It might be obvious to have this be our match-up to watch during this afternoon’s Thanksgiving Showdown but with the way Zdeno Chara plays defense and how Johan Franzen has been finding the net this season, today’s game could hinge on how these two deal with each other.
Chara has been an absolute force on the blue line this season. In the team’s toughest games he’s logging the most minutes and there’s never a game that goes by that doesn’t see him trying to wrangle the opposition’s top line. Sure, Chara is known for his imposing presence and big slap shot, but his ability to rein in the biggest goal scorers in the league is what makes him a perennial Norris Trophy finalist.
Seeing Chara have to get a handle on Johan Franzen, however, presents a different brand of challenge. Franzen can beat defenses in a variety of ways. He can hang around the goal and try to be a menace to both defensemen and goalies with his physical presence. Franzen can also hang around the slot and snipe shots that find even the smallest of openings through a goalie and make defenses look bad for even giving him that much time.
With Franzen going into today’s game leading the Red Wings in scoring (10 goals, 11 assists), expect to see Bruins coach Claude Julien to put Chara out there to try and limit his opportunities. Trying to deal with the Red Wings presents plenty of problems for a coach to try and defend correctly against them, but with Chara you can bank on him to dominate more often than not who he’s put against.
Joni Ortio has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Stockton, the Calgary Flames announced today.
The 24-year-old goalie was always likely to clear, what with his dreadful numbers this season (0-2-1, .868),
But we suppose there was always the chance he’d get picked up, so it’s a relief for the Flames all the same. With a little more time to hone his game in the AHL, Ortio could still turn out to be a quality NHL netminder.
In a related move, veteran goalie Jonas Hiller has been activated from injured reserve. Hiller and Karri Ramo are the only goalies on the Flames’ active roster now.
Two injury updates in one post.
First, the situation with Montreal goalie Carey Price, who was hurt last night versus the Rangers.
According to Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, Price has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. That means he’ll be out at least a week, though no exact timeline was provided.
“We don’t know how long Carey will be out, but for us it’s business as usual,” said Therrien.
Mike Condon will get the start tomorrow in New Jersey.
As for Oilers forward Nail Yakupov, he’ll be out 2-4 weeks after spraining his ankle last night in Carolina while getting tangled up with a linesman.
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf wasn’t impressed with at least two things last night in Arizona:
1. His team’s performance in a 4-2 loss to the Coyotes.
2. The atmosphere inside Gila River Arena, where the announced attendance was just 11,578.
“It’s hard. When you come into a building … it’s dead,” Getzlaf told the O.C. Register. “Nothing against the fans. It’s hard to fill a big building like this and have the amount of people in it to build your energy. So you have to do it yourself. You have to be ready when you step on the ice. I thought we came out flat.”
Anaheim’s record fell to 8-11-4 with the defeat.
The Coyotes’ average attendance also fell, to 13,144 in eight games.
Like Frank Corrado (see here), Tomas Jurco (see here), Stanislav Galiev (see here), and Patrik Nemeth (see here) before him, Canadiens defenseman Jarred Tinordi is off to the AHL for a conditioning stint.
Tinordi, 23, has yet to play a single game for the Habs this season; however, because he’s no longer exempt from waivers, the former first-round pick has remained on Montreal’s roster.
It’s an issue that’s received a good deal of attention lately. Some believe the league should do something about it, lest more young players get “stuck” in the NHL.
Tinordi will only be allowed to spend two weeks in St. John’s, as per the rules of his conditioning loan.
Safe to say, if you’re an NHL general manager who thinks Tinordi still has potential, Marc Bergevin would welcome your best offer.