It’s been two weeks since the Coyotes claimed Alexander Burmistrov off waivers from the Jets but, because of visa issues, tonight will be just Burmistrov’s second game in an Arizona uniform.
And it’ll be in Winnipeg, against his former team.
“It’s going to be a special night,” Burmistrov said, per NHL.com. “I’m sure it’s going to be weird, awkward, seeing your ex-teammates skating on the other side in the warmup.”
It’s been a weird, awkward season for the 25-year-old Russian. After appearing in 81 games last year — racking up a career-high 21 points — he became an afterthought in Winnipeg, often sitting as a (frustrated) healthy scratch.
Jets head coach Paul Maurice acknowledged the role Burmistrov wanted — something in the top-9 — probably wasn’t going to happen in Winnipeg, so the club set about letting him get a fresh start elsewhere.
Arizona was happy to grab him.
“[Burmistrov’s] a guy our scouts for a long time have identified as someone they think has got more potential than what he’s shown,” GM John Chayka said shortly after the waiver claim, per the Coyotes website. “(Claiming him) was unanimous across the board with our scouts, which is actually fairly rare.”
Burmistrov played a fairly significant role in his first game with the Coyotes. He received just under 18 minutes of ice time and finished with an assist in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Oilers, getting the primary helper on Radim Vrbata‘s power-play goal.
At some point, Cam Talbot will get the night off to sit on the bench and watch somebody else tend goal for the Edmonton Oilers.
But it won’t be tonight when his Oilers host Florida. Talbot will make his fifth start in the last nine days. No NHL goalie has played more minutes (2,459) than he has this season. No goalie has made more saves (1,115), either.
“This is what you work your whole career towards,” Talbot told reporters today. “I was working my butt off day in, day out, in New York, hoping to get this opportunity at some point behind (Henrik Lundqvist). And Edmonton, I was lucky enough (they gave) me an opportunity last year. You’ve just got to be ready for it when you get it. … I feel great doing it.”
He’s been playing pretty great, too. The 29-year-old is 23-12-6 with a .918 save percentage. He’s won his last three starts while allowing just four goals combined.
And that’s partly why Todd McLellan keeps running Talbot out there — the head coach is riding the hot hand.
The other part relates to the Oilers’ backup. It’s currently Laurent Brossoit, a 23-year-old with just six games of NHL experience. Brossoit was called up from the AHL to replace Jonas Gustavsson, who simply wasn’t getting the job done as Edmonton’s No. 2.
The Oilers, you may have heard, haven’t made the playoffs in over a decade. They desperately want to break that drought, and Talbot has helped put them on pace to do it.
Still, this situation will be worth monitoring. Talbot has never started more than 53 games in an NHL season, and he’s already started 41 in 2016-17. As great as he feels today, there’s absolutely a risk that fatigue sets in down the stretch.
At least the Oilers have the All-Star break and their bye week (Feb. 6-10) on the horizon. Talbot wasn’t selected to participate in Los Angeles later this month; Mike Smith and Martin Jones will represent the Pacific Division instead.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Brossoit is 0-4-1 with an .873 save percentage in those six games with the big club. It’s possible the youngster could start Friday at home to Nashville, as the Oilers also play Saturday in Calgary on Hockey Night in Canada.
Talbot has been busy, but he’s yet to play on consecutive days this season.
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Minnesota’s been very fortunate in the health department this season — a whopping 11 players have appeared in all 43 games — but that changed on Wednesday, as GM Chuck Fletcher announced d-man Jonas Brodin would be out “weeks” with a hand injury.
Brodin was hurt in Tuesday’s loss to the Devils, finishing with just 9:23 TOI. It’s a significant loss — the Swedish rearguard was one of the guys that had appeared in every contest, averaging 19:47 per night.
Per Russo, Nate Prosser is expected to fill the Brodin void. Prosser has been in and out of the lineup this year — though mostly out — appearing in 17 contests while getting just over 13 minutes per.
Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau insisted the club would take the Brodin injury in stride.
“Good teams persevere,” he said, per the Wild’s Twitter account. “We don’t fold like an accordion.”
There was a time that Carolina forward Jeff Skinner — now at the ripe ol’ age of 24 — was an emotional, hyper-competitive young buck earning himself a reputation across the NHL.
OK, not really.
But Skinner was suspended once, back in 2012, for kicking then-Blues forward Scott Nichol.
Given the nature of the suspension — look, you just don’t see a lot of kicking infractions — and the fact Skinner had been warned the day prior for slew-footing Dmitry Orlov, there was a bit of history.
And in Carolina, if you’ve got a history with tripping-related offenses, you’re probably going to be asked about Grayson Allen.
Allen, after twice tripping players in ACC games last season and receiving a reprimand from the league, said before this season that he had learned a hard lesson. He said the incidents were embarrassing for him, his family and the school.
Then, it happened again. In a Dec. 22 game in Greensboro, Allen tripped Elon’s Steven Santa Ana as Santa Ana attempted to drive the baseline, kicking out his right leg. [Duke University head coach Mike] Krzyzewski suspended Allen for one game.
Skinner’s suspension in 2012 is his only one. He’s now 24, a veteran player.
“Experience helps because you’ve seen situations and you put yourself in better spots and you’re able to react to situations better,” Skinner said.
Skinner realizes the scrutiny is intense, especially for star players. There’s always that spotlight, especially in the ACC.
“I know one thing, UNC, Duke and N.C. State basketball gets a lot of media attention,” Skinner said. “There’s a lot of pressure on those guys at a young age.”
The genesis of Skinner’s advice was “learn from your mistakes,” and “the more you experience, the better you’ll react to things.” And in that regard, he’s probably a guy worth listening to — he broke into the NHL at 18 and now, even though he’s only 24, is veteran of seven seasons and nearly 500 games played. Discipline hasn’t been much of a problem since the aforementioned Nichol and Orlov incidents.
He has, however, been whistled for two tripping penalties this season. Guess some habits die hard.
Biggest takeaway from all this, though, could be that Skinner’s in the midst of a career campaign. With 35 points through 43 games he’s on pace for a personal high of 65, which would be the most he’s scored since his rookie year.