Today’s Starting Goalies – October 16

Whether you’re interested for fantasy hockey reasons or just want to know which goalie your team is playing in a given day, we thought it might be helpful to share our best guesses (based on various previews from newspapers and Web sites plus our own instincts) on who might start each day.

6:00 PM ET game

Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia

Likely Pittsburgh starter: Brent Johnson – Johnson is 2-0 while Marc-Andre Fleury is 0-3. I wouldn’t get too worried if I were a Fleury owner, as it’s early in the season and the Penguins simply want to turn things around. (Source: Inside Pittsburgh Sports.)

Likely Philadelphia starter: Sergei Bobrovsky – Bobrovsky was strong in his NHL debut against the Penguins, so the team should feel pretty about starting him against their cross-state rivals again. It might be wise to “hand cuff” Bobrovsky with Brian Boucher for the short-term future. (Source: Philadelphia Flyers Twitter Feed.)

7:00 PM ET games

Ottawa @ Montreal

Likely Ottawa starter: Brian Elliott – With Pascal Leclaire injured, Elliott has the opportunity to seize the No. 1 job. Again.

Likely Montreal starter: Carey Price – It’s been a nice start to the Unchallenged Carey Price Era. The team (and their young cornerstone goalie) could go 3-1-1 to start the season if they earn a win in this one.

Boston @ New Jersey

Likely Boston starter: Tim Thomas – If any backup could snare the No.1 spot, it would be Tim Thomas in Boston. Tuukka Rask burst onto the scene in the 2009-10 season, but the Bruins are paying Thomas big money so they have a vested interest in him succeeding. Even if it’s just to drive up his trade value. (Source: Boston Bruins Twitter Feed.)

Likely New Jersey starter: Martin Brodeur – He hasn’t had an outstanding start to the season (1-3-1 with a 3.00 GAA and 88.7 save percentage), but Brodeur will still receive a ton of starts this season. (Source: Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice.)

Colorado @ NY Islanders

Likely Colorado starter: Craig Anderson – There are a handful of goalies who should get Brodeur-like workloads in net this year. Anderson should be one of them. (Source: Denver Post.)

Likely Islanders starter: Dwayne Roloson – This is a hunch, but an injury-prone goalie like Rick DiPietro probably isn’t likely to make back-to-back starts. Especially without earning a win.

Tampa Bay @ Florida

Likely Tampa Bay starter: Dan Ellis – It seems like Ellis might seize the 1a role in Tampa Bay, which probably won’t surprise many. The Lightning have a chance to go 4-0 if they beat the Lightning tonight. (Source: Raw Charge.)

Likely Florida starter: Tomas Vokoun – He’s coming off of a shutout, so the already highly likelihood of him starting increased even more. (Source: Florida Sun-Sentinel.)

8:00 PM ET games

Washington @ Nashville

Likely Washington starter: Michal Neuvirth – No sense in rushing Semyon Varlamov back when Neuvirth is doing fine in net for the Capitals. (Source: Mike Vogel.)

Likely Nashville starter: Anders Lindback – It sounds like Pekka Rinne might be on the way back, so this might be Lindback’s last start for a while. Then again, the Predators are 3-0 so maybe he deserves a chance. (Source: Joshua Cooper.)

Columbus @ Minnesota

Likely Columbus starter: Mathieu Garon – Steve Mason faced a 40-shot onslaught against the Chicago Blackhawks last night, so it makes sense that the Blue Jackets decided to give him a breather. (Source: Columbus Dispatch.)

Likely Minnesota starter: Niklas Backstrom – When you pay a guy $6 million per year, he better carry the load. (Source: Minnesota Wild Twitter Feed.)

8:30 PM ET games

St. Louis @ Dallas

Likely St. Louis starter: Ty Conklin – “Conkblock” is as solid as a backup can get, so why not give Jaroslav Halak a little break? (Source: Dan O’Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.)

Likely Dallas starter: Kari Lehtonen – The Stars are going to take a backseat to the Texas Rangers as the baseball team plays in their first ALCS ever. Still, if Lehtonen helps them go 4-0, they might increase their relevance in the DFW area soon enough. (Source: ESPN Dallas.)

Buffalo @ Chicago

Likely Buffalo starter: Patrick Lalime – Might as well make Lalime the sacrificial lamb in this one. (Source: Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News.)

Likely Chicago starter: Marty Turco – Not a sure thing, but when in doubt in back-to-back situations, go with the fresher of the two. (Source: ESPN Chicago.)

9:00 PM ET game

Detroit @ Phoenix

Likely Detroit starter: Jimmy Howard – Chris Osgood was absolutely horrible in his last start against the Stars (four goals on only 15 shots), so it’s no surprise that Howard is the starter tonight. (Source: Ansar Khan.)

Likely Phoenix starter: Ilya Bryzgalov – I’d be very surprised not to see Bryzgalov in the Coyotes net after such a long layoff from their overseas jaunt.

10:00 PM ET game

Edmonton @ Calgary

Likely Edmonton starter: Nikolai Khabibulin – The Oilers have to put their best feet forward when they face their hated foes in Calgary. (Source: official Edmonton Oilers Web site.)

Likely Calgary starter: Miikka Kiprusoff – Going out on a limb with this one.

10:30 PM ET game

Atlanta @ San Jose

Likely Atlanta starter: Chris Mason (Source: Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.)

Likely San Jose starter: Antti Niemi – Might as well make the crowd pleasing move for the team’s season opener. (Source: San Jose Sharks official Web site.)

Jets’ Wheeler: ‘It just felt right to take a stance’

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Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler was one of the few NHL players to make some sort of an unprompted statement in response to President Donald Trump’s weekend comments regarding NFL players and their protests during the National Anthem.

During a speech in Alabama on Friday the President urged NFL owners to fire players that “disrespect” the flag by taking a knee during the National Anthem.

On Saturday, Wheeler was critical of the President’s comments in a series of Tweets.

On Monday, Wheeler was asked about why he spoke out and ended up talking for several minutes on the subject.

“I think crossing over into the sports world it hits home a little more,” said Wheeler, via the Jets’ website. “I think a lot of people, similar to my wife and I, it has been kind of a slow boil. The rhetoric over and over, he has just kind of gone a little too far too many times. It just felt right to kind of take a stance.

“There have been a lot of players who have felt a certain way, one way or the other, when you start coming into their territory a little bit. Some of the language that he used referencing NFL players, I think that was kind of the last straw for a lot of guys, whichever way they feel about it to voice their opinion.”

Wheeler was later asked if he would support a teammate if they decided to take a knee during the National Anthem.

“I’m absolutely for the first amendment,” said Wheeler. “I’m a big believer that what makes America a special place is you’re allowed to stand up for what you believe in. With just cause, if someone were electing to do that they would 100 percent have my support. Even if I don’t necessarily agree with why they do it it is their right to feel that way, it is their right to behave that way. If I didn’t agree with it, I would absolutely sit down, have a coffee, talk about it, try to understand why they feel that way and maybe you become a little more sympathetic.”

His entire media session is available via the Jets.

Jets coach Paul Maurice said he supported Wheeler’s Tweets while adding that Wheeler is “one of the finest gentlemen I’ve ever met.”

During NFL games on Sunday pretty much every team took part in some sort of a protest during the National Anthem, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans who remained in the locker room prior to their games.

The Pittsburgh Penguins, meanwhile, announced that they will be accepting their invitation to visit the White House just one day after the NBA’s Golden State Warriors announced they would not be attending.

Lightning will retire Vincent Lecavalier’s number on February 10

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The Tampa Bay Lightning announced on Monday morning that they will be retiring Vincent Lecavalier’s No. 4 this season, making sure that no other player will ever wear it for the franchise.

His jersey will be lifted to the rafters on Feb. 10 when the Lightning host the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings were one of three teams Lecavalier played for in his career, along with the Philadelphia Flyers.

“It is a great honor to have my number retired and I’d like to thank the Lightning organization and Jeff Vinik for recognizing me with this achievement,” Lecavalier said in a team statement. “The Tampa Bay community and our fans have treated me and my family so amazingly that this honor is extra special to share it with everyone. My family and I are very excited for February 10 when we can share so many memories.”

Lecavalier was the No. 1 overall pick by the Lightning in 1998 and spent 14 of his 17 seasons in the NHL with the team.

He is currently the franchise’s all-time leader in games played and goals and the second-leading point producer. He will be the second player to have his number retired by the team, joining Martin St. Louis.

Lecavalier and St. Louis helped lead the Lightning to a Stanley Cup during the 2003-04 season. His best individual season was probably the 2006-07 season when he finished with a league-leading 52 goals.

The Rocket’s slowest assist: Maurice Richard gets point 72 years later

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MONTREAL (AP) Montreal Canadiens great Maurice “Rocket” Richard is getting an assist added to his career totals.

Six years of poring over scoresheets and summaries of games between 1917 and 1987 by an NHL statistics team has found and fixed more than 6,000 bits of information that were overlooked or miscounted in the league’s early eras.

Among the finds was an assist on Toe Blake’s goal at 10:15 of the second period of the Canadiens’ 6-5 loss to the Boston Bruins on Nov. 4, 1945, during a time when the Punch Line of Richard, Blake and Elmer Lach was dominant.

The scoresheet that night, scratched out in handwriting, correctly had Richard with the lone assist. But when it was transcribed into the league’s official ledger, it was mistakenly given to Emile Bouchard.

The restored assist gives Richard 422 in an 18-year career that ended in 1960, and his points total climbs to 966. For the 1945-46 season, one year after he made history as the first to score 50 goals in a season, he now has 27 goals and 22 assists. The new totals are already entered in Richard’s stats on NHL.com.

It’s a good thing it wasn’t a goal, because Richard’s then-record career total of 544 has become an iconic number. A big deal is often made when an NHL star scores his 544th, such as when Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin did it at Montreal on Jan. 10.

In the early 1960s, Richard owned a bar called the 544/9 Tavern, a reference to his goals total and retired jersey number.

Since 1999, the league awards the Richard Trophy to the season’s leading goal-scorer.

Finding little gems of information like the Richard assist was one product of a massive undertaking to update and modernize the league database, which is to be re-launched this week.

NHL head statistician Benny Ercolani said fact-checking alone, such as adding one more game played to Ron Stackhouse’s total, took 2 1/2 years.

“Six thousand little corrections isn’t that high when you consider how many games were entered,” he said. “It sounds like a big number, but it’s from 1917-18 to 1986-87.”

Sometimes power-play or short-handed goals weren’t registered as such. Rules changes added to the muddle. In the league’s earliest days, minor penalties lasted 3 minutes instead of 2. There were years when up to four assists were awarded on a goal.

“In the old days, they didn’t keep descriptions of penalties – now that’s in there,” Ercolani said.

He said the new website statistics will allow users to find full information from the league’s entire 100-year history, and access them in new ways.

“This is only the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “There’s a lot of other stuff coming.

“Now that we’ve got the data, we can do a lot with it.”

Kraft Hockeyville: Blues beat Penguins in tune-up for season-opener

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Much like Sunday night, the St. Louis Blues will visit the Pittsburgh Penguins for a game in Pennsylvania on Oct. 4. With that in mind, the more heated moments from tonight’s Kraft Hockeyville preseason match might be fresh on the minds of both teams when the games start to count.

In this case, the Blues carried the play from a variety of perspectives, including the final score of 4-1.

The Penguins got the first goal when Jake Guentzel finished a nice one-timer sequence set by Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary, yet St. Louis was able to leverage its possession advantages to goals that beat Matt Murray up high.

The first one came from a familiar face in Vladimir Tarasenko, who aims for a Maurice Richard Trophy in 2017-18.

The game-winner was from 19-year-old Jordan Kyrou:

Paul Stastny then iced the game with a 3-1 empty-netter with a little less than 30 seconds remaining. Dmitrij Jaskin then made it 4-1 with a nice, patient score with Murray sprawling on the ice.

Carter Hutton deserves credit for a sharp win, but the final score didn’t do Murray’s alert evening justice, as the Blues fired 45 shots on him. This was probably the save of the contest:

While the Blues and Penguins wanted to be alert in this one, the stuff they might remember came down to rougher moments. Things started to escalate when Crosby mixed it up with Alex Pietrangelo.

As a preseason contest, some of this will likely be forgotten by veteran Penguins and Blues, but the people of Cranberry, Pa. and Belle Vernon, Pa. won’t soon forget the Kraft Hockeyville experience.