Sat Dec 07 12:58am EST
No. 1 Star: Curtis McElhinney, Columbus Blue Jackets
With a 20-save night during a 4-0 win over the Minnesota Wild, McElhinney earned his first shutout since Nov. 5, 2011. Nick Foligno, R.J. Umberger and Ryan Johansen helped out by each chipping in two points as the Blue Jackets won their second straight game for the first time since late-October. It was McElhinney's third career NHL shutout.
No. 2 Star: Elias Lindholm, Carolina Hurricanes
A night after getting five hung on them by the Pittsburgh Penguins, the San Jose Sharks allowed five more in a 5-3 loss to the Hurricanes. The rookie Lindholm broke a 3-3 tie with six minutes left in the third period and assisted on two other goals as Carolina won their third in a row. Riley Nash, Jay Harrison and Jordan Staal each recorded two points.
No. 3 Star: Chris Higgins, Vancouver Canucks
The pride of Smithown, New York put home the winner 3:41 into overtime to give the Canucks a 3-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes. The goal was his first in eight games and the 21st game winner of his career. Roberto Luongo made 37 saves.
Honorable mention: Joe Thornton's assist extended his points streak to eight games ... Manny Malhotra went 10-for-13 in the dot. He's now 115-for-182 (61.3%) on the season, good for second-best in NHL ... Johan Franzen's goal with 7:20 left in the third period broke a 1-1 tie and helped give the Detroit Red Wings a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. Franzen added an assist and Tomas Tatar, who put home the insurance marker with 1:03 left, also had two assists. Jonas Gustavsson, who made a wild save in the second period, finished with 10 saves to improve to 8-0-1 ... Kyle Palmieri and Nick Bonino scored in the shootout to give the Anaheim Ducks a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks and drop the defending champs to a third straight loss ... Colorado scored three unanswered goals and hung on for a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames. Nathan MacKinnon's sixth of the season early in the third period would end up the game winner. Max Talbot scored a goal and assisted on another as the Avalanche scored twice in a 54-second span in the second period ... Nice leg save here by Alex Stalock:
Did You Know? Columbus is 35-0-0 when leading after two periods under Todd Richards. (AP)
Dishonorable mention: The Red Wings scored five seconds after Cory Schneider was wrongly whistled for playing the puck outside the trapezoid ... Chicago's three-game losing streak is their first since Feb. 2012 ... The Ducks had a clear goal in overtime waived off for goaltender interference. Replays showed Duncan Keith checked Saku Koivu into Antti Raanta ... Does J.S. Giguere have a case for goaltender interference here on Lee Stempniak?
Fri Dec 06 11:28pm EST
Sure, the New Jersey Devils managed only 11 shots on Jonas Gustavsson during their 3-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings, but it was a one-goal game for the first 58:57, so things were considered tight.
As the Devils were trying to tie the game and force overtime late in the third period, netminder Cory Schneider was called for delay of game, after officials deemed he played the puck outside of the trapezoid. But did he?
Tomas Tatar scoring five whole seconds after that call and just as Chico Resch is saying there should be a make-up call coming? Brutal.
So about that penalty, here's Rule 27.8 from the NHL rulebook:
A goalkeeper shall not play the puck outside of the designated area behind the net. This area shall be defined by lines that begin six feet (6’) from either goal post and extend diagonally to points twenty-eight feet (28’) apart at the end boards. Should the goalkeeper play the puck outside of the designated area behind the goal line, a minor penalty for delay of game shall be imposed. The determining factor shall be the position of the puck. The minor penalty will not be assessed when a goalkeeper plays the puck while maintaining skate contact with his goal crease.
As you heard Resch tell you emphatically, it was a bad call.
Said Schneider afterward: "You use your intuition, your feeling. You sort of know when it's not the trapezoid and when it is. I'm not a huge puck player, as you know, but I've never been called for that before. Usually, I've seen, probably been closer than that. I don't know. Maybe he thought the follow through was when I was playing it or what... We all saw it on that side and thought it was clearly in the trapezoid."
Devils head coach Peter DeBoer was frustrated with the call, saying, "Points are too important. Guys battle too hard for that to happen."
When asked if he thought that type of call should be reviewable, DeBoer laid it out plain a and simple.
"I'm not looking to solve it, just get it right."
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Fri Dec 06 08:42pm EST
Jonas Gustavsson has found a comfortable home with the Detroit Red Wings. After three seasons in Toronto, "The Monster" has been backing up Jimmy Howard and with a 7-0-1 / 2.15 / .929% split this year, doing his job by pushing the Red Wings' No. 1 netminder.
If he keeps making saves like he did on Friday against the New Jersey Devils, Mike Babcock's confidence in him will continue to grow:
There must be something with the Devils as this wasn't the first time a netminder robbed them of a goal with a behind-the-back glove save. Marc-Andre Fleury pulled it off in October:
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Fri Dec 06 07:00pm EST
Here is the Puck Daddy Viewing Guide: Spotlighting five things to watch for during tonight's slate of games. Make sure to stop back here for the nightly Three Stars when the games are finished.
Create-a-Caption: "Kevin Bieksa of the Vancouver Canucks is handed a stick by team mascot Fin at BC Place..."
• • •
Preview: Detroit Red Wings at New Jersey Devils, 7 p.m. ET
Preview: San Jose Sharks at Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m. ET
Preview: Minnesota Wild at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. ET
Preview: Anaheim Ducks at Chicago Blackhawks, 8 p.m. ET
Preview: Colorado Avalanche at Calgary Flames, 9 p.m. ET
Preview: Phoenix Coyotes at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m. ET
• • •
Five things to know about tonight's NHL games ...
1. No Brunner versus former mates. Damien Brunner spent last season with the Red Wings before signing with the Devils over the summer. Struggling this year in New Jersey, Brunner will be a healthy scratch Friday night, with head coach Peter DeBoer saying he needs to do "a little more."
2. Flames trying to go streaking. A win tonight over the Avalanche would mean the first three-game win streak for the Flames since last April.
3. Stan Bowman waiting and seeing on salary cap RE: Toews, Kane extensions. From ESPN Chicago: "Because there’s a new television deal, I’m not going to assume it’s going to be $80 million. I don’t operate that way. If you base your assumptions on predictions and you’re wrong, I can’t say, ‘They said it was going to be $80 million.’ I’m going to wait to see where it goes. I think it’s safe to say it’s going to go up. It’s think it’s a little bit irresponsible to say where it’s going to be unless you have intricate knowledge of the cap.”
4. Help Dale Weise. Poor Dale Weise can't find his helmet, as this trailer for NBCSN's "NHL Revealed" shows. Also, upset Torts!
5. Edler sidlined. Alex Edler's out with a knee injury. It's the first injury any Canuck defenseman has suffered all season. Andrew Alberts will draw in for Edler.
Bold Prediction: Sharks rebound and Logan Couture leads the way with two goals.
Fri Dec 06 05:22pm EST
It's entirely possible that the 8-2 rout the Colorado Avalanche suffered at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers Thursday night was an aberration.
Even Taylor Hall admitted as much.
“I haven’t been in this league long," Hall said after the game, "but I’ve been in it enough to know that anything can happen on any night against any team. You have to be ready for the opportunity. You just have to come out and play your game. Sometimes you’re going to get eight and some nights you’re going to get zero."
He's right. When it comes to the events of any given night, the NHL can be about as wacky as a road rally featuring Dick Dastardly, the Gruesome Twosome and Penelope Pitstop. Thursday might just have been one of those nights for the Avalanche.
If that's the case, they'll live. But on the other hand, it was the sort of loss -- as any loss to the Oilers should be -- that makes one wonder if there aren't more of those nights on the horizon.
The Avalanche were the big surprise of the season's first month, stunning the pundits that didn't expect much by, well, accomplishing much. They won 10 of 11 games in October.
They seemed like the real deal. After all, the sudden turnaround seemed explainable: they had a new coach. Plus, let's be honest, they were winning a lot, and that's a bewildering, disorienting sight for anyone that's been following this team for the past few years. When you're not sure what's going on, sometimes it's best to just go with it.
But now, just as some have begun to anoint Colorado as the real deal, the team has begun to cool. They're 5-5 in their last 10, with a couple 4-1 losses, a 7-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues, and this rout at the hands of the Oilers, in which they surrendered two goals more than they allowed in their first six games of the 2013-14 campaign, not to mention half of their goals against total for the entire month of October.
Which Avalanche team is the real one? The team that stormed out of the gate, or the team we're seeing now?
Fri Dec 06 03:55pm EST
Jersey Fouls is our ongoing exploration of the rules and etiquette for proper hockey jersey creation and exhibition. If you spot what you think may be a foul in your arena, email a photo to us at email@example.com for inclusion in future installment.
And/or "Sidrio," we guess.
Seriously, why? Why combine the eras, why combine the legends? And why isn’t there a dude next to him wearing a "Jagklin" sweater.
We’re not sure when Crosmieux was drafted, but we’ll go ahead and assume it was ether fixed and/or someone threw their season.
Frankly, we’re happy this jersey exists, if only because we want to believes there’s a Sears portrait photo of Mario and Sid wearing matching Crosmieux jerseys that hangs somewhere outside Crosby’s basement room in Lemieux Manor.
Fri Dec 06 02:59pm EST
Here are your Puck Headlines: a glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.
• All 48 players who attended the U.S. Men's National Olympic Team Orientation Camp have signed this jersey, which is up for auction on eBay, with all proceeds going to the Warriors ice hockey program for wounded service members and veterans. [eBay]
• John Buccigross takes a strange approach to defending the role of fighting in the NHL: it's not about policing the players. It's about love. [ESPN]
• The NHL meets North Korea: it's going to happen. [Macleans]
• Dustin Byfuglien tries to chop down Jimmy Hayes on a breakaway. This is the most obvious slash I think I've ever seen. [Panther Parkway]
• John-Michael Liles is called up by the Toronto Maple Leafs. [Toronto Star]
• Who will swear the most on HBO's 24/7? Todd Bertuzzi is a safe bet. [The Hockey Writers]
• Alex Ovechkin, ultimate shill: "Gillette razor and I have the same goal – we want to be the best in the world. I like its steely character. It is just like mine." [RMNB]
• A brief history of NHL coaches behaving badly. [Grantland]
• When is Sam Gagner going to get it? [MC79 Hockey]
• Ryane Clowe talks about his concussion, which he says is just his second, and not his fourth or fifth. [The Star-Ledger]
Fri Dec 06 02:07pm EST
The idea that Garth Snow would fire head coach Jack Capuano seems a bit outrageous at this point in the season, because it would require the New York Islanders general manager to make a proactive, season-saving move and Snow seems incapable of doing that.
When Snow made the Matt Moulson for Thomas Vanek trade – a deal that looks redundant and shortsighted just over a month later – the Islanders were 4-4-3 and second in the Metroterrible Dvision. Since then, they’ve gone 4-12-2, they sit at the bottom of the division and there’s talk Capuano could be spiked in favor of Peter Laviolette, who himself was fired by the Philadelphia Flyers at the start of the season.
But before we get to a potential new coach, let’s discuss the current general manager.
I like Snow. I think he’s made the most of a terrible situation, with a losing team playing in an asbestos-filled tomb with an owner whose ring tone is likely carnival music. He retained his core players in an attempt at stability, and made the playoffs for the first time in ages last season. Talk to agents, and they’ll tell you he’s a straight shooter they like to work with.
Yes, it’s great that Jonas Hiller or Ryan Miller might be on the trade radar now. Hey, maybe he’ll eventually demand that the lineup get a shot of adrenaline from young players – Brock Nelson in the NHL, Ryan Strome in the AHL – that haven’t gotten a fair shot from Capuano. Maybe this team rallies when Evgeni Nabokov and Lubo Visnovsky come back.
But his inaction during this 2-11-2 skid may have torpedoed the season. The Islanders are 12 points out of the final wild card spot, and nine points behind the Rangers for the final seed in the Metro.
Would Laviolette make a difference? Absolutely, if not in a rescue attempt for this season. I’ve always viewed Capuano as the coach that gets a team to a certain place, and then someone more accomplished – say, Laviolette has a ring – takes over to bring the team to the next level.
So Chris Botta’s right: Bring him back before someone else hires him.
He’s learned a lot since the Islanders gave him his first head coaching gig, and he’ll have a GM that isn’t bat [excrement] crazy like Mike Milbury to fire him two years later.
When Milbury fired him, he said "the lack of having fun was noted.”
Well, the lack of fun this season for the Islanders is duly noted. And it’s time to bring Lavvy back to turn things around.
Fri Dec 06 01:25pm EST
It's a (gettin' down on) Friday edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski beginning at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, and we're talking about the following and more: unappealing
Special Guest Star: Louis Jean of TVA joins us to talk about the Montreal Canadiens and other matters; Sean Leahy of Puck Daddy brings his whimsy; and GAME SHOW FRIDAY!
• The World Cup spectacle, in hockey terms.
• Bras on the ice.
• State of the Islanders.
• NHL news and notes.
Click here for the Sportsnet live stream or click the play button above! Click here to download podcasts from the show each day. Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or Feedburner.
Fri Dec 06 12:51pm EST
Mike Keenan is to goaltenders as Seinfeld's Mr. Pitt is to socks. The former long-time NHL bench boss is spending his days coaching in the KHL with Metallurg Magnitogorsk, who sit fourth in the East Division.
And while Keenan may be in new surroundings, he's still the same old "Iron" Mike.
During Metallurg's 5-4 overtime win over Ugra on Thursday, Keenan reminded us all about his history of impatience with goaltenders. With his team down 2-0 14 minutes into the opening period, he pulled starter Vasily Koshechkin in favor of Alexander Pechursky.
Well, that didn't quite work out as 3:16 later, Ugra went up 3-0 and Keenan decided to go back to Koshechki.
Metallurg would fall behind 4-0 before rallying for the win. Koshechkin would stay in the game.
In September, speaking with our own Dmitry Chesnokov, Keenan made it sound as if his Captain Hook days were a thing of the past:
“Probably not. The goaltending is different here. It is different from North America, because of the distance. Even talking to Pavel Bure he said I would make a good play here, but it is still too far to score. In North America you can make a play, shoot and score, because it is close. There is a difference in terms of the goaltending skill. Wasn’t Koshechkin voted an MVP last season? Another reason you won’t pull your goalie as much here is because there are 28 less games here. That’s a lot! 54 game schedule versus 82 – that’s a big difference. Sometimes you take a goalie out to give them some rest. But you don’t have to here because, for example, we don’t play a back to back game an entire season. That’s very, very different than the NHL.”
Never change, Iron Mike. Never change.
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