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  1. Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Jeff Glass took a long look around at his surroundings Tuesday morning. Yes, he nodded, when asked if it felt like a generation ago when he had last stopped pucks inside Canadian Tire Centre. “I have pretty good memories from here. I spent a lot of time here,” said Glass, 32, who registered his first National Hockey League victory for the Blackhawks 13 years and six months after the Ottawa Senators drafted him. “What I probably remember best was the playoff  Tommy Wingels Jersey  run to the Stanley Cup final in 2007 , and getting to be a part of that was a lot of fun. It was a long time ago.” Glass should be a candidate to win the Masterton Trophy for dedication and perseverance. If the NHL ever had a Survivor competition, Glass would win hands down. He played on perhaps the greatest junior hockey team ever assembled Canada’s 2005 world junior team. He spent four seasons with the Senators’ American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton and was an extra practice goalie during Ottawa’s long 2007 post season run, but his NHL dreams seemed to be over after he spent the next seven seasons in the KHL. He went from the Astana Barys to Novosibirst Sibir to CKSA Moscow to Tolyatti Lada to Minsk Dynamo before returning to North America last season and joining Chicago’s AHL affiliate in Rockford https://www.blackhawkschifans.com/michal-rozsival-jersey-c-5.html, Ill. “There were always times when I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but I believed in myself , believed in the process,” Glass said Tuesday. When Blackhawks No. 1 goaltender Corey Crawford was injured after Christmas, Glass was called up from Rockford. After playing the first 575 games of his professional career elsewhere, he won his first NHL start 4 3 in overtime against the Edmonton Oilers on Dec. 29. He followed that up with an overtime loss against the Calgary Flames, a win against the New York Rangers and a defeat against the Vegas Golden Knights. “The most important thing was that I got the win over Edmonton ,” said Glass https://www.blackhawkschifans.com/jan-rutta-jersey-c-4.html, who began Tuesday’s game against the Rangers as the back up to Anton Forsberg. “That could linger with a guy if you don’t get that.” The Blackhawks have had their share of struggles this season, but they rallied around Glass and his story. “He brings a shot of personality, he’s a great guy to be around,” forward Patrick Sharp said. “It’s a fun story for us and he’s a fun guy to have in the locker room. We needed a win at the time and he earned it, making a lot of big saves to keep us in the game.” Glass insisted ever being bitter at not getting a shot to play with the Senators or having to wait so long to make his mark in the NHL. “I learned a lot https://www.blackhawkschifans.com/brent-seabrook-jersey-c-3.html,” he said. “Looking back at it now, I wouldn’t trade my path for anything. It was a great experience overseas. I learned a lot with Ottawa, I learned a lot overseas. It really did prepare me for this chance.”
  2. Morning Skate If a Jaromir Jagr Calgary Flames divorce is imminent, what s next for No. 68? Greg Wyshynski The end. Sadly, but seriously. That Jagr found an NHL home for the 2017 18 season was exhilarating. There was no guarantee that he would have gotten a contract had he taken the Kladno to Olympics to maybe the NHL path instead. The Calgary Flames signing Jagr gave us another chance to watch him, another chance to admire his accomplishments and added another jersey to the ever growing closets of the Traveling Jagrs. But whether it s the injuries or the age Jagr turns 46 on Feb. 15 it s clear that he s playing at a different tempo than his teammates and his opponents. We ve gone from wondering about whether Jagr could potentially catch Gordie Howe for second all time in goals to watching Jagr score just one in 22 games this season. An ineffective Jagr is not one I wish to watch, nor am I compelled to see him grab third line minutes with one of the handful of teams that might tender him an offer when the Flames and the legendary winger part ways. The joy of watching Jagr during the past several seasons was to witness him defy his age, not struggle to compensate for it. Jagr s legacy should be that of a hockey deity, not a mortal deciding on whether surgery could prolong the inevitable. I love Jagr Greg McKegg Jersey, but this should be the end of a career that will never be duplicated in the history of hockey. Then it ll be time to celebrate him as a Hall of Famer, and wonder what might have been statistically were it not for those lockouts and had he not gone on that KHL sabbatical. Emily Kaplan The Pittsburgh Penguins are clawing for a playoff spot. Their stats at even strength are hard to look at. They could certainly use some secondary scoring. If the Flames part ways with Jagr, No. 68 should unequivocally sign with Pittsburgh for a day. So he can retire as a Penguin and then move on from the NHL portion of his career. Perhaps Jagr would give Pittsburgh a lift; he s a veteran presence with a knack for scoring. The Penguins could plug him into a bottom six role. The same could be said about the St. Louis Blues, a team Jagr almost signed with last summer. He opted for Calgary in part https://www.penguinspitfans.com/matt-hunwick-jersey-c-8.html, so he could check play for a Canadian team off his long list of career achievements . The truth, I m afraid, is that the version of Jagr that exists today is not the one we fantasize about. Indeed, there s still a traveling band of fans and cultish fascination with the man, the myth, the mullet. He s within reach 35 games of surpassing Gordie Howe s record of 1,767 career games played. He needs 36 goals to pass Howe s 801 for No. 2 on the all time goals list. There s no doubt Jagr s hands haven t failed him yet. It s his body that s hobbled it s not just that he s a step too slow to skate in today s wicked fast game, but also the injuries that have sidelined him from suiting up for the Flames. It s hard to watch a legend walk away, but even harder to watch a legend compete when he s not himself. That s why we should appreciate Jagr for all he has contributed over the past three ! decades. Let him sign with a team overseas maybe in the KHL, or perhaps within the comforts of HC Kladno, his hometown franchise. It would work out best for everyone. Plus, we d get to see Jagr play in one more Olympics. In a watered down tournament, there s no doubt that Jagr would be the star and get the proper spotlight and send off he deserves. Chris Peters Say it ain t so, Jags. This isn t the way I thought https://www.penguinspitfans.com/olli-maatta-jersey-c-6.html   we d see things play out, but with the injury situation being what it is, the pace of the NHL was going to catch up to him eventually. The past two years he had in Florida made it seem like maybe time was no match for No. 68. But sadly, it gets everybody sooner or later. In the dream scenario, Jagr would get a farewell tour a la Derek Jeter or David Ortiz, with each opposing team giving him some zany gift like an oversize bottle of Mane n Tail or a rocking chair made out of hockey sticks. But if he can t even crack the lineup, that will be out of the question. I d still love to see him get one last game in the NHL, so the sendoff can be done right. His health situation is a mystery right now, so perhaps suiting up for Friday s game at the Florida Panthers is not possible. But it would be really neat if he did, especially since Calgary won t play in Pittsburgh until March. South Florida was where Jagr had his last great run, those magical age defying seasons that were just too darn fun and oddly inspiring to watch unfold. It s probably too short of notice to throw together a ceremony that could be simulcast everywhere so we could all see him on NHL ice one more time. This is all probably just wishful thinking, of course. It unfortunately feels like this will end in anticlimactic fashion, which just doesn t sit well with me. Jagr is one of the game s all time greats, and for those of us of a certain age https://www.penguinspitfans.com/kris-letang-jersey-c-7.html, one of the last remaining links to our childhood, when hockey took hold of our hearts and NHL 94 took over our nights and weekends. If he s healthy enough, like Emily, I d love to see him get a shot on the Olympic stage. It d be perfect, Jagr returning 20 years after the Czech Republic stunned the hockey world and won gold in the first Olympics to feature NHL players. I m not sure what the Czech player pool looks like, and they ll be playing on a bigger ice surface in PyeongChang , but I don t know how you d turn down Jagr for a sixth and final Olympics if he s willing. It would make for some great theater and an opportunity for North American fans to see him one more time in a meaningful event. Even if he s done in the NHL, I have a hard time believing he has played his last professional game. He loves it too much to just walk away for good.
  3. Our week long look at how the Flyers are faring at the season’s unofficial half way point continues today with a look at the team’s seven most common defensemen this season. You can find links to the first four parts at the bottom of this post. Like we did on Tuesday with the team’s nine wingers, we’ll break this group of evaluations into three posts, but in the name of spreading the words around a bit in the bye week, we’ll only be posting two of them today and will save the third for tomorrow. Here, we’ll evaluate the team’s two young stud defensemen who happen to be nos. 1 and 2 in ice time this season on the team . A bit later in the day, we’ll look at the two rookies and how their first seasons have gone. And finally, tomorrow morning, we’ll look at the blue line’s three elder statesmen of sorts. With that, let’s get to it. Stats below are from hockey reference.com, NHL.com, corsica.hockey, and hockeyviz.com. Any statistics regarding ranks relative to the NHL are through Monday’s games. 5 on 5 On Ice Performance 48.5 Corsi For, 49.8 Expected Goals For, 0.79 Points per 60 In short Provorov has continued on his way towards becoming a real number one defensemen, with some minor question marks but also some major positive developments. How so? Beginning around Thanksgiving of last season, Provorov — still just 19 at the time — was clearly given the responsibilities of a number one defenseman. He was getting 23 plus minutes per night, playing against the best players on the other team, and getting time on both special teams units. The level of confidence that the Flyers had in Provorov was clear Jakub Voracek Jersey, and it’s only become more clear this season as he’s grown and as the defense around him has gotten younger. With 24 45 of ice time per game, Provorov currently ranks 16th in the NHL among defensemen in average TOI. He’s also facing top pair level competition among 189 NHL defensemen with at least 300 5 on 5 minutes, Provorov is 18th in quality of competition by ice time and has taken on a lot of PK responsibility 22nd in the NHL in total time on shorthanded . Provorov’s been leaned on quite heavily at times this year, as different players around him have been injured. A pair of games in early November — a back to back in Chicago and St. Louis — embodied what Provorov’s season had been as well as anything else; in slightly more than 24 hours, Provorov played 56 shifts and 56 59 of ice time, anchoring a Flyers defense absolutely ravaged by injuries. Based on role and usage, there’s no question who the Flyers’ top defenseman has been this season. Yeah, but It’s weird that Provorov still isn’t driving play and that his on ice shot and Expected Goal numbers are kinda mediocre, right? The guy clearly has the talent and physical tools to be a plus defenseman, and the team trusts him to do as much as is humanly possible. It’s a little surprising that he hasn’t turned that corner this year. Still, though ... Much as it was the case last year, the biggest reason that the Flyers spend more time defending than attacking while Provorov is on the ice probably has to do with who he’s sharing that ice with. Last year, Provorov’s main partner was Andrew MacDonald — well known as one who does not drive play forward in positive ways for his team. Surely enough, MacDonald has been Provorov’s most frequent pairmate for much of the season, and even acknowledging that the team asks a lot of the two of them in terms of usage and competition, the two have struggled to drive positive outcomes while together once again. And during the month where MacDonald was out with a likely knee injury, Provorov’s main partner was Robert Hagg https://www.phillyflyersfans.com/nolan-patrick-jersey-c-16.html, who as we’ll discuss later has not been off to a hot start in terms of play driving. Still, if not for recent developments, the question of “is Provorov good enough to create successful results no matter who he’s playing with?” was a legitimate one. But since December 23, Dave Hakstol has paired the team’s top defenseman with its second best defenseman in Shayne Gostisbehere, forming a true power pairing at the top of the lineup. And the results have been fantastic in 156 33 of ice time together, the pair has collected 56.07 percent of on ice shot attempts and 57.46 percent of Expected Goals. Pairing Provorov with a legitimate top 4 talent has done him wonders, and it should make fans even more confident that he’s going to be a big part of this team’s successes for a long time to come. Grade A . If we’d given out these grades three weeks ago, I’d have put him in the B to B plus range; someone who’s shown to be able to handle big minutes and not get butchered is valuable, but Provorov hadn’t really handled those minutes in quite the way that you’d think a future number one defenseman would. But Provorov’s excellent play with Gostisbehere suggests that Provorov may just be the guy we all think he is after all, and a big time second half of the season may be in the cards for him. While Gostisbehere may never quite top the performance of his rookie season, his work this season has gained him the trust of his coaches and earned him a bigger role on the team. How so? We all know Ghost’s story of his first couple of seasons. The then rookie had the Midas Touch in 2015 16 https://www.phillyflyersfans.com/michael-raffl-jersey-c-15.html, showing off highlight reel plays seemingly game after game and coming in as the runner up in the Calder race behind an old man. And last season everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong, as Ghost was scratched six times and had only seven goals a season after posting 17. There’s been no real dominant narrative around Gostisbehere this season in either direction, but his third NHL season has been the one in which the Flyers have asked the most of him. Gostisbehere has seen his ice time jump up above where it was in his rookie and sophomore year. He’s held his spot on the top power play, and is the team’s clear number two defenseman at this point in time. And the points are back, too — Ghost’s point per game rate of 0.82 is actually even better than the 0.71 he posted in his rookie season. And to the eye https://www.phillyflyersfans.com/taylor-leier-jersey-c-17.html, it appears that Ghost has made some real progress defensively, as well. Glaring errors have been few and far between, and while he’s probably been aided a bit by some good fortune his PDO of 102.2 is probably going to drop at some point, one way or the other , pucks are going in the net behind Ghost less frequently than they ever have been. There are a lot of welcome developments in Gostisbehere’s play this season, and it seems like the Flyers trust him more than they ever have. Yeah, but No matter how the Flyers feel about him, Ghost still has a lot of work to do defensively, doesn’t he? Most available shot quality measures expected goals against, expected Fenwick on ice save percentage paint him as below average on this team, and despite his obvious puck moving gifts and heavy offensive usage he’s pretty much a break even possession and expected goals player. Can a guy like that be your second best defenseman? Still, though ... Regarding play driving, we could pretty much copy all of the things we wrote about Provorov in the last section and drop them here. Ghost’s main partners this season have been Hagg, who has been a plus defender but is such a non factor offensively that the team gets heavily outshot when he’s on the ice, and Brandon Manning, a player who is the living embodiment of ‘just a guy’. His numbers as we discussed have taken a significant turn for the better with Provorov, and that should make fans optimistic about the idea that he can be a well rounded player. But even if Ghost never progresses past just OK defensively, or even if he’s something of a negative in his third of the ice, he should still be a net positive going forward based on what he provides in the game’s other two zones. Last season, when nothing was going right, it seemed like the Flyers may have lost track of that a bit. This season, it seems like they realize what they have in Gostisbehere quite well. Grade B . Two seasons ago, the Flyers — despite any concerns about his defensive game — gave Shayne Gostisbehere 20 minutes a night because they had no other choice, as he rewrote a different section of the NHL record book every week or two. This season, the Flyers are giving Gostisbehere 21 minutes a night because they know he’s the second best defenseman on the roster and they can’t afford not to. That’s a big step forward for him a year after getting healthy scratched multiple times, and like with Provorov, there’s good reason to believe the best is yet to come for him.  
  4. Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan has been sidelined by another hand injury. Ryan didn t return for the third period Tuesday night during an 8 2 home loss against Chicago https://www.ottsenatorsfans.com/max-mccormick-jersey-c-18.html, and he wasn t with the Senators for Wednesday night s game in Toronto. Ottawa coach Guy Boucher couldn t give much of an update on the extent of the injury or how long it will sideline the 30 year old winger. We have to wait until the swelling is down to know https://www.ottsenatorsfans.com/tom-pyatt-jersey-c-16.html, Boucher said when he spoke with media at the Wednesday morning skate. This is Ryan s third hand injury in 12 months and seventh since 2014. He broke the index finger on his right hand and Mark Stone Jersey  missed time in November before re aggravating it in December. It was the same finger he broke in a game last February. Boucher added that Ryan attempted to play through the pain against the Blackhawks. It got worse and worse as the game went on until he couldn t take it https://www.ottsenatorsfans.com/jeangabriel-pageau-jersey-c-17.html, Boucher said. Ryan has five goals and 12 assists in 32 games this season. Ottawa begins its bye week Thursday and will have seven days off before returning to the ice Jan. 18 against St. Louis.