Archive for the ‘NHL’ Category

Two nights ago, in Detroit, the Red Wings were on a late power play against the Los Angeles Kings, down 2-1, with the goalie pulled. Wings’ defenseman Nicklas Kronwall fired a slapshot that was partially blocked into the netting behind the net. What happened next made this post-worthy. Watch the video for yourself:

Had the netting not been there, the puck probably would have landed in the 20th or so row behind Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. Instead, the puck hit the netting, bounced back, and hit Quick in the back before falling into the goal. Somehow, the referee behind the play pointed to the net to signify a good goal, without noticing that the puck was 5 feet from clearing the safety netting over the glass.

wings goal netting

The refs convened by the scorer table for a review, only to find out that it’s NOT a review-able play. The lousy call on the ice stands, and a goal for the Red Wings. The Wings would later win in the shootout.

Everyone, including the Wings and their fans, agree that the Kings were robbed here. This goal should not have counted, by any means. The fact that it did is ludicrous. Kings coach Darryl Sutter had this to say:

“That’s embarrassing for the league. That’s what that is. It doesn’t matter if we’d have scored, or if they had scored it. That’s embarrassing.”

It’s friggin’ embarrassing…What’s the flag? Throw the flag? [Reporters: The challenge flag.] Throw the challenge flag, yeah.”

What’s even worse is that something like this isn’t review-able. We have instant replay and video reviews, and the Situation Room in Toronto for a reason; to get the call right. To decide, once and for all, if the goal should count or not. It’s beyond me why things like this, where the netting isn’t actually out of play, like always, aren’t able to be overturned.

We have heard arguments about coaches’ challenges, much like in the NFL, or what Major League Baseball is now implementing. But the fact is, is that if something isn’t review-able, coaches can’t challenge it, even if they could.

Replay is getting expanded in all of sports. NFL now automatically reviews all scoring plays and turnovers, as well as the coaches having challenges. MLB is now giving managers the right to challenge a play, setting aside the home-run vs. ground-rule-double replay that is also relatively new. NHL is naturally next in line. Expand replay to anything involving a goal. The puck crosses the line? Make sure that it’s clean all the way around, and not just because the ref decided so, despite something wacky happening.

They have the technology. Why not use it?

Saturday night in Vancouver was supposed to wrap up a wonderful celebration of the sport, in Hockey Day in Canada. The day was filled with NHL action, as well as other hockey all over the country. That all took a weird left turn when Canucks’ Kevin Bieksa pushed rookie debutante Kellan Lain out of the faceoff circle against Calgary’s tough guy Kevin Westgarth. The puck dropped, as well as 10 sets of gloves. Here’s what occured:

The refs had quite the time breaking this all up, and figuring out the penalty situation, trying to stuff all 5 members of each line into the penalty box. It looked a little cramped in there.

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Eventually, the blood was cleared off the ice, and the penalties were tallied up, and looked like this:

00:02 CGY Ladislav Smid Fighting (maj) – 5 min
00:02 VAN Kevin Bieksa Fighting (maj) – 5 min
00:02 CGY Brian McGrattan Fighting (maj) – 5 min
00:02 VAN Tom Sestito Fighting (maj) – 5 min
00:02 CGY Blair Jones Fighting (maj) – 5 min
00:02 VAN Dale Weise Fighting (maj) – 5 min
00:02 CGY Chris Butler Fighting (maj) – 5 min
00:02 VAN Jason Garrison Fighting (maj) – 5 min
00:02 CGY Kevin Westgarth Fighting (maj) – 5 min
00:02 VAN Kellan Lain Fighting (maj) – 5 min
00:02 CGY Kevin Westgarth served by Joe Colborne Roughing – 2 min
00:02 CGY Kevin Westgarth Game misconduct – 10 min
00:02 CGY Chris Butler Game misconduct – 10 min
00:02 CGY Blair Jones Game misconduct – 10 min
00:02 CGY Brian McGrattan Misconduct – 10 min
00:02 CGY Ladislav Smid Game misconduct – 10 min
00:02 VAN Kellan Lain Game misconduct – 10 min
00:02 VAN Dale Weise Game misconduct – 10 min
00:02 VAN Tom Sestito Misconduct – 10 min
00:02 VAN Kevin Bieksa Game misconduct – 10 min
00:02 VAN Jason Garrison Game misconduct – 10 min

Everyone in the fight got a 5 minute major. Brian McGrattan and Tom Sestito were called the primary fight, and got 10 minute misconducts, while everyone else, including Kellan Lain, who was playing in his first NHL game, with his family in from Ontario, got game misconducts, and were kicked out. The total ended up being 152 penalty minutes. They played 2 seconds. At that rate…yikes.

During this, Vancouver coach John Tortorella, no stranger to opening faceoff line brawls, got pretty mad, for some reason, at Flames coach Bob Hartley, and started yelling at him, likely for the lineup Hartley put out. He was so mad, that even after the first period, he chased down Hartley to the Flames’ locker room.

Keep in mind, Tortorella is the home coach, and had the advantage of submitting his starting lineup after seeing who the Flames were going to start, and, well, not put out his 4th line against Calgary’s 4th line. All this could have been prevented by a little snap decision by Torts.

All the blame, in my humble opinion, goes to John Tortorella. He’s seen this shpiel before. He knows how people look at this event and shake their heads. He could have done something about it. This fight had the looks of a staged brawl. Not quiteat the level of Doug “The Thug” Glatt vs. Ross “The Boss” Rhea, but nothing is that staged. Although both teams had been struggling to that point in recent times, and you could say this was to “spark some energy”, you could have just had one guy go at another guy a little later than the opening faceoff. But nope, Torts put his tough guys out against the Flames tough guys, and everyone grabbed a dance partner. Tortorella had this to say after the game:

“I see the starting lineup and I know the guy across the bench. I can’t put our players at risk that way. I’m not proud of it. I’ve apologized to the players involved. My biggest mistake was putting Lain in the starting lineup. I thought my players responded tremendously. I don’t want that in the game, but I have to protect my players too.”

Yeah, I’m gonna call B.S., he could have put someone else out. Didn’t have to be the Sedin twins, but it certainly didn’t have to be the tough guys. I feel real bad for that kid Kellan Lain. Also for those poor defensemen who had to play close to 35 minutes, because the game went overtime.

This all could have been avoided. John Tortorella should know better by now. You would think so, right?

We’ve had some time to digest the Buffalo Sabres’ new alternate uniforms, or as we affectionately refer to it as the “Turd Burger” jersey. Originally, when revealed by Steve Ott over Twitter, we got our first impression of it. The knee-jerk reaction to it was overally poor. But is it the ugliest in the league? Let’s dive in.

Tampa Bay Lightning Alternate

bolts 3rd

 

First, we see something that has been done by one other team in the NHL, and that other team trashed their third for a much better one. The main logo is absent from the front of the uniform, rather it has the team’s nickname, Bolts, across the chest (for those curious, the “Sens” were the other). Pile on top of that the black pits, the Tampa Bay on the butt, and black almost everywhere else where it’s unnecessary, as it takes away from the nice blue of the uniform, and you have a stinker. Sportslogos.net have it rated at 5.4/10.

Calgary Flames Home

flames home

 

This is the worst primary jersey in the league. The only redeeming quality is that classic flaming C on the chest. The fact that it’s a black C is what makes it worse than the road jersey, which it’s in it’s classic red. Beyond the logo, those black armpits follow here, along with unique, and very ugly vertical striping on the sides. The numbers on the back are black on red, which is an ugly combination, and should not be repeated. Sportslogos.net gives it a 4.9/10.

New York Islanders Alternate

isles third

 

I’ve seen this one live, and trust me, it’s not any better. Let’s start with this; the feature colors on this uniform are black and silver. NEITHER of those are featured anywhere else in Islanders HISTORY. Ever. Why they used those are beyond me, because it mutes a classic blue/orange combo that’s worked so well for so many years on the Island. Next, we look front and center, at what’s not a crest, but a college-style arched name over number, which should stick to college, if you ask me, as well as Dallas Stars upper management. The diamond pattern that the pants and jerseys create are neat, but don’t work when they aren’t together. Sportslogos.net rates this at 3.2/10.

Buffalo Sabres Alternate

turd burger

 

At least they used their own colors here. This design is unique to NHL history, with one side of the uniform a different color than the other, making it a little confusing when on TV. But here, it’s not quite done so well. The yellow kind of impedes on the back, making it look like a cape more than a transformation. The arm patch for captains and alternates is a hoot though. As is the font. I do not like the silver-tipped arms. Or the silver numbers. Or the white stripes everywhere. Or the “BUFFALO” over the main logo. That all being said, Sportslogos.net gives this a 3.0/10, worse than the Isles’ tragedy.

In conclusion, though, the Sabres’ Turd Burger has more redeeming qualities than that of the Isles’ third. We can ignore the first two entries on our list, because this is really a two horse race (yeah, it’s just there for the sake of adding content, or to show how wretchedly ugly these two are). The two-color thing is a very neat idea, and something that could eventually look good, after years of working on it in the lab, because this one is not very well done. However, the Sabres used their own colors, unlike the Islanders. The Isles’ gimmick with the arched name also ran out of style in the NHL once the Stars introduced it at the turn of Reebok in 2007. For those reasons, the loser of worst uniform goes to the Islanders’ disaster.

Now, if Ugly Bob received this jersey in the mail, and wore it, the world would explode. Why? Because he’s so goddamn ugly.

Do you agree? Comment with a response, this discussion can get fun.

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The old saying goes, offense puts fans in the seats, defense wins games. But to really get a good team together, they really have to play together in the right style and system.

The New Jersey Devils are a good example to follow here. I know they are in 5th in the Metropolitan, just wait, I’ll explain.

There is a reason that this team, who’s among bottom 5 in goal scoring, has a winning record of 20-18-11. They have a system and mission objective every game, and keep to it.

Their previous 5 games, before last night’s defeat in the shootout (a point I’ll make later on), they went 3-0-2, and had a common theme in each of the 5 games; they dressed 7 defensemen. Not only that, they had perfectly serviceable wingers as healthy scratches, they deliberately dressed 7 D-men. Why? It works with their system. The Devils pride themselves on team flexibility. They often have 2 natural centers on the ice, for example, Travis Zajac and Dainius Zubrus, or Adam Henrique and Patrik Elias. Just like that, 7 defensemen opens up for flexibility, with some guys like Eric Gelinas and Marek Zidlicky, who are power play specialists, to Bryce Salvador and Anton Volchenkov, who are great killing penalties, and Mark Fayne, Andy Greene, Jon Merrill, and whoever else, who can play well anywhere.

Also, the Devils have always been a notoriously stingy defensive team, always defending first, and attacking when they are allowed a chance. It’s why Cory Schneider’s record doesn’t match his other stats, and it’s why the Devils have fewer goals scored. The slam-dunk point to make here, is that in the shootout, what many call a skill competition, the Devils have a grand total of 1 goal in 25 shooters, and have lost all 8 shootouts this year. They are still very much in contention for a playoff spot, and their team chemistry and system are exactly why.

Looking at the opposite end, you can have all the talent in the world, and still look miserable on the ice. The Edmonton Oilers are a prime example of that. They have a sparkling young core of talent, led by a number of high draft picks like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, I could go on for a while. They always seem to have an offense that could potentially outscore their mistakes. Unfortunately for them, that requires a scoring level that rivals the Blackhawks (as of this article, the Oilers actually have let up more goals than the Hawks scored, and the Oil have played one more game). Their defense has been a blaring issue since day 1 of their rebuilding mode after their miracle Cup Finals run in 2006. Their goalies have been an issue, despite just trading for Ben Scrivens in a series of trades. They don’t seem to have a defensive structure, though, and are too offensively minded to be able to win games.

The New York Rangers also had their struggles. Many experts had them rivaling the Penguins in the division, but that hasn’t been the case. They had a coaching change, and brought in Alain Vigneault, who previously coached the dynamic offense in Vancouver. The team was built for the style of John Tortorella (current coach in Vancouver, coincidentally), which was more defensive and systematic. The adjustment period was apparent, and people even started questioning goalie Henrik Lundqvist, and if he’s still got it (he does, ease up Ranger fans). But they have it figured out, seemingly, gotten healthier, and they are now toward the top of the Metropolitan, where many said they belong.

Systems and team chemistry is what brings the Cup home to your city. It doesn’t matter if your team signs the next big superstar winger who can score a million goals, if he doesn’t fit the system in place, and doesn’t mesh with the other team members, as much as a million goals will help as well. Trust me, I grew up watching the Devils in their hay-day, and they still didn’t have an offense back then and won 3 Cups in 8 years, due to the notorious Neutral Zone Trap they employed night in and night out. That system worked, and they won without the big flashy stars.

Your team can too, if the shoe fits.

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The Anaheim [Mighty] Ducks have made the Honda Center a place where no one wants to play. Only once, did a team win in regulation or overtime (4-3 OTL to New Jersey), and add on a shootout loss to Los Angeles, to make the record 20-0-2 for the Ducks at home. Last night, their mastery of the Pond was on full display, and the victim was the Vancouver Canucks.

The first period was seemingly normal, with both teams getting their scoring chances, but Anaheim struck first with Andrew Cogliano, and again later with Teemu Selanne tipping one in on the power play to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead at the intermission.

Then, it all fell apart for the ‘Nucks in the second.

Corey Perry knocked Vancouver starter Eddie Lack out of the game with a bad angle shot that deflected in, bringing in Joacim Eriksson to make his NHL debut in net. The first shot he faced was on the power play, when Nick Bonino fired one in through a crowd for a 4-0 lead. Vancouver started getting lackadaisical and falling behind the play, and committing bad penalties. Late in the period, Chris Tanev and Ryan Kesler went to the box :40 apart, and the Ducks scored twice on the ensuing power plays. Vancouver’s Zack Kassian managed to push one behind Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen, but Andersen was pushed out of the net, and couldn’t do much about it.

The third period is where it got weird. Corey Perry happened to score midway through, giving Anaheim a 7-1 lead.Vancouver, at this point, were tired and frustrated. Even though the they and the Ducks were trying to keep play moving, the Ducks kept scoring. The frustration boiled over at the 12:49 mark of the third. After another chance where the Ducks swarmed the net, a scrum ensued, and Vancouver’s Tom Sestito and Jannik Hansen dropped the gloves and started fighting Anaheim’s Tim Jackman and Patrick Maroon. The problem is, neither Duck dropped their gloves and fought back. The refs gathered to discuss, and the penalties were given: Sestito and Hansen each received 2 for instigating, 5 for fighting, and misconducts. Ducks got nothing. It resulted in the Ducks getting a 5 on 3 power play for 7 minutes (there was 7:11 left in the game at that time). Vancouver coach John Tortorella was obviously mad, and yelled at the refs using words not suitable for kids.

Now, what do the Ducks do here? They look bad if they run up the score, but its very deflating if you don’t score on a 2 man advantage for 2 minutes, let alone 7. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau took the right approach. He benched his top line, and told his players not to celebrate a goal, should they score it. The Ducks scored twice more, and the Canucks added a couple more misconducts (so did Anaheim), and a couple of frustrated slashing minors. The final score was 9-1. The Ducks won their 20th home game, and 18th of their last 19 games.

Here’s what the coaches had to say. First, John Tortorella:

”I’m not even going to try to explain it,” Vancouver coach John Tortorella said. ”One of those nights, so we plow along to our next game and get ready to play. … It does me no good, it does the players no good, to discuss anything that happened here.”

Bruce Boudreau had this to say:

‘There was a lot of frustration on their part,” Boudreau said. ”They just started punching our guys. It wasn’t the brightest thing to do. What are the refs supposed to do? … It was just an unfortunate game for Vancouver. I’m sure their next opponent is going to pay for that.”

On the ice, however, you could tell one side was frustrated. The Canucks were taking dumb penalties, and playing extra chippy. They didn’t want to be there, having just 1 win against the California 3 out of 11 games, and it showed. The main incident being Sestito and Hansen’s incident, where they just straight out attacked a couple of Ducks, that resulted in the 5-3 for 7 minutes. It’s just not right for that to happen. You can never let your emotions get the better of you like that, and expect the other team not to further the humiliation. It’s just a poor showing of sportsmanship from Vancouver. Anaheim, who was put in that sticky situation of should they run up the score or not, played it right, and not trying to score, and if they did they didn’t celebrate. If I were Boudreau, I would have at least said to my guys that they have to pay for that kind of play, and put up a 10 spot and stop there. But I’m not him. The Ducks handled it very well, taking care of business, and showing who owns the Pond. The Canucks left with their dignity in tatters, just check the Twitter feed from the game. Vancouver is in Phoenix tonight, and we shall see if there is any hangover from last night’s misery.

Last week, we reviewed the top 10 free agent signings and how they are doing halfway through their first season with their new teams. This week, we’ll take a look at the 10 biggest trades, and see who won each deal.

Los Angeles Kings trade G Jonathan Bernier to Toronto Maple Leafs for G Ben Scrivens, F Matt Frattin, and 2014/15 2nd round pick: The first big trade of the offseason led to a big goalie swap between the Kings and Leafs. The Leafs got Bernier, who came in and took over the starting job from James Reimer, and has performed well at times, with a 15-14-4 record, and a GAA of 2.58. He also looked spectacular in the Winter Classic. Meanwhile, Scrivens has far fewer games played this year, thanks to Jonathan Quick and Martin Jones, and has a 7-5-4 record, but a GAA of just 1.97. His numbers are slightly better on average, but hasn’t played much because he’s not the number 1 guy like Bernier. Frattin hasn’t added much to this deal, not playing particularly well in Los Angeles, and the Kings do get a pick out of this. But overall, the trade got Bernier a starting job, and the Kings could have gotten more out of Bernier. Winner: Toronto

Vancouver Canucks trade G Cory Schneider to New Jersey Devils for 2013 1st round pick (Bo Horvat): This trade turned boos for Commish Gary Bettman at the Prudential Center on draft day into cheers. It also shocked everyone in the hockey world, especially Schneider and the Devils. Schneider immediately became the heir-apparent to living legend Martin Brodeur, who may retire this offseason (or never). Schneider and Brodeur have split the load so far, and Schneider has a 7-9-6 record, and 1.96 GAA. He’s been impressive for the Devils, and a bright spot for the future, should he sign an extension with the team. Bo Horvat was picked with the 9th overall pick by Vancouver, and still is in the CHL, but has a bright future ahead of him. We can’t tell now how he’ll be, but Hockey’s Future rates him as a 7.5 prospect (take it how you like). But Vancouver could have gotten way more out of Schneider. Winner: New Jersey.

New York Islanders trade F Nino Niederreiter to Minnesota Wild for F Cal Clutterbuck and 2013 3rd round pick (Eamon McAdam): Nino never quite fit in the Islanders’ system, always wondering when he’d get his chance with the big club. He never did. With Minnesota, he’s stepped up his game and performed well, with 9 goals and 16 assists, and a decent +/- of +9. He’s been part of the lead pack with the team, who is suffering from injuries to Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu up front. Clutterbuck, however, hasn’t quite found his groove, seemingly. in 42 games, he just has 8 points, and a +/- of -7, and even though those stats are just under par for his career, he needs to show he has more value. Winner: Minnesota

Buffalo Sabres trade D Andrej Sekera to Carolina Hurricanes for D Jamie McBain and 2013 2nd round pick (J.T. Compher): The Hurricanes weren’t very deep in defensemen, and still aren’t. But they felt the need to upgrade, and did. Sekera is having a good season so far, with 7 goals and 17 assists from the blue line, which is tops for Canes’ d-men. He’s proven valuable, while McBain has been struggling a bit. Though he is with Buffalo, his numbers are far worse, with just 3 goals and 6 assists. J.T. Compher remains in college, but the Sabres hope for big things down the road. Winner: Carolina

Boston Bruins trade F Tyler Seguin, F Rich Peverly, and D Ryan Button to Dallas Stars for F Loui Eriksson, D Joseph Morrow, F Reilly Smith, and F Matt Fraser: The Stars got the top guy in this deal by far, a 21 year old point per game player in Seguin. He’s leading the way alongside Jamie Benn, with 42 points in 44 games, and has been playing unreal since the trade. Peverly has been serviceable, just 21 points in 45 games, but has been doing what the team needs to succeed. Will the B’s regret this trade? Doubtful. Though Eriksson has had trouble staying on the ice, just 26 games, he’s been decent in those games played, with a +/- of +9, and 15 points. Reilly Smith has been a pleasant surprise, at 22 years old, and with 33 points so far in his first full season, he’s a bright spot for the Bruins’ future. The other pieces in the trade are just barely getting NHL action, but immediately, this trade benefits both sides. Winner: Dallas

Edmonton Oilers trade F Shawn Horcoff to Dallas for D Philip Larsen and a 2016 7th round pick: This is a pretty minor deal, but the significance is that the Oilers traded one of their longtime guys for another young, unproven defenseman. Horcoff has been okay for the Stars, just 13 points in 45 games. But he’s 35 and obviously won’t put up numbers like he used to. Edmonton got Larsen, who hasn’t shown he’s got the goods yet, but still has upside at age 24. Winner: Edmonton, I guess

Anaheim Ducks trade F Bobby Ryan to Ottawa Senators for F Jakob Silfverberg, F Stefan Noesen and a 2014 1st round pick: People had a feeling Bobby Ryan would be unloaded from the Ducks, for cap reasons, and it happened this summer. Ryan this year for Ottawa, has 37 points in 47 games, and is second on the team in that stat. He’s the top go-to guy for  the Sens on offense, alongside Kyle Turris. But the cost for him was huge. Silfverberg is one of the top up and comers in the league, and despite an injury early in the year, he’s been valuable to the Ducks, with 12 points in the 26 games he’s played. The Ducks also picked up a prospect and the Sens’ first rounder next year, which would probably be between 10 and 20. This trade was huge, but came at big costs for both sides. Winner: Anaheim

St. Louis Blues trade F David Perron to Edmonton Oilers for F Magnus Paajarvi and 2014 2nd round pick: Perron was part of the future with the Blues, with good upside, but the Blues didn’t have room for him, and shipped him to Edmonton. He’s had a great year so far, with 34 points in 45 games, and has been valuable to the team’s offense. Paajarvi, however, has just 5 points in 26 games, and has been hampered with injuries. It’s not like the Blues are depending on him, but they could have kept Perron and had much more value, despite the upside Paajarvi brings. Winner: Edmonton

Buffalo Sabres trade F Thomas Vanek to New York Islanders for F Matt Moulson, 2014 1st round pick and 2015 2nd round pick: The Islanders began the year in win now mode, but seem to have hit a wall when G Evgeni Nabakov went down. Vanek is having another point per game campaign, though, and has started to gel with John Tavares, which is dangerous for anyone. Lately, the Isles have been picking it up, so they might not be out of it yet. Buffalo is out of it, but building toward the future. Moulson on his own wouldn’t be worth it. He’s played well, 28 points in 43 games with both the Isles and Sabres, but the picks to Buffalo are the kicker in this trade. Both will be free agents next season, so the picks tell the winner, with both likely leaving for greener pastures. Winner: Buffalo

Philadelphia Flyers trade F Maxime Talbot to Colorado Avalanche for F Steve Downie: The last trade we are looking at involves two rugged grinders switching teams. Downie is more of a playmaker, with just 3 goals and 16 assists, while Talbot has the more well-rounded game. Downie is a bit younger, but has has injuries in the past, playing in just 2 games last season for the Avs. Winner: Push

Jonas Hiller

This week in hockey, goalies get hot, some teams are not, and a coach was fired for the first time in a team’s short history. A-Rod asks for his case to be heard, in this week’s Week in Review

Anaheim [Mighty] Ducks (3-0-0) – Jonas Hiller has now won 14 straight starts. The record, for you curious few, is 17 by Gilles Gilbert of the Boston Bruins in 1975-76. Also, the Ducks are approaching the record for points in consecutive home games to start the year.

Boston Bruins (1-2-0) – This week was the California swing for the B’s, taking just the game against the Sharks, a 1-0 affair. They became the only team this season to keep the Sharks from scoring at the Tank.

Buffalo Sabres (1-0-1) – Mikhail Grigerenko is refusing to go back to his junior team, after being demoted by the Sabres. Buffalo isn’t getting that year back on his entry-level contract, thus making this another thing that went wrong for the Sabres.

Calgary Flames (1-3-0) – They scored 5 goals this week. 4 of them came in one game, against the Avalanche. Guess which game they won.

Carolina Hurricanes (1-1-0) – Skinner-mania is back, to stay. Since December, he’s been more than a point-per-game player. He’s also one of two Canes near point-per-game status. They need secondary scoring bad.

Chicago Blackhawks (1-1-1) – Chalk this up as a pedestrian week for the reigning champs, who are now looking over their shoulder at the Blues, who are right behind them.

Colorado Avalanche (2-1-1) – They seemed to have played to the level of their competition this week, losing to Calgary and the Islanders, but beating the heating-up Senators and Wild. Seems to make sense.

Columbus Blue Jackets (3-0-0) – Don’t count the Jackets out of anything. 7th place in the Metro, but 5 points out of 2nd. That’s gonna get interesting in March.

Dallas Stars (0-4-0) – They laid a goose egg in their New York swing, and just when they thought they had seen enough of those 3, they lose to the Islanders again. So much for that surge…

Detroit Red Wings (1-2-0) – Tomas Tatar scored a goal the day after his father’s passing Saturday night in Los Angeles. I send some love out to him and his family.

Edmonton Oilers (1-2-0) – It’s not for a lack of offense that they aren’t winning. It’s goaltending woes. Right Bryz?

Florida Panthers (1-1-1) – Man, that game in New Jersey had a breakneck pace to it. Very exciting to watch firewagon hockey like that. Now imagine if they had actually spent more to be competitive…

Los Angeles Kings (1-1-1) – All of the sudden, the Kings’ offense isn’t tearing it up anymore. Quick gets back, and now you rely on the poor guy to win every game? Man they are spoiled in Lala-land.

Minnesota Wild (3-1-0) – 3 wins this week takes good advantage of Dallas hating New York teams. Too bad their only loss was to a team they are chasing, in Colorado.

Montreal Canadiens (2-1-0) – The losing team in each Habs game this week scored exactly 1 goal. Can’t win if you don’t score, I suppose.

Nashville Predators (1-2-1) – Busy week for the Preds, and it included hopping over the Jets, leaving them in the Central cellar. No wonder Claude Noel is out of a job.

New Jersey Devils (2-0-2) – The Ryder-Henrique-Clowe line is heating up, just as the Zajac-Jagr-Zubrus line is cooling down. Also, Schneider is stepping up as Brodeur is winding it down. Why can’t everything work at the same time for these guys?

New York Islanders (4-0-0) – Hold the phone. The Islanders are 7 points back from a playoff spot. Talk about playing inspired.

New York Rangers (3-0-0) – This concludes the first week in forever that none of the 3 New York teams recorded 0 regulation losses. No one thought this would happen ever this year.

Ottawa Senators (1-0-1) – They were ahead of the Leafs entering action on Sunday night. Man this race is getting packed with everyone.

Philadelphia Flyers (2-2-0) – Just when you thought they were the team to beat, they put up 2 duds against Tampa and the Rangers. This proves that they too are just as ready for a playoff spot as any team in this wide open race.

Phoenix Coyotes (1-2-0) – So the Avs’ play to the level of competition, the ‘Yotes don’t. They beat up on the Flames and lost to the Wild and Ducks. I guess they are that team that people play as expected against.

Pittsburgh Penguins (2-0-1) – This just in: The Penguins have (pretty much) clinched the Metropolitan division.

San Jose Sharks (1-2-0) – The only team with fewer home regulation losses, happens to be the only team ahead of the Sharks in the Pacific. Coincidence?

St. Louis Blues (2-1-0) – They finally lost a game, 2-1 in Vancouver. They can score with Chicago and be as stingy as Boston. They are a scary team.

Tampa Bay Lightning (2-1-0) – 5 goals on just 17 shots against Flyers goalie Steve Mason. That says something about the Bolts’ offense or the Flyers’ chronic goaltending issues.

Toronto Maple Leafs (1-3-0) – Coach Randy Carlyle was given a vote of confidence by GM Dave Nonis. The countdown begins.

Vancouver Canucks (1-0-1) – A win against the Blues is a big thing these days, because they are hard to come by. Now they can try and catch the Kings again.

Washington Capitals (2-0-1) – They reclaimed their spot in 2nd in the Metro, but that could change at any given moment, given the team we have in it.

Winnipeg Jets (0-2-0) – Paul Maurice is the new head coach in the ‘Peg after Claude Noel had his term as first Jets coach terminated. It may help, but the Jets are likely still a few moves away from looking any better.

Goal of the Week: Fast-forward to the 1:32 mark of this video to see a beauty by [Mighty] Ducks’ Ryan Getzlaf:

 

In the box this week: Bruins’ Dougie Hamilton was actually exiting the box Thursday night in Los Angeles, when he played the puck from inside the penalty box. Take a look:

The ref said, “If you want to play from inside the box, then you can sit there another 2 minutes.” The Kings scored on the ensuing power play.

That is all for this week. Tune in next week for some more hockey. Till then, puck-heads!