Riding the Zamboni – Sunday, January 16th

Minnesota 4 – Vancouver 0

Wild rookie goalie Anton Khudobin, whom Hockey Wilderness affectionately calls “Borat” since he’s from Kazakhstan, stopped all 32 Canucks shots he saw tonight earning his first career NHL shutout. Matt Cullen had a goal and an assist to lead the Wild offense. While Khudobin’s night in goal was a bit of an adventure, he’s clearly the man of the match. The Canucks continue to have issues handling the Wild. Generally it’s Roberto Luongo who can’t solve them, but it was Cory Schneider who couldn’t control them stopping just 21 shots in the loss.

Philadelphia 3 – New York 2

The Rangers might want to stop letting their opponents jump out to big leads before snapping into action. The Flyers got out to a 3-0 lead after two periods thanks to goals from Jeff Carter, Ville Leino, and Mike Richards. Brian Boucher held strong until the middle of the third when Wojtek Wolski and Derek Stepan scored two minutes apart to cut the lead to 3-2, but the Rangers would not even it up. Boucher stopped 34 shots in the win. Rangers forward Marian Gaborik was benched for most of the second period and saw little time late in the game as his goal scoring woes continue. Martin Biron stopped 24 shots in the loss.

Chicago 6 – Nashville 3

It was a banner night for Dave Bolland and Troy Brouwer. Both players had two goals a piece with Bolland having a highlight reel goal of his own to lead the Hawks to victory. Chicago trailed 2-1 after a dreary first period and things got a bit loud in the Hawks locker room between periods to snap out of it. Whatever was said managed to work as Chicago roared to victory the rest of the way. Bryan Bickell added a goal and an assist while Marty Turco made 20 saves to get the win. Anders Lindback stopped 28 shots in the loss while J.P. Dumont had two goals for Nashville.

Washington 3 – Ottawa 1

Anaheim 3 – Edmonton 2

Teemu Selanne builds on his tremendous NHL legacy. Not only did he score two goals to lead the Ducks to victory over Edmonton, but his first goal was his 1,300th career point. The Finnish superstar is long removed from his days as a 76-goal scoring rookie with the Winnipeg Jets, but his continued ability to contribute at a high level in the NHL past age 40 is amazing. Curtis McElhinney gets the win in goal stopping 25 shots, but had to leave the game in the third period after being cut by a skate. Jonas Hiller made three saves in relief.

The Oilers got goals from Sam Gagner and Magnus Paajarvi but their power play woes continued as they’re haven’t scored in their last 37 opportunities. Their final chance tonight was the most frustrating as they pulled Nikolai Khabibulin late in the game to give them a 6-on-3 advantage which was then a 6-on-2 advantage when Saku Koivu broke his stick. The Oilers managed to not even get a shot away in an attempt to tie the game in the waning seconds.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

Leave a comment

There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
Leave a comment

Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.