On Friday, longtime NHL goalie Mathieu Garon announced his retirement.
“For the past 13 years, I have been fortunate to earn my living playing hockey in the National Hockey League,” Garon said in a statement released by CAA, his representation (per ESPN). “I wanted to take this opportunity to thank my teammates, coaches and, most importantly, the fans. Every city I played in, the fans always welcomed my family and me with open arms. I will cherish the memories and friendships I made during my career. Finally, I want to say a special thank you to my family, who have been incredibly supportive of me throughout my career. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to live my dream.”
Garon, 36, was taken by Montreal with the 44th overall pick at the ’96 draft and spent four seasons with the Habs before getting traded to L.A. With the Kings, Garon enjoyed his finest season, recording 31 wins in 2005-06 while posting a career-high four shutouts.
In 2009, Garon was dealt to Pittsburgh months before the start of the playoffs and won a Cup with the Penguins, serving as Marc-Andre Fleury’s backup while making one postseason relief appearance.
Garon had a mini-renaissance with the Lightning in 2011-12, posting a 23-16-4 record, but struggled in his final campaign (the lockout-shortened ’13 season) and failed to latch on with a club this year, eventually making 18 appearances in the KHL for Avangard Omsk.
Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”
Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.
The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.
“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”
Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.
The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.
If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.