Cam Tucker

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06:  Pavel Buchnevich #89 of the New York Rangers skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden on October 6, 2016 in New York City. The Flyers defeated the Rangers 4-2.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Rangers rookie Buchnevich might be dealing with more than just back spasms

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Pavel Buchnevich has put together an impressive start to his NHL career, but there is growing concern about the back spasms that have kept him out of the Rangers lineup for the last week.

Per reports, the 21-year-old Buchnevich didn’t take part in Saturday’s practice. Coach Alain Vigneault acknowledged the rookie forward might be dealing with something more than spasms.

“Not a set back. Today he came in and wasn’t feeling the way we expected him,” said Vigneault, per the Rangers.

“Right now we’re going to have our doctors take a good look at him. This obviously might be more than just back spasms. We’re going to take a look at this and we’ll come up with a plan and I’ll share that plan with you.”

The Rangers have been one of the big stories in the NHL so far this season. They’ve averaged a league-leading 4.11 goals-for per game, which is well ahead of second-place Columbus in that category.

Buchnevich didn’t waste any time becoming a contributor to that high-powered offense.

In 10 games, he has recorded eight points. He had a scoring streak of four straight games before coming out of the lineup due to his ailing back, and his possession numbers (55.6 per cent Corsi For) have been strong through 120 minutes at five-on-five.

The Rangers will look to rebound from a 4-2 loss to the Blue Jackets on Friday, as their schedule enters a difficult stretch next week.

They host the Florida Panthers on Sunday, then travel to Pittsburgh to play Sidney Crosby and the Penguins on Monday. The Rangers and Penguins meet again Wednesday in New York.

Related: Looking to make the leap: Pavel Buchnevich

Poll: Who should be in the ’17 Hockey Hall of Fame class?

Teemu Selanne
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Let the debate begin!

On Monday, the 2016 class was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. It’s a night of many emotions for those who are honored, as well as their families.

The focus will soon shift to who should be in the Hall of Fame next year.

Teemu Selanne enters his first year of eligibility. He certainly has the credentials, with 684 career goals and 1,457 points. He’s an Olympic medalist and a Stanley Cup champion. He began his NHL career with a bang, scoring 76 goals — a remarkable achievement that may never be broken.

Daniel Alfredsson enters his first year of eligibility. He’s never won the Stanley Cup, but he is an Olympic champion, with 1,246 regular season games, 444 goals and 1,157 points in his career. That’s quite impressive for a sixth-round draft pick. He played 17 seasons with the Ottawa Senators and one season with the Detroit Red Wings.

Dave Andreychuk enters his ninth year of eligibility. He captained the Tampa Bay Lightning to a Stanley Cup in 2004 and played 1,639 games in the NHL. He ranks 14th all-time in goals with 640. He’s accumulated 1,338 points over his lengthy career.

Now, have your say. Choose up to four players, the maximum number of NHLers for an annual Hockey Hall of Fame class. For write-in suggestions, put those in the comments section.

Eric Lindros enters the Hockey Hall of Fame as a ‘one in a lifetime’ player

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 13:  (L-R) Eric Lindros is honored for his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame and is joined by Lanny McDonald prior to the 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Classic game at the Air Canada Centre on November 13, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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TORONTO (AP) Eric Lindros carved an unprecedented path to hockey stardom, including where the incoming Hall of Famer lived when he entered the NHL.

It was about a month into Lindros’ rookie season with the Philadelphia Flyers that the prodigy asked to move in with veteran teammate Kevin Dineen and his newlywed wife, Annie.

“And I was like, `Ah, let me go home and talk to my wife about that,”‘ Dineen recalled almost 25 years later.

Lindros had already bought a townhouse with “everything you could ever want,” but he was also a teenager in an unforgiving American city. Dineen figures he was probably a little bit lonely.

So Lindros spent two years in the Dineens’ home, flush with dogs and a growing, makeshift family. The unlikely unit ate breakfast and dinner together, and sometimes Lindros and Dineen sneaked into classes at the University of Pennsylvania, where Annie was working toward her master’s degree.

“It was funny in a lot of ways,” Dineen said. “It was like having a little brother who was much bigger than you.”

Finally entering the Hockey Hall of Fame alongside Rogie Vachon, Sergei Makarov and the late Pat Quinn, Lindros had an incomparable career on and off the ice. He was a maverick in a sport of rigid rules and a talent on the ice not seen before or since.

“He was probably the most dominant player during his time in the NHL,” longtime teammate Rod Brind’Amour said.

At 6-foot-4 and more than 200 pounds, Lindros was like a freight train on skates, but with the agility and skills to move like a race car.

Brind’Amour still remembers hopelessly trying to defend Lindros at his first practice with the Flyers in 1992. Lindros had one hand on his stick as he rushed down the wing but still somehow whipped a wrist shot into the top corner.

“And I’m like, nobody can do that in the NHL,” Brind’Amour said. “And of course, if he wanted to run you over, he could run you through the boards. And then if you wanted to fight, he could fight. There was just nothing that he couldn’t really do. And that was impressive because there wasn’t really anyone in the NHL that could do everything.”

Dineen believes Lindros should be remembered as a progressive force. The hockey world could have its opinions, but Lindros stood by his best interests.

“He gets painted a little bit with the ugly brush because of the stands he took,” said Dineen, now a Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach.

Lindros twice refused to play for the team that drafted him No. 1 overall. He famously spurned the NHL’s Quebec Nordiques in 1991, later saying he didn’t want to play for owner Marcel Aubut, and that came two years after he declined to play for Sault Ste. Marie of the Ontario Hockey League – the club eventually to traded him to Oshawa.

Lindros sat out the 2000-01 season waiting for a trade out of Philadelphia following a bitter public spat with general manager Bobby Clarke regarding the treatment of Lindros’ injuries, including multiple concussions. Compare that to the handling of current stars like Sidney Crosby, whose concussions have been handled by the Penguins with caution.

“It’s not like you’re looking to go upstream,” Lindros said. “The choices that I made were choices that other people had done before me. It wasn’t like it was fresh territory.”

Perhaps not on a case-by-case basis, but the entirety of Lindros’ off-ice drama is unprecedented among NHL superstars.

And still, his career will be defined as much by what it wasn’t as what it was.

Injuries limited him to fewer than 800 regular season games and retirement at age 34. He has some of the finest seasons ever in the league on his resume, but no longevity to go with it. And of course, Lindros also lacks a precious Stanley Cup title.

What could his career have been with good health? Brind’Amour thinks Lindros’ brute, physical style likely would have degraded his productivity with time.

Regardless, the powerful Lindros made a dent on the sport. His dominance and distinctiveness can’t be denied.

“He’s one in a lifetime,” Brind’Amour said. “I don’t know if you’ll ever see a player like him because the game’s changed so much now. The physical part of the game is kind of out the door. No kids growing up are trying to be like that. It’s all skill and skating, so I don’t know that you’re going to see that kind of player again.”

With Jack Capuano on the hot seat, Tavares backs the Islanders coach

TAMPA, FL - APRIL 30:  John Tavares #91 of the New York Islanders skates in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on April 30, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images)
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These seem like uncomfortable times for the New York Islanders.

Already sitting 15th in the Eastern Conference, the Islanders lost in disappointing fashion 4-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday, as their record dropped to 5-8-3.

This dreadful start to the season has once again raised questions about the future of head coach Jack Capuano, who has coached the Islanders since the 2010-11 season.

His tenure most recently includes back-to-back 100-point seasons and a second-round playoff appearance in the 2016 post-season.

In July, both Capuano and GM Garth Snow received a vote of confidence from the new ownership group. That was in the summer. It’s now mid-November, and while there is plenty of hockey left on the schedule, the Islanders are in danger of falling further behind in the East.

With frustration growing among the fan base, the team’s best player John Tavares spoke in support of the coach following Monday’s effort.

“It doesn’t have anything to do with them or their approach to the team,” Tavares told Newsday. “I have confidence in our group, in our staff. It comes down to the guys stepping on the ice and playing to our identity, playing the way we know we can play.”

The Islanders are 20th in the league in scoring and haven’t gotten much production from their big summer free agent signing Andrew Ladd. The Islanders also lost key forwards in free agency, as Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen took their talents to Buffalo and Detroit, respectively.

The Islanders play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday. They’ll have to sit on this latest loss for three days, before playing one of the best teams in the league on home ice.

Storm clouds gathering in Brooklyn? Lightning crush Islanders, who continue to struggle

Jack Capuano
AP
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The New York Islanders showed plenty of fight Monday. Except when it came to what was on the score board — where it matters most.

Facing a lineup as skilled as the one the Tampa Bay Lightning possess is a challenge for any team. But the Islanders really didn’t offer much resistance until the third period and by then, they were down four goals and the final result was a mere technicality.

Through 40 minutes, the Islanders had a paltry 14 shots on goal, compared to the 27 their goalie Jaroslav Halak had to face. In the end, the Bolts crushed the Islanders 4-0.

The frustration in Brooklyn continues to grow.

After a second-round playoff appearance in the spring, the start to this season has been a miserable one for the Islanders. They’re in danger of falling to last in the Eastern Conference, sitting one point up on the Carolina Hurricanes.

Let’s look at some recent trends:

— A lack of discipline: They gave the talented Lightning five power plays, all before the third period. Now, the Bolts weren’t able to capitalize on the power play, but you’re playing with fire giving that lineup those chances.

— Same old story on effort: Earlier this month, the Islanders played what was described as their “worst game of the year.” That was after a 6-1 loss to the Lightning. Exactly how will this game be described? Fourteen shots on goal after 40 minutes? Hockeystats.ca had the shot attempts at 50-30 for the Lightning following two periods.

— Ladd’s struggles continue: Andrew Ladd‘s lack of production has been an issue, which is understandable considering the price he signed for as a free agent. Lately, it’s looked like he would be trending upward, with goals in back-to-back games last week. He was held off the score sheet Monday. He didn’t register a shot on net for a second straight game.

— Another tough game for Halak: Jaroslav Halak took the blame for allowing the OT goal resulting in an Islanders loss Saturday. He faced plenty of shots through two periods Monday, giving up four goals on 31 shots by the time it was all over. Again, not like the team in front of him manufactured much in the way of offence until it was too late.

It all adds up to more frustration for the Islanders fan base. According to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, there were more chants of ‘Fire Cappy!’ from fans at the Barclays.

The new ownership group in July gave coach Jack Capuano and general manager Garth Snow a vote of confidence, but one has to wonder how long that can last given such a bad start to the season.

The majority of fans didn’t share the same optimism in a ProHockeyTalk poll this summer.

The Islanders don’t play again until Friday, when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s not going to get any easier.