Jeff Zatkoff

Penguins re-sign backup goalie Zatkoff


When Tomas Vokoun was forced to the sidelines due to a blood clot, the Pittsburgh Penguins turned to Jeff Zatkoff to serve as their new backup goaltender. The 26-year-old had no NHL experience, but he’s held his own with a 2.46 GAA and .912 save percentage in eight games.

Now the Penguins have made Zatkoff part of their plans beyond the 2013-14 campaign by announcing that they have signed him to a two-year/$1.2 million contract. He had been scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer after serving out his current two-year, two-way deal.

Re-signing Zatkoff is the first step the Penguins have taken towards addressing their goaltending situation. Vokoun, 37, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Assuming that this new deal means Pittsburgh plans to enter the 2014-15 with Marc-Andre Fleury and Zatkoff, the next question is what the Penguins’ long-term plans are.

Fleury’s contract only runs through 2014-15 and while he’s been great this season, the bigger question is how he will perform in the playoffs. If he collapses once again in the postseason, then the Penguins might end up looking for a new starter.

GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now

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On Monday, PHT discussed the Columbus Blue Jackets’ troubling start, even if it felt like it may be too early to raise concerns.

Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Post-Dispatch on Tuesday.

“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.

Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?

Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”

Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.

The Post-Dispatch goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.

Next four games: Three out of four at home
Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.

As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.

For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.

via AP

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.