The PHT Nightcap: Friday, August 6th

Even in the depressingly hockey-free summer, we expect to be a productive bunch here at Pro Hockey Talk. Sometimes it might be difficult to follow our pace. We understand that. For that reason, whenever we can, we’ll put all of the day’s stories in one convenient post called the PHT Nightcap. Enjoy, hockey fans.

Blackhawks re-sign Jordan Hendry

Peter Forsberg: Should he stay or go?: I asked The Clash what they thought about this. They rolled their eyes at my lazy punk rock reference.

Clarke MacArthur arbitration amount raising questions about system: As it should. Seriously, in what ridiculous hockey galaxy would MacArthur be worth $2.4 million?

Maxim Afinogenov signs with SKA St. Petersburg: Man, Russians really love SKA music. I would have guessed they’d be more into techno or one of its ilk instead, but to each his own, right? [S-see it what I did there? … Sorry.]

NHL R & D camp will test new rules: But will there be robots?

Senators hire Kurt Kleinendorst – Kleinendorst. Now that’s a last name.

Penguins announce their all-time team – What, no Darius Kasparitis? I demand a recount.

Wild sign center John Madden – I know you’re expecting a “Boom” joke here, but all I can think is “What a waste.” He seems better suited as a great role player on a contender.

Willa Ford says Mike Modano should stick it to Dallas by signing with Detroit – First lesson of Blogging 101: When you can post a photo of someone who looks like Willa Ford – for legitimate reasons – you do it. Joe clearly was awake for that session.

Teemu Selanne plans to re-sign with Ducks, should Paul Kariya follow? – That could be a lot of fun, even though it would probably be like one of those sad, past-their-prime rock band reunions … (Speaking of which, how was Soundgarden at Lollapalooza?*)

Oilers sign Martin Gerber – The return of “Gerber baby.” Some scoffed at the signing, but it seems like a solid low-risk, medium-reward move.

Kovalchuk update: No real news today – Expect that to be the theme Saturday and Sunday, but Monday should hold answers.

Nabokov press conference – Man, the Edmonton Oilers sure have taken a lot of abuse over the years …

Chelios retires – I know what most of you are thinking: “Wait, he didn’t retire already?”

Red Wings owner welcomes Modano to Detroit – Sorry again, Stars fans.

Coyotes say their season ticket sales are “significantly higher” than reports – I wonder what they mean by “significant” though.

NHL 2K11 gets an earlier release set for Aug. 24 – Is this a sign of desperation from 2K Sports? It sure smells like it.

Tim Thomas “ahead of schedule” on rehab from hip surgery – Ah, old men and their hips. (See, I can rebound from that whole “no more Chelios old jokes” thing …)

Hossa’s day with the Cup – A sad one for lazy hockey humorists worldwide. The dream is over. Time to go back to Rick Dipietro quips again.

* For the record, I loved Soundgarden in middle school and would gladly pay to see them if they toured in my area.

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    Raanta rewards Rangers for starts over Lundqvist by blanking Blackhawks

    VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 15: Goalie Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers shares a laugh with teammate Antti Raanta #32 after defeating the Vancouver Canucks 7-2 in NHL action on November 15, 2016 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
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    If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.

    Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).

    Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:

    1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
    2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
    3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
    4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
    5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP

    Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:

    Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:

    Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.

    Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings

    DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 01:  Boone Jenner #38 of the Columbus Blue Jackets is congratulated by his teammates after scoring the go ahead goal against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on December 1, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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    As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.

    For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.

    They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.

    Columbus is now at 16-5-4, giving them 36 standings points. They’re once again in breathing distance of leading the Metro Division when you consider games in hand.

    Update: Here’s how the standings look after the Rangers beat the Blackhawks 1-0 in overtime:

    1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
    2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
    3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
    4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
    5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP

    That’s a stout division, and the Blue Jackets remain shockingly effective. Then again, with results like these over and over again, it might be time to merely expect such impressive work.

    ***

    For Detroit, it was a rough night. Jonathan Ericsson couldn’t play, Mike Green was a little banged up and Petr Mrazek was pulled for Jimmy Howard. This goal summarized some of their struggles:

    Blues blaze through Devils, even in New Jersey

    NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 09: (L-R) Brad Hunt #77, Robby Fabbri #15 and Vladimir Tarasenko #91 of the St. Louis Blues celebrate Fabri's first period goal against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 9, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.

    On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.

    It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.

    This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.

    That’s impressive stuff.

    This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:

    The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”

    Oh yeah, don’t forget about Jake Allen, either.

    Leon Draisaitl continues hot streak with silky smooth goal (Video)

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    Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”

    Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).

    Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.

    Read more about his rise here.

    Update: The Wild were able to shake off that goal, ultimately beating the Oilers 3-2 via a shootout.