Mike Halford

Corey Crawford
Getty Images

Goalie nods: Mrazek versus Crawford as Wings host Hawks on Rivalry Night

16 Comments

It should be a good night at Joe Louis.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks are in town, looking to write the latest chapter in their age-old rivalry with former Norris Division foe Detroit.

In goal, the battle should be fierce.

Corey Crawford, in the midst of an outstanding campaign, will get the nod for the ‘Hawks. He’s been very good in his last two outings — last Thursday, he stopped 29 of 31 shots in a 3-1 loss to the Preds and, on Sunday, stopped 28 of 30 in a big win over NHL-leading Washington.

The Red Wings will counter with Petr Mrazek.

Mrazek, who on Wednesday was named to the Czech Republic team for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, is also enjoying a banner season. He’s coming into tonight’s action having won two straight, which included a 5-3 victory over Colorado in Saturday’s outdoor game in Denver.

You can catch tonight’s game on NBCSN, starting at 8 p.m. ET.

Elsewhere…

Jonathan Bernier will be in goal for Toronto as the Leafs invade Washington. Philipp Grubauer will give Braden Holtby a night off in the Caps’ net.

— It’s Mike Condon versus John Gibson when the Habs take on the Ducks in Anaheim.

Lundqvist, Sedins highlight Sweden’s veteran-laden World Cup roster

8 Comments

Sweden will have plenty of experience on hand this fall at the World Cup of Hockey.

On Wednesdy, the Swedes unveiled their preliminary 16-man roster for the September tournament, a roster that features several seasoned NHL veterans like Henrik Lundqvist, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall.

Of that group, the 34-year-old Lundqvist is the youngest.

The Swedish roster:

G Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
G Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver Canucks

D Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes
D Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
D Niklas Hjalmarsson, Chicago Blackhawks
D Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
D Niklas Kronwall, Detroit Red Wings
D Anton Stralman, Tampa Bay Lightning

F Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals
F Loui Eriksson, Boston Bruins
F Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators
F Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche
F Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
F Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
F Alexander Steen, St. Louis Blues
F Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings

As far as “snubs” go, the biggest is probably Dallas blueliner John Klingberg. Klingberg, second only to Karlsson among Swedish d-men scorers this year (53 points in 65 games), wasn’t able to crack what is, admittedly, a pretty formidable top six.

Other notable omissions include Colorado’s Carl Soderberg, Ottawa’s Mika Zibanejad, Pittsburgh’s Patric Hornqvist, Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist, Washington’s Marcus Johansson, Carolina’s Victor Rask, Anaheim’s Rickard Rakell, Pittsburgh’s Carl Hagelin, Vancouver’s Alex Edler and Winnipeg’s Tobias Enstrom.

In goal, Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom beat out a host of competitors for the No. 2 gig behind Lundqvist. Jonas Gustavsson, Anders Nilsson, Jhonas Enroth and Eddie Lack — who used to play with Markstrom in Vancouver — were likely challengers for the spot.

Ottawa signs Gomez: one year, $575,000

Scott Gomez, Erik Gustafsson
Getty Images
6 Comments

The Ottawa Senators added some veteran center depth on Wednesday, signing Scott Gomez for the remainder of the season.

Gomez, 36, has split this year between St. Louis and, most recently, Washington’s AHL affiliate in Hershey. He had eight points in 21 games with the Blues and 24 points in 18 games with the Bears, apparently showing more than enough to land with yet another NHL club.

A veteran of over 1,000 NHL contests, Gomez has — on a few occasions — looked as though his playing career might be done, only to resurrect with a new team. Last year, he hung around New Jersey before signing a contract nearly halfway through the year, then went on to post an impressive 34 points in 58 games.

The Gomez signing makes sense for Ottawa as, earlier this week, the club announced that top center Kyle Turris had been shut down indefinitely with an ankle injury.

In last night’s shutout loss to the Blues, center duties were mostly handled by Mika Zibanejad, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Curtis Lazar and Zack Smith.

Panthers sign WHL sniper Hunt to entry-level deal

492859448
Getty Images
7 Comments

The Florida Panthers continued to stockpile young talent on Wednesday, announcing they’ve reached an agreement with WHL Moose Jaw scoring phenom Dryden Hunt.

Hunt, 20, went undrafted during his eligible years but has gained serious interest during a breakout ’15-16 campaign. Currently, he has a whopping 50 goals and 102 points through 63 games for the Warriors, sitting second in the Western League in both goals and points.

Hunt, who’d previously attended Carolina’s and Montreal’s prospect camps, is known for his dynamic shooting ability.

“He can shoot it quick. He can pull it in and disguise the release. But the one thing he does really well is he shoots it hard, whether it’s going to be quick or he is pulling it in to change the angle on the shot,” Moose Jaw head coach Tim Hunter said, per the Nelson Star. “He’s got an NHL shot for sure.

“Not many guys in the NHL shoot it as hard as he does, actually.”

Earlier this week, Florida inked ’14 second-rounder Jayce Hawryluk to an entry-level deal as well.

Horcoff returns to Ducks practice, regrets substance ban

skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on December 22, 2015 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Ducks 3-2 in overtime.
Getty Images
3 Comments

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Forward Shawn Horcoff has returned to practice with the Anaheim Ducks while serving his 20-game suspension for violating the terms of the NHL’s performance-enhancing substances program.

Horcoff practiced on Tuesday, the first day he was eligible to come back. His suspension lasts until March 11.

Horcoff says he regrets taking an unspecified substance to deal with a hand injury in November. He says he didn’t know the treatment was banned by the league, but took responsibility for his error.

Horcoff has six goals and four assists in 45 games during his first season with the Ducks. He will lose nearly $360,000 in salary during the suspension.

The Ducks have been on a spectacular run in Horcoff’s absence, going 13-1-1 with an eight-game winning streak.