Playing hockey abroad can be rigorous. For Detroit’s Jonathan Ericsson, it’s proving to be even more demanding than life in the NHL has been.
Ted Kulfan of the The Detroit News hears from the big blue liner about his time away in Sweden and finds out that at 30 minutes of ice time per game, he’s found out how out of shape he was.
“In the third period I was cramping every shift,” said Ericsson of his first game back. “It was a lot of ice time right away and, of course, I wasn’t use to playing. I hadn’t played in five months.”
The most ice time in a game he’s had in the NHL came back during the 2009-10 season when he had a pair of games with 28-plus minutes of action. Talk about trial by fire.
Ericsson has played three games for Vita Hasten in the Swedish second league but won’t be returning thanks to tax regulations in Sweden.
He might have to get used to those big minutes because he could wind up being a bigger blue line factor for Detroit should this season happen.
Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.
Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.
And what a look it was.
In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.
It was, in a word, fun.
Lots of fun.
A quick sampling of reviews:
Of course, not everybody was a fan:
Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.
But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…