Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: niklas backstrom
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
A month ago, it would have been impossible to envision Niklas Backstrom playing a pivotal role in determining whether the Wild makes the playoffs.
As the team’s third goaltender, Backstrom shared a net with backup Darcy Kuemper at practice and didn’t play a single second of any game.
But suddenly, Backstrom is not only a member of the Calgary Flames, he will lead that team from the visitors’ tunnel wearing a “Flaming C” on his chest to start Thursday’s game at Xcel Energy Center. In fact, the 38-year-old could wind up starting against his former team in two of its final eight games, because Calgary returns to Minnesota for each team’s regular-season finale April 9.
The Wild is one point up on Colorado for the last Western Conference playoff spot, so Backstrom’s play either will put a dent in the Wild’s playoff chances or provide one giant boost.
“It’s definitely weird,” said Backstrom, who arrived in the Twin Cities late Monday and has been at his Edina home with his wife and two children.
from Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press,
Niklas Backstrom loomed over the Minnesota Wild like a ghost during the 2015 NHL playoffs, his apparition relegated to breakfast workouts with scratches while season savior Devan Dubnyk and erstwhile starter Darcy Kuemper manned practice nets.
The franchise's most prolific goaltender receded into summer certain to be bought out by management eager to divest itself of the classy but oft-injured 37-year-old who had become, in the parlance of the salary cap era, excess baggage.
Make that carry-on baggage.
Backstrom was back in the crease Friday morning at Xcel Energy Center among the first Wild players to scrimmage the first day of training camp. Recovered from offseason elbow surgery that soldered him to the payroll for another season, he looked sharp in allowing just one goal in 25 minutes of the initial scrimmage.
So he's got that going for him, which is nice. But the awkwardness of Backstrom's unexpected presence is palpable, from the steady degradation of his game to the tangled timing of his operation.
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
For months, it has been presumed that the Wild would buy out the final year of veteran Niklas Backstrom’s contract this month. Hampered by injuries the past five years, the 37-year-old struggled this past season, particularly after Darcy Kuemper was injured in January. It was Backstrom’s final start of the season Jan. 13 at Pittsburgh — a 7-2 loss — that precipitated the Jan. 14 trade for Devan Dubnyk.
Well, as it turns out, the Wild might not be permitted to buy out Backstrom. General Manager Chuck Fletcher confirmed Sunday that Backstrom underwent elbow surgery after the season.
“He had a procedure done at the end of the season to clean up a problem that happened earlier in the year,” Fletcher said. “I honestly don’t know the full prognosis at this point, but it’s not a long-term thing and we’re hoping that he’ll be good to go in short order and healthy.”
Injured players cannot be bought out unless cleared by team physicians. Last June, the Wild couldn’t use its last of two compliance buyouts on Backstrom because he wasn’t cleared from season-ending abdominal and hip surgeries.
The NHL buyout period begins June 15 or 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Final (whichever is later) until June 30. It’s believed that Backstrom, who has returned to Finland, has yet to be cleared and might not be by June 30.
ESPN's Katie Strang held a chat on ESPN.com today, and the first two questions of said chat touched upon meaty topics:
Ed (Queens Village): If you had to pick 1 this season Kings repeat as Cup Champs or Red Wings miss playoffs for 1st time this century?
Katie Strang: Well, I really do not like ever doubting the Wings. That record speaks for itself and the club has a well-earned reputation for its winning culture. That said, I think the chances of them missing are far greater than a Kings repeat. Winning a Cup takes so many elements beyond great personnel and a bevvy of talent. It takes grit, depth and yes, some luck. Especially during the salary-cap era, dynastic teams are harder to come by. Anything can happen in the East though I am banking on Wings making it again this year,
Michael (Minnesota): If you were Chuck Fletcher, what would you do with your goalie situation? Are you tempted to sign Brodeur?
Katie Strang: If I were Chuck Fletcher I'd be extremely concerned about my goaltending situation. I know he said publicly that there will be training camp competition with Harding, Backstrom and Kuemper but I wouldn't feel too confident with that. That's why, since the trade deadline, many assumed Brodeur would be a great fit there. His sons also play at famed hockey prep school Shattuck St. Mary's in Fairbault, MN. Makes a lot of sense. But I think Brodeur is holding out for potentially an injury situation that opens a spot up.
Chris Kreider fanned on his shot, but it fooled Backsrom...
As Paul noted, Tim Thomas appeared to tweak his groin or some othe part of his "lower body" in the Florida Panthers' 2-1 loss to Philly on Tuesday, and while I was preparing to have my beard trimmed for the first time in six years, Pro Hockey Talk's Ryan Dadoun notes that Niklas Backstrom got dinged in the Wild's 3-2 loss to Nashville...
[T]he Minnesota Wild are reporting that netminder Niklas Backstrom is done for the night due to a similar problem.
Backstrom lasted just 11:14 minutes against the Nashville Predators and surrendered two goals on five shots. He sustained the injury when Nashville forward Eric Nystrom crashed into him and seemed to accidentally jam Backstrom’s leg against the post.
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: brad+stuart, eric+nystrom, erik+gudbranson, florida+panthers, minnesota+wild, nashville+predators, new+york+rangers, niklas+backstrom, philadelphia+flyers, rick+nash, san+jose+sharks, scott+hartnell, tim+thomas
from Craig Custance of ESPN (paid subscription),
Starting netminder Backstrom earned $6 million last season and led the league with 24 wins. His save percentage dropped to .909 but he has a career save percentage of .917. Serious contract talks haven't started yet.
"Right now, we're just waiting for Minnesota to finish their meetings and go from there," Backstrom's agent Jeff Kowall said on Thursday. "Our first step is to see what Minnesota's plans are and hopefully there's something to be worked out."
It's an interesting time to have flexibility in goal if a deal can't be worked out with Backstrom. If Minnesota prefers to go short-term with a veteran until Kuemper proves he's ready, guys like Nikolai Khabibulin and Evgeni Nabokov should be available. If you want to spend more money, Mike Smith could hit the market if he's not comfortable with the ownership situation in Phoenix. Chicago probably won't be able to keep Ray Emery, who lost all of one game this season in 19 starts with the Blackhawks, going 17-1-0 with a .922 save percentage.
And then there's the trade market. Roberto Luongo will be traded, although that contract doesn't appear to be a fit with the Wild. But Ryan Miller's term is much more reasonable and may make him the most attractive goalie available this summer. And Fletcher knows Marc-Andre Fleury well from his time in Pittsburgh. Considering the Penguins decision to ride Tomas Vokoun in these playoffs, the possibility of a Fleury trade looks more and more likely this summer.
"[Backstrom's] our No. 1 goalie. We'll just have to see," Fletcher said. "There's a whole host of factors involved there ... Goaltending is our No. 1 priority to address."
Niklas Backstrom received a match penalty at the end of the game tonight for this cross-check on Rich Peverley.
A match penalty is an automatic suspension until ruled upon, which I am sure will be sometime tomorrow.
Update: Here’s a better video from The Score:
ESPN Boston’s Joe Haggerty reports that Bruins coach Claude Julien isn’t exactly happy with the Capitals’ stick issues:
“The only thing that’s disappointing for me personally is that this is the third time in three games our player has been cross-checked in the face. ... You hope that those things don’t get out of hand,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “Somebody else, not us, has to deal with that.”
Another tight checking game with both goalies making some great saves.
Watch the Backstrom goal and below, view the game highlights.
Elliotte Friedman tweeted,
Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said it didn’t look like a short-term injury for Backstrom. Very unfortunate.
The daily toast to last night’s stars around the league (with an extra day to quickly catch up on, thanks to an annoyance in another sector of my life that was completely beyond my control). Now then…
From Tuesday’s games, JJ’s Three Cheers go out to:
***Mathieu Garon of the Columbus Blue Jackets, for a 29-save, 3-0 shutout over Montreal
**Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom, for a 36-save, 1-0 blanking of San Jose
*And big time cheers to Vancouver’s Raffi Torres, whose hat trick led the Canucks to a 4-3 win over Edmonton.
On to last night, with a few highlights to throw around, as usual:
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, d, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: chris+mason, ed+jovanovski, jon+matsumoto, mathieu+garon, niklas+backstrom, raffi+torres
Don’t miss the newest episode of NHL Network’s ‘Off the Ice’ featuring Henrik Lundqvist, Niklas Backstrom, and Jonas Gustavsson.
via Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The Minnesota Wild have signed star goalie Niklas Backstrom to a $24 million, four-year contract, a source told ESPN.com on Tuesday.
He was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and he had been the subject of numerous trade rumors.
from Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune,
Backstrom said negotiations are being conducted between the Wild and his agent, Don Baizley.
“I haven’t talked to Don since last weekend, so I don’t know what’s going on,” Backstrom said. “We play so many games, and I want to stay focused on helping our team win. All I can say is I think they’re talking. There’s something going on, but I don’t know what that means.”..
In the last year of his contract, Backstrom can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. If he isn’t signed by Wednesday’s trade deadline, he’s a candidate to be traded because the Wild would risk losing him this summer for no compensation.
“I don’t know if you think about that,” Backstrom said. “I want to be here. I’m focused on just wanting to be here. We’ll see what happens. But for sure, you hope you can stay here at least the rest of the season.”
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
Off the ice, the Wild’s top priority is working on a contract extension for Backstrom, 30, an All-Star goalie who can become a free agent this summer.
“Negotiations are going on,” Leipold said. “We like Nick Backstrom. He’s a great goalie in this league. We want to have him here. He wants to be here. Hopefully we’re going to work it out. That’s really all I know. I would hope that we could get Backstrom signed, and I’d be surprised if we didn’t.”
Backstrom said Friday, “Nothing’s going on. Time will tell.”...
And yes, Leipold still maintains he has high hopes that the Wild can re-sign Gaborik rather than trading him by the March 4 deadline.
“Our only intention was re-signing Gaborik. It is still our only intention,” Leipold said. “Unfortunately the injury caused everything to shut down. It’s our hope that we’ll still re-sign him. I think he’d like to play here. We’re not done yet.”
from John Shipley of the Pioneer Press (Thursday edition),
Dwayne Roloson is no stranger to the expiring contract. He is playing with one now, just as he did with the Minnesota Wild in 2005-06.
It’s not easy.
“But in that situation,” he said, “you’ve got to block it out the best you can.”
Roloson likely will be in net tonight when the Edmonton Oilers take on the Wild at the Xcel Energy Center. His counterpart will be Niklas Backstrom, who is looking more and more like 2009’s most eligible goaltender….
There’s no doubt Backstrom is the Wild’s top goaltender, yet it appears he’ll play in the Jan. 25 All-Star Game with a contract set to expire in July. Not only has general manager Doug Risebrough declined to discuss his contract situation, he also has declined to even say the Wild want him back.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Finally, Dan Boyle got his due.
The 11-year NHL veteran, among the league’s top defensemen for at least half that time, was selected to play in the All-Star Game for the first time.
“You know what, I had been in this situation before, where I had a good start to the season but didn’t go, so I wasn’t thinking about it too much, to be very honest with you,” Boyle told ESPN.com. “But when I found out, it is a bonus. It’s not a goal I set every year. I’ve got bigger and more important things on my mind.
“But it’s only human nature to feel good about it. It’s nice to get recognized.”
continued plus a ldiscussion with Niklas Backstrom of the Minnesota Wild..
From John Shipley at the Pioneer Press,
The Wild take a three-game winning streak into Wednesday night’s game against divisional rival Calgary at the Xcel Energy Center, and you can bet Harding will be in the nets. He was the winning goalie in all of those victories, with a 1.54 goals-against average and .959 save percentage.
On the flip side, Backstrom was 2-2 in his previous five starts, with a 3.40 GAA and .868 save percentage. Harding relieved him Thursday in Detroit, after Backstrom gave up leads of 3-1 and 4-2 in what was a 6-5 shootout victory for Minnesota.
After Harding backstopped a 4-1 victory over Phoenix on Sunday, coach Jacques Lemaire was asked who his No. 1 goalie is.
“The one that stops the puck is ahead of the other one,” he said. “The one that stops more pucks is the best one. So you’ve got to figure that one out.”
Goaltenders Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks, Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils and Niklas Backstrom of the Minnesota Wild have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending December 2.
Atlanta Thrashers left wing Ilya Kovalchuk, Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo and Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for November.