Author: Jason Brough


In case you haven’t noticed, the NHL is a young man’s game


Just for the sake of the discussion — and since everyone’s talking about Tyler Johnson today — here are all the players who have scored at least five goals in these playoffs:

Johnson (11), Corey Perry (7), Patrick Kane (7), Nikita Kucherov (6), Chris Kreider (6), Vladimir Tarasenko (6), Alex Killorn (6), Derek Stepan (5), Alex Ovechkin (5), Derick Brassard (5), Evgeny Kuznetsov (5), Max Pacioretty (5), Matt Beleskey (5), and Colin Wilson (5).

That’s 14 players. Can you pick out the oldest?

The answer is Anaheim’s Perry, who turned 30 on Saturday. Only slightly younger than Perry, Ovechkin will turn 30 in September.

Otherwise, it’s all players who are comfortably in their 20s, their legs still full of burst, their bodies not yet worn down by the grind of taking hundreds of pucks hard to the net, and all the punishment that goes with scoring goals in today’s NHL.

This isn’t to say that once a goal-scorer turns 30 he should be put out to pasture, like the theory about running backs in the NFL. Marian Gaborik, Justin Williams, and Martin St. Louis all had productive postseasons last year. This year is perhaps an extreme case.

But it does show the importance of youth, and how quickly a player — especially a forward — can go from getting drafted to making a significant impact.

True, patience is required when developing prospects. You don’t want to rush them. There’s nothing wrong with learning the game in the AHL. But at the same time, there has to be a sense of urgency in getting prospects ready for the NHL so they can enjoy as many productive seasons as possible, before their peak years (at a relatively low cap hit) are over.

Hence, all the talk surrounding 20-year-old Jonathan Drouin. While it’s not like the Lightning should be hitting the panic button that he hasn’t yet gained the trust of his coach, it’s not unfair to wonder if he’s fallen a bit behind in his development.

In a related story, Capitals GM Brian MacLellan knows “the next three or four years is the window” in Washington. Because, where will Ovechkin’s game be after that? Where will Nicklas Backstrom’s? The Caps have an opportunity over the next few years to get production from both their veterans and their youth. That’s the sweet spot every GM aims for. And those sweet spots don’t last long.

Ex-Isles owner (and we use that term loosely) pleads guilty to forgery

John Spano

From the Associated Press:

The man who conned the National Hockey League into thinking he was a wealthy entrepreneur well-qualified to buy one of the league’s most storied franchises has been convicted on fraud-related charges in Ohio.

John Spano Jr. pleaded guilty Monday to 16 counts of forgery for what authorities say was a scam that saw him collect nearly $70,000 in sales commissions on fraudulent accounts that he created. The 50-year-old Spano faces as many as 16 years in prison when sentenced in a Lake County courtroom next month. He remains free on bond.

In 2000, Spano was sentenced to 71 months in prison for bank fraud, related to his infamous agreement to purchase the New York Islanders.

Not long after his release, he was sentenced to an additional 51 months for another fraud he committed.

And now this.

It’s almost like this guy is kind of deceitful.

Toews, Oshie think college coach Hakstol will be good for Flyers

Chicago Blackhawks v St. Louis Blues

A couple of Dave Hakstol’s former players at the University of North Dakota think the Philadelphia Flyers made a good hire.

“I think you’ll see him do well,” said Jonathan Toews, per The Blackhawks captain spent two seasons under Hakstol in Grand Forks, during which he was drafted third overall by Chicago.

The Flyers announced yesterday that Hakstol would be their next head coach. It was a surprising move in the sense that nobody outside of GM Ron Hextall’s circle saw it coming. But it didn’t come as a shock to T.J. Oshie, the Blues forward who played three seasons under Hakstol.

“With how many coaching changes there have been in the last couple of years, I was actually surprised he hadn’t been hired yet,” Oshie said. “It’s not going to take long for the players to respect what he brings to the table and to want to play for him.”

Hakstol spent 11 seasons as the head coach at UND, developing a number of future NHL stars in the process.

The Flyers are clearly hoping he can build another successful program in Philadelphia, while putting an end to a coaching carousel that, in the last decade, has seen Ken Hitchcock, John Stevens, Peter Laviolette, and Craig Berube take turns as bench bosses.

Related: ‘This was a gut decision, and I feel extremely comfortable with it’