Steven Stamkos

Steven Stamkos on the verge of joining elite company


From columnist John Kreiser comes this tidbit:

Stamkos is two goals away from becoming the NHL’s first 50-goal scorer this season. When he does, he’ll join an elite group of six players who’ve had multiple 50-goal seasons before their 23rd birthday (he turned 22 on Feb. 7).

Wayne Gretzky did it four times; Mike Bossy, Mario Lemieux, Joe Nieuwendyk and Alex Ovechkin each had two seasons with at least 50 goals before turning 23.

As that excerpt suggests, Stamkos is having a pretty solid year. His 48 goals have put him 10 clear of the NHL’s second-leading sniper, Evgeni Malkin, and re-ignited Hart Trophy discussions that were long thought to be done.

Some other notes about Stamkos’ scoring spree:

— That 10-goal cushion atop the Rocket Richard Trophy race is huge. In 2011-11 Corey Perry (50) beat Stamkos (45) by five goals; in 2009-10 Stamkos and Sidney Crosby tied with 51 goals while Alex Ovechkin finished with 50…you have to go all the way back to 2008-09 for a similar disparity between No. 1 and No. 2. That year, Ovechkin led the NHL with 56 goals while Jeff Carter finished second, with 46.

— Another tidbit from the piece: Stamkos’ 144 goals are the most by any player since the start of 2009-10. Perry is next with 111, two more than Ovechkin.

— Should Stamkos get to 50 this year, it’ll be the second 50-goal campaign of his career. That’ll make him just one of seven active NHLers with multiple 50-goal seasons, joining Jaromir Jagr, Teemu Selanne, Jarome Iginla, Ilya Kovalchuk, Dany Heatley and Ovechkin.

Check out the NBC Sports NHL MVP ranker!

Kassian sent to hospital after being involved in car accident

Scott Darling, Zack Kassian

Montreal Canadiens winger Zack Kassian was involved in a car accident early Sunday morning.

According to the Montreal Gazette, Kassian was a passenger in a vehicle that ran into a tree.

The Canadiens have since confirmed the incident took place and have also mentioned that Kassian was taken to hospital.

A club official described his injuries as being “minor”.

“(Kassian) was all bloodied up and stuff. He was in a daze,” said Steve Petrenko, a resident of the street on which the accident took place. “He had a hard time walking, and he almost took a fall.”

This story will be updated when more information is made available.

Habs and Fleischmann agree on one-year deal

Tomas Fleischmann,
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The Montreal Canadiens announced that they have signed Tomas Fleischmann to a one-year contract.

According to TVA Sports, the deal is worth $750,000.

The 31-year-old was invited to camp on a professional tryout, but his preseason performance showed that he could still contribute at the NHL level.

Fleischmann found instant chemistry with new linemates David Desharnais and Dale Weise, and it looks like the trio will open the regular season as Montreal’s third line.

The veteran winger started  last season with Florida, but was traded to Anaheim on Feb. 28. He had a hard time cracking the Duck’s lineup and was a healthy scratch in most of their playoff games last spring.

Fleischmann scored eight goals and 27 points in 66 games last season.