Brian Elliott looked great last night. His hand eye coordination is amazing (I remember watching a video on him doing some training with tennis balls being tossed at him), and it shows on shots to his glove and blocker. With Halak struggling right now, he could see more starts in the next few weeks.
Vlad Sobotka led the Blues in faceoff wins last night (12 on 18 chances) and he played over 17 minutes, too. An underrated player who can do a lot. His offensive upside isn't high but he could one day be a 45 point guy in the right role.
No Brad Richards, no problem. Two goals and an assist for Loui Eriksson last night against the Ducks. He was all over the ice.
Seven combined points for Franzen and Filppula last night.
Aaron Johnson had two points, six shots on goal, and a lot of PP time for the Jackets. Johnson, Clitsome, Tyutin, and Russell all played over three minutes on the PP (Clitsome led the way, just over four minutes).
Seven shots on goal for Prospal last night, after he essentially called out the entire Columbus organization. Rick Nash had none.
A few Carolina fans have emailed me to highlight Eric Staal's struggles. He looks disinterested, and may be playing through an injury. Whatever the issue is, many poolies used a high pick on him and he's shown in the past he is one of the most consistent star forwards available. He needs to get going.
14 games tonight - looking forward to the ramblings from Chris Nichols tomorrow.
Cory Schneider is starting today - don't forget the 1pm start for the Vancouver/Minnesota game.
Kari Lehtonen has probably been the best goalie in the league through the first few weeks of this season. He's stolen a few games and kept Dallas in a few games that they have won later. Talent has never been the issue with him, but fitness and health have. He has rededicated himself to training properly since coming over from Atlanta, and it is amazing to see how much better he looks.
Still a long way to go and I'm not advocating rushing out to pick him up, but I wouldn't be looking to sell high either.
Jacob Josefson broke his clavicle last night – look for the Devils to recall Adam Henrique (Taylor Hall’s set up man from junior). Henrique is a solid two-way center who sees the ice well.
Ott-Benn-Eriksson looked great last night. Benn was the C man last night.
Drew Doughty skated on his own for a bit after practice yesterday, testing his injured shoulder out. He can’t return until after Tuesday (IR rules).
From Brendan Ross: Alex Galchenyuk is scheduled to have surgery next week. Expected to miss until March. Bad news for Alex in his draft year.
Developing in a losing environment is a bad thing. This comment stirred up some debate yesterday, so allow me to elaborate.
Columbus has struggled recently, and they have done an awful job of insulating their rookies with competent veterans to carry the bulk of the load (and to help teach and develop). Edmonton is facing a similar problem, but their young guys are so talented that this probably won’t hurt them as much (Hall and RNH in particular are going to be star forwards, but their development may get stunted a bit in Edmonton).
This didn’t really affect Crosby, Malkin, etc. On one hand, these kinds of players are elite talents, even at 18, 19, and 20. They are able to handle the tough minutes, the defensive responsibilities, and the grind of 82+ games. However, they are the outliers, not the norm. Young players, in general, are best developed through patience and cultivation at lower levels. Detroit and San Jose are both great examples of organizations that preach this.
I’m not saying if you own Hall, RNH, or even a guy like Ryan Johansen that it is time to jump ship. I am just making the point that these teams with stud young players need to recognize that this isn’t NHL 12 and you can’t have five players with 99 potential and expect them to all develop positively each year. There will be ups and downs, and the downs can be mitigated a bit by building a stronger team.
After being a healthy scratch for two games, Blake Comeau will line up on the third line with Bailey and Rolston for the Islanders.
We really need to organize a reverse elimination pool next year – pick a different band-aid boy each week to survive unscathed. Would be quite fun to follow.
I have no idea why the Oilers didn’t jump into the free agent market and get a defenseman. No, Cam Barker doesn’t count. Sure they would have had to overpay, but getting a veteran like Jan Hejda who can play defense and move the puck at a decent level would have helped immensely.
Anyway, I’m sure this will stir up more debate. I’m not trying to be anti-Columbus/Edmonton here, they are just the examples I am using. Detroit is able to insulate the likes of Tatar, Nyqvist, Mursak, etc. However, in other situations they may also be in the league already. Will it help or hinder them? Datsyuk and Zetterberg played depth roles when they came in to the league. Getzlaf and Perry were Anaheim’s depth forwards during the 2007 cup win, too. Just some food for thought.
Another example is Ottawa this year. They have some vets in place, but should they really be keeping Mika Zibanejad around? The injury to Peter Regin has opened up a spot, but the young Swede clearly isn’t ready for the NHL game just yet.
My Burrows video generated lots of feedback – thanks for the support. I’m hoping to have a few other Canucks lend a helping hand in my bid to be one of the new hockey bloggers for the Province newspaper.
I found out the good news yesterday that I made the final 10 (over 90 applicants) for the gig. Some kind words from many of you definitely helped. I’ll post some more info next week, as the contest kicks off next Friday.
The French connection in Vancouver also really helped – Max Lapierre throws his support my way. For those of you in Vancouver, I have a hard time picturing a young Tony Gallagher:
Thanks to the fine folks at the Fan Zoo for setting up the Burrows and Lapierre video chats – the premier sports memorabilia company – absolutely stunning photos and other sports-related memorabilia.