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JJ’s Three Cheers: 10/11/10

Today’s three cheers (an all-goalie edition!) for those who deserve as much from their performances of a night ago:

***Cheers to Edmonton’s Nikolai Khabibulin, who turned aside 26 Florida shots in the Oilers 3-2 win over the Panthers, for his second win in as many outings on the young season. After off-ice woes and injury problems recently, Khabibulin’s solid start to 2010-11 is a great sign for both he and a young and exciting Oilers club. If he can return to form and stay healthy, the many pundits who automatically tabbed Edmonton for the Western Conference cellar will end up looking awfully silly come season’s end.

**Cheers to Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff, whose 21 saves backstopped the Flames to their first win of the season, 3-1 over the Los Angeles Kings. The expectation here is that Calgary will struggle to score this year and, if that holds true, a lot will fall on Kiprusoff’s shoulders, as far as success for the Flames goes. The two-goal decision was sealed with a Niklas Hagman empty-netter and, as Calgary is sure to find their fair share of similar one-goal squeakers, Kiprusoff, in all likelihood, will be the key to their season. (A mini-cheers, as well, to center Brendan Morrison, who managed a pair of assists in the game. Nice to see the veteran off to a decent start after some brief uncertainty stemming from his training camp tryout in Vancouver not leading to a contract there.)

*And big time cheers to Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins, who shut out the Phoenix Coyotes in Prague, making 29 saves in his first appearance of the season. Posting a goose egg to start the new year had to feel great for the former Vezina winner, who was supplanted as the number one in the Boston nets by upstart Tuukka Rask last year. The win gave the Bruins a split in their NHL Premiere series against Phoenix and now a little rest is in order, with Boston’s next game not coming until Saturday night in New Jersey. Anyone else see Thomas reclaiming the starter’s job at some point this season? Just a hunch…

Finally today, a big old anti-cheers to Calgary defenseman T.J. Brodie, or whomever else had the bright idea of letting the rookie wear #66. Equipment staff – really? What the hell are they thinking there? No #99, no #66 and, accounting for Lanny McDonald and Mike Vernon, no #9 or #30 in Calgary. Any of the other 95 number choices would have been better for the kid than #66. (I think #00 would be an appropriate switch now, actually, assuming that’s allowed.) What a bummer.

Stay tuned for a new episode of The Bolts Beat tonight, where my colleagues Mike Corcoran, Mark Pukalo and I will recap Saturday night’s impressive Tampa Bay Lightning victory to kick off the season, preview the week ahead for the Bolts and much more.

JJ

jj@kuklaskorner.com
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Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, d, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brendan+morrison, lanny+mcdonald, mario+lemieux, miikka+kiprusoff, mike+vernon, niklas+hagman, nikolai+khabibulin, t.j.+brodie, the+bolts+beat, tim+thomas, tuukka+rask, wayne+gretzky

Comments

german_wing's avatar

thomas needn’t supplant rask as the starter - a 1a/1b-tandem in boston would be just as good, eh? wink

Posted by german_wing from Toronto, Canada on 10/11/10 at 07:05 PM ET

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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