Get your hands on the 2011-12 Midseason Guide, which also includes a Jan. 13 addendum.
The Denver Post has a good read on Colorado Avalanche rookie Gabriel Landeskog. He talks about how he's living the dream in his first year in the NHL, how he's actually staying with a billet family instead of a team veteran and how moving to Canada from Sweden at the age of 16 was probably the best decision of his life. What's not to like about this kid? He's on his way to carving out what should be an outstanding career.
Marcus Johansson is missing today's matinee with the Penguins due to an illness. Already missing Nicklas Backstrom, this left today's top line as Alex Ovechkin with Mathieu Perreault and Mike Knuble.
The writing was immediately on the wall for Ben Bishop's near future in St. Louis following the Brian Elliott extension. What's new today is that Bishop offered a pretty frank and honest assessment of the situation to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He has the right attitude and that's a big part of the battle as a pro.
Also for your Sunday reading: A new goaltender for the Columbus Blue Jackets is "a certainty" - waiving Steve Mason may also be a possibility as part of that scenario if a deal can't be reached with anyone - and GM Scott Howson's job appears to be safe under a plan that includes potentially "significant changes" before next season. The article also posits that Jeff Carter could be sent packing.
Peter Mueller followed up his three-point performance against the Panthers by scoring again against L.A. He's alongside Paul Stastny and T.J. Galiardi and Mueller is a guy who will produce - and produce well - if he can stay healthy. He's a really talented guy who just needs some good luck health-wise. Stastny already had five points in his prior five starts before adding another two here in the 3-1 win against the Kings.
Solid results for Dany Heatley, who came up with three points in a 5-2 win over Dallas and matched his production in January in the process. Heatley was with Kyle Brodziak and Nick Johnson, while Devin Setoguchi was on another line with Matt Cullen and Cal Clutterbuck.
Lee Stempniak had 3G, 1A and was +5 in Calgary's 6-2 win over the Oilers. He's skating with the now-consistent Olli Jokinen, who has been a steady producer in the past few months. Blake Comeau was on the other wing.
So Taylor Hall was back for the Oil tonight. The guy is a stud. Fierce competitor. The gash will only add to his legend over the years. But my question is this: Why the hell was he wearing a helmet in warm-ups and he DIDN’T have it strapped up? What’s the point? I mean, agree or disagree with players needing to wear them in the first place given how infrequent the chance of an injury, but if you’re going to wear one then SNAP THE DAMN THING UP! Yeah, I’ll wear my seatbelt over my shoulder but why buckle it when it looks cooler to leave it undone?
Alex Tanguay is close to returning, but Flames head coach Brent Sutter offered this following today’s skate: "It's his first day practicing with the group, we talked to him this morning and I want him to get a few practices in so he has his pace to where it needs to be and he can help our hockey team."
There’s hot and then there’s John Tavares. 12 straight games with a point after his two-goal effort against the Canes, which included the OT GWG. He has seven multi-pointers on this run with 21 points in all. Kyle Okposo continues to build momentum week after week as well. He’s been on the Tavares line with Matt Moulson for awhile now and P.A. Parenteau has still been producing even after being moved off the unit.
Mikael Samuelsson opened in Kris Versteeg’s slot on the Tomas Fleischmann – Stephen Weiss line, but it was Versteeg coming away with a three-point game to break a recent slide that hasn’t seen many points.
Zach Bogosian was back in that one for the Jets and he played over 25 minutes with first unit PP time alongside Tobias Enstrom. Evander Kane, unfortunately, did not play because he also now part of the concussed population in the league.
Alex Pietrangelo picked up another two points tonight and stretched his January-long point streak to nine games. Huge night for David Backes too (2G, 2A, 4 PIM, 3 SOG), who already had eight points in eight games before this one. This four-point evening tied his career best, which he's done three times now. He’s with T.J. Oshie, who has been a new player under Ken Hitchcock, and David Perron.
Jaroslav Halak has a new personal best for a shutout streak now, which stands at 164:38.
The Hawks lost Jonathan Toews to an upper-body injury tonight. On the bright side, Andrew Shaw now has six points in his past six games. He was opposite Marian Hossa, who had a pair of goals here, and Marcus Kruger.
Steven Stamkos sniped his 32nd goal of the season and has potted 16 of them in his past 18 starts. Ryan Malone was hurt in that game against the Coyotes, incidentally. He considers himself doubtful for the next game.
Jeff Skinner scored his first goal in his fourth start back from the concussion layoff. He has points in two of those four starts.
I finally just saw the replay of the Henrik Zetterberg/ Nikita Nikitin incident right before publishing Ramblings. Did Zetterberg even hit or push him into the boards? I only saw it once, but it sure didn't look like it. Regardless, it got Zetterberg booted from the game and has left Nikitin with an apparently serious ankle injury. He’s been really solid for Columbus since coming over via trade. Michigan Live has reaction to the hit from Zetterberg. That was, not too surprisingly, Zetterberg's first major penalty in his career.
Valtteri Filppula is now only one point back of officially tying his career high of 40 points and he added a pretty nice shootout goal to seal the Wings’ 3-2 win over the Jackets.
Rene Bourque potted his first goal for the Habs tonight. Maybe he and Tomas Plekanec can get each other going offensively.
Bruins centre Marc Savard, who has been battling post-concussion symptoms, admitted Saturday that, “Right now, the way I’m still feeling and the daily issues I’m having, it’s tough to see a bright future right now. It’s tough. I still have my tough days.”
Speaking of Savard and concussions, what are fantasy owners supposed to do with all of these head injuries popping up night after night? I tackled the issue for my latest DH article.
The Bruins and Rangers battled today and it was a hell of a game. If these teams hook up for a playoff series this spring it’ll have epic written all over it. Ryan McDonagh was knocked into the boards from behind by Andrew Ference in overtime and the subsequent major ending up costing the Bruins the game when Marian Gaborik potted his second marker of the afternoon. Ference had a head of steam going and even though he didn’t plow McDonagh, per say, it was one of those situations where you just can’t hit a guy.. Shanny will have his say though. A hearing has been scheduled.
Roberto Luongo picked up his 212th win with the Canucks, which is one better than Kirk McLean for the franchise lead. Two-goal game for Cody Hodgson, who has been cruising over the past month now. He was with Mason Raymond and Jannik Hansen.
Logan Couture also struck twice for his team and has five points in his past seven starts. He was on a line with Patrick Marleau and Benn Ferriero.
Andre Petersson made his NHL debut today with the Sens. He has 25 points in 30 GP with Binghampton and was on the fourth line with Kaspars Daugavins and Zenon Konopka. The Ducks beat the Sens 2-1 in that one and Lubomir Visnovsky added his sixth point in his past seven outings.
Good news and bad news for the Flyers today. They won and the Claude Giroux line came to life after some recent struggles. Unfortunately, they lost Jaromir Jagr to a lower-body injury. Brayden Schenn jumped up from the fourth line centre slot to wing it with Giroux and Scott Hartnell. As if losing Jagr wasn’t bad enough, Danny Briere is now one of the NHL’s concussed.
Wayne Simmonds picked up three more points in that game against the Devils and strangely, he collected his first PIM of January in his 10th start of the month. For a PIM-per-game average kind of guy, which he is, that’s a little unusual. Especially playing for the Flyers. He’s skating with Matt Read, who continues to chug along in his impressive campaign, along with Sean Couturier. Couturier and Schenn have been flip-flopping the L3/L4 C roles of late and with both Jagr and Briere out, the lines will undergo the blender treatment once again.
Alexei Ponikarovsky made his debut with the Devils on the third line with Jacob Josefson and David Clarkson. Although AP scored, there’s really no reason to expect steady production. He’ll be hard pressed to ever crack the top six on this team barring injury, whereas in Carolina at least he was occasionally used on a scoring line.
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