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)
There’s another Raffl in the NHL.
On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.
Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.
“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.
With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.
For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.
Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.
Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.
Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)
Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.
But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.
They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.
Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.
Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.
Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?
So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.