We're almost to the NHL's midseason All-Star break and there are plenty of things to talk about from around the league. Here's a cheat sheet of five things you should know from this past week.
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Last week, Martin St. Louis became the first player in Tampa Bay Lightning history to have his jersey number raised to the rafters.
The retired winger certainly deserved the honor, considering he's the franchise leader in points (953) and was an integral pillar of the organization for a number of years, including their 2004 Stanley Cup season.
It was a special night, especially considering the falling out St. Louis had with the team during his final year in Tampa. A good way to put water under the bridge is by putting 26 above the ice, apparently.
A common misconception is that the number of goals scored in a hockey game correlates highly with the quality of the game. That’s not necessarily always true, but it was in this case. The offensive shootout between rivals was one of the most enjoyable games anyone will see this season.
For the Caps, the end of the streak doesn't necessarily mean they're due to slow down any time soon. They're second in the NHL in even strength goals-per-60 (behind only Pittsburgh) and have the league's best goals-against-average.
Stop me if you've heard this before, but it seems like this might be the Caps' year!
Capuano was dismissed after a disastrous first half in which the Isles strugggled to come together as a cohesive unit.
Capuano has coached the Islanders through two 100-point seasons over the past few years, but their 42 points at the time of his firing left them in last place in the Eastern Conference.
Knowing that they were all but out of playoff contention and that it was unlikely Capuano's services would be retained following the season, New York elected to start their coaching search now.
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Bruins looking for a shakeup?
Around the midway point of the season is typically when the league's rumor mill starts to really churn. It seems that the Boston Bruins have a piece in just about every piece of speculation at this point.
The Bruins have been wildly inconsistent through the first half of the season and are trending downwards at the moment thanks to two embarrassing losses this week.
They look like they could be in danger of finding themselves outside the playoff bracket for the third consecutive season, so there has been plenty of discussion about a possible shakeup in Boston.
Colorado apparently is seeking some young defensive help in a trade and are said to covet either Brandon Carlo or Charlie McAvoy from Boston, but there have been conflicting reports on the Bruins' willingness to part ways with either of those pieces.
Regardless, it looks like change is on the horizon for the Bruins.
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Bye-bye, Breakaway Challenge
The NHL's All-Star Game is next weekend and a portion of the skills challenge on game's eve will look a bit different this year.
News broke this past weekend that the league is scrapping the Breakaway Challenge event starting this year. The event featured All-Stars participating in a shootout style competition while incorporating a wacky form of entertainment -- from costumes, to trick shots, to involving their kids.
While hockey purists can argue that the event was too gimmicky and didn't put "real skill" on display, there's no disputing that it gave players a great opportunity to showcase their individual personalities.
Instead, the league will replace it with an event called "The Four Line Challenge," which is basically a target competition from different spots on the ice.
With the demise of the breakaway challenge, which was as much the players’ decision as the league’s, the skills competition adds what’s called “The Four Line Challenge” as a replacement.
Players will try to hit targets in the net from the closest blueline, centre ice, the far blueline and then the opposite goal line. Goalies will be offered the chance to try from the farthest distance, with more points available if they can do it.