With Monday being the National Hockey League’s trade deadline, there was only one game on the schedule and it provided us with a newsworthy return. Plus, we have an injury forcing a trade out west, a costly car accident, a fond farewell to the Windy City and a legend growing on television.
Korpisalo’s Victorious Return
The Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Ottawa Senators in overtime last night thanks to Emil Bemstrom’s goal with just 25 seconds left in the extra time. The Blue Jackets were 0-3-5 over their previous eight games and the win put them into a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The win may have been a costly one as Elvis Merzlikins, who leads the league in shutouts, left the game in the second period after heavy contact with Senators forward Anthony Duclair. Joonas Korpisalo took over and made 14 saves to pick up the win.
“I didn’t plan on that,” Korpisalo said after the game. “It’s sad to see something like that kind of stuff happen to Elvis. I didn’t see what really happened, but it’s not fun.”
This was Korpisalo’s first appearance since he injured his knee against the Chicago Blackhawks on Dec. 29.
There was no update on Merzlikins after the game and he did not travel with his teammates to Minnesota. The team recalled Matiss Kivlenieks from the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League immediately after the game.
Injury Leads to Canucks Trade
Just before the league’s trade deadline hit on Monday afternoon, the Vancouver Canucks made a deal with the New Jersey Devils to acquire goaltender Louis Domingue. The move was a bit of a head-scratcher and general manager Jim Benning confirmed that All-Star Jacob Markstrom was hurt.
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Benning confirmed during his press conference that Markstrom underwent an MRI on Monday afternoon after he suffered a lower-body injury during Saturday night’s 9-3 drubbing of the Boston Bruins.
“He is flying back tomorrow [to Vancouver] and will meet with the doctors on Wednesday morning,” Benning revealed about his starting goaltender. “[We] will have a better timeline after that.”
Losing Markstrom during the playoff push is rough. He has started 43 games for the Canucks, going 23-16-4 with a 2.75 goals-against average (GAA) and .918 save percentage (SV%). Thatcher Demko will assume the starting job in his absence with Domingue backing him up.
Rangers Lose Shesterkin
Igor Shesterkin has been fantastic for the New York Rangers since making his NHL debut on Jan. 7 versus the Colorado Avalanche. He has gone 9-1-0 with a 2.23 GAA and .940 SV% while winning his last seven starts. It will be quite some time until he can try to extend that winning streak.
Rangers president John Davidson confirmed on Monday that Shesterkin and teammate Pavel Buchenvich were involved in a car accident on Sunday.
“Igor was driving (in Brooklyn) and apparently a vehicle pulled a U-turn in front of them and there was a collision,” he said. “The airbags were deployed immediately and the seat belts were being worn by both players and thankfully for that, and I mean thankfully for that.”
Shesterkin suffered a nondisplaced rib fracture and will be reassessed in two weeks. Buchnevich was a bit shaken up but did not suffer a significant injury. He was on the ice during the Rangers’ morning skate.
Lehner Says Goodbye
Robin Lehner was a surprise addition to the Chicago Blackhawks roster last summer when he signed a one-year, $5 million contract on the first day of free agency. He has been great in goal from them all season, but they traded the pending unrestricted free agent to the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday.
Although he was only in town for two-thirds of a season, it did not take long for Blackhawks fans to warm up to Lehner and vice versa. The outspoken goaltender was never afraid to speak his mind, especially when it came to his shootout struggles, and he quickly earned the respect of the fan base.
Shortly after the trade was announced, he sent off this message to the fans in Chicago.
A bit later, Lehner got back on Twitter to send a message that fans of his former team, the New York Islanders, would enjoy. The Toronto Maple Leafs became part of the deal as the Golden Knights sent them a fifth-round draft pick so they would retain some of Lehner’s salary.
In case you are wondering, Lehner, is nicknamed the Kung Fu Panda.
Ayres Makes the Round
The NHL’s emergency backup goaltender rule is one of the most unique in all of sports and the game is getting some great publicity this week because of it. David Ayres, who beat the Maple Leafs on Saturday, spent his Monday making the rounds on national television.
His day started with an appearance on NBC’s “Today.” During his lengthy interview, they called his mother Mary which led to this great, emotional moment.
From there he headed over to ESPN where he appeared on “The Dan LeBatard Show” on the television side and did some radio on “Golic and Wingo.”
The whirlwind didn’t end there as he headed to the famous Ed Sullivan Theater to make a cameo on CBS’ “The Late Show with Steven Colbert.”
Hopefully, the NHL doesn’t do anything stupid and change this rule. It is rarely ever put in place and when it is, it brings coverage to the game that few things ever do. The non-hockey media paid more attention to this story than Alex Ovechkin’s 700th goal. Whatever gets people who don’t watch hockey talking about hockey, you roll with it.
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