Tag: Mike Smith

Matt Hackett

Goalie nods: Hackett goes for Sabres in McEichel Derby


All the latest from the blue paint…

No Lindback for Buffalo

The NHL’s two worst teams — standings-wise, anyway — will do battle tonight when the Sabres host the Coyotes in Buffalo, and Buffalo will start little-used Matthew Hackett in net ahead of Anders Lindback, who’s been quite solid of late.

Hackett, 25, is 0-3-0 this year with a .893 save percentage and 4.34 GAA. He’s spent the majority of the season AHL Rochester, but was summoned to the Sabres after Chad Johnson went down to injury almost immediately after being acquired via trade.

In hist last outing, a 3-0 loss to Nashville, Hackett allowed three goals on 43 shots, good for a .930 save percentage.

For the Coyotes, Mike Smith will get the start in goal. Smith’s turnaround after a dreadful start has been one of the few bright spots in Arizona this season, and is worth mentioning — the veteran has been very good in nine games this month, allowing just 21 goals on 326 shots for a .936 save percentage.


Anaheim at Boston: Frederik Andersen vs. Tuukka Rask (probable)

Kings at Isles: Jonathan Quick (probable) vs. Jaroslav Halak

Devils at Caps: Cory Schneider vs. Braden Holtby

Pens at ‘Canes: Marc-Andre Fleury vs. Cam Ward

Preds at Bolts: Pekka Rinne (probable) vs. Ben Bishop

Sharks at Wings: Antti Niemi vs. Jimmy Howard

Rangers at Sens: Cam Talbot vs. Andrew Hammond

Panthers at Leafs: Roberto Luongo vs. Jonathan Bernier

Habs at Jets: Dustin Tokarski vs. Ondrej Pavelec

Avs at Canucks: Semyon Varlamov vs. (No Vancouver starter yet.)

Goalie nods: Price versus Rinne in potential Vezina showdown

Carey Price,

All the latest from the blue paint…

Elite battle at Bridgestone

Two goalies most have penciled in as Vezina candidates will square off tonight in Nashville when Carey Price and the Habs take on Pekka Rinne and the Preds.

Price, widely considered to be the Vezina favorite, has been nothing short of brilliant all season long and heads into tonight’s action leading the NHL in wins (40), save percentage (.938), GAA (1.86) and shutouts (nine). The 27-year-old’s dominance has led to serious discussion about Hart Trophy consideration as league MVP.

Rinne, meanwhile, has been solid as well. He’s second to Price in both GAA (2.09) and wins (38), sitting fifth overall in save percentage (.927). What’s interesting about the two, however, is that Price has never been named a Vezina finalist over the course of his seven-year career; Rinne, who’s in his ninth NHL campaign, has been a finalist twice and fell just short of capturing the Vezina in 2011, when he finished a few votes shy of eventual winner Tim Thomas.

So with Price and Rinne likely to both be finalists this year, the conversation turns to who’ll be the third nominee. Right now, it seems like a three-horse race between New Jersey’s Cory Schneider, Washington’s Braden Holtby and Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk.


Wild at Isles: Devan Dubnyk vs. Jaroslav Halak

Kings at Rangers: Jonathan Quick (probable) vs. Cam Talbot

Blues at Pens: Jake Allen vs. Marc-Andre Fleury

Ducks at Jackets: John Gibson vs. Sergei Bobrovsky

Coyotes at Wings: Mike Smith vs. Jimmy Howard

Panthers at Bolts: Roberto Luongo vs. Andrei Vasilevskiy

Jets at Canucks: Michael Hutchinson vs. Eddie Lack

Coyotes grant Burke permission to interview for management gigs

Colorado Avalanche v Phoenix Coyotes

An intriguing name has surfaced with regards to potential NHL job openings: Sean Burke.

Burke, the goaltending coach and assistant to GM Don Maloney in Arizona, has been granted permission by the club to speak about management gigs with other organizations, per Fox Sports Arizona.

“I haven’t wanted to say much about it and I haven’t gone down the path to doing interviews yet,” Burke said, noting that he’s already spoken to a number of teams. “I really thought that was something that should wait until the season is over.”

Burke’s versatility will make him a hot commodity on the open market. A former player, he’s has knowledge of and contacts throughout the league, having suited up for eight different organizations over a 19-year career. He’s also held in high regard as a coach, viewed as something of a “goalie whisperer” after reviving the careers of Ilya Bryzgalov, Mike Smith and Devan Dubnyk.

Burke has plenty of hockey operations experience as well. He’s worked under Maloney since 2012 and recently served as part of Hockey Canada’s management team for the 2015 World Juniors in Montreal and Toronto.

Per Fox Sports, it’s “unlikely” that Burke — who’s in the final year of his deal with the Coyotes — will be back with the club next season. It’s clear he wants to be in a full-time management role.

“I wanted to manage from the moment I retired,” he said. “Coaching is good because it gives you an additional avenue of experience, being in that dressing room every day, but when you stay in that role too long, it becomes more difficult to get where you want to go.”

The Penguins ‘finally got a bounce’ this weekend

Pittsburgh Penguins v Arizona Coyotes

Granted the opponent was only the Coyotes, but Saturday’s 3-1 victory by the Pittsburgh Penguins was a welcome one for a team that had spent much of last week in the cross-hairs of its critics.

Case in point, this is how Ron Cook, columnist at the Post-Gazette, led his most recent piece:

“So what was more surprising Saturday night? That the Penguins actually scored three goals and won a game against the lousy Arizona Coyotes? Or that they didn’t whine to the referees over every call and no-call?”

Can’t score.

No composure.

Those have been the two major criticisms lobbed at the Penguins, summed up in one paragraph by Cook. Neither criticism is particularly unfair, given the Pens haven’t been scoring very many goals and showed a decided lack of composure in a recent game versus the Red Wings.

But that’s not to say the Pens have been playing altogether terrible hockey. The four-game losing streak, the one in which they were outscored 11-2, actually saw them outshoot their opponents by a combined 140-100.

And with the caveat that there’s more to winning than a good Corsi (ask the 2014-15 Kings), it’s still worth noting that, in their last 20 games, the Penguins have the second-best score-adjusted Corsi in the league. In a good number of their losses during that stretch (10-8-2), the opposition goalie was named first or second star.

Evidence of Pittsburgh’s frustration? Here’s what captain Sidney Crosby said of the tying goal versus the Coyotes, one that Arizona goalie Mike Smith mistakenly banked off Brandon Sutter and into the net: “We finally got a bounce.”

Not that Crosby was willing to let his team off the hook in previous losses. (“[Cory Schneider] did make good saves when he had to, but we could have given him more,” he said after a 35-shot shutout loss to New Jersey.) But he clearly felt the bounces weren’t going the Pens’ way.

The Penguins have the day off today. They host the Blues tomorrow in what will be one of their toughest tests before the playoffs start.

“St. Louis is a top team in the West,” said coach Mike Johnston. “We had a good game against them out there. Now it’s coming in against them against a top team and really bringing our game to that level.”

Goalie nods: Markstrom tries to get on track

Jacob Markstrom
1 Comment

All the latest from the blue paint …

Markstrom hopes to make his … well, mark

There was a time when Jacob Markstrom seemed like the goalie of the future for the Florida Panthers. He was once regularly labeled as “the best goalie not in the NHL” (or at least the best goalie in the AHL).

Those thoughts feel a little distant for a netminder who is still only 25.

One thought that Ryan Miller’s injury might give Markstrom another opportunity to redeem himself, but Eddie Lack’s been so solid that his opportunities have been few and far between. Sunday stands as a big moment in the big Swede’s career, then.

On the bright side, he’s remained an impressive goalie at the AHL level. He’s currently 19-7-2 with a .932 save percentage for the Utica Comets, doing about all that can be asked of him in that regard.

These are the type of games that can make an impression one way or the other, however, so he aims for a strong showing against Mike Smith and the Arizona Coyotes.

As a bonus for those who kept reading, here’s a really random photo of Markstrom:

Jacob Markstrom
Source: AP

Almost feel like we’re seeing a hockey game from the perspective of HAL, huh?

Elsewhere …

Bruins at Lightning: Tuukka Rask (probably) vs. Ben Bishop (almost certain).

Ducks at Rangers: Expected to be Frederik Andersen vs. Cam Talbot, yet neither are confirmed.