Author: James O'Brien

Pittsburgh Penguins v Carolina Hurricanes

Penguins clear Fleury, continue to deal with mumps


The Pittsburgh Penguins announced that Marc-Andre Fleury tested negative for the mumps and has been cleared to play against the Colorado Avalanche. The rest of the news is murky or downright negative, however.

Backup goalie Thomas Greiss is being tested and kept in isolation. As mentioned on Wednesday, defensemen Olli Maatta and Robert Bortuzzo are also being monitored, as their results are still to be determined.

Sidney Crosby and Beau Bennett have already been confirmed to deal with the problem, so this mumps outbreak is causing serious issues for the Penguins.

We may know more about whether Crosby can play against Colorado later today:

Despite these problems, Pittsburgh beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 on Monday and hope to improve on a 20-6-4 record tonight.

Beliveau’s family thanks community for ‘heartwarming tributes’


The late Jean Beliveau’s granddaughters Mylène and Magalie shared a heartfelt letter with the Montreal Canadiens community – and hockey world at large – on Wednesday.

They wrote that Beliveau would have expressed “his deepest gratitude for the many heartwarming tributes that were shared over the past few days.”

Here’s the full text of that letter:

Hello everyone.

You can be certain that our grandfather, had he been with us today, wouldn’t have addressed all of you without first expressing his deepest gratitude for the many heartwarming tributes that were shared over the past few days. We would like to take this moment, first and foremost, to say a special thanks to all of you.

Thank you to all his fans for their passion and kindness. He respected all of you unconditionally. Thank you to all of the doctors who treated him over all these years: Dr. Douglas Kinnear, Dr. David Mulder, Dr. Maurice Godin, Dr. Michael Churchill-Smith, Dr. Robert Côté and Dr. Pierre Lanouette. You were a source of infinite support for our family, and you have his most sincere admiration. A big thank you to the members of the nursing staff who watched over our grandfather with gentleness and care until his last day. Thank you to the Montreal Canadiens

organization, the Molson family, and every person who worked so hard to present such memorable tribute ceremonies. We also wish to thank Suzanne Pelletier and the staff at the Urgel Bourgie funeral complex in Longueuil, who took care of him with compassion and dedication, even after his death.

Our grandfather’s family, former teammates and friends all had a chance, like us, to prepare for his departure and to come and personally say goodbye to him. Despite the pain and tears, it is possible to see the beauty that emerged from your time shared with him. We know that he was profoundly moved by this.

The values that have long been attributed to our grandfather — humility, generosity and altruism — were as present within our family as they were on the outside. We were also fortunate to discover other qualities, including his sense of curiosity, his benevolence, his patience and sense of humour. We can definitely confirm that his integrity was deeply ingrained in him. Our grandfather always backed up his words with action.

Through our pain, we face each new day recognizing that, in death, there is deliverance. Many of you have expressed the desire that he rest in peace. In these difficult days, it is what we all wish for him.

On behalf of our grandmother, Élise, our mother, Hélène, our spouses, Robert, Vincent and Mathieu, we say thank you, and our family shall forever remain thankful.

– Mylène and Magalie, Jean Béliveau’s granddaughters

(Photo via the Beliveau family and the Canadiens.)

PHT Morning Skate: Holiday cheer plus doom and gloom in the KHL


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Following up on the broader story of the ruble’s troubles impacting the KHL at large, there’s a more personal perspective. The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell caught up with KHL player Jeff Glass, who claims that players are getting “hosed” because of these problems. (The Hockey News)

The Milwaukee Admirals signed Ian White to a PTO. (Milwaukee Admirals)

Could Todd Nelson finally be the right person to motivate the Edmonton Oilers? (Sportsnet)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting an $18,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Thursday night’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Thursday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Catching up on some insight from Bob McKenzie on NBCSN last night, he provided this take on Slava Voynov:

As well as this information regarding the way the NHL is handling the many mumps headaches:

Finally, the Florida Panthers have been handing out plenty of holiday cheer lately.

For one thing, there was “Chanukah on Ice,” which was documented in this photo gallery.


Over-sized Panthers players also visited Chris Evert Children’s Hospital to share some Christmas joy:

NHL on NBCSN: Bruins vs. Wild on Rivalry Night

Mikael Granlund, Patrice Bergeron

NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Minnesota Wild host the Boston Bruins at the Xcel Energy Center at 8:00 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

Two American hockey hotbeds will be represented on Wednesday as the Minnesota Wild face the Boston Bruins in the latest edition of NBCSN’s “Rivalry Night.”

The last time these two teams met, the Wild nabbed a 4-3 road victory against the Bruins on Oct. 28, despite Seth Griffith’s three-point night.

Boston has been stumbling quite a bit lately, as the Bruins are losers of three straight while Zdeno Chara continues to shake off the rust from a lengthy injury absences.

Neither team should be expected to have a major rest advantage, as they both suffered shootout defeats last night. That said, the Wild are getting hit hard with the mumps (or, er, “illnesses) and could very well be forced to go far down their depth chart with both Darcy Kuemper and Niklas Backstrom showing signs of sickness.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $18,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Wednesday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

It’s a long NHL season, and one could say that both teams are limping into tonight’s proceedings to some degree. Injuries and/or sicknesses have made things hard for each squad. Both the Wild and Bruins are ranked 10th in their respective conferences despite coming into the 2014-15 season with high expectations.

In other words, there’s plenty of incentive for these teams to start sorting things out, even if things haven’t been trending upward. As many would point out, you can learn a lot from a team when its back is against the wall, though.

Advantage Raanta: Blackhawks send Darling to AHL


Chicago Blackhawks backup goalie Antti Raanta won’t have to give his job away. At least not yet, as the team demoted Scott Darling late last night.

One can assume that some strong recent play from Raanta, 25 – not to mention improving health for Corey Crawford – prompted the move. Raanta won two games in a row and his last four straight starts in general; he’s quietly been very good overall in 2014-15 with a 5-2-0 record and an excellent .938 save percentage.

Darling’s numbers have been nearly identical: he’s also 25, went 5-2-0 and is a hair behind Raanta with a .937 save percentage. (He also has a lush beard, as you can see in this post’s main image).

Despite the demotion, Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville gave Darling a strong review to’s Tracey Myers.

“He’s made big strides every time he’s been in the net he’s been good for us. He’s been big, solid, really consistent,” Quenneville said. “He’s done a tremendous job for us.”

Crawford, 29, is to play sometime this coming weekend, according to Myers.