2014 NHL Draft - Portraits

Bloodlines: 2014 Draft features familiar (last) names

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As much as the 2014 NHL Draft (and everything surrounding it) was about change, seeing children of former players selected – sometimes by the same teams that employed their fathers – brought about a certain feeling of familiarity.

(And, in the case of Brendan Lemieux being more than OK with emulating his controversial dad Claude Lemieux, maybe the occasional foreboding sense.)

If a last name or 10 sounded familiar to you sometime between Friday night and Saturday afternoon, you weren’t hearing things. Consider some of the best “bloodlines” stories from the draft:

  • Eighth overall pick William Nylander might end up being the best offspring of them all. His father Michael isn’t that far removed from his playing days.
  • Another familiar name is Pittsburgh Penguins’ first-rounder (22nd overall) Kasperi Kapanen, Sami’s son.
  • The most charming moments probably came when players were selected for the same teams their fathers once skated for. That happened when the Montreal Canadiens picked Daniel Audette (you might remember his father Donald), the Boston Bruins selected Ryan Donato (son of Ted) and Carolina Hurricanes tabbed Josh Wesley (Glen’s progeny).
  • Josh Wesley is an especially cool story. He represents North Carolina’s homegrown NHL Draft selection. Will we see more from that region as the Hurricanes only get more settled in Raleigh?
  • Again, Brendan Lemieux hopes to bring the same clutch prowess and fury that his father Claude made infamous, even if it’s not with the Colorado Avalanche or New Jersey Devils (Buffalo made him the first pick of the second round). More about that father-son connection here.
  • The Los Angeles Kings nabbed Jake Marchment, son of Bryan … so Lemieux isn’t the only son of a controversial checker.
  • The Arizona Coyotes drafted Ryan MacInnis, son of Al.
  • The Detroit Red Wings drafted Dominic Turgeon with the 63rd pick. He looks remarkably like his father Pierre (insert uncomfortable Dale Hunter joke here).
source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images
  • And, of course, there’s a Sutter. The New York Islanders drafted Lukas Sutter with the 200th pick. He’s Rich’s son.

Father-son connections aren’t the only noteworthy familial bits …

  • Shane Gersich (135th overall, Washington Capitals) has some famous uncles in Neal and Paul Broten. Neal had a great NHL career and was a key member of the fabled “Miracle on Ice” team.
  • If Anton Karlsson is anywhere near the player is brother Erik Karlsson is, the Arizona Coyotes could have a scary combination of offensive defensemen considering Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Keith Yandle’s talents. The Coyotes seemed to draft based on good genes, it seems.
  • John Quenneville is Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville’s second cousin. Coach Q must be glad that he’s in the Eastern Conference (selected 30th overall by the New Jersey Devils), as that will at least limit the awkward storylines.

Aside from maybe one of those first-round picks, it’s unlikely that fans will get many chances to compare and contrast these players with their relatives in NHL games during the 2014-15 season. Still, it’s often fun to see how far these hockey apples fall from the tree.

If the teams that drafted them get their way, the answer will be “not very far.”

Latest way the Wild lost? Killed by penalty kill

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk sits on the ice after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues' Jori Lehtera, of Finland, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.

As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?

Actually …

If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.

Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.

Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.

The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.

On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.

Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov (15) scores a goal against Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand celebrates after scoring on a penalty shot during the overtime period of the Boston Bruins 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres in an NHL hockey game in Boston Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.

Crosby kills the Cats: Penguins end Panthers’ winning streak

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) collides with Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.

Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.

Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:

Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.

Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.

The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it  shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.