DerekSmithCalgary

Flames’ Smith signs in Swiss league

After five NHL seasons and nearly 100 games played, Derek Smith is on his way to Europe.

The former Ottawa and Calgary defenseman has signed with ZSC Lions of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Monday. Smith, 29, split last season between the Flames and their AHL affiliate in Abbotsford, appearing in 14 big-league contests while proving to be a good offensive d-man at the American League level, scoring 24 points in 32 games for the Heat.

Smith’s best NHL campaign came during the 2011-12 season, when he scored 11 points in 47 games while averaging nearly 16 minutes a night. That earned him a two-year, one-way deal with the Flames for $1.55 million — but he proceeded to fall out of favor with the club, and was placed on waivers in December of last season.

Scroll Down For:

    Mike Yeo gets a vote of confidence; Wild will scratch Vanek, Zucker vs. STL

    Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo talks to Jason Zucker (16) in the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
    Associated Press
    1 Comment

    Things haven’t been going well with Minnesota’s hockey team, but that doesn’t necessarily mean changes are coming via firings or trades.

    On Saturday, Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher reiterated his confidence in his team and his coaching staff going forward.

    The Wild have won just three of 15 games since Jan. 1 and they’re currently riding a four-game losing streak.

    The Wild have been through mid-season slumps before.

    Last year, Yeo lost it during a team practice and that seemed to spark his team, as they were able to turn things around and make it to the postseason.

    Will a similar tactic work, again? Probably not.

    As PHT pointed out earlier this week, this slump might not be like the previous ones.

    The Wild are just one point behind Nashville (with a game in a hand) for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, but will their top guns be able to get them out of this funk?

    The numbers aren’t pretty:

    Zach Parise has no points in his last four games and just one goal in his last nine contests.

    Thomas Vanek hasn’t scored in eight games. He has just one assist during that span.

    Mikko Koivu has four assists in 15 games since the new year began.

    Mikael Granlund has two assists since Jan. 7 and he has a a minus-11 rating since then.

    Jason Zucker has one assist in 11 games. He hasn’t scored since Jan. 7.

    How will Yeo get his team’s attention this time around?

    Here’s your answer:

    Hossa doesn’t think the coach’s challenge is “good for the league”

    Chicago Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews, left, Marian Hossa (81) and Bryan Bickell (29) react after Los Angeles Kings' Jake Muzzin scored a goal  during the third period in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs in Chicago on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
    12 Comments

    Marian Hossa isn’t a fan of the coach’s challenge.

    The veteran winger ripped the NHL’s new challenge system after he had a goal called back in Thursday’s game against Arizona.

    –To watch the overturned goal, click here

    “I thought that was [a] joke,” Hossa said, per the Sun-Times. “I tried to battle in front of the net and I don’t have any intention to touch the goalie, just try to battle through two guys and put the puck in the net. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the playoffs, if there’s going to be calls after calls after calls. But I don’t think it’s good for the league.”

    The goal was called back because as Hossa was battling in front, he got tangled up with goaltender Louis Domingue‘s stick.

    It’s safe to say that Joel Quenneville wasn’t pleased with the decision:

    One of the main criticisms of the challenge system is that the review is conducted on a small tablet by the referees on the ice instead of someone in a war room in Toronto or New York.

    Every time a goal is disallowed, the NHL writes a blog explaining why the decision was made.

    Here’s what they said about the call on Hossa:

    The Referee determined that Hossa interfered with Domingue before the puck crossed the goal line. According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Referee, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that the goal should have been disallowed due to ‘Interference on the Goalkeeper,’ as described in Rules 69.1, 69.3 and 69.4.”

    Therefore the original call is overturned – no goal Chicago Blackhawks.

    Do you think the referee got the call right?

    Report: Penguins will host Flyers in an outdoor game in 2017

    In this photo made with a fisheye lens, fireworks go off above Heinz Field as fans hold cards with a message honoring veterans before an NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs, Monday, Nov. 12, 2012, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
    Associated Press
    6 Comments

    It looks like the battle of Pennsylvania will head outdoors in 2017, according to Scott Burnside of ESPN.

    The Pittsburgh Penguins are expected to host the Philadelphia Flyers at Heinz Field next year. It’s still unclear if the game will be a Stadium Series tilt or the NHL’s annual Winter Classic game on Jan. 1.

    Here’s an excerpt from Burnside’s story:

    The two state rivals have been talking for months about a plan for an outdoor game or series of outdoor games. There was discussion about playing an outdoor game at Penn State, but it’s believed financial demands by the university soured the teams on the neutral site as an option, so the two franchises have been looking at a reciprocal arrangement with an outdoor game played one year in Pittsburgh and a second game in Philadelphia perhaps the next year.

    Although the Steelers and Penguins have a good working relationship, there could be a scheduling conflict if the NHL wants to make this game the Winter Classic.

    Jan. 1 will be the final day of the NFL’s regular season . Should the Steelers host a Wild Card game the following week, they’d likely decide that a hockey game on their field isn’t the wisest decision.

    To avoid this dilemma, the league would just have to move the game to Dec. 31.

    This would be the second time Heinz Field hosts an outdoor game (2011).

    Islanders officially activate Johnny Boychuk (upper body) off IR

    Leave a comment

    The New York Islanders got some good news on the injury front, as they’ve activated Johnny Boychuk off injured reserve.

    The 32-year-old missed a total of 11 games because of an upper-body injury he suffered in a game against the Buffalo Sabres on Dec. 31 (above).

    New York went 5-5-1 without Boychuk, and they conceded four goals or more in five of those contests.

    In 38 games with Boychuk, the Islanders had allowed four goals or more just six times.

    The Islanders currently sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division. They’re three points behind the Rangers (two games in hand) and 18 points behind the first place Capitals.

    In a corresponding move, they assigned defenseman Scott Mayfield to the AHL.