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Travis Zajac of the New Jersey Devils. (File Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images) (Andy Marlin/Getty Images)
Travis Zajac of the New Jersey Devils. (File Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images) (Andy Marlin/Getty Images)

Around the Rinks

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Tweet of the week

@jparencibia9 informed me I’d make a killer DH in baseball. Basically, they get 4 shifts a game. #PERFECT

Phoenix Coyotes’ fourth-liner Paul Bissonette (BizNasty2point0) reflects on a possible career change after meeting the Blue Jays’ catcher in the dressing room following a win over Nashville last week.



Number of active NHL goaltenders who won their first starts in relief. Matt Hackett, nephew of former NHL goalie Jeff Hackett, became the fifth to do so when he came on for the injured Minnesota Wild starter Josh Harding and stopped all 34 shots he faced in a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks. The others: Evgeni Nabokov, Miikka Kiprusoff, Nicklas Backstrom and Jacob Markstrom.


Number of regulation losses, in his first seven appearances, for Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Ray Emery, who is pushing Corey Crawford for the No. 1 job. It isn’t just Vancouver that’s dealing with goalie controversies.


“When it’s the first time, you give guys a break. But it’s happened more than a few times. At one point, he’s got to hold himself responsible. Hopefully it’s a learning thing.”

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins coach explains why he benched leading scorer Tyler Seguin for a game against the Winnipeg Jets after Seguin overslept and missed the team’s breakfast meeting.

“I just got a whole lot younger.”

Mike Babcock

The Detroit Red Wings coach believes the NHL’s new realignment plan will add years to his life because of the reduced travel schedule his club will now face. It might even convince Nicklas Lidstrom to keep playing next year.

“I don’t like losing, I don’t like being pulled. But the worst thing I could do is start thinking about it too much and put everything on my shoulders. I’ll just keep doing what I’ve been doing.”

Corey Crawford

The goalie gets philosophical about the fact that Emery started two games in a row this week in his place.

Around the rinks

Zajac could be back soon

The New Jersey Devils are like the Calgary Flames on some levels – two teams that made big second-half surges last year after mediocre starts, but still missed the playoffs. The Devils are in that same nowheresville again, but the good news is their de facto No. 1 centre, Travis Zajac, is skating again after off-season Achilles tendon surgery and could be back in the lineup before Christmas. Zajac’s loss was exacerbated when the player the Devils thought would replace him, Jacob Josefson, also suffered a major injury and is out indefinitely, paving the way for Adam Henrique’s emergence.

Patrick gets chance to rebuild

Nice hire by the Columbus Blue Jackets this past week, when they got Craig Patrick aboard as a senior adviser to general manager Scott Howson. Patrick did all the heavy lifting in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ rebuild, putting Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-André Fleury, Kris Letang, Alex Goligoski, Ryan Whitney and others into the organization before being replaced by Ray Shero in May of 2006. Patrick had to oversee the dismantling of the Penguins before their new building, when they were still a cash-strapped organization, and managed to get many of the right pieces of the puzzle into place for his successor. Letang (62nd pick in 2005) and Goligoski (61st in 2004) were particularly astute. The former is one of the top offensive defencemen in the game, the latter was swapped for James Neal, who is among the NHL’s goal-scoring leaders.

Omark’s travels

The Edmonton Oilers’ baby boomers have been exceptional this year, with the possible exception of Linus Omark, who is known more for his shootout theatrics than the everyday consistency NHL teams want to see from their players. The Oilers farmed Omark out earlier this season – Lennart Petrell and Anton Lander were just doing more – and he’s currently out of AHL Oklahoma City’s lineup, recovering from a broken foot. But indications are Omark will invoke an escape clause in his contract and return to Sweden by the end of January, if he isn’t back in the NHL by then.

Eric Duhatschek

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