On Friday, the hockey world collectively LOLed at 47-year-old Dominik Hasek’s interest in an NHL comeback. Hasek hasn’t played in the league since 2008 and didn’t play (like, at all) last season, so initial reactions to this news were skeptical at best.
A few days later? Yeah, not so skeptical.
USA Today’s Kevin Allen asked three individuals — Devils backup Johan Hedberg, NHL on NBC analyst Darren Pang and Detroit goalie coach Jim Bedard — and they all said the same thing:
When it comes to Hasek, never say never.
“With Dominik Hasek, you can’t count anything out,” Hedberg said. “He didn’t play last year, but he had [seven] shutouts in the KHL when he was 45.”
Hedberg’s a good guy to ask about this sort of thing. At 39, he’s the fourth-oldest goalie in the league — and he backs up the second-oldest, 40-year-old Martin Brodeur.
Pang, meanwhile, felt it would be “impossible” for a 47-year-old to become a No. 1 in the NHL, but said a backup gig was within the realm of possibility.
Bedard re-iterated what Hedberg said — you can’t count Hasek out — noting that the Dominator is “as determined of an individual as I’ve ever met.”
Bedard also knows a thing or two about older goalies. In his 15 years with the Wings, he’s coached the likes of Hasek (43 at the time), Chris Osgood (38), Curtis Joseph (36) and Ken Wregget (35).
Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.
With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.
It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.
Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.
The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.
Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.
They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.
This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.
You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.
With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.
Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).
In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:
Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.
Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.
So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.
The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.
No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.
He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.
There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.
So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.
Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.
(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)