Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Around the NHL- 11/30

Hello again Pens Nation! After not posting for awhile (not counting my pictures from the other day), I finally decided on a new format for my posts. I've also decided to change "NHL in a Nutshell" to the much less creative "Around the NHL". The new format will include a brief summary of games from the night before, a list of games taking place that day/night, injury and trade updates and any other hockey news I find important. I will also (for real this time!) be including player features once a week. But fear not loyal readers- the format may have changed but I will still have the same cutting-edge wit and hilarity you've become accustomed to!

Last Night's Games-

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers:
The Pens won their 7th straight game 3-1 over their Atlantic Division rivals. Max Talbot, Kris Letang and Chris Conner scored for the Penguins and Marian Gaborik added the Rangers' lone tally. (An unconfirmed rumor from MSG says that he pulled his groin celebrating and will be out for two weeks.) Sidney Crosby assisted on Letang's goal, keeping his scoring streak alive at 13 games. He now has 27 points in 13 games and leads the NHL in points with 41. He clearly sucks.
Crosby was also accused of slewfooting Ryan Callahan early in the first period (no penalty was called), leading Ranger center Brandon Dubinsky to complain that Crosby is a dirty player. If you haven't seen the play, visit Faceoff Factor to take a look and vote for yourself. Also, be sure to check out Crosby's postgame comments about the play. For the first and probably last time, he actually shows emotion in an interview.
Another fun fact- Chris Conner now has 3 goals in 5 shots against Henrik Lundqvist.

Dallas Stars vs. Carolina Hurricanes:
So much for my preseason prediction that the Stars would be one of the bottom dwellers in the NHL this year. They grabbed the lead in the Pacific Division last night with a 4-1 over the Hurricanes. James Neal had two goals and Jamie Benn and Steve Ott added the other two goals for Dallas. Eric Staal scored his third goal in four games for Carolina's only score.
It was only the second win in Raleigh in the history of the Stars franchise. Think about that for a second. Let it really sink in.

Edmonton Oilers vs. Ottawa Senators:
If Martin Gerber was out for revenge against his former team last night, he got it. In only his second NHL game after being recalled from Oklahoma City in the AHL, Edmonton's goalie made 22 saves for the Oilers in their 4-1 come-from-behind win over the Senators. Nick Foligno put a backhand shot behind Gerber in the first period for the Senators first and only goal. The Oilers tied it late in the second, with a slapshot from Tom Gilbert, and third period goals from Andrew Cogliano and Gilbert Brule put Edmonton on top for good. Taylor Hall got the empty netter, the sixth goal of his rookie season.

Calgary Flames vs. Minnesota Wild:
Mikka Kiprusoff looked anything but soff last night. (I'm sorry. I couldn't resist.) In fact, he shutout the Wild 3-0 last night, snapping the Wild's three-game winning streak in Calgary. Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester, who had time to focus on something besides trying and failing to slow down Sidney Crosby, each had a goal for Calgary. Niklas Hagman rounded out the scoring on a late Flames power play.

Anaheim Ducks vs. Los Angeles Kings
How much longer until we start hearing about "the Battle of California" when these two teams play each other? It's always a good game. Jonas Hiller got his first shutout of the year in a 2-0 victory over the suddenly-struggling Kings. Cam Fowler and Jason Blake both scored on wristshots for the Ducks. Even though the Kings lost the game, their official Twitter page was calling this game "the duck roast" throughout. I thought that was a clever touch. Please tell me I wasn't the only one.


Tonight's Games-

7:00 pm
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Toronto Maple Leafs

8:00 pm
Phoenix Coyotes @ Nashville Predators
St. Louis Blues @ Chicago Blackhawks

10:00 pm
Atlanta Thrashers @ Colorado Avalanche

10:30 pm
Detroit Red Wings @ San Jose Sharks


Injury Report-

-Mike Modano of the Stars Red Wings had surgery on his wrist and is out indefinitely. Modano has both nerve damage and a sliced tendon in his right wrist, a result of getting cut by a skate blade against the Blue Jackets.

-Right wing Joffrey Lupul of the Ducks may be close to returning to the NHL. Lupul, who contacted an infection from back surgery last December, is finally back on the ice with Anaheim's AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch. He could return to the Ducks lineup either this week or next, though there is no official timetable for his return.
-The Islanders' Bruno Gervais fractured his left cheek bone and did not practice on Monday. He did complete his normal workout yesterday and is scheduled to practice today. He is officially listed as day-to-day.

-Bad news for the Avalanche. Their top scorer, Chris Stewart, broke his left hand on Saturday against the Wild and is out indefinitely. He is the sixth player the Avs have had to place on IR this season.

-Marian Hossa is hurt- again- after colliding with teammate Nick Boynton in practice and had to be immediately helped off the ice. Boynton was unhurt. Hossa is expected to miss 2-3 weeks with a lower-body injury. Even when he finally wins a Stanley Cup, this guy is still cursed. The Blackhawks called up forward Jeremy Morin to fill in for Hossa while he's out.

-Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin took part in practice for the first time since injuring his groin. Khabibulin said his groin is feeling fine and he expects to return to the lineup any day now.

-Pierre-Marc Bouchard will play for the Wild tomorrow night. It's been over a year since Bouchard has seen an NHL action. I think it was a result of post-concussion syndrome.

-Speaking of which, expect to see Marc Savard back with the Bruins any day now. And have fun watching the Bruins frantically try to clear up enough cap space to bring him back. Woohoo!

-Cody Franson of the Predators, who was day-to-day with an injury, is expected to play tonight.

Trades/Signings-

-The Avalanche and Bruins traded defenseman. Matt Hunwick is now with Colorado and Colby Cohen is with Boston.

-The Avalanche have been busy making trades of late (that's what happens when you have six guys on IR I guess). Just this afternoon, they traded veteran defenseman Scott Hannan to the Capitals in exchange for Tomas Fleischmann. Pierre LeBrun reported that the Avs and Caps have actually been working on this deal since August. So it wasn't that the Caps didn't try to upgrade their blueline over the summer, it just took them forever to pull the trigger!

Other News-

-Congrats to Patrick Elias and his wife Petra on the birth of their daughter Sophia on Sunday. Both mom and baby are reported to be doing well.

-Pat Burns' funeral was held yesterday in Montreal. Appropriately, Burns' ashes were placed in an urn shaped like a miniature Stanley Cup. I don't think he would've wanted it any other way. RIP, big guy.

-Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer, who is looking to buy the Coyotes, had hoped to get a deal done by Christmas, but it looks like that isn't happening. The deal is progressing, however, so it looks like the Yotes will get to remain in the desert.

-Brace yourselves; Chris Chelios may be coming out of retirement. Darren Dreger of of TSN confirmed the report that Vityaz and another unnamed KHL team have reportedly contacted the 10,000 year old veteran about playing for their team. Safe to say that Chris Chelios is the NHL's version of Brett Favre. Or am I being too harsh?

Penguins are on a roll. MAF is back, Sid is an absolute freak right now, Letang has us all wondering why we were wanted Gonchar back, and the revamped defense is finally living up to expectations. Hopefully they can keep it up on Thursday when they play the Trashers, er, Thrashers, who surprisingly don't suck right now.

Go Pens.

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