Devan Dubnyk

Oilers’ Dubnyk: “Not easy” for North American goalies to find work

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Devan Dubnyk wants to play hockey, but his nationality is making it tough.

According to the Oilers netminder (and Canadian passport holder), the opportunities presented to European goalies during the lockout aren’t as flush for North Americans.

“I haven’t seen any North Americans,” Dubnyk told the Edmonton Journal about the list of goalies currently playing overseas. “I have a few options in Europe, but it’s not easy for a North American goalie to pick up and go over.

“It has to be the right situation.”

To date, almost all the jobs have gone to European-born netminders.

Pekka Rinne, Ilya Bryzgalov, Semyon Varlamov and Sergei Bobrovsky signed in the KHL; Tuukka Rask and Ondrej Pavelec joined the Czech Extraliga; Antti Niemi returned to his native Finland and Viktor Fasth, signed to be Jonas Hiller’s backup in Anaheim, joined the Swedish second division.

(Note: LA Kings goalie and Quebec native Jonathan Bernier did buck the trend earlier today by signing in the German second division. Same with American/Isles goalie Rick DiPietro, who signed there yesterday.)

It’s a curious trend considering a large number of NHL skaters found no problem getting work, and even more curious given the slew of talented North American goalies currently out of work:

— Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury finished second in the NHL with 42 wins last season.

— Phoenix’s Mike Smith finished fourth in Vezina voting.

— Cory Schneider finished third with a 1.96 GAA last year. Jimmy Howard finished sixth with a 2.13.

— Carey Price was one of the six goalies named to the 2012 NHL All-Star game in Ottawa.

(List excludes LA’s Jonathan Quick, currently recovering from back surgery.)

The result is that goalies like Dubnyk are forced to practice, practice and practice again while the work stoppage drags on.

It’s a situation that’s beginning to take it’s toll.

“Look at the number of goalies still here (in North America),” he explained. “It’s not ideal for any of us.”

Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur

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The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.

“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.

“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”

More on the statue from the Devils:

The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.

Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov

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The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.

Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.

The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.

Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.

“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”

“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.

“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”

The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.

Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

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In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

— He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

— From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

— Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

The Islanders also have a game in hand.

Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings

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The Florida Panthers will be without Aleksander Barkov for the remainder of their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

As per multiple reports, Barkov will not return due to an upper-body injury suffered after a hit from Justin Abdelkader early in the second period.

Abdelkader wasn’t given a penalty on the play. Barkov didn’t play another shift after that hit.

In 42 games this season, the 20-year-old Barkov has 16 goals and 35 points.