Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 4 hrs ago
Dainius Zubrus is 37 years old. Speed isn’t a virtue, and his offense has stagnated. But he’s a shrewd pickup for the San Jose Sharks, who inked him to a one-year deal on Tuesday.
Zubrus had 10 points (four goals, six assists) and 42 penalty minutes in 74 games with the New Jersey Devils last season, where Pete DeBoer coached him from 2011-14.
That connection is an important one: DeBoer knows his strengths and his limitations, and it sounds like he had him cast in the right role for the Sharks.
If anything, adding him should help prevent the Sharks’ coaching staff from dramatically shortening their bench, as they were forced to do late in several close games in the third period on the recent trip. Mike Brown, Micheal Haley and Nikolay Goldobin all saw limited minutes. Zubrus could also push some other struggling forwards like Tommy Wingels, Matt Nieto and Chris Tierney down the lineup, or out of it altogether.
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Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 5 hrs ago
Now, you might see the Minnesota Wild’s unveiling of their 2016 Stadium series jerseys as just another opportunity to suck money from fans’ bank accounts for a sweater that appears to fail basic tests for ingenuity and appearance.
But as you can see in this video produced by the team, the release of these jerseys is no less than THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT MOMENT IN THE RELATIVELY SHORT HISTORY OF MAN AND WOMAN KIND:
A jersey “is hope?” It’s “a promise?”
It’s a thing that needs a surging choir in the background to underscore its ethereal consequence? Can it cure lepers?
Anyhoo, the Minnesota Wild released their new Stadium Series jerseys ahead of their Feb. 21 Stadium Series game in Minnesota against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Here's Mikko Koivu, male model:
From the Wild:
Oh, and as is Stadium Series tradition, those stupid giant numbers.
What say you?
PASS OR FAIL: The Minnesota Wild’s 2016 Stadium Series jerseys.
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Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 8 hrs ago
(There’s really no such thing as the “quarter pole” of the NHL season, but most teams have cleared their first 20 games. Here are the 10 most unpleasant surprises of the season so far; we’ll get back on the positive tip with the pleasant surprises later.)
10. Alex Semin
Who would have figured that the Montreal Canadiens would be one of the best offensive teams in the League, and free agent Alex Semin would play absolutely no role in it? He has one goal and three assists in 14 games and has been a healthy scratch. If only there was a word that could capture the perplexing nature of a non-North American player’s performance …
9. Mark Giordano
After two injury-shortened seasons in which the Calgary Flames defenseman flirted with the Norris Trophy, Giordano has six points in 21 games and it a minus-11. He clearly missed partner T.J. Brodie in October, as did the Flames, whose defense has been hot garbage this season.
8. Dave Hakstol
7. The Triplets Line
6. Raffi Torres
5. Columbus Blue Jackets
4. Connor McDavid’s Injury
3. Sidney Crosby
2. The Coach’s Challenge Cluster-[$@#$]
And finally …
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 18 hrs ago
No. 1 Star: Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals
Holtby was brilliant in making 33 saves, outdueling Ander Nilsson in the Capitals’ 1-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Dmitry Orlov scored in the third period for the game’s lone goal.
No. 2 Star: Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Shayne Gostisbehere scored on the power play in overtime, with Victor Rask in the box for holding the stick, giving the Flyers a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Claude Giroux had the primary assist on that goal, scored his seventh and set up Brayden Schenn’s power-play goal for a three-point night.
No. 3 Star: Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins
Rask made 39 saves and didn’t allow a goal in the shootout in the Bruins’ 4-3 shootout win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Brad Marchand scored two goal, including one baseball style.
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 23 hrs ago
Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins is generously listed at 5 foot 9, a stature that comes in handy when he’s trying to swat a puck out of the air while keeping his stick under the crossbar.
Like, for example, the shorthanded goal he scored against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night.
With Brett Connolly in the box for tripping, Marchand stole the puck from goalie James Reimer behind the net. He fed Patrice Bergeron for a chance in front, but Reimer made the save. The puck flew into the air back to Marchand in the left faceoff circle.
With Dion Phanuef standing between him and the goal, he batted the puck out of the air and past Reimer for the goal at 4:58 of the first.
Details about the Detroit Red Wings’ 2016 Stadium Series jerseys, for their game at Coors Field against the Colorado Avalanche on Feb. 27, had leaked earlier this year.
On Monday, the Red Wings revealed the actual sweaters, and they’re pretty baller:
Rather than some Miss America white “sash” across the front, it’s a large parallelogram. (One imagines the first option, a trapezoid, was rejected by the Red Wings’ goalies.) That slight overlap with the logo and the “sash” makes the whole thing pop.
They’re still doing that stupid oversized lettering in the sleeves in an effort to have the people freezing their butts off in the upper deck identify when Darren Helm is on the ice. Because that's so vital.
In the grand pantheon of goalie saves, the ‘reaching back with the stick to make a desperation deflection after making the initial save’ has to be one of our favorites.
Witness this stop by Atte Engren of Spartak (coached by German Titov!) in their 3-1 win over Omsk on Saturday. Alexander Perezhogin takes the initial shot on goal, which Engren saved.
Perezhogin (remember him, Montreal Canadiens fans?) then took a second shot into what appeared to be an open net … until Engren lunged over and knocked the puck away with his paddle.
Engren was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the seventh round in 2007, but only appeared with the Milwaukee Admirals for 27 games in two seasons. He's played in the KHL for the last three seasons.
Jakub Voracek has one goal in 20 games.
Let that sink in for a second. Jakub Voracek, who had 86 goals in 290 games with the Philadelphia Flyers heading into this season. Jakub Voracek, whose longest stretch without a goal last season was 10 games, having gone his first 16 games without a tally this season. Jakub Voracek, of the 8-year, $66-million contract kicking in next season.
So now Jakub Voracek is off the Flyers' top line, according to Monday’s practice, as the Flyers are scheduled to face the Carolina Hurricanes and are seeking their first goal in 133 minutes and 49 seconds.
Jakub Voracek is coming off the top line and going to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s unit with Chris VandeVelde. Michael Raffl moves up to Claude Giroux’s unit but switches wings with Brayden Schenn.
One might say Voracek is looking for that … Belly rub.
Said coach Dave Hakstol:
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It’s been a while since Canada lost something it loved to Arizona, but the Coyotes are apparently trying to rectify this.
Alex Anthopoulos, the Toronto Blue Jays general manager who walked away from the team after the season, is getting a hard sell from the Arizona Coyotes to join them as a senior consultant, according to Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun:
The call to Anthopoulos from the Coyotes came right after he walked away from the Jays and apparently caught the GM, who has never been involved at any level of hockey, by complete surprise. Anthopoulos does, however, know Arizona assistant GM John Chayka, through his analytics work outside of hockey.
The call to Anthopoulos was one of the first of many he has received inquiring about his future after choosing to walk away from the Jays. Since becoming a free agent of sorts, Anthopoulos has heard from sporting teams and media outlets concerning his future plans.
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The NHL isn’t going to approve expansion at next month’s Board of Governors meeting. There’s some thought that an announcement could arrive at the NHL All-Star Weekend in January, but there’s nothing concrete.
If you feel like the League is taking its sweet time with the franchise future for Las Vegas and Quebec City – the only two applicants to meet the financial and facility requirements for landing expansion teams – you’re not alone. Seattle Times columnist Geoff Baker notes that the NHL’s delay syncs up with a crucial vote on Chris Hanson’s SoDo arena project in Seattle.
Is the NHL still hoping Seattle steps up with a solid expansion bid?
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