No. 1 Star: Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche
Duchene was in on every goal in the Avalanche's 4-3 shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets. He scored twice, assisted on another, and scored the shootout winner. Love this goal, where he steals a puck in the defensive zone, then rushes down the other way and scores.
He should be on Team Canada.
No. 2 Star: Rob Klinkhammer, Phoenix Coyotes
Klinkhammer had a three-point night for the Coyotes in their 6-3 victory over the New York Islanders, with 2 goals and an assist. What a pickup this guy was.
No. 3 Star: Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks
Pavelski scored twice as the Sharks ended their four-game losing streak, beating the Minnesota Wild, 3-1.
Honorable mention: Inspiring by lover of truculence Brian Burke taking over in Calgary, Brian McGrattan scored his first of the season as the Calgary Flames topped the Carolina Hurricanes, 2-1. Chris Butler scored the OT winner with 3 seconds left:
Alex Steen scored his 22nd of there season in the St. Louis Blues' 6-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs… Marty St. Louis scored the shootout winner at the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Detroit Red Wings, 2-1… Craig Anderson made 40 saves in the Ottawa Senators' 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres… The Nashville Predators scored twice in 28 seconds to beat the Dallas Stars, 3-1.
… Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek had two-point nights in the Philadelphia Flyers' 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens… The Columbus Blue Jackets topped the New York Rangers, 4-2, but this one wasn't as close as the score suggested. The Jackets led 3-0 midway through the first… Jarome Iginla scored twice as the Boston Bruins held on for a 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers.
Did you know? The Minnesota Wild's road record is now 5-8-3, the worst in the Western Conference.
Dishonorable mention: The New York Rangers are a mess. Henrik Lundqvist was pulled after 3 goals in 11 minutes in the loss to the Jackets…
Brian Burke had an eventful day. Firing Calgary Flames general manager Jay Feaster and assistant GM John Weisbrod. Naming himself interim general manger. Giving his kids a chance to joke about his mad scientist hair on Twitter.
Here are five things we learned from Burkie today about his job and the direction of the Flames.
1. His Opening Press Conference Was a Sham
Burke said his assignment from ownership, when he was hired, was to take 60 days and evaluate how the current management group had done.
“When I took the job, I told [Ken King] that you can’t evaluate an organization from the outside,” said Burke, in speaking about his decision to fire Feaster. His evaluation included an assessment of Feaster’s transaction history, which Burke felt should have yielded a better bounty.
This is completely not what Burke was selling when he was hired, which was that he and Feaster would be a management team together:
"This is a relatively new structure in professional hockey. There are two teams in the NHL that have this type of management structure. There are a number of teams in the National Football League that do, a number of teams in Major League Baseball that do, and a number of teams in the NBA that do. And it works effectively. And it's going to work here. This is new for both of us, but I'm determined to make it work and I think it will work.” – Brian Burke, Sept. 7, 2013, on working with “demoted” GM Jay Feaster
We'll assume he just forgot the rest: “I’m determined to make it work, and by that I mean the handle on the exit door near Jay’s office …”
2. Successful Teams Are Big
As Burke said, “The teams that are successful in our league … one thing they have in common is they’re big.”
So is that true? Mirtle had the weight of NHL teams as of Jan. 2013:
1. San Jose (210.7)
2. Los Angeles (209.7)
3. Washington (208)
4. Winnipeg (207.3)
5. Ottawa (206.8)
6. Tampa Bay (206.2)
7. New York Rangers (206.1)
8. Colorado Avalanche (205.9)
9. St. Louis Blues (205.8)
10. Nashville Predators (205.4)
Well, we’re got some playoff teams, at least one conference finalist and one defending Stanley Cup champion in that mix from the 2013 season. Along with four non-playoff teams in the top 10.
What about the Cup finalists?
20. Chicago Blackhawks (203.0)
26. Boston Bruins (200.0)
By no means does this disprove Burke’s assertion, mind you. It’s merely a snapshot. In 2012, the No. 3 and the No. 5 weightiest teams played for the Cup.
3. Burke Doesn’t Like Flag Football
In case you were wondering if the Calgary Flames would one day resemble the Anaheim Ducks and the Toronto Maple Leafs in their truculence, pugnacity and all those other charming Burke buzzwords for “toughness," they will.
Said Burke on Thursday: “We need to play black and blue hockey. I want a little more hostility than I’m seeing out there right now.”
Said Burke in 2008 about the Leafs: "We require, as a team, proper levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence. That's how our teams play," Our teams play a North American game. We're throwbacks. It's black-and-blue hockey. It's going to be more physical hockey here than people are used to."
They could have just cued up the YouTube video and hit play.
4. Burke’s Guy Might Also Be Buffalo’s Guy
Burke said that the timing of this was due to the internal schedule that was set between him and ownership. But Burke also indicated that there being another team searching for a GM – the Buffalo Sabres – influenced the timing.
So does that mean Jim Benning of the Boston Bruins? Does that mean Claude Loiselle, a Burke guy from his Leafs days?
One thought on the Flames getting permission to speak with Joe Nieuwendyk: Burke said he wanted to dispel any notion that he was going to keep the GM job. Was this public – leaked to Darren Dreger – request for permission just a way to end that talk, or is Nieuwendyk potentially his guy?
5. Finally, Combs Are For Idiots
That is a magnificent coif, sir.
Predators vs. Stars Recap: Legwand Power!
It's quite simple really. It's not because of any potential new "rivalry", or any particular play, or whether or not they really won the Cup in '99, or because Rich Clune hates them.
Last week's home stand didn't turn out so well, but can the Preds turn things around at Bridgestone Arena tonight?
I had a work function to attend last night so I missed the game, but I guess Carter Hutton looked pretty good, right? Combine that with a pretty decent 3rd period against Carolina last week, and he's strung together a couple of quality performances.
It was Pluggers Delight at Madison Square Garden as Nashville's depth forwards accounted for all the goals in a 4-1 Predators victory over the New York Rangers.
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