Pavel Bure

What they’re saying about the 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame class


Earlier today, the 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame class was announced, with Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, Adam Oates and Pavel Bure earning the honor.

Names that failed to make the cut include first-time eligible players (Brendan Shanahan, Claude Lemieux, Jeremy Roenick, Curtis Joseph) and those denied multiple times (Dave Andreychuk, Phil Housley, Eric Lindros, Alex Mogilny.)

Needless to say, it was a tough decision — here’s what the hockey world is saying about the four inductees.

Joe Sakic

“Joe’s numbers and records place him among the best of all time and we can’t fully express what he meant to this franchise and our community. He was a complete professional and we are all grateful to have watched him for so many years. Congratulations to you, Joe, on a Hall of Fame career, you truly deserve it.” — Colorado Avalanche President Pierre Lacroix

Adam Oates

“He has the most elite hockey mind I’ve ever come across. Talking to him about the game or watching him play was a real special thing. When you’re able to play with guys like Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom, Mike Modano, Martin St. Louis and Oatsey, those are some great players…. And even though it was toward the end of his career when I played with him, I always thought Oatsey’s mind for the game and knowledge of the game was unlike anyone else’s.” — Jeff Halpern, former Capitals teammate

Pavel Bure

“If you look back at his career, he was a very consistent scorer, an electrifying player, he made highlights every time he stepped on the ice. He’s one of those players whose style represented what Russian hockey was all about. He played a game that was fun to play. He was unbelievable in the way he played. He brought fans out of their seats.” — Igor Larionov, Hockey Hall of Famer.

Mats Sundin

“He became a tremendous hockey player. Every time you played Toronto, you circled one guy. Mats was just a force.” — Fellow 2012 HHOF inductee Joe Sakic

Lightning lament life as a .500 team

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The Tampa Bay Lightning have plenty of time to rise above mediocrity, yet it still must be deserving to finish at .500 for two straight months.

After last night’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, that’s exactly where they find themselves:

Record at the end of October: 5-5-2

Record at the end of November: 11-11-3

As of this writing, the Lightning found themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. It all stands as a pretty tough thing for the reigning Eastern Conference champs to swallow.

The uncomfortable-yet-vital question is: can the Lightning break out of this funk?

Looking at their schedule, it won’t be easy, at least not right away.

They crawl through California during a three-game road trip to start December, and they also face six of eight on the road from Dec. 2 – 18.

The Lightning soak up home dates to finish 2015 after that, but what damage will be done by then?

Frankly, the Bolts will need to dig deep to break this pattern. If nothing else, they’ve fought with their backs against the wall before.

Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby


Sometimes a suspension will shame a player, or at least inspire him to change the way he plays.

That apparently won’t happen regarding Brandon Dubinsky‘s one-game timeout session for cross-checking Sidney Crosby.

Dubinsky told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that he won’t alter his style, whether it’s against Crosby or someone else.

“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”

In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.

One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.

Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?

Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).

Bad news for Boedker: Coyotes won’t face Sens again in 2015-16


Sorry Mikkel Boedker, you won’t get to face the Ottawa Senators again this season.

OK, it could happen if the speedster is traded from the Arizona Coyotes. He could also face the Senators in the unlikely instance that the two teams fight it out in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Beyond those two possibilities, Saturday night was it, and Boedker must have been licking his chops much like an actual coyote.

For the second straight game, Boedker managed a hat trick against the Senators, helping Arizona beat Ottawa 4-3 last night. His third tally stood as the game-winner in a 4-3 victory.

You can watch all three goals in the video above.

It’s oddly fitting that Boedker has three goals this season … against teams not named the Ottawa Senators.

Hey, Tortorella called the Penguins whiners again

John Tortorella

Don’t forget, the Blue Jackets – Penguins rivalry isn’t just about the bitterness between Sidney Crosby and Brandon Dubinsky; John Tortorella can fuel the fire, too.

Torts must not have been happy about the one-game suspension that Dubinsky received for cross-checking Crosby, as he channeled his vintage self in essentially calling the Penguins a bunch of whiners.

You can see from this glorious Sportsnet video, Tortorella said: “Pittsburgh whines enough for the whole league.”

(He also said the Blue Jackets weren’t going to whine by … whining. Good stuff.)

As Puck Daddy notes, this isn’t the first time Torts claimed that the Penguins are whiners.

Both the Blue Jackets and Penguins lost their games on Saturday, but clearly some eyes and ears were still focused on their last confrontation.

In case you’re wondering, the two teams next face off in Pittsburgh on Dec. 21.