Michael Del Zotto has been sent to the minors. It was the right move. But we've seen flashes of what he can do, he's a great hockey player with a bright future. I still think he can be a 55-point defenseman. Think of this as a confidence boost.
Philadelphia has waived Michael Leighton. That's the best move from a cap standpoint, and from a hockey standpoint. Now I can drop Leighton and get a forward... unless a team picks him up. I don't see it unless Chicago does (and in turn waives Turco), or wouldn't it be funny if the Islanders did? They'd be swapping Rolo for Leighton and acquire Wishart, and pay Leighton half his salary and come out smelling like roses.
The best read in hockey (aside from this site) - Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts.
Countdown to Midseason Guide: Four Days. Buy it HERE.
Shea Weber has five points and is a plus-4 in the last two games, finally showing us the type of star that he is in this league. We've waited all year for back-to-back games like that. He's normally a strong starter, so perhaps this year he's Bizarro-Weber and will be a strong finisher.
Undrafted college star Trevor Smith scored four times yesterday in the AHL for Syracuse. He had a cup of coffee with the Isles two seasons ago and now the 25-year-old belongs to the Ducks. It will be interesting to see if they give him a look.
So... Linus Omark gets sent down, he scores in his first game and tallies four assists in his second game. Get this guy back up!
Finally waking up? Patric Hornqvist was pointless three games ago despite an eye-popping 14 shots on goal. I think that pissed him off, because he has three points in two games since. If he has awakened, look for a good - a reall good - 10 or 15 game run.
Carey Price lost again. As a Price owner I'm bothered because I know this will drag out for at least another two weeks, possibly a month. If he comes out of January going 2-7-3 I won't be shocked. More disturbing - the team isn't getting outplayed when he loses. Ondrej Pavelec faced 50 shots and stopped 47 of them. Whereas Price faced just 28 shots, stopping 24.
Ironically, Price was Montreal's player of the month for December. He must have built a great lead in the first half.
Max Pacioretty had seven of the shots, and recent recall David Desharnais had three shots. I really like Desharnais (of course - he's small!) and hope he can make an NHL roster next season.
PK Subban scored, giving him 12 points on the year. As long he doesn't get scratched, I still believe he'll get 40 points. But that's the key - being responsible and not getting scratched.
Now that's the Ryan Johansen I've been waiting to watch all tournament. If he didn't make so many bad decisions on the power play in the final 15 minutes or so, he would have had the perfect game there against the Swiss. If you want to know what to expect from him, simply look at Derick Brassard's numbers. And maybe bump RJ up a year because he's not as fragile as DB. But they have similar upside and similar readiness at the same age.
On my radar: Casey Cizikas. Man, you just can't ignore him. He's been all over the place every game. He may wind up an energy player on the third line, however. But you never know. He has some upside as a second liner. The Islanders are building very slowly...but they're building very well. Make no mistake.
Adding Ty Wishart to their stables helps as well. Wishart will get a look this year, mark my words. They acquired Wishart in the Roloson trade.
With three more Sunday, Tobias Enstrom now has 12 points in his last nine contests.
James Wisniewski has five points in his last two for Montreal. The offense is waking up, Price just needs to keep opponents to three or fewer.
Forget Crosby, Nicklas Lidstrom is on a seven-game points streak. It's so impressive when a defenseman does this. So if 40-year-old Lidstrom finishes with 70 points (and he'd have to slow down to do that), how many more 50-plus seasons do you think he will have?
Mark Visentin got the start and, minus the soft goal, looked confident. He'll get the start against Team USA today.
Brayden Schenn leads the WJC with 14 points in four games (did not include Sunday). Ryan Ellis and Washington prospect Dmitri Orlov have eight each.
The top USA scorer is San Jose prospect Charlie Coyle. I'm sure he'll remain in the college circuit next season, but he could arrive in San Jose for 2012-13.
Oddly enough, the one-dimensional Cam Barker was not out on Minny's only power play last night. He scored though. The team went with Brent Burns, who had a three-point night.
Martin Havlat was pointless and minus-4. Go figure. The Wild finally score six goals in a game and Havlat has his worst outing.
With two more last night, Keith Yandle has 17 points in his last 14 games. I had to double check that. Wow.
Cal O'Reilly broke his leg. Wow, the Preds just keep on getting hurt, don't they? I can see them moving Colin Wilson back to center and seeing how that goes. Or Legwand moves up to the top line. It looks like Spaling, Goc and Wilson benefitted the most in the latter part of Sunday's game.
Jonas Hiller stopped 39 of 40 shots to steal one for the Ducks. They were outshot 40-18 by Chicago, spoiling Corey Crawford's return to action. Hiller has stopped 105 of the last 109 shots that he's faced.
Jason Blake left the game with an undisclosed injury. That will mean even more ice time for the likes of Matt Beleskey, who is already seeing a boost thanks to the absence of Getzlaf.
The Ducks really leaned on Saku Koivu last night - over 23 minutes of ice time. No points though.
Winter Classic ratings: 4.56 million viewers on NBC in the USA. Their biggest since '96. I want the Americans to understand that Saturday night at 8pm is THE best time of the week for hockey. I want it to be so obvious that they bow their head in shame for pushing Saturday afternoon hockey for the last two decades. I hope this is enough.
Mikael Backlund has been assigned to Abbotsford of the AHL for conditioning. In hindsight, he should been sent there in the first place, to get him out of the negative environment and hone his game even further.
Jonathan Toews, expected to be out for two weeks, could be back in the lineup tonight.
Tatar and Mursak were pointless again for Detroit, and Mursak was a minus-1 for the second game in a row. Just not ready yet, but I'd sure like to see more from them. And a bit of PP time would be nice.
Meanwhile, Hudler's offensive outburst last week was apparently a blip. He's getting the ice time now...and is pointless in two games.
Nik Antropov has been activated off of IR by the Thrashers. He needed time off, as his hip was bothering him all season long and I think the rest should kickstart him again.
Ruslan Fedotenko suffered a bruised hand in yesterday's loss and will probably miss a couple of games, if for some strange reason you own him.
Kevin Bieksa has points in four straight contests (five points). He seems to finally be finding his stride. So many injuries the past couple of years have really hurt his development and career progression.
Look at the height Wayne Simmonds gets with his stick here haha:
Fight of the year? Puck Daddy suggests so...