Malkin is playing tomorrow for Pittsburgh, but Mark Letestu is out for at least four weeks (and up to six).
Vinny Prospal is making his season debut for the Rangers tonight alongside Stepan and Gaborik on the top line.
Anders Lindback is getting the start for the Preds tonight.
Some very interesting tidbits from Darren Dreger today.
Apparently the Ducks are kicking the tires w/ regards to Ray Emery. Emery's comeback from a significant hip injury has been remarkable. A comeback to the NHL would be even more so.
Dreger goes to say that Steve Mason and Jakub Voracek are drawing interest from other teams. Of course Voracek is, he is a terrific young forward. I am not sure if drawing interest means that he is available? The wording is a bit confusing. Read for yourselves here.
Anyone in Phoenix like cheap beer? Check this promo out.
Couture missed his second straight game due to the flu.
Ryane Clowe is on pace for about 25 goals and 65 points. I think those are numbers he should hit each season, and I see him peaking at 30 goals and 75-80 points one year. He has a ton of skill and he thinks the game well. Combine that with his imposing physical frame… he just needs to develop a bit more consistency (heading in the right direction).
Don’t look now, but Devin Setoguchi has six points in his past four games. Kudos to those of you who have stuck through the thick and (very) thin.
Daniel Sedin sits one point back of Stamkos for the scoring race. Another Sedin winning the Art Ross?
Few are better than Mikael Samuelsson when he is hot. He has five points in his past three games. Ride the wave if you own him, and scoop him up ASAP if you don’t!
Mason Raymond has four points in his last four (two two-point efforts). He is slowly starting to come around after showing signs of rust coming off of a wrist/hand injury.
I have spent some time trying to figure out why Dion Phaneuf is struggling so mightily in Toronto. A few ideas:
The weight of the letter on his chest. Trying to do too much.
The weight of the number on his pay cheque. His play has gone downhill ever since signing the massive extension with Calgary a few years ago.
The personnel in Toronto. He was so successful in Calgary because he shot the puck so much. Calgary had big forwards who could dig the puck out of the corners and feed Phaneuf at the point. Toronto… not so much.
I hate making comparisons for the wrong reasons… but Lee Sweatt and Brian Rafalski have a ton of similarities. Both are former NCAA stars who went to Finland after getting zero NHL interest. Rafalski was 26 when he came to New Jersey, Sweatt is currently 25.
Both are short (Sweatt even more so), but extremely smart (the key to playing defence in the league now) and mobile. I doubt Sweatt ever has the offensive success that Rafalski has experienced… but he certainly bears watching.
Milan Michalek has quietly crept up to a 20-goal pace.
One name I expect to see on the move at the trade deadline – Florida pivot Stephen Weiss.
Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta are clicking together on Montreal’s top line right now. Expect increased production from the two over the next little while.
Doughty and Johnson combined for five points last night. The duo was reunited on the top PP unit to great success. They absolutely terrorized defences last season (especially Vancouver’s during the first round of the playoffs), and having two defensemen who can shoot/move/pass like that forces opposing PK’s to cheat up high on each side.
Johan Franzen had five goals and 10 shots on goal last night. On behalf of myself, I want to send a huge thanks to Franzen for essentially securing me the W in the goals category this week in my Head-to-Head league!
Almost as impressive as Franzen’s five goals (well no… but bear with me) was a monster game from Peter Regin. Regin was a huge sleeper of mine last summer, and to date he has flopped hard. Perhaps last night was a small step in the right direction…
The Senators have lost 14 or 15. I’d love to have the job security that Bryan Murray/Cory Clouston do. Once he is eventually canned, perhaps teaching is for him. His first course - “How to turn a contending team into rubbish in only three years.”
Maybe Dany Heatley was on to something...
I was hoping to have my most recent 15 Points to Consider out earlier this week. I apologize for the delay, my real life job has been extremely hectic. I have some thoughts on Chris Tanev (an amazing story considering the level of hockey he was playing two years ago), trade deadline targets, sleepers and busts for the second half, and more. It will be posted on Friday afternoon at the latest!
Justin Bourne of Puck Daddy chatted with Jeff Tambellini the other day – interview is here.
Tampa Bay waived Mike Smith yesterday. Smith is the worst goalie in the league. Not just starters, hell, not just backups either. I’m including those gas station attendants and university students who get signed to emergency one-day contracts to fill in for an injury. He’s simply garbage.
Players in the NHL with more goals than Ryan Kesler include…. Crosby and Stamkos. A simply amazing season by a player who many deemed a checker long ago. Kesler’s skill development over the past three seasons has been absolutely incredible.
He went from having a pathetic excuse for a wrist shot to one of the deadliest in the entire league. That simply doesn’t happen.
DobberHockey friend and Pittsburgh Penguins expert Mike Colligan shares his thoughts on Malkin:
"Malkin skated hard today, they threw him on IR to open up a roster spot but once they get things sorted out he should be in the lineup for Friday. Bylsma basically said he's ready now.
If I had to guess, he's been dealing with what's called 'dashboard knee' or something similar. Bylsma keeps saying it's not structural and Malkin has basically been playing with it since the end of October. It's an injury that can come from just falling on your knee real hard, bruises/tears the cartilage a little. No way to fix it except rest and hope you don't keep hitting it - obviously not easy during a hockey season. No way to tell how big of an effect it'll have on him the rest of the season but it's safe to say he's probably not going to be able to get back to 100% unless he gets very lucky."
Kesler toe drag roof job:
Cody Hodgson with a pretty crafty move for his first career NHL goal:
Rick DiPietro should stick to what he is best at (getting injured?):