This off-season provided plenty of puzzling moves, so the Anaheim Ducks’ perceived indifference toward bringing back goalie Ray Emery didn’t really stand out all that much. That shouldn’t take away from the fact that the Ducks are being surprisingly cavalier about their goaltending situation, though; with little in the way of updates regarding Jonas Hiller’s troubling vertigo issues, you’d think they would have given more thought to bringing back Emery (aka the guy who helped them complete their playoff push).
It could be that the Ducks simply don’t expect Emery’s injury issues to clear up, though. Either way, the Chicago Blackhawks continued their off-season of shrewd, low-risk moves by inviting the eccentric netminder to their training camp on a tryout basis according to ESPN’s Scott Burnside.
While the Blackhawks’ No. 1 starter clearly is Corey Crawford, the team has some questions behind him. There are many (including PHT’s own Joe Yerdon) who speak volumes about the moxie of their odds-on backup Alexander Salak. That being said, Salak is unproven at the NHL level, with just two games of experience with the Florida Panthers in 2009-10 (0-1-0 with six goals allowed on 40 shots).
Some might undermine the importance of a solid backup, but the Blackhawks’ renewed hopes of returning to legitimate contender status in 2011-12 could be dashed with a Crawford injury if Salak isn’t up to snuff. That’s why it’s a wise move for the team to take an inexpensive look at Emery. Perhaps the goalie could impress but acknowledge his limited options by signing a two-way contract?
Don’t get me wrong, Salak is still the clear frontrunner to backup Crawford. He even has a one-way contract, which means the Blackhawks will pay him the same amount of money if he’s in the NHL or AHL. Then again, the Blackhawks aren’t exactly shy about paying a goalie not to play on their team if it increases their chances of winning (see: Huet, Cristobal).
If nothing else, we should root for Emery to stick with the team for at least a little while. Just think of the stories that might come from Emery partying with Patrick Kane … (Hide the roaches.)
Flames keep showing life, Stars stumble once again
If you think the Dallas Stars are struggling because of defense more than anything else, then you’ll make sure to keep the video above “on file.”
There Kari Lehtonen was, helpless on a 2-on-0 rush for the Calgary Flames, which Johnny Gaudreau finished with calm and ease. For some, that goal is the symbol of the Stars’ season.
Either way, it was a painful goal in the Flames’ 2-1 win against the Stars. Calgary won despite Dallas firing 30 shots on goal versus the Flames’ 20.
One team climbing, the other stumbling
With that, the Flames are now on a four-game winning streak. Since falling to 5-10-1 on Nov. 12, the Flames have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, pushing them to 14-13-2 overall. Gaudreau coming back is the icing on the cake after Chad Johnson really took charge of the Flames’ top job.
During a similar span, the Stars can’t seem to get it together. Dallas stood at 6-6-3 after beating the Oilers 3-2 on Nov. 11. They’re now 10-11-6, essentially standing in place as a .500 team.
Dallas can’t seem to get momentum going, a thought that might have left them envious of the team on the other end of the ice on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, it wasn’t just about Jack Eichel vs. Connor McDavid. Instead, it was a clash between a fleet of young scorers who were in their prime, with the Buffalo Sabres coming up on top against the Edmonton Oilers.