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(Page 204 of 275)
NHL Insider

Seven candidates for a breakout season in 2011-12

Friday, 08.12.2011 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Michael Grabner and Logan Couture proved they were ready for prime time with breakout seasons in 2010-11, though they did it in different ways.

The two runners-up for the Calder Trophy (won by 18-year-old Jeff Skinner of Carolina) both came out of nowhere to pile up more than 30 goals. Grabner, a first-round pick by Vancouver in 2006, went from the Canucks to Florida to Long Island in just over three months, but rewarded the Islanders with a 34-goal season. Couture, who had a 25-game stint with San Jose in 2009-10, busted out with 32 goals and 56 points to help the Sharks win the Pacific Division for the fourth straight season.

Both came one year after one of the all-time breakout seasons -- Steven Stamkos, the No. 1 pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, jumped from 23 goals and 46 points as a rookie in 2008-09 to 51 goals and 95 points in '09-10, proving the Bolts were right to spend the top pick on him.
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Ten candidates for a bounce-back season

Thursday, 08.11.2011 / 9:07 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Disappointing seasons happen to almost everyone. Sometimes they're because of injuries, sometimes they're just bad luck, and other times they are a combination of circumstances.

Here are 10 players who, for a variety of reasons, didn't have their best seasons in 2010-11 but are good candidates to bounce back in the upcoming campaign:

Marian Gaborik, Rangers ­-- Gaborik dropped from 42 goals in his first season in the Big Apple to 22 -- and even that wasn't as good as it seemed because 10 came in three games against non-playoff teams. Gaborik is healthy after missing 20 games last season, and the Rangers have brought in playmaker Brad Richards to get him the puck. Barring injuries, there's no reason the two-time 42-goal scorer shouldn't have another big year.
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Seven who want to avoid one-hit wonder tag

Monday, 08.08.2011 / 12:46 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

In music, they're known as "one-hit wonders" -- artists that have one hit record but never replicate that kind of success again.

The NHL has had its own version of one-hit wonders -- guys who were in the right spot at the right time for a season, but found out that doing it again wasn't as easy. The poster boy for hockey's one-hit wonders is 1980s forward Warren Young, who had 40 goals playing with Mario Lemieux in 1984-85 and never came close to that total again (he finished his career with 72).

Every year, a number of players come out of nowhere to put up numbers no one expected of them. The challenge for those who did it last season is to show in 2011-12 that they've got what it takes to repeat (or at least come close to) the numbers they put up in 2010-11.
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Stevens leads list of hockey's biggest hitters

Saturday, 08.06.2011 / 10:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Hockey is a game of speed, skill and contact. There are few things in hockey that draw fans out of their seats like a big hit -- one player stepping into another at high speed, leaving the party of the receiving end wondering what happened, often after being sent flying through the air.

Hitting has been a part of hockey since the first puck was dropped. But as players have gotten bigger, faster and stronger, the level of physicality has continued to grow -- even as the number of fights has declined sharply over the last 25 years. Hard hitters don't have to be prolific fighters; they do, however, have to be willing to put their bodies on the line.
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A look at some of the NHL's best teenage debuts

Thursday, 08.04.2011 / 4:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The Edmonton Oilers are hoping that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' success in junior hockey carries over into his NHL career -- even though there are no guarantees that it will start this fall.

The Oilers took Nugent-Hopkins with the No. 1 pick in the Entry Draft, and they hope he'll be ready for a regular role at age 18 -- just as Taylor Hall was for Edmonton last season. Hall, the No. 1 pick in the 2010 Entry Draft, went through some growing pains but was playing some of his best hockey when an ankle injury ended his season prematurely. He finished with 22 goals and 42 points in 65 games.

The two previous No. 1 picks, Steven Stamkos (2008) and John Tavares (2009), both look like they'll go on to long and successful careers after entering the NHL immediately after being drafted as 18-year-olds. Stamkos had 21 goals as an 18-year-old, but his 96 goals in the past two seasons are the most in the NHL, while Tavares is coming off consecutive 20-goal seasons with the New York Islanders and shows signs that he's capable of a lot more.
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You're never too old for a big season

Tuesday, 08.02.2011 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Though the NHL seems to be getting younger every year, the kids don't have a monopoly on big seasons.

Landmark achievements like seasons with 50 goals and 100 points, or winning the Norris or Vezina Trophy, usually belong to younger players. But players who have reached their 35th birthday have made plenty of history as well.

Here's a look at some of the best seasons by the NHL's 35-and-over crowd:

FORWARDS

100 points
Gordie Howe, 1968-69 (age 41)
Johnny Bucyk, 1970-71 (age 35)
Wayne Gretzky, 1995-96 (age 35)
Joe Sakic, 2006-07 (age 37)


No athlete in the history of professional sports is comparable to Gordie Howe. "Mr. Hockey" was a great player when he was young and when he was old enough to be the father of some of his teammates. But his best NHL season, in terms of points, was in 1968-69. One day before his 41st birthday, Howe scored a goal in Detroit's 9-5 loss to Chicago (the Red Wings' 76th of 78 games) to reach the 100-point mark for the first (and only) time in his NHL career.
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Some records may be etched in permanent ink

Thursday, 07.21.2011 / 6:51 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Once upon a time, Gordie Howe's 801 goals and Terry Sawchuk's 103 shutouts were deemed unbreakable -- records that would stand the test of time. Then, along came Wayne Gretzky and Martin Brodeur, who dropped the former Detroit teammates back to No. 2 in their respective categories.

Players like Gretzky and Brodeur have set standards for the players of today and tomorrow to shoot at. But there are some records that don't figure to be broken for a long time, if ever. Here are a few of them:

Longest consecutive point-scoring streak: Wayne Gretzky, 51 games

It would be easy to write multiple stories about the legion of Gretzky records that are all but impossible to break -- 894 goals and 2,857 points in a career; 92 goals and 215 points in single seasons, to name a few.
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League's best at doing some of the little things

Monday, 07.18.2011 / 12:55 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby are hockey icons because of their offensive skills -- after all, the basic premise of hockey is that you have to put the puck in the net more than the other guy, and Ovechkin and Crosby are better at doing that (or helping teammates do it) than just about anyone else around.

But there's more to winning hockey games than just scoring goals, and not even "Great 8" and "Sid the Kid" can do everything. Doing the dirty work and excelling at the little things plays a big role in winning games, as well.
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Big Assist a big success

Thursday, 07.14.2011 / 12:33 PM / NHL Insider

Emily Kaplan - NHL.com Staff Writer

STAMFORD, Conn. -- It all started with a shivering cold Ryan Shannon.

When Shannon won the Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007, he wanted to do something a little different with his day with Lord Stanley by paying tribute to a man who helped get his hockey career started. That man is Obie Harrington-Howes, who first coached Shannon when he was 5 years old. Harrington-Howes suffered a spinal cord injury in a freak accident nearly 13 years ago at Jones Beach on Long Island and has been in a motorized wheelchair ever since.

In the summer of 2007, Shannon brought the Cup to his hometown rink in Darien, Conn., where fans could take pictures with it and meet Shannon for a suggested donation to the Obie Harrington-Howes Foundation, which aids those with similar injuries and challenges in the state of Connecticut.
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Some of the most exciting players in NHL history

Monday, 07.11.2011 / 6:00 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

There's excitement, and then there's excitement -- the kind that yanks you right out of your seat. The kind that makes you shake your head. The kind that makes you wonder aloud, "How did he do that?"

Players who generate that kind of excitement don't come along every day. Here's a look at some of the NHL's best at bringing us out of our seats over the seasons. 

You might agree with NHL.com's choices. You might think an all-time great–remember we are talking a superior brand of excitement, the players you don't want to miss a single shift. Feel to share a comment about our choices. Oh, and Happy Hockey in July.
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Quote of the Day

It's always a little bit weird, but it moves on. They've got a good team, and they played well tonight. I think that's just part of it.

— Peter Laviolette on facing his former team (Flyers) for the first time since his departure