Sven Baertschi

Flames recall 19-year-old scoring phenom on emergency basis


When the Calgary Flames drafted Sven Baertschi 13th overall at the 2011 draft, the expectations were for him to one day play a key role for the franchise.

Well, that day just arrived.

Thanks to a slew of injuries up front, the Flames were forced to recall Baertschi from the junior ranks — Portland, to be specific, where he’s tearing up the Western Hockey League with 33 goals and 61 assists in 47 games.

Yeah, that’s right: 94 points in 47 games. An average of two per contest.

“We’re thrilled to have him in the organization,” Flames GM Jay Feaster told the Calgary Herald. “We think he’ll play here for many years. But it shouldn’t be looked at as ‘Here comes the first-round pick to save the team and lead us into the playoffs.’ Those types of expectations and pressure shouldn’t be heaped on this young man.”

Calgary’s in the thick of a playoff chase, but doing it with with a lineup made of duct tape and string. A staggering seven forwards are currently on the limp — Tim Jackman (upper body), Lee Stempniak (high ankle sprain), Blair Jones (cracked ankle), Mikael Backlund (shoulder), Michael Cammalleri (upper body), Blake Comeau (upper body) and Lance Bouma (upper body).

The Flames hope Comeau, Bouma, and Jackman will return within five to seven days. Cammalleri is day-to-day. Jones has resumed skating, but there’s no timetable for his recovery.

So enter Baertschi, who will make his NHL debut Friday against Winnipeg.

“I’m so excited,” he said. “So pumped. I never heard anything about this being a possibility — it came as a complete shock.”

Of note, the emergency recall means Baertschi must return to junior once two of the injured Flames return to the lineup.

Vatrano presence: Bruins edge Red Wings in overtime

Frank Vatrano David Krejci
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The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.

In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).

Here’s his first goal of the night:

While this is his overtime game-winner:

It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.

The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.

October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.

November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.

Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.

More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.

Crosby roars, Malkin scores in OT for Penguins win

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Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.

Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:

… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.

(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)

Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.

You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.

Fight video: Claude Giroux vs. Nick Leddy

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Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.

Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.

You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.

It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.

Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.

Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.

Carter Hutton gets flipped, stays in game

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Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.

Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:

Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.

If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.

Check out this incredible shot of that moment:

Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.