Detroit’s Howard hopes to nab U.S. Olympic team gig


It’s taken some time, but Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard is finally being mentioned among the elite. (More than 72 percent of PHT voters agree, as of this writing.)

Still, with the staggering array of talented American netminders in the NHL, it’s no guarantee that he’ll make the U.S. Olympic team for 2014. The 29-year-old acknowledged to the Bangor Daily News that he has his sights on one of the spots.

“I’m confident, but I don’t have a crystal ball. We’ll see how the season goes,” Howard said. “One of my goals this season is to be in Sochi in February. As long as I go out there and play the way I’m capable of playing, hopefully they’ll want to pick me.”

Playing well in 2013-14 will certainly be a factor, as he’ll face the likes of Jonathan Quick, Ryan Miller, Cory Schneider and Craig Anderson for a spot.

When you consider the numbers he’s compiled in the last two seasons in particular, it would be foolish to count him out.

(H/T to George Malik.)

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: All that’s been announced about Silfverberg is that he’s under evaluation and will not return.