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Jaromir Jagr and Jarome Iginla rank among players eyeing impressive milestones next season

It’s probably safe to say that every player in the NHL will go into the 2011-12 season with a list of goals. Some of the players will keep things a bit vague or just have an eye on the Stanley Cup while others might the be obsessive types to have an actual number of goals or points in mind.

John Kreiser of NHL.com details some of the biggest milestones that players can reach next season. Here are a few of the marks that stand out as especially interesting.

1,000 assists: Jaromir Jagr has a decent chance of becoming the 12th player in NHL history to get more than a thousand assists. He needs 47 to cross that mark, which isn’t too far-fetched; Jagr had 46 in his most recent campaign in 07-08.

500 goals: Jarome Iginla needs 16 goals to reach that rare milestone. It’s hard to imagine him falling short of that mark unless he gets injured. Daniel Alfreddson (389) and Marian Hossa (388) are on the verge of 400.

300 goalie wins: Evgeni Nabokov has 293 while Miikka Kiprusoff has 276, so both have a strong chance at reaching 300 W’s. Tomas Vokoun (262) and Jose Theodore (260) might have a shot if they have outstanding seasons, too.

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Naturally, Kreiser’s list made me wonder if there are some other interesting milestones/historically interesting stat scenarios for next season. Here are some more situations to watch, with help from hockey-reference’s milestones section.

source: Getty ImagesPoints

Vincent Lecavalier (793) is seven points away from the 800-point threshold while his teammate Martin St. Louis only needs 22 to join him there. Dany Heatley, Alex Tanguay, Chris Pronger, Steve Sullivan, Vinny Prospal and Scott Gomez are within striking distance of 700 points.

Jagr needs 42 points to pass Joe Sakic’s 1,641 points for eighth all-time in scoring. Mike Modano could climb quite a few all-time points ranks of his own if he opts to player another season:

15. Bryan Trottier – 1,425
16. Adam Oates – 1,420
17. Doug Gilmour – 1,414
18. Dale Hawerchuk – 1,409
19. Jari Kurri – 1,398
20. Luc Robitaille – 1,394
21. Brett Hull – 1,391
22. Modano – 1,374

It seems like a leap to imagine Modano scoring 52 points next season, but it’s at least in the realm of possibility if he plays again … right? If nothing else, 20th place seems perfectly possible.

source: Getty ImagesGoals

Teemu Selanne and Jagr might slightly affect the way people view their goal scoring genius this season (if Selanne plays, that is). Take a look at where they rank all time in goals scored.

10. Luc Robitaille – 668
11. Brendan Shanahan – 656
12. Jaromir Jagr – 646
13. Dave Andreychuk – 640
14. Teemu Selanne – 637

With that list in mid, Jagr should have three statistical objectives next season: 22 goals (to move to 10th-all time in goals), 46 assists (to reach 1,000 overall) and 42 points (to pass Sakic for eighth all-time). Another Selanne season would almost certainly allow him to move past Andreychuk and likely past Shanahan as well. An especially good one might even leave him in the top 10, depending on how Jagr fares.

Modano could move up the career list, too. He’s currently at 561, good for 23rd all-time. Four more goals would put him ahead of Mats Sundin and Joe Nieuwendyk while 13 more would place him 20th overall ahead of Mike Bossy.

source: APAssists

Joe Thornton is five assists away from 700 all-time.

As far as all-time numbers are concerned, Jagr (953 assists) needs four assists to pass Mark Recchi (13th place) and 14 to pass Doug Gilmour for 12th. He’d have to put together an awesome 64-assist season to pass 11th place Joe Sakic, who has 1,016 assists. Nicklas Lidstrom is 45 assists from the 900 mark and could move up the ranks quite a bit.

18. Trottier – 901
19. Phil Housley – 894
20. Hawerchuk – 891
21. Phil Esposito – 873
22. Denis Savard – 865
23. Lidstrom – 855

Goalie wins

Nikolai Khabibulin and Roberto Luongo can inch up the all-time wins list.

17. Gump Worsley – 335
18. Harry Lumley – 330
19. Sean Burke – 324
20. Khabibulin – 316
21. Luongo – 308

Roggie Vachon’s 16th-ranked 355 wins would probably be out of reach until next season, unless Khabibulin has an outstanding season.

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After looking at this list, here are a few stray thoughts.

  • One can only imagine where Jagr might rank in NHL history if he didn’t make an exodus for the KHL.
  • Modano probably should hang up his skates, but if he doesn’t he could move up history’s ranks.
  • Luongo is only 32 years old. If he stays reasonably healthy, he should be able to pass Chris Osgood’s 401 wins and be in the top 10 all-time in victories by the end of his career. It’s not even crazy to wonder if he could reach the 450-win mark and end up among in the top five.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this extended look at the milestones and potential historical impacts of the 2011-12 season. Are you getting excited for the return of hockey yet?

Curtis Lazar out indefinitely after being hit by Pens’ Dumoulin

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 02:  Curtis Lazar #27 of the Ottawa Senators takes the puck in the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on April 2, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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It hasn’t been the easiest year for Senators forward Curtis Lazar.

After sticking in the NHL for his first two pro seasons, Lazar began the 2016-17 campaign in the minors. That’s a pretty big step back for the former 17th overall pick in 2013.

The 21-year-old managed to earn a call up back in November, but there’s now some more adversity for him to face.

Lazar suffered a an upper-body injury in last night’s 8-5 loss to the Penguins and although we don’t know how long he’ll be out, we do know he’ll miss some time, as he’s out indefinitely.

He appeared to be injured after being on the receiving end of a hit by Pens defenseman Brian Dumoulin. It was a  hit that Sens play-by-play announcer described as being “from behind”.

With Craig Anderson also leaving the team to head back to Ottawa, the Sens were forced to recall forward Phil Varone and goalie Andrew Hammond from the minors.

Ottawa has three games remaining on their four-game road trip. They’ll take on the Sharks on Wednesday, the Kings on Saturday and the Ducks on Sunday.

PHT Morning Skate: Get to know Blackhawks goalie Lars Johansson

Lars Johansson
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With Corey Crawford now on the shelf, the ‘Hawks will turn to Scott Darling as their starter. But new backup goalie Lars Johansson is a bit of an unknown. This is the 29-year-old’s first year in North America and he could get his first taste of NHL action. “If something were to happen (to Darling), absolutely I would be nervous, as excited for any new thing in my career,” Johansson said. (Chicago Tribune)

–Paul Maurice had some interesting comments about his former goalies Vesa Toskala and Andrew Raycroft. Maurice said that those goalies didn’t give him a very good shot to win in the shootout. (Sportsnet)

–How has the goalie position changed over the years? The Hockey News sat down with current and former NHL goalies, as well as some goalie coaches. “If I still played the way I did back in the day, I wouldn’t be in the NHL anymore. You have to evolve with the time and the position and the new techniques that come out every year,” said Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo. (The Hockey News)

–The New York Post looks back at former Rangers captain Vic Hadfield’s famous smile at the Spectrum in 1974. Hadfield explained that he wasn’t actually happy at the time because his team was on the verge of being eliminated by the Philadelphia Flyers. (NY Post)

–Tyler Murovich of the Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL) was suspended 12 games for this reckless hit on Anthony Calabrese of the Norfolk Admirals. (Yahoo)

–This youth hockey player had an emotional celebration after he scored during the intermission of the Caps game on Monday:

 

Beleskey expected to miss six weeks with right knee injury

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 20:  Matt Beleskey #39 of the Boston Bruins takes a shot against New Jersey Devils  during the third period at TD Garden on October 20, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Devils 2-1.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Boston Bruins are expected to be without forward Matt Beleskey for the next six weeks because of a right knee injury.

That update came from the Bruins on Monday. Boston was victorious over the Florida Panthers in overtime, but Beleskey wasn’t in the lineup.

The Bruins have now won three in a row and four of their last five games.

Beleskey suffered the injury in a collision in the neutral zone with Taylor Fedun during Saturday’s game. He left the game and didn’t return, after his knee drove into the hip of Fedun as the Sabres defenseman pivoted.

In 24 games with the Bruins this season, Beleskey has two goals and five points.

The Penguins are playing a brand of hockey from another era — and it’s a treat for hockey fans

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 08:  Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the Edmonton Oilers at PPG PAINTS Arena on November 8, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Matt Kincaid/Getty Images)
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PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Penguins are doing their part this season to single-handedly address the NHL’s ongoing goal scoring shortage.

At both ends of the ice.

After their 8-5 win over the Ottawa Senators on Monday night — an insane game that featured both teams making a goaltending change, a hat trick, a penalty shot, a fluke goal bouncing off the glass, three replay reviews, and a random appearance by actors Steve Carell and Bryan Cranston in the stands — the Penguins find themselves at the top, and bottom, of pretty much every major offensive and defensive category.

Just consider:

  • Their 3.31 goals per game average is the second best in the NHL behind only the New York Rangers.
  • Their 3.04 goals against average is the fourth worst ahead of only Dallas, Arizona, Toronto and Philadelphia.
  • They are averaging 34.7 shots on goal per game, tops in the league and more than a full shot per game better than the No. 2 team (Chicago).
  • They are giving up 32.6 shots on goal per game, the second worst mark in the league ahead of only the Arizona Coyotes.

When it comes to the latter two points they outshot Ottawa by a 46-34 margin on Monday night, making it the fourth time in the NHL this season a team recorded at least 45 shots on goal and surrendered at least 34 in a single game.

The Penguins have played in three of those games (the other was that 60-shot effort by Columbus over the weekend, and that game went to overtime. The Penguins did all of three of theirs in regulation).

An important thing to keep in mind about that stat: There were only seven such games like that all of last season. For the entire NHL. By all 30 teams. Combined. Only one team (Philadelphia) played in more than one, and nobody played in more than two. The Penguins have played in three in their first 26 games.

Monday’s game was already the 13th time this season (in only 26 games) where they have faced a two-goal deficit at some point in the game when they trailed 4-2 midway through the second period. They have now won six of those games, and are 5-6-1 when they have trailed after two periods. In one of those regulation losses they actually overcome a three-goal deficit, tied the game, and then gave up the winner in the closing minute.

A lot of this is the result of having a team that rolls out four lines of forwards every night that possess the ability to score (including three of the most talented forwards in the league in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel), combined with a blue line that is made up almost entirely of puck-movers and offensive-minded defensemen.

On one hand, it is an absolutely thrilling and captivating brand of hockey to watch. It is a throwback to the 1980s and early 1990s when wide open 8-5 games were fairly common. It is showcasing skill during a time when defense, structure and goaltending have dominated the league.

Because of that, is also not a style of play that has resulted in a lot of success in this era.

Over the past 10 years only one team has won the Stanley Cup finishing worse than seventh in the league in goals against (the lowest ranking over that stretch: The 2008-09 Penguins were 17th. Six of the Cup winners were in the top-two, including three that were the best in the league).

Only one other Cup-winning team during that stretch finished worse than 10th on the penalty kill (the 2010-11 Bruins, who were 16th). The Penguins are currently 29th.

These are areas they clearly need to address and correct (and they know it), because you are not always going to be able to rely on erasing a two-goal deficit in the playoffs no matter how great your offense is, and you are not always going to be able to put a five-or six-spot on the scoreboard.

The funny thing about this is the Penguins are returning pretty much the exact same roster from their 2015-16 Stanley Cup winning team. They are still a team built on speed and playing fast, a recipe that drove them to that championship just a few months ago. But that team excelled in a lot of the important defensive areas. They held opponents to less than 30 shots per game. They were sixth in the NHL in goals against and fifth in the league on the penalty kill.

After Monday’s game, coach Mike Sullivan talked about the importance of playing a “speed” game without necessarily turning it into a track meet.

“We certainly want to play a speed game because that is when we are at our best,” Sullivan said. “We try to distinguish between a speed game and a track meet. For me, we want to play a speed game and use our speed to advantage, but also not feed their transition game and allowing a track meet where you are trading chance for chance. Sometimes I think when we get away from our game a little we have a tendency to get into that track meet a little bit.”

He continued:

“For me it starts with out decisions with the puck. When you look at the makeup of our team we are a team that wants to play with the puck, so we want to make plays instinctively, but when we recognize the danger zones and when the plays aren’t there to be made, that is when we force teams to play 200 feet and that is when we become a more difficult team to play against. That is playing a speed game. So we try to distinguish between those two things.”

All of this is what makes this current team and the way it is playing so fascinating.

Almost every game quickly devolves into madness, and their record so far is great. But they are clearly not playing the way they want.

In the meantime, it is an absolute treat for hockey fans that are starving for more speed, skill and goals to take over the league.