Hull Oates

Brett Hull on Ovechkin: “He’s going to thrive under Oates”


If anybody knows the value of Adam Oates, it’s Brett Hull.

When Hull became the third man in NHL history to score 80-plus goals in a single season (86 in 1990-91) it was Oates, his Hall of Fame center, who often played setup man.

So no surprise that Hull’s predicted great things now that Oates is coaching one of the NHL’s premier snipers — Alex Ovechkin.

“It’s crazy,” Hull told the Washington Post. “He’s going to thrive under Oates. There’s just no question.

“When I played, Adam was my coach. He told me what we were going to do, when we were going to do it, how we were going to do it and it always worked.”

The Blues legend suggested that Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom could become a modern-day version of Hull and Oates, who combined for over 600 points in nearly three full seasons together.

Such production would be a welcome development in Washington, especially after Ovechkin’s offensive output shrunk to a career-low 65 points last season.

“To me, the number one thing in being a great coach is being able to understand great players,” Hull explained. “When you’re a great player, like Adam, and have played with great players you understand them.

Hull wasn’t the only benefactor of Oates’ presence. Joe Juneau scored a career-high 32 goals in Oates’ first year in Boston — Juneau would never score more than 19 in a single season — and upon moving to Washington, Oates helped Peter Bondra score a career-high 52 goals in 1997-98.

As such, Hull sounded almost giddy about the prospect of what Oates will do with the Great 8.

“Alex Ovechkin is going to be like a kid in a candy store,” he said.

Start the Carr: Habs recall another player from the minors

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There’s been a lot of movement between Montreal and Saint John’s lately and that continued on Sunday.

This time, it’s forward Daniel Carr who’ll be getting a stint with the big club.

Carr has no prior NHL experience.

The 24-year-old spent four years at Union College before joining the Canadiens organization as an undrafted free agent.

In his first season as a pro, Carr scored 24 goals (led the team) and 39 points in 76 AHL games with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2014-15.

This year, Carr has seven goals and 15 points in 20 games.

Montreal is without forwards Torrey Mitchell, Brendan Gallagher and Alexander Semin.

Campbell’s perfect snipe sinks Wings in OT


Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.

With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.

It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.

Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.

The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.

Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.

They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.

This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.

With Jonathan Bernier sputtering, we’ll meet Garret Sparks

Garett Sparks
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You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.

With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.

Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).

In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:

Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.

Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.