Ilya Bryzgalov’s Ducks debut no walk in the park

Josh Elliott
Anaheim Ducks Ilya Bryzgalov

Ilya Bryzgalov made his first start for the Anaheim Ducks in 2,599 days on Friday.

He probably won’t be keeping the game puck.

‘Cool Bryz’ struggled in his first start with the Ducks this season, surrendering six goals on 31 shots to a less-than-dynamite Ottawa Senators squad in a 6-2 loss. It was Bryzgalov’s second appearance with Anaheim this season after relieving Frederik Andersen in a 6-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier in the week.

And it was the second game in a row he’d rather forget.
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Clayton Stoner avoids discipline for Pacioretty hit. Here’s why the NHL got it wrong

Matt Larkin
Pacioretty hurt

Swing and a miss, NHL player safety department.

It was a particularly scary night for Max Pacioretty and the Montreal Canadiens. Pacioretty was already sensitive to dangerous hits, having sustained a career-threatening fractured vertebra in 2011 when Boston’s Zdeno Chara drove him into a stanchion. Chances are, ‘Patches’ experienced some traumatic flashbacks after last night’s collision with Anaheim blueliner Clayton Stoner.

After Pacioretty “admired a pass,” as the homer-as-it-gets Anaheim broadcasters put it, Stoner sent him hurtling into the boards with a late hit. Pacioretty struggled to get back to his feet, was in obvious pain and was taken to hospital for precautionary reasons. Here’s a look at the play:

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How Minnesota ruined Montreal’s 2001 draft

Ryan Kennedy
Minnesota's Mikko Koivu (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

The exciting and sometimes infuriating reality of the draft is how different teams view the same players. It’s common to hear a GM say “we didn’t expect him to be available when we picked,” and sometimes it’s true, but sometimes it’s just bluster. The other side of the coin is that some players are highly coveted by multiple teams, but only one can ultimately select him. One great example came in 2001, when Minnesota was picking right before Montreal.

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Canadiens honor former captain Saku Koivu in teary pre-game ceremony

Adam Proteau
Saku Koivu (Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

Knowing the love between the city of Montreal and veteran center Saku Koivu, you felt confident Thursday’s pre-game ceremony honoring the recently retired veteran center and former Canadiens captain was going to be a teary-eyed affair. And it was – so teary, in fact, even Koivu got choked up as he thanked adoring fans in a tremendous speech before the two NHL teams he played for (the Habs and Anaheim Ducks) faced off.

As the Bell Centre crowd chanted his name, and with his family looking on from ice level, the 40-year-old began his speech in French, showing the deft touch he displayed during his nine years in Montreal. The Turku, Finland native spoke without staring down at his notes, hitting a high point when he told the crowd “I will always be a Hab at my heart”. But when he began to discuss his bout with cancer in 2001, Koivu understandably became emotional: Read more

Why the Montreal Canadiens should retire Saku Koivu’s No. 11

Ken Campbell
Saku Koivu (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images/NHL)

Truth is the Montreal Canadiens had planned to honor former captain Saku Koivu months ago. But seriously, when are these guys going to give us a break? This will be the second time in a week hockey fans will have to have their boxes of tissue at the ready while watching a pre-game ceremony.

That’s what happens, though, when you produce as many great players as the Canadiens have and you’re as good as this organization is at keeping their legacies alive. It’s been two decades since this organization has won a Stanley Cup so perhaps we should cherish these ceremonies while they last, but something tells me the Canadiens could have a tribute night devoted to 2004 first-round pick Kyle Chipchura and it would be memorable and special. Read more

Power Rankings: Soaring Ducks on pace for 120 points

Ken Campbell
Ducks

Only two teams in the past 10 seasons have finished with 120 points or more, but the Anaheim Ducks are on pace to join the 2009-10 Washington Capitals and the ’05-06 Detroit Red Wings.

Now the bad news. Both those teams lost in the first round of the playoffs. There might be some concern the Ducks are peaking too early, but it’s tough to lose when the only playoff team you face during a seven-game winning streak is the Winnipeg Jets. Their torrid pace has put the Ducks at the top of thn.com’s weekly Power Rankings. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.) Read more

Another NHLer with the mumps: Rangers’ Derick Brassard the latest to come down with a case

Derick Brassard (Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

Just a few hours after Penguins star Sidney Crosby was confirmed to have come down with a case of the mumps, the NHL had another player linked to the virus when Rangers center Derick Brassard was sent from a road trip in Edmonton back to New York City with a suspected case.

Brassard, who was the Blueshirts’ second-leading point-getter (24 in 27 games), is the 14th player of the season to show symptoms of the mumps, which was contracted by teammate Tanner Glass in November. Other players affected include New Jersey’s Travis Zajac and Adam Larsson; Anaheim’s Corey Perry, Francois Beauchemin, Clayton Stoner and Emerson Etem; and Minnesota’s Ryan Suter, Jonas Brodin, Keith Ballard, Marco Scandella and Christian Folin. Read more

Corey Perry sidelined 3-4 weeks with sprained knee

Jared Clinton
Anaheim Ducks Corey Perry injured

The Anaheim Ducks have announced they will be without leading goal-scorer Corey Perry for 3-4 weeks after he sustained a knee sprain.

It’s yet another in a long list of injuries for the Ducks, who have been bitten hard by the injury bug this season. With off-season signing Dany Heatley already on the shelf, the Ducks are going to need to find some help to boost their offense. Read more