Petr Mrazek

U.S. faces long odds for WJC medal after Czech upset


Strange Czech hockey politics kept him from being named the official star of the game, but the U.S. team knows that Petr Mrazek was the No. 1 reason that their hopes of winning a medal in this year’s World Junior Championships are dwindling. Mrazek made 52 saves and celebrated boisterously in front of a Canadian crowd that was more than willing to cheer the Czechs on as they beat the U.S. 5-2.

This penalty shot save might be Mrazek’s signature moment:

The Americans will face a typically fantastic Canadian team during their traditional New Year’s Eve game, but the match might not have the tournament relevance it normally does. Finland can knock the U.S. out of medal contention with a regulation win, according to

Generally speaking, the U.S. program has made some huge strides in the last several years, so underwhelming runs like these are starting to stand out a lot more. Then again, sometimes you simply run into a guy as amazing as Mrazek was today.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?