Admit it: you miss Ilya Bryzgalov.
Saturday presented the latest reminder that hockey’s just a little less fun thanks to the absence of Mr. Universe, as Bryzgalov regaled ESPN’s Craig Custance with his impeccable analysis of the drubbing Russia received from Canada during the 2010 Olympics.
You see, Breezy initially described Canada’s start “like gorillas out of a cage,” but upon further reflection …
“Not gorillas,” Bryzgalov said. “More like Orcs from ‘The Hobbit.’ You watch that movie, right? Big. Mean. Scary.”
Now, it’s possible that Bryzgalov meant “Lord of the Rings” rather than “The Hobbit,” but both series featured “Big. Mean. Scary” orcs, so who knows:
Really though, it paints quite the picture. Imagine, for a moment, Shea Weber or Brent Burns decked out like that one especially big, mean and scary orc. One can only imagine the Photoshop masterpieces that may sprout up thanks to the vivid story Bryzgalov told.
Now, there are some great bits leading up to Saturday’s Canada – Russia semifinal. PHT should have more to come tonight.
Sportsnet looked back at a moment in which a seemingly sure-thing Canadian team hit a brick wall in a Russian opponent. NHL.com provided a fascinating look at Mike Babcock and his quest for control. TSN captures a moment of sorts for Steven Stamkos.
There’s a lot of great stuff out there, but Bryzgalov’s takes are truly one of a kind, and they’ve been truly missed.
Frank Vatrano is supposed to be one of the young players the Boston Bruins will be counting on this season to help replace some of the offense they lost when Loui Eriksson signed a free agent contract with the Vancouver Canucks.
Unfortunately for the Bruins they will have to wait a few months before he gets an opportunity to make an impact.
The team announced on Saturday that Vatrano is going to require surgery to repair torn ligaments in his foot and is expected to miss at least three months.
General manager Don Sweeney said that Vatrano was injured in his training in preparation for the team’s training camp.
Vatrano appeared in 39 games for the Bruins in 2015-16 season and scored eight goals, including a hat trick in an early season win against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He spent the rest of his season playing for Providence of the American Hockey League where he scored a league leading 36 goals in only 36 games. Just for some perspective on that goal total, only one other player in the league scored 30 goals for the entire season, and that was Chris Bourque who scored 30 in 72 games.
The Dallas Stars’ run of injuries hasn’t ended even with the World Cup of Hockey winding down.
Training camps are starting up, so that’s a new way that the team can encounter bad luck, and it didn’t take much time for the hits to keep coming. Cody Eakin suffered a lower-body injury that’s apparently bad enough to sideline him for six weeks, according to the team.
That same announcement revealed that Devin Shore will miss “some time.”
Before that bad Eakin news leaked through, head coach Lindy Ruff tried to spin the injuries as positively as possible, as the Dallas Morning News noted.
“We’ve got a little bit of the injury bug hitting us, but you’ve got to get through it,” Ruff said. “I’d rather have it now than three or four weeks from now.”
In case you’re wondering, Ruff didn’t pass around bubble wrap to everyone in the Stars’ locker room after making that statement.
Eakin has only missed four games over the last four seasons, so this injury bug is becoming quite the epidemic for the Stars.
TORONTO (AP) Brooks Laich has seen top draft picks blossom in the NHL.
“It puts a big smile on your face,” Laich, a 12-year veteran, said about watching Matthews. “I see a lot of little things in his game, habits that you don’t generally see in young players.”
Those include his positioning, the way he competes for the puck and his shot release. From Scottsdale, Arizona, Matthews played last season in Switzerland.
Leafs center Nazem Kadri has also seen Matthews play from the Air Canada Centre stands.
“(He’s) obviously high-level skill,” he said. “(He) can skate, he’s big. So he’s only going to get better. Obviously, with that 82-game season, it’s going to be a little difficult but I think he’s going to be more than ready for it.”
Leafs management already likes what it sees.
“There’s no question he has a bright future,” GM Lou Lamoriello said. “It’s just exciting to see him play. But I think the most exciting thing is to know he’s ours.”
Laich reminded reporters asking about Matthews that the team comes first.
“This isn’t an individual sport,” he said. “This isn’t a tennis or a golf where everything comes down to one person. Auston’s a great player from what I’ve seen. But there’s also going to be 22 other great players in this room.
“So as a young guy, he’s got enough pressure on himself. He puts, I’m sure, enough pressure on himself. You don’t get to be where he is already without having an internal drive like that. So we don’t need to put anything else on him. We want to make him a member of the team, we want to treat him like the other 22 guys.”
“The logo comes first. I’m sure Auston will tell you that.”
The Leafs begin on-ice activities at training camp Friday in Halifax, Nova Scotia.