It’s a distant memory now, but the Los Angeles Kings went six straight seasons without a playoff berth until they snapped that drought in 2010. At their low-point, they took Drew Doughty with the second overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
Doughty quickly established himself as a top-tier defenseman and soon the Kings became one of the league’s most dangerous franchises.
“I’ve been saying this a couple years now, he’s our Nick Lidstrom,” Kings forward Anze Kopitar said, per LA Kings Insider. “We all know what he did in Detroit for many, many years. I think Drew likes the big stage, obviously. He likes these types of games. He gets very emotional.
“I guess if you draw a line underneath that, he just brings his game to the next level at this time of year and these type of games.”
Doughty logged a team-high 27:29 minutes in the Kings’ 6-2 victory over Chicago in Game 2 last night. That’s on par with the amount of playing time he’s been getting throughout the playoffs.
He wasn’t the Kings’ hero last night and he similarly hasn’t single-handily reversed the team’s fortunes. He’s got a great group around of him, but then, the same could have been said of Lidstrom throughout his 20-season career. Lidstrom never missed the postseason and he couldn’t have done that without the likes of Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, and Pavel Datsyuk on his side.
But Lidstrom was the constant in that equation. He was the foundation of their defense and arguably their team. It’s not fair to compare a 24-year-old to a seven-time Norris Trophy winner, but in Doughty, the Kings have a guy that they can build around for many years to come.
You don’t see this very often.
The New Jersey Devils and Washington Capitals added an interesting twist to the ceremonial faceoff prior to Saturday’s game.
Former Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur dropped the puck, but instead of the captains taking the draw, it was the two starting goaltenders-Braden Holtby and Cory Schneider.
You can watch the highlights from the ceremony by clicking the video at the top of the page.
The Devils will be retiring Brodeur’s number 30 prior to Tuesday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.
The 43-year-old won 688 games and posted 124 shutouts as a member of the Devils between 1991 and 2014.
He also won three Stanley Cups and four Vezina Trophies in his career.
Things haven’t been going well with Minnesota’s hockey team, but that doesn’t necessarily mean changes are coming via firings or trades.
On Saturday, Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher reiterated his confidence in his team and his coaching staff going forward.
The Wild have won just three of 15 games since Jan. 1 and they’re currently riding a four-game losing streak.
The Wild have been through mid-season slumps before.
Last year, Yeo lost it during a team practice and that seemed to spark his team, as they were able to turn things around and make it to the postseason.
Will a similar tactic work, again? Probably not.
As PHT pointed out earlier this week, this slump might not be like the previous ones.
The Wild are just one point behind Nashville (with a game in a hand) for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, but will their top guns be able to get them out of this funk?
The numbers aren’t pretty:
—Zach Parise has no points in his last four games and just one goal in his last nine contests.
—Thomas Vanek hasn’t scored in eight games. He has just one assist during that span.
—Mikko Koivu has four assists in 15 games since the new year began.
—Mikael Granlund has two assists since Jan. 7 and he has a a minus-11 rating since then.
—Jason Zucker has one assist in 11 games. He hasn’t scored since Jan. 7.
How will Yeo get his team’s attention this time around?
Here’s your answer:
Marian Hossa isn’t a fan of the coach’s challenge.
The veteran winger ripped the NHL’s new challenge system after he had a goal called back in Thursday’s game against Arizona.
–To watch the overturned goal, click here.
“I thought that was [a] joke,” Hossa said, per the Sun-Times. “I tried to battle in front of the net and I don’t have any intention to touch the goalie, just try to battle through two guys and put the puck in the net. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the playoffs, if there’s going to be calls after calls after calls. But I don’t think it’s good for the league.”
The goal was called back because as Hossa was battling in front, he got tangled up with goaltender Louis Domingue‘s stick.
It’s safe to say that Joel Quenneville wasn’t pleased with the decision:
One of the main criticisms of the challenge system is that the review is conducted on a small tablet by the referees on the ice instead of someone in a war room in Toronto or New York.
Every time a goal is disallowed, the NHL writes a blog explaining why the decision was made.
Here’s what they said about the call on Hossa:
The Referee determined that Hossa interfered with Domingue before the puck crossed the goal line. According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Referee, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that the goal should have been disallowed due to ‘Interference on the Goalkeeper,’ as described in Rules 69.1, 69.3 and 69.4.”
Therefore the original call is overturned – no goal Chicago Blackhawks.
Do you think the referee got the call right?
It looks like the battle of Pennsylvania will head outdoors in 2017, according to Scott Burnside of ESPN.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are expected to host the Philadelphia Flyers at Heinz Field next year. It’s still unclear if the game will be a Stadium Series tilt or the NHL’s annual Winter Classic game on Jan. 1.
Here’s an excerpt from Burnside’s story:
The two state rivals have been talking for months about a plan for an outdoor game or series of outdoor games. There was discussion about playing an outdoor game at Penn State, but it’s believed financial demands by the university soured the teams on the neutral site as an option, so the two franchises have been looking at a reciprocal arrangement with an outdoor game played one year in Pittsburgh and a second game in Philadelphia perhaps the next year.
Although the Steelers and Penguins have a good working relationship, there could be a scheduling conflict if the NHL wants to make this game the Winter Classic.
Jan. 1 will be the final day of the NFL’s regular season . Should the Steelers host a Wild Card game the following week, they’d likely decide that a hockey game on their field isn’t the wisest decision.
To avoid this dilemma, the league would just have to move the game to Dec. 31.
This would be the second time Heinz Field hosts an outdoor game (2011).