Many in the hockey world were aware that Rob Blake was planning to announce his retirement about a week ago, but he made it official today. (Read the PHT story here.) Blake provided a healthy combination of hits and offensive acumen throughout his long and impressive career. Here are some of his all-time best hits, from NHL.com. BEWARE THE HIP CHECK OF DOOM.
The Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday raised Ed Snider’s banner to the rafters at Wells Fargo Center during a pre-game ceremony prior to their home opener.
The legendary founder and Flyers owner passed away in April at the age of 83.
“It’s a special night for everybody that’s going to be involved in it,” goalie Steve Mason told Philly.com.
“This organization is rich in history, and the Flyers are who they are because of Mr. Snider — and it will be nice to see him get the respect he definitely deserves.”
The Montreal Canadiens have lost depth defenseman Zach Redmond for six weeks with a broken foot.
The Habs announced the injury on Thursday, adding it occurred during a recent practice.
Redmond, 28, signed as a free agent with the Habs this summer, inking a two-year deal. He’s appeared in 114 career NHL games, beginning his career with the Winnipeg Jets as an Atlanta Thrashers draft pick.
He was able to secure a roster spot with the Canadiens to begin this season, but had yet to appear in a game.
Redmond has had to overcome adversity in making his NHL dream a reality.
In 2013, he returned to game action on a conditioning stint with the Jets farm team in St. John’s after missing only two months due to a lacerated femoral artery — and the loss of nearly two pints of blood — from a skate cut.
The Columbus Blue Jackets probably didn’t need such a long break so early in the season. It’s been five days since they last played, and not surprisingly, they can’t wait to get going tomorrow at home against Chicago.
They can’t wait to get their first win either.
“It’s a big game for us,” head coach John Tortorella said, per the team’s website. “We’ve been sitting on 0-2 for a week here. It sucks. We need to have a good start and feel good about ourselves.”
A win Friday would certainly help. The Jackets kick off a tough, four-game road trip Saturday in Dallas, so the ingredients are already in place for another disastrous start to the schedule. A year ago, they started with eight straight losses, which is why Tortorella is at the helm now.
The Jackets also play Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in Los Angeles, San Jose and Anaheim, respectively.
Against such tough opposition, they’ll need their goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky, to be good. He played well in his last game, stopping 35 of 37 shots in a 3-2 loss to San Jose (the Sharks scored an empty-netter), but that was after he surrendered five goals to Boston in the season-opener.
On that note, it will be interesting to if backup Curtis McElhinney sees any action on the road trip. Tortorella has been known to ride his top players, including his goalie in back-to-backs, so it’s no given that McElhinney will start Saturday against the Stars.
Just because Matt Murray signed an extension doesn’t mean Marc-Andre Fleury‘s days in Pittsburgh are numbered.
That was the message today from Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, after Murray re-upped through 2019-20.
“The focus seems to be on what happens with Marc-Andre, but let’s let this play itself out first,” Rutherford said, per the Post-Gazette. “Let’s not just presume that Marc is automatically out. He’s been the franchise goalie here, he is a terrific person, he’s a terrific player and I think that assumption, we’re getting a little bit ahead of ourselves.”
This wouldn’t be such a hot topic if there was no expansion draft in June. But there is, and when it takes place, each team will only be allowed protect one goalie. And if the Penguins don’t trade Fleury, they’ll be obligated to protect him, unless he’s willing to waive his no-movement clause.
Protecting Fleury would, of course, leave Murray as a prime candidate to be chosen by Las Vegas. Unless, that is, Rutherford could strike a deal with George McPhee to, say, send Vegas a draft pick or player, in return for Vegas not picking Murray. Yes, that kind of deal is allowed.
So it’s complicated.
At this point in time, it’s quite possible that Rutherford doesn’t know what he’s going to do. The season is still young, and it remains to be seen which goalie will emerge as the starter in Pittsburgh. If it’s Murray, Fleury might want to be a starter elsewhere and Rutherford’s decision will be an easy one.
If it’s Fleury, the decision could be tougher. While keeping both goalies would be nice, it would also be expensive. Next season, Fleury and Murray will make a combined cap hit of $9.5 million, and there’s only one net.
Again, though, a decision doesn’t have to be made now.
“Our focus this year is winning,” said Rutherford, “and we’ll deal with the expansion draft at the appropriate time.”