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[1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => [2] => 2 ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] 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) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( 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5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => [2] => 2 ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => [2] => 2 ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => [2] => 3 ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) 10 Copyright (c) 2014 Yahoo!, Inc. All rights reserved. en-us 126 15 https://ca.sports.yahoo.com Yahoo Sports https://s.yimg.com/rz/d/yahoo_sports_en-US_s_f_p_182x21_sports.gif Puck Daddy - NHL - Yahoo Canada Sports Latest Puck Daddy - NHL from Yahoo Canada Sports https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy?player=nhl.p.3091 Thu, 13 Mar 2014 03:49:53 PDT NHL Three Stars: Backlund powers Flames over Ducks; Burrows finally scores https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-backlund-powers-flames-over-ducks-104953873--nhl.html No. 1 Star: Mikael Backlund, Calgary Flames

With two goals and an assist, Backlund and Flames routed the Anaheim Ducks 7-2. The Flames built up a 5-0 lead by early in the second period on a shorthanded marker by Backlund, the team's league-leading 11th of the season. Backlund now has four shorties on the season, tying him for the NHL lead with Tyler Johnson and Brad Marchand.

No. 2 Star: Alex Burrows, Vancouver Canucks

In 35 games this season, Burrows had not scored a goal. In one night, he scored two. The Canucks downed the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 after a shootout as Burrows helped with a pair of goals. Chris Higgins netted the only goal in the shootout as Vancouver bounced back from a 7-4 drubbing Monday night against the Islanders. Eddie Lack made 32 saves.

No. 3 Star: Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins

A three-goal first period helped the Bruins snap a five-game losing streak to the Montreal Canadiens during their 4-1 win. Patrice Bergeron had a goal and an assist, while Brad Marchand recorded two helpers. The win was Rask's third in 15 career starts against the Habs.

Honorable mention: Henrik Sedin played 24:02 in his 1,000th NHL game ... Two points from Ryan O'Reilly and Matt Duchene, along with 37 saves by Semyon Varlamov helped the Colorado Avalanche beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2. Colorado has won four of five in their season series with Chicago. Varlamov became the fourth Russian-born goaltender to reach the 100 win mark ... Corban Knight scored his first NHL goal for the Flames ... Patrick Kane scored an absolutely beauty for the Blackhawks:

Did You Know? David Booth saw it all coming:

Dishonorable mention: Anaheim's power play is 2-for-35 in their last 11 games ... Ryan Kesler injured his leg in a knee-on-knee collision with Jim Slater. He did not return to the game and will travel back to Vancouver for further evaluation:

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Thu, 13 Mar 2014 03:49:53 PDT Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,dccc26d2-a725-3a2f-9772-94a7d88ce866-l:1
Puck Daddy Viewing Guide: Caps, Pens meet again; Stewart likely done for season https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/puck-daddy-viewing-guide-caps-pens-meet-again-223731235--nhl.html 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: "Evgeni Nabokov #20 of the New York Islanders scrambles to make a save with Chris Higgins #20 of the Vancouver Canucks on his doorstep."

Preview: Nashville Predators at Buffalo Sabres, 7 p.m. ET

Preview: New Jersey Devils at Philadelphia Flyers, 7 p.m. ET

Preview: New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m. ET

Preview: Detroit Red Wings at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. ET

Preview: Phoenix Coyotes at Florida Panthers, 7:30 p.m. ET

Preview: Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7:30 p.m. ET

Preview: Dallas Stars at St. Louis Blues, 8 p.m. ET

Preview: Edmonton Oilers at Minnesota Wild, 8 p.m. ET

Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs at San Jose Sharks, 10:30 p.m. ET

• • • • •

Five things to know about tonight's NHL games ...

1) Sabres likely without Stewart for rest of season. Almost two weeks after acquiring him, the Sabres will say goodbye to Chris Stewart until next season. After colliding with Anders Lindback last week, Stewart will likely miss the next 4-5 weeks, according to head coach Ted Nolan.

2) Jagr wants to come back to New Jersey. As he possibly faces being a UFA again this summer, Jaromir Jagr stated that he likes it with the Devils and he wants to return next season.

3) That Capitals blueline: not good. Is it time for a change in Washington? Calle Johansson's methods just aren't paying off. More and more shots are getting through on net and not being prevented.

4) Chiasson staying behind for Stars. As the Stars travel to St. Louis for tonight's game, they'll do so without Alex Chiasson. The forward was reportedly too shaken up to travel with the team.

5) Still no timetable for Harding return. Josh Harding hit the ice in Minnesota today for the first time since January after being sidelined while he deals with the effects of his multiple sclerosis.

Bold prediction: The Stars get a much-needed win over the Blues 4-3 in overtime. Put us down for Ray Whitney with the winner.

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Tue, 11 Mar 2014 15:37:31 PDT Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,f86d6502-b20f-3ea8-903a-fe8a1af164af-l:1
NHL Three Stars: Quick blanks Sharks; Perron tricks Canucks https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-quick-blanks-sharks-perron-tricks-070740956--nhl.html No. 1 Star: Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings

Bouncing back from the Dodger Stadium loss, Quick pitched a 23-shot shutout of the San Jose Sharks as Anze Kopitar’s goal stood up in the 1-0 win. That included 14 shots in the third for the Sharks.

No. 2 Star: David Perron, Edmonton Oilers

He didn’t have the game-winner, as that went to Jesse Joensuu, but Perron had the Oilers’ other three goals in their 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Perron’s empty netter was Goal No. 22 on the season. His hat trick came on three shots.

No. 3 Star: Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes

Staal led a third-period Carolina rally with two goals in a minute, and then Jordan Staal scored the game-winner 1:47 seconds later as the Canes stunned the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2.

Honorable mention: Jordan Schroeder had two goals in his return to the Canucks’ lineup. … Brad Marchand had a goal and three assists in the Boston Bruins’ 6-3 rout of the New York Islanders. … Chris Kunitz scored goal No. 26 and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 24 Buffalo Sabres’ shots in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 3-0 victory. … Colorado had goals from four different players, including Alex Tanguay’s game-winner, as the Avs topped the Dallas Stars, 4-3. Semyon Varlamov had 41 saves. Tyler Seguin scored twice for the Stars.

Did You Know? Seguin has four goals and four assists against Colorado this season

Dishonorable mention: Chris Higgins and Alex Edler were a minus-3. … Kevin Poulin was pulled after giving up six goals on 36 shots in 48:06. … Casey Cizikas was a minus-4, while Matt Martin and Colin McDonald were minus-3.

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Mon, 27 Jan 2014 23:07:40 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,18cafe80-e0a4-32c7-9de6-6783b6bb0401-l:1
NHL Three Stars: Trouba wins for Jets; St. Louis, Pavelski dominate https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-trouba-wins-jets-st-louis-064306467--nhl.html

No. 1 Star: Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets

The Winnipeg rookie scored a shorthanded goal and the overtime game-winner in the Jets’ 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Blake Wheeler did the heavy lifting, but Trouba’s power move to the net resulted in the winning tally.

No. 2 Star: Marty St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning

It was in a losing effort, but it wasn’t a loss on St. Louis. The Bolts star scored all four of the Lightning’s goals in a 5-4 loss to the San Jose Sharks.

No. 3 Star: Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks

Not to be outdone, Pavelski scored his own natural hat trick in the second period, including the game-winning goal, as the Sharks beat the Bolts, 5-4.

Honorable mention: Nate Prosser scored the game-winner in OT as the Minnesota Wild topped the Dallas Stars, 3-2. Erik Haula scored his first NHL goal. … Ryan Getzlaf scored his career-best-tying 25th goal and added an assist in the Anaheim Ducks’ 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. … Ryan Johansen scored the only goal of the shootout in the Columbus Blue Jackets’ 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Tyler Myers had two goals.

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… The Philadelphia Flyers rallied with three third-period goals to top the New York Islanders, 6-4. Andrej Meszaros had two goals. … Alex Semin scored two goals in the Carolina Hurricanes’ 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers. … Tomas Tatar had the game-winner and Jimmy Howard had 30 saves in the Detroit Red Wings’ 3-2 win over the LA Kings. … James van Riemsdyk and Joffrey Lupul had third-period goals to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 5-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens. … Mike Smith had 33 saves and Martin Hanzal had a goal and an assist in the Phoenix Coyotes’ 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils, Dave Tippett’s 450th career win. … Nick Holden had two goals and an assist in the Colorado Avalanche’s 5-4 win over the Nashville Predators. … Chris Higgins ended a 5-round shootout to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames … The New York Rangers scored four straight goals as Derek Stepan had a goal and two assists, beating the Ottawa Senators, 4-1.

Did You Know? Dennis Wideman played 38:05, an NHL high this season.

Dishonorable mention: Radko Gudas and Alex Killorn were a minus-3 for Tampa. … John Tavares and Matt Donovan were a minus-3 for the Islanders. … On the day he signed his new contract, Steve Mason was pulled after giving up four goals. … Detroit tied the game with an illegal goal that went in off the netting. … Lars Eller was a minus-3. … Seth Jones and Mattias Ekholm were a minus-3. … The Calgary Flames started the game looking for a line brawl; John Tortorella went looking for the Flames in their locker room.

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Sat, 18 Jan 2014 22:43:06 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,eb9cffb9-b42d-3f1c-bfae-6fb5609d7a86-l:1
NHL Three Stars: Perry Ruins Lack’s Birthday, Geno Returns https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-perry-ruins-lack-birthday-geno-062100428--nhl.html

No. 1 Star: Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks

Corey Perry was on a seven game goal-less streak going into the game against the Canucks. After Nick Bonino tied it up with 1:30 to go, eventually sending the game to overtime. Perry ended his drought on the power play with less than a second remaining in OT. With the 4-3 (OT) win, the Ducks improve to 17-0-2 at Honda Center.
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No. 2 Star: Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

Welcome back to the lineup, Geno! (Kris Letang returned, too.) After missing nine games with an injury to his left leg, Malkin scored two goals and an assist against the Winnipeg Jets in his return. Geno's second goal tied the game at 5-5. Matt Niskanen scored the 6-5 game winner for Pittsburgh.

With help from Jussi Jokinen, Malkin reinforces the decision to leave Dustin Byfuglien off of Team USA with his first goal:
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No. 3 Star: Eddie Lack, Vancouver Canucks

His 26th birthday might be one he wants to forget because of how it ended. The rookie goalie wasn't expected to start tonight; however, Roberto Luongo was injured in Saturday night's loss to the Kings. He was so injured he didn't dress and the Canucks had to sign a local goalie to back up Lack.

After registering only five shots-on-goal in the first, the Ducks fired a total of 44 shots in the second, third and overtime period at Lack. He was able to stop 40 of 44 but didn't get the win because of this evening's first star.

Honorable Mention: James Neal had a three point night with an assist and two goals he scored 24 seconds apart ... Best kept secret Jussi Jokinen had another multi-point game for Pittsburgh; the Penguins acquired him from Carolina for some magic beans (2013 conditional pick) last year ... Evander Kane had a three point night in a losing effort but he should feel proud of making Brooks Orpik and Rob Scuderi look silly:
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Daniel and Henrik Sedin had three points each in the loss ... Canucks power play was 2-for-3 ... All Ducks skaters registered a shot-on-goal except for Bryan Allen and Teemu Selanne ... Jonas Hiller is riding a personal 11 game win streak for Anaheim ... Alexander Semin scored the first goal for the Hurricanes in their 2-1 victory over Nashville and it was fantastic. Not heard on the clip from the telecast, "All you need is a little bit of space for [Alexander] Semin"...
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Jeff Skinner assisted on the Semin goal and scored the game winner for Carolina. The latter came after he took a puck to the face in the second and returned for the third ... San Jose backup Alex Stalock earned the 3-2 shoot-out win over Chicago; my apologies to those of you who were hoping for the Battle of the Antiis (Raanta vs. Niemi) ... Hey! The Oilers won! ... 11 different players registered a point against Tampa Bay ... Jordan Eberle, Ryan Smyth, Sam Gagne and Taylor Hall earned two points each.

Did You Know: Sidney Crosby was awarded a penalty shot against the Jets and he missed. Sid is a career 0-for-4 in penalty shots. So maybe he isn't Hockey Jesus after all... (I can make that joke, I was born in Pittsburgh.)

Dishonorable Mention: Dustin Byfuglien = minus-3 against one of the league's best teams, still think he's a snub? ... Ducks power play isn't good. Kevin Bieksa (for Don Cherry: Kevin Biexska) took a bad hooking penalty in overtime leading to the PP game winner ... In addition to Luongo, Chris Higgins was scratched with an illness and Zach Kassian left the game after a scary kick to the face by his own man. Luckily the skate blade missed and only the boot made contact ... Eric Staal was out of the lineup against Nashville with a lower-body injury he sustained the previous night against the Islanders ... The Oilers' 5-3 win over Tampa Bay should come with an asterisk. Lightning goalie Ben Bishop left the game after 4:18 in the first period, replaced by Anders Lindback. He was shown at the bench having his blocker hand looked at; the Lightning announced his 'upper-body injury' will be evaluated in Winnipeg on Monday.

Follow Jen Neale on Twitter @MsJenNeale_PD

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Sun, 05 Jan 2014 22:21:00 PST Jen Neale nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,dc63ed59-b78f-319d-bea4-02ff337e69f9-l:1
Fantasy Hockey: Why Eric Staal is a stud, Dion Phaneuf is a dud https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/fantasy-hockey-why-eric-staal-stud-dion-phaneuf-170118319--nhl.html Dobber checks in every Thursday to force-feed you the latest fantasy hockey trends. The founder of DobberHockey.com and a columnist for The Hockey News website, he long ago immersed himself into this rollercoaster world and is unable to escape.

Cody Franson isn't exactly following up on the promise that he showed last season. Currently, he's on pace for 37 points and he has four points in 10 games over the last three weeks. But those in fantasy leagues that count hits are actually doing well by him. His 119 hits sit him fourth in the league behind the usual names you see there - Dustin Brown, Matt Martin and Chris Neil. And drilling down to the last three weeks, Franson sits third in the league.

Here is a look at the top hitters over the last three weeks, courtesy of Frozen Pool.

Of note, Cal Clutterbuck is quickly climbing the chart, giving the Islanders two of the best hitters in the game. Los Angeles rearguard Jake Muzzin sits 68th in the league in hits - but has really stepped it up lately. And one other interesting find is Florida rookie Jimmy Hayes, acquired in the Kris Versteeg deal, has been throwing his 6-5 frame around a lot - 28 times in 10 games, to be exact.

Studs...

These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...

Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals (4-2-8-10, minus-1, 2 PIM, 10 SOG, and 6 PPPts) - With Alex Ovechkin back to his old self, that means Backstrom can be, too. Maybe he's an 80-point player when Ovy's a mere mortal, but he's a 100-point guy when Ovy's Ovy.

Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes (16-6-13-19, plus-1, 14 PIM, 38 SOG) - Staal is good for 70 to 80 points, year in and year out. And that almost always breaks down to 10 points in his first 20 games and then 65 points in his last 60.

Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers (19-7-12-19, plus-6, 10 PIM, 65 SOG) - Fantasy owners are still calling this a lost season for Giroux and many question if he's the superstar we thought he was. But hidden inside the ugly year-to-date stats is the fact that he's been a point-per-game player for 19 games now. It took him 15 games to score his first goal of the season, but once he got the monkey off his back he's been back to his old self.

Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks (5-0-1, 1.78 GAA, 0.939 SV%) - Hiller is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer, so I'm surprised the Ducks haven't played the Frederik Andersen card more. You know, pump up the player who will still be with the organization for the foreseeable future and get him ready for a bigger workload next season, rather than help the pending UFA beef up his value. But that's how it is and Hiller's numbers are getting better with every game.

Duds

Somebody wake these guys up – their fantasy owners are counting on them...

Brian Campbell, Florida Panthers (7-0-0-0, even, 0 PIM, 11 SOG) - Three of those seven games saw Campbell on the ice for at least 31 minutes. That's amazing, considering he could have been in the press box and given us similar fantasy numbers.

Dion Phaneuf, Toronto Maple Leafs (4-0-0-0, minus-4, 2 PIM, 7 SOG) - I'm not saying that these numbers are the result of HBO bringing the cameras around and filming Phaneuf and his wife Elisha Cuthbert doing day-to-day tasks, but this slump really did begin the moment the cameras arrived. So yes, I'm saying that.

Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings (5-1-1-2, minus-1, 0 PIM, 10 SOG) - I'm not saying that these numbers are the result of HBO bringing the cameras around and filming Phaneuf Datsyuk and his wife teammate Elisha Cuthbert Daniel Alfredsson doing day-to-day tasks, but this slump really did begin the moment the cameras arrived. So yes, I'm saying that.

Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks (9-1-1-2, even, 2 PIM, 27 SOG) - The right winger is shooting the puck as much as always, but he's not getting the points. Maybe he should try another position?

The Wire...

Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...

Jarret Stoll, Los Angeles Kings (8-2-5-7, plus-4, 8 PIM, 13 SOG) – Stoll has his ups and downs, but in the end he is a 40-point player with modest stats across the board. When he's hot though, he contributes in points, plus/minus, hits and shots.

Connor Murphy, Phoenix Coyotes (3-0-3-3, plus-2, 0 PIM, 4 SOG) – The rookie Murphy is stuck behind the likes of Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, but he's already climbed past David Rundblad and maybe even Michael Stone on the depth chart. It's his first pro season and the Coyotes were not prepared to have him log many NHL minutes. But he's not leaving them much of a choice, he's playing so well.

Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers (4-1-3-4, plus-4, 2 PIM, 4 SOG) – Although his shots on goal - or lack thereof - leave something to be desired, the young rookie has the size, strength and talent to control the game. And these little hot streaks will grow longer as he matures.

David Booth, Vancouver Canucks (3-2-1-3, plus-3, 2 PIM, 10 SOG) – Here's a name that I never thought I'd see here again. A different player since his concussion, Booth nonetheless still has a fan in Coach John Tortorella. And as such he'll get the ice time he needs to succeed. A little disheartening is the fact that he's playing with Zack Kassian and Brad Richardson as opposed to the Sedins or perhaps Ryan Kesler.

Peter Holland, Toronto Maple Leafs (6-3-3-6, plus-1, 4 PIM, 11 SOG) – With Toronto sustaining a lot of losses injuries, the 22-year-old Holland is seeing plenty of ice time, not to mention skilled linemates. Often playing with Joffrey Lupul and Mason Raymond, Holland should continue to produce until either Tyler Bozak returns or the Leafs acquire another center or Randy Carlyle is fired.

Chris Higgins, Vancouver Canucks (6-3-4-7, plus-6, 0 PIM, 9 SOG) – Overall, Higgins' point total is about where it should be at this time of the season, so I wouldn't expect this hot run to last more than another few games. A short-term wire grab.

Dwight King, Los Angeles Kings (3-2-2-4, plus-4, 0 PIM, 6 SOG) – King is seeing first-line ice time and playing with guys named Kopitar and Carter. And while he doesn’t exactly have a scoring-line skill set, he's showing that he can hold his own there in spurts and can help out your team for the short term.

Heating Up?

Here's where I'll fire off a few names of players who may be at the very beginning of a nice little run. Just a gut feeling, but worth looking into and/or taking a chance on:

Mats Zuccarello, NY Rangers; Carl Hagelin, NY Rangers; Damien Brunner, New Jersey; Reid Boucher, New Jersey; Valtteri Filppula, Tampa Bay; Jakob Silfverberg, Anaheim; Mark Streit, Philadelphia; Eric Fehr, Washington; Charlie Coyle, Minnesota.

For more fantasy hockey tips, take a gander at DobberHockey. And while you’re at it, follow Dobber’s fantasy hockey musings on Twitter.

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Thu, 19 Dec 2013 09:01:18 PST Dobber Hockey nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,72f87f57-0bc0-3117-b9ea-0ae709a09451-l:1
NHL Three Stars: Luongo, Fleury shine; Shanaban coming for Gudbranson? https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-luongo-fleury-shine-shanaban-coming-073757840--nhl.html No. 1 Star: Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

Lu’s defense did the job in front of him, and the Canucks goalie pitched a shutout against the Edmonton Oilers, 4-0, making 19 saves. He made the saves when they mattered. As Ryan Kesler said: “They had some opportunities, a couple breakaways, Lu stood on his head.”

No. 2 Star: Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins goalie made 37 saves, including 13 in the third period, to preserve a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils.

No. 3 Star: Tomas Kopecky, Florida Panthers

The Panthers forward scored the game-winner in the shootout, in the 10th round, as Florida defeated the Washington Capitals, 3-2. Kopecky also assisted on Dylan Olsen’s goal earlier in the game. Here’s the shootout, for those who’d like to witness it:

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Honorable mention: Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and an assist for the Capitals. … Daniel Sedin, Zack Kassian, Chris Higgins and Dale Weise had the goals for Vancouver. … Pascal Dupuis, Chris Connor and Jayson Menga scored in the first for the Penguins; goals by Patrik Elias and Dainus Zubrus rallied the Devils.

Did You Know? The Capitals had a goal disallowed in the opening minute when it was ruled Martin Erat nudged Clemmensen out of the goal and interference was called. (AP)

Dishonorable mention: Eric Gelinas was a minus-2 for the Devils. … Adam Henrique was given a third-period penalty for playing with a broken stick. … Zack Kassian may have mocked the guy whose jaw he broke with this stick. … Finally, might we see a Shanaban on Erik Gudbranson for a head-shot on Eric Fehr, which earned him a match penalty? Check out the enforcement from Troy Brouwer in the aftermath:

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Fri, 13 Dec 2013 23:37:57 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,00da3a50-0c61-3c94-9251-a0b83d6188eb-l:1
NHL Three Stars: McElhinney blanks Wild; Higgins’ OT goal saves Canucks https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-mcelhinney-blanks-wild-higgins-ot-055840384--nhl.html

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?

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Fri, 06 Dec 2013 21:58:40 PST Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,895dfbc5-9e0b-3abf-a1d8-37287287f2ec-l:1
NHL Three Stars: Peters, Quick pitch shutouts; Peverley’s OT heroics https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-peters-quick-pitch-shutouts-peverley-065541839--nhl.html No. 1 Star: Justin Peters, Carolina Hurricanes

Justin Peters made 21 saves and made Radek Dvorak’s first-period goal stand up as the Hurricanes defeated the Islanders, 1-0. It was his third career shutout.

No. 2 Star: Rich Peverley, Dallas Stars

Peverley’s goal at 4:41 of overtime gave the Stars a 4-3 victory in Detroit, as his snap shot from high in the zone flew past Jimmy Howard, thanks in part to a Valeri Nichushkin screen.

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No. 3 Star: Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings

Quick pitched a shutout in his 300th NHL game, leading the Kings to a 2-0 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Mike Richards and Anze Kopitar had the power-play goals.

Honorable mention: The Vancouver Canucks got goals from four different players, none named Sedin or Kesler, and defeated the San Jose Sharks, 4-2. Chris Higgins scored his sixth. Roberto Luongo made 22 saves. … Reilly Smith had a goal and an assist and Tuukka Rask made 23 saves in the Boston Bruins’ 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers. … Bobby Ryan scored his ninth of the season and added two assists in the Ottawa Senators’ 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Mark Borowiecki scored his first NHL goal. … Nicklas Backstrom scored the lone goal of the shootout, Alex Ovechkin scored his 13th and Braden Holtby made 33 saves in the Washington Capitals’ 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. … Carl Hagelin scored twice and Cam Talbot made 32 saves in the New York Rangers’ 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. … Martin Brodeur made 22 saves for the 122nd shutout of his career, as the New Jersey Devils blanked the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-0. He has 12 against the Flyers, more than he’s had against any team. Cam Janssen scored his first of the season after being called up from the AHL. ... Steven Stamkos scored twice, giving him 13 on the season, as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Edmonton Oilers, 4-2. … The St. Louis Blue scored the first three goals, the Calgary Flames the next two in the third period, but the Blues hung on for a 3-2 win. Alex Steen scored goal No. 14.

Did You Know? Pavel Datsyuk is made of magic:

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Dishonorable mention: Tyler Myers had two minors and a fighting major for Buffalo. … Tomas Fleischmann and Dmitry Kulikov were both a minus-3. … Jesse Winchester wasn’t penalized for this elbow to Chris Kelly, but one assumes the NHL will hand one out. … Brendan Gallagher took four minor penalties. … Francis Bouillon was a minus-3. … … Andrej Meszaros was a minus-3. … The Canucks chased Antti Niemi. ... Claude Giroux caused a stir by leaving before meeting the Philly media after the game. … Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was a minus-3. … Finally, this was not one of Nail Yakupov’s shining moments:

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Thu, 07 Nov 2013 22:55:41 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,3357ad44-95ca-303b-92a2-e6ffb3345843-l:1
Watch and marvel at James Reimer’s incredible toe save on Alex Burrows (Video) https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/watch-marvel-james-reimer-incredible-toe-save-alex-014846588--nhl.html

The Toronto Maple leafs didn't exactly start strong versus the Vancouver Canucks Saturday night, surrendering 11 shots on goal before they tested Roberto Luongo even once.

Fortunately, while the skaters in front of him didn't have the start they wanted, James Reimer did. He was electric in the early stretches, making a flurry of incredible saves, the most impressive of which was undoubtedly the toe save that robbed Alex Burrows of a sure goal. This is an incredible stop right here:

After stopping Chris Higgins, Reimer somehow gets across to rob Burrows, getting his toe on a shot that's going dead-center into the open net.

I love Burrows looking back as he slides into the boards, like "How the heck did that stay out?"

The reverse angle of that save on Burrows is remarkable. Not only can you see how close that was to crossing the line -- the officials even reviewed it to make sure it didn't -- but you can see Reimer's full extension. His leg is literally the only part of his body that's in the crease on that stop.

The Canucks lead 3-0 at the time of this writing, but that's only because Reimer has kept it close with incredible displays like this one.

- - - - - - -

Harrison Mooney is the assistant editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Sat, 02 Nov 2013 18:48:46 PDT Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,48879714-18a4-30d8-bbaa-d0b549ba1646-l:1
NHL Three Stars: Getzlaf leads Ducks to seventh straight win; Hutton, McElhinney impress https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-getzlaf-leads-ducks-seventh-straight-034510383--nhl.html Jamie Benn and Francois Beauchemin get friendly.

No. 1 Star: Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

The Ducks captain enjoyed a big night during their 6-3 victory over the Dallas Stars. The Stars opened up a 3-1 lead in the first period before the Ducks scored five unanswered goals. Scoring once and assisting on three others, Getzlaf helped Anaheim to their seventh straight win. Corey Perry scored twice, both assisted by Getzlaf, and finished with a three-point night.

No. 2 Star: Carter Hutton, Nashville Predators

With Pekka Rinne enjoying a Sunday night off, Hutton made his first start for the Predators and backstopped them to a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. The victory was Hutton's first in the NHL and he impressed making 38 saves. Eric Nystrom, Patric Hornqvist and Matt Cullen all scored first period goals to for the Predators.

No. 3 Star: Curtis McElhinney, Columbus Blue Jackets

Giving Sergei Bobrovsky a rest McElhinney was stellar, making 37 stops as the Blue Jackets beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 for their first win at Nationwide Arena this season. He was kept busy all night, especially the third period where he made 16 saves, including this one on the doorstop to deny Chris Higgins:

Honorable mention: R.J. Umberger and Ryan Johansen each had a goal and an assist for Columbus in the third period. Umberger put home the winner on a nifty little play:

Mike Santorelli won 12 of 15 draws for the Canucks ... Nashville has a five-game point streak ... After entering the game 1-for-23 on the power play, the Ducks cashed in on two of their five man advantage opportunities.

Did you Know? Teemu Selanne is first NHL player 43 years or older to score in three consecutive games since Gordie Howe did so at age 51 in 1979. (Ducks)

Dishonorable mention: Jonas Hiller lasted one period, allowing three goals on 12 shots, before being pulled ... Should Ryan Garbutt of the Stars receive any punishment for this head on Dustin Penner? Is it a head shot or does Garbutt make first contact with Penner's chest/jaw and their heads collide?

Penner was alert and walking on his own after the game as he underwent further evaluation.

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Sun, 20 Oct 2013 20:45:10 PDT Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,0f8d6c0b-57d1-31bb-8219-5c6bea2a0e5d-l:1
Vancouver Canucks, 2013-14 (Puck Daddy Gold Medal Preview) https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/vancouver-canucks-2013-14-puck-daddy-gold-medal-134856540--nhl.html (Ed. Note: It’s an Olympic year in the NHL. So, naturally, we decided to use the trappings of the Winter Games to preview all 30 teams for the 2013-14 NHL season. Who takes the gold? Who falls on their triple-axel? Read on and find out!)

After two consecutive Presidents' Trophies, the Vancouver Canucks took a step back in the abbreviated 2013 campaign. That was to be expected. It's tough to win hockey's greatest trophy one time, let alone twice in a row. They were bound to come down from on high.

Less expected, however, was the step back the Canucks took in the playoffs. Eliminated by the LA Kings in just five games the postseason prior, a worse performance seemed unlikely. But then they managed to do it, losing four straight to the San Jose Sharks.

The sweep, Vancouver's first in over a decade, necessitated changes, the most notable of which was the end of the Alain Vigneault era after seven years behind the Vancouver bench. It was only just as well. The media had been after him all year, and when you're at odds with the media in Vancouver, you're going to have a tough time of it. So naturally, Vigneault was replaced with John Tortorella.

Can he squeeze a turnaround out of a team that appears to be shrinking out of the NHL's elite?

A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

With the assist on this Alex Burrows goal, Henrik Sedin took sole possession of the franchise scoring lead in Vancouver.

I want to say that the goaltending saga in Vancouver came to a merciful end this offseason, but it really didn't -- it just saw a brand new chapter. After attempting to move Roberto Luongo and his cumbersome contract for over a year, the Canucks gave up, instead flipping Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils for the 9th overall pick on draft day. Suffice it to say, most were surprised, Roberto Luongo especially.

After going the entire summer without saying much of anything, which is never a good sign, Luongo reported to camp and seems poised to have a good year, but one gets the sense he's playing less for the Orca and more out of spite for the teams that wouldn't accept his request for asylum.

With the pick they acquired, the Canucks drafted centre Bo Horvat, and he'll be on the opening night roster, so take that, people who said they didn't get immediate help.

Departing the club are Mason Raymond, the speedy winger who played six seasons for the club and put up 25 goals back in 2009-10, and centres Derek Roy and Maxim Lapierre, both of whom were allowed to walk and did so, holding hands, all the way to St. Louis.

Clearly feeling the exiting forwards were far from irreplaceable, Mike Gillis spent the summer digging through the bargains bins, looking for pivots. He turned up Brad Richardson, whom the Canucks signed to a two-year contract that will pay him $1.15 million per year, and Mike Santorelli, who will make just $550,000 this season.

The biggest acquisition on the blueline: Yannick Weber, the no name brand of Webers.

Forward: Daniel and Henrik Sedin continue to be the offensive engines of this team -- the twin engines, if you will -- but at 33 years old, and after a year in which both players dipped just below their usual output, there are questions about whether they're on the downturn of their careers. More questions: can they continue to produce under John Tortorella, who will expect more out of them defensively? Playing defence takes time and energy, and that's time and energy Alain Vigneault preferred the twins spent in the offensive zone. It led to Art Ross seasons for each. Can they get back to that level of production when they'll also be expected to get back into the defensive zone with more frequency and urgency?

The Sedins' linemate is up in the air. It's been Alex Burrows for the past four seasons, and he remains an option, but John Tortorella will give Zack Kassian every opportunity to win that role. Kassian might be able to provide a little toughness on that top line, which will help the Sedins immensely.

Another thing that will help them is a healthy Ryan Kesler, who wasn't rehabbing a surgically-repaired body part for the first time in two years. With Kesler healthy and taking attention away from the Sedins, the entire club operates better. If he can avoid injury and probable running mates David Booth and Alex Burrows can do the same, the Canucks will have two lines, something they didn't have that last year.

Neither did they have a third line centre, a hole that Brad Richardson will have the first crack at filling. Wingers Jannik Hansen and Chris Higgins could flank him.

Defense: The Canucks boast a deep blueline, with four defenders -- Kevin Bieksa, Alex Edler, Jason Garrison, and Dan Hamhuis -- that might be the best of the bunch on any given night. Ideally, their top defender is Alex Edler, who can skate, hit, defend, pass and shoot the puck at elite levels, but struggles to do all of those things at the same time and with any consistency. If John Tortorella can coax some consistency out of Edler, the Canucks might have one of the best bluelines in the West.

The biggest issue will be finding Edler a complementary partner. Bieksa, the lone right-sider in that quartet, simply doesn't work there, meaning either Edler is going to have to play his off-side (which history has shown doesn't work), Garrison or Hamhuis will, or Chris Tanev, the 5th defenceman on the depth chart, will be playing a top-four role. He's looked good there, but if he holds down the job, it raises questions for other pairings.

Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa work well together, but if they play together, does Jason Garrison -- he of the Canucks' most lethal weapon, his aggressive, powerful slapshot -- play on the third pairing with Yannick Weber or Andrew Alberts? Who does?

Goalies: Roberto Luongo is back, and not because he wants to be, but because his contract is nigh impossible to move. Fortunately for him, Cory Schneider is gone, and happy-go-lucky backup Eddie Lack isn't quite the same kind of threat to Luongo's throne. With the starter's job back, a chip on his shoulder, and the Olympics coming up and Luongo hoping to retain the job with which he closed the 2010 Games, he should be highly motivated to refind his game and re-establish himself as one of the league's top netminders.

Mike Gillis had a great first few years as GM, but he's hit a wall with this team. None of his moves are working out and the club is stagnating. Is this just a run of bad luck or has has time in Vancouver run out? This year will likely determine that.

Among his big offseason decision was who the new coach would be, and he chose the much-maligned John Tortorella, chased out of New York for meanness. He might be the right fit in Vancouver, who could use a shakeup after seven years of Alain Vigneault's casual approach. But he might also be a terror that alienates his players and struggles to get the team to buy-in. Should be fun to watch.

Is it too self-aggrandizing to pick your own song here? Big Old Goal, man.

The Sedins. They're one of hockey's finest treats to watch, provided you're not cheering for the other team.

Roberto Luongo. There is nothing in the NHL more entertaining than the saga this poor guy is enduring, except for maybe his Twitter account.


John Tortorella vs. the Vancouver media. Sure, he's playing nice right now, but just you wait until the Canucks hit a losing streak.

The death of the Northwest Division. There was a time when the Northwest Division was hockey's toughest, but that time was long ago. For the past several years, it's been a cakewalk for the Canucks. Unfortunately, it's no more, and the new Pacific Division has some tough teams. Are the Canucks built to handle a truly competitive division?

The new division is going to give Vancouver some trouble, but they remain a deep, talented team in goal, up front, and on the back-end. Barring a collapse, perhaps because John Tortorella's system simply isn't a good fit, this group should be in the playoffs.

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Sat, 28 Sep 2013 06:48:56 PDT Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,7c47e750-a189-3ab6-ac47-f10ae79010d7-l:1
Who are your NHL team’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? (Western Conference) https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-team-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-western-conference-180924718--nhl.html Let’s just get it out of the way: Jonathan Toews is a Leonardo.

There’s really no discussion on this. He’s a leader. He’s confident and calm. He’s the one who manages his hot-headed partner. We’re also convinced he’s handy with Katana blades.

On Tuesday, we presented you with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle proxies for the NHL’s Eastern Conference. Now it’s time for the Western Conference.

To reset the personality types:

Leonardo (blue mask): The measured, valiant leader of the group. Strong and fearless.

Donatello (purple mask): The scientist who prefers to use intellect rather than his bo staff to solve conflicts. A bit shy.

Michelangelo (orange mask): The pizza-gobbling free spirit of the group whose “Cowabunga” launched a million T-shirts.

Raphael (red mask): The temperamental bad boy of the group. And he speaks with a New York accent!

We asked the Puck Daddy readership to check in with their choices for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles proxies for all 30 NHL teams. Here are the Western Conference choices for hockey heroes on a half shell.

Chicago Blackhawks

Leonardo: Jonathan Towes because he's the leader.

Donatello: Patrick Sharp because he's undervalued.

Michelangelo: Patrick Kane because he's silly and a showboat.

Raphael: Marian Hossa because he's smart and has a long stick

- Paul Vogl

Leonardo: The leader/captain Jonathan Toews.

Donatello: The inventor, and quiet genius, Marian Hossa.

Michaelangelo: The party animal… Patrick Kane.

Raphael: The no-nonsense, dude with the 'tude Ray Emery.

For Fun:

Casey Jones: Michael Hanzdus-Former ally, left for awhile to pursue other things, now is currently back with the team to fight for another Cup

April: Any Ice-Girl

Shredder: Alain Vigneault

- Justin Dal Corobbo

Columbus Blue Jackets

Leonardo: Vinny Prospal - He's old and has been the de facto captain ever since Nash requested a trade.

Donatello: Sergei Bobrovsky - Had to mention him somewhere. He's a smart goaltender who makes saves based a lot on positional play as opposed to Hasek-like acrobatics

Michelangelo: Artem Anisimov - He's struck me as a bit of a fun lover ever since last year's 24/7 and always seems very lighthearted and has some of the best cellys in the league.

Raphael: Jared Boll - Would've been Dorsett prior to the trade deadline, but Jared Boll can be a bit of a hothead and is never afraid of a fight, even against guys twice his size.

- Mark Fairholm

Leonardo: Vinny Prospal. Measured, valiant leader? Check. Superb pointer finger? Check. Strong and fearless at age 38? Check.

Donatello: Marian Gaborik. Mad scientist with his stick. Does not engage physically, unless necessary. Unspoken best player of the group.

Michelangelo: Jack Johnson. Really...who can't see this guy as the unspoken heart and soul of just having fun and kicking ass?

Raphael: Jared Boll. Few tough guys in the NHL willingly fight him anymore. Especially after an off-season of working with MMA coaches.

Extra: Splinter... Jarmo. The new trade ninja. Dude knows what he is doing.

- Kevin Saarie

Detroit Red Wings

Leonardo: Leo is the leader so we have to go with Henrik Zetterberg although with the constant hair on his face he may be a master splinter nominee as well.

Donatello: The easiest of the four is Pavel Datsyuk as Donatello, the scientist and inventor

Michaelangelo: Michelangelo laid back surfer dude purely on looks would be Valteri Filpula.

Raphael: Raphael is the bad boy of the group. This is probably a toss up between Todd Bertuzzi and Jordin Tootoo but Tootoo gets the edge due to the fact he is actually playing. Bertuzzi as Shredder?

- Chris Breuker

Leonardo: Henrik Zetterberg. He's a natural leader, calm and collected.

Donatello: Pavel Datsyuk. He's a genius, possibly the smartest hockey player out there.

Michaelangelo: Dan Cleary. He's a bit of a goof sometimes but can come through in the clutch.

Raphael: Todd Bertuzzi. He's tough and sometimes a bit surly but he's loyal to his teammates.

Nashville Predators

Leonardo - David Legwand: old, experienced, fearless; the most veteran leader

Donatello - Colin Wilson: quiet and disciplined; talented; thinks his way around

Michelangelo - Paul Gaustad: easy-going; comic relief; at his best when it matters most

Raphael - Rich Clune: the team's bad boy; aggressive and quick to throw-down; sarcastic; loyal

- Tyler Pennington

St. Louis Blues

Leonardo: David Backes (Captain America, enough said).

Donatello: Jaden Schwartz (Least violent, hockey smarts off the charts, much like how Donatello uses his knowledge to solve conflicts).

Michelangelo: Kevin Shattenkirk (too easy).

Raphael: Vladimir Sobotka (under-appreaciated, but very gritty and aggressive).

- Patrick Spinner

Leonardo: David Backes, leader

Donatello: Alex Pietrangelo, brains

Michelangelo: TJ Oshie, jokester

Raphael: David Perron, headcase

April O'Neal: Roman Polak

Splinter: Coach Ken Hitchcock

Shredder: Barret Jackman

Footclan: everybody else

- Joe Miller


Calgary Flames

Leonardo; This is a title that would have been given to a certain #12 until a month ago, but now it falls to a reluctant Michael Cammalleri. Standing at what can generously be described as "5-9", Cammalleri still shows the tenacious and fearless leadership reminiscent of the leader of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That is until he gets pulled off the bench mid-game in January 2014 to abandon the sinking ship of the Calgary Flames, when he will get traded to the Dallas Stars to help them to a 9th place finish in the Western Conference.

Donatello: Just as this turtle possesses the unique skill of technical aptitude, Miikka Kiprusoff possesses the unique skill of being the only one in the locker room who can do the splits while a cigarette hangs out of his mouth. His ability to make James Reimer feel as if he is about to lose his job with only the use of a cell phone call to Dave Nonis rivals Donatello's knowledge of high-tech machinery.

Raphael: Often described as "aggressive" and "emotional", much like the Flames' resident enforcer Tim Jackman. Just as Raphael can use his anger and crazed nature to somehow slay enemies in combat, Tim Jackman is well known for using his "grit" and "sandpaper" to somehow earn Power-play time on Brent Sutter-coached teams.

Michelangelo: Seen as the younger, fun-loving member of the squad- much like Mikael Backlund. On a team that does not contain many entertaining players on Twitter, his relatively active Twitter account provides the same change-of-pace that Michelangelo's comic relief does. Michelangelo is known for coining such popular phrases as "Cowabunga!". Mikael Backlund is known for coining such popular phrases as "Whaddaya mean Brian McGrattan is one of my wingers?!"

Bonus: The role of Splinter is laid upon the portly leader of the Flames organization, Mr. Jay Feaster. Splinter is, of course, a rat. Feaster has been the metaphorical rat picking away at the corpse of fleeting Flames success from 2004, attempting to capitalize on any little bit of meat left on the bones from the last time this team won a playoff round. Oh, and speaking of meat... Jay Feaster fat joke.

- Scott Denoon


Colorado Avalanche

Leonardo: Matt Duchene - The true leader of the group, proficient in all forms of "combat", takes the serious approach.

Donatello: Ryan O'Reilly - Groomed by his father Brian O'Reilly, Ryan prefers to use his knowledge to solve conflicts (and contract disputes).

Michelangelo: Gabriel Landeskog - Young Captain with an easy-going personality and positive outlook.

Raphael: Steve Downie - The team's bad boy, he has an aggressive nature and seldom hesitates to throw the first punch.

Splinter: Jean-Sebastian Giguere - The rat of the bunch, also an adoptive father teaching his children the ways of the hockey player. No Vegas.

- Jonathan Cable

Edmonton Oilers

Leonardo: Shawn Horcoff. Wisdom of an old-pro, leads the way and gets the others to follow.

Donatello: Jordan Eberle. He just thinks and thinks, makes something out of nothing, and is good with his hands.

Raphael: Taylor Hall. Comes across as an a-hole, but is just doing what he’s doing because he wants to help the team. If you cross him, he will hurt you.

Michelangelo: Nail Yakupov. Young, spunky, zest for the game. Seems like a party dude too!

Honorable Mention:

The foot clan – Made up of dozens of Eric Belangers. Can only do one thing, and no matter how many of them you have, it will do no good. Just absolutely terrible and make no contributions whatsoever, you’d think you’d be better off without them anywhere, and you’d be right.

- Jake DesRoches

Leonardo: Taylor Hall, the natural leader.

Donatello: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, he's the quiet one, his hockey IQ is rivaled only by Donatello's Bo Staff IQ.

Michelangelo: Jordan Eberle, he's easy going and everyone's favourite.

Raphael: Nail Yakupov, he's somewhat mysterious and prone to emotional extreme.

- Matt Sletto

Minnesota Wild

Leonardo: Zach Parise

Donatello: Miikko Koivu

Michelangelo: Cal Clutterbuck

Raphael: Zenon Konopka

- Justin Day

Leonardo: Zach Parise - Could have the 'C' on his sweater and definitely is the most well spoken on the team. Great leader, doesn't have the mean streak of Koivu.

Donatello: Jared Spurgeon - Only reason this guy is in the league is because what is between those two ears.

Michelangelo: Neck and neck between Cal Clutterbuck and Zenon Kenopka. Kenopka is almost too smart, but he is a goofball. I'd go with Clutterbuck, I mean take a gander at that mustache.

Raphael: Mikko Koivu - ask Michael Russo about his Surliness

- Chris Sigurdson

Vancouver Canucks

Leonardo: Henrik Sedin, leader of the pack, need I say more?

Donatello: Gonna go out on a limb and say Chris Higgins or Dan Hamhuis. They both step on the ice and are methodical with their work on offense or defense and just get the job done.

Michelangelo: Ryan Kesler for the Kesler bombs or Kevin Bieksa for fooling that reporter into thinking he was Kesler

Raphael: Max Lapierre, I think this is a no-brainer, the instigator/hot head.

- Tom Le

Leonardo: Unlike the Turtles, the Canucks aren’t led by Leonardo. They’re led by twin Donatellos. That said, the Sedins are basically inimitable aliens. I think most of us would agree that Ryan Kesler is the team’s spiritual leader, the one who leads by example. So let’s call him Leonardo.

Donatello: A player that prefers the cerebral over the physical? You just described a Sedin, my friend. I’m going to cheat and say that both Daniel and Henrik are Donatello, since they’re effectively the same person, as Daniel’s 905th NHL game demonstrated for us on Monday.

Michelangelo: Onto the wild child, and this one’s a toss-up. On one hand, Zack Kassian is beginning to get a bit of a reputation for his partying ways, and he’s certainly a free spirit. He’s weird as all Hell. But I think I’ll give this to Bieksa, who’s the quippiest interview and the most likely to spawn a catchphrase. Not to mention I think anybody who watches his game knows that he’s a bit unpredictable. We’ll give him the nod, although I suspect this is the one that will cause the most debate.

Raphael: And finally, Raphael. Now, Alex Burrows isn’t really a “bad boy”, per se. But he’s far and away the most likely to get in trouble. He’s the most antagonistic guy on the Canucks, and the one that always seems to be in the thick of things. Plus did someone say “accent”? Because Burrows’ accent is so thick, he could spread it on toast.

- Harrison Mooney


Anaheim Ducks

Leonardo: Teemu Selanne (obviously)

Donatello: Jonas Hiller

Michelangelo: Ryan Getzlaf

Raphael: Corey Perry

Bonus:

Splinter: Scotty Nieds

Krang: Boudreau

Casey Jones: Bobby Ryan

- Jen Neale

Dallas Stars

Leonardo: Stephane Robidas as Leonardo, the "leader"

Donatello: Loui Eriksson as Donatello, the genius!

Michelangelo: Vern Fiddler as Michelangelo, the "free-spirit" (see: The Bieksa)

Raphael: Antoine Roussel as Raphael, the bad boy

- Jen

Los Angeles Kings

Leonardo: Dustin Brown is Leonardo because he's the absolute leader that nobody can absolutely love. His constant tendency to seem divey and/or fall down reminds me of Leonardo's super-obnoxious need to teach me a lesson EVERY FIVE MINUTES... but still, he's the leader.

Donatello: Jeff Carter would be Donatello because he's got the pinpoint wrister accuracy that only a semi-geek would have because he practiced. Plus he looks kinda Canadienerdish.

Michelangelo: Dustin Penner is Michelangelo because he's got to be the Michelangelo of the Western Conference, if not the whole league. Most likely to say, "Cowabunga, Dude!" Plus, his bank shot empty net goal from last year shows his uncanny knack for party puck skills. Also, his twitter feed. Done.

Raphael: Jonathan Quick would be Raphael because the dude gets NUTS when he doesn't play well or has something go against him. Plus, he's too brash for his own good chasing pucks/pizza the way he does.

Bonus:

Anze Kopitar as Splinter. Veteran, been there forever, speaks with an accent.

Drew Doughty as Casey Jones. Sometimes he's there taking big swings with his stick... other times he's absolutely nowhere to be found.

- Joseph Isaac

Leonardo: Jeff Carter

Donatello: Anze Kopitar

Michelangelo: Dustin Penner

Raphael: Dustin Brown

Casey Jones: Jonathan Quick

- Paul Gofberg

San Jose Sharks

Leonardo: Leo is a brave, highly skilled leader who has the least personality of any of the turtles. Boringly does the right thing every time. That's Marleau, the Sharks former captain is extremely good at what he does, but as soon as he opens his mouth you fall asleep.

Donatello: The scientist of the group, often relying on gadgets? Well, look no further than Brent Burns and his robot sex pants.

Michelangelo: The goofy oddball of the group. I think that title goes to Couture. His random love of Bieber and other random crap from pop culture combined with that goofy smile cements his spot.

Raphael: Highly skilled loner with a temper. Now that the obvious and certifiably psychotic Ryane Clowe has moved on, that leaves Dan Boyle. Boyle has the most skill on the team and the temper to match. Often even tries to win games all on his own

- David McGuire

Phoenix Coyotes

Leonardo: Shane Doan, duh. More applicable when you think about the love/hate relationship Leo has.

Donatello: Oliver Ekman Larsson. Seems to be the smartest of our crew and is pretty good with a stick.

Michelangelo: Biznasty. Partier. Best when he is delivering one liners. Constantly has to justify why he is part of the team.

Raphael: Mike Smith. Cool but rude. Likes to stray from home and get blindsided from unsuspecting hordes of Foot soldiers.

- Shaun Guhy

Leonardo: Shane Doan. (duh) Doesn't really need any explanation

Donatello: Mikkel Boedker: He's smart. He's polite. He writes the blogs. So what if he can't find Phoenix on the weather map...

Michelangelo: Biz *IS* Michelangelo. 'nuff said.

Raphael: This has to be Mike Smith. Temperamental? Check. Attitude? Check. And if you poke him HE WILL TAKE YOUR STICK AND FREAKING BREAK IT IN FRONT OF YOU.

- Rachael

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Wed, 24 Apr 2013 11:09:24 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,bb6ed6a9-643b-3b9a-b190-793e29551463-l:1
Hockey Hugs: Kiss Huggins strikes again; Brendan Shana-hug; Jay Nosehill https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/hockey-hugs-kiss-huggins-strikes-again-brendan-shana-211002177--nhl.html Hockey Hugs is a feature that celebrates the best in hugging from around the sport of hockey, because who doesn't love a good hug now and then? Have you seen a particularly good hug photo lately? Send it to puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or tweet it to @HarrisonMooney.

Welcome once again to hockey hugs, the Puck Daddy feature where everyone takes the body.

The trade deadline has come and gone, and it's yielded some potential new hugging combinations, such as Jaromir Jagr alongside Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin. Look at them. Marchand is loving it. One hand around Jagr, the other on Seguin's backside. He's the envy of every woman in Boston.

While some teams are getting used to their new combinations and preparing to be hugging in the postseason, however, other teams are getting ready to hug for the last time. Soon, they'll be clutching wedges and irons instead of one another, wondering what could have been different.

But one team that won't is the Toronto Maple Leafs, who will have to do their best to remember what it's like to hug in the postseason. Do you hug harder? Do you hug for longer? Do you grab your nearest teammate and meow like a cat?

Here's Mike Kostka and John Michael-Liles trying that last idea out.

Coming up: more of the best hugs from the last two weeks, because we totally need them right now.

No. 5, Edmonton Oilers

Nail Yakupov and his Oilers teammates celebrate a goal, all the while trying to avoid eye contact with the insane woman trying to eat through the glass behind them.

"Magnus! MAGNUSSSS! MAAAAAAAGNUSSSSSSSSSSS!"

"Don't look at her, Magnus. That's what she wants. Look away."

No. 4, Vancouver Canucks

Derek Roy discovers why Chris Higgins is known as "Kiss Huggins".

"Whoa. You are... incredibly close."

"I know, right?"

No. 3, North American Hockey Legends

Bill Guerin hugs Brendan "Shanahug" Shanahan after scoring a goal during the Global Hockey Legends for Sandy Relief exhibition game on April 13.

"Woooooo! Hey, why are you holding me down?"

"Skates on the ice, Billy. We're role models now."

No. 2, Team USA

Speaking of keeping your skates on the ice, here's Gigi Marvin and Kendall Coyne of the U.S. women's team celebrating a Brianna Decker goal at the Women's Hockey Worlds.

This is a suspendable hug, in my opinion. Look at that elevation.

No. 1, Philadelphia Flyers

Jay Rosehill is really into this contact here.

"Hey Adam. Let's Eskimo kiss."

"No."

"Oh, come on. Just rub your nose against mine."

"No."

"Here comes Jay Nosehill! Better get your nose ready. This is happening."

"Seriously, no. Here, how about I pat your head?"

"Aw, shucks. You really care about me, bro. Bring it in for some nose-love."

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Thu, 18 Apr 2013 14:10:02 PDT Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,5f4a8986-1b52-369a-8c55-e239dc4d1130-l:1
Marc Staal endorses visors; Kovalchuk nears return; Bryzgalov on beaches (Puck Headlines) https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/marc-staal-endorses-visors-kovalchuk-nears-return-bryzgalov-200052048--nhl.html 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.

• Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) poses for a photo after being presented with a hockey stick and uniform of an Industrial Men's Hockey League of Portland, Maine, team, that's in Japan for fund-raising games to provide help to earthquake and tsunami victims.

• New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal is now in favor of grandfathering in visors. “It was the first thing that went through my mind when I hit the ice,” Staal said Tuesday in his first public statements since the injury. “I should have been wearing a visor. But hindsight is 20/20.” Which, incidentally, is better than his current vision. [Globe & Mail]

• Ilya Kovalchuk returned to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday after being out with a shoulder injury, but there’s no timetable for him being back on the ice. Said Coach Pete DeBoer: “We’re not going to put his safety in jeopardy, but we’re not going to wait until he’s 100 percent to get him back in,” DeBoer said. “That’s not realistic.” [Fire & Ice]

• Dustin Penner on men’s field hockey being an Olympic sport: “It’s for girls.” [LA Kings Insider]

• Ilya Bryzgalov on Jones Beach: “You can call it whatever you want, but it’s not a beach,” Bryzgalov said. “A beach is somewhere in the Caribbean, somewhere in Florida where it’s warm and you can swim. Here is dark water.” [Courier Post]

• Are people underestimating the Vancouver Canucks. Said Henrik Sedin: "In this city are we ever going to be underdogs? I don’t think so.” [NHL.com]

• Uh-oh: Chris Higgins “hopefully” back for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, say the Canucks. [@Hosea24hours]

• Lane MacDermid, acquired by the Dallas Stars in the Jaromir Jagr trade, is coughing up blood. Good times. [Dallas Stars Blog]

• Jussi Jokinen on his return to Raleigh as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins: “The first couple shifts will be weird, but after those shifts, I will be able to settle in. Hopefully it's just another hockey game." [NHL.com]

• Interesting piece on the Jason Pominville trade with the Minnesota Wild, and GM Chuck Fletcher’s process: “Whatever the proper description, [owner Craig] Leipold’s insatiable thirst for winning has compelled the Wild owner to execute some bold transactions, regardless of cost. His latest shrewd move happened last week when the Wild agreed to give up two prospects, a first-round draft pick and a second-round pick to acquire Buffalo captain Jason Pominville at the trade deadline.” [Star Tribune]

• Blow for the Detroit Red Wings: Darren Helm is expected to miss the rest of the season. [Malik]

• Should Washington Capitals fans care is the Southeast Division sucks? [Japers]

• Tim Whitehead is no longer Maine’s head coach. [CHN]

• Ryan Malone is back for the Tampa Bay Lightning. [Lightning Strikes]

• Bourne on the “creation of luck” and the PDO stat. [Backhand Shelf]

• Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney announced today that the Coyotes have assigned defenseman David Rundblad to the Portland Pirates, the Coyotes American Hockey League affiliate (AHL). [Yotes]

• St. Louis Blues Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced Tuesday the club has recalled forward Dmitrij Jaskin (dih-MEE-tree YEAH-skihn) from the Blues’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen. [Blues]

• Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has recalled forward Daniel Bang (DAN-yehl BAWNG) from Milwaukee (AHL) under emergency conditions. The Kista, Sweden native is expected to make his NHL debut tonight against St. Louis, and wear No. 50. [Preds]

• Finally, someone found a way to make Tie Domi even creepier, which is no small feat (with Gary Roberts head).

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Tue, 09 Apr 2013 13:00:52 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,464c02b4-6278-3162-8d79-c509fc5b5f4d-l:1
Chris Higgins re-signs with Canucks for four years, $10 million https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/chris-higgins-signs-canucks-four-years-10-million-193212233--nhl.html

Chris Higgins signing his extension, via the Canucks' Instagram.

It's been a busy Tuesday afternoon for the Vancouver Canucks. Only a few hours after acquiring Derek Roy from the Dallas Stars, the club has announced an extension for winger Chris Higgins.

The owner of Vancouver's most famous abs has re-signed with the club for $10 million over the next four years. It's a cap hit of $2.5 million. It's a raise of just over half a million for Higgins, who is in the second and final year of a deal that was paying him $1.9 million annually.

While he hasn't exactly been putting up contract year numbers with just 14 points in 34 games, this is a good signing for Vancouver.

[Also: Report: Jaromir Jagr dealt to Bruins; Can he help topple Penguins?]

With both Higgins and Mason Raymond slated to become unrestricted free agents, the Canucks were going to need a top-six winger come summer, and paying for one on the open market could have cost them upwards of $4M. With the cap coming down and the Canucks already up against it, retaining the versatile Higgins on the cheap is just shrewd asset management.

In exchange for a manageable deal, however, the Canucks did have to sacrifice some wiggle room. Four years is a lot, and Higgins also apparently gets a modified no-trade. Provided he continues to produce, this deal will keep looking good. But if Higgins slows down and the deal begins to look like a bad one, the Canucks really have no way to get out from under it.

As mentioned, this likely spells the end of Mason Raymond in Vancouver.

The Raymond and Higgins scenario seems somewhat similar to the summer of 2011, when the Canucks were attempting to re-sign both Christian Ehrhoff and Kevin Bieksa. They offered both players the same below market-value deal. Bieksa took it. Ehrhoff took off.

If the club did the same for Raymond and Higgins, they were wise to complete that process in advance of Wednesday at noon, when they still had the option of getting something for Raymond instead of watching him leave in a few months for nothing. Might the Canucks consider moving Raymond before the deadline?

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Tue, 02 Apr 2013 12:32:12 PDT Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,5f0c19a1-1616-3030-bbd0-528c227b831e-l:1
David Booth out up to six weeks, as Canucks face lineup panic https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/david-booth-six-weeks-canucks-face-lineup-panic-213715696--nhl.html Adversity, Vancouver Canucks be thy name.

Coach Alain Vigneault revealed on Tuesday that forward David Booth is out four to six weeks with a strained groin, which was confirmed by an MRI. Combine that with Ryan Kesler being out of the lineup to start the season, and the Canucks’ second line has exploded days before opening night.

Said Vigneault today, via the Canucks:

"I believe we are capable of putting four strong lines on the ice. It's what we're going to do.”

Mason Raymond, a.k.a. the Opposite of Name-Dropping, is the only healthy body from the Canucks’ second line last season, and doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

Kesler’s replacement was expected to be either Andrew Ebbett or Jordan Schroeder until the Selke contender is recovered from two offseason surgeries. As for Booth’s spot, it could come down to Jannik Hansen, Chris Higgins or Zack Kassian.

In other words, the Canucks’ first line just received more slack to pick up.

From the Sun:

The prospect of starting the season with a makeshift second line will only add to the pressure on Henrik and Daniel Sedin and linemate Alex Burrows to shoulder the bulk of the offensive load. "It has always been like that," Henrik said Monday. "That's nothing new for us. We are here to score goals and if we don't we usually lose games. That's not going to change this year, so that's where we are."

In an 82-game season, a month without Booth and Kesler could be overcome. In a 48-game sprint to the playoffs, a month without a second line could hinder a fast start for Vancouver – and every team in the West needs one if they’re going to contend.

(Might this hasten a Roberto Luongo trade? The Canucks were seeking an NHL top sixer and a top prospect, reportedly.)

As for Booth, there’s been talk that his offseason of hunting and outdoorsman activities could have contributed to the injury. There have also been accusations in the past that he over-trains in the offseason, leaving his body more susceptible to injury.

We suppose the Canucks should be happy it was just a groin injury, and not Booth getting mauled by a narwhal or something … as unintentionally hilarious as that may have been.

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Tue, 15 Jan 2013 13:37:15 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,b1db9dfc-b5f6-340a-8c46-cee7c85ffb82-l:1
NHL 2012-13 Campaign Preview: Vancouver Canucks https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-2012-13-campaign-preview-vancouver-canucks-193615155--nhl.html

Yes, indeed, despite the promise of impending labor Armageddon and a prolonged work-stoppage, your friends at Puck Daddy are previewing the 2012-13 NHL season (whenever the heck it starts). Why? Because this is the most important election in the history of all-time ever, and you need to know the candidates — like the Vancouver Canucks.

It's a testament to the skill of the Canucks that you can say a season in which they won the Presidents' Trophy was also a season of underachievement, but it was.

Fresh off an appearance in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, expectations were sky-high in Vancouver, and despite the team winning the regular-season, these expectations went severely unmet.

The five-game postseason probably had something to do with that. Sure, there was no stopping the juggernaut that was the Los Angeles Kings, but that's little consolation for a franchise that was one season removed from being a juggernaut themselves.

But the Canucks' problems went beyond running into a team of destiny. The Sedins became somewhat stale, and by virtue of that, their entire offense did too, especially on the powerplay. Ryan Kesler wasn't the same player. Sami Salo aged out of the top four, and Alex Edler looked lost without him. Alain Vigneault retreated back to a defensive shell and the team lost some of their identity.

A year removed, the Canucks are hoping they've addressed all of these problems. If they have, it could be a fun year in Vancouver. If they haven't, they could be caught by several of the Western Conference's other improving teams. Then fans might not even get a third Presidents' Trophy to belittle.

Are the Canucks still an elite team?

"We've got Swedish twins, but it's not as hot as it sounds…  trust us"

The biggest departure from the Canucks' roster is defenceman Sami Salo and his booming slapshot, a signature of this club for years. He'll be missed, though not as direly as some might think. He began to slow down around January last season, and by the year's end, the coaching staff was reluctant to use him in the top four. While the team tried to re-sign Salo for depth, they definitely didn't want to pay him like a top-four defenceman any longer, and when Tampa Bay did, he was gone.

In his place comes Jason Garrison, fresh off a mammoth season with the Florida Panthers. If last year is any indication, he should be able to replace Salo, no problem.

Also gone: Samme Pahlsson, who returned to Sweden, and Alain Vigneault favourite Aaron Rome, who signed in Dallas.

Not arriving: Shane Doan, whom the Canucks pursued hard, but left the team at the altar when he chose to give his rose to the Phoenix Coyotes instead.

At forward… The Sedins and Alex Burrows will continue to shoulder the offensive burden for the Canucks, which is just fine with them — they're good at it. They regressed a little last season and became a touch predictable at times, but they remain among the top 10 offensive players in the NHL, and they've been given a long offseason to cook up a new playbook. They should be fun to watch.

Behind them, Ryan Kesler leads a convoy of talented, two-way players: Chris Higgins, Jannik Hansen, necklace of dead ducks wearer David Booth, Maxim Lapierre, Mason Raymond and, if he can take the next step this season, Zack Kassian.

On defense … The Canucks' top four consists of shutdown pairing Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa, and will likely also consists of the newly-formed pair of Garrison and Alex Edler.

Edler's no good on the right, so it will be up to Garrison to make the shift to his off-side. He played there intermittently with the Panthers last season to relative success, but in order for him to have success, he'll have to do it on a near-permanent basis this time around. If he can, Edler could blossom into the Norris-calibre defenceman many feel he could become.

If he can't, it could be a nightmare in Vancouver. Edler will struggle without a steady partner, as he often does, and Garrison will land in the same position as Keith Ballard: relegated to the third pairing and egregiously overpaid to be there.

Speaking of Ballard, he and promising prospect Chris Tanev make up duo three, but Tanev's poise, puck-moving ability  and right-handedness could see him work his way into the top four, especially if Garrison disappoints.

In goal … The Canucks are downright stacked. They're so stacked it's sort of a problem. They currently employ a tandem of Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider, and Mike Gillis insists that THEY ARE TOTALLY FINE WITH THAT.

But he's still shopping Luongo hard, and if Gillis can find a taker at his lofty asking price, Schneider will ascend to number one status and Swedish prospect Eddie Lack will graduate from the AHL as his backup.

Based on Salt n Pepa's "Push it", may I present to you the finest Kevin Bieksa tribute video you will ever see: "Bieksa real good".

While there was some speculation that one or both might not return to the team as a result of the Canucks' short postseason, both GM Mike Gillis and coach Alain Vigneault signed extensions in the offseason and will have the opportunity to re-earn some of trust lost by the early exit.

During the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, Ryan Kesler basically worked himself until his groin exploded (we've all been there, amirite?). But after undergoing offseason surgery to correct the issue, he returned early and played through pain for much of the year. That was unnecessary and it cost the team. Kesler may not be the Canucks' top scorer but he's their most complete player and the heart of the team.

Kesler has had two more surgeries this offseason and the only good that might come out of the lockout from a Canucks' perspective is that he can't come back too early if there's no hockey. If Kesler can refind his "A" game, the Canucks will rediscover theirs as well.

Zack Kassian arrived in Vancouver amidst controversy and outrage. Fans liked Cody Hodgson, and after bad experiences with previous power forwards acquired from Buffalo (Taylor Pyatt, Steve Bernier), the idea of trading Hodgson for another one seemed unattractive.

But Kassian has the ability to be an elite power winger. He's spent the offseason trimming down and attempting to reach the Canucks' fitness standards, and if he can begin to show something in his sophomore season, or if he can bring some much-needed toughness to the lineup, Canuck fans will forgive him for existing in a hurry.

Expectations for Jason Garrison are sky-high. The White Rock will be counted on to give the Canucks a booming shot from the powerplay and round out the top four. But Garrison will likely be playing on his off-side, and whats more, he only has one season as an offensive weapon under his belt. That has to be a concern. If it turns out to be a one-off, he'll become a lightning rod for criticism in a hurry.

[MALE NARRATOR]

"Chris Higgins says his abs are 100% real.

But how can we be sure? He missed a great deal of the 2011-12 campaign with a mysterious illness that the team called a "staph infection." A likely story.

Here's a likelier story. There was no staph infection. Higgins was simply getting abdominal implants because he's exceptionally vain."

"You know who's not exceptionally vain and whose hot and shiny abs are totally real? Eddie Lack."

"Feast your eyes, ladies. And spread the word."

"Paid for and narrated by Eddie Lack."

The Canucks remain one of the league's best teams and they should be right in the mix for their third Presidents' Trophy. But at this point, the regular season couldn't be more inconsequential. Just as it was last year, their entire season will be defined by the shorter season that comes after it. If it's too short, the entire campaign is a wash.

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Sun, 07 Oct 2012 12:36:15 PDT Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,49e78447-e798-3356-96aa-2d31ecb578e5-l:1
Hockey Hugs: The top 10 finest celebratory photos of 2011-12 NHL season https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/hockey-hugs-top-10-finest-celebratory-photos-2011-131252170--nhl.html

Hockey Hugs is a feature that celebrates the best in hugging from around the NHL, because who doesn't love a good hug now and then? NHLers certainly do, which is why this feature was never at a shortage for material.

Every game produced at least one quality photo, which meant that, every two weeks, there were dozens of top-notch hugs to choose from.

But some hugs were at the toppest of notches, and they deserve a second go-round. With the offseason in full swing, and looking like it might just swing its way into next fall, now seems as good a time as any to look back on our favourite hockey hugs of the 2011-12 season.

10. Chris Higgins and Cody Hodgson, Vancouver Canucks

There's a reason we call him "Kiss Huggins". (Admittedly, that reason is because his real name rhymes with the moniker, but you know, also he occasionally stars in photos like this one.)

Here, Hodgson and Higgins  laugh warmly about a special joke only they share. "Hey bud, remember that thing we did that time in that city?" Higgins says. "Yeah," Hodgson replies, "I'll never forget that thing. It's our special thing." And then they fist bump.

9. Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh Penguins

Malkin and Kunitz star in what appears to be a homage to classic Harvey Comics character, Baby Huey. Malkin plays the comically oversized baby, of course, while Kunitz plays his doting, albeit clearly outsized, parental figure, Papa Duck. Either that, or Malkin actually has split personality and occasion takes on the persona of a giant infant, screaming BABY MALKY WANT MILKY.

8. Tyler Myers and Derek Roy, Buffalo Sabres

Few hugs could top the excellence of a big guy-little guy contrast, as Roy and Myers ably demonstrate here. Roy looks asleep, like a toddler that's pooped after a long day at the air show. This photo looks like it would come at the end of a slideshow and an aunt would say, "Aw. The little guy tuckered himself right out."

7. Steven Stamkos and Matt Gilroy, Tampa Bay Lightning

There were a lot of photos depicting two dudes in a full-blown snuggle, but none had the tenderness of this bromance between Gilroy and Stamkos. It's the face Stamkos is making, with his cheeks flush, his eyes closed, and an open-mouthed smile that says, "This moment -- this hug right here -- is like scoring 60 goals."

6. R.J. Umberger and teammates, Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets may have upset fans by being terrible, but it's hard to dislike this photo of R.J. Umberger getting loved on by his teammates like they just surprised him with breakfast in bed on Father's Day. He didn't even have time to take out his Sleepguard. He's like, "How thweet, you guyth."

5. Ed Jovanovski and teammates, Florida Panthers

Because most hug photos come at the end of a shift, you get a lot of red-faced guys gasping for air while they celebrate, and sometimes that makes it looks like they've been crying for days. Case in point, Jovocop, who has the look of a man weeping happily because he just discovered he's going to be a grandpa. The fact that Stephen Weiss and Dmitri Kulikov are nestling into him like family only makes the photo look more intense.

4. Anthony Stewart and Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes

I didn't give this one nearly enough love when I saw it the first time, which is ironic because Stewart is giving me -- and you, and anyone else who looks at this photo -- all the love's he's damn well got. The look on his face is classic. It's that sleepy face that cats have when they wake up and they're totally into you.

3. Joel Ward and teammates, Washington Capitals

The best hug of the 2012 playoffs goes to Joel Ward, who doesn't just look near tears -- he looks like he's in the midst of the sort of gasping, hyperventilating sobfest only a Toy Story movie can elicit. (No? That's just me? I've said too much.) I'm also partial to Brooks Laich's expressive brow, which is furrowed as thought the sort of raw emotion going on here gives him the willies.

2. Steven Stamkos and Marty. St Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning

Between his precious, smiling face and the fact that his skates are a good foot off the ground, you'd be forgiven for wondering if this game is taking place past Marty St. Louis' bedtime. We had a lot of big guy-little guy hugs this year, and they were all great, but nothing tops this remarkable squeeze between Stamkos and St. Louis, who looks like a stuffed doll Stamkos wished to life one night.

1. Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs

In the end, nothing could top this joyous collision from the glory days of the Maple Leafs' 2011-12 season, as Kessel and Phaneuf are captured mid-leap like they're in the final frame of a made-for-TV action show from the 1990s. You half expect a sax riff and executive producer credits to appear before a commercial for Mentos.

Photos like this are the reason this feature is so damn fun to curate.

Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney

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Wed, 18 Jul 2012 06:12:52 PDT Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,6d1835ed-69c8-303c-ad55-5d189a5e2613-l:1
Sunday’s Three Stars: Giroux, Stoll lead to eliminations; watch the handshakes https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/sunday-three-stars-giroux-stoll-lead-eliminations-watch-044036539.html This guy really showed Jonathan Quick, eh?

No. 1 Star: Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers

From his tone-setting hit on Sidney Crosby through his strong offensive performance, Giroux helped the Flyers eliminate the Penguins, 5-1. He scored an unassisted goal 32 seconds into the game, had the primary helper on Scott Hartnell's first period power-play goal and added a secondary assist on Erik Gustafsson's backbreaker of a goal in the second period. No wonder his coach called him the "best player in the world."

No. 2 Star: Tyler Seguin, Boston Bruins

After being held scoreless in the series, Seguin had the game-winner in OT and set up a key third-period goal as the Bruins forced a Game 7 with a 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals. Seguin stole the puck, threw a shot off of Braden Holtby's mask and watched Andrew Ference score in the third. Just 3:17 into overtime, Seguin converted a Milan Lucic pass to win the game.

No. 3 Star: Jarret Stoll, Los Angeles Kings

The veteran forward scored at 4:27 of overtime to eliminate the Vancouver Canucks in Game 5, 2-1. After Trevor Lewis stole the puck, Stoll blasted a shot past Cory Schneider for the victory.

Honorable mention: Henrik Sedin scored the lone goal for Vancouver on the power play, while Brad Richardson scored for the Kings … Jonathan Quick made 26 saves … Danny Briere scored his fifth of the playoffs … Evgeni Malkin had the Penguins' lone goal … Ilya Bryzgalov made 30 saves … Rich Peverley, David Krejci and Ference also had a goal and an assist for the Bruins … Tim Thomas made 26 saves … Nicklas Backstrom and Roman Hamrlik had two assists … Alex Ovechkin scored late in the third period to force overtime.

Conn Smythe Watch: 1. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators; 2. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers; 3. Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings; 4. Mike Smith, Phoenix Coyotes; 5. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers; 6. Andy McDonald, St. Louis Blues; 7. Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals; 8. Danny Briere, Philadelphia Flyers; 9. Alex Radulov, Nashville Predators; 10. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators.

Dishonorable mention: Sidney Crosby had zero points and was a minus-3 … Marc-Andre Fleury was again shaky for the Penguins, stopping just 18 shots … Alex Semin was scoreless and a minus-2, giving up the puck to Seguin on a play that resulted in a goal … David Booth, Chris Higgins and Mason Raymond all failed to notch a goal in the series loss to the Kings.

[ Also: Tyler Seguin's heroic play saves season for NHL champ Boston Bruins ]

The Handshakes: Here are the Penguins and Flyers …

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… and the Canucks and Kings.

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Sun, 22 Apr 2012 21:40:36 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,0c6020c4-d5a9-3c64-a5fa-8192924fbc72-l:1
The 10 most disappointing players in 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs (non-goalie division) https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/10-most-disappointing-players-2012-stanley-cup-playoffs-153916899.html Fortunes in the Stanley Cup Playoffs can change in heartbeat. (Ask the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers about that.) So the following 10 players could easily turn their postseasons around with a big performance; and given that many of them play on Saturday, it's likely some of them will. Well, except for the Detroit Red Wing on the list ...

But, for the moment, these are the 10 skaters having the most disappointing playoffs. Important point No. 1: We are talking skaters, as in non-goalies. Important point No. 2: We limited it to one player for each team listed, because listing multiple disappointments for each team simply isn't fair to San Jose or Boston.

Here are the 10 most disappointing players/skaters in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs … Make sure to visit this post again tonight to thank us (or condemn us) for the motivation.

Milan Lucic, Boston Bruins

As said, we're trying to limit these to one per team, which made it difficult to select a Boston Bruin. Fact is that Tyler Seguin (zero points, 16 shots), Brad Marchand (zero points, minus-1) and Patrice Bergeron (1 assist, minus-1) have all been busts thus far. But we'll give the nod to Lucic because it's his physical game and offensive zone presence that the Bruins need in order to crack Braden Holtby and the Capitals defense. He stepped up in Game 3 and the Bruins were victorious. But he's been missing in action during the Capitals' two victories.

Dennis Wideman, Washington Capitals

Zero points for a puck-moving defenseman to go along with a minus-4 against his former team. As Joe Haggerty wrote during Game 4 against the Bruins: "Dennis Wideman has now been on ice for every 5-on-5 goal that the Bruins have scored this season. It looks like the Bruins were fully aware of the dead spots in his game, and capitalized when he pinched into the offensive zone as Alex Ovechkin was turning over a puck."

Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks

Patrick Marleau will shoulder most of the blame for the Sharks' 3-1 series deficit to the St. Louis Blues because that's what happens to Patrick Marleau in the playoffs. (Ask Roenick.) What's never happened, before this season, is Pavelski going scoreless in his first four playoff games. The Blues did a number on Marleau, Pavelski and Joe Thornton until the line was broken up, and Pavelski's yet to find his stride. He doesn't have a point on 11 shots, although he did hit a couple of posts against his old Wisconsin teammate Brian Elliott.

Patrick Sharp, Chicago Blackhawks

Granted, his one goal — a deflection on a Brent Seabrook point blast in Game 2 — earned the Blackhawks an overtime they would eventually end with a Bryan Bickell goal. But Sharp has pumped 17 shots on Mike Smith — ninth-most in the playoffs — without tallying another point while going minus-2. There's plenty of other blame to go around, and other offensive players not picking up the slack (paging Viktor Stalberg), but Sharp has the ability to be a point-per-game player in the postseason.

Radim Vrbata, Phoenix Coyotes

Vrbata had 35 goals in the regular season and was a plus-24. He's been limited to 1 assist and a minus-3 in four games against Chicago, but he also has an excuse: An upper body injury cost him most of Game 1, and he hasn't been the same since. Also a factor: His partner in crime Martin Hanzal was injured and missed Game 4. So he's been disappointing, but there are reasons for it.

Brad Stuart, Detroit Red Wings

While this is kicking dirt on the grave, given the Red Wings' elimination on Friday, Stuart's feeble 1-assist, minus-5 performance against the Predators shouldn't go unnoticed. It's widely assumed he's played his last game in Detroit, likely joining a West Coast team to be closer to family. After this performance, Wings fans might pay his freight.

[ Video: Marc-Andre Fleury's 'superhuman' penalty kill in Penguins' Game 5 win

Anton Volchenkov, New Jersey Devils

Although he rebounded in Game 4 to bring his plus/minus back to even and playing 16:19, his previous three games of the series were terrible: On the ice for nine of the 10 goals the Panthers have scored during the postseason. Is he finally playing out of it to become the defensive stopper the Devils need?

Chris Higgins, Vancouver Canucks

Both Ryan Kesler and Alex Edler have had their struggles against the Los Angeles Kings, but are trending upward. David Booth has one assist, but he's being elevated to play with the Sedins. That leaves us with Chris Higgins, who has no points, is a minus-3, has seen his ice time drop and is now playing on the Vancouver checking line. This after a 43-point season for Vancouver.

Jason Spezza, Ottawa Senators

The Sens are 2-2 against the Rangers without much from Spezza, who has two assists in the series after an 84-point regular season. Of more concern is that he's given the puck away a team-leading six times.

Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

How can a player with seven points in five games be a disappointment? Depends on whether you've watched the games or not. Malkin scored three of his points in that Game 4 massacre when he was a plus-4. Otherwise, he has four points in four games, is a minus-2 and was a non-factor in two of them. He needs to be the consistent, Hart Trophy frontrunner he was in the regular season.

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Sat, 21 Apr 2012 08:39:16 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,6c9f37d4-5f50-349e-87df-43a6b6ae0132-l:1
Is Canucks coach Alain Vigneault on the hot seat? Yes, but he shouldn’t be https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/canucks-alain-vigneault-hot-seat-yes-shouldn-t-220212845.html

The Canucks find themselves on the brink of an historic sweep in Los Angeles Wednesday night. Never in the history of the Presidents' Trophy has its winner failed to win a single playoff game.

Needless to say, when that's the kind of history you're flirting with, someone will be calling for rolled heads, and in the case of the Vancouver media, the Queen of Hearts is usually columnist Tony Gallagher of The Province. Tuesday, he argued that a first-round exit should be reason enough to show coach Alain Vigneault the exit:

Because of his long tenure enjoyed as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, it might be a useful exercise to mount something of a defence for Alain Vigneault after another season whereby it looks all but certain his team is going to come to another crashing, miserable end in the NHL playoffs.

Those who worship the ground the man spits on will doubtless come out of their boots trying to keep him around because he's an easy man with whom to work. So there will be plenty of "save the Presidents' Trophy winning coach" material, and rightfully so because his regular season record is very, very good.

[...] Bar-ring a recovery of historic pro-portions in this series however, it says here this group, however comprised next year, deserves to hear a different voice.

It's worth noting that Gallagher's been after Vigneault all season. In the preseason, he lost it over the linemates Vigneault gave rookie Cody Hodgson. Gallagher called for Vigneault's firing on March 21, just prior to the Canucks winning eight of 10 and the Presidents' Trophy. And heck, even the columnist's tweets seethe with dislike for Vigneault.

You just knew that he was going to return to his agenda with the Canucks on the brink of elimination.

But he might be right. Vigneault has been with the Canucks since 2006-07, and with the team and several members of the core on the verge of taking a step backwards in the postseason for the first time since 2007-08, Mike Gillis could very well get impatient and decide it's time to change the voice, something he has yet to do since taking over the reins as GM of the Canucks.

That said, Gillis has been extremely patient and pressure-resistant with Vigneault in the past when people have called for the coach's head, such as during an eight-game losing streak in 2008-09. Here's hoping he exercises that same patience here, because I disagree with the assertion that Vigneault should be on the hot seat.

There's this curious rhetoric that each of Vancouver's postseason eliminations over the past four years has been due to some failure in coaching, even though anybody with even an ounce of sense could tell you that the 2008-09 and 2009-10 Blackhawk teams had far more depth and were just flat better, and that last year's Bruins were seriously underrated, close to completely healthy, and the beneficiary of a goaltending performance for the ages.

Furthermore, the primary argument for firing Vigneault, as I see it, is that he hasn't been fired yet. This is absurd. I understand that coaching stints don't typically last as long as Vigneault's has in Vancouver, but unless we're afraid the man is going to achieve tenure, that's not a reason to remove somebody that's doing a good job.

The Canucks had their best season in franchise history just last year, and they won a second consecutive Presidents' Trophy this year. How is one first-round ouster enough to get a coach with that kind of track record fired? Two years in a row, maybe. A regular-season regression next year, maybe.

I like Alain Vigneault as a coach because he thinks outside the box. Granted, that's what gets him into so much trouble in the Vancouver market, and will get him into trouble in any other market.

Vigneault doesn't formulate his opinions based solely on the eye test. He clearly employs advanced statistics, and makes a number of his decisions based on underlying possession numbers. Earlier this season, he defended Chris Higgins' play by telling the media the winger was plus-5 in scoring chances over two games, a number that correlated with his Fenwick rating over that stretch.

He was fully aware, from the outset of this season that, at this point in time, Cody Hodgson could only thrive with extremely sheltered minutes, and when he created an environment in which Hodgson thrived, he was panned for failing to give the rookie more ice time, as though Hodgson was succeeding in spite of him.

Any sage coach could see that Hodgson, who was on the ice for 40 percent of Buffalo's goals against after the trade, was an exploitable, defensive liability. But Vigneault was panned for being that sage coach.

Meanwhile, fans hated his decision to play Mason Raymond on the second line ahead of Hodgson, even though the decision was supported by possession numbers. And currently, he's being criticized for his decision to keep Ryan Kesler and David Booth together on the grounds that they have no chemistry, even though Booth's Corsi rating when he's on the ice with Kesler is the best on the team.

Vigneault is a fabulous coach using tactics well ahead of the curve, but his decisions leave anyone who chooses to dismiss advanced statistics scratching their heads. That's fine and well if a team is winning, but when a group projected to return to the Stanley Cup Final finds itself on the verge of being bounced in four, it's a lot harder to defend those tactics.

And it could cost Vigneault his job.

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Tue, 17 Apr 2012 15:02:12 PDT Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,f4f90b64-4f9d-364e-adb8-9c43894d6a2d-l:1
Daniel Sedin joins Canucks in Los Angeles; will he play in Game 4? https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/daniel-sedin-joins-canucks-los-angeles-play-215818007.html Last April, with the Vancouver Canucks leading the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0 in their first-round playoff series, Dave Bolland returned to the lineup after missing 41 days with a concussion. The center gave his team an immediate spark, neutralizing the Sedins just in time and helping the Blackhawks to claw back into the series.

Could Daniel Sedin be gearing up for a Bolland-esque return? Maybe so, as the Canucks' left winger will be joining the team in Los Angeles for a full practice on Tuesday.

Will we see him in the lineup on Wednesday? That's still up in the air. From Canucks.com:

"Daniel is continuing to follow the protocol, he's been cleared for practice with the team, so he's flying in later on this afternoon," said coach Alain Vigneault, outside the team hotel Monday afternoon.

[...] Whether Daniel plays or not in Game 4 isn't up to Vigneault; regardless of the situation, the forward will not be rushed back before he's ready to play.

"That won't be my decision, that's a medical decision, he's been skating now for quite a few days, they feel that he's progressed real well and he's cleared to practice with the team, so exactly what that means we'll have a better indication in the next couple of days."

It goes without saying that the Canucks could use Sedin's skill.

Daniel would change the dynamic of the Canucks' forward corps completely. They have excellent secondary scoring, provided it remains secondary. The moment guys like Jannik Hansen, Mason Raymond, Chris Higgins and Alex Burrows are shutdown concern No. 1, the team struggles, and against a goaltender like Jonathan Quick, they simply can't afford to.

Here are two other things the Canucks can't afford to do: play another game versus the Kings without Daniel Sedin, and damage his career long-term by rushing him back from an injury he's not fully over.

Let's hope the Canucks prioritize safety over winning (although the way these playoffs have gone thus far, that seems unlikely). If Daniel experiences a setback, as his father indicated he did after practicing with the team last week, here's hoping they shut him down.

But if he doesn't, then I'm sure Canuck fans will be hoping for something like this:

Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney

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Mon, 16 Apr 2012 14:58:18 PDT Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,b3097522-b363-38bb-a2f0-0932ebd5aef9-l:1
Vancouver Canucks vs. Los Angeles Kings: Puck Daddy’s NHL 2012 Stanley Cup Playoff Preview https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/vancouver-canucks-vs-los-angeles-kings-puck-daddy-232754916.html The 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs are upon us, and by the end of it you'll feel like The Walking Dead. Hence, zombie motif!

It's a shame this rematch of the 2010 Western Conference Quarterfinals has to take place without Shane O'Brien and Wayne Simmonds. Those two made things interesting the last time around. Who will provide the double gun action this time?

Los Angeles has had an underwhelming year. Projected by many to take on elite status in the West, they've failed to play to their potential all season, hovering around the middle of the pack and needing 81 games to clinch a spot. They may be an eighth seed, but if they can put it all together in the second season, they'll hardly look like one, especially versus a team they match up well against.

Coming off a second-consecutive Presidents' Trophy win, the Canucks are the heavy favourites here. But this series has upset written all over it. Under Darryl Sutter, LA plays a style not dissimilar from what the Boston Bruins utilized to knock off the Canucks in last year's Stanley Cup Final: Tough, bruising, agitating hockey, a lockdown defence, Vezina-calibre goaltending, and a healthy dose of clutch n' grab.

The Canucks have made upgrades specifically to deal with a weakness to this style of play, loading up on defencemen and defensive centres for fear of getting into a tight, low-scoring, see-who-breaks-first series. They get to test their mettle right away. Will the changes pay off?

Here is your Canucks vs. Kings preview, complete with Zombified observations …

Vancouver Canucks (1) vs. Los Angeles Kings (8)

April 11: Los Angeles at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m.
April 13: Los Angeles at Vancouver, 7 p.m.
April 15: Vancouver at Los Angeles, 10 p.m.
April 18: Vancouver at Los Angeles, 10 p.m.
April 22: Los Angeles at Vancouver, TBA*
April 24: Vancouver at Los Angeles, TBA*
April 26: Los Angeles at Vancouver, TBA*

*If necessary.

Much of the Canucks' potency up front will depend on the health of Daniel Sedin, who skated with the team Monday but remains questionable for Game 1 with a concussion. If he's in the lineup, the Canucks' first line contains two Art Ross winners, which is ideal. Without him, Henrik Sedin still gets his points, but the first line's identity as a puck-retaining, cycle monster is gone, as is the conundrum of how to defend two Sedins.

The rest of the Canucks' forward corps(e) (zombies!) is spearheaded by Ryan Kesler, David Booth, and Chris Higgins. When the three play together, they generate shots on goal aplenty. Spread over two lines, as Alain Vigneault seems to prefer, they spearhead a middle six of relentless forecheckers who work to create turnovers and beat teams in transition.

The Kings have some excellent forwards as well -- Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Justin Williams -- but they don't score with nearly the same potency as Vancouver. LA's 2.26 goals per game average was 29th in the league. Anze Kopitar is their offensive standout, scoring a team-high 76 points in 2011-12. Unless Jeff Carter is on his game, they lack any true snipers, scoring most of their goals in the dirty areas and on rebounds.

But that's where Los Angeles can make their mark on this series: physicality and grit. Their group up front is much more equipped for that sort of game than Vancouver. Each of their four lines is built to punish, from Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar on the first line to Dustin Penner and Jarrett Stoll on the third. If they can turn the games into grind-it-out affairs, they could seize the advantage.

The Kings are going to dump the puck in and attempt to punish Canuck defenders, create turnovers, and go to the net. The Canucks will attempt to limit this by possessing the puck for long stretches and break down the Kings' defence with their cycle game.

ADVANTAGE: CANUCKS

The Canucks' top four consists of shutdown pair Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhius, and the more offensive-minded duo of Alex Edler and Sami Salo. Both pairings can create offence. While the forwards took a step back this year in terms of their production, this defense put up 181 points, the most it ever has in the Mike Gillis era.

Expect Sami Salo to be attacked relentlessly by the Kings. He's famously fragile and not as quick to turn as he once was. If he can't go, rookie Chris Tanev likely draws into the top four, and the Kings would no doubt prefer an exploitable rookie over a playoff veteran.

The Canucks, similarly, will be doing chop-licking aplenty at Slava Voynov, who has quietly put together a strong rookie campaign with the Kings. He'll play on the second pairing with Willie Mitchell, which should see a healthy dose of the Sedins.

But the Kings' bread and butter is their pairing of Drew Doughty and Rob Scuderi. Doughty has taken a step back this year but he can still be an elite defenceman in this league and he picked the Canucks apart two years ago. If he isn't, however, the Canucks have a major edge. Their group simply has more impact.

Keep an eye on both Voynov and Tanev. Both are smooth but utterly hittable D-men. I predict each gets rocked about once a game.

ADVANTAGE: CANUCKS

When the Zombie Apocalypse happens, the Canuck most likely to survive is Alex Burrows because he will literally do whatever it takes to survive. The guy is dirty. Plus, Patrice Bergeron will tell you that he's already got a killer zombie impression lined up to help him fake his way through a horde.

When the Zombie Apocalypse happens, the King most likely to survive is Willie Mitchell. That guy is a freaking warrior. He'll have zombies on leashes by week 2. (Least likely to survive: Dustin Penner, who's the nice guy you wound and leave behind for the zombies to devour while you make your getaway.)

The Canucks employ a goaltender named Roberto Luongo. You might have heard of him. He's an excellent netminder, maybe one of the league's best, but he could use Magneto's helmet -- it's very possible to get into his head. On the bright side, Cory Schneider has been excellent all season. If Luongo struggles, the Canucks won't hesitate to send out the backup, whose numbers are better and whose flakiness is far less storied. Vancouver's goaltending situation should be harder to crack this year.

The Kings, meanwhile, just have a Vezina candidate in goal, no big deal. Jonathan Quick was second this season in GAA with a 1.95, 5th in SV% (.929), and 1st in shutouts with 10. He's been getting it done all year when his team hasn't, and there's no reason to suspect that won't continue.

ADVANTAGE: KINGS

The Canucks are the horde of zombies outside the house near the end of the movie. No matter how well you fortify, they're going to get in eventually. Do you have enough ammunition to take them all down?

The Kings are Big Daddy, the undead gas station attendant from Land of the Dead. Massive, smart, and capable of putting it all together at any moment. So help you if this team learns how to cross the river and operate weaponry (i.e. score).

Alain Vigneault is a former Jack Adams Award winner and three-time nominee that trusts and knows the players in his room completely. He's coming off a Stanley Cup Final appearance and he knows his team inside and out after years behind the bench. He can be a little slow to adjust.

Speaking of adjusting, Darryl Sutter's been to a Stanley Cup Final as well, but that was before the lockout. And his post-lockout playoff experience is limited to one first-round exit in 2006. Can he coach his players to the next level in the new NHL?

ADVANTAGE: CANUCKS

The Canucks' power play scored 57 goals on 288 opportunities. That 19.8 success rate was 4th in the league. Their 6th-ranked penalty kill was successful 86.0% of the time, allowing 40 goals on  286 opportunities.

The Kings had the slightly better penalty kill, allowing 38 goals on 293 opportunities, good for 4th in the NHL at 87.0%. Their powerplay was sub-par, however, scoring 49 times on 289 powerplay opportunities, 17th in the NHL at 17.0%.

ADVANTAGE: CANUCKS

In order to defeat the Canucks, you play them physical, get the team rattled, and frustrate the Sedins. The Canucks are in a no-win situation there. If they don't respond, you can keep pounding on the twins to frustrate them. If they do, they're frustrated.

In order to defeat the Kings, you play a whistle-to-whistle game. Avoid the rough stuff, play north-south, and force them to play from behind where they have to let down their defensive guard.

In short, the officiating will have a major impact on this series, and stuff will get missed. I'm setting the over/under on Hollywood conspiracy articles coming out of Vancouver at 2.5.

Canucks in 6. The Kings have some excellent pieces but they don't have the depth and, until they show otherwise, they don't have the scoring. This team has underachieved all season and now they go up against a team they would have had a hard team beating even if they were on top of their game. Expecting them to overachieve now seems unlikely.

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Mon, 09 Apr 2012 16:27:54 PDT Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,6262d640-23ce-3b91-aa82-222906f4d1e2-l:1
Wednesday’s Three Stars: Schneider, Quick pitch shutouts; Dallas back in first https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/wednesday-three-stars-schneider-quick-pitch-shutouts-dallas-061153679.html

Goal cams are awesome/creepy.

No. 1 Star: Cory Schneider, Vancouver Canucks

Well this is a good problem to have. After sitting the red-hot Roberto Luongo, Schneider stepped in and made 43 saves in a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Chris Higgins' shorthanded breakaway goal was the only tally. Schneider is 11-1-1 since Christmas.

No. 2 Star: Michael Ryder, Dallas Stars

Michael Ryder has 35 goals. No, seriously. The Stars free-agent acquisition tallied twice in their 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers, propelling Dallas back into the Pacific Division lead. Mike Ribeiro had the primary assist on Ryder's first and third period goals; Ryder had a secondary helper on Ribeiro's second period goal. Kari Lehtonen made 31 saves for the win.

No. 3 Star: Jon Quick, Los Angeles Kings

The Kings' netminder set a new franchise record for shutouts in a season with nine, as Los Angeles blanked the Calgary Flames, 3-0. Willie Mitchell, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams scored for the Kings. Quick had shared the record with Rogie Vachon, who set it in 1976-77. Anze Kopitar had two assists.

Honorable mention: Allen York made 29 saves for this first NHL victory, as the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Detroit Red Wings, 4-2. R.J Umberger had a goal and an assist; Nikita Nikitin had two helpers. Jack Johnson set a franchise record with 32:16 TOI. … Pavel Datsyuk had two assists. … The New York Rangers rallied from a 2-0 deficit to top the Winnipeg Jets, 4-2, taking a 5-point lead over the Penguins for the East's top seed. Michael Del Zotto and Ryan Callahan each had a goal and an assist. … Teemu Selanne's third-period goal was the difference as the Anaheim Ducks knocked the San Jose Sharks out of the division lead with a 3-1 win. The Ducks won five of six meetings with the Sharks. Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry had the other goals. Jonas Hiller made 28 saves.

Did you know? The Kings are 26-0-3 this season and 84-0-6 in their past 91 games when leading after the second period. (AP)

Dishonorable mention: Jarome Iginla was a minus-2 and didn't register a shot on goal. … Ryan Jones was a minus-3. … Colorado was 0-5 on the power play. … The Ducks were awarded an empty net goal on a Corey Perry shot that went off the side of the net as Dan Boyle slid into the goalpost to dislodge it. Here's how the NHL explained it.

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Wed, 28 Mar 2012 23:11:53 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,e3c50b22-0f11-30c1-b72c-14a3fc9a0a6b-l:1
Saturday’s Three Stars: Chris Higgins melts Avalanche; Alfie’s 4-pointer tops Penguins https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/saturday-three-stars-chris-higgins-melts-avalanche-alfie-063453763.html

Tim Wallace doesn't score often. But when he does, it looks like this.

No. 1 Star: Chris Higgins, Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks winger completed a 2-goal rally with a game-tying goal in the second period, and then scored the game-winning OT goal to give Vancouver a 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche. The Canucks clinched their fourth consecutive Northwest Division title.

A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

No. 2 Star: Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa Senators

Ottawa's captain scored 2 goals and 2 assists in the Senators' 8-4 victory against the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins. With his team clinging to a 4-3 lead, Alfredsson scored a shorthanded goal late in the second period. Nick Foligno and Milan Michalek had 3-point nights. Matt Cooke had two goals and Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist in the loss, the Penguins' first regulation defeat in 15 games.

No. 3 Star: Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins

Thomas was the difference in the third period, stopping 17 of 18 shots and 40 for the game as the Bruins topped the Los Angeles Kings, 4-2. Milan Lucic and Chris Kelly had third-period goals.

Honorable mention: Kari Lehtonen made 35 saves and Jamie Benn scored two goals as the Dallas Stars damaged the Calgary Flames' playoff hopes with a 4-1 win. … Valtteri Filppula (3 assists) and Juri Hudler (1 goal, 2 assists) had three-point games while Henrik Zetterberg had two goals in the Detroit Red Wings' 5-4 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. … Ryan Miller made 24 saves while Thomas Vanek and Cody Hodgson had a goal and an assist in the Buffalo Sabres' 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wild. … Pekka Rinne made 24 saves, getting goals from Matt Halischuk, Gabriel Bourque and Shea Weber in the Nashville Predators' 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. … Ryan Callahan had the game-deciding shootout goal in the New York Rangers' 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Marian Gaborik scored two goals in regulation. Tim Connolly scored the game-tying goal 18 seconds after Gaborik's third-period goal. … Ryane Clowe had the game-deciding goal in the shootout after earlier taking a Brent Burns shot off of the face, as the San Jose Sharks picked up a huge two points with a 4-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes. Joe Thornton had two assists. Daymond Langkow had a goal and an assist; Mike Smith was solid with 29 saves. … Danny Briere scored two power-play goals in the second period, as the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 4-1. Matt Read had a goal and an assist, while Ilya Bryzgalov made 23 saves, had an assist and a tripping minor. … Steven Stamkos scored goals No. 51 and 52, and assisted on Tim Wallace's third-period goal, as the Tampa Bay Lightning topped the New York Islanders, 4-3. Stamkos set the franchise single-season record for goals. … Zdeno Chara played game No. 1,000.

Playoff Race: The Sabres moved into the No. 8 seed, up two points on the Capitals. San Jose is tied in points with Colorado and Los Angeles, but the Kings hold the No. 8 seed with more wins than the Sharks and fewer games played than the Avs.

Fight of the Night: Chris Kelly had a good fight and Trevor Lewis had one good punch:

Did you know? The Stars paid tribute to former D Karlis Skrastins prior to the game. Skrastins was a member of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team when the Latvian native died in a plane crash in Russia last September en route to a Kontinental League game in Minsk. His widow, Zane, and three daughters participated in the ceremony. (AP)

Dishonorable mention: Justin Faulk was a minus-4 for Carolina. … Evgeni Malkin, Zbynek Michalek and Brooks Orpik were a minus-4. …Brad Thiessen gave up all eight goals for Pittsburgh. … Toronto has lost nine straight at home (0-7-2) … Wayne Simmonds had 14 PIMs for the Flyers: hooking and slashing minors and a 10-minute misconduct in the same sequence. … Jeff Carter and Mike Richards were minus-3 for the Kings. … Finally, if you've not heard this anthem, please take an hour and listen.

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Sat, 24 Mar 2012 23:34:53 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,fc3c231b-077c-3dd9-95c8-eb4399b43eab-l:1
Fantasy Hockey: Top NHL scoring lines; Skinner, Subban on fire; stretch run surprises https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/fantasy-hockey-top-nhl-scoring-lines-skinner-subban-180019855.html Dobber checks in every Monday to force-feed you the latest fantasy hockey trends. The founder of DobberHockey.com and a columnist for The Hockey News website, he long ago immersed himself into this roller-coaster world and is unable to escape.

PA Parenteau is having the season of his life, thanks in part to playing with John Tavares — especially on the power play.

But as well as those two have been doing (along with soon to be three-time 30-goal scorer Matt Moulson), there are eight lines out there who have been performing better over the last month. With another tip of the hat to Frozen Pool, here are the hottest lines of the last 30 days:


Studs...

These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...

Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils (4-5-4-9, plus-4, 0 PIM, 22 SOG)Along with Martin Brodeur He's pushed the Devils into the playoffs. In his last 48 games he has 60 points, which is enough to cruise to a scoring title…if only hockey started in December.

Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes (8-3-5-8, plus-6, 18 PIM, 20 SOG) — With Eric Staal mired in another slump, it's nice to see last year's Calder winner whip back into form. And look at the little guy getting all feisty with the misconduct penalty — so cute!

PK Subban, Montreal Canadiens (5-3-4-7, plus-1, 6 PIM, 12 SOG) — While five of those seven points came against Minnesota and Edmonton — not exactly known for their stellar goaltending these days — it's fair to say that his confidence has been given a boost. And having Andrei Markov back in the lineup probably helps too.

"Sell High" pick of the week: Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh Penguins. Since returning from injury, Staal has 16 points in 13 games, including seven goals. On the Leafs many teams he's a No.1 center. But on this one, when Sidney Crosby gets back (probably possibly Thursday), he is No.3.

Duds

Somebody wake these guys up — their fantasy owners are counting on them...

Lubomir Visnovsky, Anaheim Ducks (14-0-0-0, minus-2, 8 PIM, 19 SOG) — About six weeks ago, in a limited keeper in which I have 15 or 16 good keepers and I can only keep 12, I traded John Carlson for this guy. You see, Carlson and the Caps weren't scoring, I'm in first place and I sacrificed a great future player to seal the win. What…the…@#%$? Is this joker the same guy who led all defensemen in points last season? Fortunately I'm still winning, but it's no thanks to this chump who is planted firmly on my bench.

Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks (7-1-0-1, minus-3, 0 PIM, 25 SOG) — He's shooting the puck, but the shots aren't going in. That's not going to happen forever, he'll get a bounce and then things will turn around. But it's still a pretty big setback for a guy who has improved every year that he's been in the NHL.

Saku Koivu, Anaheim Ducks (9-0-0-0, even, 14 PIM, 19 SOG) — Hey look, he's redefining himself as a tough guy.

"Buy Low" pick of the week: Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins. His recent 3-5-0 skid is further marred by the fact that he's given up four goals in three of those games. How very un-Thomas-like. In fact, prior to these last eight games, Thomas had only given up four goals in a game four times all season. He'll turn things around. It's either have faith in a turnaround or have faith in Marty Turco. Yeah, I thought so.

The Wire...

Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...

Jordan Caron, Boston Bruins (5-3-4-7, plus-8, 2 PIM, 13 SOG) — As much as the Bruins want to ease this kid into NHL duty, he refuses to be held back. Right now he's producing no matter what the ice time, or whoever the linemates.

Jamie McGinn, Colorado Avalanche (6-4-2-6, plus-2, 9 PIM, 16 SOG) — Sharks GM Doug Wilson has checked and double-checked the official transaction papers he submitted to the NHL, making sure that it was indeed Jamie McGinn he traded, and not Logan Couture. McGinn has six points for the Avalanche in six games. The entire San Jose team has seven goals in six games.

Chad Larose, Carolina Hurricanes (4-3-1-4, plus-5, 2 PIM, 16 SOG) —His production, year over year, is as steady and reliable as a Toronto media outlet whining about something wrong with the Leafs. A point every two games, more or less. But he's shooting like crazy this season (on pace for a career high despite missing 15 games). With his plus/minus turning back around, he's an excellent pickup if you need some SOG.

Cam Atkinson, Columbus Blue Jackets (5-1-0-1, plus-1, 4 PIM, 14 SOG) — Atkinson is a promising prospect for the Blue Jackets who has thrived at every level. In each of the last five games he has seen at least 15:27 of ice time, indicating that the team really wants to see what he can do as a top sixer. It's a "hunch" play that, at worst, will get you nothing but decent shots.

Dmitry Orlov, Washington Capitals (4-0-4-4, plus-4, 12 PIM, 5 SOG) — He has 16 points on the season, but half of those have come in the last 13 contests. He's playing like the Mike Green the Capitals have always wanted.

Chris Higgins, Vancouver Canucks (7-2-5-7, minus-1, 4 PIM, 18 SOG) — Higgins is finally playing like the guy the Rangers thought they acquired from the Habs in 2009. Clearly he just wanted the Rangers to look bad for giving up Scott Gomez.

Michael Stone, Phoenix Coyotes (2-1-2-3, plus-3, 0 PIM, 6 SOG) — After getting scratched for several games, Stone has bounced back with his first three career points. His ice time is inching upwards accordingly and he's worth a short-term flyer if you need a rearguard.

Two situations to act on now, hold for a week, and then drop if things don't pan out — Alexander Radulov "could" return to the Predators for the stretch run. Defenseman Justin Schultz "could" sign with the Ducks and join the team as early as this week. Both are prolific hockey players who will help your team if they sign.

For more fantasy hockey tips, take a gander at DobberHockey. And while you're at it, follow Dobber's fantasy hockey musings on Twitter.

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Mon, 12 Mar 2012 11:00:19 PDT Dobber Hockey nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,c14dccce-cd08-3fb6-a178-cc99339887b8-l:1
What We Learned: Are we really talking about bringing back the red line? https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/learned-really-talking-bringing-back-red-line-131819222.html Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

Prior to this week's GM meetings, word started to trickle out that the 30 general managers of the NHL were doing the unthinkable: considering the reinstatement of perhaps the single worst, most pointless, counterproductive, and counterintuitive rule the sport of hockey has seen in last 30 years at least.

That's right, it's the return of the red line.

Nick Costonika talked about such a change at length the other day, getting some very choice quotes from guys on both sides of the issue.

The reason for this proposed change, according to advocates of building a wall in the middle of the neutral zone, is that it will slow the game down and make it safer. Concussions are bad!!!!, after all, and anything the league can do to protect players from getting them is of the utmost importance — except, Jake Voracek and Kris Letang recently learned, when it's not.

So the solution is to outlaw stretch passes that, in theory, make the game faster and allow guys to sail through the neutral zone at Mach 3 and get clobbered into next Sunday by 230-pound defensemen.

And yes, by all means, let's do that. When and if that were to ever actually happen. In much the same way that outlawing fighting isn't going to prevent guys from getting these terrible brain injuries because so few guys actually get concussed during them, reinstating the two-line pass won't prevent concussions because two-line passes, as far as I've been able to figure out, have never actually caused one.

You can say allowing stretch plays encourages players to create a faster and therefore more dangerous game, but that's like outlawing steak because a guy choked on it in a restaurant where no one knew the Heimlich.

(Coming Up: Will Columbus trade top pick?; Kings are in trouble; dissecting Brian Burke; Tuukka time will wait for six weeks; Johnny Oduya is working out; Jeff Skinner's nasty snipe; Bruce Boudreau vs. refs; Chris Stewart scored a beauty; fun with Folignos; what's wrong with Alex Ovechkin?; Giroux does the Datsyuk; Grant Besse's awesome night; and a way to get Antti Niemi back to Chicago.)

In fact, why not look at the Joe Thornton hit that concussed David Perron. The pass that he got caught watching came from inside his own zone when he was skating over his own blue line. So let's take out the one-line pass as well. Make everyone tic-tac-toe it through the neutral zone. And in fact, why not take out the forward pass, while you're at it? That would make sure everyone's good and safe forever, because the league will fold because no one will watch or go to games because the sport will be boring as hell.

The other reason it's stupid, of course, is that it's quite literally designed to increase the amount of offense seen league-wide. Now, my understanding of the causes of the lockout — or at least the thing everyone says is the cause of the lockout (not unlike how idiots say slavery was the reason for the Civil War) — is that there just wasn't enough scoring.

"People don't like 2-1 and 3-2 games, they want to see 4-3 and 5-4!" Remember?

The removal of the red line solved that problem, at least for a while; scoring has dipped back to pre-lockout levels in the past two years. And so everyone in the NHL's corridors of power thinks the solution to this is to bring back a rule that very much engendered every hockey fan's least-favorite four-letter word: "Trap."

To put it another way: If Ken Hitchcock thinks a rule should be instated in the NHL, it's not going to be conducive to more scoring, is it?

Proponents say that bringing back that terrible, awful, no good, very bad rule will have a positive and downright thrilling effect for fans, as well. Specifically, that it'll bring back a focus on skill. (As though the ability to thread a stretch pass from one blue line to the other is somehow not a skill.)

"All the rule changes we made we designed to increase the skill level, but it's become a slap shot from the far blue line and a guy chips it in and you go chase," Steve Yzerman said over the weekend.

Hey, Steve? Yeah, hi. Ryan Lambert here. You know why you see that all the time? Your coach plays the 1-3-1, and that's the only way to beat it. All the crybaby garbage kicked up by the Flyers earlier this year was result of that. I'm sure you remember. Also, you're against no-touch icing because "it bores the game." Uh huh. Well then. No cognitive dissonance there!

There is, for any rational observer of the game, no good reason to bring back a rule that, in case we all slept through the lockout, no one liked. Its possible reintroduction should be viewed for what it is: An attempt to look proactive on the concussion epidemic without actually doing anything to solve it, and making the "product" worse in the process.

The illegal two-line pass was the dumbest rule in pro sports when it was eliminated, but bringing it back now would lower that bar considerably.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: Anaheim lost to Dallas 2-0 on Saturday and instead of being upset that his team was shut out, Bruce Boudreau was steamed with the officials. "If that penalty on Lehtonen by Getzlaf was a penalty, I'll be a monkey's uncle," Boudreau said. "Even the Brookbank penalty, there was two guys battling. Why do they choose our guy? Both equally doing the same thing. I could go on and on. I said it [last week] in L.A. and I'm now sounding like a whining little crier. But it's not good enough." Well he got part of it right.

Boston Bruins: Tuukka Rask spoke to reporters for the first time since injuring his groin and said that of the "four-to-six-weeks" prognosis he got, he'd expect to be out closer to six, confirming what Peter Chiarelli said earlier this week. Bad news for the Bruins. Tim Thomas hasn't been sharp lately.

Buffalo Sabres: More Sabres forwards injured. Yes, again. Thomas Vanek sat out Saturday's game, and both Matt Ellis and Patrick Kaleta picked up knocks during it, and didn't return to action. Vanek remains doubtful for tonight's game against Montreal.

Calgary Flames: Matt Stajan has three points in his last two games. He had nine in his previous 45. Now granted, those games were against Montreal and Winnipeg — not the stiffest competition — but still, look out Evgeni Malkin.

Carolina Hurricanes: Pretty solid individual effort by Jeff Skinner to score his second in a 4-2 win over Tampa. What a shot.

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Chicago Blackhawks: Think Johnny Oduya is working out okay for Chicago since he was picked up in a trade? He had a goal and an assist on Friday to pick up his first points for his new team, but he's also stepped up his defensive game, playing more than 20 minutes a night. Chicago has lost just one game out of five since he came aboard, and that was to St. Louis. The teams it has beaten are no slouches either: Toronto (okay, one slouch), Ottawa, Detroit and the Rangers.

Colorado Avalanche: The Avs picked up a shootout win over the Oilers on Saturday and San Jose got shut out by Phoenix, moving Colorado into the eighth and final playoff spot, and the team most people assumed would be a juggernaut in the West into ninth. Granted, though, the Avs have played three more games than the Sharks. But still.

Columbus Blue Jackets: A Montreal writer (not always the most trustworthy source, I understand) says Columbus is expected to trade the No. 1 overall pick at the draft. But with Nail Yakupov possibly out a while with a concussion, will they get the value they're probably looking for? Didn't matter where Jeff Carter was concerned, right?

Dallas Stars: Brenden Morrow returned to the Dallas lineup on Saturday after missing his previous 18 games, scored a goal in a 3-0 win but also took three minor penalties against Anaheim to broaden the gap between the Stars and Sharks in their division. The only team left in Dallas's vicinity is Phoenix.

Detroit Red Wings Presented by Amway: Don't look now, but the Red Wings have won just three of their last nine games and still have a number of players dealing with injuries. And they have one road win since Feb. 4. Over Columbus. Which shouldn't even count. Their road record is 16th in the league.

Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers re-called Linus Omark last week and apparently it's terribly important that he step up his game. He has just one point in eight games this season after putting up 22 in 51 last year.

Florida Panthers: Yesterday was the first game of a critical four-game home stretch for the Panthers that could really help to solidify their playoff spot. They were 16-9-8 at home headed into those games.

Los Angeles Kings: The Kings are outside the playoffs right now and things don't look even a little bit easier going forward. Their next seven games are against Detroit, Anaheim, Nashville, San Jose, St. Louis, Boston and Vancouver. Yikes.

Minnesota Wild: The Wild are going to host Minnesota North Stars night on March 29 in an effort to distract their fans from the fact that they're missing the playoffs for the fourth straight season. "Remember how much you guys liked Neal Broten!?"

Montreal Canadiens: PK Subban was an absolute wrecking ball Saturday night in the Habs' 4-1 win in Vancouver. Ryan Kesler got perhaps the worst of it, though Roberto Luongo probably would have said the same thing if he ever saw the shot on Subban's goal.

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Nashville Predators: Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn are really doing quite well together in Nashville. Andrei scored two goals in a win over Detroit, and Sergei had the primary assist on both of 'em. The first was particularly Sedin-like.

New Jersey Devils: Anders Nilsson looked primed to pick up his second straight shutout against the Devils, but then with the score 1-0 Islanders and time running out, David Clarkson and Marek Zidlicky scored 14 seconds apart to ensure a New Jersey road victory.

New York Islanders: Saturday afternoon, the Islanders announced they had signed Owen Sound Attack undrafted free agent Mike Halmo. Saturday night, Halmo proved just how much he wanted to fit in with the team responsible for the sideshow act against Pittsburgh last season, gave Nail Yakupov a serious concussion. Same old Islanders.

New York Rangers: Prior to yesterday's game against the Islanders, the Rangers had lost three straight and allowed Pittsburgh to get a real close look at what the top of the conference might look like. All teams go through slumps like this at some point in the season, of course, but Evgeni Malkin has to look like the tyrannosaur in Jurassic Park in their rearview mirror right now.

Ottawa Senators: The Sens' Nick Foligno didn't know how to react when younger brother Marcus scored late in the third period to tie the game for his Sabres. "I was happy and pissed off at the same time," Nick said. "It was definitely a weird emotion. Now that the game is over, I'm definitely, as a brother, really happy for him." Ottawa went on to lose in a shootout.

Philadelphia Flyers: Turns out the kids still love Jaromir Jagr, as he was ranked the 18th-best player in the league by his peers. What's baffling, though, is that Zach Parise barely cracked the top-30.

Phoenix Coyotes: Since Dave Tippett took over behind the bench for the Coyotes, they've won 94 of the 110 games in which they've scored the first goal. Remember, division rival Dallas fired this guys.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Here's a really damn interesting point: Sid Crosby's contract is up at the end of next season. What on earth do you pay him? For how long? Whoa, that's a noodle-scratcher.

San Jose Sharks: "Time's not running out until game 82 is played and the buzzer's gone," said Todd McLellan, who has a rather tenuous idea of how time works, after his team's 3-0 loss to Phoenix. The Sharks have won three games in their last 15.

St. Louis Blues: What a goal by Chris Stewart. What a goal what a goal.

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Tampa Bay Lightning: Is it time to give Dustin Tokarski a run-out as the team's No. 1 goaltender? He couldn't possibly do any worse than Tampa's other options at this point, right? Oh what's that? He gave up three goals on 25 shots against Carolina on Saturday? Hmm.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Great profile of Brian Burke in the Globe and Mail, but at some point doesn't everyone get sick of the media dissecting every aspect of his life like he's a frog in a 10th grade biology class?

Vancouver Canucks: Chris Higgins has been fighting staph infections for the last two months and is only now starting to feel better. He mostly played through them, which is an odd combination of horrifying and baffling.

Washington Capitals: It's time for another "What's wrong with Alex Ovechkin?" article. This time, he's not carefree any more.

Winnipeg Jets: When the Jets miss the playoffs this season, they're going to lean heavily on the injury excuse. I mean umm, they're dealing with a lot of injuries right now. Jeepers it's tough out there.

Gold Star Award

Grant Besse of Benilde-St. Margaret's in Minnesota — Jack Jablonski's teammate — led his team to a state Class AA title victory 5-1 over Hill-Murray, an upset in a postseason run in which the team was the underdog in every game.

How good was Besse? He scored ALL FIVE of his Red Knights' goals, and THREE of them were shorthanded. Bananas, feel-good, out-of-the-movies stuff right there.

Minus of the Weekend

Hey Boston Bruins I'm not trying to tell you how to do your job or anything but maybe stop giving up 2-0 first-period leads to your opponents. You did it twice this weekend. It's not a good idea.

Play of the Weekend

I really try hard not to give this to a shootout move ever, but sometimes Claude Giroux forces your hand.

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Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

User "Blackhawkswincup" has a good sense of player value.

To Hawks
D Douglas Murray (2.5M x 1 yr)
G Antti Niemi (3.8M x 3 yrs)

To Sharks
D Niklas Hjalmarsson (3.5M x 2 yrs)
G Corey Crawford (2.66M x 2 yrs)

Signoff

What sin are you referring to, Mr. Bandy? My sin of drilling?

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness rather infrequently over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don't you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

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Mon, 12 Mar 2012 06:18:19 PDT Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,deb6db38-9880-3947-822f-2bea7a4583ab-l:1
Puck Previews: Glass on casual homophobia; Fiddler, Bieksa name-calling; Hawks-Blues https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/puck-previews-glass-casual-homophobia-fiddler-bieksa-name-001257227.html Back by popular demand, here are your Puck Previews: Spotlighting the key games in NHL action, news and views as well as general frivolity. Make sure to stop back here for the nightly Three Stars when the games are finished.

Reddit Hockey projects what ESPN's hockey page will look like over the next few days.

Preview: Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. ET

Randy Carlyle looks to move to 2-0 as the coach of the Leafs and get the Leafs back into the playoff race, while the Bruins try to avoid their first 3-game losing streak since October. The Bruins should have the upper hand here, having won all 4 meetings between the two teams this season, but they're a different team now. For instance, fans are currently hoping Marty Turco clears waivers so he can join them, which is perilously close to rock bottom.

Preview: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues, 8 p.m. ET

The Hawks are playing some streaky hockey these days. They lost 9 straight, then they won 4 straight, then they lost 3 straight, and now they're looking for their 4th straight win  again. (This is likely why they enter this game a full 10 points behind the Blues.) Keep an eye on Jamal Mayers, who has been on the ice for 3 straight powerplay goals for the Blackhawks. He has Joel Quenneville looking like a genius for predicting that he could ice his worst players in 5-on-4 situations and it wouldn't prevent the eventuality of the Blackhawks breaking their 0-for-39 powerplay slump.

Preview: Dallas Stars at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m. ET

The Pacific Division once again has a new leader and this time it's the Stars, who are 6-0-1 in their last 7 and have overtaken both the Sharks and the Coyotes at the top. (Seriously, if the Sharks finish 3rd in the Pacific, does Todd McLellan keep his job?) Matchups between division leaders are always fun, but here's an added wrinkle. Remember when Vernon Fiddler made his Angry Bieksa face? Bieksa called him a loser on Saturday. Then, today, Fiddler called Bieksa a caveman. The battle of these two grown adults will be watched closely.

Evening Reading

• Tanner Glass doesn't just fight bears. He fights casual homophobia, too. "A hockey locker room is a place to be accepting. The fact there are no openly gay athletes in our sport is not right. If you look at the numbers, statistically there's got to be a few guys. Anything we can do to make it more comfortable for them, the better." [Toronto Sun]

• Mark Chipman predicted that Randy Carlyle would be the coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. All hail Mark Chipman... [Winnipeg Sun]

• On the system Kirk Muller is trying to install in Carolina. [Washington Times]

• Brian McGrattan speaks about being three years clean and sober. [Section 303]

• Alain Vigneault talks about Chris Higgins being plus-5 in scoring chances, validating all the thankless work Thomas Drance and Cam Charron do. [PITB]

Puck Buddy comment of the day: Zeus2you sees the upside in today's huge Nicklas Grossmann reveal:

So does this mean my Grossman sweater is a priceless misprint like that upside down plane stamp???? oh please, oh please...

No.

Bold prediction: 5 of tonight's 12 games see shutouts, leading to ever more doomsday columns about the return of the Dead Puck Era. While the other games have high scores, they are ignored.

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Tue, 06 Mar 2012 16:12:57 PST Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,c736f331-9e91-3684-8214-5b9cdeacacc4-l:1
Puck Daddy's 2011 NHL Trade Deadline Report Card https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-greg-wyshynski/puck-daddys-2011-nhl-trade-deadline-report-card--nhl.html

There were a few points during the coverage of 2011 NHL Trade Deadline Day in which you realized that the inactivity had led to total absurdity.

Perhaps it was when the TV networks decided to start reliving the Olympics. Or when Brad Richards' decision on his no-trade clause became a by-the-minute drama heading towards 3 p.m. ET. Or when every hockey writer on Canadian television had, at one point, an imposter on Twitter breaking "trades" that fooled more than a few fans and other media.

(We refused to be duped by the Fake Bob McKenzie, who tried to convince us that the Rangers had acquired Richards and that Marian Gaborik was headed "back East." To where? Greenland?)

Coming up, grades for all 30 teams; not only for Deadline Day, but for the days leading up to deadline day.


Anaheim Ducks: A surprisingly active deadline for the Ducks, who made several trades. It started back on Feb. 9 with the deal that sent Joffrey Lupul and Jake Gardiner for Francois Beauchemin, an old hand and a nice addition to their weakest position. The rest of the month saw them trade for Jarkko Ruutu (Senators), Dan Ellis (Lightning, and a solid vet between the pipes while Jonas Hiller's on the mend), Brian McGrattan (Bruins, in a four-player deal), Brad Winchester (Blues) and then shipped Max Lapierre for Joel Perreault and a third-rounder. Factor in a conditional pick for Aaron Voros (Leafs) and a fifth-rounder for Paul Mara (Habs), and the Ducks had a double and a collection of singles ... but it added up to a productive trade game. GRADE: B+

Atlanta Thrashers: This deadline will be remembered for one trade, which is their role in the Kaberle Trade on Feb. 18, in which they took Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart (re-signed Monday) from the Bruins for Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik. The sent Brent Sopel and Nigel Dawes to Montreal. On Deadline Day, they snagged Radek Dvorak (with whom GM Rick Dudley was familiar) while dealing away the rights to disappointing winger Niclas Bergfors, a pending RFA acquired in the Ilya Kovalchuk deal. They also flipped Freddy Modin for a seventh-round pick and picked up Brett Festerling for depth goalie Drew MacIntyre. Needed to be more aggressive to turn their fortunes around, but also didn't do something stupid like dealing Zach Bogosian. GRADE: B-

Boston Bruins: Aside from a minor trade with the Ducks, the Bruins' deadline was all about Tomas Kaberle and the ancillary trade with the Thrashers. We broke down the trades here, and they remain big wins for the Bruins in the short term. Add in Chris Kelly from the Senators for a second, and it was a great deadline for the B's. GRADE: A

Buffalo Sabres: One trade, but a calling card for Pegulaville nonetheless. Brad Boyes can play wing or center for the Sabres, and it sounds like he'll line up with Tim Connolly. He makes $4 million, making this a trade that wouldn't have happened under the previous administration. He can be an erratic goal-scorer, but he's been a solid offensive contributor lately. Still, Derek Roy money for him next season is a bit much, but that's on the Blues for having given it to him. This would have been a higher grade had Buffalo added something to its blue line. GRADE: B

Calgary Flames: Freddy Modin for a seventh-rounder is the kind of trade you expected from Jay Feaster. It adds some offense (seven goals in 36 games), adds a veteran with an expiring contract and doesn't touch the chemistry in the room. They also added Brett Carson via waivers (more on that below). Standing pat, basically, was the best move they could make. GRADE: C+

Carolina Hurricanes: Mixed day for the Canes. Defenseman Brett Carson was claimed by Calgary on waivers, which was not what GM Jim Rutherford wanted to see:

"If we hadn't done that, if we hadn't added a defenseman later in the day, I'd be devastated about losing him. As it is, I'm OK with it."

That's because the Hurricanes acquired Bryan Allen from the Panthers, on the endorsement of newly reacquired Cory Stillman, for the suddenly redundant Sergei Samsonov, whom Dale Tallon had in Chicago. Stillman and AHL call-up Jerome Samson made Samsonov expendable, and he's a UFA next summer. Allen has another year left at $3.15 million next season, giving them four D-men under contract for 2012 with Joni Pitkanen going UFA. Best news of all? Eric Staal will return to the lineup shortly. GRADE: B

Chicago Blackhawks: Since his acquisition on Feb. 9, Michael Frolik doesn't have a point and is a minus-4 in eight games for the Blackhawks. Which is not so good. Better news: Defenseman Chris Campoli arrives from the Senators for a conditional second-rounder and Ryan Potulny. Campoli's an RFA and will fill the void left by the injured Jordan Hendry quite well. GRADE: C

Colorado Avalanche: The deals that Avalanche made deserve more time than the immediacy of this report card to pan out. But taken at face, Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk have been great for the Blues, and Erik Johnson has not been for the Avs. Craig Anderson has been lights-out for the Senators, and Brian Elliott has not been for the Avs. They pulled a first-round pick from the Blues in the former trade, which is important. But right now, the Avs are on the short end of these deals and didn't turn UFA John-Michael Liles into any deadline assets, even if he's good in the room. (As pointed out in the comments, he has another year left at $4.55 million.) Later, this grade can change; as for now? GRADE: C-

Columbus Blue Jackets: GM Scott Howson didn't improve his blue line, unless you consider moving Rostislav Klesla, the last remaining original Jacket, as addition by subtraction. But Scottie Upshall is a solid addition to the forwards corps, able to create his own offense and bringing an energy game. Sami Lepisto brings some wheels to the blue line, but not much scoring. Tom Sestito was later traded to the Flyers in a minor league swap, which Aaron Portzline says "will not sit well with many Blue Jackets fans." For getting out from under a contract that runs through 2014, Howson had a good day. If Craig Rivet bolsters the blue line as a waiver addition, all the better. (Note: Portzline adds late Klesla must pass a physical for the trade to be completed.) GRADE: B

Dallas Stars: Leahy broke down the James Neal/Alex Gologoski trade here. Monday came down to whether the Dallas Stars were to stay or hit with the biggest card in the deadline game: Center Brad Richards.

They kept him, expect him back shortly, and Joe Nieuwendyk said the following via Dallas Stars Blog:

"In my mind, I wasn't going to move him unless somebody knocked our socks off with something we couldn't refuse. We've said all along that we want to sign Brad, and we still feel that way. We want to sign Brad Richards to be a Dallas Star for a long period of time.''

"I don't really want to talk about what transpired. Bottom line is, we're quite please to keep our team together the way it is.''

"He likes it here, he likes these guys, and he's going to play hard for us. Our position has not changed, and I don't think his has either. He likes it here, and we would like to have him, and we'll see where it goes. But those things are for down the road and the focus is on the games we have to play here.''

If the Stars make the playoffs and he re-signs, this is a huge win. If they don't and he leaves, it's a gamble he lost. If they make the playoffs and still lose him ... we say it was worth keeping him. For the trade and keep -- GRADE: B

Detroit Red Wings: Re-signed Jimmy Howard to a two-year extension ... and that was it. Could have been in the market for another defenseman, but are instead rolling with the roster they have. GRADE: C+

Edmonton Oilers: We broke down the Dustin Penner trade here; for the Oilers, they receive defenseman Colten Teubert (former first-round pick) and two draft picks-including a first-rounder this year. If Teubert develops, it could be a solid return. The Oilers stood pat with defenseman Ladislav Smid, whom many felt would move. GM Steve Tambellini said that they received calls on Ales Hemsky but nothing that would have "made him think twice" about not returning the call. Based on the Penner trade, and keeping other assets ... GRADE: B

Florida Panthers: Quite a day for Dale Tallon, on several fronts. As George Richards writes:

Gone: Dennis Wideman, Radek Dvorak, Chris Higgins and Bryan Allen.

Still here: Tomas Vokoun, Stephen Weiss, Marty Reasoner and David Booth.

"We stuck to our plan. These were very hard decisions to make,'' Tallon said soon after the deadline ended, his Blackberry still ringing. "We kept our core together and kept our eye on the ball as far as the future is considered. We added picks, prospects and got younger. We really solidified our future."

Florida's moves gives Tallon a ton of money next year as the team has just $18 million in committed salaries. If the salary cap remains close to this year's ceiling of $58 million, that means Florida will have $40 million to remake things -- if Tallon is allowed to spend close to the cap.

Wideman went to the Capitals for big forward prospect Jake Hauswirth and a 2011 third-round pick. Dvorak became RFA-to-be Niclas Bergfors. Bryan McCabe became Tim Kennedy and a 2011 third-round pick. Cory Stillman became Ryan Carter and a 2011 fifth-round pick. Higgins became Evan Oberg and a third. Allen became Samsonov, an expiring contract. Michael Frolik became Jack Skille and Co. Add in the acquisition of Alexander Sulzer on defense, and Tallon traded everything but his core for little more than picks and several bags of pucks. It's all about what he does with the space and if keeping a core than hasn't won on a decade together was the right decision. GRADE: B

Los Angeles Kings: We broke down the Dustin Penner trade here. He's exactly the kind of winger and veteran scorer this roster needed, and they gave up significant assets yet dealt from a position of strength to get him (young defenseman, lower first-round pick). It's not Brad Richards, but it's a hell of a pickup for a Western Conference contender. GRADE: A

Minnesota Wild: Aaaaannnd ... nothing? Nada? Zip? Zilch? They traded goaltending hero Anton Khudobin to the Boston Bruins in a minor league deal for Jeff Penner and Mikko Lehtonen, but that was it. No significant acquisitions for a team battling for its playoff life on the Western Conference bubble. Perhaps the asking prices were too high, and the no-trade clauses too prevalent, for the center this team could have used to come over at the deadline. Todd Richards puts his faith in the room. GRADE: C-

Montreal Canadiens: Brent Sopel and Paul Mara were quality additions to the banged-up blue line, but that was it as far as big-name acquisitions. From Habs Inside/Out, an explanation on the deadline day from GM Pierre Gauthier:

In explaining his inaction during a late-afternoon media briefing in Atlanta, Pierre Gauthier compared the Canadiens' situation to that of someone who has set aside money for a summer vacation only to discover his roof had to be replaced.

The Canadiens' injuries on D -- Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges and Jaro Spacek -- obliged Gauthier to make acquisitions -- James Wisniewski, Paul Mara and Brent Sopel -- that left the GM with little cap space or wiggle room to make a major deal today. "We have an established identity and style of play," Gauthier said. "We had success in the playoffs last season with this nucleus of players."

Hard to argue with that ... well, save for the fact that there's one piece that's rather different than last year's playoff team, and he's in St. Louis. No disrespect to Carey Price, mind you. GRADE: B-

Nashville Predators: Center Mike Fisher was the deadline piece for the Preds, having sent a first and a third to Ottawa for him. But with names like Ales Hemsky being tossed around for Nashville today, one has the sense that David Poile and Co. could have added a little more weaponry to compete in the Western Conference race. GRADE: B

New Jersey Devils: Our analysis of the Jason Arnott trade is here. Getting a second and center David Steckel back for a high-priced rental with a no-trade clause was a win for Lou Lamoriello. GRADE: B

New York Islanders: For all the chaos on the roster this season, the Islanders ended up making one more around the deadline in acquiring goalie Al Montoya. They lost Robbie Schremp to the Thrashers on waivers. Should Garth Snow take heat or be applauded for not selling Zenon Konopka and Radek Martinek for under market value? GRADE: C-

New York Rangers: Our analysis of a very good trade for Bryan McCabe is here. The Rangers acquired Maple Leafs hustler John Mitchell in exchange for a 2012 seventh-round pick; a good depth center, but not the center they wanted. From Andrew Gross:

Quick analysis: GM Glen Sather adhered to what the organization wanted to do and did not give up young talent. Rangers are probably fairly confident they have a good shot at Richards this summer. Of course, the Stars could work out their ownership situation and re-sign Richards. And, of course, the Rangers need to clear some salary cap space, especially with Wade Redden back on the docket for the summer. Still, a pretty good run for Sather: Wojtek Wolski for Michal Rozsival and some cap relief, Bryan McCabe for a third-rounder and Tim Kennedy, stuck in the minors anyway, and all the young core still together.

Crap-tastic news after the deadline, by the way: Marty Biron is out with a broken collarbone. Minus the injury, this is a ... GRADE: B

Ottawa Senators: They got a first and a third for Mike Fisher, a sixth-rounder for Jarkko Ruutu, a second-rounder for Chris Kelly, another second-rounder for Chris Campoli and ... well, a bag of pucks for Kovalev. Meanwhile, they snagged what could be their starting goalie from the Avs in a rejuvenated Craig Anderson and re-signed Chris Phillips. Would have liked to see them flip Chris Neil and Filip Kuba for something, but they didn't. GRADE: B+

Philadelphia Flyers: Snagged Kris Versteeg from the Leafs for a first and a third, and he has two points in seven games thus far. Added Nick Boynton on waivers. But other than a minor deal, stood pat on deadline day, which is expected when you're the class of the conference. GRADE: B+

Phoenix Coyotes: The ownership situation being what it is didn't prevent the Coyotes from shipping Scottie Upshall to the Jackets for Rusty Klesla, who is under contract through 2014. From Jim Neveau of The Hockey Writers:

Looking at the trade from Phoenix's perspective, it is interesting that they elected to take on salary when they have been so adamant about not doing so throughout their ownership transition in recent years. Klesla has the Coyotes on the hook for the next three seasons at an annual cap hit of nearly $3 million, and with his injury concerns that have popped up in the past, this could be a big risk that Phoenix is taking.

Suffice it to say, Phoenix had a better deadline last season. GRADE: C

Pittsburgh Penguins: Leahy broke down the James Neal/Alex Gologoski trade here. Adding Neal and Matt Niskanen on Feb. 21 was a more significant trade than anything that went down Monday, save for the Penner deal. Kovalev's been welcomed back and is performing well. The prices were too high for the Penguins to add anything else. It all comes down to when, or if, 87 returns anyway. GRADE: B+

San Jose Sharks: Added Ian White on Feb. 18, and apparently they feel he's he puck-moving defenseman that group has needed since the retirement of Rob Blake. Otherwise, there are a few good reasons why the Sharks did nothing at the deadline. GRADE: B

St. Louis Blues: If you ask Peter Stastny, it was a hell of a deadline for the Blues. And it sorta was. Chris Stewart looks like a power forward that'll be an impact player for years. Getting a second-rounder for Brad Boyes's $4 million salary next season was a coup. They said goodbye to Eric Brewer, Jay McClement, Erik Johnson, Boyes and Brad Winchester. In a season that isn't going to result in a playoff seed, it sets up the Blues well for next year and, most importantly, the summer. This assessment from The Sports Jury is fairly spot on; we'd average it out to ... GRADE: A-

Tampa Bay Lightning: Snagged Blues captain Eric Brewer and shipped out goalie Dan Ellis in their deadline moves. From Lightning Strikes, the rationale behind Stevie Y's quiet day:

That the Lightning was quiet on Monday was pretty much telegraphed by Yzerman on Sunday. While acknowledging having nine defenseman on the roster is not ideal, something that likely will happen this week when Mike Lundin and Mattias Ohlund are back in the lineup, Yzerman said he would not trade a defenseman unless he could get back a forward who could step in and play right away and was better than anything Tampa Bay has in the minors. He obviously didn't see anything he liked.

Part of that equation is that the Lightning believes injured wing Ryan Malone will be recovered from what is believed a stomach muscle injury and playing the first week of April. If so, that would be a huge piece back in the lineup.

Will this team regret not loading up like the Capitals did? Will it regret going to war with Roloson and Smith? GRADE: B-

Toronto Maple Leafs: As Brian Burke says, he likes to get ahead of the deadline. So while John Mitchell moved Monday, Burke had already shipped out Kaberle and Versteeg and Beauchemin. From the Toronto Sun:

Still in play between now and the June draft are the first-round picks acquired from Boston and Philadelphia in the Kaberle and Versteeg deals, picks that Burke would a) like to package to move up in the draft or b) use to acquire further players. He would prefer not to use those picks himself, impatience being one of the trademarks of his time in Toronto.

From restocking the draft war chest to remaining in the playoff hunt even in shedding that talent, it's been a great deadline for Burke. We're knocking the grade down just a peg because of the Clarke MacArthur mystery as far as his future goes. GRADE: A-

Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks added injured winger Chris Higgins and pain-in-the-rear Max Lapierre on a day in which adding another depth center seemed to be at the forefront. From the Canucks Blog:

Lapierre gives the Canucks a couple of things: a fourth-line center and some added sandpaper to the roster. He's big (6'2″, 207 lbs.), speedy as hell, is a pain in the ass to play against, and in limited ice-time with the Habs and Ducks, has won 54.6% of his faceoffs. He's also averaging just a shade under 12 minutes per game.

There's a perception -- a fair one, IMHO -- that Lapierre takes some bad penalties, but a quick look at his stats show he's only taken 16 minor penalties in 59 games this season. What might help is Alain Vigneault has coached him in the past so I'm sure the Canucks have some comfort level with him.

Oh, and did I mention that he's a pain in the ass to play against?

Why yes, you did. GRADE: B+

Washington Capitals: George McPhee was as aggressive as any GM in the League near the deadline, grabbing Marco Sturm off waivers and trading for both Dennis Wideman and Jason Arnott on deadline day. From Capitals Insider, his take on the day:

Part of the appeal of both Arnott, 36, and Wideman, 27, was that they bring experience to a fairly young Capitals team, McPhee said. 'We've got a young group, as we all know, and we got guys that have been around a long time," McPhee said. "Specifically with Arnott, he's been a captain of an NHL team and he's won a Cup [in 2000] and those kind of intangibles are something that we wanted in the room like we had when we got Sergei Fedorov two years ago."

McPhee also said that what the Capitals gave up -- prospect Jake Hauswirth and this year's third-round draft pick for Wideman, and forward David Steckel and a 2012 second-round draft pick in exchange for Arnott -- leaves Washington in good shape going forward.

"We did not give away our first round pick, we did not give away any of our A-prospects," McPhee said. "We took [Steckel] out of our roster; he's just a great guy and he's done really well for us here and he's become an NHL player, a solid NHL player. But we felt that we had some depth there with Boyd Gordon and Jay Beagle, and if we were going to upgrade the club at another position, this was asking price.

With an undeniable need at center since last postseason, and with Mike Green out at last two weeks with an injury, these were essential moves from a personnel standpoint. As a kick in the ass for a team that hasn't played to its potential, may be even more important. GRADE: A-

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Mon, 28 Feb 2011 16:01:11 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,aa827736-a7f8-3c79-968d-db293e7b1f29-l:1
Puck Daddy's NHL Trade Deadline Live Blog: The Finale https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-sean-leahy/puck-daddys-nhl-trade-deadline-live-blog-finale--nhl.html

Ed. Note: We're live blogging every hour of the NHL trade deadline until its completion at 3 p.m. EST. Older time-stamped entries are found at the end of the post.

3:34 p.m. ET: Late deals coming as teams filed with the NHL before the 3 p.m. ET deadline. First up, Atlanta deals Fredrik Modin to the Calgary Flames for a seventh-round pick. Modin reunites with Jay Feaster, who was GM with Tampa Bay when they won the Stanley Cup in 2004. Modin will become a UFA this summer.

Canucks GM Mike Gillis adds a couple of smaller pieces to his lineup as Florida has dealt Chris Higgins to the Vancouver for Evan Oberg and a third rounder. Higgins is currently sidelined with a broken finger, but he's expected back in the next 7-10 days. Keeping busy right at the 3 p.m. ET deadline, Gillis also added super-pest Maxim Lapierre from the Anaheim Ducks for Joel Perreault and a third-round pick.

One Milbury all around here. Calgary and Vancouver with some minor additions to their lineups, nothing major and nothing that would affect chemistry as some thought. Dale Tallon and the Panthers continue their housecleaning and continue to stockpile draft picks. The combination of a decreased role with the Ducks and the acquisitions of Jarkko Ruutu and Brad Winchester made Lapierre expendable.

3:09 p.m. ET: Brian Burke makes a move, but it's a minor one dealing forward John Mitchell to the New York Rangers for a 2012 seventh-rounder. Mitchell wasn't in the long-term plans for the Leafs and New York gets an extra body up front. One Milbury.

3:05 p.m. ET: The deadline has officially passed, but deals can still trickle through as teams wait to complete trade calls with the NHL.

It's also official that Brad Richards, Ales Hemsky and John-Michael Liles aren't going anywhere despite all the rumored talk of their futures.

Richards was not approached by Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk about waiving his no-trade clause.

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Mon, 28 Feb 2011 12:15:19 PST Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,20ec632d-78e3-34df-883a-9439c9746dfe-l:1
Wednesday's Three Stars: Kunitz's trick; no-goal controversy in Florida https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-sean-leahy/wednesdays-three-stars-kunitzs-trick-no-goal-controversy--nhl.html

No. 1 Star: Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh Penguins

The rout was on in Pittsburgh just seven seconds into the game. Evgeni Malkin's 15th was followed by four more first period goals for the Penguins en route to an 8-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Kunitz tallied his second career hat trick with two goals in the opening period and capped things off deflecting an Alex Goligoski shot with 11 seconds left in the second period. Goligoski himself had a four-point night a goal and three assists, while Kris Letang finished with three helpers to help Pittsburgh improve to 10-2-0 against the Southeast Division this season.

No. 2 Star: Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers

In his sixth NHL game, Zuccarello finally notched his first goal and it was the overtime winner in a 2-1 Rangers win over the Carolina Hurricanes:

No. 3 Star: Mike Ribeiro, Dallas Stars

Dallas went 3-for-3 on the power play during their 4-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks and two of those goals came from Ribeiro, who extended his four-game point streak. Kari Lehtonen made 34 saves and Loui Eriksson and Brad Richards each had two points as the Stars remained third overall in the Western Conference.

Honorable mention: Behind 33 saves from Ondrej Pavelec and two goals by Rich Peverley, the Atlanta Thrashers got by the Florida Panthers 3-2. Panthers forward Chris Higgins scored his 100th NHL goal and now has seven points in his past four games ... Roberto Luongo made 43 saves and Kevin Bieksa scored a goal and added an assist as Vancouver upended Calgary 4-1 to extend the Canucks' winning streak to seven games ... Patric Hornqvist scored in his third straight game and Pekka Rinne stopped 40 shots as Nashville edged Anaheim 2-1 ... A bit of bad luck for Viktor Stalberg as his penalty shot on Lehtonen rang off all three posts:

Did you know? Daniel Sedin scored the 10,000th goal in Vancouver Canucks history tonight.

Dishonorable mention: Dwayne Roloson (five goals allowed) and Dan Ellis (three) were each pulled during the game. Six Lightning skaters finished minus-3 ... Steven Stamkos took a penalty shot to forget ... Bryan McCabe thought he had the game-tying goal in the third period, until officials ruled the puck did not cross the goal line and the play was not reviewed.

You be the judge (rough video here):

After the game, Florida head coach Peter DeBoer said, "I'm baffled as to why the referees, to make certain, wouldn't have gone to the penalty box and asked that they take a look at it or Toronto would have buzzed and taken a second look at it. They look at everything else. I got no explanation from them why, other than they said if it was close, Toronto would have buzzed them and they never got a buzz from Toronto."

NHL VP of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy told George Richards of the Miami Herald , "We still should have reviewed the play ... that was my error."

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Wed, 05 Jan 2011 22:06:15 PST Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,17dcfcd1-859f-3187-a3c6-3dabb3b248c1-l:1
Thursday's Three Stars: Cullen leads Wild; Bruins/Thrashers brawl https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-sean-leahy/thursdays-three-stars-cullen-leads-wild-bruins-thrashers--nhl.html

No. 1 Star: Matt Cullen, Minnesota Wild

Cullen opened the game with a shorthanded goal and scored his second of the game seven minutes later to put the Wild up for good as they beat Colorado 3-1. He could finished off the night with a hand in each of Minnesota's three goals by assisting on Andrew Brunette's seventh of the year early in the second period. Niklas Backstrom won for the fourth time in five starts after making 36 saves.

No. 2 Star: Josh Bailey, New York Islanders

In his second game back after being sent to Bridgeport of the AHL, Bailey scored twice in a 2:30 span in the first period to pace the Islanders during a 5-1 win over New Jersey, ruining new Devils head coach Jacques Lemaire's return behind the bench. John Tavares would score five minutes later as New York took a 3-0 lead after 12 minutes. Dwayne Roloson made 34 saves for wins in back-to-back nights as the Islanders won for the third time in four games.

No. 3 Star: Shawn Thornton, Boston Bruins

Thornton came within an assist of completing the Gordie Howe Hat Trick a his fight and pair of goals led the Bruins over Atlanta 4-1. Tim Thomas made 26 saves and Patrice Bergeron recorded two points to reach 300 for his career. Thornton's two goals gave him nine on the season to set a career high.

Near the end of the game, Freddy Meyer leveled Milan Lucic with what the Bruins forward called "cheap". A line brawl ensued and Lucic earned a match penalty, meaning an automatic one-game suspension:

Honorable mention: Ryan Malone's goal in the 11th round of the shootout helped Tampa Bay get by the New York Ranges 4-3. Dan Ellis made 34 saves and Steven Stamkos scored his 27th goal in the win ... Alex Kovalev scored his first goal in almost a month and Brian Elliott made 25 saves as Ottawa slipped passed Nashville 2-1 ... Raffi Torres scored twice and the Sedin twins combined for seven points as the Vancouver Canucks put a 7-3 hurting on the Columbus Blue Jackets. Alex Burrows added a goal and an assist and Cory Schneider made 24 saves for his first win since Nov. 4th ... A pair of goals from Patrick Marleau and three points from Joe Thornton helped boost San Jose past Phoenix 4-1 for their fourth straight victory ... Carey Price's 22 saves and Alexandre Picard's go-ahead goal with a minute remaining in the second period boosted Montreal over Carolina 4-3. The Canadiens' power play scored twice in a 2:03 span to give them the lead for good. Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward played in his 300th NHL game ... Nine days before their Winter Classic matchup, Pascal Dupuis scored the shootout clinching goal in the seventh round as Pittsburgh beat Washington 3-2. Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves and Sidney Crosby extended his points streak to 23 games with a goal and an assist ... Alex Tanguay tied the game at two with 1:21 to go and then tallied the only goal in the shootout as Calgary got by Dallas 3-2. The Stars haven't lost in regulation at home in 13 games. Jarome Iginla and Jamie Benn went at it during a classic scrap ... Patrik Berglund snapped a 10-game goalless drought with a pair and Jaroslav Halak stopped 35 shots as St. Louis edged Detroit 4-3 ... Two goals from Chris Higgins and 45 saves from Tomas Vokoun helped stave off a Buffalo comeback as Florida escaped with a 4-3 win over the Sabres. Jordan Leopold scored twice for Buffalo in the second period as they came back from a 3-0 deficit. Florida's Jason Garrison broke the deadlock with 5:07 remaining in the game ... Jack Johnson had a goal and an assist and Jonathan Quick made 27 saves, including four in the shootout as Los Angeles defeated Edmonton 3-2.

Did you know? Ryan Miller (200th) and Chris Osgood (400th) were both denied milestone victories tonight.

Dishonorable mention: The Canucks scored six times on Mathieu Garon before he was pulled in favor of Steve Mason ... Dropping to 1-6-0 since returning from injury, Martin Brodeur allowed five goals on just 14 shots in his 1,100th NHL game. New Jersey has now lost nine of their last 10 games ... Matt Cooke's 185-foot clearance led to a penalty that allowed Mike Green to scored the tying goal.

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Thu, 23 Dec 2010 22:43:18 PST Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,cd6d0932-9857-3dbe-90fd-ed94dec5ee6a-l:1
What We Learned: Start appreciating Sedins; big trade weekend https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-ryan-lambert/learned-start-appreciating-sedins-big-trade-weekend--nhl.html

Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

There are certain disadvantages to playing in the Western Conference. For one thing, many of your opponents will be good at hockey, and therefore it's hard to win games (this is, of course, not true of the Eastern Conference). For another, it's very hard to get any amount of publicity.

An example: Did you know Henrik Sedin leads the league in points, and has for a considerable amount of time?

It's true. I looked it up on NHL.com just now. For those unfamiliar, he's the one that has a brother that looks just like him.

I've always been a big fan of both Henrik and Daniel Sedin. I think they play an entertaining style and, well, they're incredibly underappreciated.

(Coming Up: More chatter about the weekend's big trades; preparing for a Sloppy Seconds reunion; Sex-y time is over for Anaheim; brilliant goals for Marleau and Crosby; Volchenkov lays the legal boom on Cammalleri; the Kings of the road; why the Senators are the best team no one's talking about; the Flyers turn to Krajicek; the return of David Booth; Iginla-is-god update; fond farewell to Toskala; and a fan-invented way for Brian Burke to rescue Jordan Staal from Pittsburgh.)

Fun fact about Henrik: He has scored 75 or more points in each of the last five seasons (he now has 78 with 28 games to go this year). Some notable players to not do that are Jarome Iginla, Dany Heatley, Dany Alfredsson and Marian Hossa.

Not that you'd know that. Even within the Vancouver media, there was constantly talk that the Sedins were "not first-line players." And no matter how many corpses were dropped on their line, they piled up points at or near a point-a-game pace. Has-been versions of Markus Naslund, Pavol Demitra and Anson Carter. Or Jason King.

So now they have a competent linemate in Alex Burrows, and look at the production from all three. They've scored 178 combined points in 144 man-games, and that's obviously with Daniel missing 18 games (a streak during which Henrik still scored 18 points). The twins are second and third in the league in points per game behind only Alex Ovechkin, not that you've heard a word about it from Versus or NBC.

Perhaps the reason no one realizes how good the Sedins are: They rarely score flashy, or "Ovechkin-y," goals. Most of their goals look like this. Their ability to cycle is unrivaled by any on the planet and their preternatural knowledge of where the other was, is and will be borders on psychic.

I watched a Canucks game last week in which the Canucks struggled against the lowly Oilers. No one had a good night. Except the Sedin-run power play, which combined for all three Vancouver goals behind three assists from Henrik, the overtime game-winner and two assists from Daniel, a goal and an assist from Sami Salo, and a goal from Burrows. That's when I decided to write this column.

This weekend, I was a little nervous watching the Canucks' game with Toronto. The Leafs, inexplicably led 3-0 and chased Roberto Luongo, and the Sedin-Sedin-Burrows line hadn't done much. I couldn't in good conscience write a paean to the Sedins with no points between them in their most recent game, especially if it was against the Maple Leafs.

But they came alive in the third period as they are wont to do, scoring three rather Sedinish goals and finishing with three goals and two assists between them (Burrows, meanwhile, had 2-2-4 in the game) and simply took over the game like it was no big deal.

The way Alex Ovechkin is rampaging up the leaderboards in both goals and total points, it's likely that Henrik will be forced to relinquish his death-grip on the Art Ross frontrunner's spot pretty soon; but if this little run at the top makes even a few more people say, "Wow, the Sedins really are awesome," then that's okay with me. It might force the NHL to acknowledge the existence of the Western Conference beyond Detroit.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: After all the weekend's trading left the Ducks with no backup goaltender for tonight's game against Florida, they recalled Justin Pogge and sent down... Dan Sexton? Really? He has nine goals and nine assists in 28 games and is getting second-line minutes. Okay. And by the way, that the Ducks took on Jason Blake's contract is by far the funniest part of the Toronto trades.

Atlanta Thrashers: Atlanta's three options with Ilya Kovalchuk are simple: sign him, trade him, keep him for the rest of the season. I'm kind of hoping for the third option, just so all the breathless Twitter updating on Deadline Day goes for naught.

Boston Bruins: Sure, the Bruins have lost seven in a row as they plummet ever closer to a pair of top-5 picks (Peter Chiarelli says, "Thanks Burkie!"), but hey, at least Mark Stuart clobbered Anze Kopitar.

Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres are doing very well in a pretty bad Northeast Division, but what do they need to get over the hump and be able to compete for a Stanley Cup? Could be some players from Carolina.

Calgary Flames: Look, Dion Phaneuf had to get traded. The Flames had too much invested in the blue line, had no offense to speak of, and a player that was dogged by trade rumors and reported attitude problems. The Flames just became more flexible both at the deadline and in the offseason. I'm fine with it. Is this as bad as the Doug Gilmour trade? Of course not. Does it make the Flames appreciably better? Maybe. I don't know why everyone's so up-in-arms. (P.S. Dion absolutely loves the media so Toronto will be a perfect fit for him.)

Carolina Hurricanes: Only 6,896 fans showed up to Saturday's 4-2 win over Chicago. Why, you ask? The actual answer, and I'm not kidding, is that it was snowing in Raleigh. What a market.

Chicago Blackhawks: Even with a loss to one of the worst -- though admittedly streaking -- teams in the league, the Blackhawks aren't feeling too bad about their eight-game road trip. They got their 10 points on the trip from Columbus (53 points), Detroit (62), Calgary (62), Edmonton (38), and San Jose (81). One of these things is not like the other.

Colorado Avalanche: A little over a week after he was called up to the NHL in his first pro season, Ryan Stoa sustained a shoulder injury, and his season might just be over. That sucks.

Columbus Blue Jackets: We already knew that Columbus would be playing in Sweden next season (this is, I presume, due to their having four Swedes on the roster in Kristian Huselius, Freddy Modin, Sammy Pahlsson and Anton Stralman), but now we know their opponent too. It's the Sharks, because of the one Swede on the roster, Douglas Murray.

Dallas Stars: Lots of teams interested in various Stars players (Modano? Turco? Woywitka?). Personnel from Chicago, New Jersey, Montreal, Washington, Toronto (again?!), St. Louis, Carolina and Atlanta were all in the building last night.

Detroit Red Wings: Tomas Holmstrom was available for yesterday's game with Pittsburgh but was held out as a precaution. "Just confidence-wise I think it's good to have a couple days under his belt," said Mike Babcock. However, Holmstrom said, "I told Babs I could go, but he looked out there and said I couldn't skate very well." That'll help the ol' confidence.

Edmonton Oilers: It's been a crotch-kickingly bad 2010 so far for the Oilers and it's getting worse all the time. They went winless in January, got their dinner served to them by their biggest rival (who just happened to be almost as bad), and now Sheldon Souray fractured his wrist. The amount of enjoyment I got from typing that sentence should be illegal.

Florida Panthers: David Booth played for the Panthers yesterday, his first game since his brain got rattled around back in late October and missing 45(!) games. He got an assist on Florida's first goal, took three shots, and really looked pretty good. He's still a long-shot for Team USA but come on, Burke, whaddaya say? Let the kid have a skate. He's on a point-a-game pace since returning from injury!

Los Angeles Kings: With a stunning, late comeback win against New Jersey, the Kings just completed their first 5-0 road trip ever. They looked awful for the first 55 minutes or so and then they got two goals through screens inside of two minutes to go and that was that. It was a very impressive final push.

Minnesota Wild: Minnesota's special teams weren't so special against the Sharks on Saturday. They gave up a franchise-record four power play goals in a 5-2 loss.

Montreal Canadiens: The Habs might lose Mike Cammalleri for quite a while thanks to a big, clean hit by Anton Volchenkov. Cammy's ankle can't be feelin' too good after this one.

Nashville Predators: Even with a 4-3 win over Atlanta to end a five-game losing streak, Nashville probably needs some shaking up. On the Forecheck has a gander at what the team needs to do to get its act together.

New Jersey Devils: With yesterday's 3-2 loss to LA, Marty Brodeur became the second goalie in NHL history to play in 15 games in back-to-back months. Backup Yann Danis hasn't gotten a start since Nov. 21.

New York Islanders: Ugly stats for the Isles, who lost their fifth in a row on Sunday. The power play, penalty kill and goals for per game are all 28th in the league. Their goals against per game, though, shines at 23rd. It says a lot about how bad the East is that they're only two points out of a playoff spot.

New York Rangers: If the trade reported last night by TSN goes through, then Glen Sather has compromising pictures of Darryl Sutter. That is the only possible way to explain this perplexing and unnecessary trade that sends Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust to New York for Ales Kotalik and Chris Higgins. Jokinen has one fewer point than the two Rangers combined, and has an expiring contract. Kotalik is terrible and signed for $3 million a year for this season and the two after that. Brilliant move by Sather, legendarily stupid move by Sutter, if it happens the way it's currently configured.

Ottawa Senators: Did you know the Senators have won nine straight? It's true apparently. Their goals-against average in those games: an astounding 1.10.

Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers signed Lukas Krajicek to shore up their blue line. Wait, that can't be right.

Phoenix Coyotes: Coyotes leading scorer Scottie Upshall? Yeah, he's done for the year with an ACL tear.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Beauty shootout goal for Sid Crosby. Jimmy Howard could do nothing.

Crosby also scored the Pens' only goal in regulation.

San Jose Sharks: Dan Boyle has now missed four straight games for San Jose, but they don't mind so much because Jason Demers scored a couple of bombs on Saturday, so it would appear blue line production is not a problem.

St. Louis Blues: Enforcer DJ King is back with the team following a few weeks of AHL rehab time after he broke some bones in his hand on Oct. 24. Asked if there was any way he could test the hand out that didn't involve a hockey fight, Cam Janssen quipped from one locker stall over, "Yeah, if you want to go to jail."

Tampa Bay Lightning: A firm "No Comment" from the Bolts on potential new owner Jeffrey Vinik, who is a minority owner of the Red Sox. It's gonna happen. Don't you worry your little head about that.

Toronto Maple Leafs: The best part about yesterday's trades: Burke traded away 55 of Toronto's 148 goals (already below league-average) and got back 11, so the hilariously frustrated posts at Pension Plan Puppets will likely triple as the season progresses. Second-best part: Phaneuf/Avery in the Sloppy Seconds Showdown on March 27 and April 7.

Vancouver Canucks: And so began the Canucks' endless road trip. It begs the question, "When, between this and the Olympics, will Roberto Luongo get a night off?"

Washington Capitals: Once again, no wings for Caps fans. That's two games in a row they haven't scored five goals and four in the last seven. What a bunch of bums. Guess they'll have to settle for winning 10 straight. This picture says it all.

Play of the Weekend

Say, Patty Marleau, would you like to tie your career high for goals with like 30 games left in the season by doing something ridiculously awesome?

I thought you might say that.

Gold Star Award

With his team the losers of nine straight and badly in need of something, anything, about which to feel good, Jarome Iginla said, "Hop on, boys!" and carried the Flames to a hilariously easy victory over the hilariously bad Oilers. Two goals, two assists. Seven points in his last three games. Think Jarome Iginla might be back... just in time for the Olympic break.

Minus of the Weekend

Vesa Toskala left the Leafs the way he came in, giving up crap goals by the boatload and blowing winnable games.

Ashes to ashes and all that.

Perfect HFBoards trade proposal of the week

User "Shak19" thinks he knows what Burke is up to when he hints that more moves are on the way.

To Pitt:

D Tomas Kaberle (replaces Gonchar in future)

LW Nik Kulemin (former linemate of Malkin at Magnitogorsk)

LW Alex Ponikarovsky

RW Lee Stempniak

To Tor:

C Jordan Staal

LW Eric Tangradi

The shocking truth: Shak19 is a Toronto fan.

Signoff

No touching.

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness pretty much every day over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don't you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

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Mon, 01 Feb 2010 06:49:21 PST Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,29afd25e-9ec3-34f9-8eb1-535e82e8b309-l:1
What We Learned: Grading the weekend's dirtiest hits https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-ryan-lambert/learned-grading-weekends-dirtiest-hits--nhl.html

Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

We had a whopper of a three-day span for all you dirty hit lovers here in the NHL, as I'm sure you're all aware.

However, some hits were dirtier than others, as evidenced by the NHL's decision to suspend Tuomo Ruutu but not Mike Richards (Star players! Preferential treatment! Fan incredulity!). So as a way to help you, the average hockey fan, figure out your visceral gut reactions while attempting to feign impartiality, I think we should look at each hit together, figure out just how dirty they were.

That way we can begin to form a singular thought process and move one step closer to becoming the Borg.

[Coming Up: Sidney Crosby's new nickname; Breaking the bank on Bourque; Cal Clutterbuck needs to lie down; the latest Sens scapegoat; a whole bunch of videos; more injuries for the Canucks as Kyle Wellwood eats Andrew Raycroft (I think); yet another reason Nashville can't score; the Avs' awful third jersey; and references to both 1980s wrestling managers and Arrested Development [the show, not the hip hop group.)]

Let's start with Friday. You remember the Tuomo Ruutu hit on Darcy Tucker.

Was it bad?: Hell yes.

Should you be mad?: Absolutely.

What's the grad(e)?: Like an A+.

This is a textbook example of how not to hit a guy along the boards. This was a situation where Ruutu could see nothing but numbers and just drilled the guy. The only reason we didn't feel totally bad for him is because it was Darcy Tucker. Three games' suspension is about right.

Next up is the infamous Mike Richards hit.

Was it bad?: It sure was.

Should you be mad?: Not especially.

What's the grad(e)?: Call it a C-.

As "dirty" hits go, this one is pretty tame. Richards had already committed to the hit on Booth well before the puck was gone, and didn't really have time or room to pull out of it. Was it headhunting? Maybe, but the way Booth kind of stands up at right before impact probably negates the issue of intent. Richards is an honest hockey player, which is more than you can say for Ruutu, but if the NHL really wants to cut down on headshots, then it would have been good to at least fine Richards and make some sort of example of him.

Because it's been a weekend full of borderline cheapshots, you knew Steve Ott wasn't about to let himself get outdone by a couple punks that never even tried to take a guy's eye out with their thumb.

Were they bad?: Yes, it's Steve Ott.

Should you be mad?: Yes, it's Steve Ott.

What are the grad(es)?: A solid B for the hip check, and an A for the knee-on-knee.

Given what we've seen over the years, I'm disinclined to give him the benefit of the doubt on his intentions with the low-bridge on Carlo Colaiacovo. It looks bad because Colaiacovo jumped to avoid the hipcheck (never a good idea, hockey players!) but look at the amount of time and space Ott has to bail and just doesn't do it. And then, of course, there's the kneeing penalty against BJ Crombeen, which is so blatant as to be hilarious. Ott is a uniquely dirty player, and he turtles when Crombeen tries to make him pay for it.

Outstanding work outta Brave Steve once again this weekend. He's got to get suspended for one of those hits.

And on to the last one we go: It's Rob Scuderi practically lying down to "hipcheck" Jason Chimera like it's his job.

Was it bad?: Oh my yes.

Should you be mad?: No doubt about it.

What's the grad(e)?: A+ for sure.

Granted the blood and the faceplant make it bad, but Scuderi saw Ott's kinda-sorta low-bridge and said, "Oh I can get a whole lot lower than that." That's some Hunt for Red October work right there. The best part, though, is that Scuderi didn't get a penalty, Chimera got a misconduct, and the Kings got a power play out of this mess.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: The "good" news (good being a relative term) was that JS Giguere recovered from his groin injury in time for Saturday's game against Columbus. The bad news is that Randy Carlyle gave him the start, he surrendered five goals on 35 shots and left the game with another injury.

Atlanta Thrashers: More injury news: Ilya Kovalchuk took a puck off the foot Saturday against Anaheim and left the game. He's getting further info on the extent of the injury later today. And that's why Ilya Kovalchuk shouldn't go in the defensive zone.

Boston Bruins: Tim Thomas reminds us that yes, he did win a Vezina last year, thankyouverymuch.

Buffalo Sabres: Tyler Myers showed a liiiiittle bit of skill in picking up his shootout winner Saturday. I don't think 19-year-old defensemen that are 6-foot-8 should be physically able to make plays like this.

Calgary Flames: Scott Cruikshank raises an interesting question: Just how expensive is it going to be for the Flames to keep Rene Bourque, who had another superb game Saturday against the hated Oilers with three points and four hits. How much I think he'll cost: too much for Darryl Sutter to afford.

Carolina Hurricanes: Paul Maurice knows exactly who's to blame as his Canes drop their sixth in a row, this time to the lowly Wild, dead last in the West: the officials! "I was not pleased with the slant of the way that game went in terms of the calls that were made," he said. Yeah, that 23-15 disparity in penalty minutes was an obvious con job by the refs, no question.

Chicago Blackhawks: Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook still haven't seen the ice since they both got concussions on Wednesday. It's unlikely they'll go tonight against Minnesota.

Colorado Avalanche: Pleasepleaseplease let this terrible thing be the Avs' third jersey. It's remarkably bad.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Prior to Saturday's game with Anaheim, Ken Hitchcock vowed to shake up the lines. He did just that, and Derrick Brassard saw himself dropped from the first line to the fourth after going minus-5 in his previous two games. He got less than eight minutes of ice time and recorded no stats whatsoever.

Dallas Stars: You're right, Defending Big D. Ott is only BORDERLINE dirty.

Detroit Red Wings: Either the Avs are the best penalty killers in the league or the Wings have been terrible on the power play against them. They're 1 for 12 man-up against Colorado this year after going 0-for-8 on Saturday.

Edmonton Oilers: Money quote from Saturday's dismal effort and 5-2 loss to their provincial rivals comes from Sam Gagner: "We had a few tough breakdowns at tough times. Our effort was good, but our execution has to be better. We can't expect Khabby to do it for us every single game. When you give up five goals to Calgary..."

...you only have a 20 percent chance to come back and win 6-5 in overtime.

Florida Panthers: David Booth went home yesterday. The team still isn't happy that Mike Richards didn't get suspended.

Los Angeles Kings: Scott Parse made his NHL debut Saturday and set up Jarret Stoll's goal with a beautiful fake shot and rocket pass. Finish wasn't bad either.

A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

Minnesota Wild: Cal Clutterbuck went from almost not playing to scoring like this in overtime.

P.S. Carolina defense, you're doing it wrong.

Montreal Canadiens: Mike Boone, in his always-excellent About Last Night... (seriously, read it after every Habs game), recounts a great question outta radio host Tony Marinano. "Was [using Guillaume Latandresse on the power play over Andrei Kostitsyn] a reward for Guillaume, a challenge for Guillaume or a message to Andrei?"

Martin, who smiles less often than Stephen Harper during these sessions with the media, couldn't suppress a grin as he replied:

"All three."

Martin's really got his troops marching now. Les Habitants will be an interesting watch for the remainder of the season.

Nashville Predators: The Preds got shut out for the third time already this season. By Cristobal Huet. Yeah, I know. The top line of Steve Sullivan, David Legwand and Martin Erat have four total points in 10 games and their salaries total $14 million.

New Jersey Devils: Things that are not good: Jacques Lemaire describing injuries to Jay Pandolfo and Paul Martin as "scary." Pando dislocated his right shoulder and Martin blocked a shot with his left arm then got slashed in it. Not good.

New York Islanders: Even if they're bad (they are), the Islanders at least go around earning other players' respect up until the third period. First Brooks Laich praised their hard work, but then said, "On the ice you could see fatigue in their faces in the third when we started carrying the play. They looked a little tired." The Islanders are 1-0-3 when leading after two periods this year.

New York Rangers: Brandon Dubinsky got benched for the entire second half of Saturday's game for a particularly egregious neutral-zone turnover with which John Tortorella was entirely unhappy. Chris Higgins got the same treatment for a bad penalty and a lack of backchecking.

Ottawa Senators: Total meltdown by Ottawa on Saturday, and the Ottawa press has found its scapegoat for the Sens giving up two goals inside of two minutes to go to blow a two-goal lead and then lose in a shootout. Try to think of who it could be. Spezza, Alfredsson, the defense, the coaching? Well you were close, it's Tim Thomas.

Philadelphia Flyers: In really the only non-Mike Richards news of the weekend, the Flyers may or may not be interested in the services of Brendan Shanahan. Wouldn't that be something?

Phoenix Coyotes: If you had Oct. 25 in the "When does Dave Tippett start replying curtly to questions about where this team will be next year?" pool, you can pick up your winnings in Hamilton later today.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Apparently it's time to give Sidney Crosby a new nickname. I like Sidney "The Doctor of Style" Crosby as much as the next guy, but Sidney "The Mouth of the South" Crosby is my darkhorse.

San Jose Sharks: Like most goalies recently, Brian Boucher struggled against the Sharks, his old team, in his re-debut with Philly, his new-but-also-old team. He gave up two goals to Manny Malhotra and another to Jed Ortmeyer. The win meant Sharks ended their east-coast road trip 4-2-0, and they're looking real strong.

St. Louis Blues: Update on TJ Oshie's appendectomy -- he's out seven to 10 days.

Tampa Bay Lightning: The Bolts have now lost three shootouts this year, having blown late leads in two of those games. Steven Stamkos gets to the heart of the matter when discussing how to not do that any more: "Maybe win it before we go to a shootout." Maybe, kid. Maybe.

Toronto Maple Leafs: The Maple Leafs lost again. Sky blue, water wet. I get it. So now PPP is looking at just when they might finally win a game. (Hint: it'll be awhile.)

Vancouver Canucks: Just in time for Maitheu Schneider to return, Kyle Wellwood went and broke his toe. They said it was a puck, Twitter probably thinks he tried to eat it.

Washington Capitals: What's wrong with the Washington power play? It's zero for its last 11 and gave up a shortie to the Islanders. They know Alexander Ovechkin is on the first unit, right?

Play of the Weekend

You wanna talk about important plays, how about Brian McGrattan's epic scrap with Steve MacIntyre early in Saturday's Battle of Alberta Pt. 3? Fight lasted close to two minutes and there were some BOMBS exchanged. McGrattan certainly got his boys going. After giving up a goal just 2:25 in, the Flames outscored their old rivals 5-1 the rest of the way.

Gold Star Award

Mike Cammalleri had a huge night in Montreal. Three goals, including the overtime game-winner, and an assist.

Minus of the Weekend

Note to Brian Boucher: if you ask into a game against your old team, don't suck, eh? Four goals on 28 shots, pretty much all of them ugly? Not good, Boosh. Not good at all.

Perfect HFBoards trade proposal of the week

User "Prudentius" would like to solve the Habs' goaltending problems.

To LAK: Price, S. Kost, Hamrlik, 1st 2011

To MTL: J. Johnson , Frolov, Stoll, Ersberg, 1st 2010

He would also, apparently, like to acquire good players for cents on the dollar.

Signoff

If someone had left a note, this innocent man would still have his arm!

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness pretty much every day over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don't you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

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Mon, 26 Oct 2009 06:45:13 PDT Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,3e02e462-4197-3873-b783-dc86c38c9e3f-l:1
Puck Daddy's 2009-10 NHL line combo rankings https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-sean-leahy/puck-daddys-2009-10-nhl-line-combo-rankings--nhl.html

Recently, Wysh discussed the powerhouse line of Alexander Semin-Nicklas Backstrom-Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals along with a few other top lines around the National Hockey League. But what about the rest of the league? How do some of the top lines compare to one another?

For this Puck Daddy experiment, we used the amazing "Line Combination" tracker from Dobber Hockey, which charts the lines for every team and how often they are played together. It's incredibly resourceful for fantasy purposes as well as a great tool for stat geeks everywhere.

After the jump, we break down the top two lines* from all 30 NHL teams into a five-tier system much like ESPN's Bill Simmons uses with his NFL power rankings.

*Note: In these rankings we used the top two lines by their frequency together, which, according to Dobber, the percentages "represent on-ice line occurrences compiled from NHL play-by-play events." This is why there might be some notable name omissions; Patrick Kane and Evgeni Malkin might pop out right away. Some of the lines may be temporarily scrambled by coaches. Also, the lines are not ranked within their individual tiers.

THE BEST OF THE BEST

Bobby Ryan-Corey Perry-Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

Daniel Alfredsson-Milan Michalek-Jason Spezza, Ottawa Senators

Dany Heatley-Devin Setoguchi-Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks

Alex Burrows-Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

Alexander Semin-Nicklas Backstrom-Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Tied for third in the best line poll from the other day, the Ryan-Perry-Getzlaf line is a developing powerhouse line that features the two stalwarts in Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf along with the budding star Bobby Ryan who broke out in his first full season in the NHL last year. The trio combined for 88 goals (31 on the power-play) and 220 points, leading Anaheim to an upset of the No. 1 San Jose Sharks in the first-round of the playoffs last season.

Keep in mind that we're talking about these lines at full power; right now, Semin's been dropped down to the second line and Daniel Sedin is out a month with a broken foot.

THE ALWAYS DANGEROUS

Jamie Langenbrunner-Zach Parise-Travis Zajac, New Jersey Devils

Nik Antropov-Ilya Kovalchuk-Bryan Little, Atlanta Thrashers

Milan Lucic-Marc Savard-Marco Sturm, Boston Bruins

Jarome Iginla-Olli Jokinen-David Moss, Calgary Flames

Mike Cammalleri-Brian Gionta-Scott Gomez, Montreal Canadiens

Patrick Sharp-Jonathan Toews-Kris Versteeg, Chicago Blackhawks

Derick Brassard-Kristian Huselius-Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets

Loui Erikkson-James Neal-Brad Richards, Dallas Stars

Pavel Datsyuk-Johan Franzen-Tomas Holmstrom, Detroit Red Wings

David Booth-Nathan Horton-Stephen Weiss, Florida Panthers

Anze Kopitar-Ryan Smyth-Justin Williams, Los Angeles Kings

Andrew Brunette-Martin Havlat-Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild

Brandon Dubinsky-Marian Gaborik-Vaclav Prospal, New York Rangers

Daniel Briere-Jeff Carter-Scott Hartnell, Philadelphia Flyers

Sidney Crosby-Bill Guerin-Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh Penguins

Ryan Clowe-Patrick Marleau-Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks

Brad Boyes-Paul Kariya-Keith Tkachuk, St. Louis Blues

Ryan Malone-Martin St. Louis-Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

It's the grizzled veteran surrounded by the two kids. For whatever reason, the line of Zach Parise-Jamie Langenbrunner-Travis Zajac works for New Jersey and it's no wonder all three are coming off career seasons. Painted as a defensive-minded team forever, Zach Parise is the man if the Devils are looking for a goal and if the chemistry the three built last season can be found again, they will lead the way offensively for New Jersey.

THIRD TIER

Milan Hejduk-Paul Stastny-Wojtek Wolski, Colorado Avalanche

Saku Koivu-Joffrey Lupul-Teemu Selanne, Anaheim Ducks

Tuomo Ruutu-Sergei Samsonov-Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes

Jamie Benn-Brendan Morrow-Mike Ribeiro, Dallas Stars

Todd Bertuzzi-Dan Cleary-Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings

Alex Hemsky-Shawn Horcoff-J.F. Jacques, Edmonton Oilers

Dustin Brown-Teddy Purcell-Jarret Stoll, Los Angeles Kings

Jason Arnott-Patric Hornqvist-Steve Sullivan, Nashville Predators

Ryan Callahan-Chris Drury-Chris Higgins, New York Rangers

Mike Fisher-Nick Foligno-Alex Kovalev, Ottawa Senators

Ryan Kesler-Mikael Samuelsson-Sergei Shirokov, Vancouver Canucks

Someone's going to have to score goals for Colorado as they can't rely on Darcy Tucker to contend for the Rocket Richard Trophy. The line of Milan Hejduk-Paul Stastny-Wojtek Wolski will be the one and only offensive unit that will pose a threat to defenses over the course of this season. It's another veteran partnered with two youngsters trio that seems to work and will only help to further the development of Stastny and Wolski.

FOURTH TIER

Matt Cooke-Tyler Kennedy-Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh Penguins

Patrice Bergeron-Chuck Kobasew-Mark Recchi, Boston Bruins

Rene Bourque-Nigel Dawes-Daymond Langkow, Calgary Flames

Matt Cullen-Chad LaRose-Ray Whitney, Carolina Hurricanes

Jason Chimera-Samuel Pahlsson-R.J. Umberger, Columbus Blue Jackets

Martin Erat-David Legward-Mike Santorelli, Nashville Predators

David Clarkson-Rob Niedermayer-Jay Pandolfo, New Jersey Devils

Matt Moulson-Kyle Okposo-John Tavares, New York Islanders

Max Afinogenov-Slava Kozlov-Todd White, Atlanta Thrashers

Martin Hanzal-Petr Prucha-Radim Vrbata, Phoenix Coyotes

Mikhail Grabovski-Niklas Hagman-Alexei Ponikarovsky, Toronto Maple Leafs

Jason Blake-Matt Stajan-Viktor Stalberg, Toronto Maple Leafs

The Pittsburgh Penguins third forward unit of Matt Cooke-Tyler Kennedy-Jordan Staal is a mix of a checking, shutdown, and offensive line. Cooke is the agitator, Staal is the shutdown pivot and power forward and Kennedy is the workhorse who has played himself into a full-time role with the Penguins. When the attributes of all three are blended together, you have a line that was a key component to Pittsburgh's Stanley Cup run last spring.

FIFTH TIER

Andrei Kostitsyn-Max Pacioretty-Tomas Plekanec, Montreal Canadiens

Josh Bailey-Trent Hunter-Jon Sim, New York Islanders

Tim Kennedy-Clark MacArthur-Jason Pominville, Buffalo Sabres

Matt Ellis-Patrick Kaleta-Drew Stafford, Buffalo Sabres

Troy Brouwer-Andrew Ladd-John Madden, Chicago Blackhawks

T.J. Galiardi-Chris Stewart-Darcy Tucker, Colorado Avalanche

Mike Comrie-Patrick Sullivan-Ryan Stone, Edmonton Oilers

Gregory Campbell-Radek Dvorak-Rostislav Olesz, Florida Panthers

Cal Clutterbuck-Antti Miettinen-James Sheppard , Minnesota Wild

Blair Betts-Daniel Carcillo-Ian Laperriere, Philadelphia Flyers

Matthew Lombardi-Peter Mueller-Scottie Upshall, Phoenix Coyotes

B.J. Crombeen-Jay McClement-Alex Steen, St. Louis Blues

Jeff Halpern-Andrew Miller-James Wright, Tampa Bay Lightning

Here's an interesting line on the Montreal Canadiens: The Kostitsyn-Pacioretty-Plekanec line features two players who took steps back last season and a youngster who's expected to develop into an important part of the Canadiens future. Kostitsyn and Plekanec saw their stats drop 42 points combined last season. As the team's current second line, if Montreal is to rebound from a playoff-less 2008-09 campaign, the production from their second line must get back on track.

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Thu, 08 Oct 2009 07:45:30 PDT Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,f8f0af47-0878-3c4a-9a9b-eca40a1c3288-l:1
What We Learned: Ugly hockey jerseys and you, a fan's guide https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-ryan-lambert/learned-ugly-hockey-jerseys-fans-guide--nhl.html Hello, this is a feature that aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

Earlier this week, Adrian Dater had a list of the five worst jerseys in NHL history and it was largely acceptable, even while discounting third jerseys for obvious reasons. Then I saw UniWatch's Flikr account on Digg last night that detailed some truly hideous minor league jerseys (that Batman one is surreal on a number of levels), and it got me thinking: Can you really call yourself a hockey fan if you don't own at least one jersey that is a nightmare for frozen fashionistas?

In hockey, more than any other athletic pursuit, the ugly jersey seems to have found a strong foothold in not only the sport, but the culture that surrounds it.

It's unlikely that an NBA blog would have a feature as popular and deep as Greg's amazing collection of Jersey Fouls. Baseball had its heyday in the 1980s, when all-powder blue everything and a hideous golden hue washed over parts of the National League. Football's never really had its ugly jersey high tide (the NFL just isn't that fun), although the middle part of this decade provided us with Patriots silver and Dolphins orange. Just forget about the NBA.

So how do you know you own a properly ugly jersey, outside getting your own name and some silly number put on the back? Let's find out together!

(Coming Up: What makes a terrible sweater; ESPN has Atlanta's problems solved; one kid that's really pumped about Marian Hossa; more than you ever wanted to know about Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers; and the Maple Leafs blogosphere brings its A game.)

1. There are excessive stripes.

Main offenders: Calgary (2007-present), Florida (2003-2006), the Rangers (1978-present)

Even if you fold it in half first, counting individual stripes on the current Flames jerseys, will give you nine. Which is far too many. Teams don't get suckered into doing something like this too often, but when they do, the results are typically not pretty. Some would argue that the Rangers' jersey is "classic," but all those stripes went out with the Montreal Maroons, I'm afraid.

And in that same vein...

2. There are vertical, diagonal, or just plain off the wall stripes.

Main offenders: Hamilton Tigers (1920-21), Dallas (1997-2006), the Islanders (1995-98)

What possesses a team to say, "Hey, every team in hockey has horizontal stripes, let's do something different" for absolutely no reason whatsoever? Obviously the Islanders' Fishstick logo (and I'll get to that soon) is the focal point of great derision, and rightly so; but I think the wave stripes, much like Dallas' star-shaped stripes just look ridiculous.

3. It's like they let a child pick the team's colors from a crayon box.

Main offenders: Atlanta (2008-present), Anaheim's Mighty Ducks days (1993-2006), Nashville (2001-2007), California (1974-76)

Atlanta's jersey is the perfect representation of everything you shouldn't do with team colors: the so-called "Blueland" blue, navy blue, some kind of strange maroon, gold and white. These are not colors that should be used together in sports. I'm sorry, they just aren't. Pick like three colors, all of which need to be within the realms of sanity and reason, and go with them.

4. Overt cartoonishness.

Main offenders: the Islanders (1995-97), Buffalo (1996-2006), San Jose (2007-present)

Here's the spot to cry about the unmitigated horror that is the Gorton's jersey. Everyone agrees it's completely silly, but it is truly a mark of a real fan if you actually own one. More bonus points than you can handle if it has Todd Bertuzzi's name on the back.

5. It could be the result of an acid freakout.

Main offenders: Phoenix (1996-2003)

This is the craziest jersey of all time, and there's not even a close second. Mid-90s insanity at its best right here. Speaking of...

6. It's from the mid-90s.

Main offenders: Pretty much everyone.

Never has such an awesome collection of hideous colors and designs converged into a horrible pile-up in a four-year span. These troubled times even spawned the thankfully-abandoned Blues third jersey from 1996.

7. There's a whole bunch of crazy crap on there.

Main offenders: Washington (1974-95), Carolina (1997-present), Atlanta (1999-2003)

What inspired the original Capitals owners to put a whole bunch of white and blue stars on there haphazardly? Why put the little hurricane warning flag symbol at the bottom of a Hurricanes jersey (apart from the stunningly obvious, I mean)? It's not the wall of a TGI Friday's, it's a hockey jersey. Let's act accordingly.

8. Reebok piping

Main offenders: More than half the league, that's for sure.
It's just so superfluous and unnecessary, and it always detracts from the overall quality of what would otherwise be a perfectly good jersey. The problem is also alarmingly widespread.

9. It's an All-Star jersey

Main offenders: Every year but 2004.

I'm sorry, orange and black, which reigned from the ‘70s to the 90s, is only appropriate for Halloween. After that, the jerseys fell victim to many of the above issues: diagonal stripes, Reebok piping, crazy colors, and so forth. The worst, though, are 2000-01's North America vs. the World monstrosities, which are so hideous on so many levels that I'm pretty sure it set the inventor of the hockey jersey spinning in his grave for a month.

10. It's a third (or worse: fourth!) jersey.

Main offenders: Everyone except Detroit, Montreal, and New Jersey.

There have been over 50 third or fourth jerseys in the NHL since the mid-90s, and all but probably eight of them have just been objectively terrible. The Duck crashing through the ice makes the viewer instead wish he had a pencil crashing through his retina, the giant Bruin head was clearly an attempt to be a helpful piece of outdoor wear for hunters simultaneously designed to confuse bears, and the Lightning third from 1996-99 makes me wonder what we as a race have done to deserve having such an atrocity visited upon us.

You're guaranteed some weird colors, you'll probably get an odd take on a logo, and you're almost certain to find a hilarious name/number combo from when, in your foolhardy youth, you thought some mid-level prospect was going to become the next Gretzky. Think Jean-Yves Roy and weep.

So if you go through your closet and can't find one jersey that matches any of the above descriptions, stop pretending to be a hockey fan.

What We Learned SVE

Because it's summer and hockey is a sport typically played on ice and toward which the media is traditionally apathetic, there's not a ton of actual news on every team floating around out there (shocking I know!). So here's a shortened version of WWL, where if I couldn't find a decent story within three blogs or news sites, I stopped looking. I'm on vacation too, dammit. Be warned: there's nothing going on.

Atlanta Thrashers: ESPN, never one to be anything less than incisive with its hockey coverage, has finally nailed down Atlanta's needs. Says the tease on Insider: "Atlanta needs someone to step up, help Ilya Kovalchuk." Quick! Get Don Waddell on the phone, we can get his team to the playoffs yet!

Boston Bruins: News came out just before the weekend began in earnest that the Bruins had traded Aaron Ward to Carolina for Patrick Eaves, whom they promptly bought out of his contract, and a fourth-round pick. "Surely," tittered the hockey world at large, "this is to clear cap space for the Phil Kessel contract." Then the Bruins went out and signed Derek Morris and everyone was like, "Boy that's a good, affordable alternative to Wardo." And THEN it came out that D-Mo would make $3.3 million dollars, an increase of $800,000 over Ward's contract. And now Peter Chiarelli is apparently now done dealing. What?

Calgary Flames: Wonderful article by the wonderful Eric Francis in yesterday's Calgary Sun about Brent Sutter's true passion: farming. Maintaining his idyllic ranch in Red Deer seems to afford him a certain peace that he, for some reason, couldn't find in beautiful Paterson, New Jersey.

Carolina Hurricanes: Speaking of the Aaron Ward trade, Carolina fans are of course doing self-congratulatory back-flips over it. They get an aging if not solid stay-at-home defenseman for basically nothing, even if that does mean they have to jettison Denis Seidenberg (no big loss) and Anton Babchuk (it's not like they needed his 16 goals last year, hey?). Shockingly, there's now nary a mention from the chuckleheads at Canes Country of what a faker Ward is regarding that feared-broken orbital bone thanks to Scott Walker's sucker punch. He is once again a badass in their eyes, and thank goodness for that.

Chicago Blackhawks: Somewhat questionable: signing a 30-year-old to a rich 12-year contract (counterpoint: HOSSAAAAAAA!). Pretty clearly a bad decision: not giving him a physical beforehand. Yeah, Hossa had surgery and is out until like December so that's a pretty big loss. Certifiably insane: The notion that, sans Hossa, the Blackhawks "are more than equipped to deal with his absence." Yeah, okay.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Adam Portzline, with an assist from Scott Howson, finds the crap economy is hurting low-level NHLers the most, but everyone is affected.

Dallas Stars: Defending Big D has a pretty decent look at the new (and imaginatively named) Texas Stars AHL team. Hey, it's former first-round Brent Krahn!

Detroit Red Wings: Funnily, the Red Wings base their success on the late-80s, early-90s Kamloops Blazers' player development model. Ken Holland apparently finds it awfully easy to ignore that the Blazers haven't won a playoff round since 2000.

Edmonton Oilers: And now an in-depth look at the wonder that is Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers that theorizes this is his last chance to stick with the Oil and not be a career AHLer.

Florida Panthers: Welp, they're out of the Alex Tanguay sweepstakes, so sayeth some crazy foreign newspaper.

Nashville Predators: Pekka Rinne is apparently on the hot seat in Nashville, says some guy on a Web site that pretends it's a legitimate news organization but isn't, because having any starting goalie longer than two years is insane.

New Jersey Devils: Can Brian Rolston replace Brian Gionta's scoring production? Short answer: "Yes." Longer answer: "Yeah."

New York Islanders: Charles Wang is heading to Kansas City with the Isles when they play an exhibition game there this fall. No word on exactly how he's going to keep them there against their will.

New York Rangers: Chris Higgins will be appearing at a comedy show in New York City on July 30. The Rangers' current D corps is scheduled to headline.

Ottawa Senators: You've probably laughed at this already, but Down Goes Brown's list of Do's and Don'ts for the Jason Spezza wedding this weekend was an absolute pisser.

Philadelphia Flyers: They're about to sign ex-Jacket Ole-Kristian Tollefsen. I don't know if the Flyers front office is aware that there's a salary cap, but this is getting a little silly, all things considered.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Pens prospect Alex Velischek is going to be on the receiving end of some strongly-worded blog posts and PD comments for this little jab: "I took the Penguins because [Marc-Andre] Fleury's a better goalie than [Detroit's Chris] Osgood. That was my thought process." MORE LIKE NO-THOUGHT PROCESS, RIGHT DETROIT FANS?

San Jose Sharks: David Pollak has a gander at the Sharks' current potential lineup, but does not account for the fact that like half these guys are getting traded and replaced with their non-union Mexican equivalent to save cap space. Senor Jose Thorntono will be a strong addition to the top line, just you wait.

St. Louis Blues: Eric Brewer is just the latest Blues defenseman whose status for the start of the season is uncertain at best.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Will the new contract finally motivate this Tampa defeseman? Smaby, Smaby not. (Boo.)

Toronto Maple Leafs: Lots of good blogging (or, as I just typed on three failed attempts: "blooging") from Leafdom this weekend, so maybe you missed the Toronto Media Blame Game flowchart from Bitter Leafs Fan. Now is the perfect chance to correct your ghastly mistake.

Vancouver Canucks: Is Mason Raymond really poised for a breakout season? I dunno, he got mentioned on "How I Met Your Mother" once, so that's gotta be a career pinnacle.

Took the week off: The Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, Phoenix Coyotes, and Washington Capitals

Thing of the Week

I finally got around to picking up the newest Levon Helm album this week (I think it came out at the end of June) and it's really, really good.

Perfect HFBoards trade proposal of the week

A general rule of thumb when it comes to HFBoards trade proposals is that if it's a three-way deal, it's ALWAYS going to be terrible. And such is the case with this latest [sic]'ed-up volley from user "Tookey98," involving the Islanders, Kings and Bruins:

NYI- Stoll

LA- Kessal

BOS- Oscor Moller, LA 1st, NYI 2nd

A winner every time!

Signoff

Adios.

The Two-Line Pass publishes hockey awesomeness occasionally. Please do check it out. Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

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Mon, 27 Jul 2009 07:03:57 PDT Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,fdbe7902-6941-3a34-b78f-e1fd0ed21fff-l:1
What We Learned: Garth Snow is a genius; draft winners, losers https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-ryan-lambert/learned-garth-snow-genius-draft-winners-losers--nhl.html

Hello, this is a feature that aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

Remember a couple years ago when the Islanders announced that Garth Snow, the guy that had been their backup goalie just 15 minutes before, would be their general manager?

Oh how we all laughed and laughed. "HIM?" we scoffed. "Garth Snow? The guy went to MAINE for God's sake! How smart could he be?" And, quickly, he gave us an impetus for more laughter than we knew what to do with, floating Rick DiPietro a 15-year contract that probably even had DiPi snickering under his breath as he put ink to paper.

And then of course something funny happened: he started making prudent decisions. He signed Viktor Kozlov to a one-year deal for less than a million dollars (he scored 25 goals and 51 points that year), offloaded some terrible contracts and traded for Ryan Smyth to help push the Isles into the playoffs. For this, Sports Illustrated named him the 2006-07 NHL Executive of the Year and everyone out in Nassau was very pleased with themselves.

And, of course, the Islanders collapsed right back into crumminess, finishing with an average of 70 points over the last two seasons, and we all resumed our joyous, self-satisfied laughter.

But then ole' Garth pulled six fast ones this weekend, and everything I've read since then says we should be in awe of him right now. So why not?

(Coming up: Why the Bouwmeester/Flames thing isn't a big deal; a look inside Chris Pronger's plan to get suspended for the entirety of the 2009-10 season; Stan Fischler owes someone an apology; the debate over the Red Wings' obscure Scandinavian seventh-round pick rages: Future Hall of Famer or merely a six-time Norris winner?; and how Matt Duchene honed his sniper skills by bulls-eyeing womp rats in his T-16 back home.)

Snow took John Tavares first overall, which is all well and good; and it was certainly the right decision from a marketing standpoint -- with not much separating Tavares and Matt Duchene talent-wise, Tavares seemed more likely to sell a couple jerseys and season tickets, at least.

But then he turned a No. 26 pick and a second, two thirds, a fourth and a seventh (believe me they had like 50 picks so it's no big deal) into the No. 12 pick and select Calvin de Hann. They selected three players in the first 31 picks and very quietly have taken 20 players in the last two drafts.

The Islanders, by the way, are going to have a lot of cap room come Wednesday. With Garth Snow being as smart as he is, he just might sign Marian Hossa, Jay Bouwmeester and Marian Gaborik.

Yeah, that's it.

What We Learned

(A little bit of a different setup this week. Instead of just some regular ol' news about the various teams around the NHL, here's an assessment of their drafts. By me. You're sure to love it.)

Anaheim Ducks: Winners, obviously. They had two first-round picks (Peter Holland and Kyle Palmieri), and the only round in which they didn't pick was the seventh; so, who cares? The loss of Chris Pronger obviously hurts them for next season, but the return -- Joffrey Lupul, whom TSN called "Jeffrey" more than a few times, along with Luca Sbisa, Philly's first rounder (used on Palmieri) and a first-round pick in 2010 -- will soften the blow more than a little.

Atlanta Thrashers: Winners, I guess. Evander Kane is going to be a legit hockey player, maybe even this season, and three picks in the first 45 is good too. I mean, they were never going to improve that much in the draft (unlesstheytradedKovalchuk cough cough) so you can't look down on this weekend too much.

Boston Bruins: Losers. Know what type of player always works out well? High-scoring wings from the QMJHL with 19- and 20-year old kids centering them, which is what Boston got in Jordan Caron at No. 25. Y'know, all those massively successful guys like... huh, I can't think of anyone. They also failed to move Phil Kessel, which will not help Peter Chiarelli once Wednesday rolls around.

Buffalo Sabres: Winners, if only because I love the Zack Kassian pick at 13. Buffalo was often wanting for someone like Kassian who can park himself at the goalmouth and both take and dish out abuse without picking up a season-ending injury (read: Derek Roy). Like the Thrashers, the Sabres were largely immobile as far as being able to help their club for next season, so you just take the best available player; and if he fits your needs, awesome.

Calgary Flames: Losers, but barely. The Jay Bouwmeester trade sounds good in theory (and certainly I was excited when I heard the news on Saturday morning), but in actual practice this is giving up something with tangible value to you for three days of simply telling the guy how great you are. And in order to do that, you also have to trade a defenseman. And, if you actually do sign Bouwmeester, you're going to have just about half your cap space tied up in him, Jarome Iginla, Dion Phaneuf, Olli Jokinen and Miikka Kiprusoff.

J-Bo's gonna test the market anyway, and Darryl Sutter might end up with nothing but some bigger holes to fill. I did like the Tim Erixon pick though, yessir, as well as the fact that Sutter seems to be done drafting grinders and is actually attempting to stock the farm with skill players. Or maybe this is just me getting Homer Simpson Australian Beer Syndrome ("It's kinda worth it... I guess.")

Carolina Hurricanes: Losers. Again, I am not enamored of selecting QMJHL players in the first round -- no offense to Sid Crosby, I guess -- especially when a kid like Carter Ashton is still on the board. They drafted Philippe Paradis for his size and postseason pedigree (a whopping 12 points in 21 playoff games in the absurdly high-scorin' Q). He was also projected to be a late-second to early-third-round pick. But hey, he's just massive 6-foot-1 so golly gee, let's get this kid signed up.

I did, however, like their pick of Brian Dumoulin in the second round. He's going to defenseman factory Boston College, which has turned out NHL d-men like Andrew Alberts, Peter Harrold, Brooks Orpik and Rob Scuderi in recent years.

Chicago Blackhawks: Winners, I suppose. Dylan Olsen is a perfectly fine player at No. 28 because what're ya gonna do when you get that low? But you want to hear a hilarious little story? Their second-round pick intentionally avoided playing in the OHL so he could get noticed by dominating a lesser league (and to his credit he put up 50 points in 40 games in the OPJHL) and building a bit on his 5-8, 160-pound frame. It worked for now, but we'll see where that gets him in terms of making the NHL.

Colorado Avalanche: Winners, since Matt Duchene was their man from the giddy-up. They met with him twice, he grew up cheering for them, and all that fun stuff, so that's all both parties were looking for. He (likely) provides immediate help in some capacity at an NHL, and also he is a "big Star Wars fan." If you want to write your own joke about Duchene's tauntaun freezing before he makes it to the first marker, here's some space to do it: ____________________.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Winners, because they seem to really love the John Moore pick. Big kid, good skater, and dropped more than they thought he would, which required them to trade up after already trading down. There's still no indication whether Moore will go to Colorado College or Kitchener, though. It'd probably be better for his development to get some Major Junior games under his belt though.

Dallas Stars: Losers. Why not try acquiring a goalie instead of reaching for yet another soft, fast kid?

Detroit Red Wings: Winners. They will always be winners in the draft. It's preternatural, really. Trading down and still getting Landon Ferraro is pretty nice, considering who his dad is and how sons of former NHLers are typically not bad, at the very least. And look, they took a Swede in the seventh round. How many career points for the kid, you think? An even 1,000? A future captain at least.

Edmonton Oilers: Winners. As a Flames fan, I was more than a little upset to see Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson fall to them. He got good size, blazing speed, and a hell of a shot. And he instantly becomes the best prospect in the Oilers system to boot. Yeah, great.

Florida Panthers: Losers. Dmitry Kulikov was an underwhelming pick that also has a preexisting contract with a KHL team. He could be a steal, but he also could be not worth the headache. Then on top of that, they only wrangled a third-round pick (ooooo Josh Birkholz!) and the rights to Jordan Leopold for J-Bo. Spin it all you want, that's a terrible return for a guy that should've been a ghost at the deadline.

Los Angeles Kings: Winners. Brayden Schenn is a great, great pick. However, the fans that had the misfortune of listening to Dean Lombardi just go on and on and on at the draft are very much losers.

Minnesota Wild: Losers. I am almost 100 percent certain that the Team of 18,000 also holds some sort of front office position, because their decision to draft Nick Leddy (MR. HOCKEY!!!!!!!) is puzzling under the best of circumstances and a disaster for everyone but the PR department at worst. Meanwhile, if drafting someone whose birth certificate says "MN" on it was really their prerogative, then they let another better Minnesotan -- and one that would fill a position of need -- in Jordan Schroeder drop to a division rival. Because the kid who scored 40 points as an underage rookie in the WCHA last year apparently can't "generate legitimate offense." Nonsense. Utter nonsense. But that Kyle Brodziak pick-up should turn it all around for them.

Montreal Canadiens: Winners, for now at least. What a wonderful honeymoon local boy Louis LeBlanc and the Habs are having right now. No mention of the fact that he's going to an inferior college league from a developmental point of view (Chris Higgins is the only first-round pick out of the ECAC to even make it to the NHL since, like, the invention of the sport). Or that he will undoubtedly be booed and have his desire to play for the Habs questioned at every turn in two years' time. Best of luck, Lou. You're gonna need it.

Nashville Predators: Losers. I was just saying the other day, "Y'know what the Preds need? More defensemen." And they duly chose two defensemen within the first 42 picks, including Ryan Ellis who is very small, even for a high school hockey player. Maybe they'll convert him to a center or something. It's not that Ellis is a bad player, far from it, but with all the forward talent still on the board, why pick a project with no size that plays a position in which you are already incredibly deep and young?

New Jersey Devils: Winners. Jacob Josefson is, by all accounts, the long-term replacement for John Madden. Good two-way center, not a ton of offense, great hockey sense and a bit of offensive upside to boot. This is the prototypical Lou Lamoriello pick.

New York Islanders: As discussed above, winners. They made the right move (not that you or I or anyone else couldn't have done it) for the franchise hockey-wise as well as cash-wise.

According to Dey, more than $79,000 in ticket plans (not including renewals) were sold in the first hour after the pick, along with $15,000 worth of Tavares merchandise.

The de Hann pick was an odd one, sure, but how you gonna be mad at the Isles, draftin' John Tavares and whatnot? Good for them.

New York Rangers: Winners? Chris Kreider was a bit of a stretch. I saw him play for Phillips Andover this year, and the kid, who's like 6-2,190, was playing against 16-year-olds. He was so fast and skilled no one could hit him or catch up to him, so it was tough to judge how the kid will react with people that are actually capable of playing at a comparable skill level put the body on him (though my buddy Mike at the Warrior Rink Rat heard through the grapevine that the Rangers were sending someone to watch him play at least once a week). Then they got an alright, youngish, fourth-line NHL center in Brian Boyle via trade and drafted Ray Bourque's other, (presumably) less stupid kid. Lots of projects but all of them could work out just fine.

Ottawa Senators: Losers. Jared Cowen is a good pick (not that they didn't want someone else instead) but the Sens HAD to trade Dany Heatley and couldn't get it done. Also, the above clip made Bryan Murray run to the bathroom sobbing.

Philadelphia Flyers: Winners. Who needs two first-round picks when you have Chris Pronger? By the way, given both the reputations of both the team and player involved, how long into his first shift in a Flyers uniform will he be pick up a match penalty and get suspended? I'm putting the over-under on 20 seconds.

Phoenix Coyotes: Losers. They love their European players, I understand, and Oliver Ekman-Larson is a good one. But they took Jim Vandermeer's absurd contract off the Flames' hands and I'm not really sure why. It might have to do with how bad they feel about saddling Calgary with Olli Jokinen, a noted dressing-room cancer and destroyer of playoff hopes.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Losers, if only because Simon Despres looks like if David Gest and Uncle Rico had a frightening child.

Maybe he'll chuck Lucille II over them mountains.

San Jose Sharks: Winners? Losers? Who even knows? They drafted some kid from Alaska. And it was a reach. Why even go to Montreal if you're just going to mail it in?

St. Louis Blues: Losers. It made me laugh hysterically that David Rundblad's comparable player, according to TSN, was Mike Green.‘Course that's because he says he "often hits the net." Might want to mention his goal total last season. It was "zero."

Tampa Bay Lightning: Winners. They couldn't have gone wrong with Viktor Hedman. He's legit. Then they moved up to get Carter Ashton at No. 29. Then they drafted a kid whose name perfectly captures the ownership situation down in Tampa right now: Richard Panik.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Winners. Yeah it's tough to move into the Top 3, and I understand that you didn't want to give up Luke Schenn. Can't move down, either. So you pick Nazem Kadri? The occasionally lazy kid who was slipping in a lot of mock drafts? I dunno about that pick, but the rest of the draft was real good in terms of adding Burke-type sandpaper guys that will do nothing but irritate people. Their second-round pick openly admits to admiring Sean Avery. That must be a good thing.

Vancouver Canucks: Winners. I can't believe Jordan Schroeder fell to them, but I also can't believe what a rockhead he is (apparently he tested very low at the combine as far as noggin-smarts, which contributed to his precipitous drop). Watch as he struggles to put on a jersey.

Washington Capitals: Losers (sorry, Mr. Wyshynski). They didn't seem to address any of their pressing needs via trade or anything, and instead drafted a Swedish center in the first round for the third time in four years. Sure this one's a little meaner than the last two, but still. You struck pay dirt with Backstrom. Why keep digging there? Don't you need defensemen?

Play of the Weekend

Poor America. Gorgeous goal on the counterattack though.

(And I promise that's the last soccer highlight or mention. Don't bother complaining about it.)

Gold Star Award

The Vancouver Province's Tony Gallagher wrote maybe the greatest opinion piece in the history of hockey journalism yesterday, implying that the Canucks have been held down far too long by the lamentable salary cap because Calgary was able to trade Vandermeer for Brandon Prust.

... By extension in Bettman's world, Vancouver Canuck fans therefore have helped finance a competitive disadvantage to their own team.

The money they pay in tickets to buy Canuck tickets has gone a goodly long way to help the Flames get better and thereby better able to beat the Canucks on the ice if they're able to sign Bouwmeester, a defenceman with some offensive ability and outstanding mobility.

...

But in this league, the CBA prevents the Canucks from spending more and outbidding smaller markets like Calgary for players they deem to be better. So when your money as a fan is being used by loser teams to beat your own, which is financially prevented from putting a better team in front of you, as a paying customer you probably have the right to ask why.

I mean, that's beautiful stuff right there.

Minus of the Weekend

No contest this weekend: It goes to Stan Fischler, and everyone else who questioned Brent Sutter's intentions about not coaching in New Jersey any more. Fischler was throwing around words like "dirty, double-crossing rat" and a liar in this low-rent crybaby post. Turns out he owes Sutter an apology which I'm sure he'll never man up and actually deliver. To wit:

Of all the business and family ties that drew Calgary Flames head coach Brent Sutter back to Alberta, one of the most vital is a woman named Grace.

Grace Sutter, the matriarch of the family of six rough-and-tumble brothers who made it to the National Hockey League--Brent, Brian, Darryl, Duane, Rich and Ron--and one other, Gary. Grace Sutter, the woman who invited every kid in Viking to the family farm this week to celebrate the end of the school year.

Grace Sutter, the woman who quietly battled breast cancer last year away from the public eye.

So there's that, you scumbags.

Next week's game thing I'm totally going to watch on Center Ice if I'm home

Wednesday will be the free agency showcase showdown. Watch with bated breath as your team tries to bid for Marian Hossa and fails to sign him.

Event that should replace the shootout and would be just as relevant to hockey skill

Letting Richard Nixon win.

Thing of the Week

Roger Ebert's review of the ‘I'm-sure-it's-atrocious' "Transformers 2" made me happier than anything all week.

Perfect HFBoards trade proposal of the week

This actually may be a literally perfect trade proposal from user "eric71."

Owners should give Pittsburgh its Net Profits from the past 20 years and we should do a roster swap. I dont wanna wait another 5 years to be contenders.

To Pittsburgh:

TML 2009 Roster

All Net Profits from 1989-2009

To Toronto:

Pens 2009 Roster

So awesome.

Signoff

Toodles.

The Two-Line Pass publishes hockey awesomeness every day. Please do check it out. Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

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Mon, 29 Jun 2009 06:50:48 PDT Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,d25f4963-c3e9-3566-90c1-b80fc1f2147f-l:1
What We Learned: Eight excuses for teams that got bounced https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-ryan-lambert/learned-eight-excuses-teams-got-bounced--nhl.html

(Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.)

By this time tomorrow, it's entirely likely that all but two first-round series will be over (and really, does anyone think the Rangers or Hurricanes have even the slightest chance of winning?). With this in mind, I took a quick stroll through the Internet to try and figure out just why every team that lost did so.

It was quite the adventure, believe you me, so here are the most common excuses I have found.

1. That goalie you thought was going to be a superstar is really just not very good.

I know, Montreal fans. Every goalie that was ever born in Quebec was destined to become the Habs' savior that would lead Les Glorieux to the promised-land again and again and again, like all those guys that did it back in 1919 or whatever. They said that about Patrick Roy. They said that about Jose Theodore. They said that about Carey Price. (Ed. Note: Even though he was born in British Columbia.) And none of those losers delivered more than two Cups (and even then, just Roy, and even then, ONLY TWO?). Clearly THEY are the problem. Boo them right out of town, by all means. You deserve better.

2. You were wayyyyyy too young.

Poor St. Louis. Apart from all those guys that have playoff experience (a mere 10!), the Blues had a roster literally overflowing with guys who had no playoff experience. Can't expect them to beat a team like the Canucks. I mean, Mats freakin' Sundin plays for them. Impossible to win against all that playoff experience.

3. You ran into a buzzsaw.

How could anyone think it's possible beat a team like Detroit? I mean, look who's in net for them! It's super-hard to put more than one past Chris Osgood. Can't fault anyone on the Blue Jackets. It's not like it was a no-show. No sir. Everyone tried hard.

(Coming Up: A mea culpa over the awesome power of Eric Staal; why it's all Mike Keenan's fault; the Ducks complain about a game-winner; the heroics of Tom Poti; another awful Vincent Lecavalier trade; and more Tortorella fallout.)

4. You were the victims of a vast league-wide conspiracy.

Gary BUTTMAN (lol) and NBC and the Bilderberg Group, in conjunction with the reverse vampires, have clearly ordained that no one but the Penguins and CINDY CRY-SBY (lmao) may represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup finals. Those "9/11 was an inside job!" guys oughta make a YouTube movie out of this and really get to the bottom of it.

5. Swine flu.

Whoever loses the New Jersey/Carolina series has this great news story as a perfect, ready-made excuse. All you have to do is hire someone to Photoshop Eric Staal or Patrik Elias wearing a somebrero and kissing a pig. Bulletproof plan!

6. Your coach is terrible.

What is Mike Keenan thinking? He kept pulling Miikka Kiprusoff any time he gave up three goals in eight minutes. Absurd. Clearly Iron Mike doesn't know what's going on any more. This is in no way Jarome Iginla's fault for only showing up to two of the first five games.

7. It is entirely probable that you will never win a first-round matchup again.

Without looking it up (or even caring to), it is my assumption that the San Jose Sharks never won a series in the entire history of their franchise, which predates the Montreal Canadiens by at least a week and a half. In fact, before they won Game 3 against Anaheim, they'd been swept in every series in their history. So it goes.

8. You were too distraught over the death of Bea Arthur.

How could Henrik Lundqvist be asked to make gloveside saves knowing that we're down to just two Golden Girls? How could the Rangers' offense concentrate on goal-scoring when they're terribly worried that Rue McClanahan might be the next to go? It's just a bad, bad situation for everyone. Now at least we'll have a whole summer to laugh along with Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia in reruns. Thank you for being a friend, Bea.

What We Learned

(WWL will, for the remainder of the postseason, only cover the teams still playing hockey. Any news of note involving the other teams will be dealt with below in Loserwatch '09.)

Anaheim Ducks: Where would the Ducks be without Jonas Hiller? That game Saturday night was only 2-0 in the third period thanks pretty much to him and him alone. Anaheim had, through two periods, been outshot 29-13, and through regulation it was still 41-22. Even on the game-winning goal, he made the initial stop and accidentally kicked the puck in himself. And even then...

"The reason the puck went in the net is because their player pushed our goalie's pad," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "The puck was loose behind him and their player pushed the goalie's pad. As he pushed the goalie's pad, the back of his skate knocked the puck in the net."

Referees Dennis LaRue and Kevin Pollock huddled briefly after the goal, but there was no video review.

"I think there needs to be some clarification because my view is they're not allowed to push the goaltender and the puck into the net to cause a good goal," Carlyle said.

I mean, it's clearly a good goal. I have no love for the Ducks or Sharks and it should have counted. But I did feel bad for Hiller because, jeez, look at everything he did in the lead-up. Sucks to go to Game 6 on a play like that.

Boston Bruins: After the absolute thrashing the Bruins laid on the Habs in Round 1, the one thing they really needed to do was get better. Enter Andrew Ference, who will be good to go when the Bruins start their second-round series.

Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference missed the entire first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with an "undisclosed injury", but B's coach Claude Julien indicated that the veteran blueliner should be ready to start the next round of playoffs likely to start at the end of next week. Ference skated for the fourth straight day prior to team practice on Friday morning, and Julien said that he'll likely begin skating with the team at the beginning of next week. "Right now, the way things are looking there's no reason to not think he's going to start the next series," said Julien. "From our chats with our trainers, by the beginning of the week he'll be (back) with the team."

The good news for whatever team is unfortunate enough to play the Bruins: Tim Thomas had flu-like symptoms and Patrice Bergeron has a foot injury. The bad news: neither will be a problem by the time the second round starts.

Also, a note to all my Ruff Ryderz: Meet me outside.

Calgary Flames: If you, like me, had the misfortune of watching the lopsided beatdown in Chicago on Saturday, you probably had a number of questions: 1) What the [expletive deleted]? 2) Where was the Flames team that showed up in Calgary? 3) No, seriously, what the [expletive deleted]? Don't worry, though. It's all Mike Keenan's fault!

"With the way we played the first period, the criticism has to fall on myself, the coach," Keenan said. "The team wasn't prepared to play at all, for a number of reasons.

"But the bottom line is that when your team doesn't respond -- or isn't prepared --that's really the coach's responsibility. And that's exactly what the state of the club was. We weren't prepared for the push that we saw from them, and that's my job."

Or maybe it's all Jarome Iginla's fault.

"I wasn't nearly good enough," said captain Jarome Iginla. "I was terrible tonight. There's no excuse for that."

Iginla finished the game at a brutal minus-3 with no points and just one shot on goal.

"It's no secret," Iginla said. "We were feeling good, and we just let up a little bit in the beginning of the game. You can't do that. Especially on the road."

Or maybe, just maybe, it's all Miikka Kiprusoff's fault.

Kiprusoff said he can't put his finger on why he's been yanked in a quarter of the team's playoff games over the past two springs.

"No, I can't," said an obviously downtrodden netminder. "Probably I didn't play well enough."

Guys, guys. I can settle this for you. No problem. You ALL suck! How's a 9 a.m. tee time on Tuesday sound, then?

Carolina Hurricanes: I am, of course, greatly aggrieved to have to say this. Eric Staal had a hell of a hockey game last night. No two ways about it.

The way this team is built, the Canes aren't going to win many playoff series when Staal has two points. Now, he has five, and the Canes are headed for a Game 7 in New Jersey on Tuesday.

Saturday morning, I wrote that Staal was the one player on the Carolina roster who could do what Martin Brodeur did in Game 5: single-handedly turn the series in his team's favor. Sunday night, he did just that.

So at least I'm not the only one that has to eat my words a bit here. The good news for Devils fans is that Staal has six career points (two goals!) at New Jersey in 15 career games, including these playoffs, and is a minus-3.

And by the way, uhhhhhhh, what goes on down in Raleigh? (NSFW)

Chicago Blackhawks: That Chicago win on Saturday was more or less the result of Calgary saying, "Nah, we're all set with playing like professional hockey players, thank you." But, if you had to say one Blackhawk was the reason for the win, you'd be hard-pressed to come up with a more deserving candidate for the praise than Martin Havlat.

Martin Havlat, meanwhile, continues to demonstrate his importance -- when healthy, Havlat might be the Hawks' best player. He had two assists, was plus-2 for the evening and seemed to be in the middle of everything the Hawks did in Game 5. He and Ladd were especially effective keeping the puck alive in the Flames' end and creating chances.

It's particularly interesting to note that Havlat was a minus-4 in Thursday night's ugly loss in Calgary. If he can show up tonight like he did last Tuesday (when he had a goal and an assist), the Blackhawks will put Calgary out of its misery. Also, he will make a ton of money on the free agent market this summer. That too.

Detroit Red Wings: There really isn't much to say about the Red Wings' four-game curb-stomping of the Blue Jackets outside of the fact that I didn't expect it to shake out like that at all. Once again, I have to blame Ken Hitchcock. But instead of rehashing news from like four days ago, let's have a look at the Wings' injury situation, yeah?

It's still a waiting game when it comes to the status of Kris Draper. The forward has missed the last six games, regular season and playoffs, with an upper-body injury. The official word is that his status will be re-evaluated and updated next week. However, I've talked with sources close to the situation, and it appears as if Draper is ready to play and is just waiting to be cleared by the team. I wouldn't be surprised to see him suit up during the second round.

Pretty much everyone else is good to go except Andreas Lilja, who is likely done for the year. One other note, though, is that there's speculation that Chris Osgood played that last game injured, and that's why he gave up five goals to a team that had been entirely punchless for 180 minutes prior to that. By that logic, he must have also been injured on March 7, Nov. 11, Jan. 17, Feb. 15, Jan. 12, Dec. 4 and Oct. 29.

New Jersey Devils: Any way at all to spin that steamrolling last night as a positive? Nope.

"I guess the difference of tonight was [one] team played like there was no tomorrow and the other team played like there was," Devils coach Brent Sutter said. "And when that happens, usually the team that plays like there is another game tomorrow ends up on the wrong side and we certainly did in a lot of aspects tonight."

The Devils talked for the last three days about not playing as if they had a Game 7 to fall back on, but it appeared as if they knew that if they lost they had another chance on Tuesday.

Granted, they haven't played well in Carolina all season (four losses and the OT win in Game 3 is it), but the 'Canes margin of victory last night was the same as the previous three losses combined. Terrible game.

New York Rangers: What a nerd John Tortorella is. (Yeah, the whole stick-wielding, water-squirting maniac thing again.) Remember all that talk about how a fan dumped beer on him? Not true, says stand-in coach Jim Schoenfeld.

Schoenfeld said that he knows the real story about the incident in Washington, and that it wasn't that Tortorella was doused or sprayed or anything that set him off: It was a comment about one of his players.

Which makes this all the more hilarious. A reaction of that kind MIGHT have been justified in the event of a beer-dumping. Might. However, the fact that it was over words said by a fan at a hockey game? Insanely funny. And ironic, too, given what you-know-who said you-know-what about you-know-who's girlfriend's you-know-exactly-what back when he played for the Stars. Words hurt, after all.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Enough really cannot be said about Evgeni Malkin's play in this series. He obviously brought his typical amount of skill and all that, but I think the most surprising thing was the fact that he took crap from absolutely nobody and played with unusual tenacity in all three zones.

"I learn," the 22-year-old said. "It's my third playoffs. It's a little bit different. I play in defensive zone more, try hard, play whole [ice], [mesh with all] five guys."

Wanna know just how much harder he's working? Go look at Ruslan Fedotenko's goal that opened the Pens' scoring Saturday afternoon. Malkin drives from behind the net, gets a shot at the short side, gets shoved away and, while falling backwards, takes another whack at the puck, forcing it under Martin Biron. Fedotenko just poked it in after that. Malkin probably doesn't make that kind of play in the regular season.

San Jose Sharks: Well Joe Thornton certainly did some work to dispel the belief that he's a good ol' playoff no-show. After last Thursday's game, he said this:

"I thought I had a good game in Game 3 and I thought I'd build off that," he said, "but for whatever reason I just didn't have a good game, that's all."

As for his decision to bypass reporters afterward, the normally easygoing Thornton said: 'I just got out of there. I was frustrated."

Of course, you can apply any of these quotes to most of the playoff games in which Thornton has played, but what the hell? Good for him getting a goal and two assists in a must-win game. I don't know why Todd McLellan ever broke up the Marleau-Thornton-Setoguchi line in the first place.

Vancouver Canucks: Okay so Vancouver completely overwhelmed St. Louis in the first round. Surprised the hell out of me. Here's another shocker: Mats Sundin might not be good to go for the next round.

"I don't know at this point. I mean, we're going day-by-day here and hopefully I can keep skating and working the way we did today and we'll make a decision as we go on here."

The injury itself is a mystery, too, with speculation settling on either the hip or groin. Sundin wouldn't, or couldn't, elaborate.

"I can't talk about that," he said. "It feels a lot better. It will be a process. It was nice being out there skating, for sure. It's important for me to keep skating and not stay off the ice for too many days. I obviously welcome the fact we don't have any games right now, and hopefully I'll keep moving in the right direction."

That's $10 million well spent. It's worth noting, by the way, that Vancouver seems very likely to play one of Chicago or Calgary (yeah right) rather than Detroit. That's a much more desirable matchup for them and they have the Sharks tanking it once again to thank for that.

Washington Capitals: Gotta feel great to be Tom Poti right now. In Game 3, Rangers fans were chanting, "Poti sucks!" at him and he scored a goal. (The Rangers, of course, are his former team.) Then yesterday afternoon, hoo boy. Not only did he score again, on a gorgeous 3-on-1 with Dave Steckel and Boyd Gordon (and a more fearsome troika you could not find in the NHL, for sure), but he also added three assists and picked up an extra 40 percent of his all-time postseason scoring. Not bad.

By the way, it turns out Tom Poti was an NHL All-Star in 2003. Would you have ever guessed that in your life?

Loserwatch '09

(News and notes from some of the teams that couldn't be bothered to make or stay in the playoffs.)

Actual quote by Bob Gainey when a member of the Montreal media said even his wife was asking why Price got the go in Game 4: ""Well, he's a thoroughbred, and maybe your wife doesn't recognize that, but then again, I can't bake bread all that well. We all have different skills." Bob Gainey rules. ... Great roundup by Dominik over at Lighthouse Hockey on the choice between Hedman and Tavares. ... At least Lindy Ruff can win on the international stage, eh Sabres fans? ... Erik Christensen says the reason it sucks playing in Atlanta is ownership. ... If you were worried Craig Anderson couldn't get squeezed in down Miami way, fear not. ... By the way, if I asked you which team's prospect was most likely to murder a referee, the answer would ALWAYS be Philly, right?

Play of the Weekend

Oh jeez I don't know *what* to pick there are so many choi...

Right.

Gold Star Award

This is going to sound weird, but it's Tom Poti. Five freakin' points this weekend? Whaddaya know.

Minus of the Weekend

I am very torn here. For one thing, Danny Carcillo getting into a fight while his team was up 3-0 at home is pretty much what woke the Penguins up and allowed them to bounce their hated rivals in front of their rotten home crowd.

BUT, there is also Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, who thought that Carcillo was worth a second-round pick and Scottie Upshall, which was as bad a trade on deadline day as it is now.

Then there's the entire Calgary Flames team, which hasn't played a good game of road hockey since February. And also John Tortorella for not only benching Sean Avery, but for throwing water bottles at a fan and getting suspended for Game 6.

Screw it, they all suck.

Next week's game I'm totally going to watch on Center Ice if I'm home

Since there probably won't be many games on Center Ice next week (the NHL finally moves to an all-broadcast TV schedule for the second round), let's just say I'm really looking forward to that Game 7 in Washington. Maybe someone will get into a fight with Glen Sather over press box popcorn.

Event that should replace the shootout and would be just as relevant to hockey skill

Finding a way to sneak out of work.

Movie of the Week

Someone e-mailed me last week and called me a "movie snob." They're not wrong. They also asked what movies I think are bad if I like all these fancy pants French films from before World War II.

So here is a scene the worst movie I have ever had the misfortune of sitting through: M. Night Shyamalan's "The Lady in the Water." (Interestingly, I will see every movie this guy puts out just so I have something by which to be annoyed. He is a truly horrendous filmmaker.)

Luckily for you, the reader, YouTube will not let me embed this scene.

Perfect HFBoards trade proposal of the week

User njdevil3027 knows just how to get Vinny Lecavalier to Montreal: by having them give up Chris Higgins and a second-round pick. Seriously.

To TB: Isles 1st, Higgins, Prospect

To NYI: Tampa's 1st, MTL 2nd

To MTL: Vinny

This would only make sense if the Isles decide on hedman

I would think a few minors leagues would be added across the board.

Take it easy on me..lol

You'll be shocked to learn they did not take it easy on him.

Signoff

So long.

The Two-Line Pass publishes hockey awesomeness every day. Please do check it out. Or you can e-mail him here if you so desire.

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Mon, 27 Apr 2009 06:31:07 PDT Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,ea667aab-a645-327b-b272-03006ecc31de-l:1