Nashville Predators v Detroit Red Wings

Around the rink – Friday, December 10th

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It’s a Friday night and there’s an Original Six match-up on the schedule. Life is good, isn’t it? All right so if that doesn’t do it for you perhaps there’s something else on the menu to get you fired up. As for us, we’ll be keeping an eye on Detroit to see how the Wings handle the Canadiens. As always, all times listed are Eastern.

7:00 pm

Montreal @ Detroit

Montreal rolls into Detroit on a three-game win streak. Coincidentally, Detroit is reeling on a three-game losing streak of their own. Coincidences are fun like that. Detroit’s looked out of sorts during their slide and the Habs have been playing great. Doesn’t seem to bode well for the Wings does it? We smell a potential trap game for the Habs.

More coincidences here: The Habs are 3-0 since sitting P.K. Subban in the press box as a healthy scratch in favor of Yannick Weber. Meanwhile, the Wings are 0-3 since Chris Osgood has returned from injury. Of course, Osgood is responsible for just one of those losses.

7:30 pm

New Jersey @ Ottawa

Nothing says excitement like two teams that are playing miserable hockey coming together to see who stinks less. For the Devils, they’ll get Martin Brodeur back in goal to start and that’s the best bit of good news they’ve had in a while. As Ilya Kovalchuk is busy taking the heat for the Devils losing ways, the Senators poor defense and equally suspect offense is dooming them. After losing to the Rangers last night, the Sens have lost five of their last six games. They have to hope that Mike Fisher snapped out of his season-long funk after scoring two goals last night.

Colorado @ Atlanta

There’s only going to be one Stewart brother on the ice for this one as Atlanta’s Anthony will play while Colorado’s Chris is still out with a broken hand. Atlanta has won eight of their last nine games while the Avs are losers of four in a row. Colorado’s east coast swing through the Southeast Division has not gone well dropping all three games they’ve had. The Avs dropped a game to Atlanta in overtime back on November 30th in Denver. Ondrej Pavelec has been the man for Atlanta and he’ll get the chance to show that off again tonight.

8:30 pm

Carolina @ Dallas

We have to assume that Stars coach Marc Crawford is still steaming over the lack of call in their favor against Chicago and by that measure, so are the Stars themselves. With Carolina rolling into town playing their first game since Saturday, they’ll be well rested. For Dallas, they’ll be looking to snap their two game slide. Whether or not Kari Lehtonen is healthy to play is up for debate. Luckily for Dallas, Andrew Raycroft has been outstanding in relief. The Stars will need him to be solid if Lehtonen is again having nagging issues.

9:30 pm

Tampa Bay @ Edmonton

Can the Lightning get any goaltending at all? The Lightning have allowed the most goals in the NHL and lately, both Mike Smith and Dan Ellis have been so bad that teams are snapping out of their offensive slumps against them. Since November 24th, the Lightning are giving up an average of nearly 4.6 goals per game. Even in the 1980s that would leave you hard pressed to win games.

As for the Oilers, they’ve been hot of late winning four of their last five games and dropping their last game to Anaheim in a shootout. You have to think that unless either Smith or Ellis show up for Tampa Bay the young Oilers are going to be able to do some more damage. Youngster and shootout superstar Linus Omark will make his NHL debut. We’re not rooting for a shootout in this game, but if it happens and Omark gets to do his thing, we won’t be too upset about it.

10:00 pm

Calgary @ Anaheim

It’s possible that Calgary could be without one of their leading goal scorers in Rene Bourque after Bourque speared Kings defenseman Drew Doughty late in last night’s 2-1 loss to L.A. Calgary’s been on a spell of alternating between wins and losses so that bodes well for them. Playing the Ducks in Anaheim, however, doesn’t sound so fun. The Ducks are coming off a shootout loss to Vancouver and appear to be back in a streak of scoring goals. If the Ducks can keep the Flames from scoring too many on them they might be able to survive. Expect this one to be a feisty affair regardless.

Fore! NHL referee makes the cut at PGA Tour’s Canadian Open

OAKVILLE, ON - JULY 22: Garrett Rank hits his second shot on the 16th hole during the second round of the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Club on July 22, 2016 in Oakville, Canada.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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There has always seemed to be a connection between hockey players and the game of golf. Some are better than others when it comes to the links.

Take NHL referee Garrett Rank, for example.

Rank, also an amateur golfer, has made the cut at the 2016 Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Club just south of Toronto. He’s currently tied for 36th at even par heading into the weekend. He also sits seven shots behind the leader, Dustin Johnson, the future son-in-law of The Great One, Wayne Gretzky.

Rank, who joined the NHL Officials Association in 2014, has split his time between officiating in the NHL and the American Hockey League. But, according to the PGA Tour website, he was hired as a full-time NHL ref the day before the opening round of this week’s Canadian Open.

“I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t take my clubs with me when I was on the road,” he told the PGA Tour website. “I think it helps me and makes it a little easier for me because I know that this isn’t the end of the world, whether I shot 65 or 75.”

Rank, 28, is also a cancer survivor. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011, after initially feeling discomfort while officiating a game.

“When I got the news I tried to maintain a positive attitude,” he told the Toronto Sun. “And you know what, it’s kind of a blessing in disguise. You never want to have cancer wished upon someone but I think it gave me a little better outlook in terms of a bad call on the ice wasn’t as bad. Or hitting a bad shot on the golf course wasn’t the end of the world.

“It has allowed me to stay patient and be grateful for the opportunities and things I have in life.”

Related: PHT Morning Skate: James Wisniewski caddies for PGA Tour golfer Jason Day

Price’s previous injury ‘no longer a concern,’ says Habs goalie coach

Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price stops a shot during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in New York  (AP Photo/Paul Bereswill)
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More good news when it comes to Carey Price.

After Price had said last month he was 100 per cent healthy following an MCL sprain that ultimately ended his season, Montreal Canadiens goalie coach Stephane Waite reaffirmed that earlier this week in an interview with RDS. That should provide Habs fans with at least a little bit of optimism when it comes to the goalie position after a rather tumultuous summer.

“I’m not a doctor, but all I know is that on the ice it was perfect,” Waite told RDS, as per The Hockey News. “It is 100 percent restored. We are happy and our medical staff did a great job with him to bring him to the top. It is no longer a concern, he is ready to go.”

Habs fans have had a difficult few months. With Price injured, the Canadiens quickly fell out of the playoff race. The off-season has ushered in tremendous change, with the additions of Andrew Shaw and Shea Weber, while the departure of P.K. Subban in that deal with Nashville remains probably the most contentious development in the NHL during the summer.

It is still reality right now that the Habs’ success is still dependent on their goalie Price.

The 28-year-old Price last played a game on Nov. 25, so it’s difficult to imagine there wouldn’t be some initial rust when it comes to getting acclimated once again to game action.

He is also among the three goalies named to Team Canada for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey, which starts Sept. 17. Braden Holtby and Corey Crawford were also named to the squad.

Price started and starred for Canada in its gold-medal win at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, while Holtby and Crawford are established and accomplished NHL goalies.

“It’s a long-ways off,” said Price earlier in the spring, as per NHL.com. “I know I’ll be prepared for that.”

Recently re-signed forward Callahan in tough to make Red Wings

MitchCallahan
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Mitch Callahan signed another one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday, and will look to once again make the jump to the NHL in the fall.

As per General Fanager, the deal pays $600,000 at the NHL level and $175,000 at the AHL.

A sixth-round pick of the Red Wings in 2009, Callahan, who turns 25 years old next month, has only one appearance in the NHL and that was two seasons ago. He’s spent five seasons with the Grand Rapids Griffins in the minors, where he’s posted decent numbers, offensively, with 19 goals and 32 points last season.

But he’s also dealt with injuries, such as a torn ACL in the 2014-15 season. Or a gory injury — 10 teeth plus a broken jaw — after taking a puck to the face in an AHL game in 2014. This past season, he took another puck to the face during practice, losing another tooth.

He’s made it clear in the past that he doesn’t want to be playing in the AHL, although competition for roster spots — Callahan would have to likely work his way into a bottom-six role — in Detroit will be stiff when the Red Wings open up training camp.

From the Detroit Free Press:

He’s almost certain to be exposed on waivers again, as the Wings have 13 active forwards signed to one-way contracts, plus Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou. And Anthony Mantha is expected to make a push for a spot.

Patrick Eaves bests big hockey names at Smashfest V

eavessmashbeardnhlpa
via NHLPA
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Ping Pong. Beards. Hockey players making funny faces in street clothes. And it’s all to benefit charitable organizations.

Dominic Moore‘s Smashfest V took place on Thursday, with Patrick Eaves and his freakish facial hair taking the top prize for the second year in a row.

Here’s a shot from the happy, bearded winner from the NHLPA:

(His loved ones must be thrilled that this isn’t merely a playoff look for Eaves, by the way.)

This shot of Jeff Skinner and his “most improved” award is just too fitting.

It’s not yet clear exactly how much money was raised for charity, but this is a sign that the event was probably … well, a smash success.

Good stuff. Here’s a random hodgepodge of other photos from the event.

Bonus points to Hall of Famer Eric Lindros for the “beer in other hand” form:

Alex Burrows fell to Eaves in the final round. Seems OK about it:

Antoine Roussel was probably not being a pest on this occasion. We can’t be totally certain, however.

Looks like it was a good time for all.