Ville Leino, Tuukka Rask

The Hockey News lists its top 10 all-time rookie playoff performances

No doubt about it, Tyler Seguin made a huge impact in his first two career playoff appearances. Some even think that he’s been good enough to make Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien look bad (even if his team managed to make the Eastern Conference finals without Seguin).

In the rush to crown Seguin the next big thing, it’s important to note that two games remain a small sample. Sure, his six-point start ties him for second place in NHL history for a player’s first two contests, but he has a way to go before he can join the ranks of the all-time best rookie playoff performers.

In a tribute to that sentiment (and also Seguin’s big night), Adam Proteau constructed his top 10 list of all-time rookie playoff performances for The Hockey News. The list includes memorable runs from Ken Dryden, Jeremy Roenick and even current Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney.

First, here are the two active players who made the list:

9. Cam Ward, Hurricanes

Just 22 years old at the time, Ward tasted his first playoff action in 2006 when he replaced Canes starter Martin Gerber in Game 2 of the first round against the Canadiens. Ward never surrendered the role the rest of the way, winning 15 games (including two Game 7s) and claiming the Conn Smythe Trophy as Carolina won its first Stanley Cup.

(snip)

5. Ville Leino, Flyers

Though Leino played seven playoff games with Detroit in 2009, he was also still considered a rookie in his second playoff season. Leino was a relatively old 26 when he suited up for Philadelphia in 2010, but made the most of it, setting a new league record for playoff rookie assists (14) and tying Ciccarelli’s record for rookie playoff points (21) set in 1981.

Some might have actually ranked Ward higher than Leino because he was arguably even more valuable to his team as he won the Conn Smythe and a Stanley Cup in 2006, but it’s tough to argue with Leino’s overall numbers.

Quite possibly the greatest goalie in NHL history and two scrappy overachievers round out the top three of Proteau’s list.

3. Claude Lemieux, Canadiens

One of the more underrated playoff performers in NHL history, Lemieux first showed his post-season chops as a 20-year-old in 1986, scoring 10 goals (including four game-winners) in 20 games and helping the Habs to another Cup.

2. Dino Ciccarelli, North Stars

A member of the most recent Hockey Hall of Fame class, the right winger was 21 and had only played 32 regular season games when the 1981 playoffs began. He then set a rookie record for post-season goals (14) and points (21) in 19 games for a North Stars team that lost the Cup final in five games to the Islanders.

1. Patrick Roy, Canadiens

The Canadiens legend was just 20 years old in 1986 when he powered the Habs to the Stanley Cup and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP thanks to 15 wins and a 1.93 goals-against average.

People often point the advantage of experience in the postseason, but those 10 players rank among the players who were quick learners. Will Seguin force his way onto later top 10 lists like this in the future? He’ll need to keep his hot streak going to have a chance.

Streaking Blues get Stastny back tonight

UNIONDALE, NY - DECEMBER 06:  Paul Stastny #26 of the St. Louis Blues skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on December 6, 2014 in Uniondale, New York. The Blues defeated the Islanders 6-4.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Saturday’s loss to Buffalo notwithstanding, St. Louis has been on fire lately under new head coach Mike Yeo. The Blues are 7-2 in their last nine, and will get a big piece of the lineup back this evening when they host Florida at Scottrade.

Paul Statsny, who’s missed the last four games with a lower-body injury, will draw in for the first time since Feb. 9, per NHL.com’s Lou Korac.

What’s more, Stastny will be immediately reunited on the club’s top line between Alex Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko.

Stastny had been on fire since the dismissal of former head coach Ken Hitchcock, racking up six points over his last five games played (in which the Blues went 4-1-0).

The 31-year-old currently sits fourth on the team in assists and points, while averaging 19:25 TOI per night, so he’s clearly a big part of the St. Louis attack. And based on his form prior to getting hurt, it was clear things were clicking with Steen and Tarasenko — which should make for an exciting test tonight against the red-hot Panthers.

Sens recall pair of forwards in wake of multiple injuries

Ottawa Senators' Mark Stone (61) lies injured on the ice after being hit hard by Winnipeg Jets' Jacob Trouba (not shown) during third period NHL hockey action in Ottawa, Sunday Feb. 19, 2017. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press via AP)
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The Ottawa Senators have called up some reinforcements from the AHL.

Forwards Casey Bailey and Max McCormick are on their way to the big club, in the wake of Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Jets that saw Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone and Tommy Wingels all leave with injuries.

The Sens also went into yesterday’s game without winger Bobby Ryan, who’s out indefinitely with a hand injury.

No word yet on the status of Hoffman, Stone, or Wingels, but head coach Guy Boucher wasn’t all that optimistic yesterday.

“It doesn’t look good,” Boucher told reporters. “We have to wait until tomorrow to be clear and precise but right now we could be losing quite a few guys.”

The Sens kick off a four-game road trip tomorrow in New Jersey. They currently sit second in the Atlantic Division, but not that far ahead of Boston, Toronto, and Florida.

Related: Jacob Trouba will have a hearing for head shot on Mark Stone

Kings’ Robitaille named chairman of German League club (Updated)

2012 NHL Stanley Cup Final – Game Six
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Kings legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille has added a new role to his front office portfolio.

Robitaille, currently serving as L.A.’s president of business operations, has been named as the chairman of Eisbaren Berlin, one of the most storied clubs in Germany’s top league, the Deutsche Eishockey Liga.

Berlin is owned by the Anschutz Entertainment Group, the same outfit that owns the Kings. The two clubs have a fairly long history with each other, though this Robitaille appointment is part of what sounds like the biggest cooperative initiative to date.

UPDATE: The Kings have confirmed the development, with added information…

The Los Angeles Kings will now oversee all operations of Berlin Eisbaren Hockey, it was announced today at a news conference at Mercedes-Benz Arena.

Eisbaren Berlin of the German Ice Hockey League and the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League are owned and operated by AEG Sports, a division of the Anschutz Entertainment Group. The LA Kings will now begin leading all hockey operations and administrative matters, directing the day-to-day leadership of Managing Director Peter John Lee.

“The results the last few years in Berlin have not been the championship standards that we all expect,” said Robitaille.  “It became clear that our relationship needs to go beyond collaboration and move to a complete connection to ensure the team and organization has what it needs to return this club to the type of team our fans expect and have demonstrated passionate support for.”

From the Eisbaren Berlin website (translated):

“This is an important day for the polar bears Berlin,” said Eisbären CEO Peter John Lee. We have been interacting with Luc Robitaille and LA Kings for a long time. In the new constellation we have the leadership of the LA Kings directly on board the polar bears, so we can work even more intensively to turn the polar bears Berlin into a championship team again.”

(At this time, probably worth noting the team’s nickname translates to polar bears.)

Former Kings farmhand Alex Roach currently plays for Berlin, and the team is coached by Robitaille’s former teammate in Detroit, Uwe Krupp.

Who has the best and worst special teams in the NHL?

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews (34) celebrates with teammates after scoring a power play goal against the New York Islanders during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
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If the Toronto Maple Leafs make the playoffs, special teams will be one of the big reasons why.

Three quarters of the way through the season, the Leafs boast the NHL’s top power play, and their ninth-ranked penalty killing isn’t too bad either.

When the PP and PK are combined, Toronto has the best special teams in the league, followed closely by the Bruins, Blues, and Capitals.

Here’s how all 30 teams rank (best and worst PP and PK in bold):

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As you can see, the bottom of the list is full of teams who will miss the playoffs. The Stars’ penalty killing has been particularly dreadful. In fact, Dallas is on pace to have the worst PK of the salary-cap era.