Redden reaches major milestone, possible coaches’ challenge, Tuukka’s time to shine and more

Wade Redden will become the 282nd player to reach the 1,000-game mark in his career tonight, a significant achievement for the 35-year-old defenseman after spending the past two seasons in the American League with the Connecticut Whale. As Louie Korac of NHL.com reports, Redden knew he would get his chance to reach the millenium mark and kept a positive attitude and professional demeanor after being sent to the AHL by the New York Rangers when he failed to live up to his untradeable six-year, $39 million contract.

He has received plenty of praise for the way he handled himself in the minors. As Whale coach Ken Gernander told Korac:

“The guys elected him to be our captain, so obviously there was a great deal of respect for him by his peers,” Whale coach Ken Gernandersaid. “I noticed as a coach that he was handling himself as a professional would … not just in words and things of that nature but just by his actions.

“He came in early, made sure he rode the bike or stretched or whatever was necessary for him to get prepared for practice, took practice seriously, and as a person he’s a family guy. I think he showed by example how you’re supposed to handle yourself away from the rink as well. A lot of the little things that it took to be a professional, he led by example. Often guys can talk the talk, but you have to back it up as well and I think he did that.”

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, who coached Redden in the 2005 World Championships and 2006 Olympics, was a big part in Redden heading to St. Louis. More from Korac:

It took one phone call from Hitchcock to attract interest from the Blues, who signed Redden on Jan. 18, one day before the NHL season started.

“I’m proud of him that he stayed with it, proud of him that he’s getting a second opportunity like this,” Hitchcock said. “He was a very good player, a very dependable player.

With the Blues in search of a left-handed defenseman with offensive skill, general manager Doug Armstrong closed the deal rather quickly after conferring with Hitchcock.

“It was a low-risk option for us,” Armstrong said. “He seemed to be a good fit for what we were looking for.

Redden has two goals in five games on the season and career totals of 108-344-452 with 656 PIM and a plus-159 in 999 games for the Ottawa Senators and Rangers. In 101 playoff games he has recorded 12-35-47 with 55 PIM and a minus-15, helping Ottawa reach the Stanley Cup final in 2007.

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NHL coaches may be getting closer to having one challenge per game, similar to the way the NFL works, according to Renaud Lavoie of Le Grand Club. The idea, originally proposed by Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon two years ago, will be brought up during GM meetings in March.

One opponent to the idea is former Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke who is convinced including  challenge will make games last even longer, though one idea is teams will not be allowed a time out if they use a challenge. There are several coaches that are all for this idea if it means reviewing goals such as the one that was called back against Ottawa due to Jakob Silfverberg’s interference against Carey Price. From Lavoie (translated from French to English):

I asked the first Lighnting coach Guy Boucher. “I’m in favor because there are jobs and millions of dollars at stake”

Canucks Alain Vigneault: “Yes, I am in favor and the reasons are obvious. ‘

Claude Julien of the Bruins. “We’ll get there one day, but the league is trying to ensure that the matches take place more quickly. One solution would be to tell the coaches, if you used your right of objection, you do not have downtime available. ‘

Michel Therrien Canadian: “I wonder how disputes should have, he says, laughing. What is clear is that in return, we would lose our downtime. “

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Tuukka Rask is handling himself very well in his first full season as a starter in Boston. (Dan4th Nicholas/Wikimedia Commons)

Tuukka Rask is handling himself very well in his first full season as a starter in Boston. (Dan4th Nicholas/Wikimedia Commons)

As Boston.com writer Eric Wilbur explains, it truly is Tuukka Time in Boston these days. The 25-year-old Finn has been pegged as a star in the making since his trade from Toronto to Boston in exchange for Andrew Raycroft and has shown flashes of brilliance backing up Tim Thomas, but this is the first time in his career he’s been handed the reigns and expected to carry the team full time and he has not disappointed. From Wilbur:

The biggest question heading into this shortened season was whether Rask could take the reins from Thomas and become a bona fide No. 1 goalie. Flashes are one thing, consistency is another. But after Wednesday night, a thoroughly entertaining 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens, a game which featured Claude Julien’s remarkable instinct to switch up the Bruins’ top line, and, yes, another pathetic display by the power play unit, Rask emerged on a national TV stage and cemented himself as one of the top assets in the game.

He needs to be good to because as Wilbur mentions, the Bruins’ power play continues to underwhelm as they are now three for 34 with the extra man this season and their 7-1-1 record despite just a plus-4 goal differential is an indication of just how well Rask has played this season.

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There was speculation the Philadelphia Flyers’ 27-year-old defenseman Kimmo Timonen might retire after last season, but it looks as though he is close to signing a one-year contract extension worth $6 million according to Sam Carchidi of The Philadelphia Inquirer. 

It’s important for the Flyers to keep him on the team as long as possible as they are very thin on the blueline and he is by far their best puck-moving defenseman. He has played 980 games with the Flyers and Nashville Predators, recording 107-405-512 with 592 PIM and a plus-32. In 80 playoff games he has 4-30-34 with 95 PIM and a plus-6 and helped Philadelphia to the Stanley Cup final in 2010.

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The Detroit Red Wings are hosting their 11th annual Smoke Detector Collection this weekend. Fan are encouraged to bring either a smoke detector with working batteries or a monetary donation to support Face Off Against Fire. Fans who donate will be entered to win a signed photo or puck from team captain Henrik Zetterberg who will also match all donations up to $15,000 and will distribute the detectors to local fire departments. From Alexa Hinds on the Red Wings official website:

The annual Smoke Detector Collection began in 2001 in memory of former Red Wings player Brendan Shanahan’s father, who was a firefighter. Since the program’s inception, the Red Wings have distributed more than 19,500 smoke detectors to local fire departments and agencies, including 5,065 smoke detectors last season.

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