With Jimmy Howard sidelined after re-injuring his knee, Ben Bishop knows he could be in line for a spot on the American Olympic team headed to Sochi in early February.
He’s just not going to focus on it.
“It’d be something special, obviously,” Bishop said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “But it has nothing to do with me right now, so it’s nothing for me to speculate about or even waste time thinking about.”
Howard tweaked his knee during Monday’s loss to St. Louis, just weeks after suffering an MCL sprain that sidelined him for eight games. This latest setback will require getting fluid drained, per NHL.com’s Brian Hedger, and keep Howard off ice for at least seven days.
According to the Associated Press, Howard — who beat out Bishop for the No. 3 gig on the American team — “insists he is not concerned about missing the Sochi Games,” but one wonders if the selection committee feels the same way.
Bishop has reportedly been told he’s the No. 4 goalie on the American depth chart and would be on the team should an injury eliminate one of Howard, Jonathan Quick or Ryan Miller. The Tampa Bay netminder has the best statistical resume of any American goalie this year, posting a 24-6-4 record with a 1.93 GAA and .935 save percentage.
Looking at the calendar, this latest injury will keep Howard from playing until Jan. 29 at the earliest, meaning he’ll miss games against Chicago, Montreal, Florida and Philadelphia. From there — assuming he’s fit to return — Howard will have just a handful of games to get into shape for the Olympics.
Detroit plays five times from Jan. 31-Feb.8, and the tournament is set to get underway on Feb. 12.
The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.
In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).
Here’s his first goal of the night:
While this is his overtime game-winner:
It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.
The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.
October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.
November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.
Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.
More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.
Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.
Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:
… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.
(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)
Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.
You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.
Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.
Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.
You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.
It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.
Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.
Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.
Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.
Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:
Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.
If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.
Check out this incredible shot of that moment:
Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.