When it was announced that Michal Neuvirth was getting the start on opening night over Tomas Vokoun, it stunned just about everyone. You can include Vokoun in that group of people surprised by it and that can’t exactly bode well for him and he voiced his confusion about it.
Vokoun says not starting the first game is something he’s not comfortable with and he certainly didn’t expect it to happen given that he was brought in to be the Caps’ starting goalie.
Neuvirth’s strong preseason record and strong play in goal helped Bruce Boudreau decide to give him the start tonight, but for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations, you’d think giving the guy you brought in to win you the Cup would at least get the nod at home for the first game of the season.
Not so much, however. For Vokoun, it’s his first big test of mental toughness and while it’s hard enough for a goalie to deal with opponents, having to deal with a situation on your own team makes for a different brand of struggle. Vokoun has a history of rough starts to the season, he’ll need to avoid one this year to keep from giving Neuvirth the chance to start even more games.
Sometimes, the Nashville Predators were unlucky in November. Sometimes they were just bad.
Either way, they’re likely glad to step into December, and they’ve already gotten a big bounce. Watch how close this near-goal was into crossing the red line before Pekka Rinne barely stopped it with a well-placed goalie stick.
You can also see it up close via this GIF:
Here’s the NHL Situation Room Blog explanation for it remaining a no-goal:
At 13:06 of the first period in the Coyotes/Predators game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine a play from 11:57. Video review confirmed the call on the ice that the puck did not cross the Nashville goal line. No goal Coyotes.
Alexei Emelin has been in and out of the Montreal Canadiens lineup, but this wasn’t the way they wanted him to keep his legs fresh.
The hard-hitting defenseman received a game misconduct and five-minute major penalty for a late hit on Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert on Tuesday.
So far, it sounds like Calvert may be OK.
You can see video of that hit above, as well as a GIF of the infraction via My Regular Face.
Many believe that Emelin should not have been ejected.
Injuries have been a regular problem for Joffrey Lupul for much of his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it doesn’t look like that’s changing in 2015-16.
The team placed him on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 28, calling up Rich Clune in the process.
This IR stint means that Lupul will miss at least three games for Toronto.
From the sound of things, it’s a nagging issue, as NHL.com notes.
“He’s been having the same problem here for a bit,” Mike Babcock told media members on Sunday. “He doesn’t seem to be getting the power back that they thought, so we’re just trying to monitor it the best we can.”
Leafs Nation points out that Lupul has missed about one-third of Toronto’s contests since suffering a separated shoulder in April 2012.
At 32, there’s still time for Lupul to fight through this, although injuries generally accumulate with age.
Will Ryan Suter say something foolish during tonight’s game? Is Brent Burns‘ beard so long that it’s finally starting to scrape the ice?
We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more during Tuesday’s NBCSN doubleheader.
Need to follow the two games online? Never fear.
Game 1: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks
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Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks
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