Around the NHL: Barely Anyone Played Edition

Weak night last night.  Only two games on the schedule.

– Kings 5, Capitals 2 – Back to back 5-2 losses for the Capitals on the West Coast.  This was a truly ugly performance out in L.A. against a Kings team that hadn’t scored (in regulation; Doughty had the game winner in Phoenix last week) in almost 3 full games.  Vokoun looked really shaky.  The Caps look like they are really missing Nicklas Backstrom.  The Kings, however, got themselves a very solid win on their home ice.  They’ve hopped back into 8th in the West.  Jack Johnson scored a goal for the first time since 1996.  And don’t look now, but Drew Doughty is beginning to pick up his game (3 points and a plus-3 in his last 6 games).

Here’s all you need to know about the Capitals:  they’re 10th in the league in scoring (2.9 gpg), but 22nd in goals against (3.0).  Remember when this team had too many goalies and traded away Semyon Varlamov?  Do you think they could call Colorado and ask for him back?

– Panthers 2, Canucks 1 – Eesh.  Rough loss for Vancouver, who fell into that classic trap game mentality after the huge win against Boston on Saturday.  They took an early lead, but just couldn’t get anything going after that.  The Panthers, who really needed a win here, got a big one on a night when the Capitals lost.  Here’s the thing:  this Panthers team is probably going to make the playoffs (they’d be 5th in the conference if they weren’t leading their division), but Vancouver should have run circles around them.  I guess everyone deserves a stinker now and then, but you’d really prefer to lose the games against the good teams and bank points like these when you have a chance.

That’s it for last night.  Blueshirts are hosting Phoenix tonight.  I’m hoping to have a few more posts between now and then.


Around the NHL: The Weekend Edition

On Mondays, we’ll take a large look at what happened over the weekend and see if we can’t pull some trends out of there.  We probably will not be able to, but hey, I’m willing to gamble on anything.

– Broncos 29, Steelers 23 (OT) – I include this only because I had the Broncos in a playoff pool, and I’ve now advanced to the next round.

Three up:

– Jarome Iginla – It wasn’t pretty, but he put his stick on the ice and redirected a pass home.   He nabbed goal number 500 on Saturday in his 1149th career game.  I’ll tell you something:  I’m STILL shocked that Iginla’s been in the league for 14 years.  It still feels like he should be 26 years old.  He’s not; he’s 34.

– San Jose Sharks – From the “Don’t Look Now” category.  The Sharks have won 4 in a row, 8 of their last 10 and are back up on top of the Smythe, er, Pacific Division.  Their problem right now is that only 18 of their wins have come in regulation.  But they’ve got 4 games in had on the Kings and look to be taking control of that division.  Joe Thornton only has 8 goals this year, but Patrick Marleau looks good and they had a very nice 5-2 win on Saturday against a revitilized Caps team.  50 points from only 38 games.

Pavel Datsyuk – This isn’t for anything other than the goal that he scored to win the game against Chicago yesterday.  The puck was basically on the goal line and he ripped it top shelf to win that game in OT for Detroit.

Three down:

– Ilya Bryzgalov – Boy, this guy just can’t seem to get it together, huh?  He gets that big win over Blackhawks on Thursday, then holds off the Senators on Saturday in OT with 35 saves.  You think he’s righted the ship a little bit, and then he gives up 3 goals (and an empty-netter on top of that) in the 3rd period on Sunday to the same Senators team that he’d beaten 24 hours prior.  Tough season for him right now.

– Columbus Blue Jackets – I hate to pile on to these guys, but the numbers are just so ugly.  11 wins (8 in regulation).  Soon-to-be 37-year-old Vinny Propsal is leading the team in scoring.  27th in both goals per game AND goals allowed.  That’s simply not how you win hockey games.  Last in the conference with 27 points from 41 games.  It’ll be back to the drawing board again for these guys in the offseason.

– Donald Fehr/Bill Daly – I’m not saying that this was the right realignment plan.  I’m not saying that these negotiations even need to be friendly.  But come on.  We’re all adults here.  Ownership/labor discussions aren’t really supposed to be the nicest of relationships, but we’re talking about dividing billions of dollars.  If there’s another work stoppage here, it’s pretty much over for the NHL as we know it.  We all know that this was the opening salvo in what I can only imagine will be an acrimonious CBA negotiation.

Random thoughts:

– Since we don’t have MSG anymore, I’ve had occasion to watch the NHL Network a lot more lately that I ordinarily do.  And I’ll tell you what: it ain’t half bad.  I think Kathryn Tappen was a great hire for the NHL Tonight program.  She really knows her stuff.  And rather than speak over the action, they just simply show the highlights and leave the game call in.  They’re not trying to steal the show with any of their nonsensical one-liners.

– My fantasy team won its seventh game in a row this week.  I just thought I’d brag a little, since I’m pretty much useless in every other facet of my life.

– Erik Karlsson was a +5 yesterday.  +5.  In a game where his team gave up 4 goals.  That’s ridiculous.

– I feel like Dallas should be worse than they are and I feel like Buffalo should be better.

Around the NHL: Bruins, Leafs Cruise

I almost wasn’t going to do this today, because I didn’t see the highlights last night or this morning, but I figure what the hell?  Even if someone tells me that I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, they’re probably right.

– Bruins 9, Flames 0 – The Flames look absolutely terrible lately.  Iginla looks completely lost (and tell me honestly that you knew, without looking , that he was knocking on the doorstep – 499, as of two games ago – of 500 goals.  Just a truly ugly game for Jay Bouwmeester (minus-5) in a game entirely ugly performances.  Boston again steamrolls another team.  I’m running out of things to say about them.  Bruins play in the ‘Couv tonight in a Stanley Cup rematch.  If I make it through the whole first period, that late, it’ll be a huge win for me.  Screw the teams.

– Flyers 5, Blackhawks 4 – Pretty big win for the Flyers.  Never mind that the ‘Hawks are a really good team, and a Cup contender themselves.  The win here was the difference between saying “we’ve won 2 of our last 3” and “we’ve now lost 6 of 7.”  That’s a pretty big difference.  Mr. Universe Ilya Bryzgalov picked up his first win since he discovered life on Mars.  van Riemsdyk scored a couple.  Who had Scott Hartnell on pace to score 36 goals in the office pool?

– Maple Leafs 4, Jets 0 – Another 4 goal loss for the Jets, who are probably making Winnipeg have second thoughts about coming to town and also probably lead the league in ugly losses.  I don’t know what to make of the Leafs.  Sometimes they look all world and stupid for starting a goalie against them in my fantasy league.  Sometimes they look like someone’s paying them to take the night off.  Weird team, that.

– Senators 4, Lightning 1 – That’s 4 in a row for the Senators (and goalie Craig Anderson).  Not bad for a team that I thought didn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of doing anything other than accumulating high draft picks.  I’m still not sure where the scoring is coming from, but Daniel Alfredsson sure seems like he can still play lately.

– Blues 4, Oilers 3 – All I’m going to say here is that if J.D. is happy, well, then dammit, I’m happy too.

– Stars 4, Predators 1 – Shea Weber’s back!  To be honest, I thought that he was going to be down for a while.  But, as we’re finding out, every concussion is different.  There are guys like Pronger who probably had two or three other ones that just weren’t diagnosed and now he’s suffering the consequences of that.  You just can’t be too careful with a head injury.  Also, Mike Ribiero only has 8 goals?  Yikes.  You know who else has only 8 goals?  Joe Thornton!  Also Ryan Clowe and Vinny Prospal.

– Kings 1, Coyotes 0 – Tell me Jonathan Quick isn’t a Vezina candidate right now.  For me, right now, it’s Hank, Timmy Thomas, Quick.  And despite some other great numbers out there.  I’m not sure it’s close.  And holy crap, a Drew Doughty sighting.  Someone get some shaky footage of him retreating into the woods.

– Sharks 2, Blue Jackets 1 – This is a lost season for the Blue Jackets.  Again.  Tough to be a fan of this team.  They’ve got some talent, but it doesn’t seem to want to happen there.  1 playoff birth in 12 years?  Great googily moogily.