Sutter: ‘I’m not worried about Corey Crawford’


Of all the things Darryl Sutter’s focusing on heading into Tuesday’s pivotal Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, Corey Crawford is not one of them.

“I’m not worried about Corey Crawford,” Sutter said during his pregame media availability. “If we’re just only focused on Corey Crawford, then you’re not going to get any opportunities.”

The ‘Hawks goalie has been stellar during the playoffs, especially in back-to-back wins over Los Angeles in which he stopped 40 of 43 shots faced.

Sutter was complimentary of Crawford prior to the series, saying the Chicago goalie “had a hell of a year,” and that “you better give Corey Crawford tons of credit.”

But following Games 1 and 2 in Chicago — during which Crawford posted a .930 save percentage — Sutter said his team’s lack of offense was more about missed chances than Crawford’s shot-stopping.

“We did a good job last game,” he explained. “It’s missed nets, missing great opportunities. They had seven and scored on three. We doubled that and didn’t.”

The ‘Hawks would disagree.

Team captain Jonathan Toews has been raving about Crawford’s play as of late, saying he’s the biggest reason why Chicago has only allowed three goals thus far.

“[Crawford’s] hounding the puck, he’s all over it,” Toews told reporters. “He’s side-to-side and he’s as competitive as it gets right now.”

But, as Sutter points out, he still feels it’s the Kings who are preventing themselves from scoring.

“We had several [chances] last game that you have to finish on,” he said. “The nets didn’t get smaller in Chicago.”

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.