Author: Mike Halford

Jonas Hiller

After hook versus Canucks, Hartley says ‘no question’ Hiller starts against Ducks


Calgary goalie Jonas Hiller said he wants “nothing more” than to show his former team “made a mistake” in getting rid of him.

And now, the Flames will oblige.

On Monday, head coach Bob Hartley confirmed that Hiller would be the Game 1 starter when the Flames open their second round series against Anaheim — the team that Hiller spent the first seven years of his NHL career with, before being allowed to walk last summer in free agency.

The questions about Hiller’s starting status came after Calgary’s series-clinching win over Vancouver in Game 6. The Swiss ‘tender was hooked after allowing two goals on three shots in the first eight minutes of action, and Karri Ramo played very well in relief, stopping 17 of 19 shots.

(Hartley later said he apologized to Hiller for the hook in front of the entire Flames team.)

Game 6 wasn’t Ramo’s only action of the series. The Finn also got a brief appearance in a Game 2 loss in Vancouver, making a pair of stops in just under five minutes of action.

The Flames employed a goalie timeshare this season, with Hiller starting 44 games to Ramo’s 32 (Joni Ortio got six.) That’s another reason why Hartley was asked about his starter for the Anaheim series; while he made a pretty definitive statement that Hiller is the No. 1, he also acknowledged he’s more than willing to turn to Ramo if need be.

“I’m very conformable with both goalies,” he said.

Voracek to captain host Czech team at Worlds

Pittsburgh Penguins v Philadelphia Flyers

Flyers forward Jakub Voracek has netted himself a fairly big honor, as he’ll captain the Czech team at the upcoming World Hockey Championships in Prague.

This tournament is of great significance in Voracek’s native land. The Czech Republic hasn’t hosted the Worlds in 11 years — Prague and Ostrava shared duties in 2004 — and the country hasn’t medaled since capturing bronze in 2012.

To put even more significance on the “C,” do consider Voracek received the captaincy ahead of future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr, who came out of international retirement to play for the Czechs in this tourney.

The sweater letter is well deserved. Voracek is coming off the best season of his seven-year NHL career with a career-high 81 points in 82 games, finishing tied with Alex Ovechkin for fourth in the league in scoring.

Back to Crow: ‘Hawks announce Crawford will start Wild series


The Chicago Blackhawks have made a goaltending change.


On Monday, head coach Joel Quenneville announced that Corey Crawford would be the Game 1 starter when Chicago opens its second-round series against the Wild. The development comes after a tumultuous series against Nashville, in which Crawford opened as the starter, lost his gig to backup Scott Darling, then reclaimed the No. 1 job in the deciding Game 6 — after Darling was yanked following three goals allowed on 12 shots.

“It’s his net,” Quenneville said of Crawford, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “Let’s go.”

Part of Q’s decision to go back to Crawford could stem from last year’s second-round win over Minnesota, in which the veteran netminder played very well. Crawford stopped 150 of 162 shots faced in the six-game victory — a solid .926 save percentage — and was at his very best in the final two games, allowing just two goals on 67 shots (Chicago won both by 2-1 scores.)

It’s also possible some of Darling’s weaknesses were exposed as the Nashville series progressed. While he started brilliantly, stopping 127 of 131 shots, Darling proceeded to allow seven goals on 40 shots over his final two appearances.