May 9, 2013
NHL notes: Mike Smith backstops Canada to win over Sweden
By QMI Agency
Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes stopped 33 shots for the shutout as Canada skated to a 3-0 win over Sweden at the world championship Thursday in Stockholm.
Sweden was the first big test for the Canadians, who lost to Switzerland in a shootout earlier in the preliminary round and beat Denmark and Norway by a combined 10-2 score. With the win, Canada (3-0-1) vaulted over Sweden for second place in the pool.
Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning scored what would turn out to be the winner 8:56 into the first period. Luke Schenn of the Philadelphia Flyers and Jordan Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes scored second-period goals for Canada.
Smith needed to make a total of 16 saves over the first 40 minutes before Sweden peppered him with 17 shots in the third. Jhonas Enroth of the Buffal Sabres started for Sweden but gave way to Jakob Markstrom of the Florida Panthers midway through the third.
Canada plays Belarus Friday.
NHL, IIHF AGREE
The NHL has reached a new player transfer agreement with nine IIHF member countries but Russia is not among them.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told NHL.com that an agreement had been made with Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and Germany but it still needs to be ratified by the NHL board of governors. The agreement could be for as long as seven years and a minimum of four.
"We negotiated the proposal with the Swedish federation and we presented that as a proposal to the other national federations in the IIHF," Daly told NHL.com. "I think there was widespread support for them joining that agreement so we would have one agreement going forward. So, from our perspective we basically have an agreement with everybody except the Russians. The Russians committed to giving it consideration and coming back to us. We obviously have to take it to our board for them to consider -- and, hopefully, approve -- in the near future."
The NHL hasn't had a player transfer agreement with Russia since 2004 but the NHL and KHL honour signed contracts.
SID, OVIE NOMINATED
Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning were announced Thursday at the finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award, given to the best player as voted by the NHLPA.
Crosby, who won the award in 2007, was nominated after racking up 56 points in just 36 games. He missed a number of games due to a broken jaw but still managed to finish third in league scoring.
"Not to take anything away from the other awards, but to be recognized by other players you compete against is definitely a compliment," Crosby said on the league website. "I try to go out and do my best and if they recognize or see me that way, I definitely appreciate it. Unfortunately, I missed a bit of the season, but to still be recognized is definitely an honour."
Ovechkin had 32 goals and 24 assists in 48 games while St. Louis finished first in league scoring with 60 points.
The mysterious "body" injury that felled Cory Schneider of the Vancouver Canucks just before the start of the playoffs was actually a pulled groin.
Schneider confirmed Thursday to the Vancouver Province that he "tweaked" his groin in the third-last game of the season against the Chicago Blackhawks April 22. He missed the final two games of the regular season and the first two in the first-round playoff series with the San Jose Sharks.
"I was hoping to get it better in time," Schneider told the Province. "Sometimes things don't respond the way you want them to."
Schneider had a lousy .880 save percentage in the two games he played before the Canucks were swept out of the playoffs. But he didn't use the injury, which he said was healed before the start of the playoffs, as an excuse.
"I didn't get the job done," he said. "I didn't play well enough."
SABRES CUT COACHES
The Buffalo Sabres have reportedly fired assistant coaches James Patrick and Kevyn Adams.
According to the Buffalo News, the two coaches, both of whom were hired by ex-Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, were fired Thursday. Another assistant coach, Teppo Numminen, was kept on.
Patrick, 49, had been with the Sabres since 2005 while Adams, 38, was promoted from a gig in player development to assistant coach in 2011.
RINNE HAS SURGERY
Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne had arthroscopic hip surgery Monday and is expected to be out four months, the team announced Thursday.
Fortunately, Rinne's recovery time covers the summer months so the Predators expect him to be back up to speed by the start of training camp in September.
The surgical procedure cleared up an issue that Rinne was dealing with all season, which could be why his numbers slipped this season. He went 15-16-8 with a 2.43 goals-against average and .910 save percentage, all below the stats he posted as a Vezina Trophy finalists in 2011 and '12.