a team-worst minus-3 (bad look there), but if the numbers show he's that much more effective than Schultz or Nikitin, and the games are already this lopsided, why not run him out The point is that it can't be a “systems” problem. It can't be. No coach who's been as successful at the AHL level as Eakins has is telling his players, “Everyone go to the puck carrier's side of the ice. Leave everyone behind. We play an aggressive zone defense in Edmonton.” The average fan doesn't know a thing about coaching actual NHL players, and even they know not to do that much. Maybe it's an issue of getting players to stick to systems — I don't know because I'm not at Oilers practice, presumably hearing Eakins scream at everyone all the time for being so consistently terrible at defending — and only having so many guys from which to choose, but this can't be acceptable. Please don't construe this as defending Eakins. He's doing a lot of things wrong, but there's no way a coach makes it to the NHL and is this plainly incompetent at teaching defense. You just have to feel like something else is at play that we can't see. And here's where things get a little iffy, and frankly confusing: The Oilers embraced analytics this summer, bringing in stats darlings Benoit Pouliot and Mark Fayne, hiring Tyler Dellow to consult with the coaching staff (though I can't imagine, based on what we've seen here, that he has too much input in the player usage sphere), and so on. And from an analytic point of view, the Oilers really haven't been bad at all. They have, in fact, been great. Score-close corsi numbers have Edmonton fourth in the league in terms of possession (58.33, behind the Wild, Pittsburgh, and Detroit ahead of Thursday night's games). And you could attribute that to the fact that they've trailed pretty consistently throughout their four games, except that “close” wipes out score effects to a certain extent, and even when taking sample size into account, the numbers should ensure that they're not this bad. But here's where the eye test comes in. Oilers forwards are flying the zone the second a defenseman even kind of looks like he has the puck. And when the blueliners are as typically poor with the puck on their sticks as Edmonton's have been, that leads to a lot of turnovers, and a lot of guys getting missed in coverage. No one has been particularly “hard on the stick” around the net and not-great players are scoring easy goals against them. They're also getting tormented away from home (46.88 percent score-close corsi, albeit because they played at Vancouver and at San Jose, which would hurt anyone), suggesting that their one home match — the opening-night loss to the Flames in which the Oil out-attempted their archrivals 47-21 — was so out-of-control in their favor that the rest of it can't really be viewed fairly. Again, sample size has these kinds of effects. But also when it comes to sample size, and circling back to the unsustainably low save percentage, you also have to say this: “Holy [expletive] the Oilers have been suuuuuuper unlucky, haven't they?” All things being equal, these losses shouldn't be nearly as bad as they have been, nor should they have lost at all to Calgary. Obviously, overly simplistic pedants will say that's why they play the game on the ice and not spreadsheets before calling you a nerd and trying to give you a wedgie, but no one is this bad. It's impossible. Through Wednesday night, Oilers somehow didn't even have the worst even-strength save percentage in the league. Being 28th at .851 is still pretty bad, though. And it's not helped by the fact that their shooting percentage, also 28th, is 3.57 percent. It's crazy that either number should be as low as it is, and yet here we are. Again, it's four games. You don't keep up one of the best possession shares in the league and also maintain one of the lowest PDOs. The math just doesn't work. If the question is, “Are the Oilers good?” then the answer is no. Given the roster makeup and everything else, they weren't likely to make the playoffs to begin with. If the question is, “Are the Oilers this bad?” the answer is also no, but you certainly have to say that while nothing has really gone their way this season, they've also done nothing to help their own cause. Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here .

Islanders, Hedman among burning fantasy questions (NHL)
(Fri, 17 Oct 2014 08:50:00 PDT)
It's been 10 days since the season began. Ten. Don't start panicking if your fantasy team isn't in first place as you expected them to be. Don't go dropping San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture because he has one point in four games. And no, New York Islanders sensation Brock Nelson isn't going to lead the NHL in points.

It's too early to panic (Rotoworld)
(Fri, 17 Oct 2014 07:59:00 PDT)
Michael Finewax informs you that it is way to early to panic in fantasy hockey pools even if you have poor goaltending thus far in The Week Ahead.

Flames-Blue Jackets Preview (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 16 Oct 2014 09:50:07 PDT)
Calgary Flames goaltenders have been mostly up to the task while facing plenty of shots.

Fantasy top 30 goalies: Backups prove worth early (NHL)
(Thu, 16 Oct 2014 09:00:00 PDT)
Every Thursday during the season, fantasy hockey correspondent Justin Goldman, a regional goalie scout for USA Hockey and founder of The Goalie Guild , will provide you with in-depth goalie analysis. From updated weekly top 30 rankings to trending players and more, Goldman will be your go-to guy for fantasy goalie advice all season long.

Here are the cases for and against fighting in the NHL (NBC on Yahoo Sports)
(Thu, 16 Oct 2014 08:19:30 PDT)
During the first intermission of Wednesday’s rivalry night game between the Red Wings and Bruins on NBCSN, studio analysts Mike Milbury and Bob McKenzie had an in-depth and interesting discussion about fighting’s future in the NHL. Watch the video above, or for a different perspective, here’s veteran — and currently unemployed — enforcer Kevin Westgarth, discussing the reduced fisticuffs ( per the Globe and Mail ): Westgarth, a Princeton graduate who played for the Calgary Flames last season and had originally planned to be an orthopedic surgeon before fighting his way up through the minor leagues, says he isn’t willing to pin it down to any one thing. But he believes the trend that saw more than 70 per cent of NHL games go fight-less last season – for only the second time in the past 35 years – is a permanent one. While a few remain, the heavyweights are disappearing. “It most likely will continue,” Westgarth said. “These things have ebbed and flowed in cycles. They’ve been harping on the death of fighting – that’s been 10 years going back, it seems – but this year I’d say with some of the more noteworthy enforcers not finding jobs this year it’s finally happening. “I think we’re all kind of a little in disbelief … Everybody was waiting for that first domino to fall: One team picks up a big guy and then there’s something akin to an arms race. It seems like that first domino never fell this year. “And here we are.” -- Mike Halford,

Dose: Baffle of Alberta (Rotoworld)
(Thu, 16 Oct 2014 02:35:00 PDT)
Wildly different goaltending from Calgary and Edmonton might be misleading ... for now. Those thoughts and more in Thursday's Dose.

NHL-Highlights of Wednesday's NHL games
(Wed, 15 Oct 2014 23:52:32 PDT)
Oct 15 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Wednesday's National Hockey League games. - - - Bruins 3, Red Wings 2 (shootout) Center David Krejci and right winger Reilly Smith scored in the shootout to give the Boston Bruins a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Krejci and Smith also scored goals for Boston in regulation while goaltender Tuukka Rask made 18 saves. Wingers Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist scored for Detroit while goalie Jimmy Howard stopped 37-of-39 shots in regulation and overtime. Nyquist's power-play goal 2:56 into the third tied the game at 2-2. ...

NHL Three Stars: Hiller stops just about everything; hats off for Boedker (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 15 Oct 2014 22:20:14 PDT)

Hiller helps Flames beat Blackhawks 2-1 (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 15 Oct 2014 20:57:41 PDT)
CHICAGO (AP) -- For much of the night, it looked as if Jonas Hiller was the only player on the ice for Calgary. The Chicago Blackhawks kept pressuring the veteran goaltender, and he turned them away over and over again.

Blues-Kings Preview (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 15 Oct 2014 20:37:44 PDT)
The combination making up That 70s Line - appropriately nicknamed for the numbers on their sweaters - provided a tremendous boost for the Los Angeles Kings during their Stanley Cup run last season.

Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Bad mascot, San Jose Sharks and insufferable Canadians (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 15 Oct 2014 13:47:17 PDT)

NHL won’t reveal players warned for diving (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 15 Oct 2014 07:59:03 PDT)

Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn: The latest Dude Perfect stars bring out the best in each other (Yahoo Sports)
(Wed, 15 Oct 2014 06:08:57 PDT)
The two leading men for the Dallas Stars have gone viral, although their teammates and opposing players in the NHL were already well aware of the chemistry and competitiveness between them.

Minor league hockey team douses Scorch the mascot (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 15 Oct 2014 04:23:13 PDT)
GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (AP) -- A New York minor league hockey team has doused its new mascot just days after it was introduced as a firefighter-whuppin' flame from a devastating 19th-century fire.

NHL Three Stars: Seguin tricks Jackets; Kessel wins for Leafs (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 14 Oct 2014 23:44:59 PDT)

Dose: Ranger Danger? (Rotoworld)
(Tue, 14 Oct 2014 22:51:00 PDT)
Reviewing Tuesday's action - particularly Henrik Lundqvist's struggles and the Kings' streaking "That 70's Line" - in the latest Hockey Dose.

NHL-Highlights of Tuesday's National Hockey League games
(Tue, 14 Oct 2014 22:24:54 PDT)
(Adds late games) Oct 14 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Tuesday's National Hockey League games. - - - Sharks 6, Capitals 5 (shootout) The San Jose Sharks saw their two-game shutout streak come to an end but they rode an early three-goal lead to a wild 6-5 shootout win over Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals, extending their season-opening win streak to three games. Joe Pavelski scored the only goal in the shootout as the Sharks improved to 3-0, while the Capitals fell to 1-0-2. ...

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