’14 Draft prospect Virtanen (shoulder) out 4-6 months


WHL Calgary forward Jake Virtanen, the sixth-ranked prospect for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, will miss the next four to six months after undergoing shoulder surgery, per TSN.

A 6-foot, 208-pounder winger that scored 45 goals for the Hitmen this season, Virtanen jumped from No. 9 in the NHL Central Scouting midterm rankings to No. 6 for his final rank, ahead of fellow wingers Nicholas Ritchie (No. 7, OHL Peterborough) and Brendan Perlini (No. 8, OHL Niagara).

“He’s got a complete, all-around pro game right now,” said Central Scouting’s Peter Sullivan. “He’s tough to play against, makes things happen on the ice. When you’re out there with him, better have your head up because he could put you through the wall.

“He’s got that package of high-end skill that doesn’t come along too often; he’s like a Jarome Iginla type of player who can do everything.”

Virtanen also impressed at April’s U18 Worlds, helping Canada capture bronze by scoring a team-high six points in seven games.

The 2014 NHL Entry Draft will go on Friday, June 27 from Wells Fargo in Philadelphia. Florida holds the first overall pick, followed by Buffalo, Edmonton, Calgary and the New York Islanders to round out the top five.

Crosby roars, Malkin scores in OT for Penguins win

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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

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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.

Carter Hutton gets flipped, stays in game

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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.

Habs win big against Rangers, may have lost big with Price hurt

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Tonight was supposed to be about a clash of two Eastern Conference titans who sport arguably the two best goalies in the NHL. That mattered to Montreal Canadiens fans for about half the game against the New York Rangers, give or take a few minutes.

Priorities are now shifting to calling upon higher powers/etc. in hopes that Carey Price is OK.

Mike Condon replaced Price in the third period and … well, people are concerned.

Again, people are pretty worried right now.

Price being replaced isn’t the greatest sign, yet it’s early, so stay tuned for updates. Maybe it will merely be a matter of playing it safe?

Update: The good news is that Montreal won by a significant 5-1 margin.

Yes, that probably isn’t much solace for Habs fans. Agreed.

It sounds like Price re-aggravated his previous injury.