Atlanta Thrashers make Clint Malarchuk their new goalie consultant

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Thumbnail image for studlydudley.jpgWhen Richard Zednik’s throat was slashed by then-teammate Olli Jokinen’s skate in a horrible, but thankfully only life threatening incident, one other name came up time and time again: Clint Malarchuk. Malarchuk also had his throat slit by a skate during an NHL game but survived to play again … about a week later.

Here’s a link to a YouTube video of the moment. As you might expect, it’s pretty difficult to watch so proceed with caution there.

He’s also a bit infamous for an odd situation in October 2008 when he shot himself in the chin in a way that eventually was ruled “accidental under suspicious circumstances” by authorities.

Yet, when horrible things aren’t happening to Malarchuk off the ice, it seems like he’s producing some pretty solid results as a coach. The Atlanta Thrashers decided to make him their new goalie consultant today according to Chris Vivlamore.

The Thrashers named Clint Malarchuk as goaltending consultant on Thursday, completing the team’s new coaching staff. Malarchuk, who played 10 NHL seasons, joins head coach Craig Ramsay, associate coach John Torchetti and assistant coach Mike Strothers hired this offseason.

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Malarchuk has spent two seasons as a goaltenders coach in the NHL. He most recently served in the position for Columbus in 2006-07. He also coached Florida goaltenders during the 2002-03 season. He was head coach of the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads from 1998-2000.

I have to agree with some of the commentary provided by the Blueland Chronicle on the subject of bringing in Malarchuk and other moves made by new GM Rick Dudley (seen in this story’s photo).

What I find interesting is that Dudley played with Malarchuk, coached him in Buffalo, and hired him as a goaltending coach in Florida. So now the Thrashers have Ramsey, Torchetti, and Malarchuk, all of whom worked for Dudley in the past.

In addition to that, we have Darren Elliot, who apparently was also briefly coached by Dudley when he was called up to the Sabres in 1989, though Elliot had been here all along.

Looking at the records of teams Dudley has managed in his career, I’m not sure that populating the Thrashers’ organization with Dudley’s old pals is such a good idea.

That being said, you cannot truly begin to judge the Thrashers’ progress (or lack thereof) until the season begins. It’s been fascinating to watch Dudley’s rebuilding process, so it makes sense that he would hire the most interesting goalie consultant imaginable.

Zetterberg on pace to play 1,000th game in Joe Louis Arena farewell

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Barring injury, Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg will get the opportunity to make his 1,000th NHL game even more special.

Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill confirmed today that Zetterberg will play tonight and tomorrow in Carolina, putting the 36-year-old on pace to play his 1,000th game on Apr. 9, the date of the final Wings game at Joe Louis Arena.

The Wings, who will miss the playoffs for the first time since 1990, have eight games left in their regular season. They host New Jersey on Apr. 9.

Tonight’s game was originally scheduled for Dec. 19, but had to be postponed due to poor ice conditions at PNC Arena.

Isles sign Northeastern captain Stevens

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John Stevens, who just wrapped a four-year career at Northeastern University, has signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the Islanders, the club announced on Monday.

Stevens, 22, went undrafted but emerged as a valuable player for the Huskies, culminating with a senior season in which he served as captain and averaged better than a point per game (28 in 25 contests).

Stevens is the son of longtime L.A. Kings associate coach John Stevens, who formerly served as the bench boss in Philly.

A third member 0f the Stevens clan, Nolan, also played this season at Northeastern — his junior campaign — and was taken by St. Louis in the fifth round of last year’s draft.

McElhinney to start for Leafs tomorrow

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Curtis McElhinney will start in goal for the Maple Leafs when they host Florida tomorrow.

Which means Toronto’s regular starter, Frederik Andersen, will not.

Andersen, hurt Saturday in Buffalo, only lasted 20 minutes of practice this morning. The Toronto Star, citing a Leafs source, is reporting that Andersen “took a blow to his jaw from a player in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Sabres.”

McElhinney is 4-5-0 with a .919 save percentage in 10 appearances for the Leafs this season. He told reporters that tomorrow will be the biggest start of his NHL career.

It remains to be seen who will back up McElhinney against the Panthers. The Leafs have recalled goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL on an emergency basis. All three netminders were on the ice today.

Update:

Expect Sparks to be the back-up tomorrow.

Toronto has a three-point playoff cushion, with eight games remaining.

The Leafs also recalled forward Kasperi Kapanen, the 22nd overall draft pick in 2014. Kapanen, 20, has 18 goals and 25 assists in 43 games for the Marlies this season. He’s expected to replace Ben Smith on the fourth line, alongside Brian Boyle and Matt Martin.

Habs sign d-man Mete, who ‘does everything’ for junior team

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Victor Mete, Montreal’s fourth-round pick at last year’s draft, has signed his three-year, entry-level deal, the club announced on Monday.

Mete, 18, is in his third year with OHL powerhouse London, and finished this season with 15 goals and 44 points in 50 games. He’s developed a reputation as a terrific skater, and often plays alongside fellow Knights d-man Olli Juolevi, who the Canucks took fifth overall at last year’s draft.

London assistant coach Dylan Hunter had high praise for Mete this season.

“When it comes to little nuances of his game, stick on puck, knowing when to make a play and when there isn’t a play to just get it out, he’s one of the best there is right now,” Hunter said, per the London Free Press.

“He does everything for us.”

Mete has one year of junior eligibility remaining, so it’s likely he’ll be back in London next season. At 5-foot-10 and just 180 pounds, he’s undersized and could use another year of development before turning pro.