Around the rink – Friday, October 22nd

Congratulations to everyone reading this, you’ve made it to Friday. Your reward for making to the weekend? An evening filled with hockey, five games worth. As always, here’s the schedule with all times Eastern.

7:00 pm

Calgary @ Columbus

I don’t suppose too many folks will be eyeballing the attendance in Columbus will they? After pulling in their smallest crowd in team history the other night, it’ll be interesting to see how many folks come out for a Friday night affair against the Flames. Meanwhile, lost in this is that Columbus got a win over Anaheim and the Flames come in smarting from a 4-2 loss to Detroit last night.

7:30 pm

Ottawa @ Buffalo

Buffalo always has their issues with the Senators, but so far they’re 1-0 against them, beating them on opening night. Ottawa will send the bane of the Sabres existence against them in goal in the form of Brian Elliott who is 8-0-0 with a 1.87 goals against average against Buffalo. Meanwhile, Buffalo comes in after getting a road win against Atlanta as they look to rebound from a slow start.

Tampa Bay @ Atlanta

Speaking of the Thrashers, they’ll get the chance to bounce back against a Lightning team looking to make up for a hard-luck loss to the Islanders last night. Count on Mike Smith getting the start in goal for Tampa Bay after Dan Ellis took the loss last night. With the Capitals reeling a little bit, Tampa Bay and Atlanta are locked in an early struggle to try and take control of the Southeast Division. Keep in mind, we’re just a handful of games into the season.

8:00 pm

Chicago @ St. Louis

What can the Blues do to try and keep Marian Hossa in check? They’ll have to figure that out or else Hossa will find a way to run wild on them the way he has of late. With seven goals and four assists, Hossa’s 11 point start to the season is quite the revelation for a Hawks team that sees plenty of attention paid to Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Hossa reemerging as the scoring threat is just what they need to remain dangerous in the West. Meanwhile, the Blues would just like to try and avoid overtime. In their five games this year, they’ve gone to overtime/shootout three times, winning just once in their first game of the year in OT over Philly. They’ve since lost in a shootout to Dallas and in overtime to Chicago back on Monday.

10:00 pm

Minnesota @ Vancouver

It’s taken a while for Canucks coach Allain Vigneault to learn his lesson, but Roberto Luongo and his history of terrible games against the Wild will get to ride the pine this time around and Cory Schneider gets the start against Minnesota. Meanwhile, the Wild come into the game riding the high of a 4-2 win over Edmonton last night. That said, if they play the same way they did against Vancouver the way they did against Edmonton, the Sedin twins will tear them to shreds and make life miserable for the Wild.

“We beat this thing”: Eddie Olczyk declares he’s cancer-free

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It’s the news every hockey fan wanted to hear.

On Thursday night’s Chicago Blackhawks broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago, Eddie Olczyk, who was diagnosed last summer with colon cancer, told the hockey world some great news.

“I got the call on March 14 at 5:07 p.m. letting me know my scans were clear,” an emotional Olczyk said as he stood next to long-time broadcast partner Pat Foley. “I’ve never heard a better phrase in my life. I’m now 10 days on with the rest of my life.”

Olczyk, 51, had surgery after his diagnosis and had his last chemotherapy treatment on Feb. 21.

“All the cancer is gone – we beat this thing,” Olczyk said, thanking a handful of people, from colleagues at NBC to the Chicago Blackhawks and the NHL to his family members, wife and four kids. “And I say ‘we’ because it has been a team effort. We all beat this and I’m so thankful for all the support and prayers. They worked. I’m proud to stand here before everybody and say we beat this thing.”

Foley called Olczyk’s battle with cancer, “heroic.”

Olczyk was scheduled to have a scan in April to see how his chemo treatments had gone, but that scan was moved up due to emergency hernia surgery, according to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.

“I’ve had enough crying to last me a lifetime,” Olczyk said. “I can’t emphasize enough just the support out there… just the texts, the email, the letters. I’ve received thousands and thousands of mail. I won’t be able to thank everybody, but I just want everybody to know on behalf of Eddie Olczyk and his family, we’re forever grateful for the support and the prayers and well wishes we received over the past seven months.”

Olczyk said one thing he realized through his battle is that he found out he was way tougher than he thought he ever was.

“If I can inspire one person to stay away from this, then I guess it was well worth it going through it,” he said.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Grubauer, Capitals shut out Red Wings

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If you were looking for a barn-burner, this game wasn’t that.

While the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders combined for 13 goals, and the Carolina Hurricanes and Arizona Coyotes scored 11 in total, the Washington Capitals and their hosts, the Detroit Red Wings, played 60 minutes with just one goal between them.

It wasn’t nearly as exciting in the goal-scoring department, but the win for the Washington Capitals put a bit of separation between themselves and the Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets, who the Caps (93 points) lead by four points now.

Brett Conolly’s third-period marker at 6:41 was all the Capitals needed for their

Andreas Athanasiou appeared to make it 1-0 in the first period on a nice wrister, but a goaltender interference challenge by Washington was successful after Tyler Bertuzzi was judged to have made contact with Grubauer. This one was pretty cut and dry, as far as GI calls go.

The loss for the Red Wings meant they were officially eliminated from playoff contention, something that had been known for a while but hadn’t happened in the mathematical department.

Grubauer was solid, making 39 saves for his third shutout of the season. At the other end of the rink, Jimmy Howard wasn’t too shabby either, stopping 25-of-26. All he needed was a bit of run support.

Prior to puck drop, the Red Wings announced that defenseman Mike Green, who was hampered by a neck injury back in February, will go under the knife, ending his season.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

WATCH LIVE: Vegas Golden Knights at San Jose Sharks

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[Puck drop at 10 p.m. ET, CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE]


Golden Knights

Jonathan MarchessaultWilliam KarlssonTomas Tatar

David PerronErik HaulaJames Neal

Ryan CarpenterCody EakinAlex Tuch

Tomas NosekPierre-Edouard BellemareRyan Reaves

Brayden McNabbNate Schmidt

Shea TheodoreDeryk Engelland

Jon MerrillColin Miller

Starting goalie: Malcolm Subban

[Golden Knights – Sharks preview]


Evander KaneJoe PavelskiMelker Karlsson

Tomas HertlLogan CoutureMikkel Boedker

Timo MeierChris TierneyKevin Labanc

Barclay GoodrowEric FehrJannik Hansen

Marc-Edouard VlasicJustin Braun

Paul MartinBrent Burns

Brenden DillonDylan DeMelo

Starting goalie: Martin Jones

Cam Ward delivers an all-time own goal (video)

Fox Sports Carolinas

We’ve seen some pretty interesting own goals throughout NHL history, and now Cam Ward has staked his claim for one of the strangest.

The Carolina Hurricanes goaltender scored on himself in one of the most bizarre plays ever seen in the NHL.

The puck, as you can see, hops into the skate of an unknowing Ward as the veteran netminder went out to play a puck that was rimmed around the boards.

Ward, does what he would normally do after trotting out behind his net, and gets back into his crease. Unsure of where the puck is, he drops into the butterfly. The problem is the puck is stuck in his right skate, which goes over the goal line.

It’s hard to explain, so let’s roll the footage:

The play-by-play man on Fox Sports Carolinas had a good point: Why wasn’t the play blown dead? Even if the ref has his eye on the puck, there was no way of Ward knowing what he was about to do.

Is there even a rule for that?

Either way, one of the strangest goals in recent memory counted in a game few were probably watching to begin with.

It’s probably safe to assume Ward (and goalies around the NHL) are going to find some way as to not let that happen again.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck