The Anaheim Ducks have done plenty to try and snap No. 1 goalie Jonas Hiller from his ongoing funk, but nothing seems to be working.
After losing to the lowly Oilers on Sunday — a game in which Hiller allowed three second-period goals en route to a 4-2 defeat — Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau all but confirmed Hiller was struggling with the mental side of the game.
“I think [Hiller’s] really lacking in confidence,” Boudreau said, per the L.A. Times. “Once the first one went in, he was worried until he regained his composure.”
The Swiss ‘tender is 6-9-3 in his last 18 outings and dropped his last three decisions — two of them to Edmonton — while allowing 11 goals on 67 shots, an .836 save percentage. Boudreau, who noticed Hiller was showing signs of fatigue recently, gave his goalie three consecutive games off from Mar. 29-Apr. 2 in the hopes of providing Hiller a mental refresher…but all it seems to have done is further muddle the situation.
Frederik Andersen, who’s been outstanding for Anaheim this year, played well in Hiller’s absence but suffered an injury on Friday versus Nashville, and didn’t travel with the Ducks on their current two-game roadie (Anaheim plays in Vancouver tonight). That forced the club to bring up 20-year-old phenom John Gibson — you can read more about him here, and here and here — and, given Hiller’s latest setback, it’s very possible Gibson could make his Ducks and NHL debut tonight against the Canucks.
“I’ll talk to the coaches and people and we’ll see what we’re doing,” Boudreau said.
BB would not say whether Hiller or Gibson will start tomorrow in Vancouver.
The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.
Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.
The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)
The hope was that the Columbus Blue Jackets would be jolted into a great, long winning streak, and their season would be saved.
The reality of John Tortorella’s first month behind the bench has been, well, reality. The Jackets are 8-7-0 since Todd Richards was fired. Better than 0-7-0, sure, but at 8-14-0 overall, they remain last in the Eastern Conference.
Fifteen games into his tenure, Tortorella is still trying to get his message across.
“A big reason why we bring them in (to practice yesterday and today) is because we don’t have a full understanding of the standard we need to be at in all areas of the game,” he told The Columbus Dispatch. “Some things you can’t control in our game, but it’s how hard you play, how hard you are with your bite as a team, and the pace you play with – you can control that.”
The Jackets play Wednesday in New Jersey, where they’ll look to shake off Sunday’s disappointing home loss to San Jose. Columbus held a 3-1 third-period lead in that one. The Sharks scored four straight to win 5-3.
The San Jose Sharks have signed forward Dainius Zubrus to a one-year, two way contract, the club announced today.
Zubrus was given a tryout with the Sharks last week.
The 37-year-old played 74 games with the Devils last season, scoring just four goals with six assists. His contract was then bought out.
According to a Mercury News source, the decision to sign Zubrus lay “mainly” with his former coach in New Jersey, now San Jose’s bench boss, Pete DeBoer.
“He looks good,” DeBoer said of Zubrus last week, per CSN Bay Area. “He looks close. It’s tough to find six-foot-four, 215-pound guys who can play. … He’s an easy guy to play because he’s defensively reliable. He plays a big possession, heavy game. There’s a lot to like there.”
In a related move, the Sharks have reassigned forward Nikolay Goldobin to the AHL.