Top 5 stories of the 2012 NHL Draft

12 Comments

The 2012 NHL Draft may not have grabbed everyone’s attention, but it did leave us with some lasting memories and impressions. What were the biggest ones? Well, we think we know what’s best so here’s your official PHT Top 5 stories of the draft.

1. Nail Yakupov goes No. 1

There was a lot of debate whether or not Yakupov would be Edmonton’s pick at No. 1, but GM Steve Tambellini made the speculation seem silly when he grabbed the Sarnia Sting scoring phenom first overall. Now Yakupov gets to play with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, and Jordan Eberle to make up their own offensive flying circus.

2. Ray Shero sure knows how to spoil the home fans

GM Ray Shero made sure the home fans headed home ecstatic after Friday night’s first round. The Penguins came into the draft with just one pick at 21st overall in the first round. They left the draft dealing Jordan Staal to Carolina for a package that included the eighth overall pick as well as dealing Zbynek Michalek back to Phoenix for a pack of prospects. Well played, Shero.

3. Defense dominates the first round

We knew this draft was loaded with quality defensemen, what we didn’t know was just how many of them would wind up being first-round caliber guys. 13 blue liners went in the first round this year, tying the mark for most defensemen taken in the opening round back in 1996. For what it’s worth, that ’96 draft had notable picks like Ottawa’s Chris Phillips and… Uh… Andrei Zyuzin. Let’s just hope this draft class turns out a little better.

4. Columbus doesn’t deal Nash

We thought this might be the right time for the Blue Jackets and GM Scott Howson to deal Rick Nash. Yeah, about that… Turns out the right time for the Jackets to move him might be after Zach Parise finds a home after July 1. You know what they say about the best laid plans.

5. Luongo is still a Vancouver Canuck

Much like Nash, Roberto Luongo was shaping up to be a big name to be moved at the draft. While Luongo wasn’t traded, his name was thrown around a bit between Vancouver and Florida (of course). Panthers GM Dale Tallon says he’s listening but Canucks GM Mike Gillis says he himself is the guy getting in the way.

Auston Matthews keeps goal streak alive, gives Leafs 1-0 lead in third

1 Comment

These are the moments Toronto Maple Leafs fans were dreaming about when they drafted Auston Matthews. At least those bold enough to picture such great things, so soon in his career.

Speaking of so soon … that’s not how you’d describe a 1-0 goal happening in the third period of a game in this Leafs – Washington Capitals series, but it took that long to break the ice in Game 6.

It took a very lucky bounce for the puck to find its way to Matthews … but the finish was pure skill. With that, the remarkable rookie now has a goal in four straight games (with an assist thrown in for good measure).

The lead wouldn’t last long, however, as Marcus Johansson scored to tie it 1-1.

Things could get awfully nervous for Toronto as they try to force a decisive Game 7 in Washington, but that was a huge goal by Matthews either way.

Clarke MacArthur, Craig Anderson made Sens win that much more emotional

Getty
Leave a comment

It could have been over for Clarke MacArthur plenty of times during his turbulent NHL career. Scratch that, his turbulent hockey career.

His team walked away from his salary arbitration award. MacArthur’s seen plenty of people give up on him. And then, when he finally found a home with the Ottawa Senators, concussion issues threatened to end his playing days.

Yet, there he was on Sunday … drawing a penalty in overtime and then scoring on the ensuing power play to help the Senators advance beyond the Boston Bruins.

He didn’t deny that he imagined very different possibilities during his darker moments.

And, as uplifting as his story was – seriously, just watch this interview and try not to root for the guy – it wasn’t the only emotionally charged moment from Game 6.

Nicholle Anderson was on hand to cheer on Craig Anderson in this one, and the two were able to embrace after the contest:

As violent and intense as the playoffs can often be, MacArthur and Anderson reminded us of the gentler human side of it all.

Erik Karlsson played through hairline fractures in foot to help Sens advance

Getty
3 Comments

Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins?

It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.

Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).

There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.

Hmm.

Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.

Gaudreau, Granlund and Tarasenko: 2017 Lady Byng finalists

Getty
Leave a comment

The NHL officially announced the nominees for the 2017 Lady Byng on Sunday, and they’re a star-studded bunch: Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Granlund and Vladimir Tarasenko.

The PHWA determines “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

(Did Tarasenko help eliminate Granlund’s team in a gentlemanly fashion?)

For more on the three finalists, click here.