Tag: Milan Michalek

Craig Anderson

Sens’ Anderson leaves game after colliding with teammate Michalek


Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson was able to fight through the unlikely placement of a Shea Weber shot on Monday, but ultimately a collision with teammate Milan Michalek forced him out of tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators.

It stands as a tough game for Ottawa, as another Weber shot left Cody Ceci sidelined with a laceration behind his ear.

There is a bright side for the Senators, at least as of this writing. After trailing 3-0 heading into the third period, they’ve tied things up 3-3 following quite the rally. We’ll see if they end up getting a point or even a win after a bruising evening.

Update: The Predators won 4-3, but it came in OT, so Ottawa gets a point. Impressively, both Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky maintained their torrid paces with three-point nights.

Sens GM shoots down Spezza trade rumors


Bryan Murray has quieted the Jason Spezza rumblings.

“I think the thing that really bothers me — I’ve got all kinds of calls and texts and questions on that now — some guy that I don’t know, put it out on Twitter that we’re shopping Jason Spezza, and everybody in the world now, every other media guy, grabs that and goes … I had one guy ask me if I wanted to comment to quiet the rumors, I said no,” Murray explained, per the Ottawa Citizen.

“I’m not going to … the more I say about it, the more it’s going to be played over and over the next couple days, so I’ll just say that we have not talked, at this point in time, about Jason Spezza.”

Murray was speaking in response to a variety of reports — including one from TSN’s Darren Dreger — which suggested Ottawa had been exploring interest in the 30-year-old.

Spezza, who inherited the Sens’ captaincy from Daniel Alfredsson this year, has rebounded from an injury-plagued ’13 campaign to post solid numbers (15 goals, 46 points in 56 games.) He’d be a significant offensive pickup for any playoff-bound team but, that said, his minus-24 rating is one of the worst in the league — assuming you care about plus-minus.

Spezza deal or no Spezza deal, Ottawa is definitely a team to watch as Wednesday’s deadline draws near. Veteran d-man Chris Phillips is a pending UFA and there hasn’t been much to report about a new contract, while fellow veteran UFAs Milan Michalek and Joe Corvo have uncertain futures as well.

It’s also still unclear what the Sens plan to do at the deadline — they’re right in the thick of the playoff chase, but would have to leapfrog three teams just to get into the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Olympic playoff preview: Czechs and Slovaks put star power on display


The Game: No. 7 Czech Republic vs. No. 10 Slovakia. Tuesday, 12 p.m. ET at Shayba Arena.

How they got here: The Czechs had a dysfunctional opening round, winning just one in three tries amidst questionable player selection (see here), illness (see here and here) and a curious distribution of ice time (see here). But for as dysfunctional as the Czechs were, the Slovaks were equally disappointing — hammered 7-1 by the U.S. in the opener, then stunned by minnows Slovenia in their second game. Slovakia did manage to save face with a good effort against Russia in the finale, losing 1-0 in a shootout.

Who’s hot: Marek Zidlicky has been a major bright spot for the Czechs. He’s playing staggering minutes (26:28 TOI per game) and leads the team in points, with three. Zidlicky also shares the team goalscoring lead with Jaromir Jagr (two).

For the Slovaks, it’s goalie Jan Laco. Laco’s story is pretty neat — he came into the tournament as Slovakia’s No. 3 netminder, behind St. Louis’ Jaroslav Halak and Montreal’s Peter Budaj. But after Halak and Budaj (Halak especially) played poorly in the opening two games, head coach Vladimir Vujtek made the bold decision to play Laco, who didn’t even dress in the first two contests, against Russia in the final group affair.

Laco responded by stopping all 36 shots faced in regulation and overtime, before losing in the shootout. He’ll reportedly start against the Czechs.

Who’s not: Take your pick, really. There are a number of underachievers from both sides, but we’ll focus on a pair of forwards. For the Slovaks, Marian Hossa has worked extremely hard but has no goals and just one assist to show for it. For the Czechs, former 35-goal man Milan Michalek has been invisible, going pointless over three games while averaging a little over 12 minutes a night.

X-Factor: Star power. Mentioned in the headline, but it bears repeating — of the four opening playoff games, Czech Republic-Slovakia boasts significantly more NHLers that the rest, with some true stars in play. This is a key factor in single elimination games. The Slovaks haven’t been good defensively this tournament, but couldn’t that change in one night by, say, playing Chara close to 30 minutes?

Hemsky not pleased with minimal ice time vs. Sweden


To say Ales Hemsky wanted a better start to his Sochi Olympic experience is an understatement.

The Edmonton forward was benched for the entire first period of Czech Republic’s 4-2 loss to Sweden on Wednesday, and finished with less than seven minutes of ice time. Following the game, Hemsky tried to put the situation in perspective.

“It’s hard if you don’t play the first half of the game,” Hemsky said, per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. “I’m not used to it. I didn’t sit like that for how many years, but it is what it is.

“I just tried to get back and just get my legs going.”

As mentioned, Hemsky didn’t play at all in the first period. He then received 1:23 in the second period and 5:35 in the third, which included some power play time — something of a curious decision, as Czech head coach Alois Hadamczik opted to put Hemsky, the forward he used the least through two periods, on a crucial man advantage with his team trying to mount a comeback.

Hemsky, 30, has struggled with injuries this season and missed seven games in January with an ankle issue, so it’s possible he wasn’t at 100 percent heading into this game (also, starting goalie Jakub Kovar said a few Czech players had fallen ill). But he wasn’t the only NHL forward that saw limited ice — Ottawa’s Milan Michalek got just 6:46 while Winnipeg’s Michael Frolik played 9:44.

Hemsky’s former Edmonton teammate, defenseman Ladislav Smid, spent the entire game on the bench.

Related: What’s going on with Pavelec and the Czech Olympic team?

Czech comeback falls short, Sweden wins Olympic opener 4-2


A four-goal hole proved too much for the Czech Republic to dig out of on Wednesday, as it dropped a 4-2 decision to Sweden in the tournament opener for both teams.

The Swedes scored four times in the game’s first 21 minutes and withstood a spirited Czech reply to earn all three points. Tre Kronor’s dynamic defensive pair of Erik Karlsson and Oliver Ekman-Larsson led the way, combining for four points — two goals from Karlsson, two assists from Ekman-Larsson — while team captain Henrik Zetterberg scored what proved to be the game-winner just 51 seconds into the second period.

Marek Zidlicky and Jaromir Jagr replied for the Czechs, while Patrik Berglund scored the other Swedish goal.

The Czechs, widely criticized for roster selections heading into Sochi, made a series of head-scratching decisions prior to today’s game that left many wondering how much it affected the outcome. Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec didn’t start — heck, he didn’t even dress — as the Czechs opted to go with KHL netminder Jakub Kovar, who was hooked after allowing three goals on 10 shots.

Kovar was replaced by Alexander Salak, who played well in stopping 14 of 15 shots faced.

In other eyebrow-raising choices, the Czechs scratched Phoenix center Martin Hanzal from the lineup and distributed ice time in bizarre fashion. Forward Ales Hemsky and Ladislav Smid didn’t play a single shift in the opening frame — Smid ended up with zero ice time, Hemsky finished with just 6:58. Ottawa forward Milan Michalek was also sparsely used, getting just 6:46 TOI.

That said, the Czechs did turn it on after falling behind 4-0. The team threw several shots towards Lundqvist in the final frame, but the Swedish netminder stood tall, stopping all 17 shots faced in the third. Lundqvist finished with 27 saves on 29 shots overall.

Notes: Sweden was the only team to capitalize on the man advantage, as Karlsson’s second goal of the game came on the power play… Zidlicky played the most of any player, earning 26:56 TOI… Alex Steen led all Swedish skaters with 19:27.