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US beats Switzerland 3-Zero to open girls’s world hockey

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Brianna Decker and Kendall Coyne Schofield every had a aim and an help and the nine-time champion United States beat Switzerland 3-Zero on Friday night time to open the ladies’s world hockey championship

CALGARY, Alberta — Brianna Decker and Kendall Coyne Schofield every had a aim and an help and the nine-time champion United States beat Switzerland 3-Zero on Friday night time to open the ladies’s world hockey championship.

Grace Zumwinkle additionally scored for the USA and Alex Cavallini made 10 saves. Andrea Braendli stopped 55 photographs for Switzerland.

“I believed it was an ideal sport and we’re actually excited concerning the consequence, but in addition in how we performed as a staff” U.S. coach Joel Johnson mentioned. “It simply felt actually good to get out and play. The Swiss have an ideal staff and performed us powerful, nevertheless it actually speaks to how aggressive the sport has change into everywhere in the world.”

Decker opened the scoring at 4:29 of the primary interval, Coyne Schofield related at 4:08 of the second, and Grace Zumwinkle capped the scoring with 1:36 left within the second. Decker assisted on Coyne Schofield’s aim to tie the American world championship assists report of 38 held by Krissy Wendell and Jennie Potter.

Earlier within the first Group A sport, Sarah Fillier broke a tie halfway by way of the third interval and Canada rallied to beat Finland 5-3. Within the lone Group B sport of the day, Alena Mills had three targets and an help within the Czech Republic’s 6-1 victory over Denmark.

All 5 groups in Group A and the highest three in Group B will advance to the quarterfinals. America will face Finland on Sunday night time.

Fillier scored 25 seconds after Elisa Holopainen tied it for Finland. Fillier scored on a rebound after Anni Keisala stopped Natalie Spooner’s wraparound try.

“I feel when you may have vitality and a no-quit perspective and also you add grit, good issues are going to occur,” Cabadian ahead Brianne Jenner mentioned.

Ten-time champion Canada overcame a two-goal deficit when Jamie Rattray and Marie-Philip Poulin scored in a 20-second span within the second interval. Nelli Laitinen and Minnamari Tuominen scored for Finland in a 3:40 span early within the first, with Tuominen connecting with two Canadians within the penalty field.

Erin Ambrose gave Canada a 3-2 lead early within the third, and Jenner had an empty-net aim within the closing minute.

Ann-Renee Desbiens made eight saves for Canada. Keisala stopped 39 photographs.

Vendula Pribylova, Dominika Laskova and Kristyna Patkova additionally scored for the Czech Republic, and Klara Peslarova made eight saves.

Josefine Persson scored for Denmark. The Danes are competing within the prime division for the primary time since 1992.

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Blues beat Rangers 3-1 for eighth straight victory

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Brayden Schenn scored the tiebreaking purpose halfway by the third interval and Jordan Binnington made 25 saves because the St. Louis Blues gained their eighth straight sport with a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers

NEW YORK —
Brayden Schenn scored the tiebreaking purpose halfway by the third interval and Jordan Binnington made 25 saves because the St. Louis Blues gained their eighth straight sport with a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday evening.

Schenn scored for the fifth consecutive sport when his wraparound banked off the skate of goalie Alexandar Georgiev at 9:56. Jaden Schwartz and defenseman Colton Parayko had assists on Schenn’s 25th of the season.

Schwartz sealed it with an empty-net purpose, his 21st, at 19:54 because the Rangers misplaced their third straight.

Binnington gained his sixth in a row for the Stanley Cup champion Blues (40-17-10), who’ve one of the best document within the Western Convention and beforehand had successful streaks of seven and eight video games this season.

Solely the Boston Bruins, whom St. Louis defeated in Recreation 7 of the finals final 12 months, has extra factors. The Blues are simply the second defending champions in NHL historical past to have three separate successful streaks of seven-plus video games the next season, matching the 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens.

Mika Zibanejad opened the scoring for the Rangers with a power-play purpose at 12:26 of the primary interval, whipping the puck previous Binnington for his 33rd purpose whereas Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo was off for tripping.

Zibanejad has targets in eight of the Rangers’ final 9 video games and 12 of the previous 15 to take over the workforce lead from Artemi Panarin, who has 32 targets and 90 factors. The 26-year-old Zibanejad has performed in simply 53 video games this season and has 29 factors (15 targets, 14 assists) in his final 19.

The Blues tied it on an unassisted purpose at 2:35 of the second by Parayko, who beat Georgiev for his ninth of the season. Georgiev began for the fourth time in 5 video games after veteran Henrik Lundqvist allowed 5 targets in Sunday’s 5-Three loss to Philadelphia, his first begin since Feb. 3.

The Rangers have been coming off back-to-back losses to the Flyers after successful 5 video games in a row and 9 of 10 to surge into the Japanese Convention playoff race.

They’ve a tricky street forward with Washington visiting on Thursday, then New Jersey on Saturday adopted by a visit to Dallas, Colorado and Arizona.

The Blues improved to 7-1-Four towards Metropolitan Division opponents and 13-6-Four general towards Japanese Convention groups. They’ve outscored opponents 28-13 throughout their successful streak.

NOTES: Blues ahead Ryan O’Reilly performed his 800th profession sport. … The Rangers scratched injured ahead Chris Kreider and goalie Igor Shesterkin. … The Blues scratched defenseman Carl Gunnarsson and forwards MacKenzie MacEachern, Jordan Kyrou and Troy Brouwer. … St. Louis gained the earlier assembly, 5-2 on Jan. 11 at house.

UP NEXT

Blues: On the New Jersey Devils on Friday evening.

Rangers: Host the Washington Capitals on Thursday evening.

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Extra AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities



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Carolina beats Toronto 6-3 with help of emergency goaltender

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TORONTO —
David Ayres was sitting in the stands with his wife at Scotiabank Arena when Carolina Hurricanes goalie James Reimer went down with an injury.

The on-call emergency netminder in Toronto, Ayers left his seat and got half dressed into his gear on the off chance something might happen to Carolina’s second option, Petr Mrazek.

Midway through the second period, Ayres noticed his cell phone started to blow up. What he didn’t realize was Mrazek had been hurt in a scary collision with Maple Leafs forward Kyle Clifford and was down on the ice.

Next thing the 42-year-old Zamboni driver knew, he was walking down the tunnel and into the spotlight.

And not long after, he had an improbable first NHL win. He is the oldest goalie in NHL history to win his regular-season debut.

Ayres allowed goals on the first two shots he faced before settling down and stopping the next eight in a suffocating defensive performance by his new teammates as Carolina picked up a stunning 6-3 victory over the Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

“I had a couple of text messages that told me to get in there,” Ayres said in front a throng of reporters. “I hadn’t seen the footage (of Mrazek’s injury). I was in the media room by myself and a guy came in and said, ‘Get going. Get ready.’

“It was wild, it was fun,” said Ayres, who gets paid $500 and gets to keep his jersey.

Ayres, who had a kidney transplant 15 years ago and wasn’t sure if he would ever play hockey again, has been a practice goalie with the Leafs and the club’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, for the last eight years.

The native of nearby Whitby, Ontario, faces shots from professional players on an almost-daily basis during the season, but never thought he’d be called into service in an NHL game.

“These guys were awesome,” Ayres said. “They said to me, ‘Have fun with it, don’t worry about how many goals go in, this is your moment, have fun with it.'”

He did more than that, and was greeted with raucous cheers from the Hurricanes in their locker room after finishing a post-game TV interview.

“I had no idea I was going to get a shower before I got in the shower,” Ayres, the game’s first star, said with a grin. “I got one.”

Not long after the final buzzer, the Hurricanes were hawking T-shirts on Twitter sporting the stand-in goalie’s No. 90.

“It’s pretty special,” Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “I told the guys after the game, ‘Thank him because that just gave (us) an incredible memory.'”

Warren Foegele scored twice, Martin Necas had a goal and an assist, and Lucas Wallmark, Nino Niederreiter andTeuvo Teravainen provided the rest of the offense for Carolina.

“He probably dreams of playing in the National Hockey League,” Foegele said of Ayres. “What a moment for him. Something he’ll never forget, and something we won’t either.”

Alexander Kerfoot, Pierre Engvall and John Tavares scored for Toronto, which beat the Hurricanes 8-6 at home on Dec. 23. Kasperi Kapanen and Tyson Barrie picked up two assists each for the Leafs. Frederik Andersen made 41 saves.

Toronto was playing poorly before Mrazek went down with Carolina leading. Things didn’t get much better, even though Tavares and Engvall scored on consecutive attempts to make it 4-3 through 40 minutes.

“The reality is that the game really just stayed the same,” said head coach Sheldon Keefe, whose players mustered just seven shots in the third. “When the goalie switch happened, I talked to the team and said, ‘If we don’t change how we’re playing, they don’t even need a goalie. There’re no chances, no shots, there’s nothing happening.’

“They didn’t need a goaltender the way the game was going.”

Reimer started for the Hurricanes against his former team, but left with a lower-body injury in the first after being bowled over in his crease. He was replaced by Mrazek, who made 31 saves in Friday’s 5-2 home loss to the New York Rangers. But Carolina’s second option went down after that thunderous encounter with Clifford as both players raced for the puck along the sideboards with 8:41 left in the second.

That forced Ayres, who’s been the emergency goalie in Toronto for about half the games this season and is available to either team, into action for the remainder of game between clubs battling for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference.

“You kind of think, ‘Oh well how’s this gonna end up?'” Brind’Amour said. “That’s incredible. That’s why you do this.”

After the bizarre second that saw Carolina score four times, give up two goals, lose Mrazek, and have Ayres pressed into action, the Hurricanes made it 5-3 just 53 seconds into the third after jumping on a turnover and beating Andersen in tight.

Necas then made it 6-3 at 3:44 when he picked up a loose puck to finish off a chaotic sequence as boos rained down.

The jeers continued on a Leafs power play later in the period and got louder as the period wore on, with some fans chanting “Let’s Go Raptors!” as the final minutes ticked down.

“We obviously didn’t handle the circumstances of the game very well,” Leafs captain John Tavares said. “Might have been our poorest night of execution.

“We seemed like the team that played last night and traveled.”

Carolina trailed 1-0 after the first, but tied it at 5:46 of the second when Wallmark scored off a scramble. Niederrieter then blasted a one-timer on a power play at 9:43 before Foegele made it 3-1 at 10:49.

Mrazek was out of the game 30 seconds later.

Teravainen made it 4-1 with Clifford in the box for charging at 13:17, but Tavares scored on the first shot against Ayres, through the pads 19 seconds after that.

Engvall buried a loose puck on Toronto’s next shot at 15:10 to make it 4-3.

The Leafs, who were coming of an encouraging 4-0 win over Pittsburgh on Thursday, then got a power play — fans screamed “Shoot!” almost every time a Toronto player had the puck anywhere near the opposition net — but the Hurricanes didn’t allow anything through.

Ayres made his first save late in the second on Auston Matthews as Carolina led 4-3 through a wild 40 minutes and shut things down in the third.

“These guys,” Ayres said of what he’ll remember most. “How great they were to me. The crowd in Toronto was unreal. Even though I was on the other team they were so receptive. Every time I made a save I could hear them cheering for me.

“Awesome.”

NOTES: Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie was hurt with six minutes gone when Andrei Svechnikov took him hard into the end boards. The defenseman skated to the locker room favoring his right shoulder, but was back on the bench to start the second.

UP NEXT

Hurricanes: Host Dallas Stars on Tuesday.

Maple Leafs: At Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports



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Road less traveled: Some NHL teams moving AHL squads closer

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DENVER —
Jason Dickinson encountered quite a few bumps in the road on his route to the NHL.

Good thing for his trusty truck.

Dickinson was up and down between the Dallas Stars, and their American Hockey League affiliate, the Texas Stars, a total of 17 times during the 2017-18 season.

Sometimes, the forward would join the team from the road. And sometimes, he would make that 183.5-mile trek along the interstate in his truck.

That’s a rather easy call-up commute by league standards: From rink to rink, the average distance between NHL teams and their AHL partners is roughly 460 miles (740.3 kilometers).

Currently, there are a half-dozen NHL teams who have affiliates located more than 1,200 miles (1,931.2 kilometers) away.

The longest jaunt? From the Utica Comets in New York to the Vancouver Canucks, which is a 2,918-mile (4,696 kilometers) coast-to-coast expedition.

The shortest? A tie between the San Jose Sharks/San Jose Barracudas and the Winnipeg Jets/Manitoba Moose. That’s simply a short walk down the hallway thanks to shared arenas.

Over the past few seasons, a few teams have moved their minor-league affiliates closer to base camp. The Colorado Avalanche relocated their farm team from San Antonio, Texas, to Loveland, Colorado, in 2018 and Ottawa a year earlier moved theirs from Binghamton, New York, to Belleville, Ontario.

The Vegas Golden Knights recently announced their purchase of an AHL franchise from Spurs Sports & Entertainment (operators of the San Antonio Rampage in San Antonio). The plan is to relocate the team from Texas to Henderson, Nevada, and begin play at the Orleans Arena next season.

It makes sense having players nearby for practical (emergency call-up) and logistical (easier for executives to catch games) purposes.

Avalanche assistant general manager Craig Billington lives in Denver but spends about 80% of his time working with the Eagles in Loveland, which is about 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) away.

“When you take into account the viewing and the communication that goes on, it really benefits from a geographical proximity,” Billington explained. “Information travels quite quickly and enables us to feel connected — the coaching staff, all the players, the trainers, the benefit of doctors and the medical support.”

Eagles forward Jayson Megna is no stranger to making various NHL/AHL treks. He has taken that long flight from Utica to Vancouver while with the Canucks. He’s gone from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to the Pittsburgh Penguins (264 miles, 424.9 kilometers). He knows the trip from the Hartford Wolf Pack to the New York Rangers (115 miles, 185 kilometers).

The current commute, from Loveland to Denver, is more than manageable for a player who’s been added, recalled or returned on loan five times this season. Theoretically, he could be back at home in Fort Collins that night after a game.

“Super easy,” said the 30-year-old Megna, who’s played in 121 NHL games. “There’s not any issues with travel plans. You still feel good and prepared for a game.”

Not that players mind the travel — any sort of travel.

“I mean, when you get called up to the NHL you have a certain amount of adrenaline,” Megna said. “Guys just make it happen.”

Take goaltender Calvin Pickard for instance: He played in weekend games for the Grand Rapids Griffins last month, before getting a quick call to join the Detroit Red Wings to make a start.

“Just a quick drive,” Pickard said of the 157-mile (252.7 kilometer) commute. “Just had to go grab my gear.”

Speaking of gear, that can be quite an ordeal for players who must take a flight to join their teams.

“The hockey bag is always the last one off the plane. Every time,” Dickinson said. “You’re always the last one out.”

That’s why Dickinson preferred to make the drive from Cedar Park, Texas, to Dallas in his truck.

As an added bonus to driving, he had his own transportation while in town.

“It sucks when you’re stuck in your city and you have to beg guys to pick you up at the hotel,” said Dickinson, who has eight goals and 10 assists in 55 games for Dallas this season. “It makes it easy to feel a part of the area. You don’t feel like you’re coming into a whole new city and trying to figure things out.”

GAME OF THE WEEK

Alex Ovechkin continues his quest to reach the 700-goal mark Thursday when the Washington Capitals host Montreal. Ovechkin has been held without a goal over his last five games. He remains on 698 goals as he tries to become the eighth NHL player to score 700 goals.

LEADERS (through Monday)

Goals: David Pastrnak (Boston) 42; Assists: Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton), 61; Points: Draisaitl, 95; Ice time: Thomas Chabot (Ottawa), 26:04; Wins: Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay), 32; Goals-against average: Tuukka Rask (Boston), 2.08; Save percentage: Rask, .931.

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports



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Raanta stops 25 shots in Coyotes’ 2-1 win over Islanders

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Antti Raanta stopped 25 shots, Conor Garland scored his team-leading 20th goal and the Arizona Coyotes beat the New York Islanders 2-1

GLENDALE, Ariz. —
Antti Raanta stopped 25 shots, Conor Garland scored his team-leading 20th goal and the Arizona Coyotes beat the New York Islanders 2-1 on Monday.

The Coyotes followed one of their best games of the season against Washington with another solid performance two days later.

Raanta was sharp for the second straight game after a shaky performance against Ottawa. Clayton Keller scored his first goal in nine games in the first period, and Garland became Arizona’s first 20-goal scorer of the season with a one-timer in the third.

The Islanders got off to a shaky start on their four-game Western Conference trip, getting shut out by Nashville and Vegas.

New York failed on numerous good chances against the Coyotes before Anthony Beauviller scored the Islanders’ first goal in 166 minutes in the third period. Semyon Varlamov stopped 30 shots.

The Coyotes had one of their best all-around games Saturday night, holding Alex Ovechkin at 698 career goals in a 3-1 victory over Washington.

Arizona was buzzing early against the Islanders, creating multiple chances before Keller scored in the opening five minutes. His shot from the slot caromed off New York defenseman Nick Leddy past Varlamov.

Raanta, who stopped 36 shots against the Capitals, made a series of tough saves when the Islanders turned up the pressure, particularly during a power play late in the first.

Devon Toews nearly slipped one past Raanta early in the second on a sharp-angle shot. The puck went under Raanta’s pads, off the toe of his skate and hit the post. A video review showed the puck tumble along the line, but not all the way over it.

Garland put the Coyotes up 2-0 early in the third, one-timing a nifty no-look pass from Christian Dvorak.

Beauvillier scored New York’s first goal of the road trip shortly after, redirecting Andy Greene’s shot past Raanta’s glove side.

Raanta made a series of tough saves down the stretch to clinch it.

NOTES: The Coyotes have killed off 18 straight penalties after holding New York scoreless in three attempts with the man advantage. … Greene was in the top defensive pairing with Ryan Pulock after being acquired in a trade from New Jersey on Sunday. … Dvorak has matched his career high at 37 points. … The Islanders had a seven-game points streak (5-1-2) against Arizona snapped.

UP NEXT

The Islanders play at Colorado on Wednesday.

The Coyotes play at Dallas Wednesday.

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports



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How Igor Shesterkin snatched Henrik Lundqvist’s Rangers crown

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In the spring of 2019, Nick Bobrov sat down multiple times with Igor Shesterkin to gauge the emerging goaltender’s desire and readiness to make the transition from the Kontinental Hockey League to North America.

In the ensuing conversations, however, Bobrov — the Rangers’ director of European scouting — felt more like he was staring into the bright lights than the one asking the questions.

“When I was talking to him, he was still mulling whether to come to the NHL or to give it another year in the KHL or two, the Q-and-A sessions I had with him were almost like an interrogation on his part,” Bobrov told The Post earlier this week. “He knew exactly what was happening with the organization. He knew all the goaltending tendencies. He knew every nuance, every right question to ask, that other players customarily don’t.

“He’s the kind of kid who just studies every nuance and nook and cranny about everything going on in his life. I probably was less prepared for that sort of bombardment than I should have been. But that’s just him. That’s how he studies hockey, that’s how he studies business, how he studies his future. He’s very meticulous, and I think we’re seeing that reflects in the way he plays.”

Indeed, like Daniel Jones wrested the starting quarterback position away from Eli Manning earlier during this local sports cycle with the Giants, Shesterkin officially has usurped the crown and mask that have been donned between the Rangers’ pipes since 2005 by team legend Henrik Lundqvist.

Igor Shesterkin Rangers star goaltender
Igor ShesterkinCharles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Blueshirts coach David Quinn publicly declared New York’s latest high-profile changing of the guard Thursday, deservedly anointing the rising Russian rookie as the Rangers’ No. 1 netminder for the first time since Shesterkin’s stellar play forced a summoning from AHL Hartford in January to form a typically untenable three-headed goalie rotation at the Garden.

The team’s 2014 fourth-round draft pick has won six of his first seven NHL starts, temporarily interrupted by missing the past two games with a minor ankle injury. Shesterkin earned that crack at the top designation with a cool demeanor, a steady crease presence and a continuation of the staggering penchant for winning games he showed throughout his six seasons with SKA St. Petersburg and a half-year in the AHL after finally signing with the Rangers in May of last year.

Shesterkin, the first Russian-born goalie ever to play for the Blueshirts, posted a career record of 88-16-7 in the KHL, including the best goals-against average (1.68) of any goalie in league history with at least 50 appearances. His .935 save percentage ranks No. 2 all-time. Some critics have discounted those numbers as a byproduct of SKA being a deep-pocketed team in a top-heavy league, with high-profile teammates such as longtime NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk, but Bobrov disagrees.

“The stats were completely deserved and earned,” Bobrov said of Shesterkin, whose father, Oleg, played soccer professionally in Russia. “SKA was always a very loose team. They were sort of the equivalent of the Edmonton Oilers of the ’80s, by KHL standards. They had a lot of good, skilled players, big-budget team, big names.

“But it’s not like you had the New Jersey Devils defense of the ’90s in front of him like Marty [Brodeur] did. He had to come up with major saves all the time because the other guys were looking to pad their stats and score goals.”

Bobrov, who credited Slovakia-based Rangers scout Jan Gajdosik with first uncovering Shesterkin as a targeted prospect, described the rookie’s goaltending style to a hybrid of Brodeur’s puck-handling ability and 2015 Hart Trophy winner Carey Price’s propensity for smothering pucks and controlling rebounds.

“This kid is not a fluke,” former Rangers goalie Mike Richter said on The Post’s “Up in the Blue Seats” podcast. “They’ve been saying it for some time, ‘The best goalie coming out of Russia.’ There’s an adjustment coming to North America, so that was a question, but I think he’s answered that with an exclamation point coming over and playing as well as he did in the AHL.

“Unbelievable numbers, so you couldn’t keep him down there forever. Is [three goalies] a problem? I don’t think so. It’s a great problem to have. In perhaps the most important position on the ice, the organization has done what it’s had to, to have strength there.”

Richter, who backboned the Rangers’ 1994 Stanley Cup-winning squad, similarly recalled being a part of a three-goalie rotation with John Vanbiesbrouck and Bob Froese.

Richter watched the 24-year-old Shesterkin’s first start — a 5-3 victory on Jan. 7 against Colorado — and believes the rookie has “never looked back.” He also has watched closely how Quinn has handled parsing playing time to Shesterkin, Lundqvist and third goalie Alex Georgiev.

“Depending on the position you are in, of those three, it can be fantastic, ho-hum or terrible. In my position it was fantastic,” Richter said. “It wasn’t until I was a bit older that I realized how gracious those two guys were to me. The fact remains you’re that third wheel and in the way at the same time. … In the beginning it’s fine, in the long-term it’s untenable.

“But that’s what sport is, the best man wins. Nothing is granted. You can be the best goalie in the world and at some point someone is going to tap you on the shoulder and say we have a young kid who can do this as well as you now and is younger and has more upside. … I think the coaching staff has a really good eyeball for this, and I think [Quinn] has handled it very well.”

The Rangers still could ship out the 24-year-old Georgiev before the Feb. 24 trade deadline or over the summer, but the 37-year-old Lundqvist has started just two games since Shesterkin was called up on Jan. 6.

The five-time All-Star has given no public indication he’d be willing to waive his no-movement clause, but it’s possible the Rangers could attempt to buy out the final year and $8.5 million left on Lundqvist’s contract.

“Let me preface this to be completely objective by saying that Hank and I are great friends,” said NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes, who shared the Rangers’ net with Lundqvist during the King’s first two NHL seasons from 2005-07. “I think this is difficult for everybody, but it’s great to be in the position to have this much depth. That’s a testament to the organization and [goalie coach] Benoit Allaire and his brother, Francois, who I think should be in the Hall of Fame one day with how they’ve revolutionized the position.

“As far as Shesterkin is concerned, I had a chance to see him up close last week against [Toronto]. He’s really patient in the net, he reads very well when to be a little more conservative and when to challenge. He’s a really good first-shot goalie, which I think is a really huge skill, and he controls the puck really well in terms of rebounds. And you can already see that he has the right demeanor. He looks like a real nice package.”

Henrik Lundqvist (l) and Igor Shesterkin
Henrik Lundqvist (l) and Igor ShesterkinAP

Rangers assistant general manager Chris Drury, who also doubles as Hartford’s GM, says he also noticed an “unmistakable calmness” in Shesterkin “on and off the ice” upon arrival with the organization’s top minor league affiliate. Shesterkin made a seamless adjustment to the smaller rinks of the North American game, registering a 17-4-3 record with a 1.90 GAA in 25 appearances for the Wolf Pack.

“Everyone would always talk about how his demeanor never changes, just day in and day out, and they were 100 percent right,” Drury said. “That really translates to the ice, how he handles himself in every situation while making saves. Whether it’s a bang-bang shot, a breakaway, a backdoor play, scrambling for a rebound, he just has a calmness and an ability mentally and physically to be in the right place to make the save when needed.

“He makes thing look easy that are anything but easy.”

Shesterkin also has handled what could be a tricky relationship with Lundqvist, “as well as possible, and that goes both ways,” Drury added.

Last month, Lundqvist admitted to The Post he saw similarities with his pending demotion to that of Manning, who announced his retirement following the Giants’ season after yielding the starting job he had held since 2004.

“You look at it two ways: It’s challenging, first, because you want to be respectful, but you also want to respect all that they’ve done and all that they’ve accomplished,” Weekes said. “As a goalie, when you come in, that’s difficult, that’s really challenging, in itself. Hank’s a Hall of Fame lock and he can still play.

“But I think Jones was the same thing when he came in with the Giants and Eli was still there. I think the biggest thing is you want to believe in yourself, and there’s a fine line between respect and deference and also continuing to push your career forward. It’s never easy. You have to have some finesse in how you go about that.”

According to Bobrov, Lundqvist “definitely” has reciprocated in easing the situation, saying the 15-year veteran “has been unbelievable” in mentoring both Georgiev and Shesterkin.

“He’s a real pro and he obviously leads by example, the way he works and prepares in practice. That really resonated with Shesty right away,” Bobrov said. “I think he was a little bit shocked. Shesty had heard all the stories, but then seeing it live, it was a very different visual for him. He’s ramped up his own work ethic even above what it was, and it already was great. He obviously followed Hank’s career his whole life. Hank has been a role model and he’s looked up to him since he was a little boy. And now he gets to learn from him in practices and in games, and I think he is just in heaven.

“From our conversations, it’s like it’s Christmas for him every time he’s on the ice with Hank.”

As goalies, by definition, they never can be on the ice together in games. With the revamped Rangers seven points removed from a playoff position entering Saturday’s action, the soft-spoken Shesterkin has usurped the King with the potential to backstop an unforeseen postseason push.

Heavy is the head that wears the crown, indeed.

“Shesty is extremely intelligent, naturally. He is one of those kids who almost doesn’t need an agent,” Bobrov said. “He just makes a point of learning every matter that he’s involved with. He takes a deep dive into everything, studies everything, including the goaltending craft.

“He’s very serious about whatever he is learning or perfecting. But he’s also a very funny kid with a great sense of humor. So he’s got that balance of being a very likeable teammate, but also being very serious and calm when it comes to anything at all in life that requires being serious about.

“I think the word meticulous also reflects in his ability to absorb the shots, not give the rebounds, just suck everything up. Just being very clean in his movements and making everything look easy in hockey and his life, even when it’s not easy at all.”

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Minnesota Wild fire coach Bruce Boudreau

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The Minnesota Wild have fired coach Bruce Boudreau

ST. PAUL, Minn. —
The Minnesota Wild fired coach Bruce Boudreau on Friday with the goal of correcting some inconsistencies and making a late-season push for a playoff spot.

First-year general manager Bill Guerin said he felt the timing was right to move on from Boudreau and replace him with interim coach Dean Evason despite the Wild having won seven of their past 11 games. Boudreau was fired in the aftermath of a shootout loss to the New York Rangers.

“It’s not just one loss. It’s not one week. It’s a series of things,” Guerin said at a news conference in St. Paul, Minnesota. “We have shown that we can be (one of) the best teams in the league or the so-called best teams in the league. I think in some of the tighter game situations we could be a little bit better.”

This is the eighth coaching change in the NHL this season, and Boudreau is the sixth fired for team performance reasons. That matches the most for one season in NHL history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Minnesota is 27-23-7 and three points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference with 25 games left. Guerin hopes a “new voice” from Evason helps the Wild return to the playoffs.

“This is all a matter of just winning games down the stretch,” Guerin said. “I expect this team to compete for a playoff spot.”

Boudreau, 65, was in his fourth season with the Wild. He had been hired by Chuck Fletcher, who has since been fired and joined Philadelphia as its GM. Boudreau took Minnesota to the playoffs in his first two seasons there.

Guerin took over last summer following the firing of one-season GM Paul Fenton. He said it was not his intent from the time he got the job to fire Boudreau.

“We had a good working relationship and we got along as people, as well,” Guerin said. “I like Bruce. He’s a good guy and I planned on seeing it through. I came in with an open mind and didn’t have a decision made. This was just something that’s been on my mind for a little while and I felt like today was the day.”

Boudreau is in his 13th season after previously coaching the Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks. His team has made the playoffs in 10 of 12 full seasons, and his 567 wins rank 22nd.

Evason is in his second season with the Wild after coaching the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals the previous six years. He was an assistant under Boudreau for parts of five seasons in Washington.

Guerin said the front office will conduct a search for a full-time coach once this season is over. For now, it’s Evason’s team.

“Dean has his own thoughts and beliefs and what he believes is going to give us success,” Guerin said. “I have full confidence in him. The one thing I really do like about Dean is his passion, his fire for the game. I am hoping that that translates to the players.”

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Blues’ Bouwmeester remains in hospital after collapse

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester remained hospitalized and was undergoing tests Wednesday one day after suffering a cardiac episode and collapsing on the bench during a game in Anaheim.

General manager Doug Armstrong said the 36-year old Bouwmeester was unresponsive after collapsing on the bench Tuesday night. A defibrillator was used and he regained consciousness immediately before being taken to an Anaheim hospital.

“He is doing very well and is currently undergoing a battery of tests. Things are looking very positive,” Armstrong said during a news conference in Las Vegas.

Teammates Vince Dunn and Alex Pietrangelo immediately called for help after Bouwmeester slumped over with 7:50 left in the first period. Emergency medical personnel rushed to the Blues bench. After a couple of minutes, Bouwmeester was taken out on a stretcher through a tunnel under the stands as players stood in shocked silence on the ice. The game was postponed.

Pietrangelo said he visited Bouwmeester in the hospital Tuesday night and the rest of team got to see him via FaceTime. The team stayed overnight in Southern California before taking a chartered flight to Las Vegas, where they will play the Golden Knights on Thursday.

“It was important for us to see him. It made everyone feel a lot better that he was in good spirits,” Pietrangelo said.

The last player to collapse on an NHL bench before Bouwmeester was Dallas forward Rich Peverley in 2014. Peverley had an irregular heartbeat, and the quick response of emergency officials made sure he was OK. Detroit’s Jiri Fischer had a similar episode in 2005.

The NHL has had standards in place to deal with potential life threatening cardiac problems for several seasons. They include having a team physician within 50 feet of the bench. An orthopedic surgeon and two other doctors are also nearby.

Jay bouwmeester collapse bench blues cardiac
Members of the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks gather on the ice as Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who suffered a medical emergency.AP Photo

Defibrillators must also be in close range. The home team has one on its bench and the away team must have theirs no further away than their locker room. Each medical team regularly rehearses the evacuation of a severely injured player before the season and all players are screened for serious cardiac conditions.

“The Peverley and Fischer incidents and now Bouwmeester reminded us all how important it is to have team doctors close to players’ benches and defibrillators easily accessible in short notice,” said Edmonton Oilers general manger Ken Holland, who was with Detroit in 2005 when Fischer collapsed on the bench. “It has probably saved all their lives. Incredible job by league and team medical people.”

Bouwmeester is in his 17th NHL season and his fitness and conditioning has always been a source of pride. He helped the Blues win the Stanley Cup last season and won an Olympic gold medal with Canada in 2014.

Bouwmeester was skating in his 57th game this season and the 1,241st of his NHL career. He had skated 1:20 in his last shift before collapsing and logged 5:34 of ice time as the game got going.

“His training and the way he takes care of himself, it crystallizes how things can quickly change. It is a testament to the NHL and teams to have everyone positioned when something like this takes place,” Armstrong said.

Bouwmeester’s father was at the game as part of the team’s annual dads trip and accompanied his son to the hospital.

The Blues and Ducks are talking with the league about making up the game Armstrong said a full 60 minutes will be played and it will resume with the game tied at 1.

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San Diego Gulls Announce Three-Year Partnership with Rady Children’s Hospital

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Team to host Family Day this Sunday, Feb. 9; Launch ‘Text to Donate’ campaign to highlight game dedicated to raising funds and awareness for Rady’s Children’s Hospital

Feb 6, 2020

The San Diego Gulls announced today that the American Hockey League (AHL) club has entered a three-year partnership with Rady Children’s Hospital, the largest children’s hospital in California providing the largest source of comprehensive pediatric medical services in San Diego, southern Riverside and Imperial counties.

 

As part of the partnership, the Gulls will raise funds and awareness for Rady Children’s Hospital by hosting Family Day this Sunday, Feb. 9 when the club hosts the Bakersfield Condors at Pechanga Arena San Diego (5 p.m.). Gulls fans are invited to participate in Family Day in a variety of ways, including a ‘text to donate’ campaign.

 

“San Diego offers so many opportunities for our community to gather together and celebrate what makes our city special,” said Alexandra Loker, Senior Director of Philanthropy at Rady Children’s Hospital Foundation. “The Gulls are exactly the type of team we want to celebrate – one of the winningest in the AHL record books – and certainly a point of pride in our city. We are enthusiastic about our partnership with the Gulls to drive even more excitement around their season and create a dialog about the importance of keeping our children healthy.”

 

Fans attending or watching Sunday’s FOX 5 San Diego telecast can donate to Rady Children’s Hospital in a number of ways. Text “RADY” to “41444,” and a specified donation will be made to the hospital.

 

“We are proud to align with one of the nation’s leading children’s hospitals and support their mission to restore, sustain and enhance the health and development of children in our region,” said Gulls President of Business Operation’s Matt Savant. “Rady Children’s Hospital shares our focus on improving the health and wellness of the San Diego community, and our partnership will help us further meet that goal by raising funds to support an exemplary organization.”

 

Gulls players, coaches and staff have regularly visited patients at Rady Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House San Diego since 2015 and will continue to bolster the number of visits each season.

 

Alexandra Loker will be featured on both the Gulls television and radio broadcasts, highlighting the new partnership between Rady Children’s Hospital and the San Diego Gulls, and how the collaboration supports the hospital’s efforts to protect the magic of childhood. During the game, Rady Children’s Hospital patients and physicians will have the opportunity to be a part of in-game elements such as riding the Zamboni, viewing warmups from the penalty box, and the ceremonial puck drop. Rady Children’s Hospital patient Parker Watson will participate in the ceremonial puck drop. Parker is an avid sports fan who is currently undergoing treatment at the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Rady Children’s Hospital.

 

Tickets for Family Day are still available. Individual game tickets can be purchased through SanDiegoGulls.com/tickets or by calling (844) GO GULLS.

 

About Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego

Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego is a 524-bed pediatric care facility providing the largest source of comprehensive pediatric medical services in San Diego, southern Riverside and Imperial counties. Rady Children’s is the only hospital in the San Diego area dedicated exclusively to pediatric healthcare and is the region’s only designated pediatric trauma center. In June 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranked Rady Children’s among the best children’s hospitals in the nation in all 10 pediatric specialties the magazine surveyed. Rady Children’s is a nonprofit organization that relies on donations to support its mission.

 

For more information, visit RCHSD.org and find us on Facebook, Twitter and Vimeo.



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Flyers mascot cleared of claim he punched teenage fan

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Police say Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty has been cleared of allegations that he punched a 13-year-old boy after a photo shoot

PHILADELPHIA —
Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty has been cleared of allegations that he punched a 13-year-old boy in the back after a photo shoot, police said.

Chris Greenwell and his son Brandon met the hairy, googly-eyed mascot at a November event for season ticket holders. Brandon patted Gritty on the head after he and his father posed for a photo with him at the Wells Fargo Center, Greenwell has said.

Greenwell said that as Brandon walked away, the person in the Gritty costume ran from his chair and “punched my son as hard as he could.”

Greenwell, who has said he only wanted an apology and something special for his son, filed a complaint with police Dec. 21. But police announced Monday that their investigation determined that “the actions of the individual portraying the Flyers’ mascot did not constitute physical assault as alleged.”

The Flyers said in a statement that they are pleased that police “concluded there was no merit to the alleged claim.”

“The police department’s statement confirms our thorough internal investigation that found no evidence of the described actions ever having taken place,” the team said.

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