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Welcome to the top five, your majesty. ‘King’ Henrik Lundqvist has officially passed Curtis Joseph for the fifth-most goaltending wins in NHL history.

Even at 37, he still manages to flash his vintage, Vezina Trophy-winning form on occasion, and we saw it Monday during his New York Rangers’ 3-2 overtime victory over the Minnesota Wild, when he flashed a gorgeous glove hand to rob Jason Zucker on a short-side wrist shot in the third period.

Still, while Hank can turn back the clock and thrill us once in a while, he’s obviously in his twilight years. He has just one season remaining on his contract after this one, and he’ll be 39 when the deal expires in 2021, so there’s a decent chance he retires then. Before that happens, Hank, who sits at 455 wins, has an excellent shot to pass Ed Belfour for fourth on the all-time wins list.

What then, will we make of Lundqvist’s legacy several years down the road? He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer, one of the best ever to play his position. But can we also call him the No. 1 puck-stopper of his generation? When our panel of historians ranked every goalie in history for our master top 100 list a year ago, Lundqvist finished 24th overall, higher than any other active goalie at the time. If we define his generation by the start of the salary-cap era in 2005-06, which was his rookie season, is he the best?

We know the win totals are strong. As is the case for pitchers in baseball, wins are an overrated and misleading stat, but they can still carry meaning when a goalie wins for so many years. It takes a great team to puff up a goalie’s win total, but it takes a great goalie to post big win totals year after year after year. That’s why most of the all-time wins leaders are legends of the game. You have to be really good to keep the starting job on that team that wins a ton of games.

Lundqvist checks the Vezina Trophy box, having captured it in 2011-12, and has been a finalist five times. He led Sweden to Olympic gold in 2006. His .918 save percentage places him 11th all-time, and he’s enjoyed some deep playoff runs with Ranger teams on which he was the star, including in 2013-14, when they reached the Stanley Cup final. Lundqvist owns a .922 career playoff SP. On the intangible side, he’s a fashion icon who was named one of People magazine’s 100 most beautiful people in 2006, and he also passes the “auteur” test as a netminder with a signature style. He plays extremely deep in his net, allowing himself that extra split second to read plays.

Another measure of greatness is to ask whether a player represented the pinnacle of his or her position for an extended period. Lundqvist undoubtedly did. His peak three-year window came from 2010-11 to 2012-13. Across that stretch, he finished fourth, first and second in the Vezina vote; earned a first- and second-team all-star nod; and had the second-highest SP among 31 goalies who played 100 or more games. At 5-on-5, in the 100-game club, Lundqvist ranked second in goals-saved above average per 60 minutes and first in high-danger SP over that span. He was the best in the world, right there with Tim Thomas at the time.

So Lundqvist has as strong a case as any goalie to be the best of his generation, as he’s combined longevity, consistency and excellence. Still, the fact he hasn’t won a Stanley Cup leaves the door open to debate in the eyes of some. Who else can contend for “best of the cap era” between the pipes?

The first and most obvious threat is Carey Price, who has reached a higher summit than any goalie this generation considering he’s the only one to win the Hart Trophy as league MVP in the past 16 seasons. He matches Lundqvist’s Vezina and Olympic gold. Any time in the past five years or so, when I’ve polled other goalies, including retired NHLers and analysts, Price has gotten the vote as the No. 1 puck-stopper in the game. No one this generation has been so revered or so icy-cool unbeatable at his peak, so I don’t fault anyone who ranks the top-two as Price-Lundqvist instead of Lundqvist-Price. In our top 100 special edition, Price finished just three spots behind Lundqvist at No. 27, and Price is five years younger, so he has a real shot to surpass Lundqvist in potency of resume. Price, too, needs a Cup, though.

Roberto Luongo played most of his career in the cap era. He arguably was his best in his first run a Florida Panther. In 2005-06 and 2003-04, he saw the third- and fourth-most shots ever in a season and still managed to be elite. He was so good for so long and finished 29th in our top 100 rankings, but Luongo also never won the elusive Vezina, was inconsistent in high-pressure games and lost his one great chance at a Cup in Game 7 of the 2011 final as a Vancouver Canuck.

The guy with the Cups, of course, is Marc-Andre Fleury. He has three rings, though he owns 1.5 of them as a starter. He’s hot on Lundqvist’s tail in the wins chase and will pass him eventually as the younger goalie by 2.5 years. Still playing prime-level hockey on a competitive Vegas squad, Fleury has a strong shot to finish top-three or even top-two on the wins list. If he can nab the elusive Vezina, his legacy as a very-good goalie gets redefined as that of a great goalie.

Do we consider Thomas “this generation”? It may not feel that way because he wasn’t a regular NHL starter until 32, but he played all but four of his career games from 2005-06 onward. He earned two Vezinas in three years from 2008-09 through 2010-11, and his 2010-11 belongs on the short list for the greatest seasons ever by a goalie. He got the Vezina, Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup. Thomas was a supernova, but Lundqvist was just as good – for a lot longer.

The only goalie to snag multiple Vezinas since Thomas did? Sergei Bobrovsky. Still just 31, ‘Bob’ can start inching toward Hall of Fame consideration if he can establish any sort of playoff legacy. Last spring marked the first time he ever played well in the post-season. Maybe he builds on that throughout his new Florida Panthers career.

If we value our goalies simply by how often they stop the puck, Tuukka Rask deserves some love. Only Dominik Hasek, Johnny Bower and Ken Dryden can top Rask’s career SP of .9214, and he owns a Vezina Trophy plus two trips to the Stanley Cup final as a starter.

Other netminders with strong resumes over the past decade and a half include Pekka Rinne (349 wins, Vezina winner and four-time finalist) and Ryan Miller (Vezina, 381 wins).

But I’d argue that none aside from Price belongs in the same tier as Lundqvist. Barring a shocking championship run in the next couple years, he’ll join the ranks of the greatest goalies never to win a Cup – alongside Luongo, Tony Esposito, Ed Giacomin and Curtis Joseph.

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Early in the New Year, Patrick Kane will have his No. 88 raised to the rafters by the London Knights, joining Hall of Famers Darryl Sittler, Brendan Shanahan and Dino Ciccarelli in being immortalized by the OHL team. What makes the accomplishment more impressive is he played only one season in London. That number will also be raised to the upper reaches of the United Center someday, and it’s a slam dunk he’ll follow Sittler, Shanahan and Ciccarelli into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

In a season in which Kane has turned 31 and one in which, barring injury, he’ll become the ninth U.S.-born player to reach the 1,000-point milestone, perhaps it’s time for another debate, one that would be a touchy one in Chicago because it involves two of the Blackhawks’ all-time icons. So here goes. At what point do we start to consider the possibility Patrick Kane might be the greatest Chicago Blackhawk of all-time? And while we’re at it, the best American-born player in the history of the game?

That question came up more than once during the NHL’s pre-season media tour in Chicago in September, so it got Kane thinking. He harkened back to 2015-16 when he scored a point in 26 straight games, which broke the records for both U.S.-born players and the Blackhawks.

The American record was co-held by Blackhawks broadcaster Ed Olczyk and Phil Kessel, and while Kane was chasing the mark, Olczyk would apply pressure by reminding him during flights on the team charter, then he interviewed Kane during the first intermission after he broke the record with a point in his 19th consecutive game.

The Blackhawks record was 21 and belonged to Bobby Hull. “I think I beat (Hull) on a hand-pass assist in my own end, and into an empty net,” said Kane of the landmark point. “(Former Blackhawks teammate Artemi) Panarin scored, and I remember, he’s got this Russian accent and it’s like, ‘F— you, Bobby Hull,’ in my ear. Talking to Bobby about it, he said he didn’t really know it was a stat back then.”

When you’re talking about usurping the likes of Stan Mikita and Hull, you risk treading on hallowed ground, particularly at the corner of Damen and Madison in Chicago, where there are statues dedicated to Mikita and Hull. But consider Kane has been the best player on a team that has won three Stanley Cups as part of a mini-dynasty during an era in the NHL when it has never been more difficult to win. And Kane was not merely along for the ride. He scored the Cup-clinching goal in 2010, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2013 and led the Hawks in post-season points in 2015. Hull and Mikita, by comparison, won one Cup in an era when it could be argued it was never easier. Hull played 10 years and Mikita eight in the six-team era (then another five and 12 in the expansion era), but the only Cup they ever won was in 1961.


Bob Verdi is a man who knows his Blackhawks. The 2016 winner of the Elmer Ferguson Award for excellence in hockey journalism has been the team’s historian since 2010 and covered the Hawks for the Chicago Tribune for 30 years starting in 1967. “We don’t know how this movie ends because he’s only 30,” said Verdi of Kane. “But he would seem to be a statue waiting to happen. One thing among many he has going for him, he has a real joy for the game. Barring an injury, he could probably play until he’s 40. He probably wants to.”

When it comes to comparing Kane to Hull and Mikita on individual awards, they all make compelling cases. Hull won three scoring titles, was MVP twice and won a Lady Byng Trophy. Had the Rocket Richard Trophy been in existence, Hull would have won seven of them. Mikita won four scoring titles and two Hart Trophies, but his greatest accomplishment might have been his two Lady Byngs after leading centers in penalty minutes in seven consecutive seasons between 1959-60 and 1965-66. Kane has two trophies that eluded both Hull and Mikita – a Calder and a Conn Smythe – to go with his one scoring title and Hart Trophy.

THE CHICAGO WAY One thing in Kane’s favor: the rapport between players and management is better than it was in Hull’s heyday.
(Gerry Thomas/Getty Images)
In its definitive ranking of the top 100 NHL players in 1998, The Hockey News had Hull at No. 8 and Mikita at No. 17. That was set by a panel of 50 experts. Is Kane on a trajectory to pass them both?

With Kane rounding the bend of 30, there is no immediate decline in his game on the horizon. He is as deceptive, dynamic and cunning as he has ever been, and he’s on a line with Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome, two creative talents whose skills complement his. If Kane remains healthy, it’s all but guaranteed he’ll lead the Hawks in scoring for the eighth time in his career, and his days as a point-per-game player don’t appear to be nearing an end.

After this season, Kane has three years left on his deal, which would take him past his 34th birthday. The way he’s playing now, it’s doubtful this will be his last contract. Through the first quarter of the season, Kane was looking up at only Denis Savard, Hull and Mikita on Chicago’s all-time list. There’s no reason to believe he won’t pass Savard and Hull, but he was still 500 points behind Mikita’s total of 1,467.

Verdi pointed out another important factor that Kane has in his favor, however. When Mikita and Hull played for the Blackhawks, the organization was notorious for squeezing every dime out of the team and distributing them as though they were manhole covers. He recounted a story at the team’s fan expo this past summer when former Hawks defenseman Pat Stapleton noticed the stark difference between management-player relations from when he played. That stinginess was part of what drove Hull to the WHA in his prime.

“This front office and management is much more committed than Hull or Mikita ever enjoyed,” Verdi said. “With them, there were always issues with management and contracts, but you never hear that now because it doesn’t happen. Hull filled the building for 15 years and they let him go. You don’t hear about any friction with management. And that’s huge.”

As far as American-born players go, you could argue none has had the impact on his team that Kane has imprinted on the Blackhawks. Kane could very well end up the highest U.S.-born scorer of all-time, eventually passing Mike Modano’s mark of 1,374 points. (Modano had 900 points before turning 31, Kane had 964 when he turned 31.)

Kane’s place in the on-ice annals of both the Blackhawks and American hockey are interesting to contemplate and worthy of a spirited discussion. Kane shook his head and smiled when he was asked about he and running mate Jonathan Toews almost certainly getting their own statues outside the United Center someday. “It’s funny to think there will maybe be a statue of yourself,” Kane said. “But to be honest and genuine about it, I just like to play hockey. I’m just going to try to play hockey to the best of my abilities.”

And if Patrick Kane continues to do that the way he has throughout his career, the rest will take care of itself.

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EDMONTON — Craig Anderson looked good and felt good.

The veteran goaltender was also at the top of his game in the Senators stunning 5-2 victory over the high-flying Edmonton Oilers Wednesday at Rogers Place.

Returning from a lower body injury that kept him out of action a week, Anderson, 38, made 24 stops in the win and had to be at his best in the first period when club was outshot 10-4 with the Oilers’ young stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl buzzing.

“The way the game played out you don’t have a lot of time to think and sometimes that’s a good thing,” Anderson said following the game. “You just go out there and read and react and you find yourself getting back into the groove a little bit quicker that way.

“It helps when you make a couple of saves because it builds your confidence and it grows.”

Anderson and the Senators moved their record at the newly built arena in Edmonton to 4-0.

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SUNRISE (CBSMiami/AP) – He’s one of the most popular Florida Panthers players in team history.

Now former goaltender Roberto Luongo is back with the team. He’s not playing, but rather a special adviser to general manager Dale Tallon.

His hiring was no surprise. Luongo has been a regular fixture at games with the Florida front-office brain trust this season, only now wearing suits instead of skates and having conversations in press boxes instead of locker rooms.

“I’ve had the honor and privilege to work with Roberto during his time playing for the Panthers and am proud to welcome him to our franchise’s hockey operations staff,” said Tallon, who is both Florida’s GM and president of hockey operations.

The 40-year-old Luongo retired this past summer after 19 seasons in the NHL, 11 of them with Florida, and indicated then that he would be interested in staying with the Panthers in some capacity. His plan was to take some time and figure out in what role and how quickly.

Turns out, the five-time NHL All-Star didn’t need that long to think.

Luongo and his family are remaining as residents of Parkland, the city where he lived at the end of his playing career, and since he’s sticking around, it was always assumed that he was going to be with Tallon again before long.

“Roberto always approached every game with an unmatched work ethic and we are confident he will take to this new role with the same passion,” Tallon said. “A cornerstone player in our franchise’s history, we are thrilled that Lu will be a part of shaping our franchise’s future.”

Luongo joins Panthers senior vice president Shawn Thornton, director of player personnel Bryan McCabe and assistant coach Derek MacKenzie as former Florida players who have remained with the team after retirement in various key roles.

The Panthers are retiring Luongo’s No. 1 jersey on March 7, before a game against Montreal, his hometown team.
Luongo was the fourth overall pick in the 1997 draft by the New York Islanders, with whom he made his NHL debut on November 28, 1999.

Luongo then spent five years with Florida, the next eight with Vancouver and returned to the Panthers on March 14, 2014. His last game was April 6, two days after his 40th birthday.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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The Montreal Canadiens biggest need is for a true top pairing left defenceman that can play big minutes with Shea Weber. Looking at all the LD that Marc Bergevin has acquired shows how they failed to improve this position.
The Montreal Canadiens had a miserable season in 2011-12. They missed the playoffs by a wide margin, fired their coach and put Randy Cunneyworth in an impossible situation, they traded players in the middle of games, they acquired Tomas Kaberle for some reason and finished with 78 points.

At the end of the season, they decided to also fire the general manager and replaced him with Marc Bergevin. Bergevin had a lengthy NHL career, playing close to 1200 games as a left defenceman. Ironically, since becoming a general manager, his largest blemish has been his inability to find a true top pairing left defenceman.


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When Bergevin was hired, the Canadiens boasted Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges and Kaberle as left defenders. They also had Alexei Emelin but he had mostly played the right side at that point. They also already had Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu in the pipeline and they looked like future NHLers on the left side of the Habs defence.

In his first offseason as Habs GM, Bergevin signed Francis Bouillon to a one-year contract at $1.5 million. This pushed Kaberle out of the lineup and gave the team a left side of Markov, Gorges and Bouillon. Bouillon played all 48 games in the 2013 season, scoring one goal and nine points. Bergevin acquired Davis Drewiske at the trade deadline for a 5th round pick and he added a goal and three points in nine games but didn’t suit up in the postseason.

Bouillon was fine as a third pairing defender and Drewiske did little to help the team down the stretch. After being quickly taken out of the playoffs by the Ottawa Senators, Bergevin decided to re-sign Bouillon and Drewiske and also sign Doug Murray to a one year contract. It basically gave the Canadiens three of the same player to play in front of Beaulieu and Tinordi.

Beaulieu and Tinordi were worked into the lineup for about 20 games apiece, but Murray lumbered his way to 53 games and Bouillon struggled to 52. Bergevin also re-signed Markov to a three-year extension during the season (yay) and Emelin to a four year deal (nay).

Following the 2013-14 season, Bergevin cleared out the dead weight by letting Bouillon and Murray walk as free agents. He also traded Gorges to the Buffalo Sabres. This would allow Emelin to return to his natural side and open up a spot for Beaulieu in the lineup. During the season though, he would trade Rene Bourque to the Anaheim Ducks for Bryan Allen and Travis Moen was shipped to the Dallas Stars for Sergei Gonchar.

Both trades were basically cap dumps but Gonchar played some useful minutes before running out of gas down the stretch. He would retire following the season.

The Habs would enter the 2015-16 season leaning on the same trio of Markov, Emelin and Beaulieu though Beaulieu wasn’t developing as quickly as originally hoped and Emelin didn’t look the same since knee surgery, though he did get that contract extension while he was injured. Bergevin added Mark Barberio to the fold on a one-year deal worth $600,000.

Price was injured early in the season and the defence (especially the left side) was not good enough to lead the team to wins without a Hart calibre net-minder behind them. They would acquire Victor Bartley from the Nashville Predators in an odd three-way deal that also included the Arizona Coyotes and John Scott landing in Montreal. Bartley played nine games in his Habs career.

Barber earned a two-year extension and the Habs went with the same group on the left side in 2016-17. First round pick Mikhail Sergachev made the team out of training camp but played just four games before being sent down. Nikita Nesterov joined the team before the trade deadline and played 13 games, scoring five points. Jordie Benn was also brought in and played really well during the final 13 games.

The Habs were knocked out of the playoffs in six games to the New York Rangers and big changes were on the way for the left side of the defence. To this point, I would say Bergevin didn’t really upgrade the position he used to play, but he didn’t make it any worse. He had turned Markov, Gorges and Kaberle into Markov, Emelin, Beaulieu and Benn, though Benn was playing the right side many nights at that point.

Then came the offseason of 2017. We could no longer say that Bergevin didn’t make the left side of the defence any worse after the 2017 offseason.

First, Bergevin traded Sergachev to the division rival Tampa Bay Lightning for Jonathan Drouin. Two days later he traded Beaulieu to the division rival Buffalo Sabres for a second round pick. Four days after that, the Habs lost Emelin in the Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft. All the while, Markov was a pending unrestricted free agent and negotiations were not going well.

Before free agency opened up, Bergevin acquired David Schlemko from Vegas for a 5th round pick. Once free agency began, Bergevin threw a pile of money at Karl Alzner, signing him to a five-year contract with a cap hit of $4.625 million per year. He also signed Joe Morrow and Matt Taormina that day.

At the end of July, when it became apparent that Markov was not coming back, Bergevin signed Mark Streit to a one-year contract. Streit was 40 years old and had clearly slowed considerably. He would also sign Jakub Jerabek out of the Czech Republic.

I guess this left the Habs with a left defence depth chart led by Alzner and followed by Benn, Schlemko, Streit, Morrow and Jerabek in order. This, umm, well it didn’t work. Alzner played all 82 games but didn’t play them well and was a healthy scratch the following season opener. Benn played okay but not as well as his initial stint with the Habs. Schlemko was mostly just hurt, Streit played two games before everyone realized he was done, Morrow and Jerabek cycled into the lineup at times but failed to prove they are NHL regulars.

The 2017 offseason of left defencemen in Montreal was a science experiment that completely blew up in Bergevin’s face. The only bright spot from the 2017-18 season was the emergence of 4th round pick Victor Mete. He played 49 games and though he failed to register a goal he showed an offensive punch that was lacking otherwise on the team’s left defence.

Bergevin traded for Mike Reilly around the trade deadline in 2018 and though he has great skating, he can’t defend well enough to be a regular at the NHL level. He clearly liked Benn and Mete, and on the eve of the 2018-19 season he acquired Brett Kulak from the Calgary Flames to fill out the left defence. The trio of Mete, Kulak and Benn actually played quite well in the second half of the season.

Benn left via free agency following that season and was replaced by Ben Chiarot who came to town with a three-year contract at $3.5 million per year. Though Chiarot started slowly, it is hard to criticize the decision to sign him as he has played so well that past few weeks, capped off by an overtime game winner last night.

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The Blackhawks honored former defenseman and player development coach Brian Campbell with a “One More Shift” pregame ceremony Thursday at the United Center.

Campbell joined the team on the ice during the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” after the starting lineup was announced, and skated on the ice in full gear. The Blackhawks also played highlights from his career, including his assist on Patrick Kane’s 2010 Stanley Cup-clinching goal.

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Put your hands together for @BCampbell_51, as he takes with the @NHLBlackhawks!

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Campbell signed with the Blackhawks as an unrestricted free agent in 2008, and in his first season helped Chicago snap its five-year playoff drought and make the Western Conference Final for the first time in 14 years. The following season, the Blackhawks won their first Stanley Cup in 49 years. He spent three seasons with Chicago then was traded to Florida before being re-acquired by the Blackhawks in 2016. After his retirement, he stayed with the organization in a player development role.

Campbell joins Dave Bolland as the second player the Blackhawks have honored this season with “One More Shift.” The team will honor, at least, two more players during their 10-year anniversary nights to commemorate the 2010 Cup team: Dec. 15 vs. Wild and Jan. 7 vs. Flames. Chicago will wrap up its anniversary nights March 19 against Minnesota with several members of the 2010 team taking the ice for a pregame ceremony.