Miikka Kiprusoff

As trade rumors swirl, struggling Kiprusoff gets start in Columbus

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Of all the NHL goalies with at least 10 starts this season, not one of them has a lower save percentage than Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff (.869).

Kiprusoff started yesterday’s 5-3 loss to the Predators in Nashville, surrendering five goals on just 23 shots. Yet the Flames will reportedly have the 36-year-old back in net again tonight in Columbus.

Not that Calgary has an obvious alternative — veteran Joey McDonald is the backup, and he hasn’t been fantastic either.

Besides, Kiprusoff has been a rock for the Flames for around a decade.

Like teammates Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester, Kiprusoff has been forced to address trade rumors as the April 3 deadline gets closer and Calgary remains out of the playoff picture.

“I try to stay out of that,” he said recently. “I try to keep it simple, still. I try to help team here. Try to win games.”

Kiprusoff has one year remaining on his contract, which features a big cap hit of $5.83 million. However, it’s worth noting his salary for 2013-14 is just $1.5 million, a figure that could make him attractive to a club with budget constraints.

Just to throw it out there — might Florida be interested in acquiring Kiprusoff to act as a mentor for young Jacob Markstrom?

According to the Calgary Herald, Chicago and Toronto are rumored to be “sniffing around” as well.

Watch the Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp tribute video

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Over the years, the Chicago Blackhawks have been forced to let some important players leave to keep their core together, which ultimately meant parting ways with Patrick Sharp.

The talented winger now wears a Dallas Stars jersey, so Blackhawks fans must face the reality of watching Sharp ply his trade for a formidable Central Division opponent.

Even if that might feel awkward, Blackhawks fans gave Sharp (and Johnny Oduya) a warm reception in Chicago on Thursday.

CSNChicago.com provides video of that ovation, which you can see in the clip above.

The Stars currently lead the Blackhawks 4-2, thanks in large part to Patrick … Eaves.

Wild must overcome Alex Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci

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Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.

Fight video: Patrice Bergeron vs. Blake Wheeler (seriously)

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Regular Selke winner Patrice Bergeron can do it all on the ice, it seems. Apparently that means he’ll even drop the gloves.

That was the unlikely scene during Thursday’s Boston Bruins – Winnipeg Jets skirmish, as Bergeron fought fellow finesse forward Blake Wheeler.

Perhaps unusual feisty behavior was just in the air, as Tyler Myers squared off with Matt Beleskey.

(Not as unlikely, but still.)