In an 82-game season, it seems like just about anything can happen. George Parros can score two goals in one game. Martin Gerber can go 2-0, sport a 95 save percentage and (possibly?) never been seen in the NHL again. The Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders can be on top of the league, even if it was just for a few games.
Still, there are some things you still never expect to see, such as:
- Philadelphia Flyers fans chanting “Crosby rocks” or Ottawa Senators fans chanting “We-love Heat-ley.”
- Henrik Sedin playing against (and fighting with) his brother Daniel.
- Alex Ovechkin looking extremely clumsy.
- Brent Sutter smiling.
Well, it’s an isolated incident. Something that might not happen for another 10 years or so … but perhaps that’s why we need to share the video documentation of it: yes, Ovechkin can look downright silly too.
Let’s not beat up Ovechkin too much. He’s easily one of the five most exhilarating players to watch in the entire league. Instead, just keep this in mind: you might have spilled coffee on your shirt, burned your hand while taking a Hot Pocket out of the microwave or made any other inelegant mistake … but for at least one moment, Ovechkin messed up too.
Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.
Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.
“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.
The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.
Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.
There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.
The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.
That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.
In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.
Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.