Everyone in Montreal (and probably almost everyone who follows hockey) knows that the Canadiens first preseason game was not a stellar showing for Carey Price. But let’s look to the west and see how old friend Jaro Halak fared in his first preseason game earlier this week.
Halak’s Blues played the Colorado Avalanche. Jaro faced 18 shots. He let in three, not a good save percentage.
After surrendering the only goal of the first period, the Blues tied the score, but then five minutes later, Halak had two Avs shots elude him in a span of 31 seconds. Final score, Colorado 3, St. Louis 1.
“There wasn’t really a lot of action going on so
it wasn’t a real hard game for me,” Halak said after playing the entire 60 minutes. “Too bad that they
scored the three goals, but that’s
hockey. Hockey is a game of goals.”
There were no reports of booing from the St. Louis crowd of
Halak will reportedly not dress tonight for the Blues game in St. Louis against the Wild. Ty Conklin will start and will be backed up by Ben Bishop, the Blues 6-foot-7 netminder who excelled against the Wild on Wednesday.
The Rangers opened their preseason last night and in their lineup was former Habs first round draft choice (2005) Ryan McDonagh, the U.S. college star defenseman at Wisconsin whose rights went to the Rangers in the Scott Gomez deal.
McDonagh played impressively in his first pro game, showing good foot speed and agility, as well as a physical dimension and some good work on offense.
He showed some strength in the first period when he dumped the Devils Mattias Tedenby who was trying to cut around McDonagh and take the puck to the net. McDonagh just shoved Tedenby who went down in a heap.
Later, he displayed some good awareness in the offensive zone with some crisp passes and good vision to jump in the play.
He wasn’t perfect. He missed a hip check along the boards and that led to a Devils rush in the third period, but not panicking, McDonagh raced back and dove to poke the puck away and end the threat.
“McDonagh did some good things,” said Rangers Coach John Tortorella after the game. “He’s going to play
some more exhibition games and I think he’s going to feel more
comfortable. He had some really good shifts, and at other times it was a
little bit of a struggle. But we expect that. We’ll just keep going
through the process with him and see where he’s at.”
Alex Kovalev plays in the Bell Centre tonight and his Senators linemates will likely be Mike Fisher and Peter Regin. Sens coach Cory Clouston says he’s also going to try Nick Foligno on that line in place of Regin later in the preseason, probably as soon as Saturday when the two teams meet again in Ottawa.
Oilers goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin hasn’t played yet in the preseason and he hasn’t played since last Nov. 9. Since then, he’s had back surgery and been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in Arizona (and a local blogger says Khabi will be appealing his sentence that calls for him to spend 30 days in the clink).
Oilers coach Tom Renney tells Joanie Ireland of The Edmonton Journal the team knows what the veteran can do and he’s just been using the preseason to audition Martin Gerber, Devan Dubnyk and Jeff Deslauriers for the role of backup.
Another NHL owner claims to be losing money. In a blog post last week for The NY Times, we noted that outgoing Sharks president Greg Jamison said his team hadn’t turned a profit during his eight year tenure. Now Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli tell Helene Elliot of The LA Times that they are losing “double-digit millions.”
They say the team’s season ticket base has slid from a high of 15,000 after they won the Stanley Cup in 2007 to around 10,000 now. Still they love the team, have no plans to sell or take on partners and are committed to giving GM Bob Murray a budget that allows him to spend almost $55 million, which is up around the cap limit of $59.4 million.
Henry Samueli declined to comment on the salary cap system of the upcoming CBA talks, citing league rules against public comment by owners. He did say, however, “We’ve talked to Gary (Bettman) many times about our financial situation so he
knows what we’re going through and he’ll have to deal with it in the
next negotiation to make sure all teams not only are competitive on the
ice but are reasonably competitive in their financial performance as
well,” he said.
“And he’s got a challenge in front of him to deal with,
and we wish him well in the CBA negotiations.”