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Daily Archives: January 22, 2013

Winnipeg Jets scramble top line with Blake Wheeler, take out Capitals in DC

Posted on by Greg Wyshynski in Featured, News | Leave a comment

WASHINGTON, DC – Facing the Washington Capitals, it wasn’t enough for Blake Wheeler and the Winnipeg Jets’ reconfigured top line to play well offensively. They had to dominate on both ends of the ice.

“When you play teams that are loaded with talent up front, when you simplify things and make them go the length of the rink for their scoring chances, it can make it a tough night for them, make them not really want to work for their chances,” he said.

The Jets’ 4-2 win was a vampiric effort: Sucking the life out of the Verizon Center on opening night, keeping the Capitals’ energy level flat and forcing Coach Adam Oates to break up his top line during the game.

“That’s a credit to how we played. When a road team comes in, isn’t turning the puck over and controlling the play … it can be kind of a boring game, but that’s what a road team does,” said Wheeler.

The Jets (1-1-1) played in Boston on Monday afternoon, but still had more jump than a Capitals team that hadn’t played since Saturday. That’s thanks in part to the new top line of Wheeler, Olli Jokinen and Evander Kane that combined for two goals on the night.

“We juggled the lines a little bit. We wanted to get guys on track,” said Coach Claude Noel.

Wheeler had the primary assist on Kane’s goal, a flukey one on the power play in the second. There was no fluke on Wheeler’s goal, on a play in which Kane flew past the Capitals’ defense and fed him for a layup shot against Brayden Holtby at 14:32 of the second.

“It’s a good start for us. Never been put together as a unit,” Wheeler said. “We’re just trying to play that speed game. It’s always nice when you capitalize.”

It’s been an adjustment for Wheeler, who played for Munich EHC for 15 games during the NHL lockout.

“On the big sheet over there, you can kinda get lost. Play in your own little world sometimes. In this League on that little ice, you have to support each other,” he said. “I was getting caught flat-footed, not supporting my wingers.”

That wasn’t the case on Tuesday night, as Jets’ newly formed top line helped carry them to a key division win.

ECHL goalie gets mad, dumps goal cage on ref, earns penalty (VIDEO)

Posted on by Greg Wyshynski in Featured, News | Leave a comment

@‏OTownSolarBearsIn the third period of the Wheeling Nailers’ game at the Orlando Solar Bears, goalie Scott Darling made a sprawling save on a Bears’ shot. Ryan Cruthers skated into the crease and poked the puck home, as referee Don Jablonski signaled that the tying goal in the 2-2 game had been scored.

As you can see above and in the (off the Jumbotron, but you get the idea) video below show, this did not sit well with Darling:

Here’s how reader Stacie Larson saw it:

I don’t know one goes about getting footage from an ECHL game, but I was at the Orlando Solar Bears game on Saturday, versus the Wheeling Nailers. In the second period, with about 3 minutes remaining, Ryan Cruthers scored a goal (his 100th ECHL goal, btw). Maybe it was a goal, maybe it wasn’t. The ref, though, was emphatic, calling it a goal. Cruthers just kept jabbing at goalie Scott Darling, and the puck slid in. One could argue the ref should have whistled the play dead, but he said he could see the puck the whole time, so didn’t.

Darling, however, was having none of it. He was so hot, he stood up from where he’d fallen into the net, picked up the net, and threw it at the official! Never have I seen the like. To make it more surreal, Darling was only given a 2-minute unsportsmanlike behavior penalty. I’m thinking an awful lot of refs would have tossed him.

Well, not so much a throw as a shove. But just two minutes. ECHL doesn’t frown upon cage tossing, apparently.

Orlando would win the game, 3-2, in overtime. (By the way, check out the ECHL box score — they list the actual rule numbers for each penalty.)

s/t ‏@OTownSolarBears for the photo.

Scott Gomez almost a Shark; Tomas Holmstrom officially retires; Lokomotiv makes KHL playoffs (Puck Previews)

Posted on by Sean Leahy in Featured, News | Leave a comment

Back by popular demand, here are your Puck Previews: Spotlighting the key games in NHL action, news and views as well as general frivolity. Make sure to stop back here for the nightly Three Stars when the games are finished.

Getty Images

• Youppi!, still angered by the lockout, calls out his next victim. [Getty]

Preview: Dallas Stars at Detroit Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. ET. Detroit finally has their defenseman! OK, maybe Kent Huskin isn’t the answer, but more of a fill in after Carlo Colaiacovo and Jonathan Ericsson went down with injuries. They’ll j0in Todd Bertuzzi on the sidelines after it was learned that he has the flu and not mono over the weekend. The underrated story of tonight’s game is that the Smith brothers, Reilly (Stars) and Brendan (Red Wings) will face off against one another for the first time in the NHL. The game at the Joe will also be the Red Wings’ first since the passing of PA announcer Budd Lynch in October. He may be gone, but his voice inside the the Joe will live on via a recording.

Preview: St. Louis Blues at Chicago Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. ET. Two of the eight remaining undefeated NHL teams faceoff tonight with what doubles as the Blackhawks home opener. Brian Elliott will be in goal for the Blues, while Corey Crawford is expected for the Blackhawks. The Blues needed a shootout to get by the Nashville Predators on Sunday night, so head coach Ken Hitchcock hinted this morning that there will be some changes to his lineup. Will one of those moves be Wade Redden?

Preview: San Jose Sharks at Edmonton Oilers, 10 p.m. ET. No, Scott Gomez isn’t a Shark … yet. It appears he’ll finally sign a deal sometime this week, but in the meantime he continues to practice with the team. It’s their home opener and to celebrate the Oilers have placed 20 625-pound jerseys encased in ice around the Rexall Place as part of a fan promotion. The team, like many others so far, is also doing their own fan givebacks, like deep discounts on concessions and merchandise.

Check out previews and updated scores for all of today’s games on the Y! Sports NHL scores and scheds page. For tonight’s starting goalies, check out Left Wing Lock.

Evening Reading

• Tomas Holmstrom officially announced his retirement this afternoon during a press conference. Goalies around the world rejoiced. [Free Press]

• The crazy AHL brawl from over the weekend resulted in 16 games in suspensions for players, one coach getting banned for two games and both Rockford and Grand Rapids being fined. [AHL]

• Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi had a little bit of a problem as he tried to hop on an elevator during the team’s home opener on Saturday night. ‘After being informed that Gaglardi was the team’s owner, the attendant eyed him with suspicion, but begrudgingly let him ride.” [D Magazine]

• Congrats to Lokomotiv. who qualified for the KHL playoffs a year after a plane crash wiped out their entire team. [R-Sport]

• New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal on what the team needs to do to turnaround their 0-2 start: “We have to get that arrogance back.” [ESPN New York]

• Let the Mike Commodore sweepstakes begin! The veteran blue liner was released today from his tryout with the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. [Renaud Lavoie]

• Spokane Chiefs. Portland Winterhawks. End of game brawl! [Buzzing the Net]

• Really interesting look back at the design process of the Pittsburgh Penguins jersey change in 1992. [Icethetics]

• Finally, Evgeny Artyukhin took exception to a hit from behind and wasn’t going to let the assailant get away without some punches to the head:

Puck Daddy Reader Comment of the Day: Jared has an alternate option next time the Leafs want to hold a ceremonial faceoff from space:

“They could have just had Bryzgalov drop the puck.”

Well, if that Luongo-to-Toronto deal falls through…

Bold Prediction: Alex Kovalev scores in his return to Montreal and crowd erupts into an “Ole, Ole, Ole” chant.

Miks Indrasis breaks tie late in KHL game with insane lacrosse-style goal (VIDEO)

Posted on by Harrison Mooney in Featured, News | Leave a comment

We’ve seen it time and time again. A team is pressing for the game-tying goal, but the opposing netminder is just shutting the door. No matter where you shoot from, he always seems to be there. Eventually, it becomes clear that it’s going to take something absolutely spectacular to beat him.

Lucky for Miks Indrasis of Dinamo Riga, he had a little spectacular in the tank, and with under five minutes to go and Lokomotiv leading 1-0, he did this:

Dear Lord.

I mean, we’ve seen lacrosse-style goals before. We’ve even seen them in big games. But a game-tying goal this late in a game? Did I already say dear Lord? Because dear Lord.

You’ve got to feel for the netminder, former NHL journeyman Curtis Sanford, who was under five minutes away from a shutout when this happened. How is that fair?

Be sure to keep watching after the goal is scored, by the way, so you can see the reaction from Dinamo Riga head coach Artis Ābols:

A thing of beauty, that goal was.

s/t to Igor Eronko.

Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney