Turris scores 2 in Senators 3-1 win over Sabres (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 08 Oct 2015 19:08:47 PDT)
Kyle Turris scored twice and the Ottawa Senators won a coach's challenge to overturn a goal by Buffalo in the third period to hang on for a 3-1 victory over the Sabres in the teams' season opener on Thursday night. The game's outcome was essentially decided with 9:26 remaining, when Buffalo's Evander Kane scored on a wraparound which would have tied the score at 2. Senators coach Dave Cameron challenged the goal, and a video review showed Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons was offside when Buffalo entered the zone.
Buffalo's Jack Eichel fires a power play goal in first NHL game (Video) (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 08 Oct 2015 18:37:54 PDT)
Jack Eichel has scored an NHL goal. The Buffalo Sabres 2015 first-round draft pick made his NHL debut against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night. It took him over two periods to get on the scoresheet, but when he did looked like it was quite the scene at the First Niagara Center. On the power play, Eichel took a puck from Marcus Foligno just below the circle and fired a shot past Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson. After the goal he celebrated with a double fist pump, and the introduction of "Let me Clear my Throat" by D.J. Kool as the team's new goal song. The goal was scored at the 9:11 mark of the third. The Sabres lost 3-1 to the Senators in Eichel's debut. The Sabres famously tanked last season in order to put themselves in position to draft either Eichel or Connor McDavid. The Edmonton Oilers won the 2015 draft lottery and took McDavid. The Sabres grabbed Eichel with the No. 2 overall pick. Both players enter the NHL with massive expectations heaped on them. McDavid is making his debut Thursday as well, at the St. Louis Blues. Eichel played 21:58 and played on a line with winger Evander Kane for the game. He also went 6-for-12 on face-offs. According to the Buffalo News before the game: Eichel said he expects plenty of electricity in a building that’s been mostly devoid of any juice for several years. “I think it will be pretty wild,” he said. “I know Buffalo has been looking forward to this one and so have we. It’s going to be a great experience.” Shortly after Eichel’s goal, an Evander Kane score was overturned due to an Ottawa Senators coach’s challenge on an offsides call. This made coaches 2-for-2 in the challenge so far on the season. Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock won a challenge on Wednesday. - - - - - - - Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY
Sabres starting goalie Lehner injured in opener against Sens (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 08 Oct 2015 18:15:19 PDT)
Buffalo Sabres goalie Robin Lehner will not return to the game after appearing to hurt his left leg in the second period of the season opener against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night. Lehner was untouched when he circled his net, set himself in the crease and then grabbed at his left pad. The Sabres announced Lehner sustained a lower-body injury.
Robin Lehner suffers 'lower body injury' in Buffalo Sabres season opener (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 08 Oct 2015 17:45:29 PDT)
One of the Buffalo Sabres big summer acquisitions was hurt in the team’s season opener. Goaltender Robin Lehner dropped down to his knees, anticipating a shot on goal in the second period of their game against the Ottawa Senators. Except he had trouble getting up. [ Play Yahoo Daily Fantasy and get a 100% deposit bonus with your first deposit ] At the start of the third period, the Sabres announced Lehner would not return with a "lower body injury." The play where Lehner was hurt looked quite innocent, but sometimes with goaltenders, muscle pulls or other problems can happen on the easiest looking plays. Lehner finished the game stopping 11 of 12 Ottawa Senators shots on goal in 27:30 of action. He allowed a goal 30 seconds into the game by Ottawa forward Kyle Turris. [ Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Sign up for a league today ] The Sabres landed the 24-year-old Lehner shortly before the 2015 NHL Draft in hopes he could be their goaltender of the future. They sent the 21st overall pick in the 2015 draft to Ottawa in exchange for Lehner and center David Legwand. - - - - - - - Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY
Senators-Sabres Preview (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 07 Oct 2015 22:05:04 PDT)
The wait is finally over for Buffalo Sabres fans. The new-look Sabres begin a promising new era when they host the Ottawa Senators Thursday night in Eichel's highly anticipated regular-season debut. Buffalo (23-51-8) appears to have reaped the rewards of finishing with the NHL's fewest points two consecutive seasons, nabbing Eichel with the second overall pick of the 2015 draft.
NHL Eastern Conference 2015-16: Puck Daddy’s predictions (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 07 Oct 2015 12:25:04 PDT)
The rosters are set, the red carpet is unfurled and the puck is about to drop. So you know what that means: It’s time for baseless shots in the dark as we predict the Eastern Conference divisions and playoff teams! Check out our predictions for this season’s NHL Awards and some predictions on trends and players like Connor McDavid. Read previews for all 30 NHL teams this season here. [ Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Sign up for a league today ] Your esteemed panel: Greg Wyshynski , NHL editor, Puck Daddy; Sean Leahy , editor, Puck Daddy; Jen Neale , editor, Puck Daddy; Josh Cooper , editor, Puck Daddy; Ryan Lambert , lead columnist, Puck Daddy; Darryl “Dobber” Dobbs , fantasy columnist, Puck Daddy; Sam McCaig, NHL editor/columnist, Yahoo Sports. Greg Wyshynski, Editor, Puck Daddy Atlantic Division Metropolitan Division Tampa Bay Lightning Washington Capitals Montreal Canadiens Pittsburgh Penguins Detroit Red Wings New York Rangers Florida Panthers New York Islanders Ottawa Senators Columbus Blue Jackets Boston Bruins Philadelphia Flyers Buffalo Sabres New Jersey Devils Toronto Maple Leafs Carolina Hurricanes The Metro is stacked with playoff teams, although I do fear they could end up cannibalizing each other. But we’ve had five teams from one division (the Central) make it in the first two years of this playoff format, so this time it’s the Metro’s turn. The Capitals win the division, as the deepest team in the conference (and one that, frankly, is usually at its best in the regular season). The Islanders and Rangers could flip-flop if the Brooklyn home ice advantage turns out to be something more that we expect. The Blue Jackets climb back into the postseason … or at least they better, lest this be Todd Richards’ final season there. In the Atlantic, Detroit makes it (again), as Jeff Blashill has a Jon Cooper-esque effect on the team’s younger players. But the actual Jon Cooper gets the Lightning to the top of the division. As for Montreal, my guess is that they locate their offense and make waves in the East ... potentially with a different coach. Sean Leahy, Editor, Puck Daddy Atlantic Division Metropolitan Division Tampa Bay Lightning Washington Capitals Montreal Canadiens Pittsburgh Penguins Detroit Red Wings New York Rangers Florida Panthers New York Islanders Ottawa Senators Columbus Blue Jackets Boston Bruins Philadelphia Flyers Buffalo Sabres New Jersey Devils Toronto Maple Leafs Carolina Hurricanes Barring the injury ninja doesn't take up residence again inside the Blue Jackets dressing room, they should find a way back into the postseason at the expense of the Senators. The rest of the playoff teams in the East will be the same as last year, with everyone fighting to get by the Lightning and rep the conference in the Stanley Cup Final. The Red Wings, unlike the Undertaker, will keep their playoff streak alive for another year. The Panthers will again make great strides and hover around the wild card bubble before ultimately falling just short, thereby robbing us all of a Jaromir Jagr playoff mullet. Jen Neale, Editor, Puck Daddy Atlantic Division Metropolitan Division Tampa Bay Lightning Washington Capitals Montreal Canadiens Pittsburgh Penguins Florida Panthers New York Islanders Detroit Red Wings New York Rangers Boston Bruins Columbus Blue Jackets Ottawa Senators Philadelphia Flyers Buffalo Sabres Carolina Hurricanes Toronto Maple Leafs New Jersey Devils The usual suspects will make the playoffs. The two newcomers are Columbus and Florida. The addition of Brandon Saad to the Blue Jackets helps a young but potent offense. If Sergei Bobrovsky can stay healthy and prove he wasn't just a one-Vezina wonder, the Jackets make the playoffs. The cardiac Cats are one year older, one year better. They showed glimpses of promise throughout the previous season and will shock people again. Detroit will finally miss the playoffs after a million years. Philly is in midlife crisis mode going for a hot new coach. Boston doesn’t know what the hell they’re doing with the roster. One thing we know for sure, Babcock’s first season in Toronto is going to be painful, leaving him to wistfully stare across the Great Lakes thinking about ‘what could have been’ with Mike Green on his team. And you're right, I do hate your favorite team. Josh Cooper, Editor, Puck Daddy Atlantic Division Metropolitan Division Tampa Bay Lightning Pittsburgh Penguins Florida Panthers Washington Capitals Montreal Canadiens New York Rangers Detroit Red Wings New York Islanders Ottawa Senators Columbus Blue Jackets Boston Bruins Philadelphia Flyers Buffalo Sabres Carolina Hurricanes Toronto Maple Leafs New Jersey Devils Five teams from the Metropolitan Division make sense to make the playoffs. The Capitals and Penguins should slug it out for the Metro crown all year, with the Pens winning the division by one point. [ Play Yahoo Daily Fantasy and get a 100% deposit bonus with your first deposit ] The Atlantic Division seems weak and I see a drop-off with the Ottawa Senators. They have some good, young players but I don’t think they can have another magical run in them. Their goaltending and overall depth is an issue. The Florida Panthers will be this year’s postseason surprise. A full season of Jaromir Jagr and another year of seasoning for Aaron Ekblad and Aleksander Barkov will push Florida into the playoffs. The Tampa Bay Lightning will likely end up with the best record in the Eastern Conference – mostly based off the Atlantic’s lack of strength.
Welcome to NHL 2015-16 Opening Night! Here are 30 team previews (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 07 Oct 2015 05:00:14 PDT)
After getting crushed under the weight of several scandals during the offseason, the NHL’s 2015-16 season finally gets underway on Wednesday night. Featuring Patrick Kane’s current team and Slava Voynov’s former team in action. Because, of course. [ Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Sign up for a league today ] The New York Rangers visit the Chicago Blackhawks, and will stand around as they raise their Stanley Cup banner. The San Jose Sharks then visit the Los Angeles Kings; both of these games will be featured on NBCSN. The Montreal Canadiens visit the Toronto Maple Leafs as the Mike Babcock Era begins. The Vancouver Canucks, meanwhile, visit the Calgary Flames, the team that eliminated them from the postseason. We’ll be having a live chat tonight beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT here on Puck Daddy to celebrate the start of the season. And stay tuned all day for predictions from Puck Daddy’s esteemed group of writers and editors, if esteem can be achieved through being constantly wrong. Here are previews for all 30 NHL teams from the Puck Daddy staff: METROPOLITAN DIVISION Carolina Hurricanes Columbus Blue Jackets New Jersey Devils New York Islanders New York Rangers Philadelphia Flyers Pittsburgh Penguins Washington Capitals ATLANTIC DIVISION Boston Bruins Buffalo Sabres Detroit Red Wings Florida Panthers Montreal Canadiens Ottawa Senators Tampa Bay Lightning Toronto Maple Leafs CENTRAL DIVISION Chicago Blackhawks Colorado Avalanche Dallas Stars Minnesota Wild Nashville Predators St. Louis Blues Winnipeg Jets PACIFIC DIVISION Anaheim Ducks Arizona Coyotes Calgary Flames Edmonton Oilers Los Angeles Kings San Jose Sharks Vancouver Canucks So kick back with your beverage of choice tonight and enjoy the Cubs’ wild card game vs. the Pirates while occasionally flipping over to hockey. Because that’s just NHL luck, isn’t it? MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY
Winnipeg Jets at a glance (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 06 Oct 2015 12:42:23 PDT)
LAST SEASON: 43-26-13, 99 points. Lost to Anaheim Ducks in Western Conference quarterfinals.
NHL 2015-16 predictions: First coach fired? Most overhyped team? (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 06 Oct 2015 08:56:00 PDT)
Hey, have you heard? Hockey’s back! The NHL season starts this Wednesday, and thus here is another edition of our 2015-16 NHL season preview predictions! We all want to know who wins the Stanley Cup. We all want to know who captures the Hart Trophy. But there are so many other things worth predicting in the National Hockey League’s 2015-16 season that we had to tackle some appetizers before the main course. (Please note this is a metaphor and in no way intended to be a Phil Kessel dietary reference. We leave those to the Toronto Sun.) [ Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Sign up for a league today ] Here are some of the trends we have our eyes on this season, and how we think they’ll play out. Your esteemed panel: Greg Wyshynski , NHL editor, Puck Daddy; Sean Leahy , editor, Puck Daddy; Jen Neale , editor, Puck Daddy; Josh Cooper , editor, Puck Daddy; Ryan Lambert , lead columnist, Puck Daddy; Darryl “Dobber” Dobbs , fantasy columnist, Puck Daddy; Sam McCaig, NHL editor/columnist, Yahoo Sports.
Ottawa looks to same core group for another playoff run (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 05 Oct 2015 15:47:40 PDT)
From the outside, it would appear as if the Ottawa Senators stood pat during an offseason in which Eastern Conference rivals retooled. In general manager Bryan Murray's mind, it was a case of believing in a group that made a strong finishing kick last season and reached the playoffs. ''Basically, the same group as last year,'' Murray said.
Ottawa Senators at a glance (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 05 Oct 2015 14:39:12 PDT)
LAST SEASON: 43-26-13, 99 points. Lost to Montreal Canadiens in Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
New-look Buffalo Sabres seek to put past woes behind (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 05 Oct 2015 13:31:52 PDT)
Sabres veteran defenseman Mike Weber was practically giddy upon arriving for the start of the training camp. Having endured two of the worst seasons in franchise history, Weber had difficulty wiping the grin off his face after welcoming the large collection of fresh, young talent brought into Buffalo as part of a top-to-bottom franchise overhaul. ''It's a huge weight lifted off your shoulders,'' Weber said.
Jagr, Panthers hoping this is Florida's breakout year (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 05 Oct 2015 12:57:09 PDT)
It was the final morning pregame skate of the Florida Panthers' 2014-15 season, and Jaromir Jagr was in constant motion. The season was going to be done and summer vacations were going to be starting in a few hours, but Jagr saw no reason to not take advantage of an opportunity to keep working. Florida nearly got into the playoffs last season after landing Jagr in a trade and putting him on a line with Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau, a pair of talented forwards who basically are both half his age.
NHL-Profiles of Eastern Conference teams
(Mon, 05 Oct 2015 10:00:01 PDT)
Oct 5 (Reuters) - Following are brief profiles of the 16 teams in the Eastern Conference ahead of the 2015-16 National Hockey League (NHL) season. ATLANTIC DIVISION BOSTON BRUINS Head coach: Claude Julien 2014-15 record: 41-27-14 (Fell just short of extending streak of seven consecutive playoff appearances) Missing the playoffs triggered an offseason of change in Boston and the team's success will largely depend on how its aging core and promising young talent perform in front of former Vezina Trophy-winning goalie Tuukka Rask. ...
What We Learned: What NHL GMs don’t know about quality goaltending (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 05 Oct 2015 06:26:49 PDT)
(Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.) There is a huge shortcoming when you talk about goaltender evaluation at just about any level of hockey: We only have one number that really tells us anything about their quality. All we have is save percentage. That's it. There's not a lot more we can really do at this point to objectively understand their efficiency, efficacy, and so on when it comes to doing anything involved in their job, except for what it ultimately boils down to: Stopping the puck. For example, who's the best in the NHL at getting from one post to the other? Who takes up the most net? Who best takes away scoring chances in 1-on-1 situations? These are all measures that probably could be measured, but not right now, and that means that while we can have opinions as to who does all those things better than anyone else, it's very, very subjective. [ Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Sign up for a league today ] The good news is that we are at least getting better at this sort of thing. Shot location data is easier to come across now than it ever has been, so we're getting a pretty good idea of how likely a shot from x part of the ice is to go in, generally speaking. Obviously, Steven Stamkos taking a shot from the hashmarks has a much better chance of going in than Brandon Bollig shooting on the same goalie from the same spot. Likewise, Henrik Lundqvist is statistically going to be far more likely to stop that shot than Ondrej Pavelec. But again, we have a general idea of how “shot quality” figures into this sort of thing. Which is why the quality-adjusted save percentage stat that has been developed in the last few years is so valuable. As the name implies, it adjusts for the overall quality of shot the goaltender faces — i.e. giving them more credit for stopping higher-percentage, quality shots — to somewhat level the playing field (it does not, however, account for shot volume, meaning busier goalies get no real benefit here). This was something that became rather hard to ignore when Craig Custance released his now-annual ranking of the league's 30 likely starting goalies on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being the best. This is a poll of six GMs, one assistant GM, three head coaches, and four goalie coaches. These are, then, guys you can safely consider “hockey people,” who watch a lot of games and have a lot of experience in the sport. And yet, the actual rankings they handed in two years running really didn't really make a lot of sense. How, for example, is Jonathan Quick better than Tuukka Rask? How are there 11 goalies in the league rated more highly than Braden Holtby? How is Jonathan Bernier worse than Ondrej Pavelec? There are a lot of questions you can ask here, but even if you check out their justifications (and you should, because the whole thing is really interesting) you're left asking how Mike Smith, for instance, “has as much talent as any guy on the list.” He, in fact, has a long and demonstrated statistical history of exactly the opposite, save for one season in which he was inexplicably a .930 goalie over 67 games. Well, funny you should ask. “It comes down to confidence and consistency,” said one coach. “And being about to go out night after night and reproduce what his strengths are.” And that is just the kind of mumbo-jumbo you hear a lot with goalies because, again, they are incredibly difficult to evaluate. Even statistically minded people will repeat over and over that “Goalies are voodoo,” but what that really means is that they have a position that is more likely to be ruled by randomness than any other in the sport. For goalies, the difference between a good season and a bad one is failing to stop an extra 10 shots out of 1,000 in a lot of cases. But over time (say, the last three years) quality-adjusted save percentage is going to tell you a lot about a goaltender's quality in a lot of cases. What made things a little tricky this year is the fact that Edmonton and San Jose are both using goalies with very good statistical profiles — Martin Jones and Cam Talbot rank first and third, respectively, in adj. 5v5 sv% over that time — with very little actual in-game experience. Most goalies on this list have more starts in a given season than they have in their brief careers as backups, as you might expect. Buffalo and St. Louis are both likewise going with inexperienced hands who were ranked on this list, but whose stats were a little less rosy. Even Minnesota's Devan Dubnyk is little-used in comparison with a lot of these guys. But still, looking at these ratings versus adjusted save percentage highlights that there's a lot of poor evaluation going on out there these days from some very smart hockey people. When looking at this chart, great goalies should be far to the right, and bad ones low to the bottom. And yet you see a lot of guys who are quite high that don't get very far over (the one in the 3 range is Jones, the one closer to 1.5 is Rask), as well as some quite low ones who aren't nearly as far left as they should be (the lowest guy in that far-right group is Pekka Rinne.)
NHL players to watch: Ovechkin, Crosby, Kane, Stamkos, Price (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 04 Oct 2015 12:23:38 PDT)
Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby have won five of the last nine Hart Trophies and are the only active players to win multiple MVP awards. Team success, though, has been elusive for both lately and for Ovechkin throughout his career. The Ovechkin-led Capitals haven't made it past the second round of the playoffs.
Foligno, Saad each score twice, Blue Jackets beat Predators (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 03 Oct 2015 21:52:29 PDT)
Nick Foligno and Brandon Saad scored twice to help the Columbus Blue Jackets rout the visiting Nashville Predators 7-1 on Saturday night in their preseason finale.
AP Source: Blackhawks place Bryan Bickell on waivers (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 02 Oct 2015 11:21:59 PDT)
The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks placed veteran forward Bryan Bickell on waivers Friday in their latest move to reshape their high-priced roster. A person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press of the decision, and spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Blackhawks did not include Bickell as part of their roster moves Friday. In making the move, the Blackhawks freed up $4 million that Bickell's contract represents against their salary cap.
Andrew 'Hamburglar' Hammond out two weeks with groin injury (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 02 Oct 2015 09:18:43 PDT)
Andrew Hammond is out for the start of the 2015-16 season. According to multiple reports , the Ottawa Senators goaltender, who spearheaded the team’s hot streak into the 2014-15 playoffs, will miss two weeks with a groin injury. Hammond suffered the issue at the team’s morning skate Thursday , prior to its exhibition game against the Montreal Canadiens. [ Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Sign up for a league today ] At the time, Senators coach Dave Cameron didn’t know how serious the issue was via the Ottawa Sun: “Hammond isn’t going. He tweaked a groin,” said Cameron Thursday morning. “Tweaked groin is all I know. I have no time limit on it. I don’t know (how long he is out). I haven’t talked to anybody. I got the information relayed to me.” This means AHL goaltender Matt O’Connor will likely take Hammond’s roster spot to start the season with Craig Anderson as the team’s starter. During the offseason, Hammond, 27, signed a three-year $4.05 million contract. He made his first NHL start last season and went 20-1-2 with a 1.79 goals against average to lead the Senators into the playoffs. In honor of Hammond’s nickname, ‘The Hamburglar,’ Senators fans threw hamburgers on the ice at points during Ottawa’s late-season run. In Ottawa’s first-round playoff loss to Montreal, Hammond notched a 3.44 goals against average and went 0-2. - - - - - - - Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY
We're Back!! (Rotoworld)
(Fri, 02 Oct 2015 08:03:00 PDT)
Michael Finewax's The Week Ahead is back. Read all you need to know for the first week of the season.
Anderson makes 40 saves, Senators beat Canadiens 5-2 (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 01 Oct 2015 21:45:20 PDT)
Craig Anderson made 40 saves, Mark Stone and Cody Ceci each had a goal and two assists and the visiting Ottawa Senators beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-2 in an exhibition game Thursday night.
NHL stars reveal their junk food guilty pleasures (Video) (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 01 Oct 2015 08:06:47 PDT)
To succeed in the National Hockey League, your body must be a well-maintained temple of stamina, strength and nutrition. But NHL players are also humans with stomachs and pleasure centers in their brains, so the occasional dabbling in junk food and sweets is to be expected during the season. We spoke with Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators, Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins, James van Riemsdyk of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild and Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks about their food guilty pleasures. [ Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Sign up for a league today ] Spoiler: None of them mentioned anything about visiting the same hot dog stand every day. Produced by Florent Conti/Yahoo Sports Canada
Anaheim Ducks: Puck Daddy’s 2015-16 NHL Season Preview (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 30 Sep 2015 22:53:11 PDT)
(The 2015-16 NHL season is nearly upon us! Why bother watching this team? What will make or break the season? Find out as we preview all 30 teams as camps begin!) Last Season: 51-24-7, 109 points, first in the Western Conference 2014-15 Season, In One Tweet
Malkin helps Penguins beat Lightning 4-2 (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 29 Sep 2015 22:46:43 PDT)
Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Plotnikov each had a goal and an assist, and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 on Tuesday night in an exhibition game at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
Arizona Coyotes: Puck Daddy’s 2015-16 NHL Season Preview (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 29 Sep 2015 18:00:17 PDT)
(The 2015-16 NHL season is nearly upon us! Why bother watching this team? What will make or break the season? Find out as we preview all 30 teams as camps begin!) Last Season: 24-50-8, 56 points , last in the Western Conference. 2014-15 Season, In One Tweet
Sens sign defenseman Fraser to a 1-year, 2-way contract (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 28 Sep 2015 15:25:37 PDT)
The Ottawa Senators have signed defenseman Mark Fraser to a one-year, two-way contract. The deal will carry an annual value of $800,000 in the NHL and $125,000 in the American Hockey League. Fraser, 28, spent time with both the New Jersey Devils and the AHL's Albany Devils last season, recording four assists and 55 penalty minutes in 34 games with New Jersey.
Boston Bruins: Puck Daddy’s 2015-16 NHL Season Preview (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 28 Sep 2015 12:57:40 PDT)
( The 2015-16 NHL season is nearly upon us! Why bother watching this team? What will make or break the season? Find out as we preview all 30 teams as camps begin!) Last Season 41-27-14, 96 points, fifth in the Atlantic Division. 2014-15 Season, In One Tweet
What We Learned: Breaking down NHL goalie controversies (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 28 Sep 2015 06:53:21 PDT)
(Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.) Every year, it seems as though there are at least a few controversies about which teams should start which goalies and why. As Travis Yost noted early last week , there is just such an issue bubbling in Calgary, because Karri Ramo and Joni Ortio are not good enough and too unproven, respectively, to actually wrest the “starter” mantle from Jonas Hiller in any fair or reasonable world. But that hasn't stopped speculation about it. [ Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Sign up for a league today ] As early as a few months ago, people were saying the Flames should perhaps be looking to trade Hiller, because a Ramo/Ortio battery could probably deliver similar results. That's not actually true, of course – though the Flames should be looking to sell high on veteran roster players with affordable contracts as they continue this rebuild – but it doesn't stop the speculation, because that's hockey. There might also be a bit of a goaltending controversy in a few other places around the league. Vancouver seems an easy one to point to — especially given that franchise's history of doing nothing to prevent these controversies from happening — as does Carolina, Detroit, and possibly Anaheim, to name a few off the top of my head. Toronto? Sure. Ottawa? It's possible. Dallas has pretty effectively lined itself up for one when it didn't need to. Maybe you even throw Winnipeg into the mix. That's a lot of potential controversies! But whether they actually should be controversies at all is often overstated. Because of course they shouldn't be. The best tool we have to evaluate goaltender performance — i.e. the aspect of the game over which they have the most statistical control — is 5-on-5 save percentage. These numbers often don't differ too widely from power play and shorthanded save percentage, but these latter situational statistics are a little too given to wild swings of bad luck because, a) they take place over maybe 300-350 combined minutes in an entire season, and b) they don't actually face that many shots over those minutes. At least, not enough that you can reliably say they're repeatable from one year to the next; you often see decent-sized swings for most goalies in these stats. But 5-on-5 save percentage tends to be a little more hard-and-fast from one year to the next. That's not to say they can't balloon or take a huge step back in any given season, but it's less common than overall or special teams save percentages when it comes to fluctuations like that. And because of this, we usually get a pretty good idea of what a goalie “is” over time. Again, this doesn't rule out things like Ondrej Pavelec going .920 in overall save percentage last season when his previous career average was .906, but we can use even-strength numbers to reasonably assume that the .920 was very much out of line with what he's probably going to do this season. With all that in mind, it's usually not hard to break down who should and should not be getting the bulk of the games for a given team that is going through such a “controversy” this year or in any other. There's often a pretty big separation in career or recent 5-on-5 save percentages between starter and backup in this league. Last year, for example, the average gap between starters (guys who played at least 50 games) and regular backups (who played at least 14 but fewer than 30). Starters had an average save percentage of .925, while backups had an average save percentage of a little less than .920. That number obviously doesn't include guys in 1a/1b scenarios, or guys who were hurt for decent-enough portions of the year that they didn't fall into either category (like Henrik Lundqvist or Craig Anderson). We'll get to them in a minute. But when you break down the difference between starter and backup by team, you start to see why the No. 1 guy has his job; they tend to be above the league average (.923) as you might expect, and their backups tend to be well below it. Which is fine for most backups because you're really only the roster to make sure the big guy gets the night off every once in a while, and your team doesn't give up too many goals while you're in the crease. Sometimes, backups provide the added benefit of being nearly as good, or sometimes even better, in this regard. But as with any stat, you have to look at context as well. Most backups will be playing worse teams than starters, so their numbers could occasionally be more inflated. The difference between Marc-Andre Fleury's .926 and Thomas Greiss's .922 last year, for example, is minimal. It's an extra goal against every nine or 10 games. Not that Greiss could necessarily keep that up if their roles were reversed, but you see the point. But with all this in mind, teams do need to examine whether they have a goalie controversy on their hands, and whether they actually should. Carolina — because this is apparently Eddie Lack's fate — seems doomed to be stuck platooning Lack with Cam Ward, out of deference to what Ward was, and what he gets paid. If this were a question of actual quality, it wouldn't even be a discussion. Ward has been trending down for some time now, to the point that he actively costs his team games, and Lack is probably league average or a little better. If Carolina is serious about competing, it makes Ward the highest-paid backup in the league without a thought. There's no room for sentimentality here. You don't even have to dig too deeply into the numbers to understand fundamentally what should be done. (This was also true a few years ago of another former Vancouver goalie: Cory Schneider. Remember the preposterous song and dance the Devils put themselves through trying to justify giving 68-year-old Martin Brodeur regular starts over one of the best goalies in the league?) And Detroit's controversy is already ramping up for a similar reason: Jimmy Howard is well-paid and well-respected, but played himself out of a job last year and gave way to Petr Mrazek. Howard's career numbers dictate he should probably get a second chance, but the leash might need to be short not because he's starting to lose his fastball, but because it's possible Mrazek is just better. If that's the case, there's no controversy. You start the guy who is better than the other guy. Anaheim will probably also have a bit of a “too many cooks” situation in goal, as Frederik Andersen (not great), Anton Khudobin (pretty decent career backup coming off a not-good year on a not-good Carolina team), and John Gibson ( ü ber prospect with a big contract who put up strong numbers last year) make for a crowded crease. But if the question even arises as to who should be the No. 1 after a while — it's probably Gibson, right? — Andersen really ought not get too much longer a look than is prudent. For what reason? Aren't the Ducks competing for a Cup this year? That's not to say goalie controversies aren't, occasionally, legitimate. But it's not as common as people would have you believe. Vancouver, too, is in this situation. Ryan Miller is highly paid, a former Vezina winner, and possibly on the back nine for his career. Jim Benning chose Jacob Markstrom as the Future Backup and shipped out Lack, but it's entirely possible that Markstrom puts up strong numbers at the NHL level this year (he went .934 overall in the AHL last year). If Miller falters out of the gate and Markstrom impresses, that's got all the makings of another controversy. Dallas is did a hell of a dumb thing and put itself in this situation, because Kari Lehtonen's poor season scared the hell out of Jim Nill. This one is actually fascinating, because Lehtonen's 5-on-5 save percentage with Dallas from 2010, when he became the full-fledged starter, to before the start of last season was a very-good .926. Again, one season of .914 hockey, while atrocious, doesn't necessarily portend additional seasons of .914 hockey. Meanwhile, Antti Niemi's 5-on-5 save percentage since he became a starter back in 2010 is .925, more or less the same. This is a controversy only inso far as it was self-created, but there are certainly worse things in the world than having two goalies who are a smidge above league-average. This is just the preseason, but the fact that we're already focused on so many potential issues here seems strange. People really like goalie controversies, I guess. And more will arise as the season goes on, as some guys do the thing goalies sometimes do where they're either white-hot or hot garbage for a stretch of 15 games. But if you take the long view of things, and keep what we know of goalies' peaks in mind, you're usually going to get a pretty good idea of how things “should be.” That's not always how they are, though. Teams often do the exact wrong thing here, and create weird expectations as a result. Which is why these controversies exist in the first place. What We Learned Anaheim Ducks : By definition, finding new roles for new players is literally what the Ducks have to do. They can’t find old roles for new players, unless they trade Carl Hagelin back to the Rangers or something. Arizona Coyotes : There’s like a 0 percent chance Anthony Duclair doesn’t make this roster , right? Like, definitely happens, yeah? Boston Bruins : People actually believe Zac Rinaldo will be a meaningful contributor to the Bruins . The preseason is a magical time. Buffalo Sabres : I have a lot of time for talk about Evan Rodrigues having a lengthy pro career, but all this kind of talk seems a little overblown. Calgary Flames : Micheal Ferland is one of those guys who probably isn’t very good but for whatever reason seems to delight in murdering one team on a consistent basis. That team for him seems like it’ll be the Canucks . Man, he hates those guys. Carolina Hurricanes : This is why Bill Peters gets the big bucks , folks. Chicago Blackhawks : It’s pretty easy to stay focused with your head in the sand. Not a lot else going on under there. Colorado Avalanche : Jarome Iginla is day-to-day with a hip injury . Happens to lots of 62-year-olds, though. Columbus Blue Jackets : Concerns about Oleg Yevenko’s skating ability ? You don’t say. Actual, fast NHL players will spin him like a turbo-charged carousel. Dallas Stars : The Stars have a lot of question marks in net apparently. Have you seen this? Have you heard about this? Detroit Red Wings : This is easily the most worrisome headline of the preseason. I’m extremely worried that Johan Franzen is going to give himself a serious, career-ending, life-altering concussion. Edmonton Oilers : The fact that Anders Nilsson is even in contention for the backup job this season doesn’t speak very well of poor Ben Scrivens’ standing in the organization. Florida Panthers : One of the truly great things about early training camp cuts is when if you are a hardcore hockey person, you’re getting names you have never heard in your entire life. Brent Regner? That has to be made up. Los Angeles Kings : As with everything else, Milan Lucic knows the exact numbers of when the Kings play the Bruins. He also would “love to stay” in the West. We’ll see how he feels by February, when he’s played 40-some games against Western Conference juggernauts. Minnesota Wild : The Wild basically have their team figured out at this point, save for one or two bottom-of-the-roster battles. Most teams are in the same boat, of course, but no one else is really making cuts on this level . Montreal Canadiens : Ah, the next great, “This guy who isn’t that good is gonna make the team !” storyline. Not Mike Condon, Tomas Fleischmann. But here’s the thing: Fleischmann is Actually Good and routinely undervalued in the NHL. So if the Habs are smart, they’ll actually use. That’s a big if. Nashville Predators: Barrett Jackman is close to returning . I don’t know whether that’s good news, but I have a guess. [ Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Sign up for a league today ]
Dose: Atlantic Storylines (Rotoworld)
(Mon, 28 Sep 2015 04:06:00 PDT)
The latest Dose breaks down Atlantic Division curiosities and ponders fun 3-on-3 formations for those teams.
Matt Dumba scores twice, Wild rout visiting Jets 8-1 (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 27 Sep 2015 20:11:16 PDT)
Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund and Matt Dumba scored first-period goals and the Minnesota Wild beat the visiting Winnipeg Jets 8-1 in an exhibition game Sunday night