Author: James O'Brien

Calvin Pickard

Avs ultimately plan on sending Pickard back to AHL


The Colorado Avalanche plan on keeping Calvin Pickard around through the Christmas holiday, but eventually he’ll return to the AHL, the Denver Post reports.

The logic seems understandable enough: Semyon Varlamov returned (and shut out the St. Louis Blues) and will likely get the vast majority of starts, so why not let Pickard get extra seasoning at the AHL level rather than planting him to the bench?

Pickard, 22, seems to get it.

“Varly’s the No. 1 guy here,” Pickard said. “He’s healthy now, and he deserves to play because he’s a world-class goalie and he was one of the reasons why they were so good last year. He looks ready and very good in practice.”

One cannot help but wonder if Colorado might want to consider giving both goalies some reps, at least while Pickard’s on such a roll.

Even with last night’s shutout, Varlamov’s 2014-15 stats aren’t as impressive as what Pickard has generated (all of which are in small samples, mind you). Check out Colorado’s goalie stats so far:

Pickard: 6-5-2, .939 save percentage, 2.06 GAA

Varlamov: 5-6-5. .913 save percentage, 3.01 GAA and two shutouts

Reto Berra: 2-2-1, .882 save percentage, 3.57 GAA

Would the Avalanche be better off rotation starts, or even simply having a goalie on top of his game in Pickard (rather than someone who seems pretty cold at the moment in Berra)? Perhaps, but this is clearly still Varlamov’s team.

Sabres aren’t happy with league’s decision regarding Bartkowski

Matt Bartkowski, Marcus Foligno, Brian Gionta

The Buffalo Sabres have to move on from the league’s decision not to suspend Matt Bartkowski for his hit on Brian Gionta, but that doesn’t mean they have to like it.

The team vented to the Buffalo News regarding the lack of supplemental discipline for the Boston Bruins defenseman.

“It’s never a good thing to see,” Sabres blueliner Josh Gorges said. “You never want to see anybody get hurt, and hopefully he’s not out too long. I’m not really sure how that’s handled. It was a five-minute penalty, major and a game. I thought it was supposed to be an automatic hearing and review. But they make their decisions and we live with it.”

Sabres head coach Ted Nolan almost seems to wonder if there’s something wrong with the culture of the sport.

“Sometimes, unfortunately, some of your players put themselves in vulnerable positions,” Nolan said. “Does that give you the green light to hit them in that position? Sometimes the sportsmanship should come out but, once in a while, that doesn’t seem to be the fact anymore.”

Here’s video of the hit:

Bartkowski received a game misconduct for his actions. The Sabres told the Buffalo News that Gionta has an upper-body injury, yet they don’t believe that it’s a concussion.

PHT Morning Skate: Yay or nay on ‘Lord of the Rings’ jersey?


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.

A look at the “star-making” season for Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson. (The Hockey News)

Donald Duck, Goofy and hockey. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

From the ECHL team who brought you those “Seinfeld”-inspired “puffy shirt” jerseys, the Bakersfield Condors present a “Lord of the Rings” jersey. It’s … a lot to take in.

(Technically one might say it’s also inspired by the “Hobbit” trilogy.)





Read more about the promotion here.

Watch Nationals Park transform in preparation for the 2015 Winter Classic:

Want a little more video this morning? Check out this interesting bit on the maturation of Gabriel Landeskog: