Odd bounces: Ryan Miller is a semi-star

ryanmillerautograph.jpgEvery once in a while, we’ll come across stories that are just too strange to pass up. Sometimes we’ll get a tip from an e-mail; sometimes will stumble across something bizarre on a hockey site. Either way, this might not be the most “pertinent” information but it certainly will be strange, funny or a bit “off.”

  • First, budding near-celebrity Ryan Miller made an appearance on the Today Show. Now it seems that the goalie will his show his increasingly relevant face on VH1’s Top 20 Video Countdown this weekend. Two thoughts popped into my head with this one: “I hope they don’t mistake him for Jared Leto” and “VH1 still exists? And they actually play music videos?”

Still, it’s cool to see a hockey player get the kind of attention usually reserved for athletes from the “big” sports. Now if only they’d air that “Behind the 20 lbs. of goalie equipment” documentary series I pitched a while back. “Everything was going great for Tommy Salo, until he hit rock bottom – against Belarus.” (The Ed Belfour episode would be hockey’s answer to Motley Crue’s Behind the Music.)

  • In other semi-odd news, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs wore a Team Canada jersey to honor a bet he made with Dimitri Soudas, secretary to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Considering this is one of those moments when unfunny people (aka politicians) attempt to be funny, some of the quips weren’t half-bad. Here’s another interesting tidbit from the TSN story (sure it’s not technically hockey related, but Canadian beer is involved so clam up).

“Harper and Barack Obama also had a wager on the game, and as a result the U.S. president owes the prime minister a case of Molson Canadian beer.

Gibbs said the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa has been instructed to deliver to Harper one case of Canadian and also, as a bonus, a case of Yuengling, the Pennsylvania brew the prime minister was to buy for Obama in the event of a U.S. win.”

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    PHT Morning Skate: Beat writers survey predicts Ducks will win Cup

    Corey Perry, Frederik Andersen
    AP Photo
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    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    In a survey of 29 beat writers, the Anaheim Ducks emerged as the clear favorite to win the Stanley Cup. If you’ll recall, they have that in common with the EA Sports simulation. (Boston Globe)

    Alex Ovechkin would pick an Olympic hit against Jaromir Jagr as the biggest check of his life. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

    Here are the highlights from Minnesota’s 5-4 victory over Colorado:

    The Montreal Canadiens seem committed to using Alex Galchenyuk as a center throughout the 2015-16 campaign. (The Canadian Press)

    The NHL recently enlisted its players to read off some not so mean tweets. (USA Today)

    Bills coach Rex Ryan talked about the Sabres in Thursday’s press conference. (NHL.com)

    Frederik Andersen may have the Anaheim Ducks’ starting job for now, but with John Gibson still a big part of their plans, Andersen has to keep proving himself. (Orange County Register)

    Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

    Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

    DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

    Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

    Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

    Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

    Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

    Fleury had 21 saves.

    The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

    Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

    The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

    Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

    The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

    Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

    NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.