Chicago’s star Finnish goalie not irked by Khabibulin signing


Antti Raanta, the talented Finnish netminder that signed with the Blackhawks in early June, says he has no problem with the club acquiring veteran Nikolai Khabibulin to pair with Corey Crawford next season.

‘‘It was kind of obvious that they were going to take some goalie there,’’ he told the Chicago Sun-Times. ‘‘They didn’t promise me that I was going to be in the first two goalies, so I knew I had to [do] a lot of work to get upstairs and get games in the NHL.’’

Raanta, 24, was named SM-liiga playoff MVP this season after capturing the Jari Kurri Trophy, Finland’s equivalent to the Conn Smythe. He posted a 1.33 GAA and .955 save percentage in the playoffs for Assat, backstopping the club to the league championship.

That award capped off a banner campaign in which he also won the league’s top goaltender award and regular season MVP.

Unsurprisingly, there were a number of NHL teams interested in securing Raanta’s services.

Chicago beat out the likes of Minnesota, Winnipeg and Edmonton, and it looked as though Raanta was in line for a backup job at the NHL level after Ray Emery — who teamed with Crawford to win the Jennings Trophy last season — signed in Philadelphia.

But shortly after Emery inked with the Flyers, the ‘Hawks brought back Khabibulin, who played in Chicago from 2005-09.

Rannata, to his credit, seemed unfazed by the development.

“If I have to go to the AHL, I’m ready for that, ” he explained. “I just have to take the pucks and try to be the No. 1 goalie in Rockford and in the NHL sometime.”

Video: Flyers, Bolts confirm 3-on-3 OT is pretty much the greatest thing ever


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.

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron (Updated)


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…