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Globe on Hockey

The Globe and Mail's team brings the latest news and analysis from across the NHL

Entry archive:

Mirtle: The strange dysfunction of the San Jose Sharks

James Mirtle

A quick glance at where the San Jose Sharks are in the standings doesn’t really offer a great picture of what’s going on with that team.

They’re sixth in the West, sure, with 51 points in 44 games, on pace for 95 points and the franchise’s 11th straight playoff berth.

Pretty decent, right?

In the context of what the Sharks have been, not really. This is a team with seven 104-plus point seasons in those last 10 years, and in every one, they were considered a contender to varying degrees.

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Duhatschek: Trotz happy he was handed pink slip by Predators

Eric Duhatschek

Here’s something you don’t hear often from a fired coach: Barry Trotz, now with the Washington Capitals, ex- of the Nashville Predators, is glad that his boss, David Poile, issued him a pink slip last summer.

The dismissal, as the first and only coach in Predators’ history, gave Trotz a chance to seek out a new opportunity and the Nashville players a chance to hear a fresh voice. Trotz is succeeding with his new team – points in 17 of the last 18 games to move into a playoff spot – and Peter Laviolette is succeeding with his old team, leading them to first overall in the NHL, on a percentage basis.

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Duhatschek: Paul Maurice reaches a significant coaching milestone

ERIC DUHATSCHEK

On the night he recorded his 500th career NHL win, Winnipeg Jets’ coach Paul Maurice reflected back on the first one, which came when he was a 28-year-old novice with the Hartford Whalers. It was a 7-4 victory over what was then one of the newest NHL franchises, the San Jose Sharks.

According to Maurice, he and his wife Mitch hit the Burger King drive-through on the way home from the victory, a sign of the glamorous times that lay ahead. Then the Whalers lost their next four, early proof that coaching at the NHL level can be a challenging and humbling experience; and that you can never get too satisfied or impressed with yourself.

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How the coaching dominoes might fall for Toronto

Eric Duhatschek

Sometimes, there is a domino effect when NHL coaches get hired and fired and last year, there was no better illustration of this than when Peter Laviolette, the ex-Philadelphia Flyers’ coach, landed in Nashville to replace Barry Trotz, the ex-Predators’ coach, who landed in Washington to replace Adam Oates as the Capitals’ coach.

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World junior final tickets an expensive get in Toronto

DAVID SHOALTS

If you want to watch Canada play Russia for the 2015 world junior hockey championship on Monday evening, make sure your credit-card limit is in good shape.

Tickets for the game at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto were going for as much as $5,900 by mid-afternoon Monday on StubHub.com, one of the most popular ticket resellers. The $5,900 seats were eight rows from the ice. Since the game was officially a sellout, there were no tickets available through the regular channels. The cheapest ticket listed on StubHub was for $310, which would get you standing room in the upper balcony.

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Duhatschek: The Edmonton Oilers begin rebuild 2.0

Eric Duhatschek

There are a lot of reasons why an NHL team will fire a coach in mid-season and on Monday morning, Edmonton Oilers’ general manager – and the new interim head coach - Craig MacTavish was in a position to tick off every box as he dismissed Dallas Eakins.

Is the team improving? No. The Oilers’ results are worse this year than last year and last year was, percentage-wise, the worst in franchise history.

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Kings cancel Parliament Hill trip out of respect to Béliveau

ERIC DUHATSCHEK

The plan, hatched by general manager Dean Lombardi, was to bring the Stanley Cup to Parliament Hill on Wednesday, a day ahead of the Los Angeles Kings game against the Ottawa Senators. It would have been a chance for the players to meet Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor-General David Johnston and perhaps start a new tradition, mimicking the long-standing U.S. practice of celebrating a sports championship at a White House function hosted by the president.

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Canadiens know forward depth a key to success

SEAN GORDON

There he stood afterward draped in a garment that fit the occasion, well, perfectly.

It happens that said article of clothing is a red-and-blue satin boxer’s robe – with the words Championship Habits emblazoned on the left lapel – and it is awarded to the Montreal Canadiens player who is adjudged by his teammates to have been the key contributor to a game.

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Despite strong start, Canadiens remain a work in progress

SEAN GORDON

Entire philosophical tracts have been built around the concept of perception, the point being it’s not a simple subject.

Take the varying observations from an event that occurred 7:40 into the Montreal Canadiens’ tilt with the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night.

The official NHL play-by-play describes it as a saved Evander Kane wrist shot from 13 feet in front of Carey Price – eliding the fact it came on a long breakaway that quickly morphed into a two-on-zero rush.

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Penguins gamble on Fleury finding his postseason form

ERIC DUHATSCHEK

There is usually a convenient scape goat attached to every important NHL playoff pratfall and, for years, No. 1 on the goat-horn parade in Pittsburgh was goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Fleury did have two terrible playoffs over the past seven seasons, and you can firmly pin that 2012 first-round loss on him – a 4.63 goals-against average in six games as they lost a crazy high-scoring series to cross-state rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers.

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Therrien calls out Habs after messy loss to Blackhawks

SEAN GORDON

This is how it goes when you’re in the doldrums: a puck fortuitously comes to one of your exciting young forwards, who breaks in on a two-on-nothing rush with his even more exciting young linemate.

Then it bobbles and skitters off in an unexpected direction, not only is there no scoring chance, there isn’t even a shot on net from the aforementioned youngsters.

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Galchenyuk provides a glimpse of the player he can become

SEAN GORDON

To put it in perspective, Detroit Red Wings blueliner Kyle Quincey is a sturdily-built six-foot-two and 220ish pounds – not a behemoth, but lots of other defencemen in the NHL are more easily shifted.

With just over three minutes to play in regulation at the Bell Centre on Tuesday, Montreal’s Alex Galchenyuk skated toward the side of the Detroit net as teammate Alexei Emelin fluttered in a shot from the left point.

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NHL debut on Sportsnet sets network record

David Shoalts

The NHL’s debut on Sportsnet as part of its new broadcast deal with Rogers Communications set a record for the network Wednesday night but it was a mixed result overall.

While Sportsnet drew an average of 2.01 million viewers for the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens, the most ever for show on the network, the audience on English-language television was down 14 per cent from the 2013-14 season opener between the Leafs and the Canadiens on CBC television.

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2014 NHL training camp: By the numbers

JAMES MIRTLE

Unless you’re in high school, this is a stat that will make you feel old.

Eleven of the nearly 950 players still in NHL training camps with a few days to go were born in 1996. Several of them were, up until a few months ago, still only 17 years old.

Some may even make their teams, too.

The youngest player in an NHL camp right now is Kasperi Kapanen, the son of former NHLer Sami Kapanen. He’s making a serious bid to stick with the Penguins despite turning 18 at the end of July, as teams are getting less and less concerned about having smaller, younger players on their rosters.

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Eric Duhatschek’s Top 200

ERIC DUHATSCHEK

My fundamental hockey pool strategy rarely varies – it is to rely on safe, mostly proven choices and leave the higher-risk, higher-reward selections for braver souls. This is particularly true when it comes to injuries, which are often the single biggest deciding factor in your team’s success or failure – and also the most difficult to predict.

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Selanne slams former coach Boudreau in new memoir

ERIC DUHATSCHEK

On one level, the news that Teemu Selanne was unhappy with how he was deployed by Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau last season is hardly an earth-shattering development. For almost two years now, Selanne and Boudreau have spoken openly about their conflicting views of how the Ducks could best maximize Selanne’s contributions to their Stanley Cup aspirations at his advancing age.

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World junior ticket sales appear far from robust in Montreal

SEAN GORDON

You’d think in a hockey-mad city there would be no particular need to drum up fan interest for a best-on-best international puck competition.

Not the case.

To mark 100 days until the opening of the World Junior Championships in Montreal, organizers held a news conference to talk up the tournament – ticket sales clearly haven’t been as robust as originally hoped.

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