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Joshua Trujillo, Montreal
Joshua Trujillo, Montreal
Dmitry Kulikov hits Jakub Voracek
Dmitry Kulikov has a history with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, and they may be reacquainting themselves after the Sabres defenseman plowed through Flyers winger Jakub Voracek.
Buffalo Sabres defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, 25, has already had to miss one game this season due to injury, and he could find himself watching more action from the sidelines in the coming days thanks to a suspension.
In Tuesday’s game against the Flyers, Kulikov saw an opportunity to crunch Philadelphia winger Jakub Voracek and took it, but the Sabres blueliner may have crossed the line. After a turnover inside the Sabres’ zone, Voracek was able to corral the puck before throwing a quick backhand pass to Travis Konecny.
Voracek continued on after making his pass, but by the time he could swing his head around to see any oncoming defenders, he was caught by Kulikov, resulting in a huge open-ice collision. The hit jarred Voracek’s helmet loose and immediately drew a crowd. Take a look:
That sure looks like it could be worthy of supplemental discipline, especially on the reverse angle. Kulikov’s back skate appeared to come up off the ice as he went in for the hit on Voracek and the contact seemed to be primarily with Voracek’s head. The referees working the contest judged the play to be outside the lines of fair play, too, slapping Kulikov with a minor penalty for charging.
If the NHL’s Department of Player Safety does judge Kulikov’s hit to be worthy of supplemental discipline, it won’t be the first time they’ve spoken with the Russian rearguard. In February 2015, he was suspended four games for a low-bridge hit on Dallas Stars sniper Tyler Seguin.
Thankfully for the Flyers, Voracek was able to remain in the game after Kulikov’s hit, and he even got the last laugh. Philadelphia picked up a shootout victory over Buffalo, and it was Voracek who netted the winner.
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The 2017 draft prospect was unstoppable for the Boston University Terriers. Meet him and learn about more prospects on the fast-track to the NHL
The CHL-Russia series is just around the corner and rosters are already out for the WHL and OHL games. This series has typically been a nice primer for the world juniors, though more so on the Canadian side. Nonetheless, it has also historically been a nice showcase for top draft-eligible players. Nolan Patrick and Cal Foote get the nod out west, while Gabe Vilardi, Nic Hague and Markus Phillips will play for the OHL. I'll have more on the series as it unfolds, but until then let's get to the rest of the prospect world and see who is making noise.
Jake Oettinger, G – Boston University Terriers (Hockey East): As a 17-year-old freshman in one of college hockey's hardest conferences, Oettinger came into the season confident that with hard work, he could become the Terriers' starter. Five games into the campaign, he's already there. Oettinger has started every game for B.U. and is coming off back-to-back shutouts on the weekend. After blanking Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac, the Minnesota native now sits atop the Hockey East goalie board with a .947 save percentage and 1.42 goals-against average. Naturally there were high expectations for the 6-foot-4 netminder coming from USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, but the kid is getting as much out of college as he is giving.
“When I came out to the NTDP, one of the key things my dad and I talked about was the opportunity to go to schools like B.U.," Oettinger said. "When I went on my visit, I fell in love. The coaches are all the kind of coaches I want to play for and B.U., where you can get an education and also live in Boston, is just the complete package.”
The same could probably be said for Oettinger, whose size and athleticism make him an ideal NHL goalie prospect. Despite his young age, he has a very mature approach to his development and has good insight into his position.
“Every goalie in the NHL, with maybe the exception of Carey Price, could become a better skater," he said. "If you’re on your feet as long as you possibly can be, you give yourself a better chance to make a save. That’s what I’ve been working on. That, and tracking the puck. That’s so big in the game now. Shots and releases are so fast; you gotta be good at tracking the puck if you’re going to make saves.”
While starter's minutes on a high-octane Terriers squad comes with pressure, that's something Oettinger has seen in the past. Back in Minnesota, he took his Lakeville North high school team to the state final at the Xcel Energy Center. Though they fell to powerhouse Edina, the campaign was full of memories for Oettinger.
“I look back at that now and I wish I would have known that was my only season with Lakeville North," he said. "Those guys are still my best friends and playing them was really special, but something I took for granted a bit. Playing in the state tournament is one of my favorite hockey memories. It was everything I could ask for in one year.”
Oettinger followed his team remotely the next year, as he played for the NTDP and they went undefeated to win it all. He's more than happy for his mates and given how bright his future is, it's hard to knock his decision to leave. And it won't be surprising if he guides the Terriers to a national title in the next couple seasons.
In the Pipeline
Kale Clague, D (Los Angeles): The WHL player of the week with six points in two games, Clague made his mark as soon as he returned from a leg injury sustained at Kings camp. The Brandon Wheat Kings are happy to have the two-way defenseman back, as his smarts and mobility can really make a shift hum.
Max Jones, RW (Anaheim): London may have lost a ton of talent over the summer, but Jones is making sure the offense is still there. The OHL player of the week racked up seven points in two games for the Knights, but the power forward has been hot for awhile.
Michael McNiven, G (Montreal): Signed as a free agent by the Habs, McNiven has been excellent for the OHL's Owen Sound Attack. The kid's got a pretty sick glove hand and when he's in the net, Owen Sound has been winning a lot. The 2.24 goals-against average helps.
Filip Chlapik, C (Ottawa): The Charlottetown Islanders pivot has been hot all season, but it's good to see him continue his torrid pace now that everyone is back from NHL camps. Chlapik has 12 goals and 19 points in 10 games and has also been a demon in the faceoff circle on many nights.
Mathieu Joseph, RW (Tampa Bay): Quick and hard to play against, it's not hard to see Joseph having a Brad Marchand type of career, where agitating opens the door for a scoring role. The Saint John Sea Dogs winger can certainly put up points, with 12 goals and 16 points in 11 Quebec League games so far.
Wade Allison, RW (Philadelphia): Fast and powerful, Allison has hit the ground running in college, posting up five points in four games for Western Michigan. It seems like the momentum he gained in the USHL playoffs last year has carried over to the NCAA.
Kyle Wood, D (Arizona): Acquired from Colorado in the Mikkel Boedker deal, Wood is proving himself quite valuable. In three games with the AHL's Tucson Roadrunners, the big defenseman has amassed six points to lead the league in offense from the blueline.
2017 Draft Stars
Mason Shaw, C - Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL): Look way, way up at the WHL scoring leaders and you'll find the 5-foot-9 Shaw. An excellent playmaker with a knack for setting up goals on a tee, Shaw leads the league with 23 points in 12 games. He'll also drop the gloves when he needs to.
Shane Bowers, C - Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL): A serious offensive threat thanks to his skating, skills and smarts, Bowers is a point-per-game player in the United States League so far. That's a marked leap from his rookie production, which was pretty solid itself, but the kid is hot with six points in his past four games.
2018 Draft Star
Rasmus Dahlin, D - Frolunda (SHL): A great skater and incredibly efficient blueliner, Dahlin made his SHL debut on Friday and notched an assist. Back in the under-20 circuit, he was lighting it up with 11 points in nine games from the back end.
David Pastrnak hits Dan Girardi
The Bruins could be missing their top goal scorer for a game or two after David Pastrnak left his feet to deliver a high hit on Rangers blueliner Dan Girardi.
David Pastrnak, Dan Girardi and high hit. If those were the two names and one action you had to make an NHL ‘Mad Libs,’ you’d likely come out the other side with a story about how the New York Rangers defenseman had crushed the young Boston Bruins winger and was heading for a meeting with the Department of Player Safety.
But my, how wrong you’d be.
Following Wednesday’s game between the Bruins and Rangers, it’s Pastrnak who is facing a possible suspension for delivering a high hit on Girardi.
The hit came midway through the second period when Girardi went to field a puck that had been flipped high into the air and out of the Bruins’ zone. As the Rangers rearguard looked up to catch the puck, eyes focused on making the play, Pastrnak came from across the neutral zone and delivered a solid jolt that left Girardi down on the ice. Take a look:
The case can certainly be made that Pastrnak is going to find himself sitting for at least a game or two after seeing the slow-motion of his hit on Girardi, and it’s a pretty strong case, too. It’d be one thing for Pastrnak to leave his feet and make shoulder-to-shoulder contact, but he jumps into a hit that appears to make direct contact with Girardi’s head.
As a result of the hit, Pastrnak ended up with a minor penalty for checking to the head, and Girardi was forced to leave the game briefly before returning later in the second frame. It doesn’t appear the Rangers defenseman will be missing any further time, but the evaluation was necessary after he took a forceful blow to the head.
If the league does decide to suspend Pastrnak, it will help him that this is his first offense and that Girardi didn’t appear to suffer any lasting injury. Even still, it feels as though a game or two ban is heading Pastrnak’s way.
For the Bruins, losing Pastrnak right now would be incredibly disappointing, especially with how well he’s been producing early this season. Through seven games, Pastrnak has five goals and eight points while skating on the second line, and only Brad Marchand has contributed more to the attack than Pastrnak.
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Sean Burke, Cutris Joseph, Grant Fuhr.
There are five goalies who've managed to rank in the top 25 for career wins while playing for six teams or more. Let's take a look back at those five travelling netminders.
hen we think of history's best goaltenders, we tend to immediately picture them in a certain uniform. Like anyone else, goalies can occasionally be traded or hit free agency. But we like to think of the great goalies as being tied to one team, maybe two at the most. Martin Brodeur was a Devil. Patrick Roy was a Canadien, then an Av. Dominik Hasek, with apologies to the Red Wings, will always be a Sabre. And Hall-of-Fame talents from Bill Durnan to Ken Dryden to Henrik Lundqvist spent their entire careers with one franchise.
But that's not always how it works out. Every now and then, a goalie comes along who ends up spending his career jumping from team-to-team, even as they’re building an all-star resume. In fact, there are five goalies who've managed to rank in the top 25 for career wins while playing for six teams or more. Let's take a look back at those five travelling netminders, and some of the stops you may not remember them making.
He was best known as: The Oilers' starting goaltender for much of their late-80s dynasty. Fuhr won four Cup rings, to go with a Vezina and two seasons leading the league in wins. His numbers were never jaw-dropping, and they look awful compared to modern day goalies (he was runner-up for the Hart Trophy in 1988 with an .881 save percentage). But he developed a reputation as a guy who would always make the big save when it mattered, and no less than Wayne Gretzky has called him the greatest goalie of all-time.
You might also remember him as: A Toronto Maple Leaf during the early days of the Cliff Fletcher rebuild, a Buffalo Sabre who helped them to their first playoff series win in a decade in 1993, and a St. Louis Blue who nearly started every game for an entire season because Mike Keenan was a crazy person.
But he also managed to play for: The Flames and the Kings. OK, a quick stint in Los Angeles was pretty much mandatory for every ex-Oiler of that era, so maybe that's not surprising. But Fuhr stuck around long enough to suit up in a forgotten 1999-2000 season for the Calgary Flames at the tail end of his career, spending most of the year backing up Fred Brathwaite.
He was best known as: That's a tough call, but let's go with his four years in Toronto, where he helped transform Pat Quinn's Maple Leafs from also-ran to Cup contender almost overnight. He was a Vezina finalist twice, and was good enough to head into the 2002 Winter Olympics as the starter for Team Canada. There wasn't anything he couldn't do. Well, other than argue with a referee without accidentally tackling him.
You might also remember him as: He broke in with the Blues in the early 90s, highlighted by a dominant playoff run in 1993. From there it was off to Edmonton, where he only spent three years but will always be remembered for almost single-handedly beating the Dallas Stars in an epic 1997 playoff series. And then there were the two seasons in Detroit, which are best remembered for him being the scapegoat in a playoff loss and then victimized by Dominik Hasek's unretirement.
But he also managed to play for: Like Fuhr, Joseph also snuck in a shady season with the Flames, starting five games in 2007-08. And then there was his two-year stint in Phoenix right after the 2005 lockout. Although in fairness, pretty much everyone did that, with names ranging from Brett Hull to Mike Ricci to Petr Nedved to Owen Nolan making cameos on those weird Coyotes teams.
He was best known as: The legendary Montreal Canadiens goalie who racked up six Vezinas with the Habs and six Stanley Cups through the 50s and 60s.
You might also remember him as: His longest post-Canadiens stint came in Toronto in the early 70s. He also played two years with the Rangers, and two more with the expansion Blues (during which he won another Vezina).
But he also managed to play for: The Boston Bruins in 1973, which you could be forgiven for not remembering since he was 44 years old and only appeared in eight games. And that wasn't even the end of the road for the future Hall of Famer. After a year off, he headed to the WHA and played 31 games for the Edmonton Oilers during the 1974-75 season, during which he turned 46.
He was best known as: The twelve years he spent with the Penguins from 1988 to 2000, during which he backstopped the team to two Stanley Cups. Here's a random Tom Barrasso fun fact: During his first season as a Penguin, he set an all-time record that still stands for most PIM by a goaltender who wasn't Ron Hextall.
You might also remember him as: Before arriving in Pittsburgh, Barrasso spent six years in Buffalo. The first of those came in 1983-84, when he broke in as an 18-year-old rookie and won the Calder and the Vezina, a feat that's pretty much unequalled in NHL history.
But he also managed to play for: Four other teams for like a week each. That's only barely an exaggeration. You might recall his brief stint in Ottawa, which was mainly remembered for the time he swore on Hockey Night in Canada. But did you know he played for the Blues for six games in 2002? Or that he played for the Hurricanes for half a season in 2001? Or that the Hurricanes traded him to the Maple Leafs so he could back up Joseph for four games? If not, it's OK. I'm pretty sure Barrasso himself doesn't even remember at least two of those.
He was best known as: Let's go with his first four seasons in New Jersey, including a rookie year in which he played 13 games and still somehow finished tied with Ray Bourque for eighth in MVP voting. He also established a reputation as a guy you did not want to fight, although more than a few goalies forgot that lesson over the years.
You might also remember him as: After his time in New Jersey, he went on to spend five years in Hartford, followed by part of one in Carolina after the franchise moved.
But he also managed to play for: Everyone else. Let's start with the Coyotes, where he spent five years (not counting his later role as goaltending coach). You probably remember that one. But what about his parts of two season in Florida? A half season in Los Angeles? A year in Tampa Bay? Not one but two separate stints in Philadelphia? A partial season with the Seattle Metropolitans? Sixteen games with the Canucks?
OK, I made one of those up. But the point is that Burke got around. He switched teams nine times over the course of his career, including five trades, two free agent signings, a waiver claim and a franchise relocation. And that's not counting the 1991-92 season he split between the San Diego Gulls and the Canadian Olympic team during a contract dispute.
Burke was pretty much the most travelled halfway decent goaltender of all-time. Is there anything wrong with that? (Re-watches old Burke fight clips.) If there is, I'm sure not saying so.
Sean McIndoe has been writing about the NHL since 2008, most recently for ESPN and Grantland. He spends most of his time making jokes on twitter, where you may know him as @downgoesbrown. He appears weekly on TheHockeyNews.com.