from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Growing up in Salem, N.J., Johnny Gaudreau had access to ice time constantly, because his dad, Guy, operated the local rink. Summers, when regular hockey was over, there was the option of playing in three-on-three leagues.
“And I was on three or four different teams,” reported Gaudreau, the Calgary Flames’ second-year scoring star. “In the summer, I loved playing three-on-three. I played a lot when I was younger, growing up.”
In a year when the rest of the NHL is trying to figure out three-on-three, Gaudreau has it nailed. The Flames are 8-1 in overtime, and Gaudreau – a.k.a. Johnny Hockey – has been in on seven of the game winners (three goals, four assists), one of the primary reasons his team is back in the playoff hunt after a slow start.
Gaudreau, a finalist for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year last season, has not skipped a beat in his second year. At the NHL’s Christmas break, he was seventh in the NHL scoring race, with 15 goals and 22 assists in 34 games. He scored a hat trick in the final game before the holidays, with his brother Matt in the stands watching, leading Calgary to its 10th consecutive home-ice victory to tie a franchise record set in 2006.