Todd McLellan says the game plan right now is for Antti Niemi to get his first start in net on Monday against the Ducks.
Anaheim, incidentally, called up Pat Maroon to take Jason Blake's roster spot. Maroon has 2-3-5 in 2 GP in the AHL so far. Not only did he have 21-27-48 in 57 GP last season with Syracuse, but the 6-4, 225-pound St. Louis native has an impressive PIM track record to go with those points over his career.
Ales Hemsky had his MRI and it was apparently good news. His shoulder is just sore and weak. It'll apparently take about a week to lose the pain and another week to get stronger, so you'll have to find alternate arrangements if you were counting on him for points. The upside is more games for Hall-RNH-Eberle to potentially stick together as a trio.
The Jackets say Jeff Carter has a hairline fracture on his right foot, which happened last night. He might miss Tuesday, but it doesn't seem like it's anything to worry about long-term.
JSG will get the start against his former team in Toronto. Peter Mueller is considered doubtful.
Coach Q told the media after tonight's game he hopes that Marian Hossa (upper-body) will be able to practice Monday and play Tuesday in Phoenix. He was a game-time decision tonight and was a no-go.
Drew Doughty was hit by Zac Rinaldo early tonight, which prompted a nice defence response from Dustin Penner. Bad news is Kings say Doughty will miss a minimum of 7-10 days with an upper-body injury. Good news? It’s apparently not a head injury, which rules out a concussion worry for his poolies.
James Neal scored again and has markers in three of four with points in five of six. Fantastic start and exactly what this team needs with Evgeni Malkin nursing that sore knee and Sidney Crosby not quite back in action. Neal didn’t produce very well with the team following the trade from Dallas, but the kid is talented and like Dan Bylsma said over the summer – he didn’t forget how to score.
Last year Sergei Kostitsyn had a really slow start with the Preds, but then caught fire and carried through to a really effective season. This year he already has assists in all four games after this clash with the Devils. And David Legwand already had seven points in his first three games before adding more this evening. Nashville needs guys like this to step up with so little firepower up front.
When Vinny Prospal scored the opening goal tonight, he ensured himself a point-per-game average through five starts. For where you got him in the draft and with his line assignment avec Rick Nash and Jeff Carter, that’s shrewd poolie management that adds up over the course of a full season.
John Tavares had no points in his first two games, but then exploded for that four-pointer against the Lightning and he had another four-pointer tonight against the Rangers. Hat trick goal into the empty net. If you can use that first week or two of the season to snag a few stars who get blanked in the first few tilts, it’s another tool at your disposal to strengthen your roster for that six-month run. You’d be utterly shocked how many people lose patience with only two or three zeroes next to their stars’ names. Strike while the iron is hot.
Al Montoya has been a good story for the Isles so far this year, but Evgeni Nabokov got his first start here and looked really effective in the win against the Rangers. Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards combined for 14 shots against him.
Speaking of the Isles too, Mark Streit’s idea – a cool one at that – was to have the team stay on the ice after the game to form a receiving line of sorts for Isles who earn three star honours. Pretty cool to watch, actually.
Drew Stafford was one of the more inconsistent players in the poolie world before last season, where injuries were the only thing which slowed him down a bit. He still produced when in the line-up in ’10-11 though. The question coming into this year was would he be able to keep those points coming? So far, so good. Goals in three straight. Luke Adam continues to pile them on too and take full advantage of his line assignment with Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. Stafford, incidentally, has generally been with Derek Roy and Nathan Gerbe.
Marc-Andre Bergeron has found a home, once again, on the first power play unit of the Tampa Bay Lightning with all the big boys. He has five points in his first five games. On a similar note, Sheldon Souray has points in four of five in Dallas as his comeback continues. He scored his first goal tonight and he fired eight shots on net too. He seems to be largely working secondary power play time, but is doing well with it.
Jiri Hudler, incidentally, stretched his point streak to include all four starts. He’s another guy who – like MAB/ Souray - needed a good start. Too early to call him a success story; but so far, so good. Hudler was with Valtteri Filppula and Johan Franzen tonight, while Mike Babcock had Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk with Danny Cleary. Coach said they took over the game and the team’s momentum came from them. Detroit’s most complete game to date.
So I’m watching the first few minutes of the Avs’ broadcast of their game with the Habs tonight. P.K. Subban begins with the puck behind his own net as the announcers are talking about Brian Gionta. End-to-end rush from Subban. Crowd going nuts. Subban’s shot wasn’t great, but the rush was pretty nice to look at and he still created a quality scoring chance. All the announcers do is finish their thought on Gionta, mention the shot from Subban and then eventually notice the crowd is “getting into it tonight”. Really guys? Can’t interrupt a terrific ‘Gionta is small’ observation to notice one of the most exciting young defencemen in the league going coast to coast? Really? Subban, incidentally, finally found the scoring summary for the first time in his fourth game. Any chance you can take to get a guy like him early on when the points aren’t there, you take it. Big talent and especially valuable in standard leagues because of the solid PIM/ SOG peripherals.
Second period of the Oilers/ Canucks tilt as I post this and the Hall-RNH-Eberle line created with Ales Hemsky’s injury is making the Edmonton fan in me absolutely giddy.
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