May 6 – Fleury, Overtime & Goal Songs

Wednesday’s Wheelhouse

FREE RANGERS: The New York Rangers stunned pundits by firing team president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton on Wednesday, elevating associate GM Chris Drury into both roles.

RYAN’S TRYIN: Bobby Ryan is rehabbing after triceps surgery a few weeks ago, and has already indicated absolutely no interest in retirement. Where he ends up is anyone’s guess after his solid season abruptly ended because of an injury.

THAT DIDN’T TAKE LONG: In a game where three fights broke out immediately (no surprise there), Rangers public enemy No. 1 — Tom Wilson — left the game early with an upper body injury. Things also got a bit crowded in the penalty box.

KING ME: Los Angeles captain Anze Kopitar notched his 1,000th career point as the Kings eliminated the Coyotes from playoff contention.

PARENT PRESSER: All parents can relate to this dad’s press conference, which hits the nail on the head. Remember, the pre-dinner snack is like a two-goal lead: Extremely dangerous.

Golden Touch

Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury earned his 490th win on Wednesday, breaking a third-place tie with Roberto Luongo on the NHL’s career wins list. After losing his starting spot in last year’s playoff bubble, there was speculation that Fleury would be on his way out in Vegas. However, when Robin Lehner went down with an injury, Fleury was quick to step back into his starting role and even played well enough to enter the Vezina Trophy race talks.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, David Becker)

Fleury currently ranks in the top-5 in the NHL this season in wins, save percentage, goals against average, and shutouts amongst goalies who have played in at least 15 games. The Golden Knights have had great success utilizing both goalies throughout the regular season and have many hoping that head coach Pete DeBoer will continue the tandem heading into the playoffs this year.

With the Golden Knights securing their playoff berth this season, Fleury will become the first goalie in NHL history to play in 15 consecutive postseasons. Just another petal on what has been an amazing career for the Flower!

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Leave it to NHL teams and their coaching staffs to find a way to take the fun out of 3-on-3 overtime. More and more of late, we’ve seen a shift towards a heavily possession-focused approach to the extra period. Of course, possession a big part of hockey and that’s fine. But some club’s puck-hogging strategies have gone overboard, to the point of being more about playing keep-away than pursuing scoring opportunities on your opponent’s net.

Take Monday night’s Toronto versus Montreal Scotia North Division clash. Best known for being the second of wunderkind Cole Caufield’s back-to-back OT winners, the five minutes post-regulation was actually a pretty dull affair —owing to Montreal’s constant aimless circling of the puck all around the plentiful open ice. In the two shifts with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner on the ice, the Habs backtracked all the way from the offensive zone into their own end.

The biggest problem: it worked. Save for one two-on-none that Matthews and Marner couldn’t convert, the Leafs’ ballyhooed offense was rendered impotent. Montreal finally capitalized on its snoozer style, just as it had on Saturday vs Ottawa (the Sens got revenge to the tune of a 5-1 win last night), earning two points and potentially inspiring copycats. We’re nearing playoff time, which means no more 3-on-3 overtime. Let’s just hope this isn’t a preview of the 2021-22 season!

U-18 Men’s World Championship – Semifinals

 Canada 8 – 1  Sweden |  Finland 5 – 6  Russia

Learn more about the IIHF U-18 Men’s World Championship here

Top-Shelf Thursday – Top-5 Goal Songs

Goal songs play a very crucial and important role during a hockey game. It helps energize and electrify the fans which then helps inspire the players on the ice. Now, before you scroll on to read the top-five best goal songs in the NHL, let’s all please stop and pay homage to the quintessential sound of hockey — “Brass Bonanza.” A quirky, cheesy, and cherished song among hockey fans everywhere, you can’t help but smile when it comes on. Now that we have paid our respect to the Hartford Whalers (not to mention the unofficial song of Connecticut), let’s scroll on to our list.

5. Dallas Stars

Hearing “Puck Off” by Pantera makes me want to immediately book a plane ticket to Dallas to wave a terrible towel at American Airlines Center while shouting “Dallas,” “Stars.” This goal song gets you hyped up, whether you realize it or not.

4. New York Rangers

“Slapshot” was specifically created for the New York Rangers. How many other organizations can say that? Ray Castoldi is the organist at Madison Square Garden and has been since 1989. He is the creator of the Blue Shirts’ current goal song which made its debut on January 20, 1995 — the night the 1994 Stanley Cup Banner was lifted to the rafters.

3. Nashville Predators

You have to hand it to the Predators organization. They always manage to stay on brand with everything they do and their goal song is no exception. Adding Tim McGraw’s “I Like It, I Love It” to “Gold on the Ceiling” by the Black Keys was hockey genius at its finest.

2. Chicago Blackhawks

I know, I know, you either love or despise this song. Regardless, this goal song is iconic. Everyone (and I mean everyone) knows Chelsea Dagger. At one point polled 48 of the leagues’ best players, with 41 percent claiming the Blackhawks have the best song in the NHL.

1. Washington Capitals

Okay, hear me out. Season after season fans and the media complain that hockey players don’t show enough personality. So what did the Capitals do? They decide to have each player pick their own goal song. With a variety that includes everything from John Denver to Lil John & The East Side Boyz, there is something for everyone.