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from Dan Robson of The Athletic,
Since October, we’ve been counting down the top 100 NHL players of the post-expansion era. We called it NHL99 because we all knew the list would stop at No. 99. So here is the final installment of The Athletic’s best 100 players in modern NHL history....
It was never a secret.
Not here, on The Athletic’s list of the 100 greatest players of the NHL’s modern era — a series titled NHL99, because the top spot was so apparent.
It hasn’t been a secret since he was a boy filling hockey rinks across Ontario. Famous by the time he was 10 and scoring 378 goals as an 11-year-old peewee with the Nadrofsky Steelers in Brantford. From the start, Gretzky was on course to be the greatest to have played.
At the core, Gretzky’s appeal was the magic conjured. He traveled through time each game, knowing where each player would be and where the puck was heading. His vision made opponents appear stuck in the past.
Gretzky wasn’t entirely alone in his rare genius. Mario Lemieux and Orr both wielded similar superpowers and their enthusiasts, Gretzky included, will argue they ought to hold an equal status on the pantheon.
But Gretzky’s greatness is measured in the staggering magnitude of his record. It’s in his 2,857 NHL points — with, famously, enough assists that if he’d never scored a goal he would still be the league’s all-time points leader with 1,963.
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from Neil Best of Newsday,
The fact that Horvat was up for signing an eight-year contract extension worth a reported $68 million said a lot about how the Islanders are viewed these days.
Yes, money talks. It always does. Horvat needed to know he was wanted where it counts most.
But he was under no obligation to stay beyond the end of this season and could have commanded similar money elsewhere.
He decided to stay, and immediately was paired with Mathew Barzal, another in-his-prime star who signed an eight-year deal worth $73.2 million that kicks in next season.
Both contracts are set to expire at the end of 2030-31.
So, to review, the Islanders’ top two skaters are a guy who decided to come and a guy who decided to stay.
For some franchises, that would not be a big deal.
from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,
- For the record, Jim Rutherford denies he is considering resigning from the Canucks. Vancouver’s got a lot of decisions to make, on and off the ice, but he’s determined to lead that process.
- We’re going to have a better idea what Kane and Jonathan Toews are thinking around 10 days before the March 3 deadline. On some level, they hoped that there could be a way to stay, but that’s dissipating. The Blackhawks want to move on and the reality of what Chicago is doing has set in on both. The big question is, how many teams both players are willing to consider. A few players at All-Star praised Kane for playing through something that clearly is bothering him, especially since Chicago is hoping what they get in return benefits the rebuild.
- We’ll see if Bo Horvat’s eight-year, $68-million extension moves the line for Larkin and Steve Yzerman. Generally, Yzerman digs a trench and doesn’t go much further, although Nikita Kucherov pushed Tampa Bay’s ceiling to $9.5-million two months before Yzerman resigned from the team. I don’t believe that’s where we’re going here, but what it shows is that sometimes, things can move.
Larkin’s best attribute is that, as a centre, he’s difficult to replace. Top-line centres are very hard to find. My guess is this ends somewhere in the eights. If Yzerman believed he couldn’t sign Larkin, he would have traded him last summer before the captain’s no-trade clause kicked in.
- I thought an 84-game schedule might be on the docket in March’s GM meetings, now I’m not so sure. What I do think we could get is a discussion on cutting down the number of pre-season games.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Frustration is the best way to describe their feelings following a 5-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers at Little Caesars Arena in their first game after an eight-day break.
“We try to judge ourselves on performance and for the most part, as frustrating as the score is, there were a lot of positives,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “I felt through the first 25 minutes we were the better team, and you could just feel it building and then we gave up two easy goals and you find yourself down.”...
“Campbell played well, but the pucks laying around him, there were a lot, and we just didn’t get a stick on them,” Dylan Larkin said. “We weren’t hard enough.”
“I thought we played with emotion,” Larkin said. “The crowd was into it. It was difficult to play a team like that. We responded. We were right there but just not enough. It is frustrating that we can’t find traction, but there’s still a little bit of time for us.”
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
* Bo Horvat scored his first goal in an Islanders uniform and received a warm welcome at UBS Arena, while Ilya Sorokin recorded his 15th career shutout and climbed the franchise’s all-time list in the process.
* Connor McDavid extended his career-high road point streak to 15 games – a feat achieved by only one other player in Oilers history – as Edmonton earned a win at Little Caesars Arena.
* Wednesday’s two-game slate features the Canucks clashing with the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Sportsnet and TVA Sports as well as the Stars squaring off with the Wild at American Airlines Center in an NHL on TNT contest.
from Kevin Allen of Detroit Hockey Now,
The inability to finish is a problem. Lately, it seems heightened because key players have slumped. Tyler Bertuzzi scored his first goal in 13 games. Remember how hot Dominik Kubalik was at the start of the season? He has two goals in his past 15 games. He has one power play goal since Dec. 31.
“Maybe it’s a little confidence,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. “Obviously, it’s not going in. He’s got those looks on the back door. A confident Kuby probably puts those in the back of the net. Now he’s looking pass first. That’s part of the frustration on the power play. We had a ton of good looks, we have some good movement. We had them out of position and we were unable to cash in.”
The Red Wings were 0-for-5 on the power play against the Oilers. David Perron also hasn’t scored a power play goal since Dec. 29. He’s another player who was hot early in the season.
“We got to finish,” Lalonde said. “I know it sounds simple. I know we’re not natural finishers, goal-scorers, we don’t have a ton of 30-, 40-, 50-goal scorers on our team. We actually don’t have any of them really. It’s kind of got to be by a group. We just got to cash in some of those chances. Tonight, we got those looks. But unfortunately it just didn’t go in.”
Watch below Larkin and Lalonde post game.
via the NHL PR department,
One more below.
The first five minutes, Edmonton dominated the game, then Detroit controlled the rest of the period.
After 20 minutes, Detroit was up 1-0.
The Oilers scored twice in 36 seconds to take a 2-1 lead early in period 2 then added another goal. With nine seconds left in the period, Detroit scored to make it 3-2 heading to the third period.
The third period was a chippy one with no scoring until the Oilers added a power play goal with less than five minutes to play to take a 4-2 lead.
An empty net goal by the Oilers made it 5-2 and that's how the game endeded.
Detroit goals are below along with two post-whistle scrums.
Hiya everyone and welcome back. It’s been nice and relaxing of late, but, now it’s time to get back to it. The Wings take on the Oilers tonight in the first of a three game home stand, and, will face 2 of the best players in the game in McDavid and Draisaitl. The Oilers are currently close to a wild card spot, so it’s not going to be pretty out there tonight. It will be great if the Wings can start off the rest of the season with a W.
Dylan Larkin is back from a most excellent All Star appearance notching 5 goals and 1 assist for 6 points in 2 games, including a hatty/hattie in the final game of the break. He proves his worth every single game he plays in.
Erne is in GR so Berggren can stay up with the big dogs, and Zadina is supposed to get in a game soon.
It’s the Oilers vs the Wings. The puck is set to drop around 7:30 PM and will be broadcast on ESPN+, HULU, and SN. Also available on the Red Wings Radio Network (97.1 The Ticket in Detroit).
It’s a Live Blog!
The TSN Hockey Insiders discuss why the sale price for the Senators could exceed $800 million, how Patrick Kane's decision on waiving his no-movement clause ahead of the trade deadline is coming "relatively soon", how the Oilers and Kings are overlapping on their trade targets for defencemen, how the Bruins are among teams who have inquired about Jakob Chychrun, and much more.
Narrated by Steve Dangle of Sportsnet so this is no place for a nervous person.
from Mike Zeisberger of the NHL's website,
Connor McDavid had the last word. As usual.
Asked why he did not take part in the Fastest Skater competition at the All-Star Skills on Friday, the Edmonton Oilers center replied, "I wanted to show I can do other things."
After going 8-for-8 in the Accuracy Shooting event, the question of what can't he do on this ice was raised again.
But the bigger question being asked during All-Star Weekend was what is the ceiling for the 26-year old?
"In terms of a player, he's not even in his prime yet, which is pretty darn hard to believe," Hall of Fame defenseman Paul Coffey said. "He's just going to get more mature and keep getting better."
Given what he's accomplished and what he's doing this season, that's a scary thought for the rest of the NHL.
He's already won the Art Ross Trophy, which goes to the NHL's leading scorer, four times, and he's won the Hart Trophy, awarded to the league MVP, twice.
This season, the Oilers captain has 92 points in 50 games, 16 more points than the next closest player, teammate Leon Draisaitl.
"He's from a different planet," Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin said.
Manon Rheaume made history in 1992 when she became the first woman to ever participate in an NHL game. Not only did she break through the barriers for female athletes, but also inspired other young women to pursue their dreams, regardless of what others may think or say. Thanks to her courage and determination, Manon Rheaume continues to be an inspiration to all who cross her path.
Coach Lalonde first, below find Lucas Raymond.
from Frank Seravalli of The Daily Faceoff,
Sitting U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh will be formally installed as the next Executive Director of the NHL Players’ Association in the coming days following Tuesday night’s State of the Union address by President Joe Biden, sources tell Daily Faceoff.
Walsh was unable to leave his government post until after attending the president’s annual joint-session speech in Congress. Walsh, 55, was presented as the NHLPA search committee’s top choice for the job during an executive board meeting held in Miami last Friday.
The former Mayor of Boston introduced himself virtually via Zoom to the 32-member executive board, which then green-lit Walsh to move to the next stage of the process, including negotiating an employment contract. Walsh is expected to earn in the range of $3 million U.S. annually and live in Boston with no requirement to move to Toronto, where the Players’ Association is headquartered.
from Emily Kaplan of ESPN,
At All-Star weekend, Dylan Larkin lamented what he said was misinformation about his contract talks. "It just seems people are fishing and speculating," Larkin said. "I don't really want my business out there. I understand we're in the spotlight and fans want to know. They deserve to know. But I think it's not really the most truthful, you know?"
As the captain of the Red Wings, Larkin doesn't want his situation to go public. He hates being a distraction to the team. He has handled the situation as well as he can, but it has to be frustrating. Because in talking to people close to Larkin, nobody really knows where this is going.
So without going into numbers, here's what I can tell you about the dynamics going on behind the scenes:
Big picture, Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman has a price in mind for what he's willing to pay for Larkin, and it's not in line with what some other No. 1 centers around the league are making. Yzerman is sticking to that number. Larkin's camp is arguing: What does it cost to replace Larkin? They feel strongly about his worth, and it's more than Yzerman has been willing to budge. So we're between a rock and a hard place.
The one thing I've heard consistently about Yzerman as a general manager is that he works slow. He grinds things out. He and Larkin's camp haven't talked in a few days. In that time, the Islanders offered Horvat the $8.5 million AAV. So when Larkin's reps and Yzerman reconnect -- likely sometime this week -- they'll see if that comp helps their case.
Ideally Yzerman wants to get this deal done before the March 3 deadline so he can plan other moves -- and also ensure his 26-year-old captain doesn't walk away this summer for nothing. Larkin has full control here with a no-trade clause in his deal. As of now, Larkin doesn't have an appetite for moving, either at the deadline or this summer. He's a hometown kid who has played his entire life in the state of Michigan. He takes pride in leading Detroit. But it's becoming apparent other teams might be willing to give him more money on the open market. And if there isn't progress, his agent can talk to other teams and broker a deal to where Larkin wants to go. But they are hopeful it doesn't get to that. Based on how things are going, there's a very good chance this doesn't get resolved until the summer.
more players and talk...
from Eric Francis of Sportsnet,
The Calgary Flames reconvened from a nine-day break in search of a spark - a reason to believe they have what it takes to finally come together as a group.
How perfect then, that as host of some of the world’s most iconic fights, it was Madison Square Garden where the lads chose to prove they’re ready to battle down the stretch.
In a wildly entertaining game befitting the world’s greatest arena, the Flames showed the type of character that galvanizes teams, steadying them for the challenge ahead.
They fought back from three deficits, bounced up and back from a trio of highlight reel hits, responded immediately with mite and left with a point and an exclamation mark on their season.
“It shows to everybody, and most importantly to us in the dressing room, we’re not going to back down from anybody, and we’re going to stand up when needed, and we’re just going to keep this momentum going.
“We showed a lot of good character out there.
“We showed we love each other, and we care for each other. A lot of guys stepping in, and stepping up – that was the positive for tonight.”
Watch the game highlights below
* After being named MVP at the 2023 Honda NHL All-Star Game, Matthew Tkachuk skated to a five-point performance to join Mario Lemieux on a unique list and surpass the 70-point mark on the season in the process.
* The Devils captured their eighth overtime win of 2022-23 – one shy of the most in a campaign in franchise history – with the help of Jack Hughes and Dougie Hamilton who assisted on the overtime tally.
* Connor McDavid, who is set to return from the All-Star break, can extend his point streak to 13 games when the Oilers visit the Red Wings in a contest carried by HULU, ESPN+ and Sportsnet.
Nazem Kadri the recipient.
Philadelphia aeason ticket holders were sent a letter today from John Tortorella.
Should more teams do this?
NEW YORK (Feb. 6, 2023) – Florida Panthers left wing Matthew Tkachuk, Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin and Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Mitchell Marner have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Feb. 5.
via Ansar Khan tweets,
RedWings take the ice for practice. Larkin is back from the All-Star break and Hronek is skating after hurting his hand in practice yesterday.
RedWings power play units:
1. Sundqvist (net front), Larkin (bumper), Perron-Kubalik (flanks), Seider (point).
2. Bertuzzi (net front), Fabbri (bumper), Raymond-Berggren (flanks), Hronek (point).
Suter on the PK. Based on this, it looks like Zadina will be scratched tomorrow.
added 11:53am, Khan...
Tomorrow’s game vs. Edmonton is at 7:30 on ESPN-Plus/Hulu
from Scott Wheeler of The Athletic,
After graduating just one player from last year’s list (Joe Veleno) and adding a nine-pick 2022 draft class to system, the Red Wings’ pool, which was already a top-10 group in the league, is improved year-over-year.
They’ve got a top prospect at forward, on defense and in net, a handful of prospects behind that core three who look legit, and decent depth throughout, with the only glaring need being a lack of right-shot D prospects (all six of the defensemen who made their list are lefties).
2022 prospect pool rank: No. 7 (change: +3)
1. Simon Edvinsson, LHD, 20 (Grand Rapids Griffins)
After an excellent post-draft season playing big minutes in the SHL and a leading role at the world juniors, Edvinsson has had a really strong first pro season in North America. This year’s Griffins are not good, and he has been impactful at both ends considering that context — and that he just turned 20 on Sunday.
He has really cleaned up areas of his game that needed (and still need) some development.
His ceiling is extremely high and is backed by a unique set of traits and skills for a 6-foot-6, 215-pound player (let alone a defenseman). These include his uncharacteristically soft hands and control of the puck, his fearlessness with and without it, and his strong foundational knowledge of how to use his towering frame to defend in a variety of ways (with a good, active stick, with step-up physicality when opportunities present themselves, with good neutral-zone gapping and steering, on box-outs, etc.).
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