We’re getting really revved up for tomorrow’s Game of the Week between the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks (12:30 PM ET live on NBC!). Along with some great posts sure to be chock full of information, analysis and tomfoolery, there will also be a live chat with Cover it Live during the game.
This is a great opportunity for you to share some of your feedback on the blog and enjoy the game with other hockey fans – new, old and in between. Naturally, we do ask that everyone play nice (in other words, refrain from personal attacks and other comments of that ilk). After all, we hear that Derek Boogaard could have some down time so just keep it civil. Here’s a summary of Sunday’s coverage here at PHT.
Sunday on Pro Hockey Talk:
- Have the Detroit Red Wings missed their window for another Cup win?
- Will the Blackhawks’ goaltending situation keep them from getting to the Stanley Cup finals?
- Injury updates for both teams
- News and opinion from around NBC Sports
- A live in-game chat with Brandon Worley and James O’Brien
Continue for links to some of our best stories on Detroit and Chicago.
While you wait, here are some of the stories we’ve written about the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks this week:
NBC Game of the Week: Blackhawks vs. Red Wings – a veritable medley of pertinent information on the game.
The Blackhawks’ dramatic rebirth – looking a few years back, when Chicago was an absolute mess.
Chicago decides their goaltending is just good enough to be ok – will the Blackhawks pay for sticking with their much maligned goalies?
Rough night for Roberto Luongo – in another bitter rivalry for Chicago, the ‘Hawks chased Luongo out of his net last night.
Nicklas Lidstrom joins the 800 assist club – studying the legendary career of Lidstrom.
Goal of the Day: Datsyuk’s dirty goal – Just a stunning display of skill.
Finally, while Lilja tries to move on from a year-long injury, Kirk Maltby’s season is over.
Barring injury, Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg will get the opportunity to make his 1,000th NHL game even more special.
Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill confirmed today that Zetterberg will play tonight and tomorrow in Carolina, putting the 36-year-old on pace to play his 1,000th game on Apr. 9, the date of the final Wings game at Joe Louis Arena.
The Wings, who will miss the playoffs for the first time since 1990, have eight games left in their regular season. They host New Jersey on Apr. 9.
Tonight’s game was originally scheduled for Dec. 19, but had to be postponed due to poor ice conditions at PNC Arena.
John Stevens, who just wrapped a four-year career at Northeastern University, has signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the Islanders, the club announced on Monday.
Stevens, 22, went undrafted but emerged as a valuable player for the Huskies, culminating with a senior season in which he served as captain and averaged better than a point per game (28 in 25 contests).
Stevens is the son of longtime L.A. Kings associate coach John Stevens, who formerly served as the bench boss in Philly.
A third member 0f the Stevens clan, Nolan, also played this season at Northeastern — his junior campaign — and was taken by St. Louis in the fifth round of last year’s draft.
Curtis McElhinney will start in goal for the Maple Leafs when they host Florida tomorrow.
Which means Toronto’s regular starter, Frederik Andersen, will not.
Andersen, hurt Saturday in Buffalo, only lasted 20 minutes of practice this morning. The Toronto Star, citing a Leafs source, is reporting that Andersen “took a blow to his jaw from a player in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Sabres.”
McElhinney is 4-5-0 with a .919 save percentage in 10 appearances for the Leafs this season. He told reporters that tomorrow will be the biggest start of his NHL career.
It remains to be seen who will back up McElhinney against the Panthers. The Leafs have recalled goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL on an emergency basis. All three netminders were on the ice today.
Expect Sparks to be the back-up tomorrow.
Toronto has a three-point playoff cushion, with eight games remaining.
The Leafs also recalled forward Kasperi Kapanen, the 22nd overall draft pick in 2014. Kapanen, 20, has 18 goals and 25 assists in 43 games for the Marlies this season. He’s expected to replace Ben Smith on the fourth line, alongside Brian Boyle and Matt Martin.
Victor Mete, Montreal’s fourth-round pick at last year’s draft, has signed his three-year, entry-level deal, the club announced on Monday.
Mete, 18, is in his third year with OHL powerhouse London, and finished this season with 15 goals and 44 points in 50 games. He’s developed a reputation as a terrific skater, and often plays alongside fellow Knights d-man Olli Juolevi, who the Canucks took fifth overall at last year’s draft.
London assistant coach Dylan Hunter had high praise for Mete this season.
“When it comes to little nuances of his game, stick on puck, knowing when to make a play and when there isn’t a play to just get it out, he’s one of the best there is right now,” Hunter said, per the London Free Press.
“He does everything for us.”
Mete has one year of junior eligibility remaining, so it’s likely he’ll be back in London next season. At 5-foot-10 and just 180 pounds, he’s undersized and could use another year of development before turning pro.