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Keith Yandle Jersey

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Veteran Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle was named Third Star of the Week by the NHL this morning.

Yandle recorded multiple points in each of his three appearances last week to lead all defensemen and rank third in the NHL with 8 points (1G/7A) while helping the Panthers (10-5-5, 25 points) to a pair of wins in three contests. Yandle opened the week with three points (1G/2A) – all in the third period – to help the Panthers rally from a 4-0 third-period deficit to defeat the Atlantic Division-leading Boston Bruins 5-4 in a shootout on November 12. It marked just the ninth time in NHL history a visiting team rallied from a four-goal third-period deficit to win. He then recorded a pair of assists in a 4-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on November 14 and three more helpers in a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday night. The 33-year-old native of Boston, MA ranks sixth among blueliners with 18 points (2G/16A) in 20 games this season and has appeared in 817 consecutive regular-season games – the longest active “ironman” streak and the fifth longest in NHL history.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid was the league’s First Star and Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon was the Second Star.

Aaron Ekblad Jersey

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Thursday night, the Cardiac Cats made their dramatic return, erasing their second 4-0 deficit in a matter of two weeks in a 5-4 OT win over the Anaheim Ducks.
Let’s be clear, the Florida Panthers were nowhere near their best. The comeback win was very impressive, but it’s not a game that this team can play consistently and expect to pull off results.

It’s highly improbable, there have only been four games in which a team has overcome a four-goal gap to earn a win. The Florida Panthers have done it twice.

It came with logical lineup changes and some selfless passing, but Florida somehow got the job done, scoring five goals in a span of 24:00 to defeat the Ducks on home ice. For the first 36:00, however, the Panthers should not be proud of how they played.

It was a kind of game that Anaheim wanted to play, and Joel Quenneville‘s team were surprisingly being not just out-played, but out-coached. The game was very narrow, neither team really spreading the puck out in the neutral zone, but rather staying condensed, patient, defensive. This is not how the Florida Panthers win games, but for the Ducks, they were quite content with the pace.

It showed on the scoreboard, too. Four goals unanswered left Florida in a deep hole with less than 2:00 to go in the second. Brett Connolly‘s quickfire two goals might’ve been the spark of the comeback, but it wasn’t anything different from how the Panthers had been playing. The real change came coming out of the locker room, heading into the final 20.

In previous years of coaching, the Florida Panthers have been very gung-ho to making drastic changes when facing a huge lead. Tom Rowe and Bob Boughner are both equally as guilty to messing with all four lines over one intermission. Players like Mike Hoffman would go through three lines in one game in an effort to make something work.

Now, Joel Quenneville knows what he has in his players, and knows how to get the best out of them. Instead of trashing the first line because they’d been held scoreless by putting someone like Connolly on it, Quenneville made just one change; Frank Vatrano to line two, Mike Hoffman to line three.

The change didn’t seem too meaningful but was a stroke of genius. While he didn’t get any points in the 3rd period or OT period, Vatrano was electric in this comeback. Vatrano laid hit after hit and started chasing the pucks deep in the Anaheim zone, something Florida did very little of in the first two periods.

Anaheim’s first goal of the game came off an extended shift in which the Panthers’ forwards eventually lost focus and left Max Jones wide open at the side of the net. Florida’s 2nd, 3rd, and 4th goals all came on extended shifts, moving around in the zone, and catching the Ducks napping.

Before we get too much into the goals, two players deserve some immense credit for keeping the Ducks at bay; Mike Matheson and Sergei Bobrovsky.

Matheson, who is usually to blame on a nightly basis for a goal, was really impressive at getting back in defense. He made a great play on Derek Grant in the second period (even though Denis Malgin would trip Grant seven seconds later, leading to ANA’s third goal) to poke the puck free on a potential breakaway. In the third, he did that same thing, stripping Troy Terry of the puck when he could have iced the game.

For Bobrovsky, it’s pretty straightforward. Look at the stats tonight, you’ll think he struggled again, but see how three of the four goals really weren’t his fault (Jones wide open in the slot, Jakob Silfverberg screening the goalie on Rickard Rakell‘s power-play goal, and Keith Yandle‘s giveaway leading to Ondrej Kase‘s unassisted goal). Yet again, Bobrovsky was immense in the fourth period, saving all 12 shots on goal to keep Florida alive.

For certain, however, this comeback does not happen without Aaron Ekblad. He has been, to put it lightly, fantastic under Joel Quenneville. His defense looks improved, he’s smarter with the puck, and he finally got to flash some of his two-way value, getting two goals and a primary assist to lead the Cats’ charge.

He won the first star of the night, getting the game-winning goal and primary assist to Dominic Toninato‘s game-tying goal, but it still just doesn’t say enough about his game. He was great defensively, the only time he gave up a goal was Yandle’s giveaway, he kept multiple plays alive with his effort, and was rewarded handsomely. Also, the celebration on the game-winner was sick.

It all comes with one thing: confidence. Under Rowe, Ekblad suffered a bad concussion, in which he was rushed back into the lineup, and played well below his standard. Under Boughner, Ekblad was constantly put into bad situations and really began to lack courage on a nightly basis.

Now, Ekblad has transformed back into 2015-16 all-star Ekblad. 23:30 of time on ice, the most amongst all Panthers, two blocks, three shots on goal (two goals, one which led to a goal), two blocks, three points, arguably the best game of his career.

As I said in the beginning, the Panthers cannot continuously play like this. Coming back from 4-0 down is so improbable, there have only been four seasons in which teams have come back from 4+ goals more than three times. This is the first time of this century there have been four 4+ goal comebacks.

The Panthers, however, deserve some massive praise for this. For a team to play as bad as they did, yet still find a way to win isn’t just the sign of a good team, but a sign of champions.

Aleksander Barkov Jersey

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With your Florida Panthers currently sitting in second place in the Atlantic Division, the contributions by superstars Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov must not be overlooked.
Both stars are no longer being viewed as underrated players, receiving league-wide recognition as superstar caliber players by each performing at a 100-point pace.

The 2018-19 season was an incredibly memorable one for both Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau, becoming the first duo to each reach 90+ points in a single season in the history of the Florida Panthers. The dynamic duo of Barkov and Huberdeau combined for almost 200 points on the season, serving as the main catalysts for an unsuccessful playoff push.

In regards to Barkov’s 2019 campaign, the captain set the single-season franchise record for the most points in a season with 96 – broke Pavel Bure’s record of 94. Moreover, he also won the Lady Byng award, committing only eight penalty minutes throughout the year.

Furthermore, Barkov was exceptional on the defensive end, registering more takeaways (100) than giveaways (69). As well, he recorded a fantastic faceoff winning percentage of roughly 54%, winning over 1000 draws while averaging over 22 minutes of ice time per game.

While Barkov received the majority of the attention from the NHL media and Panthers fans, another superstar was quietly developing in the wings: Jonathan Huberdeau. The longtime linemate of Barkov produced some remarkable numbers, developing into an undisputed superstar winger for the Cats.

While participating in all 82 regular-season games, Huberdeau recorded a spectacular line of 30 goals and 62 assists for 92 total points. In fact, Huberdeau set the single-season franchise record for the most assists in a season with 62 – one more than Barkov’s 61 assists.

Two of the longest-tenured members of the Florida Panthers had developed near-perfect chemistry on the top line, forming a dominant first line with fellow Russian linemate Evgenii Dadonov. However, despite nearly reaching 100 points each during the 2018-19 season, the Florida Panthers had missed the playoffs, which can largely be attributed to poor coaching.

Currently, with the leadership of future hall of fame head coach Joel Quenneville, star forwards Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau are seemingly developing into 100-point caliber players. The contributions of Huby and Barky have also resulted in team success, helping the Panthers obtain the second seed in the Atlantic Division in late November.

The native of Finland has recorded a phenomenal offensive slash line of 7 goals and 22 assists for 29 total points on the year. While Barkov is on pace for less than 30 goals, he is also on pace for more than 80 assists on the season, which would shatter Huberdeau’s previous record of 62.

Moreover, the 24-year-old has been tremendous on the defensive end, as well. While averaging roughly 20 minutes of ice time per game, Barkov has recorded more takeaways (15) than giveaways (10) and a faceoff winning percentage of roughly 54%. Barkov is certainly on pace for almost 110 points, and will likely earn a spot on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster for 2020.

On the other hand, the native of Quebec, Canada has already registered a potent tally of 10 goals and 20 assists for 30 points in only 21 games played. More impressively, all 10 of Huberdeau’s goals have come on even strength. The former Calder Trophy winner is currently on pace for almost 110 points, and should certainly make the Atlantic Division All-Star roster, as well.

Essentially, the team success of the Florida Panthers can largely be attributed to the absurd starts of Huberdeau and Barkov. Basically, both stars are playing at a 100-point pace, receiving praise as a top-five duo across the NHL by media and fans.

If both Huby and Barky continue their play, then both stars will likely represent the Panthers at the 2020 All-Star Game.

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A new era has begun in Calgary, after Geoff Ward was officially named as the interim head coach of the Calgary Flames. It was announced on Friday (Nov. 29) that former head coach Bill Peters had tendered his resignation following a week-long investigation into allegations of misconduct that were made via Twitter by a former American Hockey League player from a decade ago.

Sportsnet

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“I don’t think many people expected it to be a resignation by Bill Peters.”@EricFrancis and @SNryanleslie spoke about Brad Treliving discuss the resignation of Bill Peters and how the @NHLFlames can move forward.https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/flames-can-move-forward-peters-situation/ …

How Flames can move forward after Peters situation
Eric Francis and Ryan Leslie spoke about Brad Treliving discuss the resignation of Bill Peters and how the Calgary Flames can move forward.

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It most likely wasn’t the way Ward imagined he would earn his first head coaching role in the NHL, but regardless, it’s his time now. It’s his team now. He started off strong, picking up his first win as an NHL head coach against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 27, 2019.

The New Bench Boss
Ward is now manning the helm in Peters’ wake, which leaves many hoping he may just be the right fit. He knows the group already, has the respect from the players and he does have plenty of head coaching experience, albeit just one game officially in the NHL.

Ward was the head coach of the Kitchener Rangers (Ontario Hockey League) from 1994-95 to 1997-98 and later in his career won the Louis A.R. Pierre Memorial Award for Most Outstanding Coach in 2002, after assuming head coach duties with the Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL) and taking the team to a Calder Cup Final appearance. He has been an assistant coach in the NHL for the Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils, winning a Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2011. He has the credentials and the familiarity with the group, which can be beneficial in a midseason shakeup such as this.

Boston Bruins, 2011 Stanley Cup
Geoff Ward (top right) and the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins (Boston Herald)
Assistant general manager Craig Conroy and assistant coach Martin Gelinas — who is usually running his operation above the ice during games — will both be on the bench as assistant coaches for the Flames moving forward. Ryan Huska will retain his position as an assistant coach as well.

As a former elementary school teacher, Ward knows how to instruct younger generations. He is rarely seen without a smile on his face and is always finding ways to keep things positive. He and his coaching staff are already thinking of innovative ways to inject some positive energy and fun back into this Flames group, which was evident right away, as classic rock songs like ‘Tiny Dancer’ and ‘Radio Ga-Ga’ blared on the arena sound system as the team took to the ice for their first ‘post-Peters’ practice.

Everything feels better when you’re having fun, even for pro hockey players, and it seems that instilling a bit of good energy into his players is the first step in getting this Flames team out of the doldrums it has found itself in to begin this season.

Calgary Flames

@NHLFlames
“Our focus right now is preparing to play the Ottawa Senators tomorrow. All the other stuff has to stay in the background.” https://cflam.es/2DsCWE7

‘WE NEED TO GET GOING’
New interim head coach Geoff Ward said the team’s focus now has to be on Senators and starting to pile up some wins

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Different Coaches, Similar Results
Ward will be the fourth Flames head coach in the last eight seasons. While each of the last three coaches had varying degrees of success during their tenures, all three failed to achieve the main objective for the Flames, which is ultimately to win a Stanley Cup.

Bob Hartley was bench boss from 2012-2016 and as the coach of the ‘Find-a-Way Flames’ he won the 2015 Jack Adams Award, awarded to the Coach of the Year in the NHL. He was fired the next season after the Flames finished fifth in the division (35-40-7), missing the playoffs. Hartley (134-135-25) posted a .498 winning percentage in Calgary and is the only Flames coach to win a Jack Adams Award.

Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, NHL Playoffs
Bob Hartley (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
Harley’s replacement was Glen Gulutzan (2016-2018) and was a far cry from the strict, no-nonsense approach of his predecessor. He was hailed to be a coach who knew how to reach the new generation of players. While Hartley may have ‘lost the room’ based on his old-school tactics, Gulutzan was said to be a better communicator and was expected to be able to relate to players, on their level.

He strung together an (82-68-14) record as the Flames head coach and made the playoffs in his first season, only to be let go the next year after the team finished just two games above .500 and missed the playoffs. The narrative surrounding the layoff being that Gulutzan was perhaps too soft and too ‘buddy-buddy’ with his team to really effect change within the dressing room.

Peters was then hired and was hailed as a hybrid of the former two. He was the only coach that Treliving interviewed for the job — which begs the question, what is next for Treliving? Peters is a protégé of the Mike Babcock school of coaching, spending three years as an assistant coach under Babcock in Detroit (2011-2014).

He utilized an old-school approach, with Carolina and Calgary, but balanced that by also demonstrating an ability to coach ‘today’s player’. He had success internationally with younger players, capturing gold as head coach with the Canada Men’s National U-18 in 2008 and later winning gold as head coach of Team Canada during the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championships. In his first, and only, full season in Calgary, Peters led the Flames to a 107-point season in 2018-19 and a Western Conference banner.

A New Era in Coaching
The Flames have gone through two coaches in the last three seasons and are now on to their next bench boss. So, what are the coaching qualities they should be hoping for? Akin to Goldilocks and the Three Bears deciding on porridge, the Flames need that ‘just right’ coach that can help mediate the temperature of a team that has been too cold on the ice this season, and too incendiary off of it. It’s a Flames team that, even prior to the Peters debacle, was significantly underperforming. So, which style is best suited for coaching this group? It’s a question that Ward will need to answer.

Calgary Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan
Former Calgary Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)
Being ‘dictatorial’ didn’t work well for Hartley, being ‘friends’ didn’t work for Gulutzan and, clearly, Peters’ approach was not an overly effective one. When looking back on former Flames coaches, it appears that, at least in Calgary, the grizzled and blunt approach has had the best success in terms of winning hockey games.

A Flames Coaching Style Guide
When looking at former Flames coaches and their respective winning percentages, names like Mike Keenan (.585), Darryl Sutter (.581), Brent Sutter (.557) and Jim Playfair (.524) stand out on top. They were the last four head coaches in Calgary prior to Hartley. Each of those four coaches recorded the highest winning percentages among any Flames coach in the last 25 years. (Dave King recorded a .576 winning percentage from 1992-95).

None of the four coaches listed would be considered ‘new school’ or ‘progressive’ or ‘sensitive’ or ‘politically correct’ in terms of their coaching approach. However, by the numbers, they were fairly effective coaches in Calgary and elsewhere throughout their careers.

(Darryl) Sutter led the Flames to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final (2003-04) and later won two Stanley Cups with the Los Angeles Kings (2011-12, 2013-14). Mike Keenan won a Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers in 1993-94 and currently sits eighth all-time in NHL wins with 672. However, the ‘my way or the highway’ style of coaching seems to have phased itself out, or at least the transition has now begun throughout the NHL.

Darryl Sutter, the man who just wins in the playoffs. (Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE)
A lot has changed in society in the last 25 years. A lot has changed in hockey during that time, as well. What worked in the past is not necessarily effective today and what was perhaps once deemed as acceptable conduct within a hockey context over the past two decades, does not necessarily translate to today’s hockey player or fit with the culture the NHL is hoping to create.

Coaches will need to be well-versed in dealing with this new era of players, dealing with the advancing forms of media and exploring the new cultural ideologies that go with it. A successful coach in the NHL should be able to navigate the latest cultural waters, yet still be an effective motivator, teacher and leader of men; men who go to battle every night playing a high-paced, aggressive, contact sport like hockey.

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When the Washington Capitals first met the Anaheim Ducks this season on November 18, the game went off the rails. During an especially spirited second period, Garnet Hathaway spit on Erik Gudbranson after the Ducks defenseman landed a sucker punch as the two were separated by an official. An angry Gudbranson, afterward, said the spitting “was something you just don’t do in a game – and he did it.” Hathaway, who was ejected, expressed regret. The Capitals forward was later suspended three games by the NHL.

Coming into Friday’s rematch, both teams said all the right things and downplayed what happened in November. They were more interested in the “big two points on the line.” But the Ducks later revealed that was bologna after the game was over.

According to a story by The Athletic’s Eric Stephens, Hathaway was approached by Ducks enforcer Nicolas Deslauriers during a first-period faceoff and was asked to fight and pick his poison.

“I just asked him if he was going to respond,” Deslauriers said to Stephens. “He had the option to choose me or [Gudbranson], and he said he was going to choose [Gudbranson].”

Deslauriers later fought Radko Gudas after the Capitals defenseman injured Nick Ritchie with a borderline late hip check.

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The hit from Gudas that injured Nick Ritchie. The Ducks need to respond.

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Deslauriers landed 12 straight punches to Gudas’s head as the Czech d-man crumpled to the ice.

Eventually, Gudbranson and Hathaway had an angry confrontation four minutes and 56 seconds into the second period. Both players dropped their gloves but were separated by two officials. The two combatants each got 10-minute misconducts. Gudbranson got an extra minor for unsportsmanlike conduct which was served by Devin Shore.

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Hathaway and Gudbranson *almost* fight

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In the third period, the two players finally fought after Gudbrandson landed a big hit into Hathaway’s chest. The two players only exchanged a handful of punches before Hathaway fell to the ice. 70 percent of HockeyFights.com commenters declared Gudbranson the victor.

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Le centre gatinois des Sénateurs d’Ottawa Jean-Gabriel Pageau a vu sa séquence de matches avec au moins un point s’arrêter à trois lors du blanchissage de 1-0 encaissé par son équipe sur la glace du Nationwide Center.

Au lendemain de ce deuxième coup de pinceau encaissé cette saison, après celui de 2-0 contre le Wild du Minnesota lors du troisième match de la saison, les Sénateurs ont obtenu une journée de congé mardi. L’équipe connaîtra une fin de mois de novembre chargé, avec trois parties en quatre jours à commencer par la visite des Bruins de Boston mercredi soir, suivie de visites au Minnesota vendredi et à Calgary samedi. Les Sénateurs amorceront ensuite un long voyage de huit jours qui se poursuivra à Vancouver, Edmonton et Philadelphie.

Les trois dernières parties de novembre donneront une dernière chance à Pageau de s’attaquer à un vieux record de Daniel Alfredsson, soit 13 buts au cours du mois des morts de 2005. Alfie avait alors battu la marque de 12 que se partageaient Marian Hossa (deux fois, 2002 et 2003) et Alexeï Yashin (deux fois aussi, 1999 et 2001). Dany Heatley, en 2007, et Bob Kudelski, en ont compté 11 chacun.

Pageau n’est évidemment pas trop du genre à penser à un tel record individuel. Il est plus intéressé par les succès de son équipe. Et son club est déjà assuré de finir un mois chargé de 16 parties en 28 jours avec une fiche d’au moins ,500, son dossier étant de 8-5-0 jusqu’à maintenant.

« Nous nous donnons une chance à chaque soir, a souligné Pageau après le revers contre les Jackets. Nous jouons du hockey pendant les 60 minutes au complet et encore une fois, c’est un match [lundi] qui se décide par la marge d’un but. Parfois ça va aller de notre côté, d’autres fois ça va aller dans l’autre sens, mais la bonne chose est que lorsqu’on joue de la bonne façon pendant toutes les 60 minutes, on se donne une chance de gagner… Il ne nous manquait qu’un but, ils [les Jackets] ont gagné une bataille de plus que nous, c’est tout. »

Les Sénateurs (11-12-1), qui ont vu une série de trois victoires consécutives prendre fin en Ohio, font effectivement de bonnes choses, ayant réduit leur nombre de buts alloués considérablement par rapport à l’an dernier. Après le match de lundi, et avant ceux de mardi, ils occupaient le 13e rang dans la LNH avec leurs 2,96 buts alloués par partie. Leur attaque a compté seulement six buts de moins (65) que la défensive en a alloué (71), une tendance presque normale en prenant en considération que leur jeu de puissance est le pire du circuit Bettman, à 9,8 % d’efficacité.

« Nous avons fait des erreurs de jeunesse avec la rondelle [lundi], mais cela dit, l’effort était là. Ils ont juste suivi leur plan de match un peu plus longtemps que nous, profitant d’un dégagement pour ensuite gagner une mise au jeu et compter leur but », a analysé l’entraîneur-chef D.J. Smith après le revers contre Columbus.

Le jeune Logan Brown a perdu la mise au jeu en question, puis un tir de la pointe a été dévié par Oliver Bjorkstrand. Le gardien Joonas Korpisalo s’est chargé du reste, repoussant les 25 tirs des visiteurs, dont un d’Anthony Duclair pendant la dernière minute de jeu, alors que Filip Chlapik a frappé une barre horizontale plus tôt. Connor Brown, en échappée, et Thomas Chabot, sur une descente à quatre contre un, ont été frustrés sur les autres bonnes chances de marquer des Sénateurs.

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TORTORELLA IMPRESSIONNÉ

D.J. Smith ne cesse de dire que les Sénateurs sous son joug sont une équipe « qui travaille avec ardeur » et qui est « difficile à affronter ».

Plusieurs de ses homologues à travers la ligue l’ont fait remarquer au cours des dernières semaines, et après le gain de 1-0 de ses Blue Jackets contre Ottawa lundi soir, John Tortorella s’est ajouté à cette liste.

« Il faut leur donner du crédit, ils jouent avec ardeur en défensive. Ils ont le système du lock à l’aile gauche, et il est difficile de passer par là en zone neutre. Ça a donné un match qui n’était pas beau à regarder, mais nous sommes sortis du bon bord, a-t-il raconté dans son point de presse d’après-match. On ne s’est pas laissés endormir par ça, on n’a rien fait de trop fou. On pouvait voir que ça allait être dur toute la soirée. Les chances de compter était cinq contre cinq, pour eux et pour nous, après deux périodes. Holy shit… Ils sont stiffs en zone neutre, ils sont agressifs, ils ne vous laissent pas d’espace et ils défendent la ligne rouge. Ils mettent leurs bâtons sur bien des rondelles, gagnent des courses 50-50 pour la rondelle. On savait qu’ils jouaient comme ça, mais j’ai beaucoup de respect pour la façon dont ils jouent en zone neutre. »

Anthony Stewart Jersey

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Hockey seems to be a family affair with Anthony Stewart of the Atlanta Thrashers and Chris Stewart of the Colorado Avalanche.

Both brothers are slowly but surely starting to earn respect around the NHL.

Considered a poor addition to the Atlanta Thrashers by a number of critics on the blogosphere initially, Anthony Stewart is on track to have his best NHL campaign ever, having already scored eight goals this season. If he keeps at the same pace, he will score 20 goals this season.

Interestingly, Stewart’s brother Chris is the leading scorer on the Colorado Avalanche, having already tallied 11 goals and 14 assists in 23 games prior to injuring his wrist in a fight with Kyle Brodziak with the Minnesota Wild.

Before the injury he was pacing to produce 31 goals and 40 assists in 65 games.

The knock on Anthony Stewart was supposed to be his inability to make plays at the major league level, yet he has shown the ability to score goals and deliver body checks while contributing tenacious defense at his forward position.

Stewart along with the rest of his Thrashers teammates are playing well together, jelling as a team and producing wins and respect around the league. Some Colorado Avalanche followers were a bit surprised to see Chris Stewart maintain the team’s top scorer status with the likes of Paul Statsny in the lineup.

The Stewart brothers had an interesting pathway to the major leagues.

Chris was the second of seven children born to Norman Stewart, an immigrant, and Sue, his Canadian-born mother. Chris and Anthony grew up poor but fell in love with hockey. Both skated with the North York Jr. Canadiens, and showed enough promise that their hockey fees were subsidized. Chris also played football, and seriously considered playing it throughout his high school years even though he loved hockey.

Chris Stewart walked away from hockey at the age of 16. He shifted his focus to football and track, and tried to earn a college scholarship rather than an Ontario Hockey League draft spot.

He felt the enormous financial pressure of playing hockey and decided that football was less expensive and less of a burden on his family’s limited resources. When Chris returned to the Frontenacs, he eventually made captain just as his brother had previously.