The NHL's 'off the beaten path' records, including one that Alex Ovechkin could break

3 Comments

ovechkinshoots.jpgLast night, I discussed the NHL.com story regarding the league’s “unbreakable” records. John Kreiser also added another wrinkle to the topic with a separate post including some of the records that are “off the beaten path.”

I thought I’d take a look at some of those wacky records, too. Let’s start with one that could be broken and move on to a few that would take quite the effort – or lack thereof – to ever be eclipsed.

Most shots on goal in an NHL career: Ray Bourque with 6,206

That’s an incredible 840 more than the runner-up, Marcel Dionne, who holds the mark for forwards with 5,366.

But Ovechkin appears to have a good chance to overtake Bourque — he has 2,159 shots in his first five seasons, an average of more than 430. That pace would move Ovi past Bourque before he reaches his 35th birthday.

Highest career plus/minus: Larry Robinson with +730

Besides Robinson and Bourque, only Gretzky (plus-518) and Bobby Clarke (plus-506) are more than plus-500 for their careers. The active leader is Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom at plus-431 — and he’s light years ahead of runner-up Patrik Elias of New Jersey, who’s plus-198.

My guess is that such a mark won’t ever be broken. Robinson clearly reaped the benefits of a much smaller NHL and a Montreal Canadiens franchise whose dominance might never be matched.

Most games played in a single regular season: Jimmy Carson, 86 games in the 1992-93 season with Detroit and Los Angeles

Finally, I’ll leave you with this interesting excerpt about scoring futility with a mild dose of efficency. We begin with a discussion of snake-bitten former Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Steve Halko. I highly recommend reading Kreiser’s full piece, by the way.

Halko managed 15 assists in his 155 NHL regular-season games, but never turned on the red light despite being credited with 96 shots on goal. That’s the most games played by anyone in NHL history without scoring at least once.

Halko was no longer a Hurricane in 2003-04 when Carolina called up a defenseman named Brad Fast for his lone NHL appearance. Fast made the most of his cameo, scoring a goal before being returned to the minors. He’s one of three players who have played only one NHL game and scored a goal — the others are center Rolly Huard (Toronto, 1930-31) and defenseman Dean Morton (Detroit, 1989-90).

At least Halko managed to hit the score sheet — unlike Gord Strate, a defenseman who played 61 games during parts of three seasons with Detroit in the late 1950s and never managed a point. No other player has skated in as many games without managing at least one point — the runner-up is Frank “Frosty” Peters, who went 43 games without a point, all in 1930-31.

By winning fifth straight, Caps extend Wild’s slump to seven losses

Minnesota Wild’s Jared Spurgeon,right, keeps Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin of Russia occupied near the net in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, March 19, 2015, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
AP
3 Comments

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Alex Ovechkin scored three times in the second period for his 14th career hat trick, and the Washington Capitals beat the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Thursday night.

Ovechkin, who leads the league with 34 goals, has 13 in his past 13 games. Nicklas Backstrom had three assists and Jason Chimera added an empty-netter for Washington, which improved to a league-best 20-5-2 on the road.

Braden Holtby made 33 saves for the Capitals, who won their fifth consecutive game and became the first team to reach 40 victories this season.

Charlie Coyle, Ryan Suter and Mikael Granlund scored for the Wild, but Minnesota lost for the 12th time in its past 13 games (1-10-2). Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves for the Wild, who have lost seven in a row at home (0-4-3).

Ovechkin’s third goal, which deflected off both the post and the back of Dubnyk into the net, was upheld following a coach’s challenge. Wild coach Mike Yeo challenged that the puck had left the zone for offsides, but the call stood after a review showed that Backstrom stopped the puck before it crossed the blue line.

The goal gave Ovechkin his first hat trick since he scored four goals against Tampa Bay on Dec. 10, 2013.

It wasn’t the only fortunate bounce for Ovechkin on the night, and the five-time 50-goal scorer capitalized on each opportunity.

A shot from T.J. Oshie deflected off of Minnesota forward Zach Parise across the ice right to Ovechkin in the left faceoff circle and Ovechkin quickly snapped off a shot to beat Dubnyk, who couldn’t get across the crease to get into position. Three minutes later, Ovechkin scored on the power play when a point shot bounced off the end boards right to Ovechkin in front of the net.

The tally provided some relief for the Capitals’ surprisingly ineffective power play. Washington had one power play in its previous six games, an empty-netter for the only goal in its previous 20 power-play chances. The Capitals were 1 of 5 on the power play on Thursday.

Coyle scored for the fifth time in eight games in the second, but second periods have doomed the Wild during their slump. Minnesota has been outscored 13-3 in the period in five straight losses.

Suter scored his sixth goal of the season on the power play in the third as Minnesota went 1 of 5 with the man advantage.

NOTES: Washington C Evgeny Kuznetsov left in the third period after he was hit in the face by the stick of Mikael Granlund off a faceoff. … Backstrom has 20 points in his last 17 games. … Minnesota D Jared Spurgeon missed his second straight game with an unspecified deep bruise. Spurgeon has returned to practice, but was held out again. … Holtby is 27-1-3 in his last 31 games with two shutouts, a 2.10 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.

Watch the Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp tribute video

3 Comments

Over the years, the Chicago Blackhawks have been forced to let some important players leave to keep their core together, which ultimately meant parting ways with Patrick Sharp.

The talented winger now wears a Dallas Stars jersey, so Blackhawks fans must face the reality of watching Sharp ply his trade for a formidable Central Division opponent.

Even if that might feel awkward, Blackhawks fans gave Sharp (and Johnny Oduya) a warm reception in Chicago on Thursday.

CSNChicago.com provides video of that ovation, which you can see in the clip above.

The Stars currently lead the Blackhawks 4-2, thanks in large part to Patrick … Eaves.

Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick helps him make more history

2 Comments

Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

(He also passed Jean Beliveau for 39th all-time in goals with his 509th, as NHL.com notes.)

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Update: Minnesota managed three goals, but it wasn’t enough, as Washington got the edge 4-3.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci

11 Comments

Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.