Posts Tagged ‘Tuukka Rask’

Top Line: Sidney Crosby dives again; Is shotblocking worth it? More links

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Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins

Diver down: Only this time, Sidney Crosby committed no crime in the Penguins’ playoff opener. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

By Allan Muir

An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

• There goes Sidney Crosby diving again.

• After watching the Ducks’ Ryan Getzlaf take a biscuit in the mush, Jason Kay asks the obvious question: Does shot blocking do more harm than good?

• It’s not always easy to predict which teams will get great goaltending or have their stars go on hot streaks in a series, but James Mirtle says controlling possession is one trait that defines a long playoff run.

• It’s been a dozen years since the Blues and the Blackhawks last met in the postseason. Jeremy Rutherford says built-up hostilities should make their first-rounder a nasty affair.

• But Bernie Miklasz thinks that puck possession, not punishment is St. Louis’ key to victory against Chicago.

Sochi snubs may have dinged some egos in San Jose, but the downtime they provided may be the key to the Sharks’ Stanley Cup aspirations.

Marian Gaborik produced a 61.4 percent Corsi rating over the regular season’s final seven games. Ian McLaren says that stat suggests that the veteran winger could be a difference maker for the Kings against San Jose.

• Steve Mason is out for the Flyers’ opener against the Rangers, and that suits an old buddy just fine.

• Philly won’t have much of a home ice advantage when the series shifts to the City of Brotherly Love.

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  • Published On Apr 17, 2014
  • 2014 NHL playoffs preview: Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings

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    Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings

    The return of the wizardly Pavel Datsyuk (13) gives the Red Wings a puncher’s chance at an upset. (Getty Images)

    By Michael Blinn

    Regular season recaps

    Oct. 5: Bruins 4, Red Wings 1

    Oct. 14: Red Wings 3, Bruins 2

    Nov. 27: Red Wings 6, Bruins 1

    April 2: Red Wings 3, Bruins 2

    Notable injuries

    Bruins: D Dennis Seidenberg (ACL/MCL, indefinite), D Adam McQuaid (strained quad, indefinite), C Marc Savard (concussion, indefinite)

    Red Wings: RW Mikael Samuelsson (shoulder, indefinite), C Stephen Weiss (sports hernia, indefinite), LW Henrik Zetterberg (back surgery, indefinite), D Jonathan Ericsson (finger surgery, indefinite), RW Daniel Cleary (knee sprain, indefinite)

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  • Published On Apr 15, 2014
  • VIDEO: Tuukka Rask’s flying poke check save helps Bruins beat Lightning in SO

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    By Mike McMahon

    The  Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning went down to the wire tonight, taking seven rounds of a shootout before a winner emerged — and that was due in large part to the effort by Tuukka Rask in the B’s net.

    The Finnish netminder stoned Valterri Filppula, Steven Stamkos, Ondrej Palat, and Teddy Purcell, but saved his best stop for Bolts’ defenseman Victor Hedman, employing a video game-style poke check to knock the puck away. He also stopped Richard Panik’s attempt in the seventh round before Reilly Smith scored the only goal of the shootout for the win.

  • Published On Mar 09, 2014
  • Top Line: Turmoil in Vancouver, Miller trade to spark arms race?; more links

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    Coach John Tortorella of the Vancouver Canucks at the NHL Heritage Classic

    As the outlook for the Canucks grows dim, coach John Tortorella’s calls are being questioned. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • Everyone who thought the NHL had too many outdoor games on the schedule couldn’t complain about Sunday’s Heritage Classic, what with there being a roof over the game and all.

    • Canucks coach John Tortorella may have been the only one who thought it was a good decision to start backup goalie Eddie Lack over Roberto Luongo in the Classic. The snub of the veteran only served to reignite Vancouver’s dormant goalie debate, and did more damage to an already fractured room.

    • Daniel Sedin’s injury in the Classic should send a clear signal to Canucks GM Mike Gillis that it’s time to give up on the playoff dream and focus instead on positioning Vancouver for future success.

    • This clearly was not Cody Ceci’s day

    • They’re still buzzing about the big trade in St. Louis, where Ryan Miller led the Blues to victory in his debut on Sunday night.

    • Jeff Gordon says that Jaroslav Halak was good, but the Blues wanted greatness between the pipes.

    • Ken Hitchcock loves the addition of Steve Ott because he’s a guy who is willing to go a little farther than the guy he’s playing against. As far as hockey compliments go, that’s a pretty stout recommendation.

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  • Published On Mar 03, 2014
  • Top Line: Ducks lay record rout on Canucks; Rask’s woes; more links

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    The Anaheim Ducks scored a team-record nine goals vs. the Vancouver Canucks

    The red-hot Ducks had the reeling Canucks under siege all night. (Debora Robinson/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • Jonas Hiller didn’t just miss out on a start on Wednesday night. Too sick to go against the Canucks, the NHL’s hottest goaltender missed out on all the fun as the Ducks set a pair of franchise records in a 9-1 thrashing of Vancouver. The most amazing stat of the evening? Anaheim started the game with the league’s 22nd ranked power play, but after scoring five times with the extra man the Ducks had jumped up to 15th.

    • So instead of turning a corner with their hard-fought 1-0 loss to the Kings last Monday, the Canucks simply ran face first into a different wall. With seven losses in their last eight games, it’s fair to ask where do they go from here?

    • Wyatt Arndt doesn’t blames referee Paul Devorski for making the calls that turned the game into a farce, but he’s sure not thrilled by how they were made.

    • A young Finn took center stage in Pittsburgh as the Penguins set a franchise record of their own.

    • Adam Oates did not enjoy his part in that historic event.

    • Claude Julien says he knows there’s something wrong with Tuukka Rask’s game and that the team has a plan to address the goalie’s tumbling numbers. With defenseman Dennis Seidenberg out of the lineup, Rask is not getting the help he’s used to, but he’s also visibly not as sharp, either, especially when the Bruins are on the penalty kill.

    • Rask’s swoon could cost him the starting job on Team Finland in Sochi if it’s not quickly corrected, especially in light of how well Antti Niemi has played of late.

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  • Published On Jan 16, 2014
  • Top Line: Bryzgalov comes back beeg; epic national anthem fail; more links

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    Ilya Bryzgalov shut out the Nashvillie Predators in his first start for the Edmonton Oilers.

    Ilya Bryzgalov stopped everything the Predators threw at him in his Oilers debut. (John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • The always cosmic Ilya Bryzgalov looked stellar in his first start for the Oilers, making 33 stops as Edmonton shut out the Predators, 3-0. Don’t look now, but the Oilers have won four-of-five and they’re starting to get the one thing they’ve lacked all year: decent goaltending.

    • We’ve all seen national anthem fails before, but rarely one quite like this effort from the Subway Series game between the WHL and Russia. I’m guessing that there aren’t a lot of people in Lethbridge, Alberta who can sing the Russian national anthem, but O Canada? To his credit, he didn’t include any lyrics from America The Beautiful

    • Then again, O Canada flubs seem to be contagious. On Wednesday night, the Islanders’ anthem singer substituted some lyrics, for which she has offered an apology.

    • They could never do this in a game that counts in the standings, but Roy MacGregor’s idea for celebrating the true heritage of the sport at the Heritage Classic would make for a brilliant exhibition contest, wouldn’t it?

    • The Calgary Flames are setting an example that every team should follow. The paying public deserves this much.

    • Kelly Hrudey offers up a list of the 10 best goalies in each conference. Nice to see the name at the top of the pile in the East. Have to believe that if this netminder keeps it up he could work his way into the mix for a role in Sochi, even if it is only as a No. 3.

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  • Published On Nov 29, 2013
  • Jonathan Toews, Josh Harding NHL award favorites at 20-game mark

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    Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks

    Enjoy the season that Jonathan Toews is having. You’re watching a Hall of Famer. (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    It was right around the 20-game mark last season that Sergei Bobrovsky began asserting himself as a dark horse candidate for the Vezina Trophy. The Flyers’ cast-off, newly installed as the No. 1 in Columbus, put together an impressive run that saw him allow just two goals over a four-game stretch, hinting at the fantastic finish to come.

    And Bobrovsky wasn’t alone in establishing himself early. Eventual MVP Alex Ovechkin scored a hat trick in Game 17 to emerge from his early season drought. Jonathan Huberdeau earned Rookie of the Month honors on his way to capturing the Calder. P.K. Subban overcame a late start by scoring six points in his first six games to pave a path to the Norris Trophy.

    No, NHL awards aren’t won in the first quarter of the season, but players who are hitting their marks at the quarter pole create a narrative that lingers with the voters.

    With that in mind, here’s a look at the some of the players who have made a strong impression through the first 20 or so games of 2013-14, setting themselves up as the early favorites to take home the hardware next June.

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  • Published On Nov 18, 2013
  • Panthers goalie Tim Thomas set to face off against former Bruins teammates

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    Despite a wonky groin, Florida Panthers goalie Tim Thomas has shown flashes of the brilliance that won him the Vezina Trophy in 2011 with the Boston Bruins.

    Despite a wonky groin, Tim Thomas has shown flashes of his 2011 Vezina Trophy-winning form. (Getty Images)

    By Michael Blinn

    As Batman once said, “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

    Depending on whom you ask, and what day of the week you do it on, Tim Thomas is either a hero or villain to Boston fans. The undersized goalie was often times stellar for the Bruins, backstopping the franchise to it’s first Stanley Cup in 40 years in 2011, adding the Conn Smythe Trophy as postseason MVP to go with his Vezina Trophy as the league’s top netminder.

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  • Published On Oct 16, 2013
  • Blackhawks sign Corey Crawford to six-year, $36 million extension

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    Goaltender Corey Crawford of the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks

    Corey Crawford landed some silver (the Stanley Cup) and gold (a fat new contract) this year. (Michael Tureski/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    Looks like this will go down as a pretty good day for Corey Crawford and his family.

    The Blackhawks’ netminder was already scheduled to spend Labor Day commemorating Chicago’s championship season with the Stanley Cup in his home town of Chateauguay, Quebec. Now he gets to celebrate with a new deal in his back pocket as well.

    The Blackhawks announced this morning that they have agreed to terms with Crawford on a six-year contract extension. Renaud Lavoie of TVA is reporting the deal is worth an average of $6 million per season, mirroring the recent trend of goalies like Jonathan Quick (10 years, $58 million) and Tuukka Rask (eight years, $58 million) cashing in big on one good season.

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  • Published On Sep 02, 2013
  • Most irreplaceable NHL players for the 2013-14 season

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    John Tavares of the New York Islanders

    John Tavares, the likely new captain of the Isles, is the pillar of the franchise’s recent progress. (Rich Graessle/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    Sidney Crosby may be the best player in hockey, but is he also the most irreplaceable?

    Doesn’t seem like it.

    Everyone expected Pittsburgh’s wheels to fly off last season when their captain was sidelined indefinitely with a broken jaw. Instead, the train picked up speed. Pittsburgh finished the season on a 9-2 run, outscoring its opponents 46-25 while Crosby sipped soup through a straw in the hospital.

    Were the Pens a better team without him? Of course not. But they were, and are, in a better position to weather a long-term injury like his because of their enviable depth. Under GM Ray Shero, the organization has become like a shark — knock one tooth out, another just slides up and replaces it.

    Every team has to face up to a Crosby-like injury eventually, but few have rows of teeth in reserve. Most would cobble something together and hope to make do. Others, like the injury-ravaged 2013 Ottawa Senators, might prove something to themselves and the league with their resilience.

    But some players are so critical to the success of their teams that there’s no way to fill the void if they’re lost long-term.

    Here are the players we think are next season’s most irreplaceable.

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  • Published On Aug 30, 2013