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One look at last night’s box score would indicate Alexander Ovechkin is indeed back. One goal (GWG), two assists, 20:06 TOI, 7 SOG… sounds about right — first overall pick right.
Around the NHL
Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution went over the return of Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart to Boston. Little did they know that their former team would have them officially eliminated from the playoffs. Laura Astorian at Bird Watchers Anonymous has chosen to already move on, discussing the Birds’ pre-season plans opposed to lamenting their recent loss.
“To borrow a catch phrase that donned a popular LeBron James poster, maybe “we are all witnesses” to what Teemu Selanne is doing through a remarkable 18th NHL season.” – Eric Stephens of The OC Register Ducks Blog.
Expect us to delve into the Vezina Trophy discussion some time in the next couple of weeks. Until he ultimately receives the Trophy (for the second time in three years) Tim Thomas is happy to get in whatever work he can.
Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald blogs with the best of them, shooting his readers informative tidbits on a daily basis. Sign up via email.
The Calgary Flames are all-but eliminated from the playoffs, but that hasn’t stopped Jarome Iginla from becoming the 16th player to break 1,000 points with the same team. Pat Steinberg at Flames Nation shows why it’s all about Iggy.
Should Jeff Skinner win the Calder Trophy?
Jesse Rogers at ESPN Chicago discusses the Blackhawks taking more headshots than usual and the NHL’s wheel of justice surrounding them:
Kubina’s hit was the first of three head shots the Hawks have been victim to over the past month. Marcus Kruger was nailed on Friday by the Blue Jackets’ Jan Hejda, who was given a two-game suspension. Last Monday,Todd Bertuzzi of Detroit hit Ryan Johnson in the head and was kicked out of the game.
Sounds like the Western Conference is picking up its physical play with the regular season ticking down.
The Avs need a starting goalie with Brian Elliott currently the only NHL netminder under contract. Adrian Dater at All Things Avs wonders whether trading the team’s lottery pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft would be worth it.
Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch compares Derrick Brassard and Jakub Voracek to the Sedins, opining that trading both young, former first round picks would be foolish.
The Dallas Stars are holding on to their playoff hopes by a thread. Mark Stepneski of Andrew’s Stars Page breaks down tonight’s game between the Stars and the Anaheim Ducks, discussing its significance.
With last night’s victory, the Detroit Red Wings clinch a playoff spot for the 20th consecutive season. Ansar Khan of Mlive.com once again gives an excellent recap of their clinching victory over the Nashville Predators, one that meant a lot after coming off a blowout 10-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
Rookie center Chris Vande Velde has seen time on the top two lines with all the injuries to his Edmonton Oilers. Lowetide likes how he looks in the faceoff circle, citing his success in College, the AHL and now the NHL.
George Richards of The Miami Herald asked his readers to submit “creative original artwork to help the Panthers properly commemorate their NHL record 10 consecutive seasons out of the NHL postseason.” Seriously, funny stuff. On a related note, the Cats are tanking. Go figure.
Chris Van Deusen of NHL Hot Stove points out that the Kings are only two points away from clinching a playoff spot with their recent victory over the Stars. Will they clinch Monday against Antti Niemi and the San Jose Sharks?
Weird season in Minnesota. The Wild were in the playoff race and Niklas Backstrom looked like an elite starting goalie before completely falling off the map. Now head coach Todd Richards could find his job in jeopardy and will have to watch from behind the bench without Martin Havlat or John Madden at 5PM EST. Considering the team is already playing without Cam Barker, Nick Schultz, Marco Scandella and Marek Zidlicky, they now run the risk of hurting the Houston Aeros.
Buddy Oakes of Preds on the Glass voted for Pekka Rinne as his Masterton Trophy nominee.
In his first game back since October 30th, Zach Parise was a little rusty.
Old news, but 20 members of the PHWA (the New York Islanders, New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils) will be boycotting the NHL awards this season in response to the Isles removing Chris Botta’s credentials. Check out Islanders Point Blank and support Botta when you have a chance.
The Rangers play one of their most important games of the season, as they sit one point ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes and one point behind the Buffalo Sabres. Despite an awful loss to the rival Islanders, they remain upbeat. .
Welcome to the NHL, Stephane Da Costa. In his first taste of NHL action, Da Costa felt his first NHL loss while playing 11:22. The rookie was also a minus-1. Welcome to Ottawa, Stephane.
David Strehle of NHL Hot Stove emphasizes the Philadelphia Flyers’ need for consistency. While we are still on the Flyers, Eric T of Broad Street Hockey argues against the secondary assist, citing examples from recent games.
Are you wondering what happened to Kurt Sauer of the Phoenix Coyotes? According to Sarah McLellan of The Arizona Republic, the stay-at-home defender and older brother to Rangers d-man Michael Sauer is staying at home with his children while he prays every night his concussion-like symptoms will go away.
Billy Myers at Pens Universe discusses the important changes the Pens made when erecting the Consol Energy Center. However, Myers would argue that the place lacks atmosphere:
If you’ve been to a game at the CEC this year or even watched on TV and found yourself asking, “Why is it so quiet?” You are not alone. Many of us hard core Pens fans who survived through the Generation X years have found the “new generation” of our fanbase to be quite annoying.
Pens management can’t win them all. I hear it is a beautiful arena for anyone interested in making some noise…
Ryane Clowe, by the way, is one of three NHL players to have 24 or more goals and at least 100 penalty minutes. Corey Perry is another (Boston’s Milan Lucic being the third) and Clowe took the high road today when asked to talk about Perry’s style of play. -David Pollack of Working the Corners.
Mattias Ohlund, 34, is not the offensive-leaning defenseman who scored 47 goals in four seasons with Vancouver anymore. But he can still make a major impact on a game as a defensive stopper with his physical play and intelligence. – Mark Pukalo, Lightning.com
Who will be the starting goalie for the Leafs next year? James Reimer is open to competition.
Bruce Boudreau has 15 healthy forwards and has enjoyed mixing up his lines. Katie Carerra of Capitals Insider breaks it down:
In each of the past three games, a different forward has served as a healthy scratch for the Capitals. Against Buffalo it was Matt Hendricks, against Columbus it was Eric Fehr and against Carolina it was Jason Chimera.
Not a bad problem to have heading into the playoffs.
NHL Tweet of the Week
This one is for all aspiring writers and bloggers who for some reason or another frequent this site, courtesy of Schuyler Baehman:
Attn media: Credential applications for NHL Awards and NHL Entry Draft open April 18. Stanley Cup Final application opens April 25
Hope to see you at the Finals!
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