Thursday's Studs & Duds is up - check it out here.
Darcy Hordichuk is playing two minutes per game (and getting his butt kicked) while Paajarvi is down on the farm? Not sure I get that one.... (I know Paajarvi has been struggling, and I know Hordichuk has a "role" to play, but still). Hordichuk was beaten quite handily twice by Wild forward Matt Kassian last night. Round 1 and Round 2 for evidence.
Jordan Eberle is on pace for 89 points. How close to that number does he get?
Duchene hurt his knee last night and left the game. No word on the severity of the injury just yet.
Getzlaf and Perry were both awful last night. I thought Bobby Ryan had a good game, as did Nick Bonino. The Ducks simply are not a good team. They have great high end talent, but little depth. And when that high end talent is struggling... it has gotten ugly.
The Sedins and Burrows combined for seven points. Henrik leads the league in assists by six and trails Giroux in the Art Ross race by one point.
James Wisniewski fractured his ankle after blocking a shot - more opportunity for the young defensemen in Columbus, as Wisniewski sees a lot of ice time in all situations.
Mike Green may or may not be back next week. So you're saying there's a chance....
The struggling Steve Downie has four points in his last two games. He played over 20 minutes last night against Montreal. Turning a corner, perhaps?
Montreal defenseman Raphael Diaz has four assists in his last three games.
After a slow start to the season, David Desharnais is now on pace for about 50 points. He's been one of the few bright spots up front for Montreal over the past few months (especially in December with 10 points in 13 games).
Sean Couturier had two assists in his return from a head injury.
Tyler Kennedy had a great game for the Pens - one goal, one assist, and five shots on goal. He now has points in five straight.
James Reimer's Toskala-like struggles continue - he let in four goals on 34 shots against the lowly Hurricanes last night. Looks uncomfortable in net, and teams are still targeting his glove hand.
Two goals, an assist, a plus-1, and five shots on goal for Eric Staal. A small step in the right direction...
Nazem Kadri scored a wrap around goal and how has three goals in his last four games. What will happen when Toronto gets healthy, again? Kulemin also scored his fourth goal of the season. He's on pace for about 10 goals after scoring over 30 last year. One of the bigger fantasy disappointments so far.
A good piece on Jaromir Jagr from ESPN's Scott Burnside. Jagr scored a beautiful goal last night in his return to Pittsburgh. He gave the crowd his salute after scoring, as well.
"The expectations are much higher in Philadelphia, but those expectations do not begin and end with Jagr. And in a strange way, that appears to have allowed him to become a significant figure on a team that has legitimate Stanley Cup aspirations.
This night in Pittsburgh illustrated just how seamless Jagr's return to elite play has been, as the Flyers ended a two-game losing streak against their longtime cross-state rivals and pulled two points ahead of them in the hotly contested Atlantic Division.
In spite of being booed every time he touched the puck, Jagr was a force all night. Although he did not draw an assist, his work behind the net on a first-period power play led directly to Kimmo Timonen's goal that tied the game at 1-all."
Some lopsided WJC results last night. Canada beat Denmark 10-2, and Russia put up 14 against Latvia.
For Canada, Mark Stone had another great game - two goals and an assist. He now has six goals for the tournament. With the injury to Smith-Pelly, and Michael Bournival suffering from the flu, offensive defenseman Nathan Beaulieu moved up to play forward.
Russian captain Yevgeni Kuznetsov had three goals and six assists against Latvia (yep, a nine point game). The tournament single game points record is 10, held by Peter Forsberg.
Denmark's player of the game was Nicklas Jensen, the Vancouver 2011 1st round pick. Jensen had one assist but finished minus-7. Imagine going minus-7 and winning player of the game?
Magnus Paajarvi has three assists in five games in the AHL (no goals, though).
My lengthy piece on Alex Burrows is up at the Canucks Army. Put a lot of time into it. Hope some of you enjoy.
Not sure if this was linked out – Dobber hands out his Midseason Fantasy Awards over on Puck Daddy.
Jason Botchford of the Province sums up the Cory Schneider situation quite well.
“Now, Schneider can still be traded. But the Canucks will be asking, essentially, for the world in return. They may settle for less, but not much less.
And why not? A prospect and a pick do nothing to help this team. Starting Schneider in a handful of playoff games, at least, could do wonders.
When last season ended, the Canucks thought a few teams would jump out of their wallets for a shot at Schneider. One, was Philly. But Philly didn’t call. They were too determined, it seems, to overpay Ilya Bryzgalaov.”
Stephen Weiss skated with his teammates yesterday and could play tonight for the Panthers.
The struggling Sabres are going to reinsert Marc-Andre Gragnani into the lineup tonight, after healthy scratching him for the past four games.
I don’t get to watch all games, and sometimes I have to use box scores and highlights to form my recaps of games (I am also lucky to have a number of great contacts that provide me with post game analysis and information each night). I completely missed the boat on Marek Zidlicky yesterday…but I guess it highlights how bad he has been (zero points and minus-2 in six games for the struggling Wild).
I had misread the ESPN box score as showing it being Zidlicky’s first game in over two months, when in fact he has been playing for most of December.
Rich Peverley has missed a few games but should be back this weekend. One of the best third liners in the league (on Boston at least, he’d be at least a top six guy on about 27 other NHL clubs).
Brandon Pirri was sent back down to Rockford. Patrick Kane has slid back to center (on a line with Stalberg and Sharp), for now. Chicago will want to fix their second line roster hole before the playoffs begin.
“"Feeling good, better and better each day," he said. "It's a matter of just getting to the point where you don't think you're going to hurt yourself if you go out and play. It's getting your legs and your lungs back. You have to get a full practice before you can get back. But definitely making big strides day to day, and skating better each day.”
A new hockey movie is coming out soon. Thanks to VRoyals Rob for pointing it out to me. Titled “Goon.” The movie stars Jay Baruchel (from Knocked Up) and Seann William Scott (better known as Stifler). The movie was filmed in Brandon, Manitoba. The plotline:
“Labelled an outcast by his brainy family, a bouncer overcomes long odds to lead a team of under performing misfits to semi-pro hockey glory, beating the crap out of everything that stands in his way.”
I really enjoyed episode three of the Winter Classic. More hockey related stuff was probably what made it better (in my eyes). Highlights of the episode – meeting Bryan Boyle’s giant family (I wonder if they have seen Meaning of Life, by Monty Python?), Marian Gaborik carrying a Christmas tree through Tribeca, and Giroux and Ott chirping before a faceoff.
My favorite part of the episode was watching Ryan Callahan go over X’s and O’s at intermission with Tortorella.
I hear so many requests from others to get HBO to do this more often, but I think part of its charm is the fact that there are only four episodes per year. Gives us a glimpse and really leaves us wanting more.
I forgot to mention this yesterday – Mike Babcock had some high, high praise of Ryan Ellis. It will be interesting to see what happens when Weber returns. Both Ellis and Josi have looked good.
“The kid they brought up is as good as there is in hockey on the power play, so he’s no slouch,” Babcock said. “He doesn’t have the bomb that Weber has but he has all those other things. He’s very deceptive, he can really see, he has ice water in his veins, and he is a great player. He’s going to be a dominant power play guy in the National League. For a skinny little kid, he can sure shoot the puck. He had a bomb off of the crossbar and he is a good player.”
While the Predators were scoreless in their five opportunities on the power play, Ellis played more than half (5:31) of the ten minutes they had with the man advantage. Nashville managed just five shots total on their five power plays.
Buffalo prospect Joel Armia had a great game against the US the other night (Armia is Finnish). He’s a big body with a wicked shot and great hands in close (a bit like current Sabre Thomas Vanek).
A good read on the Bruins – are they even better than last year?
“When the Bruins won the Cup, they showed you can win a championship with no elite scorers and virtually no power play if you have enough depth, toughness, structure and great goaltending. When they started this season 3-7-0, they showed what happens when you lose your edge in this league. The Bruins weren’t great enough to just waltz back and win. No one would have been.”
If you have five minutes to spare, watch this amazing video: