Tag:Brian Stubits
Posted on: March 5, 2012 8:07 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 8:21 pm
 

Bruins sign Marty Turco after Rask injury

Turco spent 2010-11 in Chicago. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

Not even an hour after the Boston Bruins announced that backup goaltender Tuukka Rask was going to miss the next 4-6 weeks with an abdomen strain/groin strain, they found their new (and temporary) backup by signing veteran Marty Turco.

Turco, who most recently played in the NHL with the Blackhawks last season, has spent time this year playing in Austria's First Division. In six postseason starts, he had a 3.16 GAA and .911 save percentage.

Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com reports that it won't cost the Bruins much, the deal is just for one year and will cost $600,000, pro rated of course.

Before we get too far, it's important to note that Turco has to clear waivers before anything else. Remember last year the Red Wings signed Evgeni Nabokov from Russia but the Islanders claimed him and he never made it to Detroit.

So that's the big question here. Will any team claim Turco and now allow him to join the Bruins? Just throwing it out there but what about the Tampa Bay Lightning? Dwayne Roloson has been usurped by Mathieu Garon and hardly plays any more. They are right in the thick of things in the East again. I could also see an argument for the Senators making a claim seeing as how they are chasing the Bruins in the Northeast right now and Alex Auld hasn't inspired a lot of confidence either.

Further, even if he does make it through waivers and ends up with the Bruins, he won't be eligible to play in the playoffs. The waiver deadline for playoff additions was last week.

Last season with the Blackhawks Turco was 11-11-3 with a 3.02 goals against average and save percentage of .897. He didn't have any offers from the NHL at the time so headed to Europe.

Turco was in Boston last year for the Stanley Cup Final, as an analyst on the NHL Network's coverage.

More from Eye on Hockey

Bruins annouce Rask out 4-6 weeks

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Posted on: March 5, 2012 7:22 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 8:22 pm
 

Bruins backup goalie Rask to miss 4-6 weeks

Rask is helped off the ice in Saturday's game vs. the Isles. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

The Boston Bruins announced a tough injury for them to take on Monday, especially at this time of the season. Backup goaltender (backup in title only) Tuukka Rask is going to miss the next 4-6 weeks after he sustained a lower abdomen strain/groin strain.

The Bruins have relied on Rask to carry a decent share of the load to help keep their No. 1 goalie, Tim Thomas, fresh for another playoff run this season. Well in this regard, consider the playoffs starting a few weeks earlier for Boston. It's Timmy Time for the foreseeable future.

The timetable sets up Rask for a return just about the start of the playoffs. It will be interesting to see how the Bruins want to play it when Rask comes back considering the load Thomas is about to carry.

Good thing the Bruins didn't really entertain those suggestions to trade Thomas after that White House fiasco, now isn't it? They'd be in a pretty bad spot right now if they had turned the keys over to Rask already.

The Bruins rely heavily on great play by their goaltenders. It's an important equation to their system. Obviously Thomas is capable of handling that responsibility just fine, he did last year.

A little bit more of the good news in this injury -- hey, just searching for a silver lining -- is the fact that their closest division rivals in the Northeast are also dealing with a goaltender injury, it's just the Senators happen to be without their No. 1 in Craig Anderson.

Rask has been excellent this season for the Bruins with a .929 save percentage and 2.05 goals against average in his 23 starts.

More from Eye on Hockey

Bruins sign veteran goalie Turco

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Posted on: March 5, 2012 6:10 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 6:14 pm
 

Briere says Bryzgalov has been a better teammate

Bryzgalov and Jagr have a laugh after Sunday night's win. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

If you have been watching the Philadelphia Flyers play, chances are you have noticed a change in Ilya Bryzgalov. He has been starting to resemble a goalie worthy of the nine-year, $51 million contract he received this offseason.

In his last nine starts Bryzgalov has given up 19 goals, an average of a little more than two per start. He has also stopped 180 of the last 199 shots he's seen. That's a touch better than .900. Most recently, though, he stopped all 34 shots from the Capitals in a 1-0 shutout on Sunday night.

None of that is world beater stuff (although hard to quibble with that GAA) but it does mark an improvement. And that's not the only improvement the Flyers have seen in their goalie. Here is what Danny Briere had to say to Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly:

“We’ve seen all kinds of Bryz this year,” Briere said. “He’s never the same. He’s all over the place. But the last couple of weeks, he’s actually been a great teammate and hopefully, he stays that way.

“That’s the way it should be. If he wants the guys to keep playing hard for him, he needs to be a great teammate the way he has been lately, and it’s been fun having him around, too.”

Read that how you want but I can't help but extrapolate Briere admitting that Bryzgalov hadn't been a good teammate this season. All of those antics that we've seen, mostly around the Winter Classic really were apparently rubbing some the wrong way.

So some of the players and the management have been talking with him this season and apparently the message is finally getting through.

“Before, just trying to bring everything, everything was about Bryz,” Briere said. “When he played well, when he played bad, everything was about Bryz.

“I found lately, a lot more, it’s not just about him. He’s able to take the blame when there is and give credit to his teammates when that is. That is a learning process for him. New guys, new teammates.”

Well, playing in Philadelphia certainly is different than Phoenix. And I say that as more than the obvious differences between the markets themselves but also the teams they ice. Not too take away much from Bryzgalov -- or Mike Smith currently -- but Dave Tippett's brand of hockey tends to make goalies look good. The Flyers have tended to play a much more open game that can expose a goaltender.

I've said before that I'm a fan of Bryzgalov. I would like to see him playing well because he is arguable the most entertaining individual in the sport.

Oh, and no Bryzgalov post today would be complete without this little rap from a fan in Philly dedicated to Ilya the Philosopher.

H/t to Puck Daddy for the video

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Posted on: March 5, 2012 5:36 pm
 

Hockey Canada tabs Yzerman to lead for 2014

Yzerman led Canada to gold in 2010. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

Things went so well the first time with Steve Yzerman at the helm, Hockey Canada is going back to the well and the Lightning GM for another go.

Yzerman, who was the man in charge of Canada's gold-medal winning team at the 2010 Olympics Games was bestowed the right to do it again for the 2014 Games. It's up to him (and his large staff) to assemble the team that will compete at the Games in Sochi.

Joining Yzerman on the Hockey Canada contingent will be Blue GM Doug Armstrong, Red Wings GM Ken Holland, Oilers GM Kevin Lowe and then Hockey Canada executives Bob Nicholson and Brad Pascall.

Lowe will be responsible for handling the GM duties for the upcoming World Championships with Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and Maple Leafs VP David Nonis assisting.

"I am very pleased with the group that we have assembled to lead us through the next two seasons," Nicholson said. "Steve, Doug, Ken and Kevin provide a great deal of experience gained from their involvement in 2010 and their long-time involvement with our program."

The question remains what will the team look like for Yzerman? More to the point, will it include any NHL players? That will be determined with the upcoming round of CBA negotiations because right now it's no guarantee. Don't expect the owners to be happy about it, but it should be a point that will be conceded. The players all enjoy the prospect of playing for their nation at the Olympics.

Either way, it's going to be up to Canada's latest golden boy to repeat the feat and hold the gold.

“I would like to thank Bob Nicholson and Hockey Canada for the opportunity to return to this role of executive director,” said Yzerman. “While winning in Vancouver was something unique and extraordinary, I am as excited about taking on another great challenge. I look forward to working with Doug, Ken, Kevin, Peter and Dave and the Hockey Canada staff to put a plan in place to bring Canada success internationally.”

The contingent that will head USA Hockey has yet to be announced.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Posted on: March 4, 2012 9:37 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2012 10:13 pm
 

Winners & Losers: Avs, Stars, Cats with big wins

By Brian Stubits

There's always a winner and a loser in the NHL, and this is a new nightly look at some of the winners and losers in the biggest games and biggest situations across the league.

Winners

Jamie McGinn, Colorado Avalanche: So they got this guy from the Sharks for scoring, right?

Whether the Avalanche did or didn't (the answer is not really) he's giving it to them anyway. Or at least he did on Sunday.

The Avs, needing to keep pace in the Western race, got two early goals from McGinn and hung on to shut out the Minnesota Wild in Minnesota. It not only kept them squarely in the conversation, it pretty much cemented the fate of the Wild as they drop seven points out of a playoff spot. That's just a little tough to make up at this point.

The Avs have been on one of their patented upswings in an up-and-down season and now join the Kings just one point back of the Sharks in the Western Conference, tied with the Los Angeles Kings.

It was a nice showing for Semyon Varlamov too to stop all 30 shots he faced from the Wild. For a goalie that has struggled for much of the season, to string together some wins like that will go a long way in turning around a young goalie's psyche.

[Related: Avalanche 2, Wild 0]

Florida Panthers: Some team has to win the Southeast Division and in recent days you got the feeling that this team wasn't going to be able to hold on. They still might not, but they have to feel a lot better after Sunday's comeback win.

For the sixth time in the last nine games, the Panthers fell in a 2-0 hole. This time, though, they crawled out of it with four unanswered goals, including a somewhat shocking breakaway score from Krys Barch. Really, you don't see that often.

It brought an end to Ottawa's reign over the Panthers as well. The Sens had won nine in a row -- NINE! -- against Florida including five straight in Sunrise. It looked like they were on their way to making it a perfect 10 until the comeback came.

What the end result is besides the confidence boost for Florida to get over that Senators hump is that the Panthers move four points up on the Jets, five on the Capitals and six up on the Lightning in the Southeast. Keeping that cushion is important.

[Related: Panthers 4, Senators 2]

Dallas Stars: Don't look now, but the Stars have jumped the San Jose Sharks in the Pacific Division and are now tied with the Phoenix Coyotes for the division lead (but lose out on the tie-breakers at this point). They also bumped the Sharks down to eighth in the West while taking the seventh spot themselves.

That's the result of them marching into Calgary and prevailing in the shootout thanks to their scoring stars of Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson.

The Stars are playing as well now as they were at the beginning of the season when they ran out to one of the best starts in the league. There's still a good ways to go, but they have shown they're a serious threat and maybe even a good bet at this point to make the postseason.

The Flames, meanwhile, do get one point and move to within three of the Sharks but remain in 11th place.

[Related: Stars 3, Flames 2 (SO)]

Anders Nilsson, New York Islanders: There was a time this season that people were laughing at the Islanders for carrying three active goalies on the roster each night. Then they called on the fourth man in the rotation, Nilsson, on Sunday and he delivered.

Not only did Nilsson pick up his first NHL victory, it was a shutout. And it had to be as the Islanders only scored once against the Devils, a Kyle Okposo goal in the second period.

If they even dare to dream on the Island, there is still a glimmer of hope that they can get into the playoffs. A glimmer, I said. The win brought them within five points of eighth-place Winnipeg when they finished up. With the way the bottom of the East has been dropping like a rock allowing some of the other cellar dwellers to climb back in (see: Lightning, Sabres) what's to say the Islanders can't? Any kind of winning streak at this point puts you into contention.

Of course they might need a few more goals but points are points no matter how they come.

[Related: Islanders 1, Devils 0]

Losers

Washington Capitals, Alex Ovechkin: The Capitals were shut out for the second consecutive game at home, being blanked by the Flyers 1-0. Ilya Bryzgalov, who has had his well-chronicled struggles this season, was sharp, very sharp. Obviously, he held the Caps off the board completely despite some of the Flyers' best defensemen (Kimmo Timonen, Andrej Meszaros) being out.

Ovechkin, meanwhile, appeared to be benched in the second period by Capitals coach Dale Hunter after his role on the one and only goal, a deflection from Eric Wellwood that beat Michal Neuvirth. His turnover and then pretty poor attempt at stopping the pass to the crease appeared to earn him a seat for the rest of the second.

"My mistake cost us two points and it cost us the game," Ovechkin said.

Now we're left once again wondering if the Caps are dead in the water. With back-to-back home losses, they have fallen five points behind the Panthers in the Southeast and remain out of the playoff picture in the East. If the Sabres -- Buffalo! -- is able to beat the Jets on Monday, the Caps will fall into 10th in the conference.

[Related: Flyers 1, Capitals 0]

Detroit Red Wings: I elected to put the Wings in the losers section instead of the Chicago Blackhawks in the winner section tonight because of the collateral damage that came along with their 2-1 loss at the Joe on Sunday afternoon.

The second period curiously began with Joey MacDonald in the net instead of Jimmy Howard, who had been on for the first 20 minutes. It wasn't immediately clear why. Remember, Howard just missed a couple of weeks with a broken finger.

Eventually Howard was back on the bench and it was revealed that he suffered a lower-body injury and is day to day. That was worthy of a sigh of relief. Of course it's not like MacDonald has been bad in his spot duties so far this season. He gave up the only goal that was scored in the final two periods and took the loss on Sunday, but that dropped his record to just 7-2-1.

The Wings also saw defenseman Jakub Kindl leave the game with an upper-body injury. Add that to the already absent Pavel Datsyuk and the Wings are starting to take some wear and tear.

Oh, and by the tie-breakers, they lost the Central Division lead to the Blues. Not that that means too much right now.

[Related: Blackhawks 2, Red Wings 1]

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Posted on: March 4, 2012 6:41 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 6:09 pm
 

OHL forward gives up 13 goals in emergency role

By Brian Stubits

So here's a story you don't see very day. A goaltender in the OHL gave up 13 goals in his team's 13-4 loss. And he was given the first star of the game.

Yea, that needs more of an explanation, now doesn't it? In the opening minutes of the game, Erie goaltender Ramis Sadikov was forced to leave the game due to injury. Considering the backup Devin Williams had failed a concussion test earlier in the weekend and the other available goalies were busy elsewhere, they were up the creek without a paddle.

Insert forward Connor Crisp as the emergency goaltender. That's how you end up with the first star having a goals against average a shade under 13.00 on the day.

"I'm a road hockey goalie,” Crisp said following the game. “But that's the first time I've put on goalie equipment and played on ice since I was 5."

In addition to the memory of the game itself, he’ll be feeling the effects for a few days.

"My feet are still cramped,” Crisp said. “I can hardly walk right now."

Ah yes, the joy of goalie skates. I know the feeling, man. Not a lot of fun when they don’t fit right.

Courtesy of Jeff Marek of Sportsnet, here is a statement on the matter from Erie general manager Sherwood Bassin.

"Late last night our backup goaltender failed a concussion test. I looked at our alternatives; one of our goaltenders was playing in the Ontario Junior C Championships, the other in the Midget Ontario Championships. I studied our alternatives based on the 2000 or so games I've been involved in. This turned out to be a bad decision.

"I accept full responsibility and apologize publicly for the embarrassment to the league and the sport of hockey that I love. I have deep respect for our league and sport."

I get that it's a slightly embarrassing situation for him and his team, but really, what's the apology for? The team was in a tight spot and they had to use a skater in net. No biggie.

Considering Niagra is first in its division at 42-17-0-3 while Erie is 19 points behind every other team in the entire league at just 10-46-3-3, I don't think they were likely in store for a good shot anyway. Especially considering Crisp actually faced 45 shots in his 58:15 of action between the pipes.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Category: NHL
Posted on: March 4, 2012 3:41 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2012 8:03 pm
 

Rangers continue to beat top competitors in East

New York has done a lot of celebrating against their biggest foes this season. (US Presswire)

By Brian Stubits

The New York Rangers are getting ready to lap the rest of the teams in the Eastern Conference at this point.

On Sunday they might not have been the best team on the ice at Madison Square Garden for most of the affair, they still prevailed for the 4-3 win over the defending champion Boston Bruins thanks to Derek Stepan's third-period snipe.

The win does a lot for the Rangers in the grand scheme of things. It moves them ahead of the Canucks and Red Wings for the most points in the NHL despite having played fewer games than those teams. It also gives New York a double-digit lead on the next best team in the Eastern Conference (that would be the Penguins).

There are a lot of reasons why. It starts obviously with the fact that they are just a really good team. No duh. But it obviously goes beyond that.

They have really made their money this season against the other top teams in the East. In this case I'm talking about the Bruins, Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers. Combined this season they are 10-2-0 against those teams so far. The only two losses came to the Penguins. They are 5-0 against the Flyers and now 3-0 against Boston.

Just imagine if that split were flipped and the Bruins were 3-0 against the Blueshirts. Each team would be locked at 85 points. Instead, the Rangers are 12 points up on the B's.

Another part of it is that the Rangers have been a bit lucky this season. I'm not taking away from their on-ice capabilities with that comment. It's about the fact that they have largely avoided the injury bug this season. Sure, they have dealt with injuries like every other team such as the concussion to defenseman Marc Staal.

But this is pretty stunning at this point of the season. This stat comes courtesy of the New York Post's Larry Brooks earlier this week. You can add three games on for Ryan Callahan, who was again a scratch today with a sore foot.

There are a lot of teams that would kill for that kind of fortune.

Just keep that kind of success against the top foes in the conference in mind when the playoffs roll around. That should be worth a confidence boost or two.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Posted on: March 4, 2012 11:31 am
 

Bruce Boudreau unleashes on refs after loss

By Brian Stubits

It's been a stressful time for the Anaheim Ducks the past few weeks. They came flying back into the playoff conversation with a torrid run but still had little margin for error. Well lately, like Saturday night, they have been exceeding that margin for error with results like a 4-2 loss to the Kings.

The resulting pressure is bringing out a lot in the Ducks, including head coach Bruce Boudreau. After the loss to L.A., he let go a lot of his frustrations by unleashing a pretty tough tirade on the referees.

You can view the whole postgame interview below, but here are the money lines. And by money lines, I mean the lines that are likely going to cost Boudreau some money. (Transcribed quotes from O.C. Register. Thanks for the time-saver.)

“Some of the worst calls I’ve seen in a friggin’ long time,” he said. “A game of this importance, we can’t have officiating making calls like that. I mean, there’s three penalties that weren’t penalties.

“Granted, they scored and [it’s] probably sour grapes because they scored, but those things can’t happen. It’s too important. There’s too much at stake for everyone not coming to do their jobs.”

And there was some more in there too. As they say, pressure bursts pipes.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com