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

Entry archive:

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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Mirtle's six NHL draft picks to watch

JAMES MIRTLE

First: Florida: Aaron Ekblad. The Panthers already have a great crop of young forwards from recent drafts led by Jonathan Huberdeau so it only made sense they went with a blueliner. After rumours all week GM Dale Tallon would move the pick, he made the smart call in keeping it, even if the choice will be debated for years. Ekblad is hailed by scouts as the most mature, NHL-ready player in the entire draft and he certainly already looks and acts the part of a star player despite his youth. Big, with a cannon of a shot, there’s still debate over exactly how much offence he’ll produce as a pro. He's done in junior after three years with the Barrie Colts. “I feel like I can step in next year and make a difference,” Ekblad said.

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The NHL’s top free agents: Goaltenders

JAMES MIRTLE

This is not the year to be a free agent goaltender.

All 30 teams – save for perhaps rebuilding Calgary – look set at the No. 1 position. Many also have backups in place, of varying quality, and some teams even have three NHL-calibre goaltenders signed and ready to play.

Goal is always a weird position in free agency as there are so few spots that it becomes a bit like musical chairs. Miss your opportunity, and you might not get one until there’s an injury during the year.

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Canucks say goodbye to David Booth

DAVID EBNER

He once woke a teammate from a nap on the road when he practised his bird calls, the gobbles, purrs and clucks of a wild turkey. He liked to wear a green camouflage Vancouver Canucks ballcap. He courted controversy killing a black bear using the controversial method of a bait trap for a television show. His former coach called him a “weird dude” – but meant it in a good way. He grew up in a Christian home, Lutheran, in the suburbs of Detroit but forged his own relationship with God at 18, in Colorado, and his evangelical faith has been the underpinning of his life ever since.

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Doughty, Williams lead Conn Smythe candidates

JAMES MIRTLE

A lot of the drama of the Stanley Cup final went out the window with the New York Rangers (realistic) hopes in the series on Monday night.

So much so that, in the press box late in Game 3, the conversation turned to which member of the Los Angeles Kings deserves to be the MVP of the playoffs.

It’s not an easy question because most of the favourites coming into the final have been relatively quiet on the scoresheet.

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Report: NHL revenues to hit record $3.7-billion

JAMES MIRTLE

Get ready for a skyrocketing salary cap in the NHL, even before the league’s new Canadian TV deal gets factored in.

According to a report on Monday from Chris Botta of the SportsBusiness Journal, NHL revenues for the 2013-14 season are expected to hit $3.7-billion, which would be a 12-per-cent increase over the league’s last full campaign.

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NHL playoffs a showcase for bad goalie contracts

JAMES MIRTLE

One had to move on, but the series wasn’t pretty in goal.

Corey Crawford had an .878 save percentage, allowing 26 goals in seven games.

Jonathan Quick wasn’t much better at .889 and 23 against, but at least his team advanced to the final and will play for another championship.

Combined, these two have two of the biggest goalie contracts in the league, with Crawford signed for $6-million a season until 2020 and Quick locked up for $5.8-million a year all the way until 2023.

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Habs’ Pacioretty motivated to shine in homecoming

JAMES MIRTLE

It was an optional skate, but Max Pacioretty was taking as much time as he could to take it all in.

He was in Madison Square Garden, in the playoffs, in as close to a homecoming as a kid from Connecticut that grew up playing hockey can get.

His Montreal Canadiens may be facing a do-or-die Game 3 on Thursday night, trailing the Rangers 2-0 in the series, but for Pacioretty, the game means so much more because of his history with the city and the building and all the family and friends he’ll have in the crowd.

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Mirtle: Why Rick Nash hasn’t been a bust on Broadway

JAMES MIRTLE

They are just two wins from the Stanley Cup final, facing a Montreal Canadiens team missing its star netminder and set to play two spread out games at Madison Square Garden for the right to move on.

Yet there are still debates raging in New York Rangers circles, most of them over one player in particular.

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