(Photo from ontariohockeyleague.com)

Bizarre set of circumstances puts an OHL forward in goal

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How does a goaltender earn the first star of a game after allowing 13 goals? Well, it helps if you’re normally a forward.

There have been times in the NHL where an injury to a goaltender prior to the start of a game has forced a team to take extraordinary steps so that their team still had a backup goaltender in case the worst happened. For example, back in November, the Minnesota Wild inked 51-year-old Paul Deutsch to an amateur try-out contract because Niklas Backstrom was unavailable. But for the Wild, that’s where the story ended, because Deutsch never actually had to play between the pipes. The OHL Erie Otters were not so lucky on Sunday.

With their normal backup goaltender unavailable before the game began, the Erie Otters were forced to list forward Connor Crisp, who had been sidelined all season because of a shoulder injury, as their number two netminder. However, starting goaltender Ramis Sadikov lasted a mere 1:45 minutes before the Otters had to resort to their worst case scenario: put Crisp in goal.

Crisp put on Sadikov’s skates, which were “three times too small and not wide enough” and did his best to block shots. All things considered, it actually might have gone a bit better than expected. Crisp faced a staggering 45 shots and his team ended up losing 13-4 to the Niagara IceDogs. However, he won over the IceDogs fans, who gave the 17-year-old a standing ovation following the game.

“It was appreciated so much — beyond words,” said Crisp. “Honestly, it was embarrassing to let some of those goals in, but I think the IceDogs fans knew. I can’t say enough about how fun and classy that was today.”

Crisp is eligible to be selected during the 2012 NHL entry draft, although we think it’s safe to say teams won’t be looking at him as a goaltender.

(Photo from ontariohockeyleague.com)

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.