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Playoff Preview 2021

Playoff Preview 2021

In our 100-page Playoff Preview, we have full-page breakdowns on each team with analysis, depth charts, fantasy rankings and more. Also, we've got features on Patrick Marleau, Darnell Nurse, the New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and 15-year-old sensation Connor Bedard, plus a roundtable discussion on which Canadian team has the best Cup hopes.

REWIND

TOP 10 PRE-NHL DEFENSEMEN

TOP-LEVEL HOCKEY DIDN’T BEGIN in 1917 when the NHL did. The Stanley Cup (which the league didn’t have full dominion over until 1926) was first awarded in 1893, and there were highly competitive games going on even before that. The roots of the NHL can be traced back all the way to the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada (AHAC) in 1886. Over the course of 31 years, recurring disagreements between team owners led to the dissolution of four leagues and the emergence of replacement leagues (with most or all of the same teams and players as the previous season), and eventually the NHL’s creation in 1917-18. The NHL wasn’t the beginning of anything, just the continuance of what had been ongoing for decades – and thankfully 1917 was the last…

BUZZ

THE COUNTDOWN

STORYBOOK ENDINGS ALL end with a victory, right? Not by our standards. We believe a storybook ending can be all about the journey and not necessarily the destination. So an underdog team not expected to make the playoffs – or that just scraped into the post-season – can have a happy ending if it gained the satisfaction of a job well done. Here’s a look at each NHL franchise’s best season from a squad not expected to be a contender. For some teams in the top portion of our countdown, that meant winning it all when expectations were lukewarm at best. For others further down the list, that meant getting to the Stanley Cup final – or even semifinal – when even their hardcore fans were expecting an early spring. Hence,…

TIME OUT

NAME GAME

SEPARATED AT BIRTH Hockey doppelgangers: can you tell these two familiar faces apart? CONNOR MCDAVID Child prodigy with savant-like hockey skills regularly puts on a clinic at the NHL level. Went on a scoring binge as an Erie Otter. FREDDIE HIGHMORE Plays a medicine prodigy and savant in The Good Doctor. Gave an eerie performance in the binge-worthy Bates Motel. PUCK PUZZLE Can your hockey brain bring its A-game? The challenge is on! The Shooting Stars competition at the 2020 All-Star Game went into extra time. Fill in the blanks to identify seven of the shooters who took part and the first name of the eventual winner will appear in the red boxes. NAME GAME SOLUTION: BRAD MARCHAND PUCK PUZZLE SOLUTION: PERRON, MARNER, KNIGHT, O’REILLY, SEGUIN, TKACHUK, PASTRNAK (FINAL ANSWER: PATRICK)…

BUZZ

PUCK CULTURE

TODAY, NHL PLAYERS ARE paid to appear on the covers of video games like NHL 21. But during the classic gaming era, game companies would use illustrations instead of photos. The artists who created the illustrations usually based their work off photos of NHL players, leading to some unintended endorsements 1. BERNIE PARENT Video Olympics (Atari 2600, 1977) The Philadelphia Flyers won the Stanley Cup in 1974 and 1975, and their goaltender, Bernie Parent, won the Vezina and Conn Smythe Trophies those years. So, it made sense to picture Parent – without a Flyers logo – on the cover of Video Olympics a few years later. 2. WAYNE GRETZKY, MARK HUNTER & GLENN HEALY Superstar Ice Hockey (PC, 1987) In the United Kingdom, the box cover of Superstar Ice Hockey featured a colorful illustration of Mark…