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.

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.

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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.