Though there's no definite number, Oxford Dictionaries estimates there are over 250,000 words in the English language. That's not including slang, technical or scientific terms. For those who grow up with English as their native tongue, it's often hard to fathom just how vast the language really is, and how so many of the "rules" are broken on a sentence-by-sentence basis.
Marek Mazanec, a sixth-round pick (No. 179) of the Nashville Predators in the 2012 NHL Draft, knew just a handful of those 250,000 -- if that. After three seasons backstopping HC Plzen of the Czech Extraliga, the highest level of hockey in the Czech Republic, Mazanec split the 2013-14 season almost evenly between the Predators and their American Hockey League affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals.
The adjustment was twofold.
"Everything was new for me last year. Different country, language, people, hockey style," Mazanec said. "The hardest part was my bad English. I got lucky [with] the people in the Predators organization. Everyone tried to help me, so they made it little easier for me."
The St. Louis Blues have won six games in a row despite injuries to forwards Paul Stastny and T.J. Oshie (and a temporary absence for captain David Backes). One of the biggest reasons the Blues have stormed back near the top of the League standings after an uneven start is the play of forward Vladimir Tarasenko.
While Stastny was the headliner among the offseason additions, with forward Jori Lehtera and a full-time roster spot for goaltender Jake Allen probably next in line, one of the best reasons to think St. Louis could improve in 2014-15 was the maturation of Tarasenko and forward Jaden Schwartz. Tarasenko is off to a great start with eight goals and 14 points in 12 games, including the best goal of the season to date Monday at Madison Square Garden and then the lone goal of the game one day later across the Hudson River at Prudential Center.
Tarasenko is already one of the top Russian players in the NHL (in the NHL is an important distinction, because he was not happy with his role on the national team in February). Where does he stack up among the top Russians in the League? Here's a look at the most productive players from his homeland since Tarasenko joined the Blues at the start of the 2012-13 season:
Washington is averaging 3.08 goals per game and allowing 25.2 shots. Seven times this season, the Capitals have held an opponent to 25 or fewer shots, something they did 12 times in two seasons under former coach Adam Oates. The Capitals are also surrendering about 10 fewer 5-on-5 shot attempts per 60 minutes than they did last season, according to stats.hockeyanalysis.com.
That vast defensive improvement, though, hasn't led to early-season success.
The Capitals enter a preview of the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday (8:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US) embroiled in a five-game losing streak.
The New Jersey Devils scored three goals in the final 3:25 of regulation, ending Jake Allen’s shutout streak at 184:38, but David Backes’ power-play goal at 17:28 of the final frame stood as the game-winner as the St. Louis Blues won their seventh consecutive game.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Allen’s shutout streak is the longest ever by a Blues rookie, surpassing Ernie Wakely's mark of 150:50 set in 1969-70. The last NHL rookie with a streak as long as Allen’s was Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2008-09 (199:28).
DENVER -- Forward Daniel Winnik sustained a head injury early in the first period of the Toronto Maples Leafs' 4-3 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Thursday but should be fine, coach Randy Carlyle said.
"It’s one of those situations where you’re expecting a lot worse and he isn’t any worse for wear," Carlyle said.
Winnik was taken off the ice on a stretcher after landing on his head while still wearing a helmet following a collision at center ice with Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda just across the Colorado blue line 45 seconds into the game.
Winnik didn't appear to be moving as he lay on the ice and was being attended to by medical staff, but he was blinking his eyes and moving the fingers on his right hand after being strapped to the stretcher."After I just watched it I didn’t think it was that bad," Carlyle said. "The bad part about it was he was out of it. He didn’t move. That left everybody gasping.
Detroit Red Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson will miss the next several weeks because of a dislocated left shoulder sustained Wednesday against the New York Rangers, general manager Ken Holland said Thursday.
"I don't have any timeframe for you," Holland told the Red Wings website. "I don't know if he needs surgery or doesn't need surgery. I know it's dislocated. He's out for a significant period of time."
Gustavsson, 30, will have X-rays and be evaluated Friday. He was injured reaching for a rebound before Derick Brassard scored 1:50 into overtime to give the Rangers a 4-3 win. He made 26 saves in his first start in five games.
Ashton will forfeit $169,185 in salary and under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement the suspension is accompanied by a mandatory referral to the NHL/NHLPA Program for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health for evaluation and possible treatment.
"The Toronto Maple Leafs support the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program and today's decision to suspend forward Carter Ashton," Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said in a statement. "At this time, out of respect for Carter and the process involved, the club will not comment any further."
Sharp left the game Tuesday with 13:05 remaining after a hit by Montreal defenseman Alexei Emelin. He has three goals and nine points in 13 games after leading the Blackhawks with 78 points last season, during which he missed 14 games because of an upper-body injury.
"Miss a guy like Sharpie, you miss some production, miss some consistency in a lot of areas," Quenneville told ESPNChicago.com. "At the same time, it's a good opportunity for some guys that are looking and want more."
The move could be an indication forward Derek Stepan will be activated off injured reserve prior to the Rangers game Saturday at the Toronto Maple Leafs. Stepan has not played this season after breaking his leg in the preseason.
Mueller had one goal and one assist in seven games with the Rangers. He has a goal in his only game this season with Hartford.