The dust has settled on another busy weekend in the National Hockey League, but there is no rest for the weary as another week gets going tonight. Today’s edition of the Goalie News will take a look at some activities off the ice as well as some achievements on it. Goaltenders are some of the biggest characters in the game and this daily series wants to capture that.
Reimer Signs a Special Autograph
On Sunday, James Reimer of the Carolina Hurricanes took home our Backup of the Week honors. However, earlier in the week he had a chance to meet with a young hockey player and gave her a memory for a lifetime.
Nine-year-old Rosie McRackan was born without a right leg or left arm below her elbow. She has not allowed that to stop her from pursuing her love for the game of hockey as she has spent the last three years playing sled hockey.
The Hurricanes sponsored sled hockey team was in attendance for Carolina’s 6-3 win over the Florida Panthers last week. After the game, the team was invited down to the locker room where they had the chance to meet Reimer.
While most kids want their hockey jersey autographed, McRackan asked Reimer to sign her artificial hip, which was already adorned with superheroes. The veteran goaltender was quick to oblige and gave her quite the unique souvenir.
Cech Wins His Ice Hockey Debut
Last week, one of the greatest goalkeepers in Premier League history, Petr Cech, signed a contract with Guildford Phoenix, a semi-professional hockey team in England. The former goalkeeper for Chelsea and Arsenal made his hockey debut on Saturday and it went very well for him.
The Phoenix scored in the third period to send their game against the Swindon Wildcats into overtime tied 2-2. The game needed to be settled by a shootout where Cech stopped two of the three penalty shots he faced, helping his team to the victory.
The 37-year-old hockey rookie was named the Man of the Match for his performance.
Sparks Celebrates with Some Tacos
Garrett Sparks made his debut for the Chicago Wolves, in the American Hockey League, Friday night. He was the hard-luck loser in a 3-0 defeat at the San Antonio Rampage in his first professional game outside of the Toronto Maple Leafs organization.
Sparks was acquired by the Vegas Golden Knights over the summer in exchange for the contract of David Clarkson. He was back in the crease Saturday night after the scheduled starter Oscar Dansk was recalled by the Golden Knights due to an injury to Malcolm Subban.
The 26-year-old goaltender led the Wolves to their first win of the season, a 2-1 shootout victory over the Rampage. Sparks made 32 saves in regulation and overtime and then stopped all three shots he faced in the shootout.
So how did he celebrate his victory? With tacos, of course! Sparks put on his Alpha Wolf jacket, which the team gives to the player of the game each night, and bought some tacos from a food truck parked right outside the AT&T Center.
Rask Makes More “History”
There are few things Boston Bruins fans enjoy more than tormenting the Maple Leafs and their fans. They have taken great joy in their team knocking the Leafs out of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in each of the last two seasons.
They also love to remind their neighbors to the north that they acquired their All-Star goaltender Tuukka Rask from Toronto, straight up, for Andrew Raycroft. Rask has won 268 games with the Bruins, a Vezina Trophy and has been part of three teams that made it to the Stanley Cup Final.
Meanwhile, Raycroft was allowed to hit free agency after two seasons with the Leafs that saw him post a 3.17 goals-against average (GAA) and .890 save percentage (save %) in 91 games.
As Dan Ryan of SB Nation pointed out last week, when Rask beat the Golden Knights for his 267th career victory, he set the record for the most regular-season wins by a goaltender drafted by the Maple Leafs. Pouring salt into the wound! The Leafs are hoping to finally slay the dragon and get past the Bruins this spring and that will be a tall order.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.