The lockout has obviously given NHL players a lot of extra free time. Some have chosen to keep their skills sharp in the European leagues or were eligible to either play in the minors or one of the Canadian Hockey Leagues. Others have decided to take this opportunity to give something back by playing in charity games.
One example is the First Assist Charity Classic tour, which will play games in five small Canadian cities, starting with Cornwall, Ontario on Monday, according to the Ottawa Citizen.
“Under the circumstances, I think it’s a great gesture,” Cornwall Mayor Bob Kilger said. “I give credit to the players to doing something positive and trying to make the best of what’s happening.”
If the name Kilger sounds familiar, it might be because his son Chad played in 714 career NHL games with the Anaheim Ducks, the original Winnipeg Jets and then Phoenix Coyotes when they moved, Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, and Toronto Maple Leafs. On top of that, Bob is a former NHL referee.
They will be playing in Thunder Bay, Ontario on Nov. 12 before heading to Yellowknife, Inuvik and Hay River of the Northwest Territories.
Former NHL player and coach John Chabot is organizing the event and sees it as an opportunity for fans that normally wouldn’t get to go to an NHL game to see some players in person.
The tour will include Montreal’s Brian Gionta, Pittsburgh’s Tyler Kennedy, Columbus’ Derick Brassard, Winnipeg’s Grant Clitsome, and a handful of Ottawa Senators players including Chris Neil.
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With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.
Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.
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“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”
Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.
Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.
DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.
Blashill says DeKeyser has a bruise, not a break. Will know more tomorrow, but probably day-to-day
The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.
But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.