We covered a ton (OK, just 10) of last night’s games, but two of the contests went past our bed times. Let’s recap those late Saturday games for your reading enjoyment.
Calgary 5, Edmonton 3
For at least one night, Darryl Sutter’s off-season additions looked like shrewd moves. Alex Tanguay scored the first goal then added an assist and an empty-netter. Brendan Morrison scored a goal and an assist while mainstay Jarome Iginla tapped in his first goal of the season. Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 41 out of 45 shots, but Miikka Kiprusoff ended up winning this Battle of Alberta in front an appreciative crowd in Calgary.
Atlanta 4, San Jose 2
Even though he’s no longer a member of the Chicago Blackhawks, Dustin Byfuglien continues to torment the San Jose Sharks. He scored some big goals against them in the playoffs last season and added another game-winner as a member of the Atlanta Thrashers, capping the team’s comeback from a 2-0 first period deficit.
Chris Mason made a big save on a third period breakaway when the game was tied while Evander Kane scored on an odd-man rush to ice the game. The Sharks might have to worry a bit about their ability to score even strength goals, as only one of their tallies was 5-on-5 after depending on their PP quite a bit against Columbus in those overseas games.
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.