Best of the Nation - 12.16.12

Jonathan Willis
December 16 2012 11:23AM

The lockout keeps rolling on, but that doesn't mean we lacked for quality content this week. We had another entry in our "Worst to First" jerseys series, talked about the frightening salary cap situation for a bunch of teams, looked at how forward usage by NHL coaches has evolved over the last few seasons, talked about the World Juniors and buyouts, the lockout and the league's very best prospect, as well as half a dozen things I'm not even mentioning.

More after the jump!

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Wolves Aren't Scared of Monsters, Stay on a Roll

Dimitri Filipovic
December 15 2012 08:58PM

Throwing those teddy bears was fun. But now someone has to pick them up.

I think it would be fair to say that the most recent Chicago Wolves game recap I did prior to this one - which was back on December 7th, in case you missed it - marked rock bottom for the Canucks' AHL affiliate. They had just submitted a dismal effort on their home ice, falling to 9-9-3 on the year. 

I noted that Scott Arniel had to have been feeling the pressure at that point. He couldn't afford to see his team put forth too many more performances in the vein of the one against Grand Rapids. What followed was a players-only meeting prior to the tilt against Rockford, and two impressive wins where the Wolves put their cojones on display. Apparently they had seen enough of the lackluster play, too.

They moved their win streak to three games on Saturday night, with a hard-fought victory against a game Lake Erie squad.

Read Past the Jump for Notes on the Game.

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A second win in a row, two goals for Archibald, Wolves overwhelm Bulldogs.

Patrick Johnston
December 14 2012 02:47PM

After two goals and a fight against Hamilton, did Darren Archibald go get himself a beer?
(Photo: Chris Jerina/AHL in Photos)

In a middling season, are the Chicago Wolves' fortunes about to swing back up? The Canucks' minor leaguers opened the year with four straight wins, but until last night's win over Hamilton, they hadn't won two successive games since that ferocious opening.

Powered by two well-taken goals by Darren Archibald - plus a fight from the big winger - the Wolves controlled the game nearly to the end. A pair of late goals from the Bulldogs made it close on the scoreboard (4-3), but it was an impressive performance by a Wolves squad that hasn't had many impressive performances this year.

More on Darren Archibald after the jump. (Oh, and yes, on the rest of the team, too.)

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Let’s talk about contraction

Jonathan Willis
December 14 2012 11:54AM

Contraction is a favourite concept of hockey writers around North America. For those who simply want to see higher-calibre hockey, it’s a beautiful dream – fewer teams means higher quality players at the highest level, something that can’t help but result in better hockey. Most recently, though, contraction has emerged as a preferred cudgel with which to beat the NHLPA.

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Frank Corrado cut from Canadian junior squad

Cam Charron
December 13 2012 04:23PM

This tweet from Sunaya Suparji of Yahoo! Canada was sent out just as Bob McKenzie was on a live-taping of Sportscentre discussing how Canucks prospect Frank Corrado was practically a sure bet to make the Canadian IIHF U-20 world championship team.

Unfortunately, it was not to be. McKenzie was just as shocked as everybody, but Corrado responded with class, and you'd expect from a media-trained Canadian hockey player:

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