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Of the first 10 games that finished last night, 20 teams played (obviously) and 35 goals were scored. Or a 1.75 GAA (give or take, not calculating the five minute OTs). Coaching and goaltending really are at all time peak, and as much as a good 2-1 game can be entertaining, I long for the 4-3 and 5-4 games and I hope that the NHL adapts again with another rule tweak or two.
Did you see Coach’s Corner Saturday? Don Cherry was anti-touch icing (again) and pro-bringing back the red line. The icing I’m on board with, of course. Skaters racing for the puck doesn’t add any excitement for me – at most I would enjoy it once every 50 games. If it’s tight and saving that icing really meant a lot. But what would make the game even more exciting is shaving off a second or two each icing because it’s blown dead when the puck crosses the line. Get to the faceoff dot sooner, get back at it sooner, etc. Anyway, I digress. That suggestion of bringing back the two-line offside is a poor one. When Cherry was showing highlights of stretch passes and sarcastically saying “real exciting” and “ooh so exciting”…I actually was excited. I loved those passes. Please don’t take them from me. That is all.
Vrbata alert. Late with this one, should have noted it yesterday. But he has a five-game points streak now and we all know how he works. Before this he was pointless in three and before that he had a five-game points streak. Prior to that it was points in two out of eight. And so on, you know how he does things. So while this could be the tail end of another quick hot run, it could also run a little longer. He has 25 goals already, just two off his career high.
Mike Smith has tied his career high for games played with 42. He’s already buried his career high in wins (21).
Sergei Kostitsyn had 11 points in the first 14 games, then four in 18. And now 15 in his last 16. Mike Fisher has 17 in those 16 games.
Craig Smith is still seeing low ice time, conserving him for the long schedule, but he’s seeing a lot of power-play time. That’s at the expense of Kostitsyn, who saw just 34 seconds last night.
The twins were split up last night. For the most part. Daniel played with Kesler and Burrows while Henrik played with Raymond and Bitz. That’s Byron Bitz. And Bitz actually saw a bit of time with both brothers at once. In two games this season, he has two points (both last night), is plus-2 with five PIM. At this point I would only pick him up if you’re extremely desperate for a very short-term solution or if you have tons of transactions you can do and space for him on your bench. He holds zero long-term fantasy value, but there might be something there for three or four games. But he’s playing with the right people right now.
Marc-Andre Bergeron was back in the TB lineup last night but only played about 13 minutes. He was a minus-2. Remember when he had 15 points in the first 13 games? Some quick math here… yep, nine points in 30 games since.
Erik Karlsson played 32:44 last night. I think that’s the highest I’ve seen out of anybody all season.
Every once in awhile, Patrik Berglund pokes his head up on the scoresheet to say “hi”. Very nice of him.
After eight shots on goal Saturday, leading me to think he was ready to bust out of his slump, Kevin Shattenkirk fires zero shots on net Tuesday.
Craig Anderson got pulled after giving up two goals on four shots. He runs extremely hot/cold, the Senators run extremely hot/cold. Chicken, or egg?
David Savard scored his first career NHL goal for the Jackets and added an assist. The spark he needs? Both points were at even strength.
Jeff Carter has scored in each of his two games since returning.
That’s two shutouts in three games for Tomas Vokoun and I have to think that the Caps will ride the hot hand here. And with Ovechkin finding the net again, they could be peeling off the wins. To me it looks like the Panthers and the Sens will be battling for eighth. We’ll see if I’m right. Florida has games in hand, but they had an incredible October.
Evgeni Nabokov STOLE one last night with 45 saves in a shootout shutout. In his last six games he has stopped 189 of 195 shots. White hot right now. White hot. Driving up his trade value like it’s going out of style and that is why Garth Snow claimed him last year in the first place.
Danny Briere was back in the lineup but it didn’t impact Brayden Schenn’s ice time as he saw 16:24.
Matt Read saw more ice time than any forward except Giroux. Clearly coach Laviolette is taking the opposite approach with his college rookie that Barry Trotz is taking with his.
Washington lines last night – Johansson with Ovechkin and Brouwer; Halpern with Hendricks and Ward; Perreault with Chimera and Semin; Laich with Aucoin and Knuble. Yes, Laich returned to action.
Today’s Studs and Duds can be found here.
Oh man, I really found this funny – Wyshynski with some great sarcasm on Claude Julien’s grumpy answers to Nathan Horton concussion questions.
Slava Voynov is one of the better defensemen in Los Angeles, but he’s been getting scratched lately. The team is deep, there are lots of politics involved here too. And I’m never comfortable when a talented Russian is getting scratched because he always has other options. Going home – family, friends, lots of money and star treatment. Or staying here for this treatment? It comes down to how appealing the NHL is to them. You just never know. I was 100% certain that Radulov would never go to the KHL.
The Oilers have recalled Magnus Paajarvi to replace Hopkins, who is out for the next 10 days or so.
Tyson Barrie played 15:49 in his NHL debut, but the Avs had zero PP time to really test him out. Only three penalties called all game, each against Colorado.
Travis Zajac will have his Achilles examined today. It looks like trouble, from this vantage point.
The Isles signed Frans Nielsen to a four-year deal, $11 million.
Should this have been a goal?