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Jeff Glass lived his long-awaited dream on Friday

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Jeff Glass couldn’t wipe the smile off his face after his NHL debut as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

And that’s pretty understandable given where he’s been.

Glass burst onto the scene in the lead up to the 2005 World Junior Championships. He was named Canada’s starting goaltender for that tournament and didn’t disappoint.

Glass did exactly what he was tasked to do, winning all five of the games he played in, including the gold medal game and restored his country back to the summit of junior hockey for the first time since 1997.

The team was full of what would become NHL greats Sidney Crosby, Patrice Bergeron, Shea Weber and Ryan Getzlaf all suited up for Canada that year on a team that has the unofficial moniker of Canada’s best ever sent to the world junior tournament.

He was roommates during the tournament with Blackhawks teammate Brent Seabrook.

But while many of his teammates headed directly to the NHL and onto several Stanley Cups and a myriad of other accolades, Glass took a route that took him to the opposites ends of the earth.

“There were a few bleak moments where I didn’t believe it could happen,” Glass told Sportsnet after Friday’s game in Edmonton, just a few hours north of his childhood home in Calgary.

He once played in Siberia, where he told Sportsnet it snowed for 45 days straight. He toiled in the AHL, the ECHL and the KHL for years since being drafted 89th overall by the Ottawa Senators in 2005. He was most recently with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League, and after an injury to Corey Crawford, was recalled on Wednesday after Crawford was put on injured reserve.

Glass’ journey is a tale of hard work, sticking to it, and waiting for his time to come — all cliches we often take for granted in the sports world. Glass is living proof and a testament that dreams are never dead, just sometimes delayed.

At 32 years old (and 40 days), Glass, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, Glass (32 years, 40 days) became the second-oldest goaltender since 1967 to earn a win in his NHL debut.

He stopped 42 shots in a 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers, a game he found out he was starting in at 2 a.m. that morning when the team touched down in Edmonton.

And now he holds saves over arguably the best player in the world, including this welcome-to-the-NHL moment in the first period. He was named, fittingly and deservedly, the game’s first star.

His parents, his wife, and his two-month-old daughter were able to get to the game he never thought would come.

“It’ something I’ve always dreamed of,” Glass said after the game.

It’s a journey, Glass said, that he wouldn’t trade for the world.

“Not for a second, I would not,” he said. “The experience I had overseas was great. On the ice, off the ice, I matured as a person. It really taught me a lot about what’s important to me and what I valued. Where I wanted to be. After spending so much time over there I really wanted to give this one more shot. To prove to myself if I could do it. If there was still something there.”

There was.

And when the Blackhawks take on his hometown Calgary Flames on Sunday, it’s a pretty safe bet that Glass will make start No. 2.

There’s no question that he’s earned it.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

The Buzzer: Spezza bounces back after healthy scratch; another injury for Predators

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Player Of The Night: Jason Spezza, Dallas Stars

On Monday night the Dallas Star made veteran forward Jason Spezza a healthy scratch as he was mired in a lengthy goal-scoring drought. The Stars wanted to see more from him, and they knew he could provide more.

When he stepped back into the lineup on Tuesday night against the Detroit Red Wings he did exactly that by scoring a pair of goals in the Stars’ 4-2 win.

Even though Spezza had been struggling to put points on the board he was still doing an excellent job when it came to driving possession and generating shots, as well as the fact the team was outscoring its opponents when he was on the ice. His ice-time has been cut significantly this season, but he was doing enough to suggest that it was only a matter of time until he got back into the goal column.

He snapped out of it in a big way on Tuesday.

Another big injury for Nashville

The Nashville Predators are already playing without two of their top forwards with Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson sidelined.

They lost another one on Tuesday night in their 1-0 win over the Vegas Golden Knights when Ryan Johanson had to leave the game after taking a high hit from William Carrier.

Johanson left the game and did not return. There was no penalty called on the play.

Predators coach Peter Laviolette had no update on Johansen after the game and said they were given an explanation that it was a clean hit.

The Predators ended up winning the game 1-0 thanks to a goal from Kevin Fiala and 43 saves from Jusse Saros.

Highlight Of The Night

Not much in the way of highlight reel plays tonight, but here is a big goal from Vince Dunn to give the St. Louis Blues a 2-1 overtime win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Factoid Of The Night

A big milestone for New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist as he picks up his 20th win of the season.

Scores

New Jersey Devils 4, New York Islanders 1

New York Rangers 5, Philadelphia Flyers 1

Dallas Stars 4, Detroit Red Wings 2

St. Louis Blues 2, Toronto Maple Leafs 1

Nashville Predators 1, Vegas Golden Knights 0

San Jose Sharks 3, Arizona Coyotes 2

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Report: Blackhawks concerned Crawford could miss remainder of season

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Here is some less than encouraging news for the Chicago Blackhawks.

According to a report from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun Times on Tuesday night, there is some growing concern within the Blackhawks organization that starting goaltender Corey Crawford could miss the remainder of the season due to experiencing vertigo-like symptoms for the second time in his career.

Crawford has been sidelined since before Christmas due to an upper-body injury, but the team has been quiet on specifics other than to say publicly that they expect him to return this season.

Over the past few years Crawford has become one of the NHL’s top goalies and when he has been on the ice this season has been absolutely stellar for the Blackhawks. Given the current state of their defense and the rate that they give up shots he has become one of the team’s most important players and the one that seems to drive their success more than any other.

[Related: Corey Crawford has become the Blackhawks’ most important player]

In his absence the team has leaned on Anton Forsberg and Jeff Glass. Both have played about as well as could have been expected, but they aren’t Crawford and there is a noticeable drop in play at the position when he is not in there.

In 26 games this season Crawford is 16-9-2 with a .929 save percentage.

As of Tuesday night the Blackhawks are on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture, sitting three points back of the Minnesota Wild. They also have the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche sitting between them.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Rick Nash snaps out of slump, powers Rangers to huge win

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The New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers are two of the teams in the middle of the free-for-all that is the Eastern Conference playoff race that had five teams separated by just three points heading into Tuesday night.

Both teams had been rolling in opposite directions over the past week with the Flyers having won four in a row and five of their past six, while the Rangers were riding a three-game losing skid and had lost four out of five.

Their past two losses coming out of the bye week were especially ugly, losing to the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins (two other teams they are competing with) by a combined score of 12-4.

Both the Rangers’ and Flyers’ streaks came to an end in their game on Tuesday with the Rangers picking up a huge 5-1 win.

Rick Nash was the big star for the Rangers on Tuesday with a pair of goals, including a breakaway goal in the first period to tie the game at one after the Rangers gave up an early goal. It was a big performance for Nash because he had been mired in a brutal slump that had seen him go 12 consecutive games without a goal. He also had just one assist during that stretch. That slump has contributed to a down year offensively that has him on track for one of the least productive seasons of his career.

But he came through in a big way on Tuesday to help give the Rangers two huge points and move them three points ahead of the Flyers. The Flyers still have one game in hand while the two teams will still play three more games the rest of the season.

The Rangers’ win on Tuesday, combined with the Islanders’ 4-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils, moves the Rangers back into the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference for the time being.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Predators place forward Viktor Arvidsson on injured reserve

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Nashville Predators have placed forward Viktor Arvidsson on injured reserve with a lower-body injury and recalled forward Frederick Gaudreau from the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals.

The Predators made the move Tuesday afternoon.

Arvidsson was helped off the ice Monday during practice, and The Tennessean reports he tested himself during Tuesday morning’s skate.

The forward ranks third on the Predators with 13 goals and fourth with 27 points. The Predators already have Filip Forsberg on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.

Gaudreau has played 18 games with the Predators with three assists. He had 14 points in 21 games with the Admirals this season.

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey