All posts by Josh Gold-Smith

WATCH: Classic 🏒: Mario torches Rangers in ’93 at MSG

Two days after the NHL featured The Great One, Super Mario gets his turn.

On Wednesday, the league is revisiting the Pittsburgh Penguins' blowout win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on April 9, 1993. It was a truly memorable night for Mario Lemieux, who scored five of the Penguins' 10 goals and helped the club set an NHL record with its 16th straight victory.

Watch the live YouTube stream below:

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Leafs sign Filip Kral, Kristians Rubins to entry-level deals

The Toronto Maple Leafs inked defensemen Filip Kral and Kristians Rubins to entry-level contracts, the club announced Wednesday.

Kral, who signed a three-year pact, racked up 49 points in 53 games with the WHL's Spokane Chiefs this season. The Maple Leafs selected the 20-year-old in the fifth round of the 2018 draft.

Rubins, who agreed to a two-year deal, spent this season with the AHL's Toronto Marlies after splitting 2018-19 between them and the ECHL's Newfoundland Growlers. The 22-year-old joined the Leafs organization when he signed with the Growlers in August 2018.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

10 NHL players who broke out this season

The NHL campaign remains paused, but more than a few players can still take some solace in the fact they made significant strides this season.

From those who unexpectedly burst onto the scene, to productive youngsters who took their game to the next level, here's a collection of players who broke out in 2019-20.

Dominik Kubalik

Few outside Kubalik's homeland or NHL market had heard of the Czech-born forward at the start of the season, but the 24-year-old rookie - whom the Los Angeles Kings drafted in the seventh round in 2013 before trading him to Chicago for a fifth-rounder in January 2019 - exploded for 30 goals in 68 games. His team boasts some elite playmakers, but Kubalik didn't play with Patrick Kane at even strength often and did much of his damage in a supporting role.

David Pastrnak

Maddie Meyer / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Yes, Pastrnak was arguably already a star, having authored 30-goal efforts in each of the previous three campaigns. However, he rose to absolute superstardom in 2019-20, pouring in 48 goals and 95 points in 70 games. At the time of the postponement, Kubalik's 23-year-old countryman was tied for the league lead in goals, ranked third among all NHL skaters in points, and was on pace for 56 markers and 111 points over an 82-game span.

Mika Zibanejad

Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Like Pastrnak, Zibanejad was coming off a 30-goal season of his own, but he became unstoppable as 2019-20 progressed. The New York Rangers center missed 13 games with an injury early on, but dominated upon returning. He piled up 41 goals and 75 points in 57 games - including a five-goal night in early March - and collected a mind-blowing 23 goals over the final 22 games, besting his 74-point output from 2018-19 in 25 fewer contests.

J.T. Miller

Jeff Vinnick / National Hockey League / Getty

Miller was a solid depth player for the Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lightning, but his production skyrocketed after the latter club traded him to the Vancouver Canucks in June. Playing alongside Elias Pettersson certainly factored into that, but nevertheless, Miller more than clicked with his new team, establishing career highs with 27 goals and 72 points in 69 games.

Kevin Fiala

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Only Zibanejad was hotter than Fiala down the stretch. The Minnesota Wild winger went on an absolute tear, pouring in 14 goals and 26 points over the final 18 games prior to the pause. Fiala ultimately tied his career high of 23 markers and surpassed his previous best of 25 assists by six in 16 fewer contests, producing 54 points in 64 games.

Tony DeAngelo

Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Jacob Trouba was the big addition on the Rangers' blue line entering 2019-20, but DeAngelo nearly doubled Trouba's point total and posted surprisingly stellar offensive numbers in his third season with New York. DeAngelo tied for third among all NHL rearguards with 15 goals and ranked fourth in the league at his position with 53 points in 68 games, surpassing his previous career-bests by far.

Elvis Merzlikins

Kirk Irwin / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Merzlikins was the Columbus Blue Jackets' goalie of the future, but he became the goalie of the present following an injury to starter Joonas Korpisalo in late December. After taking over as the starter, Merzlikins went 13-5-4 with a .935 save percentage with five shutouts in 23 games. He also led all NHL netminders in goals saved above average during that span.

Tristan Jarry

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Jarry began this season as the Pittsburgh Penguins' backup goalie, but he snatched the No. 1 job from Matt Murray and held onto it for a while after outplaying the two-time Stanley Cup champion. Jarry faltered right before the pause and effectively lost the starting gig, allowing 18 goals combined in four straight losses. However, he excelled beforehand, posting a .931 save percentage in 29 appearances prior to the four-game slide.

Bryan Rust

Harry How / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Rust was another Penguins player who enjoyed a breakout season. The 27-year-old forward had never registered more than 18 goals or 38 points in one campaign. However, he needed only 55 games to squash those career highs in 2019-20, piling up 27 markers and 56 points. He had some help from Evgeni Malkin, but it was an impressive campaign nonetheless.

Travis Konecny

Len Redkoles / National Hockey League / Getty

The Philadelphia Flyers were one of the NHL's best teams before the postponement, and Konecny played a significant role in that resurgence. The 23-year-old needed 15 fewer games to match his career-high 24-goal output, and bested his previous high of 49 points - achieved in 82 contests - with 61 in only 66 games. He was on pace for 73 points, which would have been a 24-point improvement over his 2018-19 production.

Honorable mentions: Igor Shesterkin, Jakub Vrana

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

DeBoer favors potential Vegas games in August: ‘It would be awesome’

Pete DeBoer wouldn't be opposed to playing postseason games deep into the summer.

"I can imagine playoff hockey in Vegas in August. It would be 120 degrees, it would be awesome," the Vegas Golden Knights head coach told Greg Wyshynski and Emily Kaplan on the ESPN On Ice podcast Tuesday.

"You'd have to change the dress code for the players coming to the rink, but ... I think people by that point would be starving for hockey," the bench boss added.

DeBoer also expressed how difficult it would be to not conclude this campaign with a postseason.

"I know, to a man, the players want to have an ending to this season and want to end it the right way," he said. "I know (with) our group, (when) you get this far into a year, you can taste the Stanley Cup Playoffs and you want some closure to that. So, I think whether we play in July, August, (or) September, I'm all for figuring out a way to get some closure to this season before we roll into the next."

As the NHL remains paused amid the coronavirus pandemic, deputy commissioner Bill Daly said last week the league may have the ability to play in August and would fit games in if necessary. TSN's Bob McKenzie previously reported the NHL asked its teams for available August arena dates.

Daly has also indicated the league wants to avoid anything less than a full 2020-21 campaign.

When the NHL paused its season on March 12, the Golden Knights sat atop the Pacific Division with a 39-24-8 record.

Vegas played until June 7, 2018, back in its inaugural season, losing the Stanley Cup Final to the Washington Capitals in five games.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Arizona State’s Brinson Pasichnuk joins Sharks

Free-agent defenseman Brinson Pasichnuk has agreed to join the San Jose Sharks, the club announced Tuesday.

Pasichnuk racked up 37 points in 36 games with Arizona State this season while serving as captain for the second straight campaign in his senior year.

The 22-year-old led the nation's blue-liners in shots on goal (121), tied for second in goals, and finished third in points in 2019-20.

He leaves the Sun Devils as their all-time leader in games played, points, and assists.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

NHLers salute healthcare workers on National Doctors’ Day

Find out the latest on COVID-19's impact on the sports world and when sports are returning by subscribing to Breaking News push notifications in the Sports and COVID-19 section.

Members of the NHL community are showing their appreciation for medical professionals battling the coronavirus pandemic on National Doctors' Day in the United States.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares expressed concern over the situations in both his current and former NHL homes while acknowledging those who are most at risk.

Nashville Predators forward Nick Bonino gave thanks to numerous types of healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, and therapists.

Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney thanked healthcare professionals who are battling the crisis in his team's city and around the world.

"It's about people who are on the front lines of this in the hospitals, the nurses, doctors, (and) emergency responders," Detroit Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin said, according to the team. "They're the real heroes in this, so I appreciate everything they're doing for us right now."

The U.S. first observed Doctors' Day in 1933. It was declared a national holiday in 1990.

In Canada, it's held on May 1.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Flames, Oilers temporarily laying off staff

Find out the latest on COVID-19's impact on the sports world and when sports are returning by subscribing to Breaking News push notifications in the Sports and COVID-19 section.

The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers are letting go of a significant number of employees in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation is laying off approximately half of its full-time workforce - or about 150 people - for 60 days beginning April 13, the Flames announced Monday. The affected employees were given two weeks' notice.

The team is also implementing salary reductions of 10% to 25% for the remaining staff, with the rate of the respective reductions increasing with salary levels, meaning executive management will take the highest percentage cuts.

Calgary will initiate an unemployment benefit plan for the laid-off employees, which will provide an Employment Insurance top-up payment to those affected.

Meanwhile, Oilers Entertainment Group is temporarily reducing its staff by 139 employees and trimming compensation for those still working from home, the club announced Monday.

OEG will ensure that all non-executive employees - whether they've been laid off or are still working from home - will continue to receive 75% to 90% of their respective salaries. That mirrors the Flames' salary reductions, but Edmonton's move applies to all staff rather than just those who remain.

The Flames reportedly informed hourly workers earlier this month that they wouldn't be compensated for lost shifts during the shutdown, though the club reversed course and implemented a compensation program for part-timers.

On March 24, the Oilers' senior hockey and business executives decided to temporarily forgo half to all of their respective salaries to help the organization financially.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Islanders pause new arena construction due to COVID-19

Find out the latest on COVID-19's impact on the sports world and when sports are returning by subscribing to Breaking News push notifications in the Sports and COVID-19 section.

Non-essential construction of the New York Islanders' new facility at Belmont Park is on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic, the club announced Friday.

The decision comes after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo expanded his temporary shutdown of non-essential projects.

"We support Governor Cuomo's efforts to eliminate the COVID-19 virus," Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello said in a statement. "He has been the driving force behind the construction of Belmont Park Arena. The progress that has been made since the groundbreaking is truly incredible and is a credit to all of the construction workers that have been there every day. Those workers are all a part of our community and we want them safe and healthy."

The Islanders broke ground at the new location in September, and it was scheduled to open for the start of the 2021-22 season. The team has been essentially splitting home dates between its original arena, Nassau Coliseum, and Brooklyn's Barclays Center, where it began playing in 2015.

Cuomo said in late February that the club would move back to the Coliseum full time for the 2020-21 campaign.

Meanwhile, the Seattle expansion franchise also halted construction at KeyArena due to the coronavirus. However, Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke told the Seattle Times' Geoff Baker on Thursday that work is expected to resume Monday because the roof needs to be reinstalled onto its permanent support posts.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Senators broadcaster Gord Wilson tests positive for coronavirus

Find out the latest on COVID-19's impact on the sports world and when sports are returning by subscribing to Breaking News push notifications in the Sports and COVID-19 section.

Ottawa Senators colour analyst Gord Wilson has been diagnosed with COVID-19, he confirmed to Postmedia's Bruce Garrioch.

Wilson's wife, CTV Ottawa's Patricia Boal, revealed the diagnosis on a newscast Friday night, according to Garrioch.

Local health officials informed him Friday that he is infected. Wilson was tested for the virus last week.

The 59-year-old felt ill for several days after returning from the Senators' California road trip on March 12, the same day the NHL paused its season amid the pandemic. On Boal's advice, he got tested, and has been self-isolating since returning home.

"Itโ€™s hit me hard enough," Wilson said. "I havenโ€™t felt good for two weeks. The worst was last weekend. So Iโ€™m hitting a week here at least with shortness of breath and feeling lethargic. I walk up a flight of steps here and Iโ€™m out of breath.

"The biggest thing is the lack of taste and smell. Iโ€™m down about eight or nine pounds. Iโ€™m not eating as much."

Wilson provided a further update later in the evening.

Former Senators superstar and current San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson was among many who tweeted well wishes to Wilson.

Wilson, who provides radio commentary for Senators games, is the third member of the team's traveling group to test positive for COVID-19. Two unnamed players have contracted the virus, as has one player from the Colorado Avalanche.

Earlier Friday, the St. Louis Blues announced broadcaster John Kelly had been diagnosed with the coronavirus but is now symptom-free.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Watch: Knights’ Schmidt takes batting practice in street

Nate Schmidt is missing baseball as much as the rest of us are.

The Vegas Golden Knights defenseman took to the streets Thursday, on what would have been Major League Baseball's Opening Day, to take some batting practice.

Schmidt - a Minnesota native - is a big Twins fan, and his favorite player is Philadelphia Phillies slugger Bryce Harper, who's from Las Vegas.

The 28-year-old blue-liner stepped in for the first pitch with his natural right-handed stance and hit a bomb. He then turned things around to emulate Harper - who's a lefty - but suffered a comically unfortunate result.

However, he made up for it on the next attempt by making solid contact.

Schmidt may not have much of a future as a two-sport athlete, but at least he's having fun out there.

Much like the NHL and NBA seasons, which were in progress, the upcoming MLB campaign was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.