Tag: Minnesota Wild

Masterton nominees include Doan, Darling and Dubnyk


The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded to the player that “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication.” It was awarded last year to Rangers forward Dominic Moore, who lost his wife, Katie, to cancer in January of 2013.

This year’s 30 nominees (one for each team) can be found here at the website of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Nominees include Arizona’s Shane Doan, whose bout with Rocky Mountain spotted fever was well-documented; Chicago’s Scott Darling, who started his pro career with the Louisiana IceGators of the Southern Professional Hockey League; and Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk, whose NHL career has been resurrected in a most remarkable way this season.

Here’s video of Moore from June:

Zucker cleared for full practice, could return to Wild before end of season

Tampa Bay Lightning v Minnesota Wild

Minnesota could get a key lineup piece back before the playoffs.

Jason Zucker, who’s been out with a broken collarbone since early February, has been cleared to practice fully and could draw back in for some games prior to the end of the regular season, per the Star-Tribune.

If it happens, it’ll be a rather speedy recovery.

When news broke of Zucker’s injury on Feb. 10, he was expected to miss three months while recovering. But he was back on ice four weeks after sustaining the break and, should he play prior to the end of the regular season (Minnesota’s last game is on Apr. 11), Zucker will have been sidelined for just two months.

(Which bodes well for Patrick Kane’s return in Chicago. Just saying.)

Getting Zucker back would be key for the Wild. He was second to Zach Parise in goals at the time of his injury (18 to Parise’s 21) and was the team’s leading sniper at even strength. Wild head coach Mike Yeo praised Zucker’s maturation as a player this season, saying the 23-year-old’s progress “was so high this year.”

What are the Oilers going to do about their goaltending?

Ben Scrivens

Given the unpredictable nature of goaltending — a notion we’ve been hammering home all season — it seems a bit unfair to bring up something Craig MacTavish said a year ago and hold it against the Oilers’ general manager.

But here’s the quote anyway, made after the Oilers had 1) signed Ben Scrivens to a two-year contract extension and 2) acquired Viktor Fasth from Anaheim:

“I think anyone who tells you they’re sure about the performance of their goaltenders based on a relatively small sample size, is not likely accurate. But we have two really good options next year and it will be a competitive position, as it always is. When I was driving into the office today, I thought that if we could stabilize our goaltending for next year and check that box off, that was my objective going in.”

Yada, yada, yada, based on their team save percentage of .888, the Oilers have had the NHL’s worst goaltending this season.

That’s right — instead of improving, it’s actually gotten quite a bit worse. Out of 44 goalies that have played regularly this season, Scrivens (.893) and Fasth (.888) rank 42nd and 44th in save percentage, respectively.

Now, two things:

1. The Oilers have defensive deficiencies, no doubt about it. How much that impacts a goalie’s save percentage is up for debate, but there’s sure good reason to believe it doesn’t help.

2. MacTavish wasn’t the only one who thought he’d stabilized the position. And he did acknowledge the unpredictability of goaltending with his “relatively small sample size” disclaimer.

Neither of those things changes the fact the position remains a problem, and how the Oilers try to solve the problem will be interesting to watch. Scrivens has one year left on his contract, after which he can become an unrestricted free agent. Fasth can become unrestricted this summer. There’s no obvious option in the AHL; 22-year-old Laurent Brossoit is developing nicely, but he’s still just a prospect.

So, assuming Fasth isn’t back, the Oilers will need to go out and get a goalie.

One name that’s been bandied about is Kings backup Martin Jones. Of course, the risk there is his limited body of work in the NHL, just like it was with Scrivens and Fasth.

Instead of going the “promising backup playing behind an entrenched starter” route (Cam Talbot and Antti Raanta fall in that category as well), it may behoove the Oilers to acquire a more experienced netminder, similar to what the Canucks were thinking when they brought Ryan Miller aboard last summer.

So, would Antti Niemi be worth talking to when he becomes a UFA this summer? He’s not the most exciting option, but there’s something to be said for consistency:


Or, if not a free agent, might the Oilers be able to pry Eddie Lack out of Vancouver? It’s unlikely the Canucks will be able to keep Miller, Lack and Jacob Markstrom past this season.

Unfortunately for MacTavish, there just isn’t a glaringly obvious candidate for him to pursue. Not one that we can think of anyway.

In a cruel twist for Oilers fans, the most sought-after UFA goalie this summer will probably be — yep, you guessed it — Devan Dubnyk.

Related: ‘Amazing how quickly we regained our confidence’ with Dubnyk, says Wild GM

No supplemental discipline for Bollig after boarding Jackman

Philadelphia Flyers v Calgary Flames

Calgary’s Brandon Bollig won’t face any disciplinary hearing for his hit on St. Louis defenseman Barret Jackman Thursday night, an NHL spokesman has confirmed.

Here’s the incident in question. Bollig was given a five-minute boarding major and game misconduct:

Jackman left the game momentarily but did return, and finished with over 17 minutes of ice time.

The Department of Player Safety opted not to further punish Bollig despite his history as a repeat offender; during last year’s playoffs, he was suspended two games for boarding Minnesota Wild defenseman Keith Ballard.

PHT Morning Skate: Ovechkin says if he could choose another place to play, it’d be Montreal

Alex Ovechkin

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Alex Ovechkin says if he wasn’t playing for the Washington Capitals, his preferred team would be the Montreal Canadiens. Ovechkin said he likes the atmosphere and culture in the city of Montreal. (ESPN.com)

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Anaheim Ducks players read harsh tweets:

Former Montreal Expo Vladimir Guerrero got a warm reception during the Montreal Canadiens game on Thursday night.

Actor and Boston Bruins’ fan Denis Leary is producing an eight-episode sitcom called “Benders”, which focuses on an amateur hockey team. (A.V. Club)

Matt Dumba recently ventured into Minnesota’s Mall of America to talk hockey with shoppers. The Wild’s rookie defenseman went predominantly unrecognized as he talked to shoppers about the local hockey team.

A linesman in the KHL suffered a brutal leg injury after a player was hit into his leg. The injury occurred during Ak Bars 1-0 overtime win against Sibir in KHL playoff action on Thursday.