Underdog John Curry goes from ECHL to 43-save win over St. Louis Blues

Rory Boylen
John Curry

The last time 30-year-old goalie John Curry played an NHL game was in 2009-10, when he was with the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was his only appearance of the season and he allowed five goals on 14 shots in 24 minutes of work.

Since then, he’s played in Germany, Orlando, Houston and Iowa and has accumulated most of his games over that time in the ECHL. This season, he’s played 13 ECHL games and 19 American League games. Because of his strong play (.917 SP in ECHL, .920 SP in AHL) and a ton of injuries to Minnesota Wild goaltenders, Curry made it back to the NHL. He had been backing up Ilya Bryzgalov since April 3, but with the Wild’s playoff spot clinched and seeding locked in, coach Mike Yeo started the 5-foot-11, 189-pound Curry.

It was Curry’s first NHL appearance since his dreadful showing four years ago and it was against the powerhouse St. Louis Blues. No matter. Even though the Blues pounded the Wild by outshooting them 45-15, Curry was magical and pulled out a 4-2 win. If the picture up top is any indication, he also did it with his eyes closed! Read more

The Halifax Mooseheads 3-D on-ice show you have to see to believe

Rory Boylen
Halifax Mooseheads

The Halifax Mooseheads finished with the second-best record in the Quebec League this season at 47-18-0-3. Jonathan Drouin and Nikolaj Ehlers finished third and fourth in league scoring and Drouin currently leads all playoff scorers with a jaw-dropping 21 points in seven games. The team holds a 2-1 series lead on Gatineau in the second round.

But that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. We’re here to talk about the mind-bending, on-ice 3-D pre-game show the Mooseheads put on before Games 1 and 2 of their series with Gatineau last weekend.

Through the combined efforts of Egg Studios and Sound Systems in Halifax, the Mooseheads treated their fans to one heck of an experience. Brian Urquhart, vice president of business operations for the Mooseheads, said it was a challenge to line up the six projectors and get them in sync for the presentation, but that it was in the works for about a month.

“We’re lucky to have partners like Egg Studios and Sound Systems, who were eager to work together on this,” Urquhart said. “We are always looking to provide our fans with an NHL level of entertainment and wanted to do something special during the playoffs.”

The show starts with the Mooseheads logo breaking through the ice, which then appears to melt away into water before re-freezing again. That part is amazing enough, but the show only gets better from there, with the ice turning into its own moving boom box dance party.

It’s something you have to see to believe and appreciate.

Lean forward in prepared amazement and drink in this sucker.

Understandably, this kind of presentation won’t be a regular, every-night occurrence at Mooseheads games, but Urquhart mentioned that fans can expect more innovative events like these in the future.

The bar has been set high. Very high.

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Puck-detecting golden retriever has sniffed out nearly 800 pucks

Rory Boylen

Growing up just north of Barrie, Ont., we always had a rink in our back yard in the winter. We’d ring the ice with boards and used to hang a puck-catching net at one end where the boards were lower.

But this didn’t stop pucks from flying over and into the deep, fluffy snow.

We’d attempt to look for them, but would eventually give up and just bring out some more from inside. It never seemed like we lost too many pucks, but every spring, during what dad called The Annual Puck Harvest, we’d magically find the black pieces of rubber “growing” everywhere in the yard behind the rink.

We also always had a dog – but our dog was never able to help with an early Puck Harvest like Corona, a retriever from Ottawa, would be able to.

Corona, you see, has an uncanny ability that only a Canadian dog could have. Owners Bruce Cappon and Isabelle Beaudoin realized that their dog had a knack for sniffing out and scooping up pucks from the snow around the local outdoor rink.

Corona’s owners used to throw the pucks back onto the rinks, but eventually started to keep them and now have a collection of nearly 800. The say they’d like to donate or sell the puck individually to raise money for some local charities.

Dogs: a hockey-playing Canadian’s best friend.

Here’s some raw video footage from CBC of Corona doing what he does best.

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Vernon Fiddler falls, then scores, in Dallas shootout win

Ryan Kennedy

The Dallas Stars desperately need points in the last few games of the season if they want to make the playoffs and with Phoenix losing in overtime to Columbus, the boys from Big D had a chance to give themselves a little breathing room. But Nashville proved to be a plucky opponent last night and the Stars were forced to a shootout. That’s when Vernon Fiddler found out about grace under pressure. OK, it was far from graceful, but it worked:

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John Gibson records shutout in NHL debut as Canucks sink to new low

Rory Boylen
John Gibson

Drafted in the second round, 39th overall in 2011, John Gibson has been a star on the rise ever since.

He had already earned under-17 and under-18 gold with the Americans before being drafted and the season after the Anaheim Ducks selected him, Gibson led the Ontario League with a .928 save percentage. He finished up his junior career just last season and led the Americans to WJC gold with an MVP effort.

This season, Gibson has been one of the better goalies in the American League with the Norfolk Admirals. In his very first month of professional hockey, Gibson was named the best AHL goalie in October. At each step, Gibson has met the challenge as a dominant talent would.

Monday, the 20-year-old Pittsburgh native took another step and started his first NHL game. With Frederik Andersen out of the lineup and Jonas Hiller resting from Sunday’s game in Edmonton, Gibson was the man to face Vancouver. Read more

Ilya Bryzgalov serenaded by Winnipeg fans, so he eggs them on and shuts them out

Rory Boylen
Ilya Bryzgalov

Since arriving in Minnesota at the trade deadline, Ilya Bryzgalov has been a rock. That’s not a word you’ve been able to use to describe the Russian goalie’s play since 2010-11, when he was still a member of the Phoenix Coyotes. It’s been a small sample size, but in the 10 games he’s played with the Wild, Bryzgalov has looked as confident and stable as he did in his pre-humangous big days.

Bryzgalov’s Wild went into Winnipeg Monday night looking to lock in a playoff spot and add more cushion between themselves and Dallas, which sits in the final playoff spot. If you recall, Bryzgalov has a bit of a history with Winnipeg, dating back to before the Jets flew back into town.

As a member of the Phoenix Coyotes all those years ago, with Winnipeg relocation rumors whirling, Bryzgalov was asked about the Manitoba city:

“You don’t want to go to Winnipeg, right? Not many people live there, not many Russian people there. Plus it’s cold. There’s no excitement except the hockey. No park, no entertaining for the families, for the kids. It’s going to be tough life for your family.

“I’ve been there for just once, maybe twice, when I play in minors. It was really cold. I used the tunnels between the buildings to get to the arena. Because it was minus 40-something. Real cold.” Read more

P.K. Subban hits kid with shot – and totally redeems himself

Matt Larkin

Paging all P.K. Subban haters. Please don your bibs and prepare to mow down on some crow.

In a recent clash between Subban’s Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators, the star defenseman wired a puck into the crowd from center ice. It glanced off an adult spectator and caught a little boy named Thomas in the ear.

Kudos to the reality show 24CH for capturing what happened next so beautifully. Subban tracked down Thomas’ family, had them come back for another Canadiens game, met Thomas and gave him a signed puck – the same puck Subban shot into Thomas’ ear. The story unfolds here:

Especially heartbreaking is the footage of a father carrying his injured son up the steps after the puck catches him. And you have to love Thomas’ matter of fact, “I’m here to see P.K. Subban so he can sign my puck.” The kid owns it.

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