Author: Mike Halford


Here are the two finalists for Kraft Hockeyville


Congrats are in order for the Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and the Decatur Civic Center in Decatur, Illinois — they’re the two finalists for this year’s Kraft Hockeyville contest.

War Memorial is perhaps best known as the home of the Johnstown Jets, the former minor-league team that inspired the iconic hockey movie “Slap Shot.” Over 70 players that’ve called War Memorial home have gone on to play in the NHL.

The Decatur Civic Center hosts both the “Tournament of Friends” — an annual event now in its 25th year — and the Decatur Flames youth hockey team; this year, the pee wee Flames won the Illinois state championship.

For more on the two finalist rinks and all the communities featured in this year’s event, click on Voting for the winner will open on Monday, Apr. 27.

Wings confirm ‘extremely important’ Glendening (hand) will play Game 5

Luke Glendening, Tyler Johnson

After getting knocked out of Game 4 with a hand laceration — a moment cited as a significant turning point — Detroit forward Luke Glendening will be back in the lineup for Game 5 in Tampa Bay on Saturday, the Red Wings confirmed.

Glendening, 25, has been an instrumental figure this series, scoring two goals in four games while averaging nearly 16 minutes per night. How important has he been? Well, several people said his departure on Thursday — he left with the Wings leading 2-0 — essentially turned the game on its head.

Just ask Wings head coach Mike Babcock (courtesy the Free Press):

Glendening went out of the game and everything unraveled. All three of Tampa Bay’s goals were scored by Tyler Johnson’s line, which Glendening’s line had shut out in Joe Louis Arena until that point.

“Obviously, it was the big play in the game,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said of losing Glendening. “I really felt we should be going on the power play there, but I can’t control those things. Obviously, getting his hand cut and missing the rest of the game, matchupwise, Johnson’s line got the next three goals.”

And if that doesn’t do it for you, ask Tampa Bay bench boss Jon Cooper:

Glendening has played fantastic in this series, which came as no surprise to Cooper.

“I’ve watched him in the minors,” Cooper said. “I’ve watched him play when they unfortunately beat us in the Calder Cup and he’s – I don’t know how to describe him. He’s an extremely responsible player, and there’s not a lot of guys out there like the Glendenings. He’s done a heck of a job on our guys.”

Cooper wasn’t done with his praise there, either.

“They lost a player that plays an extremely important role for them,” he explained. “You look back now and we came back to win the game, so it was potentially a huge factor.

“He’s a good player for them, so there’s no question that it had an effect.”

Chicago to start Darling in Game 6

Chicago Blackhawks v Nashville Predators - Game Five

There will not be another goalie switch from the Blackhawks — at least not for now.

On Friday, Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville confirmed he’d be sticking with Scott Darling as his No. 1 when the ‘Hawks host the Predators in Game 6 of their opening-round series on Saturday. Darling, who took over starting duties from Corey Crawford in Game 3, suffered his first playoff loss in Thursday’s 5-2 defeat in Nashville, and questions were asked if Darling would return to the ‘Hawks goal after allowing three goals in three minutes to start the third period.

That Q is sticking with Darling shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. He said the 26-year-old “did everything right,” last night, adding the performance was “fine.” That said, some that saw this as an opportunity to give the crease back to Crawford, who’s been the Blackhawks’ playoff starter for the majority of the last four years and backstopped them to the Stanley Cup in 2013.

Quenneville had previously left the door open for Crawford’s return.

“It’s not like he’s never going to play again,” Quenneville explained prior to Game 3, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “It’s not like he’s discarded off the team.

“He’s still a part of it, he’s a big part of it.”