Author: Joe Yerdon

Anton Stralman

Rangers lose Stralman to injury, recall Allen from minors


The last thing the New York Rangers needed was an injury on the blue line, but that’s just what they’ve got.

Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman was hurt in their 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Friday and will miss some time as Blueshirts United shares.

“They don’t think it’s anything serious at this time, but we’ll know more (Saturday),” Vigneault said.

The Rangers didn’t disclose what Stralman’s injury was. To take his place, they called up rookie Conor Allen from AHL Hartford.

Stralman has become one of the team’s top-four defensemen alongside regulars Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, and Marc Staal. He has no goals and four assists this season. Given the Rangers’ struggles this season, losing a player that averages nearly 20 minutes of ice time per game won’t help.

Carlyle not focused on Winter Classic

Randy Carlyle
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It would be easy for Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle to get caught looking ahead.

The 2014 Winter Classic has enough buzz attached to it to keep anyone distracted, but Carlyle says he’s got other things to worry about ahead of the January 1 game as Neal Davidson of The Canadian Press shares.

“We’ll get to it,” Carlyle said Friday of the outdoor game. “There’s been so much gone on in the month of December – the number of games that we’ve played, the number of roster changes, the number of bodies that we’ve had in and out, the turmoil, lack of success. All those things have gone on here and we’ve tried to put that to the side and just try to focus on the positives. There’s been some positives that we’re trying to build on with our group and hopefully we can carry that forward.”

Throw all that in and their 4-3 shootout win over the Buffalo Sabres last night as well as their game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday and you’ve got plenty of reasons for Carlyle to have his head everywhere else other than thinking about playing outdoors.

Of course, with the HBO cameras following them around everywhere he can’t really escape the inevitability of the Winter Classic.

PHT’s Top 13 of ’13: Harding thrives in face of adversity

Josh Harding

In November of last year, Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a chronic disease that can disable the central nervous system of the body causing mild symptoms like numbness in the extremities or severe ones such as paralysis or loss of vision.

Despite being handed such a devastating diagnosis at a young age, the 29-year-old Harding is fighting through it, inspiring sports fans and fellow sufferers of the disease at the same time.

In his first start following his diagnosis, he shut out the Dallas Stars. While he suffered a pair of setbacks while undergoing treatment, including a stint that kept him out for nearly three months, he returned in late April.

His return came just in time to start in the playoffs against the Chicago Blackhawks in place of injured starter Niklas Backstrom. The Wild lost in five games to the ‘Hawks, but Harding built off that experience in a big way.

Overcoming MS to play at all helped earn Harding the 2013 Masterton Trophy for perseverance. He followed that up with the creation of a charity, Harding’s Hope, to help those with the disease.

And he didn’t stop there; his play to start the current season has people thinking he could win a different award: the Vezina Trophy.

With Backstrom again dealing with injuries to start the 2013-14 campaign, Harding seized his opportunity to play and has dazzled throughout the year, going 18-5-3 with a league-leading 1.55 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage.

The Wild are challenging for a playoff spot in the incredibly difficult Western Conference and have Harding to thank for a lot of their success.

Dealing with MS has its pitfalls, however, because it never goes away. He was put on injured reserve on Dec. 19 to undergo a change in treatment of the disease. Wild GM Chuck Fletcher says it’s not a major situation, but it’s a reason to be concerned nonetheless.

Dealing with an incurable disease like MS is difficult regardless of a person’s situation. Watching Harding excel through it all has been incredible to witness.