Did you know Wayne Simmonds is the NHL’s leading scorer since Dec. 17?


From the NHL’s morning email:

1. Wayne Simmonds (PHI): 12-10—22 in 17 GP
2. John Tavares (NYI): 10-12-22 in 16 GP
3. Thomas Vanek (NYI): 7-14—21 in 17 GP
4. Sidney Crosby (PIT): 6-15—21 in 14 GP
5. Joe Pavelski (SJ): 15-5—20 in 17 GP
6. Kyle Okposo (NYI): 10-10—20 in 16 GP

Those stats are courtesy the Elias Sports Bureau, and they show a couple of things:

First, Simmonds has been a huge part of the Flyers’ resurgence. The 25-year-old seems to have found some real cohesiveness with linemates Brayden Schenn and Scott Hartnell.

“A lot of it is chemistry between the three of them,” coach Craig Berube said last week, per Philly.com. “I think it took some time, but they have got it now. Little things like puck support and battling in the corners for pucks, and people at the net all the time. All their goals are [because of] guys around the net.”

For all the ripping Flyers management rightly receives for some of the contracts it puts on the books, Simmonds’ deal is looking pretty good right now — a cap hit of $3.975 million, and signed through 2018-19.

Second, the Islanders have been scoring a lot. In their past 12 games — during which they’ve gone 9-3-0 — the team is averaging 3.58 goals per game. This is a fun group of players to watch right now, and it can’t do anything but help the Isles convince Vanek to re-sign.

Defensively, however, the Isles still have their issues. Consider this — in five of their last nine wins, the opponent has still managed to score at least three goals. There’s nothing wrong with winning high-scoring affairs, of course, but the truly elite teams in the NHL consistently win all sorts of games, from 7-3 to 1-0.

The Isles have a tough schedule to close the month, starting tonight at MSG versus the Rangers. Should be interesting to see how they do:


Panthers’ Crouse is going back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
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Lawson Crouse is going back to junior. The big 18-year-old winger confirmed it today on Twitter.

Crouse was drafted 11th overall in June by the Florida Panthers. Despite the club’s belief that Crouse could make “an immediate impact” on the roster, he finished the preseason with just two shots and one assist in three games.

Crouse will return to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, with whom he’ll look to improve on his modest point totals from last season.

“I don’t think there’s any pressure on the kid,” coach Gerard Gallant said last week. “If he doesn’t make the team this year he goes back to junior … and will have a lot of success.”

Yes! Jagr’s bringing back the mullet

Ice Hockey - Day 6 - Czech Republic v Slovakia

The greatest mullet in sports history is making a comeback.

According to the Miami Herald’s George Richards, Jaromir Jagr says he’s bringing back the party in the back.

“I have to,” Jagr, 43, said.

Jagr’s teammate with the Florida Panthers, goalie Roberto Luongo, appears to have been the lead lobbyist in all this.

Anyway, this is fantastic.