Jonas Hiller

Jonas Hiller fatigued, will miss tomorrow’s game against Colorado

When you’re the goalie that’s single-handedly carrying a team into playoff position, it can be an exhausting thing to do. Such is life for Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller and after playing in 47 of the team’s first 53 games he’s getting a break. The team announced today that Hiller was suffering from fatigue and that he would miss tomorrow’s game against Colorado. That means Curtis McElhinney likely gets the start against the skidding Avalanche and Timo Pielmeier will get the call up from AHL Syracuse to back him up.

For Hiller, his numbers have been outstanding this year but they’ve relied a ton on him to get the Ducks into playoff position this year. Through 47 games, Hiller has a 25-16-3 record with a 2.56 goals against average and a .925 save percentage. Hiller also leads the NHL in shots faced this season with 1,472, just 30 shots ahead of Carolina’s Cam Ward. That’s a ton of action for any goalie, but for Hiller it’s all come without much of a break. Hiller was also one of Anaheim’s representatives at the All-Star Game in Raleigh meaning that instead of getting a few days off, he was there participating in the weekend’s events.

If you’ve been wondering why Anaheim is apparently interested in free agent goalie Ray Emery, Hiller’s workload alone should tell you why. McElhinney has been a capable backup for the Ducks this year, but he’s not a guy you feel comfortable going to consistently. Emery, should he be totally healthy and ready to go, is a guy that can do that. If things go poorly tomorrow for Anaheim, expect the talks with Emery to pick up substantially.

After years of hype, McDavid to play first NHL game

Connor McDavid
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The hype surrounding Connor McDavid couldn’t be much greater, but finally expectations will start to give way to results.

The NHL career that’s been talked about for years will begin tonight when his Edmonton Oilers face St. Louis.

“It’s something that you dream of for so long,” McDavid told “The draft is one thing, but to finally be in this situation is another, so I’m really excited. It’s been a long road; it’s been a lot of hard work. I think a lot of guys’ stories are different in how they get here, but the one common theme is hard work and my story is not any different that way.”

McDavid has transformed the Oilers with his mere presence. Its breathed fresh optimism into a city that have watched this team struggle in its efforts to dig out of the NHL basement. One also has to wonder if Peter Chiarelli would be the team’s new general manager and Todd McLellan its new head coach if Edmonton hadn’t won the draft lottery.

But where will he lead Edmonton? Will he be just the sixth 70-point rookie of the salary cap era? Will he struggle out of the gate, putting the hype into question? Perhaps he’ll draw comparisons to Steven Stamkos, who had a modest rookie campaign by the standards of a highly regarded top pick, but has nevertheless gone on to become a superstar.

That would surprise Stamkos as the Lightning captain feels McDavid is better than he is currently. Just further proof that those lofty expectations are coming from all sides.

“You don’t want to put too much weight on his shoulders; he’s an 18-year-old kid,” Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “I don’t care how good he is or how good he’ll be, it’s a lot to shoulder if you’re supposed to be the guy and you’re the only guy. Fortunately we have a lot of high-pedigree players that are high picks who have gone through similar situations that he’s going through.”

Edmonton certainly has no shortage of first overall picks, but none as highly regarded as McDavid. But then, few ever are.

Related: There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight

There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight

Connor McDavid
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Jack Eichel didn’t disappoint in the preseason, finishing with six points in four games, including two shorthanded goals.

Tonight in Buffalo, his NHL career will start for real when the Sabres host the Ottawa Senators in regular-season action.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, stepping foot on that ice and making the NHL,” Eichel said, per “It’s kind of been a whirlwind, but you’re finally playing hockey for a living and everything you’ve done your whole life is to get to this point. It’s pretty special.”

The 18-year-old’s debut was front-page news this morning in Buffalo, where the Sabres have been among the NHL’s worst teams since last making the playoffs in 2010-11.

Eichel front page

Granted, even with the additions of Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane, Robin Lehner and Cody Franson, expectations for 2015-16 remain modest for the new-look Sabres. Certainly, a spot in the playoffs would count as a surprise.

But for the fans of a team that’s barely possessed the puck the past couple of years, it’s night and day.

“People are excited,” GM Tim Murray said earlier this week. “It’s great. They think we’ve improved, and there’s a real positive vibe, I believe.

“That’s what I said to our coaches, ‘I want everybody to be positive. I’m the only guy in the organization allowed to be negative.’ That’s the way I wanted it. If I’m the most negative guy in the city about the team, that’s pretty good.”