Latest NHL news; Monday, January 13

By Brad Constant; Jan. 13, 2013

We’ll get things started off with an update on Tampa Bay Lightning sniper Steven Stamkos, who is making great progress after breaking his leg in early November. Here is the bleacherreport.com story.

Lastly, the Washington Capitals gave us a feel-good story by granting the wish of young Braden Nienaber, who was diagnosed with Langerhans cell histiocytosis, a rare childhood disease similar to cancer in which white blood cells multiply too quickly, causing bone and organ damage, according to csnwashington.com. You can check out the CSN story here for all of the details. But be sure to watch the video of Nienaber throwing Buffalo Sabres’ Captain Steven Ott out of the ceremonial faceoff.

Kid throws Ott out of ceremonial faceoff

 

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Canada, Russia favored to win 2014 Winter Olympic gold

The Canadians will look to defend their gold medal from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Canadians will look to defend their gold medal from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia.

By Brad Constant, Nov. 22, 2013

Guess what, Canada is a favorite to win the gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Who knew that such a talented team could have 11/5 odds of taking gold? We did, and we’re sure much of the world did too. (The latest odds come from Bovada.lv)

The Canadian team is stacked. The roster will definitely have proven goal scorers and playmakers like Rick Nash, Jonathan Toews, Martin St. Louis, and Steven Stamkos, if he is healthy in time. There will also be a guy named Sydney Crosby on the team. We’ve heard he’s pretty slick on the ice and has a knack for being the best guy out there – don’t tell that to Alexander Ovechkin (more on him later). Throw in Mike Babcock as the head coach – an angry and motivated head coach because his Detroit Red Wings are struggling – and you’ll have a team ready to claim another gold medal.

But hold on. The Russians have the same odds as the Canadians, and here is why. At the forward positions they have the aforementioned Ovechkin, a flashy, hard-hitting goal scorer. They also have Pavel Datsyuk, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Evgeni Malkin. These are guys that can put the puck in the net whenever they want. We are salivating at the prospect of a line with Oveckin and either Kovalchuk or Malkin on the wings and Datsyuk at center. That is the type of line that will make any defense quiver.

Speaking of defense, the Russian are pretty good on the backend too with Slava Voynov and the veteran Sergei Gonchar anchoring the defensive corps. In goal we could see Sergei Bobrovsky, Evgeni Nabokov, or Seymon Varlamov, if he isn’t in a Colorado jail.

When it comes down to it, both the Russians and Canadians are arguably the best national teams in the world. So it’s safe to say they could be playing for the gold medal. But we aren’t going to rule out some of the European teams like Sweden and Finland, or our favorites, the United States of America.

How Stamkos’ injury affects all of hockey

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Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos broke his tibia on Monday.

By Brad Constant, Nov. 12, 2013

Tampa Bay Lightning forward and offensive powerhouse Steven Stamkos broke his tibia after crashing into the goal post while playing against the Boston Bruins as part of the Bruins’ Veterans’ Day game on Nov. 11. The impact on Stamkos and the Lightning is obvious, he is out three to six months, according to bleacherreport.com (watch the GIF here), and the team is without its leading scorer. But Stamkos’ injury affects more than just the Lightning, it affects all of hockey.

Mainly, the National Hockey League is without one of, if not the most, natural goal scorers in all of hockey. Stamkos’ name may not be as well known as Sidney Crosby’s, but the man can score goals. He scored 60 of them during the 2011-12 regular season and was tied for the league lead with Alex Steen at 14 goals so far this season (check out hkref.com for Stamkos’ full career stats).

Simply put, Stamkos is a joy to watch play hockey. He is Brett Hull-like in his ability to find open space. His shot, whether it be a slapper, wrist or snap shot, is a thing of beauty – all youngsters out there should try to emulate him. Plus he loves scoring so much it’s contagious.

It’s a pity that fans around the league won’t be able to see his talent till his return. Even worse is the fact that he may very well miss the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, a platform in which hockey fans worldwide could watch him score again and again. Team Canada will be fine since it’s, well, Canada…obviously. The Canadians are stacked with talent.

As hockey fans, we here at The Hockey Ref can only hope for Stamkos’ speedy recovery. We love watching him play, as long as it’s not against our favorite teams.

So have at it Steen, the stage is set for you to show us what you’ve got and win the scoring title this season.

Check out Yahoo! Sports for a video of his injury and obvious pain afterwords.