Chicago Blackhawks v Nashville Predators

Raanta calls contract situation with Blackhawks a ‘big mystery’


One can almost argue that every big Corey Crawford save and strong playoff performance decreases the Chicago Blackhawks’ incentive to give pending restricted free agent goalie Antti Raanta a nice raise.

Even Raanta acknowledges the cloudy situation:

Despite the confusion, Raanta still took the time out to provide one of his charming and slightly-less-than-fluent quotes about a whirlwind first season in the NHL:

On one hand, the Finnish netminder managed a 13-5-4 record with Chicago. On the other, his save percentage was a below-average (if not bad) mark of .897. For some perspective, Ray Emery put up a dominant 2012-13 season with the Blackhawks but was unable to replicate that work with the Philadelphia Flyers this season.

The Blackhawks struggled with their backup situation this season, as Nikolai Khabibulin’s health and inconsistency derailed somewhat shaky plans to use him as the No. 2 while the team acquired journeyman Jason LaBarbera in case Raanta faltered.

With his restricted status in mind, Raanta will probably need to settle for a cheap deal (or maybe flee to Europe), especially considering Crawford’s $6 million cap hit and a tight cap situation for Chicago overall.

It could be interesting to watch this “big mystery” unravel, then.

Vatrano presence: Bruins edge Red Wings in overtime

Frank Vatrano David Krejci
1 Comment

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.

Crosby roars, Malkin scores in OT for Penguins win

1 Comment

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.

Fight video: Claude Giroux vs. Nick Leddy

1 Comment

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 gets flipped, stays in game

Leave a comment

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.