ESPN presents the best player in the world of the week. Each Tuesday, we’ll honor the skater or goalie from around the hockey world — every league, every level, every player — who had the best previous week, Monday through Sunday. If there’s a player you’d like to nominate, from your local team to a high school team to your beer league, email us here. And remember: Stats tell only part of the story, so tell us why he or she deserves this honor.
Best player in the world of the week (for the week ending Feb. 18)
It’s been an atrocious year for the Coyotes, but at least GM John Chayka can point to the acquisition of Raanta as a successful one — when the goalie is healthy. That was never more evident than during the past week, when Raanta stopped 123 of 126 shots and compiled a 3-0-0 record with a 0.90 goals-against average and a .976 save percentage. For the season, he has a .924 save percentage and a 2.41 GAA, playing behind what at times has been smoldering garbage.
Jared Coreau, Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL)
Speaking of goalies: Coreau was named the AHL player of the week for stopping all 66 shots he faced against Manitoba in back-to-back wins. That included 28 saves in a 1-0 shutout and 38 saves in a 5-0 win. And then, after Petr Mrazek was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers, Coreau was recalled by the Detroit Red Wings. Good times!
Florence Schelling, Switzerland (Olympics)
Continue our goalie-week theme, Schelling posted a 1.41 GAA and a .947 save percentage in leading the Swiss to a 3-0 record in group play and a fifth-place finish overall. Alas, she managed only 15 saves on 20 shots against the Russian team, but she closed out her tournament with a 1-0 blanking of Japan, her second shutout of the Games.
Bob Klem, Kansas City
Some sad news, from reader Jeff Wayman:
“Bob Klem should be your guy this week. Bob passed away unexpectedly Saturday night doing what he loved the most, playing goalie for his K.C.-area men’s league. Bob was a long-time season-ticket-holder for the ECHL’s K.C. Mavericks, but more important he was the founder of the Have A Skate With Bob Foundation. Bob’s wife died of pancreatic cancer, and he formed HASB to combine his love for hockey with his passion for fighting pancreatic cancer.”
Hayden Lavigne, Michigan (NCAA)
More goalies! The Wolverines’ sophomore netminder helped Michigan stun No. 1 Notre Dame with back-to-back wins over the Irish. Lavigne turned aside 68 shots in the two wins, which included all 34 he faced in a thrilling 1-0 shutout Sunday. “I don’t think, going into this weekend, that anybody besides us expected us to win two games, so it’s kind of nice to go out there and prove everybody wrong — just a great feeling,” he told The Detroit News. No kidding.
Aaron Luchuk, Barrie Colts (OHL)
Finally, a forward! Luchuk had nine points in three games for Barrie. That included a four-point game in a 5-4 win over Windsor, the team with which he won the 2017 Memorial Cup. He signed a three-year deal with the Ottawa Senators in December.
And the best player in the world of the week is …
Everyone who took a shift in the ‘World’s Longest Hockey Game’
It lasted more than 10 days, or 251 hours and nine minutes, at Brent Saik’s outdoor rink in Alberta, setting yet another Guinness World Records mark. More than 3,500 goals were scored by 40 players, with 700 volunteers helping to facilitate it.
But in the end, there’s only one number that matters: $1.2 million, which is what this year’s edition of the World’s Longest Hockey Game earned for Terry Fox Research Institute’s PROFYLE project, a foundation dedicated to giving children, adolescents and young adults who are out of conventional treatment options another chance to beat cancer.
Not only was this a noble effort — played in frigid temps, with wind that forced some players to don ski goggles — but one that brought the Edmonton hockey community together. Edmonton Oilers alums Glenn Anderson and Mike Krushelnyski showed up to lend support. So did current Oilers Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Darnell Nurse. “The best hockey player in the world was watching the worst hockey players in the world,” participant Jouni Nieminen quipped to the Edmonton Journal.
They’re far from the worst. And for skating for 10-plus days, and raising well over a million dollars for charity, those who competed in the “World’s Longest Hockey Game” are the Best Players In The World Of The Week.