The redemption of Tim Connolly

connollygwg.jpgPeople want to believe that they can control most of things that happen in their lives, but let’s face it, there are times when it all comes down to luck. Few hockey players can relate to that sentiment quite as much as oft-injured Buffalo Sabres center Tim Connolly.

The slickly skilled center scored a thrilling game winning goal in overtime against the Philadelphia Flyers last night, a moment that some might have found unthinkable just a year ago. Despite showing plenty of skill (and averaging close to a point per game) when he managed to get on the ice, injuries have hampered his career on a level that only the likes of Marian Gaborik and Pavol Demitra can understand.
Even Wile E. Coyote would cringe at his lengthy injury list; since 2006 he’s dealt with a variety of knee, hip and groin injuries, broke some ribs and missed 80 games because of concussions. Rafael Ladysz put it well when he wrote:
“Whatever happens in the near future, nobody can doubt the genius that is a healthy Tim Connolly. His stick-handling can’t be matched by many, his vision opens up the ice for others, and he can fire home the puck when he has the chance.”

Could a healthy season (57 points in all 63 of Buffalo’s games) be a sign that Connolly could be the player Sabres fans have been hoping for? Who knows, but I’m certainly hoping that luck will be on his side from now on.

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    Burrows on waiving his no-trade clause: ‘I’ve never talked to management or coaches about it’

    Vancouver Canucks' Alex Burrows celebrates his goal against the Colorado Avalanche during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, British Columbia, Thursday, March 28, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)
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    Alex Burrows doesn’t want a trade out of Vancouver and he wants to make sure everyone knows it.

    On Saturday, Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman reported that Burrows was potentially willing to waive his no-trade clause if a deal came up.

    When asked about the report, Burrows went into denial mode.

    “There’s no truth to that,” Burrows told beat reporter Ben Kuzma. “I’ve never talked to management or coaches about it.

    “Last time I talked to my agent was to wish him Merry Christmas.”

    Whether or not Burrows is willing to accept a deal out of Vancouver may be irrelevant.

    The 34-year-old has seven goals and 16 points in 53 games this season, and he comes with a cap hit of $4.5 million dollars next season.

    That’s pretty steep for a guy who’s on pace to score just 25 points this year.

    If the Canucks want to find a taker for his services (assuming he’s willing to go), they’ll likely have to take a good-sized contract back or they’ll have to eat some of his remaining salary.

    Marchand scores fastest goal in Bruins’ history; Datsyuk’s 900th point

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    It makes sense that a swift bit of history happened in a game in which three goals were scored scored on three shots in about three minutes.

    Brad Marchand found the net eight seconds in after an icing call, setting a new record for the Boston Bruins.

    (You can see that goal in the video above.)

    Watch that three-goal burst in this video:

    The two teams weren’t done then. Loui Eriksson made it 3-1 while Pavel Datsyuk scored his 900th point to make it 3-2.

    Maybe the best moment wasn’t a goal: Torey Krug was seemingly hurt by a Pavel Datsyuk hit, yet he returned without missing much time.

    Kinkaid blanks Kings, Devils move into playoff position

    New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid (1) watches a shot on goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, in Newark N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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    When the New Jersey Devils shut down a team 1-0, it’s usually with Cory Schneider in net.

    Their workhorse got the afternoon off against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, yet Keith Kinkaid did his Schneider impression, grabbing his first NHL shutout in the process.

    It was a low-event game with just 46 combined shots on goal, but Kinkaid had to work, stopping all 28 shots. To give you an idea of how tight this game was, the only tally was credited to David Schlemko on the power play.

    This gives the Devils three straight wins. They managed to climb into third place in the Metropolitan Division, although New Jersey’s edge is a little misleading; the Islanders trail them by one standings point while holding three games in hand.

    That leaves the Islanders in the bottom wild card spot, while the Penguins aren’t so far behind either.

    Third in Metro: Devils – 65 points with 57 games played
    Second wildcard: Islanders – 64 points, 54 GP
    First spot outside the East playoffs: Penguins – 63 points, 54 GP

    So, the Devils’ hold of a playoff spot is a bit tenuous, yet the bottom line is that they’re staying in the mix.

    The Kings, meanwhile, remain comfortably in first in the Pacific.

    WATCH LIVE: Boston Bruins at Detroit Red Wings on NBC

    Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green (25) battle for the puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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    The Boston Bruins (without Patrice Bergeron) take on the Detroit Red Wings (missing Jonathan Ericsson) on Sunday afternoon.

    It’s a matchup between the second-ranked and third-ranked teams in the Atlantic Division, with little separating the two in the standings.

    You can watch the game on NBC and also stream it online via the link below.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE