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Brian Boyle Jersey

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With three jersey changes, two frightening medical diagnoses and a lot of hospital visits, it’s been a whirlwind couple of years for Brian Boyle and his family. But through it all the Panthers forward has gained a new perspective both on and off the ice.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

In a three-rink complex 45 minutes southwest of his hometown in Hingham, Mass., Brian Boyle practiced with the South Shore Kings. No one had offered him a contract over the summer—a bottleneck of restricted free agents froze the market for veteran players—so he worked in with his former junior team, where he had at least 10 years on the current club’s oldest player.

When Boyle, on the edge of turning 35, went unsigned as NHL training camps started ahead of the 2019–20 season, he had to make some adjustments. Longtime trainer Brian McDonagh upped anaerobic exercises to maintain strength, while Boyle replicated the rhythms and rigors of the league’s schedule by biking hard on game nights and turning in strenuous early workouts to mimic morning skates.

Two weeks into the season, the call came. The Panthers officially signed Boyle to a one-year, $940,000 contract. Joining his third team in nine months, Boyle said, “I’m not expected to be a cheerleader—I want to make a difference for the team on the ice.”

At 6’6” and 245 lbs, Boyle has carved out a role as a bottom-six grinder even as teams turn to speedier, skilled players on their third and fourth lines. He’s fought to stay in the league, just two years after he fought for his life, after it was upended by cancer.

“It scared the s*** out of me,” Boyle remembers. “I had my daughter, who was four months old, and my son [who] was not even two-and-a-half yet. It’s scary to hear those words.”

Before the preseason in August 2017, Boyle felt fatigued, so much so that he wondered whether his hockey career was coming to a close. When he underwent routine blood tests at the start of the Devils’ training camp, the results were unexpected: Boyle had chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), an uncommon cancer of the bone marrow. He started treatment early, giving him the chance to return to the ice, as former NHLer Jason Blake had done before with CML.

But the whirlwind continued: Two weeks after Boyle was diagnosed with cancer, he and his wife, Lauren, took their two-year-old son, Declan, to the doctor to get his englarged, fragile chin examined. “It used to be like an eggshell,” Boyle says.

At first, the doctor thought Declan could have Ewing’s Sarcoma, an extremely rare tumor that forms in bone or soft tissue. But after a CT scan and an MRI, results showed that Declan had an arteriovenous malformation of the jaw. Instead of cancer, Boyle’s son had a rare condition where blood vessels form abnormally and arteries and veins become tangled, disrupting normal blood flow. As Boyle battled his way back onto the NHL ice, only missing 10 games and later earning an All-Star selection, Declan underwent multiple surgeries back in Boston.

“I’m not downplaying what I was diagnosed with,” Boyle says. “This is like a million times worse. We go to the Children’s Hospital in Boston and we see so many families in there and it’s the most unfair thing there is. It’s a scary thing, as a parent, you’d trade places in a minute.”

Boyle finished his 2017–18 season with 13 goals and 23 points, and was honored with the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for his perseverance and dedication to hockey. In just over a year, Boyle had experienced the birth of his first daughter, a brush with cancer, the learning of his son’s medical condition, and his own subsequent return to the rink. But life didn’t slow down. Boyle announced his cancer was in remission in October 2018 and Lauren was announced as a Hockey Fights Cancer ambassador soon after. A few months later, he was moved to the Predators for a second-round pick at the trade deadline. Nashville lost in six games to the Stars in the first round.

Boyle says Declan’s condition is progressing, but before Thanksgiving he had another procedure to return normal blood flow by dissolving some veins. Lauren flew up to Boston while her husband played on the road against the Capitals, with his family providing a 24/7 support system in Florida and Massachusetts.

“It’s tough for us. We thought we were over and it came back,” Boyle says. “Maybe we were starting to drive on our goal line and then we drove into red zone. Now we’re back in field goal range. We took a sack.

“It’s a lot better than it was a couple of years ago. [Declan] is great. He’s healthy, he’s eating, he’s a big boy. He’s been inspiring—that’s the best way I can put it.”


“When it comes to cancer, people don’t always want to talk about it. Unfortunately, it’s often a sad story. But it can also be an inspiring story about people who are fearless in times of adversity, people who have battled and people who are not afraid to put up a fight.” —Brian Boyle, 2014

Boyle could as well have said this about himself, but he wrote this for ESPN about someone else. One of thirteen children, Boyle wasn’t the first member of his family to overcome cancer. Artie, his father, was diagnosed with kidney cancer when Brian was 14, and eight months later it metastasized to his lung. With six months to live, Artie made pilgrimage to Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, an unofficial Catholic holy site since the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared to six teens in 1981. When he returned home, a CAT scan showed the cancer was gone.

“You’re a person that’s fighting this thing and that mental aspect of it is a huge, huge, huge thing,” Boyle says. “[Artie] talks about those dark days. You get depression, really, because you know you’re mortality is right there in front of you.”

While his cancer remains in remission, Boyle continues to take medication twice a day, but is relatively unaffected by it. In the two years since his diagnosis, he’s made visits to kids at Boston Children’s Hospital and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. He says he wants to do more—switching jerseys three times in the span of a year can get in the way—but he and Lauren have helped out with fundraisers and have met with cancer patients and survivors through community outreach efforts. He says he goes into the visits trying to talk about their interests, not their illnesses.

On the ice, Boyle hasn’t changed. He’s scored four goals and eight points and has won 57.5% of his faceoffs while centering the Panthers’ fourth line. Boyle’s leadership and veteran presence within the locker room has never wavered, and his diagnosis hasn’t affected his performance on the ice. In his 13th NHL season—and with a four-year-old son and two-year-old daughter, Isabella, at home—Boyle says he feels good and that he’s going to play “until they tell me I can’t anymore.”

“I get to have a little bit more fun with it again and, if it doesn’t go right one night, I’ll still be angry, it will still be tough to go to sleep,” Boyle says. “But it’s a little easier when I get home, the kids give you a hug and they’re happy to see you, after all we’ve been through.”

Sergei Bobrovsky Jersey

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When the Florida Panthers signed Sergei Bobrovsky to a seven-year, $70 million contract in July, the hope was that the long-standing goaltending issues in Sunrise would be solved.
Bobrovsky was coming off his best-ever postseason and rebounded after a bad start in Columbus to steer the Blue Jackets to their third straight playoff appearance.

Florida also hoped that Bobrovsky’s notoriously slow starts were something he left behind in Ohio, but with a GAA of 3.53 and an .882 save percentage through 17 games and 16 starts, that hasn’t happened. What, if anything, is wrong with Bobrovsky, and what can be done to fix it?

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Charting Hockey says Sergei Bobrovsky’s goals saved above average is -11.84, by far the worst among starters in the league this year thus far. Hockey Reference is only slightly kinder, saying Bob’s GSAA is -11.76, also worst in the league among qualified netminders.

Even after the NHL adjusted their shot distance data, the numbers for Bobrovsky got no better. He’s not being bombarded with shots, though he is facing a good number of quality chances. But on average, he’s giving nearly a goal more per game than expected goals would suggest, which for a team like the Panthers who only play close games, that is the difference between winning and losing most nights.

“Obviously, I am not happy with the number of goals that have been scored,” said Bobrovsky to the Athletic after the loss to Winnipeg (Note: paywalled). What can I do right now? Every NHL season brings its own challenges and no matter how fresh you feel physically or mentally, there is going to be some adversity you have to overcome.”

Last October, Bobrovsky had an .882 save percentage and a GAA of 3.58, but turned it around in November with a .932 save percentage and a 2.11 GAA. This year, his November numbers are better than October’s, but only slightly.

Is Bobrovsky still getting used to the system around him? Does he trust the defense in front of him? Was there a style or coaching adjustment that can explain what has happened, or has he simply been played a game or two too often?

Likely, the answer falls somewhere in the middle. For all of the improvements that Joel Quenneville has made defensively, the team still has troubles with puck management in their own zone and net-front coverage hasn’t been up to par, leading to those good chances against. Outside of those defensive breakdowns, he’s still given up more than a few clunkers on a consistent basis, even as he has constantly made great saves to mask that.

His teammates and his coaches are publicly backing him, which certainly quells any notion of a goaltending controversy.

“We absolutely do,” Joel Quenneville said. “that is for sure. Players know, everyone goes through stretches where you’re at your best and other times when you’re up against it, regardless of the position. It’s magnified in goal. Just have to find your way through it and collectively, I think we all can help.”

While tightening up defensively and cutting down on mistakes would certainly help Bobrovsky’s numbers improve, perhaps this is the right time for a night or two off. He played 62 games last year, and he’s on track to perhaps go beyond that this year.

Though Sam Montembeault has had his ups and downs, he’s more than shown he’s capable of guiding the team through difficult spots, and a start not on the back end of a back-to-back might be enough to give Bobrovsky a chance to get a needed reset.

“You work hard and sometimes there are ups-and-downs, but you have to keep your focus,” Bobrovsky mentioned. “I have to be myself, keep working. … I have to play my system and trust myself and I will give these guys a chance to win.”

While Bobrovsky’s struggles are not likely to continue to this degree based on evidence from recent seasons, the Panthers cannot achieve what they set out to in a crowded East if they don’t get better play from their $10 million man. Team defense certainly needs to improve, but Bobrovsky has to as well. He knows it and his team knows it.

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.

Noel Acciari Jersey

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During the 2019 NHL offseason, General Manager Dale Tallon signed fourth-line centerman Noel Acciari to a three-year contract worth a total of $3.5 million.
With the Florida Panthers currently sitting in a playoff spot in the competitive Eastern Conference, center Noel Acciari is seemingly appearing as a free agent steal for Florida, thus far.

The former Bruin was relatively productive during his tenure with the physical Boston Bruins. The Cats lured away Acciari from their division rival in hopes that he would provide instant stability to their bottom-six forward group, particularly the fourth line.

Quite frankly, through the first eighteen games of the 2019-20 season, Noel Acciari as been one of Florida’s most valuable players on their bottom-six unit. The American native has been a stable anchor for the Panthers’ bottom line, performing exceptionally well on both ends of the ice.

While participating in 15 regular-season games, Noel Acciari has already recorded 4 goals while playing a career-high of 15:19 per game. Moreover, Acciari has performed relatively well in the faceoff circle, producing a winning percentage of 47.3% on the season.

Furthermore, his value comes from the intangibles and playing a potent physical, defensive-minded style of play. He’s already registered 20 total hits as well as 19 blocked shots while centering the gritty, forechecking fourth line.

In essence, Acciari doesn’t commit inexcusable penalties (2 penalty minutes in 2019) and rarely turns the puck over to the opposition (1 giveaway in 2019). Additionally, he’s developed outstanding chemistry with fellow wingers Colton Sceviour and Dryden Hunt, forcing head coach Joel Quenneville to keep the trio together for the majority of games.

Basically, the 27-year-old has fit in extremely well with the Panthers. He’s providing a much-needed veteran presence to a youthful bottom six, along with a powerful voice in the locker room.

As well, he’s also provided the Panthers with a crucial weapon on the penalty kill. With the help of Acciari killing an abundance of penalties, the Cats have improved their PK percentage to roughly 82%, which ranks among the top ten in the entire National Hockey League.

Despite missing three games due to injury, the Panthers were able to remain in a playoff position but truly missed Acciari’s presence on the fourth line. The Rhode Island native has certainly provided a positive impact, considering that he’s currently completely healthy and recovered from his past knock.

In hindsight, the Cats will need to depend on Noel Acciari in order to potentially clinch a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. Having a fourth line that can chip in every night is crucial in today’s game, and with Acciari leading the charge on that line, the Panthers are in good hands knowing they can depend on him nightly.

Wayne Huizenga Jersey

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SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Roberto Luongo regrets not having more friends and family at his last game with the Florida Panthers. If he had known he was retiring, a decision he didn’t make until weeks later, he would have ensured that more of the people closest to him were there that night.

They’re all invited for his jersey retirement instead.

The Florida Panthers announced Monday that they will send Luongo’s No. 1 jersey to the rafters on March 7. Fittingly, the opponent will be the Montreal Canadiens — the hometown team for their now-retired goaltender.

“Hopefully, there will be a lot of people in the building to enjoy that special moment with me,” Luongo said.

Luongo will become the first Panthers player to have his number retired.

“Roberto is a cornerstone of Panthers history and an icon of the game,” Panthers owner Vincent Viola said. “He has represented himself and the Panthers with tremendous dignity, determination and a standard of excellence throughout his career. Roberto exemplifies what it means to be a Florida Panther. … There is no player more deserving to be the first Florida Panther to have his jersey number retired.”

Luongo retired in June after 19 NHL seasons, most of them with Florida. His 489 career victories are third in NHL history behind Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy.

“There was never a question in any of our minds that Roberto would be the first Panthers player to have his number retired by the franchise,” Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said. “One of the game’s most iconic goaltenders, he gave his heart and soul to the Panthers and the South Florida community and carried himself with dignity, modesty and humor.”

Luongo is Florida’s all-time leader in wins, shutouts and saves. He was a two-time Olympic gold medalist for Canada, plus helped his home nation win two world championships and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. He entered the offseason intending to come back for at least one more year, then realized over the next few weeks that his body didn’t want to go through what would have been a 20th season.

“I knew that I was at the point in my career where my body just didn’t want me to go through the motions,” Luongo said. “The more we got into the summer, the more I realized it was time to step away from the game.”

The Panthers previously retired two other numbers — 93 for former Panthers president Bill Torrey in commemoration of the franchise’s inaugural game being played in 1993, and 37 for original owner Wayne Huizenga, in tribute to both his being born in 1937 and that being his lucky number.

Willie Mitchell Jersey

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Last week, we tried to identify the top 10 best Canucks jerseys to own.

We took into consideration the logo as well as the player in question for that exercise, and we’ll attempt to do the same thing for the top 10 worst Canucks jerseys to own.

Is this going to be a little harsh? Perhaps. But we couldn’t revel in celebrating joy for too long, it’s just not how we’re wired.

Here are the top 10 worst Canucks jerseys to own.

And we’re very sorry if you’ve got one of these in your closet. Hopefully it stays there.

10. Any nickname jersey

A Jake Virtanen jersey? Sure. Might not look great in a couple years, but right now it’s a fine buy.

A Jeff Cowan jersey? Um, OK. Rare and kind of cool in its own right, as it brings back the improbable hot streak the forward went on in 2007 (and the bras that followed).

But when it comes to “Shotgun Jake” on a sweater, or “Brabarian”, we are completely, 100 percent out.

It’s not funny, or original, just so you know.

9. Loui Eriksson white “Vancouver” orca

It’s hard to imagine now, but there were big expectations for Eriksson in Vancouver. After all, he had just scored 30 goals with the Boston Bruins and had experienced success playing with the Sedin twins on the international circuit.

We know how it played out. Wearing an Eriksson jersey unironically these days is tough. Maybe even impossible.

8. Erik Gudbranson blue “Vancouver” orca

Like Eriksson, this might not have been a terrible gamble at the time.

After all, some defensive stalwarts were able to find a decent amount of popularity in the city. Look at Dan Hamhuis, Willie Mitchell or even Chris Tanev.

But Gudbranson couldn’t find his game in Vancouver and likely goes down as one of the least popular players of the last five years.

7. Your own name

Unless you’re a kid, it’s just not a good look.

6. David Booth blue “Vancouver” orca

The rare jersey that gets even worse after a player retires.

Booth was expected to do big things in Vancouver after some solid averages in Florida.

But it never came to fruition for Booth as a Canuck. And a number of his more recent comments and actions have garnered some (not exactly positive) attention in the aftermath.

5. Keith Ballard white “Vancouver” orca

One of the worst trades in Vancouver Canucks history, it’s best to try and forget Keith Ballard’s time as a Canuck, if possible.

The veteran defenceman was brought to Vancouver as the Canucks loaded up in 2011 to try and become a Stanley Cup contender.

But it was an ill-advised deal that sent a first-round pick, Steve Bernier and Michael Grabner to Florida for Ballard’s services.

The rearguard didn’t deliver—he was a frequent health scratch with the Canucks and was eventually the target of one of the team’s compliance buyouts.

4. Vladimir Krutov black skate

A recurring theme with the list will be “veteran star who comes to Vancouver and doesn’t live up to the grand expectations.”

And despite what you may have heard about a certain bald Lays Potato Chips advocate, Krutov is the best example of that in Canucks history.

The Russian legend came over to North America with fellow countryman Igor Larionov in 1989 to play for a Canucks team desperate for some offensive firepower.

But Krutov battled weight issues during his one season with the team and was general ineffective.

Sadly, Krutov passed away in 2012 at the age of 52.

A less sensitive person would make the joke that if you’re going to get a Krutov jersey, you better make it a XXL.

3. Cody Hodgson stick in rink alternate

Buying a Cody Hodgson jersey in 2010 probably seemed like a great idea.

The team’s number 10 overall pick in 2008 was projected to do big things in the NHL. For years, he was Vancouver’s top prospect and showed decently in his first game action in 2010-11. He also scored 33 points in 63 games with the Canucks the next season.

But things went downhill quickly. He was traded to the Buffalo Sabres for Zach Kassian, and though he started out pretty well with the Sabres, he was out of the NHL at the age of 25.

It’s something of a sad story, and it’s hard to blame Canucks fans for taking the shot on a Hodgson jersey. But it just didn’t work out.

2. Mats Sundin blue “Vancouver” orca

Look, Mats Sundin was fine during his one year with the Vancouver Canucks.

He scores 28 points in 41 regular season games and added eight in as many playoff contests.

But a Canucks Sundin jersey just never seemed right, and still doesn’t. Sundin is a Toronto Maple Leaf, and a Canucks Sundin jersey feels like a waste.

1. Mark Messier white orca

Not much of a surprise here.

If you know anything about Vancouver Canucks history, you know that Mark Messier is without a doubt the most hated player in team lore. Just check the team’s Reddit page.

It doesn’t need to be rehashed, but in case you’re a glutton for punishment:

stole a Stanley Cup from the Canucks while with the New York Rangers
wore a number previously retired for a dead person
took the captaincy from Trevor Linden
was a waste of money on the ice.
If you wear a Messier jersey in Vancouver, don’t expect to be received warmly.

It’s not the worst Canucks jersey in history though. That honour belongs to this beauty.

Stick tap to Sportnet’s Justin Morissette for going down a rather dark rabbit hole.

Follow @ncaddell on Twitter

Viktor Kozlov Jersey

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The very first Russian-born and trained player to make it to the NHL was Victor Nechayev. Upon marrying an American woman that allowed him entry into the USA, Nechayev played one season of professional hockey in North America. That included three games for the Los Angeles Kings during the 1982-83 season, one of which saw him score a goal.

Nearly a decade would pass before the league would see a major influx of Russians, as the Iron Curtain began to crumble.

The NHL’s Top-50 Russians of All-Time
Sergei Pryakhin was the first Russian allowed exodus, and he promptly joined the Calgary Flames. Alexander Mogilny defected to join the Buffalo Sabres, and is still the only Russian to eclipse the 70-goal mark. More former Soviets would quickly become NHL superstars as well, while the 1993-94 New York Rangers would become the first team with Russian players to get their names inscribed on Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Since that time, Russians are seemingly as commonplace in the NHL as any other nationality – “every team has one”, so to speak. THW takes a look through nearly 40 years of history (yes, we even considered Nechayev) to determine the league’s Top-50 Russians of all-time.

Here is who we can up with.

50. Yuri Khmylev (Buffalo, St. Louis): Affectionately called “The Yuro-Train” during his time in Buffalo, Khmylev made his NHL debut at the age of 28. He had back-to-back 20-goal seasons in 1992-93 and 1993-94, while seeing occasional time alongside Pat LaFontaine and Alexander Mogilny. Khmylev eventually became more of a defensively-focused player, and would briefly be linemates with Wayne Gretzky followed a trade to St. Louis.

49. Igor Ulanov (Winnipeg, Washington, Chicago, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Edmonton, New York Rangers, Florida): Nicknamed “The Mangler” throughout his career, Ulanov was a punishing force on defense for parts of 13 seasons. At 6-foot-2 and well over 200 pounds, he was mean and ornery but never got enough credit for having sound positioning on the ice. Ulanov played 739 regular season games, and chalked up 1,151 penalty minutes in that time.

48. Ilya Bryzgalov (Anaheim, Phoenix/Arizona, Philadelphia, Edmonton, Minnesota): Too many people recall Bryzgalov as being more of an oddity, that they forget he was also a talented goaltender. He would win a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2006-07, and eventually became a starting goaltender in the league once he moved onto the Coyotes and Flyers. Bryzgalov’s career numbers came out to 221-162-0-54, with a 2.58 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage.

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Bryzgalov may have been an oddity at times, but he was a Stanley Cup champion and a winning netminder (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports).
47. Igor Kravchuk (Chicago, Edmonton, St. Louis, Ottawa, Calgary, Florida): Kravchuk was solid defensively, and possessed an offensive touch as well. In his very first NHL season (1991-92), he helped the Blackhawks reach the Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He would play 11 more seasons after that. Kravchuk’s finest campaign was 1992-93 with the Oilers when he went 12-38-50 – all career highs – in 81 games.

46. Danil Markov (Toronto, Phoenix/Arizona, Carolina, Philadelphia, Nashville, Detroit): A tireless, fearless defender, Markov could take a hit and give one in return. He once infamously took stitches below his eye without any anesthetic in order to keep playing. Three times Markov played for teams that reached the Stanley Cup semi-final round across his nine NHL seasons.

45. Boris Mironov (Edmonton, Winnipeg, Chicago, New York Rangers): At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Mironov could be a very physical defender – especially in the earlier part of his career – but he possessed a noticeable offensive upswing. Four times in his 11 seasons he would surpass 100 PIMs – all of them happening within his first six campaigns. Mironov also scored at least 30 points from the back end on six different occasions as well.

44. Alexander Frolov (Los Angeles, New York Rangers): Frolov had seven good seasons on the West Coast with the Kings, but then disappeared after a season-ending ACL injury during his lone year in the Big Apple. A two-time 30-goal scorer, he hit double digits in goals from 2002-03 through 2009-10 – all with Los Angeles. After his stint with the Rangers in 2010-11, Frolov finished out his career in the KHL.

43. Dmitri Mironov (Toronto, Pittsburgh, Anaheim, Detroit, Washington): Possessing a very similar build and style to that of his younger brother Boris, the elder Mironov was the more offensive of the two. In 10 NHL seasons, Dmitri Mironov recorded five straight seasons (excluding the 1994-95 lockout) of at least 30 points as a blueliner. His career high of 52 (13-39-52) came in 1996-97. Mironov won the Stanley Cup with the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings.

42. Oleg Tverdovsky (Anaheim, Winnipeg, Phoenix/Arizona, New Jersey, Carolina, Los Angeles): Though born in Ukraine, Tverdovsky developed his game in Russia and represented the country internationally. A highly gifted offensive-defenseman, he recorded at least 50 points in a season on three separate occasions. Perhaps best thought of as a Duck, Tverdovsky won two Stanley Cups in his career – one with the 2002-03 New Jersey Devils and one with the 2005-06 Carolina Hurricanes.

41. Maxim Afinogenov (Buffalo, Atlanta): When Afinogenov arrived on the scene in Buffalo in 1999-00, he seemed destined to become the next Pavel Bure. With lightning-speed and exhilarating rushes, he thrilled Sabres fans for nine seasons. The trouble was that as fast as Afinogenov was, his scoring could not keep pace. He never scored more than 24 goals in a season, and that came during his lone and final NHL campaign with the Atlanta Thrashers. Three times he scored at least 20 for Buffalo, but he could never fully harness his raw talent.

best russian hockey players
The hope was that Maxim Afinogenov would become another Pavel Bure, but it never materialized.
40. Andrei Kovalenko (Quebec, Colorado, Montreal, Edmonton, Philadelphia, Carolina, Boston): Kovalenko was nicknamed “The Tank”. While standing a modest 5-foot-11, he weighed 230 pounds and was very sturdy in front of the net. Kovalenko possessed a decent scoring touch, and generated double digits in goals for all but one of his nine NHL seasons. His highest total came in 1996-97 when he potted 32 for the Oilers.

39. Alexander Karpovtsev (New York Rangers, Toronto, Chicago, New York Islanders, Florida): Though some dogged him later in his career as being a “lazy” player, Karpovtsev was nonetheless a very talented defender. He possessed good size at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, and could contribute offensively. His finest season came in 1996-97 when he finished second among Rangers blueliners in scoring (9-29-38), and fed off of the play of Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Brian Leetch and Adam Graves. He was one of the first Russians to have his named etched onto the Stanley Cup in 1994. Very sadly, we lost Karpovtsev in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl tragedy in 2011.

38. Valeri Bure (Montreal, Calgary, Florida, St. Louis, Dallas): Though not as high-scoring as his more renowned older brother, Valeri Bure could still put pucks home. He would surpass the 20-goal plateau five times during his career. When Bure tallied a career-high 35 goals in 1999-00 for the Flames, he and his older brother set the NHL record (93) for most goals in a season by a pair of siblings. He finished her career with 400 points (174 G, 226 A) in 621 games.

37. Alexander Semin (Washington, Carolina, Montreal): An incredibly gifted scorer, Semin could have been one of the greats but earned a reputation as being lackadaisical or lazy at times. Still, his god-given talent cannot be ignored. In nine of his 11 NHL seasons, Semin reached double digits. He was at least a point-per-game player in three different seasons, and scored 40 goals in 73 games for the 2009-10 Washington Capitals.

Alexander Semin
Alexander Semin’s offensive skills could seem otherwordly at times (Photo Credit: Andy Martin Jr.)

36. Artemi Panarin (Chicago, Columbus, New York Rangers). “The Bread Man” is about to embark on the Big Apple portion of his NHL career, but has already established himself as one of the more skillful Russians to have graced the league. Joining the Blackhawks in 2015-16 after seven KHL seasons, Panarin scored 30 goals and 77 points as a rookie to win the Calder. During his two seasons for the Blue Jackets, he scored at better than a point-per-game pace.

35. Viktor Kozlov (San Jose, Florida, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Washington): Kozlov was selected 8th overall in 1993 by the Sharks, and it wasn’t difficult to see why. He stood 6-foot-4 and over 230 pounds in a time when bigger always seemed better. Kozlov would end up playing 14 seasons in the NHL, almost half of which were spent with the Panthers. He would score at least 12 goals in 11 of those campaigns, and finished his career with 198.

34. Alexei Zhitnik (Los Angeles, Buffalo, New York Islanders, Philadelphia, Atlanta): Zhitnik was born in Ukraine during Soviet times, but played internationally for Russia. He could score from the blueline and possessed a cannon of a shot as well (though sometimes he had difficulty in hitting the net). Across his career, Zhitnik played in two Stanley Cup Finals but never won the Cup. On Feb. 20, 2007, he became the eighth defenseman from outside of North America to play 1,000 regular season games.

33. Vladimir Malakhov (New York Islanders, Montreal, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Philadelphia): A behemoth on defense, Malakhov stood 6-foot-4 and near the 230-pound mark. Aside from his hulking figure, he also possessed a great deal of offensive capabilities. In his rookie NHL season, Malakhov had 52 points (14G, 38A) in 64 games. Five times he scored at least 10 goals in a season. He was one of four Russians to win the Cup with the Devils in 1999-00.

32. Alexei Gusarov (Quebec, Colorado, New York Rangers, St. Louis): Gusarov was another Soviet-era player who made the jump to the NHL in his late-20s. He would join the Nordiques in 1990-91, and remained with the franchise on into the 2000-01 season. Possessing a touch of offense to his game, Gusarov was also very tough and was instrumental to the Avalanche during their rivalry years with Detroit. He would help the Avs win the Cup in 1995-96.

31. Sergei Samsonov (Boston, Edmonton, Montreal, Chicago, Carolina, Florida): After potting 22 goals for the Bruins in 1997-98, Samsonov was named the NHL’s Rookie of the Year. He would end up scoring at least 19 goals for the next four seasons after that. Samsonov would help the Edmonton Oilers reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2005-06, after coming over in a trade from Boston. He would scored 235 goals across 13 seasons.

30. Alexander Radulov (Nashville, Montreal, Dallas): Radulov’s game has matured through his three separate chapters in the NHL. Highly-skilled but aggravatingly youthful during his time with the Preds, he has since blossomed into a go-to player in Dallas. Radulov’s first six seasons saw him record 300 points (121G, 179A) in 382 games.

Alexander Radulov – best russian hockey players
Alexander Radulov’s play has gotten better as he has matured (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey).
29. Igor Korolev (St. Louis, Winnipeg, Phoenix/Arizona, Toronto, Chicago): Korolev was one of the hardest working players in the game during his time. His finest years came as a member of the Maple Leafs when he recorded double digits in goals in all four seasons in Toronto. Though his scoring tapered off at times, he remained defensively responsible throughout his career. Korolev’s life was cut short by the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash.

28. Dmitri Yushkevich (Philadelphia, Toronto, Florida, Los Angeles): A superb shot-blocker, Yushkevich developed a reputation as being a fearless battler throughout his entire career. He grew into being a top-4 defenseman, and ended up playing 786 regular season games. Seven of his 11 NHL seasons were in a Maple Leafs uniform. If there was ever a defender who typified the word tireless, it would be Yushkevich.

27. Sergei Makarov (Calgary, San Jose, Dallas): Makarov was one of greatest Soviet hockey players to ever lace ’em up. He would receive Hockey Hall of Fame induction in 2016, namely due to his play prior to his NHL career. Make no mistake though, Makarov was a topnotch NHLer as well. He won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie as a 31-year-old, which cause the NHL to institute an age limit for the award. Twice he was a 30-goal scorer – once with the Flames and once with the Sharks.

26. Evgeny Kuznetsov (Washington): Not only did Kuznetsov win the Stanley Cup with the Capitals in 2018, he was the team’s leading scorer in the postseason with 32 points (12G, 20a) in 24 games. He set career highs in the 2017-18 season as well, both for goals (27) and points (83). He will keep fans in the D.C. area entertained for many years to come.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov – best russian hockey players
Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) celebrates after scoring goal. (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)
25. Sergei Nemchinov (New York Rangers, Vancouver, New York Islanders, New Jersey): Like Karpovtsev and two other Russians who made our list, Nemchinov was one of the first from his country to win the Stanley Cup when the Rangers did so in 1994. He would win a second one in 2000 as a member of the Devils. Nemchinov scored 30 goals in his rookie season of 1991-92, and was the first player in NHL history to play for all three “Hudson River” teams – the Rangers, Islanders and Devils.

24. Sergei Brylin (New Jersey): If there was a most underrated player on our list, it would have to be Sergei Brylin. He played 12 NHL seasons – all with the Devils – and was a member of their Cup-winning teams in 1995, 2000 and 2003. Brylin’s finest season came in 2000-01 when he set career highs in goals (23), assists (29) and points (52).

23. Andrei Markov (Montreal): Markov has suffered a lot of injuries in his career, but his time spent in the NHL saw him become one of the most steadfast defenders in the league regardless. In 990 games, he generated 572 points (119G, 453A) from the back end. Seven times Markov generated at least 35 assists in a season. Twice he finished in the top-10 in voting for the Norris Trophy.

Andrei Markov, Montreal Canadiens
Andrei Markov finished in the top-10 for Norris Trophy voting twice in his career (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports).
22. Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis): Tarasenko is easily one of the most dynamic players in the game today. He has scored at least 33 goals for the Blues for five seasons straight. Tarasenko finished second on the team in playoff goals during their Cup-run in 2018-19. Now that he has that Cup and is showing no signs of slowing down, he will likely have earned a much higher spot on our list by the time he has retired. Many wonder if Tarasenko can become the first Blues player since 1993-94 to reach 50 goals in a season.

21. Valeri Kamensky (Quebec, Colorado, New York Rangers, Dallas, New Jersey): Kamensky was another key component for the Avalanche during their rivalry years with the Red Wings, and one of the team’s premier scorers. When the Avs won the Cup in 1995-96, Kamensky scored 38 goals that season, plus another 10 during the playoffs. He would finish his NHL career having scored 200 regular season goals in 637 games.

20. Viacheslav Fetisov (New Jersey, Detroit): In his younger years, Fetisov was widely considered the best defenseman in the world. He would eventually make his NHL debut with the 1989-90 Devils at the age of 31. Playing until the age of 40, Fetisov appeared in three Stanley Cup Finals with the Red Wings, and won the Cup in 1997 and 1998. Despite the late start, he still managed to record 228 points (36G, 192A) in 546 games.

19. Evgeni Nabokov (San Jose, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay): Though born in Kazakhstan during Soviet times, Nabokov primarily represented Russia on the international scene. He would win the Calder Trophy in 2000-01 when he went 32-21-7 for the Sharks and put forth a 2.19 goals-against and a .915 SV%. Nabokov was named to the First All-Star Team in 2008, and finished in the top-5 in voting for the Vezina Trophy on five different occasions.

18. Vladimir Konstantinov (Detroit): Were it not for the tragic accident that cut his career short, Konstantinov may have had a Hall of Fame career. He was nicknamed “Vlad the Impaler”, and with good reason – there were very few who could bodycheck as well as he could. Konstantinov earned the NHL Plus/Minus Award in 1995–96, with a brilliant plus-60. Though not overly large, he was solid like steel and his hits were devastating. Konstantinov would win the Cup with the Red Wings in 1997, and had his name included with the 1998 team as well.

Vladimir Konstantinov Detroit Red Wings
Defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov of the Detroit Red Wings moves down the ice during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Philadelphia Flyers (Rick Stewart /Allsport)
17. Alexei Yashin (Ottawa, New York Islanders): As much as Yashin was criticized during his career for what was felt to be a failure to show up in the playoffs, he was still a very talented hockey player. Contract disputes certainly did not help either, but Yashin scored at least 30 goals in half of his dozen NHL campaigns. He was a Second All-Star Team selection in 1998-99, and finished second in voting for the Hart Trophy that season as well.

16. Vyacheslav Kozlov (Detroit, Buffalo, Atlanta): A two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Red Wings, Slava Kozlov was one of the most consistent scorers of his generation. Playing parts of 18 NHL seasons, he scored at least 20 goals in a season 11 different times. Even while with the lowly Thrashers for his final seven campaigns, Kozlov had 70-point seasons four times.

15. Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay): Though still early on, it appears that Kucherov is in the process of assembling a Hockey Hall of Fame career. For six straight seasons his point totals have increased for the Lightning. Kucherov reached the 100-point plateau both in 2017-18 and 2018-19. Scoring 128 points (41G, 87A) in 2018-19, he earned the Art Ross Trophy, Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award. Now all he needs is a Stanley Cup.

Nikita Kucherov Ted Lindsay Art Ross Hart – best russian hockey players
Nikita Kucherov with the Ted Lindsay award, Art Ross trophy, and Hart trophy during the 2019 NHL Awards show. (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)
14. Nikolai Khabibulin (Winnipeg, Phoenix/Arizona, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Edmonton): Khabibulin was the first Russian goaltender to win the Stanley Cup when he did so with the 2003-04 Tampa Bay Lightning. His 333 career victories make him one of only 36 goalies to have recorded 300 wins. A four-time NHL All-Star, Khabibulin finished his career with 46 career shutouts.

13. Alexei Kovalev (New York Rangers, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Ottawa, Florida): Kovalev is widely recognized one of the most gifted individual players to appear in the league. He won the Stanley Cup with the Rangers in only his sophomore NHL season. His 21 playoff points were third most on that particular team, behind Brian Leetch and Mark Messier. Kovalev would go on to score 430 goals in his NHL career.

12. Alexei Zhamnov (Winnipeg, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston): Nicknamed “Archie” for his red hair and resemblance to the comic character, Zhamnov was an exceptionally talented center who was strong both ways. Beginning with his rookie season in 1992-93, he scored at least 20 goals for eight consecutive seasons. In the lockout shortened 1994-95 season, Zhamnov reached a career-high of 30 goals in only 48 games. Injuries slowed him down later in his career, but his talent was always frustratingly underrated.

11. Sergei Bobrovsky (Philadelphia, Columbus, Florida ): It is very hard to find a finer goaltender – Russian or otherwise – than Sergei Bobrovsky. He is the top netminder on our list, having won the Vezina Trophy in 2012-13 and 2016-17. Bobrovsky’s 2.06 GAA and .931 SV% across 63 games for the Blue Jackets in 2016-17 are simply staggering. Now with the Panthers, he begins the next chapter in what could be a Hockey Hall of Fame career.

Florida Panthers Sergei Bobrovsky – best russian hockey players
Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
10. Sergei Gonchar (Washington, Boston, Pittsburgh, Ottawa, Dallas, Montreal): There is a likelihood that Sergei Gonchar receives Hockey Hall of Fame induction someday. Few Russian defenders have been more offensively potent. He was an NHL Second All-Star Team selection in 2002 and 2003, and was picked to play in the All-Star Game in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2008. Twice he surpassed 20 goals in a season, despite being a blueliner. Gonchar earned a Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2009, and finished his career with 811 points (220G, 591A) in 1,301 games.

9. Ilya Kovalchuk (Atlanta, New Jersey, Los Angeles): During his prime, Kovalchuk was arguably the purest sniper in the NHL. He won the “Rocket” Richard Trophy in 2003-04 when he tallied 41 goals in 81 games. Kovalchuk would follow that up with seasons of 52, 42, 52 and 43 respectively, before dropping more into the 30s. Had he not gone to play in the KHL from 2013-14 through 2017-18, he would have hit the 500-goal plateau a long time ago. Kovalchuk still may reach the mark regardless.

Los Angeles Kings left wing Ilya Kovalchuk
In his prime, Ilya Kovalchuk was one of the finest goal-scorers in the game (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports).
8. Igor Larionov (Vancouver, San Jose, Detroit, Florida, New Jersey): Larionov was known as “The Professor” for his intellectual approach, his soft-spoken nature and his glasses. He was also one of the finest hockey players to ever skate. Enough so, that throughout the 1980s prior to his arrival in North America, he was thought of as a “Russian Gretzky”. Larionov won three Stanley Cups, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008.

7. Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh): When it comes to sheer power combined with skill, there is no other Russian like Malkin – and few other players for that matter. At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, he has been a beast his entire career but with an elite level of talent. Malkin has surpassed 100 points in a season three times, and led the league in scoring in 2008-09 and 2011-12. He has three Stanley Cup rings, a Hart Memorial Trophy, a Calder Trophy, a Conn Smythe, and a Ted Lindsay in addition to his two Art Ross wins.

6. Sergei Zubov (New York Rangers, Dallas Stars): Zubov is the highest-ranking defenseman on our list. He was named a 2019 inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Zubov won two Stanley Cups in his career – first with the Rangers in 1994, and then with Dallas in 1999. Eight times he surpassed 50 points in a season, and led the “Blueshirts” in scoring when they ended their 54-year curse. Zubov finished his career with 771 points in 1,068 games.

5. Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit): Were it not for the player who is ranked at the top of our list, we would probably have considered Datysuk the best all-around Russian to have ever graced the NHL. Nicknamed “The Magic Man”, he is able to do things with a puck that no other player could ever duplicate. Two Stanley Cups, over 900 points, three Selke Trophies, four Lady Byngs – pretty much every reason for Datsyuk to be in the top-5.

4. Pavel Bure (Vancouver, Florida, New York Rangers): “The Russian Rocket” was inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012, and deservedly so. There was arguably no player more exhilarating from his generation than Bure. Twice in his career he scored 60 goals in a season. Three other times he reached 50. Bure’s blinding speed, cannon of a shot, and pure “thrill factor” place him at fourth on our list.

Pavel Bure, Florida Panthers – best russian hockey players
Pavel Bure goes down in history as one of the most electrifying players in hockey history (Photo Credit: Rick Stewart/Getty Images/NHLI).
3. Alexander Mogilny (Buffalo, Vancouver, New Jersey, Toronto): It is a travesty that Mogilny has not yet been enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Were it not for hip and back injuries, his numbers would have been even more prolific. Still, Mogilny generated 1,032 points (473 G, 559 A) in 990 games. Eight times he reached at least 30 goals in a season, including 76 in 1992-93. He also won the Cup in 1999-00.

2. Alex Ovechkin (Washington): As each season passes, Ovechkin furthers the conclusion that he is the NHL’s all-time greatest goal scorer. Having scored 658 times by the time he turned 33, there is speculation that he could even reach Gretzky’s mark of 894 for tops overall. Only time with tell, but Ovie has got his Stanley Cup (2018) and will likely set scoring marks that no other Russian will ever duplicate.

1. Sergei Fedorov (Detroit, Anaheim, Columbus, Washington): Fedorov is tops on our list for being the best all-around Russian in NHL history, and one of the best all-around players ever. He could play forward or defense, or whatever way the great Scotty Bowman chose to utilize him. Fedorov was the first Russian to eclipse the 1,000-point plateau. He won three Stanley Cups, two Selke Trophies, one Hart Memorial Trophy, one Lester B. Pearson, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.

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PITTSBURGH (AP) — Tomas Tatar’s 10th goal of the season ended Tristan Jarry’s franchise-record shutout streak and sparked the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.

Jarry’s shutout run ended at 177:15 on Tatar’s power-play goal 12:24 into the second period that tied the game. Joel Armia beat Jarry less than four minutes later to put the Canadiens in front to stay and Shea Weber’ scored with just 15 seconds left in the period.

Montreal won for the fourth time in its last 12 meetings with the Penguins.

Carey Price surrendered Jake Guentzel’s 17th goal just 2:59 into the first period but quickly settled down to outduel Jarry. Price finished with 33 saves as Montreal won for the third time in four games following an eight-game winless streak.

Jarry began the night leading the league in goals-against average and save percentage thanks to a surge that included back-to-back shutouts against St. Louis and Arizona last week. A point-blank stop on Nick Cousins early in the second period helped Jarry slip past the Tomas Vokoun’s shutout mark of 173:06 set in 2013, but Jarry’s luck ran out shortly after he surpassed Vokoun in the team record book.

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Some sloppy play in front of Jarry helped the Canadiens finally break through. Pittsburgh was on the penalty kill in the second period when defenseman John Marino and forward Brandon Tanev whiffed on clearing attempts. Montreal’s Phillip Danault grabbed the loose puck, slipped a pass to Brendan Gallagher to set up a two-on-none. Gallagher set up Tatar, who beat Jarry to the short side. It was the first goal Jarry allowed since the second period of a loss to Columbus on Nov. 29.


SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn scored to lead Tampa Bay over Florida.

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 27 shots for Tampa Bay.

Evgenii Dadonov had the goal for the Panthers. Sergei Bobrovsky made a season-high 46 saves in his third straight start.


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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Jack Eichel scored two goals to extend his NHL-leading point streak to 14 games, and Buffalo beat St. Louis.

Sam Reinhart, Johan Larsson and Zemgus Girgensons each had a goal and an assist as the Sabres won their second straight. Linus Ullmark made 28 saves.

Troy Brouwer and Alex Pietrangelo had goals for the Blues, who have lost three in a row following a four-game winning streak. Jake Allen stopped 28 shots.


WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Blake Wheeler, Andrew Copp and Patrik Laine scored in a two-minute span in the second period and Winnipeg dealt Detroit Red its 12th straight loss.

Wheeler began the barrage at 16:43 of the second when he beat Eric Comrie, who was making his first start in goal since Detroit acquired him in a trade with Arizona on Nov. 30.

Copp and Laine followed with goals 11 seconds apart, boosting the score to 4-1 by the 18:43 mark.

Adam Lowry scored a first-period, short-handed goal and Mark Scheifele added his team-leading 14th of the season on the power play at 5:04 of the third. Copp and Wheeler also each had an assist for the Jets (19-10-2).

Christoffer Ehn scored his first goal of the season for the Red Wings (7-22-3), who are 0-10-2 during their skid. Detroit has the worst record in the NHL at 7-22-3.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Calle Jarnkrok had a goal and an assist in the third period, Juuse Saros made 24 saves and Nashville beat slumping San Jose.

Nick Bonino and Ryan Johansen also scored in the third for the Predators, winners of two straight.

Timo Meier scored and Martin Jones made 28 saves for the Sharks, who have lost five in a row.


ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Rickard Rickell and Max Comtois scored in the shootout and Anaheim beat Minnesota for its first win in six road games.

Rakell and Cam Fowler scored for the Ducks in a dominant first period during which they had a 14-1 advantage in shots on goal and the Wild lost center Eric Staal to an injury.

Ryan Hartman put the Wild on the board in the second and Ryan Donato tied the game early in third.

Donato had a breakaway early in overtime that Ryan Getzlaf thwarted with a tripping penalty, and the Wild failed to convert on the power play for the fifth time.

John Gibson denied Parise in the shootout. Kevin Fiala went wide right with his attempt.


DALLAS (AP) — Ben Bishop made 26 saves, 16 in the third period, and Dallas beat New Jersey, hours after the Stars fired head coach Jim Montgomery.

It was Bishop’s first shutout this season and 32nd of his career in Rick Bowness’s first game as interim head coach.

Radek Faksa and Joe Pavelski scored in the first period against Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood, who made 33 saves.

The Stars won their third straight game.


EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Sebastian Aho scored two goals and Carolina beat Edmonton.

Nino Niederreiter, Ryan Dzingel, Jordan Martinook and Dougie Hamilton also scored for the Hurricanes (19-11-1), who have won three straight.

Zack Kassian scored twice and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins added a goal for the Oilers (18-11-4), who have lost three of their last four.


GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Sean Monahan scored for the fourth straight game, Cam Talbot stopped 46 shots and Calgary extended its winning streak to six straight games under interim coach Geoff Ward with a win over listless Arizona.

Calgary played the night before, but had the early jump, scoring two goals on its first four shots in the opening 4:03. The Flames kept on scoring, improving to 7-0-1 following a six-game winless streak (0-5-1).

Michael Frolik and Zac Rinaldo each had a goal and an assist. Johnny Gaudreau and Milan Lucic also scored for Calgary.

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The game got off to a rough start as both sides were displaying chippy behavior early on. Mike Hoffman and Erik Karlsson both exchanged shoves and words in their first meeting since playing together back in Ottawa.

The Florida Panthers decided to get away from the physical play and instead, play their game by getting on the board first. After Frank Vatrano drew a hooking call, the Panthers immediately cashed in on the first power play of the game as Evgenii Dadonov redirected Keith Yandle’s point shot.

Shortly after, the Panthers doubled their lead after Dadonov and Aleksander Barkov both connected for a goal. Dadonov beautifully fed Barkov with a golden-platter pass, which Barkov just had to tap in to record his tenth of the season, tying Stephen Weiss for most goals in franchise history (145).

Unfortunately, the Panthers’ two-goal lead didn’t last long as the Sharks trimmed their lead on the power play. After Aaron Ekblad took an ill-advised penalty, Kevin Labanc wasted no time putting his side on the board, snapping a shot past Sergei Bobrovsky.

The Cats would continue to press throughout the remainder of the first but were unable to beat Martin Jones, heading into the locker room up by a goal (2-1) after twenty minutes of play.

To start the second, Jones denied Vincent Trocheck on a partial breakaway which caught the Sharks by surprise early on.

Moments later, Evander Kane went after MacKenzie Weegar, following the hit that he took prior to their fight. Kane approached Weegar, exchanged some shoves, and the two went for a little dance which Kane got the better of.

Because of Kane’s excessive behavior during the incident, the Sharks forward received two minutes for instigating, five for fighting, and a ten-minute misconduct, which resulted in a Panthers power play.

Immediately after the man advantage expired, Mike Matheson grabbed his first of the season after firing a shot through Jones’ five-hole to regain the Panthers’ two-goal lead (3-1).

There were a couple of good minutes where the Sharks completely controlled play in the Panthers’ end, as a result of Yandle’s turnover at the blue line. Thankfully, Bobrovsky was sharp and denied every shot that came his way.

Things started to heat up as both teams exchanged high-danger chances at either end of the ice. Barkov and Huberdeau both raced down the ice on a 2-on-1, which resulted in Brent Burns breaking up the play, while Bobrovsky was forced to come up big as the Sharks countered back the other way for a scoring chance of their own.

After forty minutes of play, the Panthers still remained in the lead, this time with a two-goal advantage next to their name.

In the final frame, the Cats were faced to kill off an eighteen-second 5-on-3, which they handled with ease. After Ekblad and Hoffman got out of the box, the Panthers went back to controlling the game.

On a four-minute power play, the Panthers cashed in fairly quickly through Brett Connolly – who pounced on a loose rebound and stuffed the puck home to give the Cats a three-goal cushion.

The Sharks then pulled their goalie with a couple of minutes remaining in an attempt to slice the Panthers’ lead but failed when Vatrano threw a shot from his end towards the empty net, signaling the end of the hockey game. The Panthers would go close the game out in comfortable fashion, 5-1.

In short, the Panthers were nothing shy of solid throughout the evening match, showcasing determination from the very start to win the two points in regulation. Bobrovsky’s 29-save effort certainly helped guide the Cats through easy water, as Florida closed out the weekend with the much-needed four points.

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Earlier this week, the New Jersey Devils sent Cory Schneider to the minors in a move that many viewed as the final act of Goalie Confidential. And maybe it was. Maybe we can finally close the books on the saga that consumed this market for two years. Maybe we should just let it go.

But what’s the fun in that?

While there’s a certain finality to Schneider’s demotion, this one act doesn’t quite account for all the intrigue and drama, the what-ifs and what-was that played out between Schneider, Roberto Luongo, the Canucks, the Toronto Maple Leafs and, finally, the Florida Panthers.

It speaks volumes, in fact, that six years after the Canucks traded Schneider to the Devils, it’s hard to write a defining conclusion to this story; and if you don’t believe me, here are three words to consider:

Cap frickin’ recapture.

So, yes, there’s a bottom line here and, yes, the Canucks did very well in the end. But that doesn’t quite tell the whole story, so let’s hop in the way-back machine and try to tell it.

For our purposes, the soap opera starts at the end of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, when Luongo first requested a trade. In that series, the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Canucks were ousted in five games by the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings. Luongo started the first two games of that series, dropping a pair of 4-2 decisions on home ice.

Schneider, who had impressed the previous two seasons in a backup role, started the final three games, losing Game 3 in L.A. 1-0, and winning Game 4 before losing the deciding Game 5 at home 2-1 in overtime. His line in that series: four goals against in three games and a .937 save percentage.

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Luongo, then 33, decided the Canucks had become Schneider’s team and requested a trade that off-season. There were just two problems. One, he had nine years and US$48 million left on his infamous contract and, two, he had a no-trade clause.

Note the wording of that second item. It will become important.

That off-season, then-Leafs general manager Brian Burke expressed a strong interest in the veteran goalie. One story out of Toronto reported then-Canucks GM Mike Gillis was looking for a package that included Tyler Bozak, Jake Gardiner, a first-rounder and, of course, Matt Frattin.

Burke, rightly, rejected that deal but continued negotiations with Bozak as the centrepiece of a potential trade. Just before training camp, talks had evolved to the point that Luongo was informed of the pending deal.

I have a no-trade clause, he said.

Fine, said the Canucks, but you don’t have a no-movement clause, and we can put you on waivers where Edmonton will have the first pick. Do you like that better?

The Canucks believed they could have leveraged Luongo into waiving his no-trade clause; but, wouldn’t you know it, that was about the time the NHL locked out the players and instituted a freeze on player moves. The deal died there, Burke was fired in January 2013 and Schneider took over as the No. 1 goalie in Vancouver, going 17-9-4 in the shortened season with a .927 save percentage.

At the deadline, the Leafs came calling again, this time with Dave Nonis, another former Canucks GM, in the big office. Again, the two sides were close and, again, a deal fell apart at the last minute when Nonis demanded the Canucks eat a portion of Luongo’s salary.

The Canucks, however, believed they were being played by Nonis, who was fired by the Aquilinis and replaced by Gillis, and didn’t have warm feelings toward either party. Whatever the motivation, the result was the same. Luongo went before the TV cameras, proclaimed his contract sucked, and remained with the Canucks.

By the time the draft rolled round that summer, there was considerable pressure from ownership on Gillis to resolve the situation. The Devils came calling for Schneider with the ninth overall pick, the deal was consummated and the Canucks took Bo Horvat.

And the story didn’t end there.

Luongo actually had a good season in 2013-14 but dropped five straight games before the Olympic break. Upon returning from Sochi, he discovered Eddie Lack had supplanted him as the Canucks’ No. 1 and the Canucks, seemingly, were right back where they started.

Except this time the Panthers rode to the rescue. Again, there was backroom drama and the Aquilinis had to be convinced it was a swell idea to eat US$800,000 a year of Luongo’s contract. But they eventually signed off on a deal that brought back Jacob Markstrom, Shawn Matthias and a third-rounder, even if they weren’t happy about it.

In a roundabout way, this brings us back to this week’s news about Schneider. The Canucks, after all this time, have Horvat and Markstrom (Cole Cassels was the third-rounder) which, considering their position, is a huge haul.

But the really fun part of this exercise is considering what might have been had things transpired differently. If the Bozak trade goes through with Toronto, does that extend the shelf life of the Canucks’ Presidents’ Trophy team? Does Burke keep his job in Toronto? What about Nonis?

Then there’s Gillis. You can easily make the case he lost the confidence of ownership with his handling of the Schneider-Luongo file. Where would the Canucks be if he stays? Do they still fall off the grid for four years or was all this necessary to bring them to the place they now occupy?

You have to admit. Those are weighty questions and yet it’s still not over, or it won’t be, as long as the Canucks are absorbing three-plus-million in Luongo’s cap recapture over the next three years.

The scribes who covered the Canucks at the time used to call Goalie Confidential the gift that keeps on giving. Six years later, it still gives.

That’s quite a gift.

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