How much blame does Wild GM Chuck Fletcher deserve for Minnesota’s ongoing goaltending issues?
This is a team, after all, that ended the summer with three potential starters — one, Darcy Kuemper, who was short on experience; another, Niklas Backstrom, who hasn’t been consistently good in some time now; and a third, Josh Harding, who has serious health concerns.
Darren Helm and Elias Lindholm had a little battle in the third period of Thursday’s 5-1 Flames win and it has resulted in a $5,000 fine for the Red Wings forward.
It all began during a face-off when Lindholm got taken down by Helm. The Flames forward took exception and skated after Helm as the puck entered the Calgary zone. The tiff continued on with Lindholm throwing an elbow at Helm, who responded by getting up off the ice and slashing Lindholm in the back of the leg.
“Their guy comes with an elbow that should have probably been called right away,” said Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill. “Then Darren reacts to that as most guys would, you get an elbow to the face for no reason you’re going to react. We got to be more disciplined in those situations, but he slashed him. I don’t think the slash was that super-hard, but it sure looked hard the way he went down.”
The fine is the maximum amount allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Helm was given a major for slashing and a game misconduct, while Lindholm got off with just an interference minor. Lindholm was helped to the dressing room and there’s been no update yet on his condition.
With Thursday being the 20th anniversary of the opening of the arena, which featured a Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band concert back in 1999, the Kings wanted to do something special, so they went and shattered the previous record of 342, per the team.
“Yeah, I’m playing tonight. It’s been a long time. I’m very excited,” Kempny said. “There was a lot of hard days, especially from the beginning of the rehab, small steps make me happy. I think it’s part of rehab and all the bad is behind me and I’m just focusing now [on] today’s game.”
Kempny knows he won’t be logging heavy minutes just yet and wants to focus on getting back into the normal routine of a regular player. How his ice time is managed will be something his head coach has to worry about.
“We have a range we’d like to have him in and we’ll see how the game goes,” said Todd Reirden. “Obviously he’s fresh, he’s skating really well, he’s in unbelievable condition, so now it’s just to see how it transfers into game action and how his wind is and his conditioning.”
Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White was bit by the hockey bug after attending a Sabres game last season. He became a big fan of goaltender Carter Hutton, who he mistakenly called “Sutton” at first, and Tweeted out support for the team.
White tried to test the level of his Bills teammates’ hockey knowledge during this week’s episode of “Chill with the Bills.” It features White quizzing his teammates, who weren’t quite up to par. Though, Ed Oliver nailing the butterfly technique after failing at the rest of the test was quite the twist.
A “Louisiana hockey legend”, White was a “hockey All-American” and the “best player in Louisiana history” after not allowing a goal during his high school career, and he was an “inspiration” for Hutton, as the Bills documented earlier this month. White’s love of hockey was first promoted last December when the Bills created a video showcasing his goaltending abilities with a spoof ad for “The Tre’Davious White Goalie Academy of Louisiana at Buffalo.”
It’s quite good.
A Shreveport, La native, White’s hometown team, the Tier II junior Mudbugs, honored him last season during a February game.
Following back-to-back shutouts for Hutton this week and a 5-0-0 record to start the year, White surely has to be proud of his former goaltending protege.