Radulov is confirmed for tonight aganist Pittsburgh.
Sedin flew home to Vancouver to get tested for a concussion - he won't play on the rest of the road trip.
My latest for the Canucks Army on "flipping the switch" come playoff time. Interesting data from previous Conference finalists and Cup winners.
The Hawks don't play until the weekend - expect Keith's suspension announcement to come then.
Both Jaden Schwartz and Devante Smith-Pelly are going to be terrific NHLers.
Schwartz led all Blues skaters in power play time, in his fourth ever NHL game. Smith-Pelly scored a goal and was named the game's first star.
Ryan Getzlaf has points in five straight, and seven in total during the streak. He's still on pace for only 10 goals and 58 points, but his play of late is an improvement on what has been a pretty bad season.
If the Sharks miss the playoffs, who goes? Has to be Marleau, to me. How would you change things up? Do they try and bring in a new goalie?
So much for time away – Pitkanen had a goal and an assist in his first game in three monsht for the Hurricanes.
Cody Hodgson scored twice and now has back-to-back multi-point games. His second goal was a beauty off a nice set up from Derek Roy. Hodgson also won 13 faceoffs and led Buffalo in seven shots on goal. Safe to say his best game since the trade?
Daniel Sedin left the game with a suspected concussion after taking a Duncan Keith elbow to the face. Kassian, Burrows, and Henrik formed the top line the rest of the way (although Kassian only played about 11 minutes – 12 PIM and three hits).
The comments will likely turn into a debate about the hit – it was similar to Doan’s chicken wing on Benn – zero play on the puck, direct elbow to head contact. Sedin, like Benn to Dallas, is the Canucks best forward.
Daniel won’t play tonight in Dallas, and I think the Canucks will be extra cautious with him. They are going to come second in the West (the odds are about 93% of that happening at last glance).
Sharp/Hossa/Kane combined for 17 shots on goal.
Crawford had a great third period, and Luongo was great all game long. Luongo still dives too much for my liking, but he is getting better each season. He embellished a stick to the chest and it almost led to an open net goal for Patrick Kane.
Mason Raymond, fresh off being a healthy scratch, played his best game in a long time. Set up numerous scoring chances and was creating turnovers all game long.
The Canucks have signed star NCAA goaltending prospect Joe Cannata to a two-year entry level contract. Expect him to follow the Cory Schneider developmental path:
"He is the stereotypical goaltender, 6-foot-1, 195 or 200 pounds, he is really good down low and is a big body up top. Out of the 37 games he played in this year he only gave up more than two goals eight times. So in terms of quality starts it was almost every night he was giving us one."
The Canucks see Cannata as the heir apparent to Eddie Lack in Chicago. If Cory Schneider does get traded in the off-season, the Canucks are hoping Lack is ready to be a backup in Vancouver. And they also hope Cannata is ready for a heavy pro workload. He thinks he is”
Washington prospect Stanislav Galiev is a part of the dominant Saint John Sea Dogs. A Sea Dogs blog shared some thoughts on Galiev, who will be turning pro after this season.
“Q: Why should Caps fans be excited to see him begin his pro career?
A: He was an absolute beast in the playoffs and in the Memorial Cup last season. If he can be that beast on consistent occasion at the pro level, Caps fans should have a lot to be excited about.”
The Sea Dogs could be losing Galiev, Zack Phillips and Charlie Coyle to the Wild, Beaulieu to the Canadiens, Huberdeau to the Panthers, and Tomas Jurco to Detroit, all in one summer.
The Forechecker takes a look at Alex Radulov’s potential centers…. Fisher makes sense, but he has also been on fire with Erat and Kostitsyn the Younger as his wingers. Legwand isn’t a world beater but he allows Fisher to stay with that line, and it would give the Preds a solid secondary attack.
A young defenseman who didn’t make my top prospects list is having a very good season in the AHL – Islanders prospect Matt Donovan. Donovan is a native of Oklahoma, and he could break the 40-point mark by the time the season ends. Interesting to see these young players emerging from non-hockey markets – several have risen from California recently (Jon Blum, Emerson Etem, and so on).
“You have to understand that Matt is a sports anommaly in Oklahoma. And that's not taking anything away from Donovan. It's actually quite an achievement. As youth hockey continues to grow in this state, and the Barons continue to promote a solid brand of interesting hockey, young players in non-hockey markets can use players like Matt Donovan as lighthouses of future potential. It's rare to find a hockey fan in Oklahoma City in the general population, but it's even rarer to find a hockey player with as much upside as Matt Donovan.”
Only Streit, McDonald, and Hamonic are signed through next season. Lots of opportunity for Donovan, and the other prospects, to crack the roster.
Figure this one out – Austin Smith, from Dallas, is making his pro debut for the Texas Stars (who play in Austin). Smith was a late pick from 2007 (the same round the Stars took Jamie Benn). Smith had an amazing season at Colgate, scoring 36 goals in 39 games. He also added 21 assists. Undersized, skilled forward – seem to be a lot of them coming out of college lately – Bozak, Miele, and so on. Like Donovan, another prospect who has emerged from a non-traditional hockey market (although hockey has some firm roots established in Dallas).
Alex Steen has practiced on consecutive days and is feeling good. No word on when he will return to the lineup. He travelled to California to seek treatment for his concussion, and it seems to have helped.
A great read on one of hockey’s good guys – Kings d-man Willie Mitchell. No fantasy relevance, unless poke checks emerge as a category. He’ll likely help with the development of Slava Voynov, who the Kings are quite high on.
“While Mitchell has suffered a couple nagging injuries in the past two seasons, as most players do, he has been free from any type of concussion issues. That has allowed him to thrive, first as a partner for Doughty and then to Voynov, who has stepped into the Kings’ lineup this season and looked instantly comfortable.
That’s a credit to Mitchell, a reliable partner who has taken some personal pride in Voynov’s development.”
More shots means more goals, as Justin Bourne writes over at his Backhand Shelf blog. I agree 100% with this, and it is a great way to spot underperforming or underperforming players quite easily:
“Take Sidney Crosby’s goal drought - he’s 10th in the NHL in shots-per-game right now (if he had enough games played to be on that list), averaging 3.6. He’s also staring down a 4.7% shooting percentage, less than half of your average NHLer’s, and wayyyy below his career average. Which is a nice way to say, teams should be scared of the day/week/playoff-series that things start to average out the other way.
Another takeaway from that list is Tyler Kennedy’s name. He currently sits 20th in the NHL with an average of 3.3 shots per game, which is nothing to sneeze at. It’s not enough that teams deal with Malkin, Crosby and James Neal, but now you’ve got the Penguins depth players on the front page of the S/G leaderboard too. No wonder the Pens out-shot the Devils by 30 the other night.
So when you’re trying to determine how an offensive forward has been playing, check their shots-per-game and how it’s been trending – this is a valuable metric for gauging play. If they’re finding ways to get pucks on the net, the pucks will eventually find a way to get themselves into it.”
Mike Green recorded his first point since October on Monday’s game against Detroit. Will be interesting to see if he can get things going – unless Backstrom comes back, I don’t see the Capitals making much noise come playoff time. Not enough creativity up front. Green is a huge wild card for both playoff pools and keeper leagues. Can you safely predict any number for him next year? 40? 50? 60? Who knows how many games he plays, and what style of game the Capitals will be going with.
Speaking of Backstrom, he has skated for eight of the past nine days, and it sounds like he may return to practice next week. Cautiously optimistic, yet?
Funny story – Ben Eager, in his infinite wisdom, broke the penalty box in Vancouver earlier this season. The Canucks sent the bill to Edmonton, for $13,000 (must be a nice camera). The Oilers deducted it off of Eager’s paycheque, and now the NHLPA has filed a grievance. Your move, Bettman.
A look at the WHL’s most dynamic duos, led by Porland’s Rattie and Baertschi. The duo combined for a whopping 215 points (or 3.7 per contest).
Johan Hedberg has 16 wins for the Devils, making him only the third Devils backup in the past 28 years to win that many games (not counting Clemmensen’s 25 wins in 2008-09 when Brodeur was out with a torn bicep).
How many… three? Four? Blatant shot to the head with the puck nowhere near the play.
Keith was likely mad about this borderline head shot earlier in the same shift: