This is going to be a crucial season for Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, the reigning Hart Trophy winner who once again held the hottest stick in the league last year and once again suffered through major playoff disappointment. Will 2013-14 be the one where he and the Caps finally live up to their former hype?
If you’re like us at TheGP, you’re nearing a very significant moment in your hockey fandom. The players you grew up watching are now on the precipice of ultimate retirement. While we’ve seen football, basketball and baseball players come and go, there’s something about the longevity of an NHLer that makes the departure of somebody like Teemu Selanne or Jaromir Jagr far more resonant than some of their peers in other sports. Get ready for a weird year.
He may not have been a household name, but Mike Knuble has been one of the top complementary players in the NHL for quite some time. Retirement is a likely possibility for him this year and while his eventual departure from the league won’t garner the same press others like Teemu Selanne and Daniel Alfredsson will, he was still able to forge a fantastic career as one of the NHL’s quietest warriors.
The Hockey Hall of Fame announced its newest members last week and in November will officially welcome two defensemen, one with sublime skill and the other highly physical, an all-time great power forward, an innovative coach and possibly the best female defender ever. And as with every induction year, the rallies of praise towards those selected are met with the cry of foul for those some feel are unjustly snubbed from being immortalized in downtown Toronto.
The trade that sent Cory Schneider from the Vancouver Canucks to the New Jersey Devils took a lot of hockey fans by surprise. Now the up and coming star won’t be limited by the indefinite presence of Roberto Luongo in the organization. Will the move behind 41-year-old Martin Brodeur a good one for the netminder in the long-term?
There are many qualities the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks have in common, from superstar goalies who have waited in the wings for their chance to lead their teams deep into the playoffs to exceptional depth at every position and well-respected captains ready to do anything to win. They also have, perhaps most importantly, management with a ton of roster patience.
Whether it’s the typical grinding marathon or this year’s furious sprint, every point earned during the regular season is gained with the hope of not just making the playoffs, but securing home-ice advantage. The Presidents’ Trophy is valuable not because anyone truly cares who won the regular season, but because it ensures the ever so important advantage in every round of the playoffs. This year, more than in year’s past, we’re seeing why it makes such a difference.
Down 3-0 to the Boston Bruins, the New York Rangers are in a tight spot as they head into Game 4 at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night. After blowing a third period lead in Game 1 then being embarrassed in Game 2, the pressure is on the Rangers who looked like they were a small step from making the final at the end of last season. Can they claw their way back from the brink?
The New York Islanders are showing everyone what kind of team they have the potential to be in the near future. With the exception of Game 1 when the Islanders were blown out of the CONSOL Energy Center by a final score of 5-0, they have matched the Pens goal-for-goal and outshot the top-ranked team in the Eastern Conference 78-58 in Games 2 and 3. If they were playing against any other team, they could easily be leading the series.
With fewer than eight months until the puck drops on the Olympic hockey tournament in Sochi, Russia on February 8, 2014, it is still undecided whether or not NHL players will be making the trip to represent their home countries. The NHL along with the International Olympic Committee and International Ice Hockey Federation have been making progress, but work still remains to be done, mainly hammering out details on travel and insurance, to see whether or not NHL players will participate as they have done since 1998.