Sven Baertschi 2

In Calgary, Svenmania is the new Linsanity


It’s a Svenderful time of the year for Flames fans.

They’ve been overcome by Svensanity.

The atmosphere in Calgary is Sventastic.

That’s because 19-year-old rookie Sven Baertschi — recalled from WHL Portland eight days ago — has taken the city by storm. He’s scored three goals in four games as the Flames have rallied to within a single point of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

On Thursday, Baertschi scored just 17 seconds into a 4-1 win over Phoenix, picking off a defensive-zone pass from Keith Yandle and putting it past Mike Smith for his third goal in as many games.

“Before the game, they showed us they play a lot of passes in front of the net,” Baertschi told the Calgary Herald. “So as soon as he got the puck, I saw him. He was looking at the other d-man. I was just waiting. I figured if he didn’t pass, I would go back.

“I saw he was set to pass, so I stepped in and had it right on my tape.”

It’s good times in Calgary right now. At no point was that more evident when Baertschi nearly scored his second goal against Phoenix (he narrowly failed to convert a 2-on-1) — the rookie was immediately serenaded by chants of “Bar-chee! Bar-chee!” from the Saddledome faithful.

More, from the Herald:

Asked about the impromptu serenade, Baertschi blushed.

Yeah, I heard that,” Baertschi said. “It was exciting.”

Walking by the scrum, Jarome Iginla chirped in.

“Ahh, but didn’t someone say they were saying Sarichy?” Iginla teased, referring to veteran defenceman Cory Sarich. “We weren’t sure.”

Baertschi giggled.

Unfortunately for the Flames, the good times might end soon. Because he was an emergency recall under the NHL-CHL agreement, Baertschi must return to Portland as soon as one of Calgary’s injured forwards returns to the lineup (expected to be one of Lee Stempniak, Tim Jackman or Lance Bouma.)

That said, Baertschi isn’t focusing on when he’ll have to leave. He’s too busy enjoying his time in the show.

“I’m just taking it day by day,” he said. “Maybe play tomorrow, maybe not. It’s their decision. If guys come back, I have to leave.

“It’s been great so far. We’re winning so everyone’s excited about that.”

Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning

Leave a comment

Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

Leave a comment

Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

Peter Chiarelli

It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

You can see and hear his full comments below:

If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.

Slump busters: Simmonds, Couturier end long scoring droughts in win over Rangers


It’s been a good few days to be a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, as their team delivered not once, but twice during Thanksgiving weekend.

The Flyers picked up a 3-2 OT win over the Predators on Friday before shutting out the New York Rangers, 3-0, on Saturday.

It was a good afternoon for three players in particular.

Both Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier ended long scoring slumps.

Simmonds’ two goals were his first in seven games, while Couturier scored for the first time in his last 13 contests.

Goaltender Steve Mason also had a solid outing against the Rangers.

The 27-year-old turned aside all 24 shots he faced including this great save on Dominic Moore:

The Flyers lost defenseman Nick Schultz to an upper-body injury in the first period after he took a big hit from Dylan McIlrath.

Luke Schenn defended his fallen teammate by dropping the gloves with McIlrath, which didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.

The Rangers are now on a season-high three-game losing streak. Their lack of effort has to be concerning for their head coach Alain Vigneault.

The Flyers outshot the Rangers 30-14 over the final 40 minutes.