It's Valentine's Day today. Reminding any fellas out there with a wife or girlfriend to write a poem or order flowers. Don't forget! (okay, this is actually to remind ME, when I wake up in the morning ... but hopefully it helps you too)
It's now difficult to see Tuomo Ruutu getting traded. He's out for three weeks with an upper body injury.
The Devils have recalled Nick Palmieri
My article in the Hockey News yesterday gives an overview on goaltenders. You can check it out here.
And while you're in the "check out my stuff" mood, you can find my Puck Daddy column here.
The Blue Jackets do not need to trade Rick Nash. They do not need to trade Jeff Carter. They need to revamp their entire development system. They draft well, but then their players - all of them - fail to become NHL ready in the time given. And thus wind up as 'busts'. Easy to cite Brassard, Brule, Voracek, Filatov... but there are so many others. The problem with trading Nash or Carter is that they probably won't receive a Nash or Carter back. There are two superstars on this team (potentially, if they did what they should). You can't reduce that to two. UNLESS you get a young, surefire star back. Such as Calgary getting Jarome Iginla back in their Nieuwendyk trade, or Philadelphia getting Schenn back in their Richards trade.
All season long, San Jose has been the team with the fewest games under their belt. Last night they played Game 54, passing the Bruins who are still stuck at 53. Keep that in mind – the Sharks and Bruins players may be slightly undervalued as a result.
With four points last night, Joe Pavelski has 10 in his last seven games. I had thought that he would give Thornton a run for his money in terms of leading the Sharks in scoring, but then he went into a pretty big slump and it’s actually been Logan Couture who has been giving Thornton the run.
Alex Ovechkin played nearly 27 minutes and came up empty.
Troy Brouwer was taken off the big line, yet he still saw nearly 19 minutes and fired five shots on goal. He played with Chimera and Halpern, though he did see PP time on the top unit. I don’t like the change, and his added ice time was due to Brooks Laich leaving the game early in the third (likely tweaked his lower-body injury).
Braden Holtby was the surprised starter for the Caps and he got shelled for 35 shots, letting five of them by. Thomas Greiss started for the Sharks and stopped 39 of 42. Greiss will be the backup for Niemi next season – and he’s a dark horse to see a lot of action, given Niemi’s proneness to slow starts.
Tuomo Ruutu may have hurt his odds of being moved – he suffered an upper-body injury and had to leave the game.
Scott Gomez watch – he played just 7:49.
Jiri Tlusty has a five-game points streak and he’s plus-8 in that span. His ice time jumped up over 17 minutes thanks to the Ruutu injury.
Simon Despres has been assigned to WBS by the Penguins. I’m fairly certain he’ll make the jump full time next season.
Mike Green skated for over an hour yesterday and it sounds as though we’ll see him within 10 days. And this time I think they’ve solved the problem once and for all. He’s still a Band-Aid Boy, but things won’t be quite as bad as we’ve seen over the past 18 months or so.
Matt Duchene finally returned to practice in a non-contact capacity. Adrian Dater believes he will be back “real soon”.
Anaheim prospect Emerson Etem has scored 51 goals in 50 WHL games, a feat not reached since Pavel Brendl did it. If Selanne retires, Etem would be in the mix for making this team next year.
See American television execs? Hockey works beautifully on a Saturday night in Buffalo. Start showing it in northern United States, and over the course of several years work your way southward. Grow it. Saturday nights are awesome for hockey. It was the most watched program in Buffalo this past Saturday night.
Mikael Backlund is injured again – probably his shoulder – and he’s out for another month. His development has been slow because the Flames have had to rush him. Not to mention the injuries. But they were forced to rush him because they didn’t draft enough players like him. During the Sutter (GM) era, they must have drafted about 50 Sutter-types and one skill guy (Backlund). Now they have Bärtschi and Reinhart to look forward to, so help is eventually on the way.
Mike Cammalleri has shifted to center as a result of the Backlund injury.
I love how the media is talking about how the coming trade deadline will be a “dud”, even coining the term “Dudline Day”. What they seem to forget is that deadline days are often duds. Most if not all the moves are minor ones, or at best mid-range guys. And the quantity will be high as always. The day is still a lot of fun.
Zac Rinaldo received a two game suspension for this: