Author: Joe Yerdon

Claude Giroux

NHL on NBCSN: Hurting Red Wings host Flyers on Rivalry Night


NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the Detroit Red Wings host the Philadelphia Flyers at Joe Louis Arena at 8:00 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

All of a sudden, things have become bleak for the Detroit Red Wings.

Pavel Datsyuk was already out after being elbowed in the head by Ottawa Senators defenseman Jared Cowen and now they’re without captain Henrik Zetterberg due to a back injury that’ll have him on the shelf for at least a couple weeks.

With other starters like Danny DeKeyser and Todd Bertuzzi banged up as well, it’d be easy for the Red Wings to sit around and feel bad about themselves. Instead, they head into their game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday riding a four-game winning streak, as well as five of their last six, and sitting just three points back of Boston for the Atlantic Division lead.

Getting them through the tough times are a handful of guys you may not have expected. Goalie Jonas Gustavsson has played exceptionally this season including winning three of the last four games. That fourth win was a shutout from Jimmy Howard. Sometimes things just work out like that.

Forwards Darren Helm, Daniel Alfredsson, and recent AHL recall Gustav Nyquist have picked up the offensive slack with Helm and Nyquist turning into goal-scorers. Helm has seven goals in 14 games and Nyquist has four goals in the six games he’s played this season. Now that he’s not heading back to the minors, getting Nyquist back in as injury disaster struck has turned into a god-send.

With everything coming up roses at the moment, you wonder when fortune might start going against the Red Wings. If you’re a believer in karma, perhaps their play is making up for the injuries to their two superstars.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $2,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $400. Starts Wednesday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

As for the Flyers, we got a look at them on Monday night during their 2-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild. Philly had been on a roll previous to that loss as they’ve turned their season around since the brutal start that cost Peter Laviolette his job and ushered in Craig Berube.

That loss to Minnesota saw Ray Emery wind up the fall-guy in goal meaning Steve Mason likely gets the call tonight. We discussed Mason’s numbers this season back on Monday and they’ll need him to stand tall to keep the Wings at bay.

With Claude Giroux getting his groove back, things should be looking up for the Flyers. Of course, things don’t always go as planned. Vincent Lecavalier missed Monday’s game due to an issue with a back spasms. With him leading the team in goals, you can understand a bit better why they were shutout.

Now that these two teams are Eastern Conference foes, revisiting what made them rivals for at least one postseason back in 1997 makes it seem like doubly ancient history. It also means having to see this highlight a couple more times a year.

PHT Morning Skate: Alain Vigneault’s calming influence in New York

Alain Vigneault

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.

Apparently Alain Vigneault has a “calming influence” on the Rangers. Switching from John Tortorella to just about anyone would have that effect, right? (Winnipeg Free Press)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $2,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $400. Starts Wednesday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Yes, your team could have Florida’s Dmitry Kulikov and probably very easily, too. (TSN)

The Sharks have quite a few big name players who need new deals this summer. (ESPN)

Pat LaFontaine’s search for a new GM may lead to him hiring someone who has never held the position before. Don’t worry Sabres fans, that’s not as scary as it sounds. (The Score)

The Toronto Maple Leafs have an especially brutal schedule in December that the gang at Pension Plan Puppets are calling “Badvent.” Just think of an Advent calendar that gives you poison each day instead of chocolate. (PPP)

You won’t believe it, but Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien doesn’t particularly like the Montreal Canadiens. (

Karl Alzner says the Capitals took the Carolina Hurricanes “way too lightly.” (

Here are your 2014 Sochi Olympic hockey officials

Tim Peel

While we’ll be waiting until January to see who will be playing for gold in Sochi, we know now who will be wearing the stripes during the Olympic hockey tournament.

The International Ice Hockey Federation announced the names of the referees and linesmen who’ll handle the tournament. The NHL is well represented with seven referees and six linesmen getting the call amongst the 28 total officials (14 referees and linesmen each).

Among the referees, NHLers Dave Jackson, Mike Leggo, Brad Meier, Tim Peel (pictured), Kevin Pollock, Kelly Sutherland, and Ian Walsh are headed to Sochi. Sweden’s Marcus Vinnerborg, a one-time NHL referee, is also headed to Sochi.

As for the linesmen it’ll be Derek Amel, Lonnie Cameron, Greg Devorski, Brad Kovachik, Andy McElman, and Jesse Wilmot represent the league.

Now fans know which guys they can really get on should their country come up short because of a bad penalty. Like that would hold them back anyhow.

For what it’s worth, none of these officials got the call to do the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.