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Canada grabs Gold medal in final game, Sweden loses and earns a Silver medal

Canada vs Sweden Hockey

Jonathan Toews celebrates a goal with Canadian teammates Duncan Keith (2), Jeff Carter (77), and Shea Weber (6). The goal would end up being the game winner. Credit: Brian Cassella/Chicago

Team Canada beat team Sweden 3-0 in the goal medal game this morning to cap off an impressive last couple of games to claim the gold medal. Canada got goals from Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz, all of them picking up their first goals of the tournament. Carey Price picked up his second straight shutout blanking team Sweden. The last goal Price allowed was in the first period against team Latvia. Price’s shutout streak extended to a whooping 164 minutes and 19 seconds.

Sweden was also dealt a late blow by tournament officials when they were informed that center Niklas Backstrom was not allowed to play in the gold medal game due to a rules violation having to do with a banned substance in an allergy medicine that Backstrom was taking.

Carey Price picked up his second straight shutout while making 24 saves en route to earning the award for best goaltender of the tournament as voted on by the IIHF.

Swedens Erik Karlson was voted best defenseman in the tournament by the IIHF posting 4 goals and 4 assists for a total of 8 points and a plus/minus rating of plus-5. United States forward Phil Kessel was named top forward of the tournament by the IIHF as he posted 5 goals and 3 assists for the tournament.

The NHL resumes its games on Tuesday with one game on the slate which is the Carolina Hurricanes going to Buffalo to play the Sabres.

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Mens Olympic Hockey Schedule: Medal Games

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Saturday February 22, for Bronze: Finland @ USA 10 AM ET|7 AM PT (CBC|NBCSN)

Sunday February 23, for Gold: Canada @ Sweden 7 AM PT|4 AM PT (CBC|NBC)

AHL Announces Suspensions Stemming From February 16th Line Brawl

AHLSPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League today announced the following suspensions stemming from a review of the incidents in the Feb. 16 game between the Adirondack Phantoms and the Portland Pirates:

Adirondack center Kris Newbury has been suspended for four (4) games, Adirondack goaltender Cal Heeter has been suspended for three (3) games, Adirondack left wing Zack FitzGerald has been suspended for two (2) games, Adirondack center Ben Holmstrom has been suspended for one (1) game, Adirondack left wing Tye McGinn has been suspended for one (1) game and Portland right wing Kyle Hagel has been suspended for two (2) games as a consequence of their actions.

Newbury will miss Adirondack’s games Friday (Feb. 21) vs. Albany, Saturday (Feb. 22) vs. Bridgeport in Philadelphia, Feb. 28 at Utica and Mar. 1 at Syracuse.

Heeter will miss Adirondack’s games Friday (Feb. 21) vs. Albany, Saturday (Feb. 22) vs. Bridgeport in Philadelphia and Feb. 28 at Utica.

FitzGerald will miss Adirondack’s games Friday (Feb. 21) vs. Albany and Saturday (Feb. 22) vs. Bridgeport in Philadelphia.

Holmstrom and McGinn will miss Adirondack’s game Friday (Feb. 21) vs. Albany.

Hagel will miss Portland’s games tonight (Feb. 18) vs. St. John’s and Saturday (Feb. 22) at Manchester.

Olympic Mens Hockey Schedule (USA and Canadian Listings Only; All times Eastern)

Feb. 12
Noon
C Czech Republic vs. Sweden USA
Feb. 12
Noon
C Latvia vs. Switzerland MSNBC
Feb. 13
3 a.m.
B Finland vs. Austria NBCSN/SNET
Feb. 13
7:30 a.m.
A Russia vs. Slovenia MSNBC/CBC
Feb. 13
7:30 a.m.
A USA vs. Slovakia NBCSN/TSN
Feb. 13
Noon
B Canada vs. Norway USA/CBC
Feb. 14
3 a.m.
C Czech Republic vs. Latvia MSNBC/TSN
Feb. 14
7:30 a.m.
C Sweden vs. Switzerland NBCSN/TSN
Feb. 14
Noon
B Canada vs. Austria USA/CBC
Feb. 14
Noon
B Norway vs. Finland MSNBC/SNET
Feb. 15
3 a.m.
A Slovakia vs. Slovenia MSNBC/SNET
Feb. 15
7:30 a.m.
A USA vs. Russia NBCSN/CBC
Feb. 15
Noon
C Switzerland vs. Czech Republic NBCSN
Feb. 15
Noon
C Sweden vs. Latvia USA
Feb. 16
3 a.m.
B Austria vs. Norway USA/TSN2
Feb. 16
7:30 a.m.
A Russia vs. Slovakia USA
Feb. 16
7:30 a.m.
A USA vs. Slovenia NBCSN
Feb. 16
Noon
B Finland vs. Canada USA/CBC
Feb. 18
3 a.m.
  Qualification Round NBCSN
Feb. 18
7:30 a.m.
  Qualification Round USA
Feb. 18
Noon
  Qualification Round NBCSN
Feb. 18
Noon
  Qualification Round MSNBC
Feb. 19
3 a.m.
  Quarterfinal NBCSN
Feb. 19
7:30 a.m.
  Quarterfinal NBCSN
Feb. 19
Noon
  Quarterfinal USA
Feb. 19
Noon
  Quarterfinal MSNBC
Feb. 21
7 a.m.
  Semifinal NBCSN
Feb. 21
Noon
  Semifinal NBCSN
Feb. 22
10 a.m.
  Bronze Medal Game NBCSN
Feb. 23
7 a.m.
  Gold Medal Game NBC

Olympic Hockey Preview

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The NHL stars are in Russia for a couple of weeks of intense Olympic hockey games, from Canada to the Russia there will be a lot of great hockey players partaking in a spectacle called the Olympics. For the players it is a chance to represent your country, for the fans it is a chance to see the best players for each country teaming up for one reason, that reason being a chance for a Gold Metal.

But what teams actually have the best shot at Gold? Personally my list is below on how I think it will shape out.

Gold

Canada

There really is no reason for the Canadians not to win this event, they have the best roster top to bottom full of skilled players. Canada really has no big weakness that I can see, the only thing I might question is the mental toughness of the goalies Carey Price and Roberto Luongo, but overall Canada on paper should retain its Gold Metal positioning.

Silver

Sweden

Sweden also has a good all around team, the only thing that might stop Sweden from getting a metal is if the offense doesn’t click because their offense out of all of the teams that I think have a shot at getting a metal might be the worst, that isn’t to say it is bad, but it could be a deciding factor.

Bronze

United States of America

This choice was the toughest because the final spot to me was between the USA, Slovakia and Finland. I choose the USA because I feel like they have the best goaltending of the three teams. Plus the USA might have the best defense in the entire tournament. The thing that scares me about the USA is the offense, because it isn’t that special and on the bigger sized rink that could be a huge disadvantage.

Other Contenders

Slovakia

I think this team could be a surprise, if you look at their roster you will see a team that has some star power with players like  Zdeno Chara, Marian Gaborik, Marian Hossa and Jaroslav Halak, but you will also see a team that is incomplete and has some holes in it, the roster is missing its staying power unlike the Canadians, Swedes or Americans. However if the superstars step it up, the Slovaks can do some decent damage and possibly metal in either Bronze or Silver. But I don’t think that will happen.

Finland

Finland is a team with some really good goaltending, and a very good offense, but they also have a defense that might be the worst among the teams expected to make a serious run at a metal. The biggest factor could be Tuukka Rask for the Fins, without a strong goaltending performance the Finnish are in big trouble with that defense.

Russia

Russia has some capable goal scorers and overall a really solid offense, but the bad news for them is that their defense is suspect and the goaltending while good, it isn’t going to steal them a metal in my opinion. The Russians really need guys like Alexander Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk to step up and carry this team. Unfortunately given their NHL resumes, there is no reason to believe that they will be able to.

Czech Republic

A team with a strong offense but holes in defense and in goal. The only good thing for the Czechs is that the rink is a big ice surface which could very well suit their team better than any other in the tournament.

Players From Non-Contenders To Watch

Micheal Grabner and Thomas Vanek (Austria)

Micheal Grabner has explosive speed and a really good shot and has potential to be a star in the NHL if he is put in the right situation, and currently he is playing along side John Taveres on the Islanders. Thomas Vanek is another player for Austria who has a great shot, but he isn’t blessed with speed like Grabner is. It is a shame these guys’ skill sets belong to a team that has just 3 NHL players on it.

Jan Mursak and Anze Kopitar (Slovenia)

Jan is a Detroit Red Wings prospect who appears to have a great future ahead of him. The 24-year-old is a winger with some goal scoring ability and he could very well have a coming out party if he is paired with Anze Kopitar. And judging from the talent on that team, there is no reason to believe that he won’t be paired along side Anze. Mursak also had a big impact in Detroit’s AHL affiliate Grand Rapids winning the Calder Cup during the 2012-2013 season.

Jonas Hiller (Switzerland)

A great goalie on a team that isn’t very good, but he could put up some solid numbers for the Swiss team that probably could surprise with how well they do since part of their roster is decent. But I just don’t think it is deep enough for them to be legitimate contenders for any of the metals.

AHL All-Star Skills Comp. and All-Star Game Schedule (Reposted from before)

AHL

Broadcast Network Skills Air
Game Air
Sportsnet ONE LIVE Tue 2/11, 6:30 PM ET LIVE Wed 2/12, 6:30 PM ET
NHL Network (U.S.)
Tue 2/11, 10:00 PM ET Wed 2/12, 10:00 PM ET
Sun 2/16, 10:00 PM ET
AHL Live (ahllive.com)
LIVE Tue 2/11, 6:30 PM ET LIVE Wed 2/12, 6:30 PM ET
New England Sports Network LIVE Tue 2/11, 6:30 PM ET
Fri 2/14, 6:00 PM ET
LIVE Wed 2/12, 6:30 PM ET (NESN Plus)
MSG Network LIVE Tue 2/11, 6:30 PM ET (MSG+) LIVE Wed 2/12, 6:30 PM ET (MSG+2)
Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia LIVE Tue 2/11, 6:30 PM ET
The Comcast Network (Philadelphia) LIVE Wed 2/12, 6:30 PM ET
Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic Wed 2/12, 12:00 PM ET Thu 2/13, 11:00 AM ET
Comcast SportsNet Chicago Wed 2/12, 11:00 AM CT LIVE Wed 2/12, 5:30 PM CT
Thu 2/13, 12:30 AM CT
Thu 2/13, 12:30 PM CT
Comcast SportsNet California Wed 2/12, 2:00 PM PT
Sat 2/15, 3:00 PM PT
Fri 2/14, 2:00 PM PT
Comcast SportsNet Northwest Sat 2/15, 5:00 PM PT
Mon 2/17, 2:00 AM PT
Sat 2/15, 7:30 PM PT
ROOT Sports Pittsburgh  Tue 2/11, 9:30 PM ET
Fri 2/14, 7:00 PM ET
Wed 2/12, 9:30 PM ET
Fri 2/14, 9:00 PM ET
Fox Sports Detroit LIVE Tue 2/11, 6:30 PM ET Thu 2/13, 1:00 PM ET
SportsTime Ohio
LIVE Tue 2/11, 6:30 PM ET LIVE Wed 2/12, 6:30 PM ET
Fox Sports North LIVE Tue 2/11, 5:30 PM CT LIVE Wed 2/12, 5:30 PM CT (FS North Plus)
Fox Sports Midwest Tue 2/11, 11:00 PM CT Thu 2/13, 1:00 PM CT
Fox Sports Southwest LIVE Tue 2/11, 5:30 PM CT (FS SW Plus) LIVE Wed 2/12, 5:30 PM CT
Fox Sports Oklahoma LIVE Tue 2/11, 5:30 PM CT LIVE Wed 2/12, 5:30 PM CT
Fox Sports Arizona LIVE Wed 2/12, 4:30 PM MT (FS Arizona Plus)
Sun Sports LIVE Tue 2/11, 6:30 PM ET LIVE Wed 2/12, 6:30 PM ET
Altitude Sports & Entertainment LIVE Tue 2/11, 4:30 PM MT
Tue 2/11, 8:00 PM MT
Wed 2/12, 1:00 AM MT
Wed 2/12, 11:00 AM MT
LIVE Wed 2/12, 4:30 PM MT (Altitude 2)
Thu 2/13, 2:00 AM MT
Thu 2/13, 1:00 PM MT
Bright House Sports Network
(Tampa/Orlando)
TBD TBD
Time Warner Cable SportsChannel
  (New York State)
LIVE Tue 2/11, 6:30 PM ET LIVE Wed 2/12, 6:30 PM ET
Time Warner Cable SportsChannel
  (Carolinas)
LIVE Tue 2/11, 6:30 PM ET LIVE Wed 2/12, 6:30 PM ET
Time Warner Cable SportsChannel
  (Wisconsin)
LIVE Tue 2/11, 5:30 PM CT LIVE Wed 2/12, 5:30 PM CT
Time Warner Cable SportsChannel
  (Kansas City)
LIVE Tue 2/11, 5:30 PM CT LIVE Wed 2/12, 5:30 PM CT
Time Warner Cable SportsChannel
(Texas)
TBD TBD
Time Warner Cable SoCal 101
(Los Angeles/San Diego)
TBD TBD
ONE World Sports Wed 2/12, 10:00 PM ET
WQMY-TV (Wilkes-Barre)
TBD TBD
WIFR 23.2 Antenna TV (Rockford) LIVE Tue 2/11, 5:30 PM CT

AHL All-Star Game broadcast schedule

Broadcast Network Skills Air
Game Air
Sportsnet ONE LIVE Tue 2/11, 6:30 PM ET LIVE Wed 2/12, 6:30 PM ET
NHL Network (U.S.)
Tue 2/11, 10:00 PM ET Wed 2/12, 10:00 PM ET
Sun 2/16, 10:00 PM ET
AHL Live (ahllive.com)
LIVE Tue 2/11, 6:30 PM ET LIVE Wed 2/12, 6:30 PM ET
New England Sports Network LIVE Tue 2/11, 6:30 PM ET
Fri 2/14, 6:00 PM ET
LIVE Wed 2/12, 6:30 PM ET (NESN Plus)
MSG Network LIVE Tue 2/11, 6:30 PM ET (MSG+) LIVE Wed 2/12, 6:30 PM ET (MSG+2)
Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia LIVE Tue 2/11, 6:30 PM ET
The Comcast Network (Philadelphia) LIVE Wed 2/12, 6:30 PM ET
Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic Wed 2/12, 12:00 PM ET Thu 2/13, 11:00 AM ET
Comcast SportsNet Chicago Wed 2/12, 11:00 AM CT LIVE Wed 2/12, 5:30 PM CT
Thu 2/13, 12:30 AM CT
Thu 2/13, 12:30 PM CT
Comcast SportsNet California Wed 2/12, 2:00 PM PT
Sat 2/15, 3:00 PM PT
Fri 2/14, 2:00 PM PT
Comcast SportsNet Northwest Sat 2/15, 5:00 PM PT
Mon 2/17, 2:00 AM PT
Sat 2/15, 7:30 PM PT
ROOT Sports Pittsburgh  Tue 2/11, 9:30 PM ET
Fri 2/14, 7:00 PM ET
Wed 2/12, 9:30 PM ET
Fri 2/14, 9:00 PM ET
Fox Sports Detroit LIVE Tue 2/11, 6:30 PM ET Thu 2/13, 1:00 PM ET
SportsTime Ohio
LIVE Tue 2/11, 6:30 PM ET LIVE Wed 2/12, 6:30 PM ET
Fox Sports North LIVE Tue 2/11, 5:30 PM CT LIVE Wed 2/12, 5:30 PM CT (FS North Plus)
Fox Sports Midwest Tue 2/11, 11:00 PM CT Thu 2/13, 1:00 PM CT
Fox Sports Southwest LIVE Tue 2/11, 5:30 PM CT (FS SW Plus) LIVE Wed 2/12, 5:30 PM CT
Fox Sports Oklahoma LIVE Tue 2/11, 5:30 PM CT LIVE Wed 2/12, 5:30 PM CT
Fox Sports Arizona LIVE Wed 2/12, 4:30 PM MT (FS Arizona Plus)
Sun Sports LIVE Tue 2/11, 6:30 PM ET LIVE Wed 2/12, 6:30 PM ET
Altitude Sports & Entertainment LIVE Tue 2/11, 4:30 PM MT
Tue 2/11, 8:00 PM MT
Wed 2/12, 1:00 AM MT
Wed 2/12, 11:00 AM MT
LIVE Wed 2/12, 4:30 PM MT (Altitude 2)
Thu 2/13, 2:00 AM MT
Thu 2/13, 1:00 PM MT
Bright House Sports Network
(Tampa/Orlando)
TBD TBD
Time Warner Cable SportsChannel
  (New York State)
LIVE Tue 2/11, 6:30 PM ET LIVE Wed 2/12, 6:30 PM ET
Time Warner Cable SportsChannel
  (Carolinas)
LIVE Tue 2/11, 6:30 PM ET LIVE Wed 2/12, 6:30 PM ET
Time Warner Cable SportsChannel
  (Wisconsin)
LIVE Tue 2/11, 5:30 PM CT LIVE Wed 2/12, 5:30 PM CT
Time Warner Cable SportsChannel
  (Kansas City)
LIVE Tue 2/11, 5:30 PM CT LIVE Wed 2/12, 5:30 PM CT
Time Warner Cable SportsChannel
(Texas)
TBD TBD
Time Warner Cable SoCal 101
(Los Angeles/San Diego)
TBD TBD
ONE World Sports Wed 2/12, 10:00 PM ET
WQMY-TV (Wilkes-Barre)
TBD TBD
WIFR 23.2 Antenna TV (Rockford) LIVE Tue 2/11, 5:30 PM CT

AHL Press Release: 149 former AHL players playing in Olympics

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … With the 2014 Olympic Winter Games just over a month away, 149 former and current American Hockey League players have been selected to represent their countries in Sochi, Russia. The 25-man rosters of all 12 teams in the men’s ice hockey tournament, which begins Feb. 12, have been announced.

The United States boasts a tournament-high 18 AHL graduates, while Canada’s roster includes 17 AHL alumni. The Czech Republic, Finland and Slovakia also show 17 graduates each, followed by Sweden (13), Latvia (12), Switzerland (12), Russia (nine), Austria (eight), Norway (seven) and Slovenia (two). The complete list of alumni follows this release.

A total of 33 former AHL All-Stars have been named to Olympic rosters, including Ryan CallahanDustin BrownJohn CarlsonZach PariseRyan KeslerJimmy Howard and Ryan Miller from Team USA and P.K. Subban,Chris KunitzPatrice BergeronJay Bouwmeester and Patrick Sharp for Canada. Tomas Plekanec and Patrik Elias(Czech Republic); Mikko Koivu and Tuukka Rask (Finland); Mats Zuccarello (Norway); Artem Anisimov and Slava Voynov (Russia); Zdeno Chara and Jaroslav Halak (Slovakia); Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson (Sweden); and Nino Niederreiter (Switzerland) were also All-Stars during their AHL careers.

Thirteen former Calder Cup champions are headed to Sochi, including playoff MVP’s Tomas Tatar (Slovakia, 2013) and Carey Price (Canada, 2007). Tomas Jurco (Slovakia, 2013), Radko Gudas (Czech Republic), Ondrej Palat (Czech Republic), Richard Panik (Slovakia), Kaspars Daugavins (Latvia), Roman Wick (Switzerland), John Carlson (United States), Ondrej Pavelec (Czech Republic), Sami Lepisto (Finland), Patrick Sharp (Canada) and Jeff Carter (Canada) are also former league champions in the AHL.

Among the 149 alumni are nine players who have skated in the American Hockey League this season: Finnish defenseman and 2013 First Team AHL All-Star Sami Vatanen (Norfolk); Austrian forward Michael Raffl(Adirondack); Slovak forward Tomas Jurco (Grand Rapids) and defenseman Martin Marincin (Oklahoma City); Swiss goaltender Reto Berra (Abbotsford), defenseman Yannick Weber (Utica) and forward Simon Moser(Milwaukee); Latvian goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis (Syracuse); and Norwegian defenseman Henrik Odegaard(Chicago).

AHL experience will be found behind Olympic benches as well. Peter Laviolette, who won a Calder Cup as head coach of the Providence Bruins in 1999, and Todd Richards, who coached the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a berth in the Finals in 2008, will serve as assistants under former AHL player and coach Dan Bylsma for the United States. Former AHL head coach Mike Babcock will guide Canada’s Olympic team, assisted by 2003 AHL coach of the year Claude Julien and former AHL player Lindy Ruff.

Other notable AHL alumni at the 2014 Olympics will include standouts such as Thomas Vanek (Austria), Roberto Luongo (Canada), David Krejci (Czech Republic), Antti Niemi (Finland), Fedor Tyutin (Russia), Erik Karlsson(Sweden), Mark Streit (Switzerland), 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick (United States) and 2011 NHL MVP Corey Perry (Canada). In addition, AHL linesmen Chris Carlson, Tommy George, Jesse Wilmot and Chris Woodworth have been selected to officiate in Sochi.

AHL Alumni on 2014 Olympic Rosters (as of Jan. 7, 2014)
Austria (8)
Michael Grabner, F
Andre Lakos, D
Brian Lebler, F
Thomas Pock, D
Michael Raffl, F
Oliver Setzinger, F
Matthias Trattnig, D
Thomas Vanek, F

Canada (17)
Jamie Benn, F
Patrice Bergeron, F
Jay Bouwmeester, D
Jeff Carter, F
Ryan Getzlaf, F
Dan Hamhuis, D
Duncan Keith, D
Chris Kunitz, F
Roberto Luongo, G
Corey Perry, F
Alex Pietrangelo, D
Carey Price, G
Patrick Sharp, F
Mike Smith, G
P.K. Subban, D
Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D
Shea Weber, D

Czech Republic (17)
Michal Barinka, D
Patrik Elias, F
Radko Gudas, D
Tomas Kaberle, D
Lukas Krajicek, D
David Krejci, F
Milan Michalek, F
Zbynek Michalek, D
Petr Nedved, F
Jiri Novotny, F
Ondrej Palat, F
Ondrej Pavelec, G
Tomas Plekanec, F
Michal Rozsival, D
Alexander Salak, G
Ladislav Smid, D
Vladimir Sobotka, F

Finland (17)
Valtteri Filppula, F
Mikael Granlund, F
Olli Jokinen, F
Mikko Koivu, F
Leo Komarov, F
Petri Kontiola, F
Lauri Korpikoski, F
Lasse Kukkonen, D
Jori Lehtera, F
Kari Lehtonen, G
Sami Lepisto, D
Olli Maatta, D
Antti Niemi, G
Antti Pihlstrom, F
Tuukka Rask, G
Sami Salo, D
Sami Vatanen, D

Latvia (12)
Oskars Bartulis, D
Kaspars Daugavins, F
Zemgus Girgensons, F
Kristers Gudlevskis, G
Martins Karsums, F
Arturs Kulda, D
Sandis Ozolinsh, D
Krisjanis Redlihs, D
Arvid Rekis, D
Janis Sprukts, F
Juris Stals, F
Herbert Vasiljevs, F

Norway (7)
Jonas Holos, D
Marius Holtet, F
Henrik Odegaard, D
Mathis Olimb, F
Patrick Thoresen, F
Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, D
Mats Zuccarello, F

Russia (9)
Artem Anisimov, F
Nikolai Kulemin, F
Andrei Markov, D
Nikita Nikitin, D
Alexander Radulov, F
Viktor Tikhonov, F
Fedor Tyutin, D
Semyon Varlamov, G
Slava Voynov, D

Slovakia (17)
Ivan Baranka, D
Milan Bartovic, F
Peter Budaj, G
Zdeno Chara, D
Jaroslav Halak, G
Michal Handzus, F
Marcel Hossa, F
Tomas Jurco, F
Tomas Kopecky, F
Tomas Marcinko, F
Martin Marincin, D
Peter Olvecky, F
Richard Panik, F
Andrej Sekera, D
Tomas Surovy, F
Tomas Tatar, F
Tomas Zaborsky, F

Slovenia (2)
Jan Mursak, F
Tomaz Razinger, F

Sweden (13)
Alexander Edler, D
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D
Jhonas Enroth, G
Jonathan Ericsson, D
Loui Eriksson, F
Jonas Gustavsson, G
Carl Hagelin, F
Niklas Hjalmarsson, D
Erik Karlsson, D
Niklas Kronwall, D
Marcus Kruger, F
Jakob Silfverberg, F
Henrik Tallinder, D

Switzerland (12)
Andres Ambuhl, F
Reto Berra, G
Severin Blindenbacher, D
Jonas Hiller, G
Roman Josi, D
Simon Moser, F
Nino Niederreiter, F
Tobias Stephan, G
Mark Streit, D
Julien Vauclair, D
Yannick Weber, D
Roman Wick, F

United States (18)
David Backes, F
Dustin Brown, F
Ryan Callahan, F
John Carlson, D
Justin Faulk, D
Jimmy Howard, G
Ryan Kesler, F
Phil Kessel, F
Ryan McDonagh, D
Ryan Miller, G
Brooks Orpik, D
Max Pacioretty, F
Zach Parise, F
Joe Pavelski, F
Jonathan Quick, G
Kevin Shattenkirk, D
Ryan Suter, D
James van Riemsdyk, F

AHL Ref Records Action on Ice with HD Go Cam

Every now and then we run into a rare sight on the ice and it makes for an interesting post. Today we came across a video featuring an AHL referee recording a game with an HD Go Cam on his helmet. And below is an 10 minute video of the action.  The game featured the Rockford Ice Hogs and the Charlotte Checkers.

NHL Team Report Cards 1 of 4

NHL Quarterly Report Card

Remember back in school when we used to get report cards? The days where our parent(s) would see our scores for individual classes, for some students they loved this day because they had good to great grades typically, and for others it was a nightmare because they typically scored low, or below average with C’s and possibly a D. And then there are the students who did well in all of his/her classes except for that one class, and tried to pass blame off on the teacher.

Now that we revisited this experience to a much lesser extent than we would’ve if it was real, let me tell you why I bring this up. I am going to grade NHL teams though the first quarter of the season, the grades with be A through F except for E since there is no E to my knowledge in school scores. The teams will be judged on Offense, Defense, and Goaltending. And at the end of the blog five teams will get nominated for high honors, these designations are handed out to the teams who have stood out among the rest of the league.

Report Cards

Anaheim Ducks (26-7-5)

Offense: A-|Defense: C|Goaltending: B

The Ducks are getting the job done this year on both ends of the puck, firstly they’re third in the NHL in goals scored. The Defense has been a little loose but I guess that is to be expected from a team that has so many goals. The Ducks at one point were creeping up the list in goals allowed but have stabilized their defense recently, unlike Chicago who lead the league in goals but also are the worst in goals allowed among the teams in the top three in goals for.

Overall the Ducks have set themselves up nicely for success, however they do play in a very tough conference and could end up on the outside looking in if they struggle at any point. I mean I don’t expect that to happen, but if the Western Conference continues at the level it’s being played it, than any team that slips even a little bit would be in trouble.

Boston Bruins (24-10-2)

Offense: B-|Defense: B+|Goaltending: A+

The Bruins are an interesting team, they started out the season very much in a mediocore fashion, but have picked it up as of late especially at home. The offense has been spotty and the defense has been pretty good and goalie Tuukka Rask has been great for a large part of this season. The Bruins have been on a 7-3-0 stretch in their last 10 and have allowed for them to finally come crawling back into the top spot for teams in the Eastern Conference but currently trail the surging Penguins by 5 points.

Overall the Bruins are in good position to make noise in the Eastern Conference, however if they were in the Western Conference they’d only be middle of the pack in that Conference.

The main reason for this is that the West has owned the Eastern Conference in terms of record, but the Bruins are actually pretty decent against the Western Conference to this point.

Buffalo Sabres (9-24-3)

Offense: F|Defense: D|Goaltending: A-

This team is flat out embarrassing their fan base, the Sabres new ownership promised results and when this happened it appeared to be a promise that the owners could keep.

But what they’ve turned into has been a complete utter disaster. Not only do they have a disgraceful record but they also employ three players who are an embarrassment to mankind, never mind to the league between the Patrick Kaleta, Steve Ott and John Scott.

Their best player has been the goalie Ryan Miller, he has put up really good numbers despite being hung out to dry by the team on a nightly basis. It wouldn’t be a surprise if in their wins he got top star in at least half of them that is how bad the Sabres are. Hell he might even get top three player of the game honors in a handful of their losses with the way he has played.

Calgary Flames (13-17-6)

Offense: B|Defense: D|Goaltending: D

The Flames have had a problem with defense in goaltending. I didn’t expect their problems to come from defense, but rather the offense. But it just shows that what you predict in the pre-season might have the exact opposite happen. Calgary has already sort of started selling off with the trade of Mark Giordano to the Oilers.

The Flames have a good future thanks to the 2013 draft where I would classify it as a A rating for the Flames, I said that they needed to nail the draft and I feel like they did a wonderful job.

Carolina Hurricanes (14-14-8)

Offense: D-|Defense: C|Goaltending: B-

The Hurricanes are in an interesting situation because they’ve been neither good and bad all year long. The Hurricanes look like a mediocre team at this point, they need to play much more consistently in order to be a playoff team, especially under the new playoff format.

Chicago Blackhawks (25-7-6)

Offense: A+|Defense: C+|Goaltending: C+

The Blackhawks look really good this year, which should come as no surprise considering they’re the defending Stanley Cup Champions. They’re leading the league in goals, but are 11th worst in goals allowed. That will not fly if they want to make a deep run in the playoffs.

The Blackhawks lead the league in points as well, and deserve to be recognized as such considering they play in a conference that is very deep.

Colorado Avalanche (23-10-2)

Offense: B-|Defense: B+|Goaltending: B

Colorado is one of the best all around teams in the NHL, I think in terms of balance they’re only behind the St. Louis Blues. The Avalanche are actually more of defensive team so in that sense they will probably end up being better off than the Blues in the long run. But as it is, the Avalanche are sliding a bit recently and I think that mainly stems from the offense slowing down.

Columbus Blue Jackets (15-17-4)

Offense: D+|Defense: C+|Goaltending: C+

The Blue Jackets have actually been nothing but average, which in the Eastern Conference still isn’t good enough despite the Eastern Conference being the inferior conference to this point. The Blue Jackets have done decently since starting the season at a clip of 5-10-0 and were among the worst in the Eastern Conference.

Dallas Stars (17-12-6)

Offense: B|Defense: C|Goaltending: B-

The Stars have had some good nights on offense, and then some bad nights on offense. And it is weird since there seems to be zero consistency in this team. It is actually kind of funny because if the Stars can find consistent offense they could be a pretty good team and a possible contender.

Detroit Red Wings (17-12-9)

Offense: C|Defense: C|Goaltending: B-

I am having a hard time believing the Red Wings are doing this bad this season. Considering the mere fact that they came over from the Western Conference which is a tougher conference in my opinion so I figured that they’d be able to run over the Eastern Conference and give the elite teams like Pittsburgh and Boston a good run for their money. The problem with the Red Wings seems to be consistency in doing anything.

I think they’ll figure it out and make the playoffs, but currently I am shocked at their success, or lack of success.

Edmonton Oilers (11-24-3)

Offense: C-|Defense: D|Goaltending: F

It isn’t hard to figure out the issue with the Oilers, they have a good offense, but their defense and goaltending just are not getting it done. The Oilers are near the bottom of the NHL standings with seemingly little chance of making the playoffs. Which is a shame because I thought this would be their season to come out and play with the big boys. Part of the problem is the Western Conference is stacked with great teams and they is with the subtraction of Detroit.

The good news for the Oilers is the future is bright, so maybe these losing seasons will end soon. But if not then the Oilers might be wise to try this rebuilding thing again if they continue down this road.

Florida Panthers (14-18-5)

Offense: D|Defense: C-|Goaltending: D

How Florida continues to be close to the .500 mark is beyond me. This team has not been that good all season long, in fact they are probably in the bottom five teams in the NHL. With goaltending that can be described as weak and an offense that isn’t too good, it is a bit of a Godsend that they’re even still in contention.

More worrying to me is that the Panthers do not have too many prospects coming up the pipe. This is pretty much what you see is what you get.

Los Angeles Kings (25-8-4)

Offense: B|Defense: B|Goaltendng: A+

The Kings are playing a very balanced style of hockey, getting good offense but also very good defense and amazing goaltending from injured starter Jonathan Quick and rookie Martin Jones who has been a great story in the NHL to this point.

The Kings have been probably the most balanced team in the NHL to this point which should help them in the long run especially if they can keep it up going into the post-season. However that is still 3 months away and as good as they’ve been, the Western Conference has been just as good.

Minnesota Wild (20-13-5)

Offense: C-|Defense: B+|Goaltending: B+

The Wild have been probably one of the worst offensive teams among the Western Conference playoff contenders but they’ve managed to maintain good defense and goaltending in order to post a winning record and have a solid first half of the season. Josh Harding has stepped up and taken the reigns in net while aging veteran start Niklas Backstrom has faltered this season.

Josh Harding has posted a 18-5-3 record with a 1.51 GAA and a .939 Saves% this season and is a contender for Vezina trophy.

Montreal Canadiens (22-13-3)

Offense: C|Defense: B|Goaltending: A-

The Canadiens are usually using scoring to be successful but they’re 19th in goals for with just 96 goals for but they’ve only allowed 84 thanks to Carey Price and the defense. The Canadiens are getting good goaltending from starter Carey Price who has put up a 17-11-2 record with a 2.10 GAA and a .932 Saves%.

The Canadiens won the Northeast division last season and there were still questions on whether they were for real considering that just the previous season they struggled badly. But now the Canadiens can clearly say they’re legit and should be feared.

Nashville Predators (16-16-4)

Offense: D-|Defense: C-|Goaltending: C

The Predators are an interesting team because they can’t do much right and yet they continue to post a .500% points percentage when stats would indicate that they aren’t that special. But then when you look at their game log they did have a four game losing streak where they were outscored 17-2 with all four of those games coming on the road and three of those games against the Metropolitan division.

The Predators have had injury issues in net like the Kings but unlike the Kings, Nashville hasn’t had a player step up and take the bull by the horns and play solid goal for them.

New Jersey Devils (15-15-7)

Offense: C-|Defense: B|Goaltending B-

The Devils are playing much better after that 1-5-4 record they recorded in their first ten games, in their first 7 games they remained winless. The Devils are in a stretch of 3-0-1 in their last 4 games and have gone 14-10-3 in their last 27 games since that horrific start. The turn around has to do with solid goaltending and more production out of what was once an offense that could have only been described as pathetic.

New York Islanders (10-20-7)

Offense: D+|Defense: F|Goaltending: F

The Islanders have become somewhat of a joke since the Tomas Vanek/Matt Moulson trade. Since the trade the Islanders are 6-16-4 and their whole team has looked absolutely brutal since this deal. I would actually probably put the Islanders last in a power rankings if I was to do one today. Not because the Sabres have been good enough to warrant a jump out of the last spot, but the Islanders have somehow made it hard to ignore them.

I just don’t get it, the Islanders were supposed to be one of the better teams with the addition of Tomas Vanek but they’ve managed to be the exact opposite, it is truly a baffling thing to me.

New York Rangers (17-18-2)

Offense: D|Defense: C+|Goaltending: B-

The reason for such a turn around for the Rangers is solid goaltending and a slightly improving offense. The Rangers are still a team I don’t consider good enough to make a full turn around, but it is a team worth keeping an eye on just because they are so close in the standings in terms of points. They really need to kick the offense into high gear otherwise they might be in bad shape come April.

Ottawa Senators (14-17-7)

Offense: B|Defense: D|Goaltending: D

The Senators are a victim to their team defense and goaltending. Their offense has been just fine, but their D and goalies have been pretty dreadful making the Senators look like a bunch of pretenders at this point. Sure they miss Daniel Alfredsson but they also miss the contributions from injured players at various times this season.

The Senators despite the record and shoddy defense, are just two points out of a playoff spot.

Philadelphia Flyers (16-16-4)

Offense: D+|Defense C|Goaltending C

The Flyers are a tough team to figure out, which thankfully isn’t my job because they’re still a bad offensive team but in some games they’re getting game changing goaltending but in other games they’re getting bad goaltending. They are like the Hurricanes in a way, they are inconsistent and have been for a long time. They are running out of time to find their stride.

The Flyers aren’t even feeding off of the brawl game anymore, they seemed to have gone quiet again on offense, but even when they score now their goaltending seemed to stain the bed.

Phoenix Coyotes (19-10-6)

Offense: A-|Defense: C|Goaltending: C

The Coyotes are not entirely on my radar but I can’t deny they’ve been a nice surprise. They have 110 goals which is a surprising accomplishment considering the fact that they lack that big name goal scorer.

Shane Doan is a long time Coyote and a potential Hall of Famer, and I would love to see that for Doan. Doan leads the Coyotes in goals with 12 goals. Radim Vrbata is also a great addition to the team, he leads the team in points with 27 points.

Pittsburgh Penguins (27-10-1)

Offense: A-|Defense: B+|Goaltending: A-

The Penguins are on a 7 game winning streak and are 9-0-1 in their last ten games. The Penguins lead the Eastern Conference by 5 points over second place Boston Bruins. The Bruins and Penguins are the two stand out teams in the Eastern Conference.

The Penguins have been getting contributions from every one on their team from Crosby to Malkin to Kunitz to Neal, there is really no one on Pittsburgh struggling which is good considering the Penguins have yet to have a consistent roster in awhile thanks to injuries and suspensions.

San Jose Sharks (22-8-6)

Offense: B+|Defense: B+|Goaltending: B

The Sharks started the season on a roll and had at one point had a 19-3-5 record and lead the league in points. The Sharks are slowing down but have a great shot to make the playoffs just because they started so well.

This is the concern for me, will the Sharks be able to pick it up again? This seems to be a common theme for the Sharks, and it is a little bit of a history for them and I think they need to be more committed to playing a hard nosed game like it seems to be during the first month of the season. The Sharks then seem to get complacent with starting the season on a hot streak and then just letting up as the season goes on. So come playoff time, the Sharks never seem to live up to their talent level, and it is a shame because they are a talented team and it would be nice to see them prove it in games that matter.

St. Louis Blues (24-7-4)

Offense: A-|Defense: A-|Goaltending: B+

I am a big fan of this St. Louis Blues team, they are the most impressive team in the league in my opinion, they rank second in goals and third in goals allowed. The Blues might not be at the top in points, but it is hard to imagine they’d be anywhere but first place if every team had played the same amount of games. That is how good this Blues team is. And if you haven’t watched this team, you should try to, they are awesome to watch especially when they face a rival.

Tampa Bay Lightning (22-11-3)

Offense: C|Defense: B+|Goaltending: B+

The Lightning are a good team, they have weathered the Steven Stamkos injury beautifully. Stamkos is still going to be out another month or two but they Lightning should be able to do this if they play good team defense.

The Lightning will probably slow down a little in terms of wins, but the Lightning are in good shape at this point to make the playoffs, and even if they slow down a little they’re likely to still sport a solid record for when Stamkos returns to the Lightning’s line-up.

Toronto Maple Leafs (18-16-4)

Offense: B+|Defense: D|Goaltending: C-

The Maple Leafs started the season on fire, and with something to prove, they started 6-1-0 and looked to be one of the powerhouse teams in the league never mind the Eastern Conference. But then they started to falter after that and the Maple Leafs are a sub-.500 record now.

I do think the Maple Leafs are a solid team, but they need to be better defensively and get better goaltending from James Reimer or Jonathan Bernier. Guys like Kessel and Van Riemsdyk are most like are going to keep scoring, but the defense and goaltending might be the reason the Maple Leafs fail to go deep into the playoffs assuming they’re good enough to make it.

Vancouver Canucks (22-11-6)

Offense: B|Defense: B-|Goaltending: B+

The Canucks started out deently but definitely have stepped it up as of late. 9-2 in their last 11 games. If the season ended today you almost want the Canucks and Penguins to play in the finals just to see which team can keep it up.

The Canucks however do play in a division with the Flames, and the Oilers  so it is harder to believe the Canucks are a legit team when the competition isn’t near what it should be mainly because of those two teams.

Washington Capitals (19-13-4)

Offense: B+|Defense: D|Goaltending: D

The Capitals are doing well this season thanks in large part to the video game type numbers Alexander Ovechkin is putting up in the NHL now. The NHL could see it’s first 50 goals in 50 team games feat since the 1991-1992 season when the great Brett Hull did it for the St. Louis Blues.

Other than AO the Capitals would be in trouble, he has single-handedly kept the Capitals in the playoff race with timely goals and big performances. However I have a hard time buying into a player who has 30 goals and a -12 plus/minus rating.

I think once AO starts to tamper off so will the Washington Capitals. And if he stays hot all year we could see a 70 goal scorer, he has been that good offensively.

Winnipeg Jets (16-17-5)

Offense: C|Defense: C+|Goaltending: C+

The Jets are a team that is mediocre, not great but yet not terrible. I think there is a good amount of talent on the Jets. But when I look at this team, I have a hard time buying into whatever it is the Jets are trying to sell.

However I think part of the problem for this team stems from the talent that is within the division being Chicago, St. Louis and Colorado are all in Winnipeg’s division and Winnipeg had a hard time in what used to be the Southeast division against Washington, Florida, Carolina, and Tampa Bay, and none of those teams are what I consider playoff locks if they were to be put in super divisions. And now that the Jets are in such an amazingly gifted division they’ve suffered for it a little, but I think actual skill on their team is another issue all in itself.

Honor Roll

1. St. Louis Blues

It is hard not to put the Blues on top, they’ve been the most impressive team to me in the NHL to this point. No one really saw this coming. Starting the season you know they’d be good, but no one that I’ve heard thought that they would excel at this level. It is really nice to see.

2. Anaheim Ducks

The Anaheim offense has been stellar this year as have their goalies. The Ducks are leading the NHL in points and have been amazing all season long and there appears to be no slow down in sight. The Ducks could be a team to watch especially if they can keep it up throughout the season.

3. Chicago Blckhawks

The defending Stanley Cup Champions are playing like a team that wants to be the first repeat champion since 1996-1997 and 1997-1998 when Detroit did it, both by 4 game sweeps believe it or not of the Flyers and Capitals respectively. The Blackhawks unlike 2010 have most of their championship in tact which means they could very well repeat. Which could be their third since 2010.

4. Pittsburgh Penguins

With Sidney Crosby playing at the level he is and having the help of Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz. The offense and defense are both playing in sync. They are going to be a tough team to beat in the playoffs. But I would love to see an Eastern Conference Finals between the Bruins and Penguins. I mean sure there is bias here, but it would be an amazing series.

5. Boston Bruins

The Bruins for awhile looked to be a team that was dealing with confidence issues, but lately they’ve been a very consistent team which is a good thing for Bruins fans. And to think they’re playing so well and Jarome Iginla hasn’t really taken off yet, the thought of that is scary to consider.

Flames Fans Call for Curtain Call in Jarome Iginla’s return to Calgary

The great fans in Calgary. Alberta got to witness the first game in Calgary for Jarome Iginla as the opponent. The Boston Bruins and Calgary Flames played a tight 2-1 game ending in Boston’s favor, and while Iginla did nothing in the game he was named the third star and then the following happened:

The Bruins won the game 2-1 with two third period goals.

December 7th, 2013: An ugly day in the NHL

Zac Rinaldo, James Neal, and Shawn Thornton probably got themselves in the line of fire with their actions yesterday. The NHL got off to a bad start in yesterday’s NHL games with a bad incident in Dallas, and then things picked up later in the day in Boston.

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