James O'Brien

Joe Thornton

Video: Joe Thornton scores a very Joe Thornton goal

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Hey, that Joe Thornton guy has really been flying under the radar lately, right?

Amid all the distractions as he seemingly bickers with San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson through the media, “Jumbo Joe” remains a force on the ice, including this very Thornton-esque goal:

In case you couldn’t tell, it was a fitting goal because the puck went off someone else’s stick (Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook was in the wrong place at the wrong time for Chicago) and went in.

There’s a chance that Brent Burns may actually have tipped it, too, as the official score has flip-flopped in that regard. Either way, Thornton is productive even if things remain pretty weird between the Sharks and their former captain.

With playing career in limbo, Peverley ponders management or coaching roles

RichPeverley
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Retiring is rarely easy for professional hockey players, especially when they’re just 32 like Dallas Stars forward Rich Peverley.

It’s unclear what lies ahead as far as Peverley’s on-ice options go a year removed from a scary “cardiac emergency,” but as this Puck Daddy story illustrates, he’s getting a taste of the management and coaching sides of the sport.

He already seems to be making a difference as a mentor with his team’s AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars.

“It’s great to have him out on the ice,” Texas Stars center Taylor Peters said. “He has such a wealth of knowledge from playing in the league. He knows what the guys are going through and I think he really has an eye for coaching.”

Like most people involved in the situation, Stars GM Jim Nill doesn’t seem to know what is in store for Peverley. Even so, Nill mentions that he’s conversed with the forward about staying involved with the sport whenever it’s time for him to hang up the skates.

To read more about this situation, click here.

Latest Flyers loss left Mason fuming about lack of ‘desperation’

Dallas Stars v Philadelphia Flyers
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After a dispiriting weekend that may have buried their playoff hopes, the Philadelphia Flyers fell to the Dallas Stars 2-1 on Tuesday. Steve Mason was displeased – to say the least – calling out his teammates for a lack of effort and “desperation.”

Yeah, Mason didn’t seem very happy, and it’s tough to blame him for his frustration.

He’s consistently kept Philly in games this season, and while his 13-15-9 record doesn’t impress, his .923 save percentage is easily the best mark of his career (including the .916 save percentage he sported in winning the 2009 Calder Trophy). Mason has been one of the brightest spots in an often-bleak season for Philly along with Jakub Voracek and a few other pluses.

That isn’t bringing him much solace, though, as you can see from that video.

Regardless, that loss dropped the Flyers’ playoff chances fell to .2 percent according to Sports Club Stats, so it sounds like the 26-year-old will need to channel much of that passion (and desperation) toward the 2015-16 season.

Krejci skates with Bruins for first time since suffering knee injury

David Krejci
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It’s been a trying season for David Krejci and the Boston Bruins in general, but things looked bright for the player and his team on Wednesday morning.

Most specifically, the 28-year-old resumed skating with teammates today, which marks the first occasion he’s done so since suffering a knee injury in late February.

The Bruins’ Twitter feed points out that it’s been three weeks since Krejci was injured and doesn’t note a change in his four-to-six week prognosis. The excitement seemed pretty clear on the Bruins’ end:

Ideally, Krejci would get back with a little bit of time to tune up for a postseason that the Bruins seem increasingly likely to be a part of. Last night’s win against the Ottawa Senators was a big one, and it also marked Boston’s third consecutive victory.

They now have significant leads over the likes of the Senators and Florida Panthers for the East’s second wild card spot, positioning themselves as a rather frightening proposition for the conference’s top seed (flaws and all).

Imagine how much scarier they’d be if Krejci can get healthy and shake off the rust?

Leafs will sit Kadri two more games as Shanahan says ‘grow up’

Nazem Kadri
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While a health scratch seemingly serves as a wake-up call for Nazem Kadri, it sounds like the Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t quite finished sending him a message.

Brendan Shanahan approached the media with some stern comments and a stunning announcement on Wednesday: Kadri will sit two more games, according to reporters including TSN’s Mark Masters.

Shanahan told a gathering of reporters that Kadri’s extra push of the snooze button before a team meeting is just one of several incidents. (Apparently the rest of the Maple Leafs have been told not to go into detail about other run-ins.)

“It’s time for him to start making better decisions,” Shanahan said, per CBC. “There’s a history here and there comes a point in the careers of many hockey players in similar situations, there comes a point where you’ve got to grow up.

“Naz is 24 now. This is not something that we felt would benefit him if we swept it under the rug.”

Dion Phaneuf told the Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle that the Leafs will support Kadri through this, without sharing further information.

Shanahan believes that the Maple Leafs need to handle this in a “firm” way rather than just letting it go.

As Siegel notes, Shanahan’s message is essentially that Kadri needs to grow up.

Want to dissect the full range of comments? Here’s the complete Shanahan press conference (in a hallway):

Of course, the Maple Leafs have a luxury to address what they believe is a problem with a young player now that their playoff hopes are essentially scuttled. It would be difficult to imagine them taking such a step if tonight’s game against Buffalo wasn’t just for pride.

Interim head coach Peter Horachek has a good counterpoint for that, however:

Some believe that Kadri, 24, could be the Maple Leafs’ top center as soon as next season. Then again, he doesn’t even have a contract settled for 2015-16.

If it wasn’t clear that he’s at a fork in the road in his career (and with the Maple Leafs) already, these resounding statements make that pretty obvious.