Bishop looks to check Knights

Bishop looks to check Knights

October 03, 2017 3:03 AM
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Denver native Ben Bishop is expected to be listed as the starting goalie for this week’s official debut of Vegas Golden Knights hockey, opening on the road against the Dallas Stars. Faceoff is slated for 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

Only one problem, Bishop plays for the Stars.

Bishop’s path to Vegas via the NHL Expansion Draft took a late detour. Long expected to be left unprotected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in lieu of youngster Andrei Vasilevskiy, Bishop was penciled-in among the first draftees by the Knights.

But when the Bolts sent “Big Ben” packing to Los Angeles just before the trading deadline – the Kings knew Jonathan Quick wasn’t 100 percent ready upon his return from injury – Vegas was left in a quandary in goal.

Fortunately, the exact situation popped up in Pittsburgh, where youngster Matt Murray proved himself as a Stanley Cup winning caliber goalie, leaving three-time Cup champion Marc-Andre Fleury available.

The Knights, obviously, had no problem tabbing Fleury, who’s in position to capture his 400th career victory this season – Hall of Fame type numbers.

So what did the NHL do? Although it was truly by coincidence (they said), the league schedules the Knights’ first-ever regular season contest with Bishop’s Stars in an interesting chess match – Bishop takes (on) the Knights, (check-)mate.

Meanwhile, Fleury is backed by Calvin (“Jean-Luc”) Pickard, who has suffered in Colorado over the last three years (last season as a starter, leading the NHL in losses with 31 – it wasn't his fault).

As the television character Picard might say, let the season “engage.”

Duck wings

The NHL season is about to commence, yet the Anaheim Ducks – for the first time in a decade – don’t have a firm plan for right wing.

Corey Perry held the spot since the Ducks hoisted the Stanley Cup, but during his bitter down season he was demoted when Anaheim acquired Patrick Eaves, receiving 11 goals in 20 games.

It was the best scoring effort for Eaves since his rookie year, but now he’s 33 and injury prone.

Perry was solid when coach Randy Carlyle returned him to the top line when Eaves again got hurt.

This preseason, Eaves remains on the shelf, so now Anaheim is fighting depth on offense, just like they did on defense last season despite winning a fifth straight Pacific Division title.

Message to Edmonton: Dear Oilers, the door is wide open for your first division crown in 30 years (1986-87; the club’s last Cup championship came in 1989-90).

Just business

Due to one of my family’s businesses, we have friends in Germany. They reported future Hall of Fame forward Jaromir Jagr is skating in the Czech League playing for a second-division team.

It seems Jagr, 45, is part owner of his hometown team, Kladno, with whom he’s been skating all season to remain in shape.

Is Jagr glad to be with Kladno? No, he’d rather be in the NHL, but until a North American club makes an offer, he’ll remain in Europe.

Also, don’t expect Jagr to play in Extraliga, which is the first division league in the Czech Republic. He wouldn’t be allowed to leave until the season ended – but not if he remains in Kladno, the biggest city in the Central Bohemian Region – it’s a suburb of Prague, the capital city.

Note: Jagr signed one-year deal with the Calgary Flames at press time.

It’s just business.