Sandis Ozolinsh calls it a career


Arguably the greatest Latvian hockey player ever is hanging up his skates.

Defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh, a seven-time NHL All-Star and Stanley Cup champion, announced his retirement from professional hockey on Tuesday, per Latvian news outlet Sporta Centrs.

Ozolinsh, 41, was taken 30th overall at the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by San Jose and enjoyed success with the Sharks — he still holds the franchise record for points by a defenseman in a single season (64) — but garnered his highest accolades with Colorado in the late 90s.

He won a Stanley Cup with the Avs in ’96, scoring 19 points in 22 playoff games, and finished third in Norris voting a year later, behind Vladimir Konstantinov and eventual winner Brian Leetch.

From there, Ozolinsh would bounce around the league with stops in Carolina, Florida, Anaheim (with whom he’d get to another Cup Final) and New York, before taking a year’s hiatus from hockey and returning to the KHL for Latvian club side Dinamo Riga in 2009. In the KHL, Ozolish re-established himself as an elite-level defenseman, appearing in four All-Star Games while making one final appearance for the Latvian national team at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, leading his country to a near upset of Canada in the tournament quarterfinals.

Ozolinsh retires as the highest-scoring Latvian NHLer of all time, and will now reportedly turn his attention to the political realm.

Start the Carr: Habs recall another player from the minors

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There’s been a lot of movement between Montreal and Saint John’s lately and that continued on Sunday.

This time, it’s forward Daniel Carr who’ll be getting a stint with the big club.

Carr has no prior NHL experience.

The 24-year-old spent four years at Union College before joining the Canadiens organization as an undrafted free agent.

In his first season as a pro, Carr scored 24 goals (led the team) and 39 points in 76 AHL games with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2014-15.

This year, Carr has seven goals and 15 points in 20 games.

Montreal is without forwards Torrey Mitchell, Brendan Gallagher and Alexander Semin.

Campbell’s perfect snipe sinks Wings in OT


Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.

With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.

It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.

Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.

The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.

Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.

They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.

This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.

With Jonathan Bernier sputtering, we’ll meet Garret Sparks

Garett Sparks
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You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.

With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.

Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).

In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:

Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.

Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.