GAMEDAY GOLDS’s Slap Shots

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Which Team Will Do What?

By Scott Taylor

WINNIPEG — One of the nation’s great sports fans, Fort Rouge Ted, lost it on Saturday night. After his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs were drilled 5-0 by the Montreal Canadiens, Teddy sent out the following missive to the media on Sunday morning:

“The Night of Losers! Mats Sundin, the biggest loser of all. How many Stanley Cup rungs do you have Sundin? None! How many Stanley Cup finals have you played in Sundin? None!

“Then there is the team. When was the last time the Leafs won the Cup? 1967! When was the last time the Leafs played in a Cup final? 1967! When was the last time the Maple Leafs were in the playoffs? April 2003! What happened last night? A 5-0 drubbing! Read more

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GAMEDAY GOLD Slap Shots

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What Happened to the Scoring We Were Promised?

By Scott Taylor

WINNIPEG – It’s a good thing there are shootouts in the NHL. It allows us to see a few goals. Not a lot, of course. Stats show that goalies stop more shootout attempts than the alleged scorers’ convert. However, at least there is a chance.

Most nights in the NHL, nobody can score. Forget silly games like Winnipeg’s 9-8 win over Philadelphia on Oct. 27 or Dallas’s 7-6 win over Colorado on Nov. 4 or Calgary’s 7-6 win over Carolina on Dec. 6. Those games are so rare that to use them as an example of scoring in the NHL today is specious. Read more

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GAMEDAY GOLD Slap Shots

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The 10 Most Surprising Players of 2011-12

By Scott Taylor

WINNIPEG — Sidney Crosby is still out of the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup, nursing a concussion that has essentially kept away from the NHL for an entire calendar year.

Sean Avery didn’t impress New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella in training camp so Tortorella decided to waive him through the league. Rangers fans screamed for Avery’s return and Tortorella gave hockey’s bad boy a second chance. Torotorella was correct in the first place. Avery came back, was dreadful and was waived through the league again. Read more

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GAMEDAY GOLD Slap Shots

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The 10 Biggest Stories of the First Half

By Scott Taylor

WINNIPEG – It’s halftime. Most of the National Hockey League’s 30 teams have played 41 of 82 games and for some of the teams, it’s been quite a ride. For a load of others, of course, it’s been a nightmare.

The Anaheim Ducks were fourth in the West last spring with 99 points. At the midway mark of 2011-12, the Ducks have only 11 wins and 28 points. Last year, the Atlanta Thrashers were in the midst of a downward spiral, set to miss the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. This year, the Thrashers are now the Winnipeg Jets and after a win in their 41st game of the season on Saturday night, they sit in ninth place in the East, just a point below the post-season line. Read more

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Slap Shots

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NHL at the quarter pole

 
By Scott Taylor
GAMEDAY GOLD

WINNIPEG – Sidney Crosby is back, Alexander Ovechkin is struggling, the Calgary Flames are fighting amongst themselves, Ken Hitchcock is now coaching in St. Louis while everyone is wondering how long Scott Arniel will last in Columbus and Phil Kessel is the leading scorer in the National Hockey League.

We’re one quarter of the way through the 2011-12 NHL season and these are among the key stories as the league speeds head-on into the holiday season.

Things are crazy this season. The Winnipeg Jets are back but they’re still playing like the old Atlanta Thrashers. The Minnesota Wild, with 29 points, is the No. 1 team in the league. And after 20-plus games for most teams, there are two teams in the Top 8 in the East that didn’t make the playoffs last year and three in the West. Read more

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Slap Shots

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Is Marty Brodeur Done?

 
By Scott Taylor
GAMEDAY GOLD

WINNIPEG — Wednesday night in Newark, the Toronto Maple Leafs laid a beating on the New Jersey Devils.

Joffrey Lupul fired a hat-trick as the Leafs beat Jersey 5-3 on the night that legendary Martin Brodeur returned from another injury.

It was an ugly night for Brodeur, who allowed five goals on 23 shots in his first game back since injuring his shoulder on Oct. 13, against the Los Angeles Kings. He knew he played poorly, but he also knows he’s not been particularly good all season long. Read more

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The NHL’S Next Breakout Star

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By Scott Taylor
GAMEDAY GOLD

WINNIPEG — Last season, at the age of 22, Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic had a breakout year.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound leftwinger from Vancouver, scored 30 goals and dished out 32 assists (he had 34 goals 55 assists in three seasons heading into last year) and with a plus-28 and 121 minutes in penalties, he emerged as one of the top power-forwards in the game. Read more

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