Good timing for my Puck Daddy piece out later today - Varlamov's agent has said that he is considering some offers from the KHL for next season. Definitely posturing, as he doesn't want his client backing up either Neuvirth or Holtby. The threat of bolting exists to a degree, though.
Justin Williams is out for the season with a shoulder injury. The Kings have recalled Oscar Moller and it sounds like he will be given a shot on the top line alongside Penner and Kopitar.
With two goals last night, Torrey Mitchell has seven points in his last eight games.
Joe Pavelski has 10 points in his last four games.
Puck Daddy: 68 reasons why the NHL playoffs are better than March Madness. Personally, I love both. No comparison, though.
One of the biggest offseason acquisitions last summer – Newell Brown. Who is he, you ask? The mastermind behind Vancouver’s deadly power play unit. He encouraged more movement, more switching, and more shots.
Too often powerplays become stagnant and set in their ways. The Canucks were guilty in the past of not moving and waiting for the Sedins to work their magic down low and behind the net.
This year, you have Ehrhoff and Edler shooting and pinching aggressively, and Ryan Kesler floating around the shot and in front of the net. The puck movement and player movement has been tremendous all season.
My Puck Daddy column should be up later today – I discuss Gerbe, Desharnais, and the Washington goaltending carousel. I’ll link to it ASAP.
Jamie Benn’s point streak was stopped at 10 games last night.
Loui Eriksson returned to the Dallas lineup after missing two games. He had a goal and played over 22 minutes.
I don’t have the stats handy, but I wonder what percentage of Anaheim goals have come from Ryan, Selanne, Perry, Getzlaf, or Visnovsky? You could make the same case for all teams (that the best five offensive players generate the offense), but Anaheim seems to have the exact same names on the score sheet each game.
Selanne scored with five seconds left to tie the game last night and rookie Cam Fowler scored the OT winner (his second point of the game).
Fowler has five points in five games after going pointless in his five previous games.
I predicted before the season that Visnovsky would lead the Western Conference defensemen in scoring – he’s now leading the entire league.
Daniel Sedin could potentially win the Rocket Richard (three behind Stamkos), Art Ross (leading by seven) and Hart (argument could be made) this season. I am surprised more isn’t being made of the Sedin dominance of the league over the past two years.
Roberto Luongo is tied for the league in wins and is creeping towards the top in both GAA and SV%. He stopped 39 of 40 at Joe Louis last night.
Jimmy Howard had a solid game (31 of 33 shots) but he continues to spit out ugly rebounds right into the slot. Needs to be cleared up if the Wings want to go deep in the playoffs.
Hudler scored the lone Detroit goal – he missed the past three games with the flu and a minor shoulder injury.
Samuelsson was a scratch for the Canucks. Alain Vigneault said he would have played if it was the playoffs. He’s been dealing with a sore hip for most of the season.
Corey Crawford recorded a shutout in his 18th straight start of the season.
Tomas Vokoun let in four goals, but he had absolutely zero support. The Panthers are an offensive wasteland.
Dave Bolland is out indefinitely with a concussion – Marcus Kruger will slide in on the third line to replace him. I wouldn’t expect Bolland back any time soon.
Kruger was pointless in about 11 minutes of ice time last night. Expect him to be eased into the lineup.
Pat Sharp is out for a few weeks with his knee injury. Chicago needs him badly but they can’t afford to rush him back and risk any long-term damage either.
Florida’s defense last night – Kulikov, Weaver, Sulzer, Joe Callahan, Keaton Ellerby, and Jay Garrison. Would be a solid AHL group.
Michael Frolik has only two points in his last seven games (including a helper last night).
Daniel Sedin became the first Canuck to score 40 goals since Naslund and Bertuzzi both passed the mark in 2002-03.
The fourth annual Prime Cuts team is close to being unveiled. This year, I am putting a contest together. The winner will receive an autographed 8x10 photograph (with certificate) of Teemu Selanne. More info on the contest here.
My top 10 Defensive Keepers list is set to hit the site on Friday. A new number one? Perhaps. A few graduates from the prospects list will also crack the top 10. Any guesses? Post them below!
I mentioned him two days ago – Toronto’s recent NCAA signing Tyler Brenner scored twice in his AHL debut. He had 26 goals at RIT this past season (more than double any other player on his team).
Sticking with college signings, the Flyers inked Matt Read to a three-year yesterday. Read scored 22 goals this past season while captaining the team at Bemidji State. The Blue Jackets tried unsuccessfully to sign him last summer.
From Read’s coach: "He's got depth to his game. Every year he's become more and more versatile," Serratore said. "That's why he's so attractive to the NHL right now because he's an all-situation type player. He was a complete player when he came here, but he's even more of a complete player now to the point where the game has slowed down so much for him out there."
How excited are my readers and forum members about my DobberHockey Minors program? This excited. As you may (or may not) know, I have a semi-regular feature every week or two in which I pull a gem of an article from the forum and post it under the "Called up from the DobberHockey Minors" section. It's a chance for a regular Joe who has always wanted to write some fantasy hockey columns to give it a shot and perhaps get recognition. If you get enough recognition, you could James Reimer your way onto the big club and get a regular column. That's how we discovered our latest columnist Tim Lucarelli. Anyway, this section in the forum is where you submit your article and it is where they are holding a tournament to name the "DobberHockey Farm Team". Loads of fun, and they're looking for your vote on the best name in each "division", eventually whittling it down to two finalists over the course of the next two weeks. Take a look!
Great puck movement – Howard not much of a chance: