Here are 10 stats you may find interesting

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Not a whole lot of news to pass along, so here are some stats to chew on…

1. Anaheim’s Daniel Winnik has five goals in the Ducks’ first four games. Even more impressively, all five have been scored even strength. Winnik had five goals for Colorado last season…in 63 games.

2. Andrei Markov has scored the game-winning goal in each of Montreal’s three victories. Sometimes people forget how good Markov, 34, was before all his injury problems. In 2008-09, he had 64 points in 78 games. If he can stay healthy, the Habs have a shot at the playoffs.

3. Ottawa’s Craig Anderson leads all NHL goalies with a .975 save percentage. The 31-year-old has stopped all but three of the 119 shots he’s faced in four games.

4. Alex Ovechkin has spent a league-high 33:29 on the power play…and he only has one goal. In 2007-08, Ovechkin led the NHL with 22 power-play goals.

5. Drew Doughty has yet to register his first point of the season, despite playing almost 30 minutes per game in the Kings’ first five contests. Offense was an issue for the 23-year-old last year as well, when he tallied just 36 points, significantly fewer than the 59 he registered in 2008-09. Granted, he turned it around during the playoffs, racking up 16 points in 20 games on the way to winning the Stanley Cup. And to be fair to Doughty, much of a defenseman’s point total is related to the effectiveness of the forwards when they get the puck. The Kings have just 10 goals so far.

6. The Florida Panthers (1-4-0) have a minus-11 goal differential, the worst in the NHL. After beating Carolina, 5-1, in their first game of the season, the Panthers have lost four in a row by a combined score of 18-3. It’s worth noting Florida’s goal differential last season was minus-24, by far the worst of the 16 playoff teams.

7. The Canucks have blown a pair of 2-0 leads in their first six games. Last Sunday, they took a 2-0 lead on Edmonton and lost 3-2 in a shootout. Last night, the exact same thing happened in Los Angeles. Oh, and both times Roberto Luongo was in goal. (Update: This isn’t a criticism of Luongo, who was outstanding against the Kings. Just thought I’d point it out, given the guy’s made two starts this year and the Canucks have blown 2-0 leads in both.)

8. Only one team has yet to surrender a power-play goal, and that’s the Boston Bruins, who are a perfect 23-for-23 on the penalty kill. In a partially related story, the B’s haven’t lost in regulation yet.

9. Toronto’s Phil Kessel has 24 shots and zero goals. That’s the most shots of any player without scoring. Next in that category is Jarome Iginla, who’s taken 19 shots without any going in.

10. The Blues’ Kevin Shattenkirk leads all NHL defensemen with eight points, all of them assists. Avalanche GM Greg Sherman must be so happy for him.

‘Making Gretzky’s head bleed’ wasn’t so easy for ‘Swingers’ filmmaker

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Remember that classic (and very NSFW) video game hockey scene from “Swingers?” The one where Vince Vaughn espouses the virtues of Jeremy Roenick? It was pretty great, right?

There was something so organic about two friends getting up to video-game shenanigans (and discussing which 16-bit era game featured the best pixelated violence), but apparently it was easier to set the scene that it was to “make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed.”

The Ringer’s Achievement Oriented podcast caught up with Doug Liman (pictured with Jon Favreau in this post’s main image) for some hysterical background information on getting that highly amusing scene right.

“I had never actually seen Wayne Gretzky draw blood, but Vince [Vaughn] claimed he could do it repeatedly, so we put it in the script,” Liman said. “The actors are reacting to that. And then we’re editing the movie and I bring the [game console] into the editing room and we start playing it and we’re recording it onto a videotape so that when we get the one piece we need we’ll play that back on the TV and shoot it. [We do this] for, like, weeks. Nobody can draw blood. And I’m like [to] Nintendo, ‘Hey, can you give us the backdoor key to doing this?’ It wasn’t like we were having fun playing the game, because all we would do was pass the puck down and set it up for Gretzky to get the puck and then we would, you know, try to slam him into the boards.”

Like a rare athletic feat, they got it right, but don’t ask Liman to pull it off on a whim. Liman sure made it seem like they were lucky to ever commit that moment to film.

Liman explained that it was “infuriatingly fleeting” and not the sort of video game trick that you could make work over and over again once you learned the right combination of button presses.

This is some really funny, fantastic background information on the movie that launched the careers of Favreau and Vaughn. It also helped remind us of that golden 16-bit era of EA NHL games, whether you preferred NHL ’94, ’95, or ’96. (And so on.)

Liman also shares a very amusing story about how hockey video game skills don’t exactly translate to the real sport, so check out the transcript and the full podcast for more.

And, if you’re playing a modern game like NHL ’17, don’t pick on “Super Fan 87.” Be nice to your friends. That’s the money move.

Here’s the scene itself. Again, a warning: there is strong language and 16-bit “gore.”

Price’s agent, Canadiens’ GM expected to meet next week

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It seems the two big orders of business for the Montreal Canadiens this offseason will be finding a way to re-sign Alexander Radulov, and come to terms on a new contract extension with franchise goaltender Carey Price.

According to multiple reports, including Pierre LeBrun and RDS, Price’s agent, Gerry Johansson, and Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin are expected to meet next week to potentially begin talking about a new deal.

Price, who has one year remaining on his current contract, will be eligible to sign a new extension on July 1 and it would be reasonable to assume that is going to be one of the larger contracts among the league’s goaltenders.

Price’s current contract will pay him $6.5 million next season, a figure that places him among the top-five goalies in the league.

Given what Price has meant to the Canadiens over the past four years he should expect to make something closer to the $7.5-$8 million figure that Henrik Lundqvist and Sergei Bobrovsky are currently making.

The 29-year-old Price has been one of the NHL’s best goalies for four years now and has a massive impact on the success of the Canadiens. When he is healthy, they win. When he is not (as he was not a year ago), they do not.

Of the 46 goalies that have appeared in at least 100 games since the start of the 2012-13 season, Price currently ranks in the top-three in save percentage (first), even-strength save percentage (first) goals against average (second), and shutouts (third). He has also taken home a Hart Trophy as league MVP and a Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goalie during that stretch.

Stanley Cup Final odds: Penguins open as favorites over Predators

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The 2017 Stanley Cup Final is set with the Pittsburgh Penguins, continuing their quest to repeat as champions, facing the Nashville Predators.

Both teams come in missing some key players (Kris Letang, Pittsburgh; Ryan Johansen, Nashville) but both still have plenty of star player with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, P.K. Subban, Filip Forsberg and the rest of Nashville’s defense headlining the series.

According to the folks at Bovada, the Penguins open the series as favorites to win it over the Predators.

NHL Stanley Cup Finals Series Price
Nashville Predators +135 (27/20)
Pittsburgh Penguins -155 (20/31)

The series begins on Monday night in Pittsburgh.

Related

2017 Stanley Cup Final Schedule: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Nashville Predators

Canucks sign free agent defenseman Philip Holm to one-year deal

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The Vancouver Canucks announced on Friday that they have signed free agent defenseman Philip Holm to a one-year, entry-level contract.

Before signing with the Canucks Holm had been rumored to be on the verge of joining the Toronto Maple Leafs, but that obviously did not come together.

“Philip is a mobile, two-way defenseman who adds depth to our blue line,” said Canucks general manager Jim Benning in a statement released by the team. “He made strides in his development last season with Vaxjo and played a strong series with Sweden at the World Championships We’re pleased to welcome him to the Canucks organization.”

The 25-year-old Holm has spent the past seven seasons playing professionally in Sweden for Vaxjo HC and Djurgardens IF.

He is regarded as a smooth skating, puck-moving defenseman and had a pretty strong season for Vaxjo this past year, scoring four goals and adding 17 assists in 52 games. He was the top-scoring defenseman on the team.

He also had three points (one goal, two assists) in seven games for Sweden at the 2017 IIHF World Ice Hockey Championships. Sweden won the Gold Medal at the tournament by defeating Canada in the championship game.

The Canucks already have six defensemen under contract for 2017-18 (and they do not seem to be in a hurry to trade any of them) but it was a unit that clearly needs an upgrade, so Holm should be an opportunity to make an impact next season.