Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Around the NHL- 12/9

It's official- Bill Guerin has retired from the NHL after 18 years in the league. As I'm sure you all saw, he officially retired as a Penguin in a ceremony before Monday night's game against the Devils, the other team with whom he won a Cup. (Coincidence? Or not?) The Penguins handled the whole situation like the world-class organization they are, with a collage (pictured above) and video dedicated to Guerin. Oh and they gave his family a paid vacation to Hawaii. Still wondering why players are so willing to waive their no-trade clauses to come to Pittsburgh?

It says a lot about the organization that Guerin choose to retire as a Penguin. He was drafted by and won his first Cup with the Devils and also played for the Oilers, Bruins, Stars, Blues, Sharks and Islanders. He was with the Penguins for only a season and a half yet his time with the team definitely left a lasting impression. He clearly loved playing in Pittsburgh.

We, as fans, returned that love. Much like Gary Roberts before him, Guerin became a fan favorite in a short period of time. His sense of humor and the leadership role he filled on and off the ice endeared him to Pittsburgh fans. Look no further than the "one more year!" chants from the Stanley Cup championship parade in 2009. A good number of fans have said that Guerin in one of their all-time favorite Penguins, which is saying a lot.

As for his future, Guerin is still weighing his options. He said for now he's content spending time with his family, but it's safe to say the hockey world hasn't seen the last of him. There are rumblings that Ray Shero will give him a front office position with the Penguins. There's also been talk of Guerin going into hockey broadcasting. Whatever he chooses to do, we wish him the very best of luck. Enjoy that trip to Hawaii, Billy G, and be sure that your son's awesome Ogie Ogilthrope hair isn't eaten by sea turtles.

Last Night's Games-

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs found out the difference between the Pens and the Caps. The Penguins had a comfortable 4-0 lead, only to fall asleep in the third period and let Toronto score two successive goals. Fortunately, MAF was working overtime and held down the fort with a number of key saves. Mark Letestu netted his second goal of the game (his first two-goal NHL game) to make it 5-2 Pens.

The Penguins have now won 11 straight games. Sid scored two goals last night to keep his scoring streak alive at 17 games. Kevin Burgundy of Stay Classy fame pointed out that Sid alone has more goals and points than the Senators top line of Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Alex Kovalev. Crosby has 26 goals and 50 points; Alfredsson, Spezza and Kovalev have 21 goals and 47 points.

San Jose Sharks vs. Philadelphia Flyers

This was a hilarious game for Pens fans. The Flyers had a 3-0 lead only to see the Sharks come back and send the game into OT with a 4-4 score. Mike Richards scored what would've been the game-winner in overtime... except that it crossed the line 0.1 seconds too late. The Sharks then went on to win 2-0 in the shootout for a final score of 5-4.

How good is Logan Couture? He hasn't been getting a lot of media attention, but in my mind he's one of the leading Calder nominees right now.

Nashville Predators vs. Detroit Red Wings

This was a game that the Predators desperately needed to win. They've been on a bit of a skid of late and have been struggling score goals. A signature win over what has been the NHL's signature franchise for the past 10 trillion years was just what the doctor ordered. The Preds took an early 2-0 and rookie goaltender Anders Lindback (filling in for the injured Pekka Rinne) never relinquished that lead. The Preds ended up winning 3-2. Detroit is actually in a bit of a slump themselves, this being their third straight loss, a franchise record. Detroit fans are in a panic, not used to all this losing. Islanders and Leafs fans have no sympathy.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Dallas Stars

Despite Chicago being extremely banged up right now and missing two of their best players (Hossa and Kane), they found a way to beat the Pacific Division leading Stars, 5-3. Even though Chicago lead the entire game, it was extremely close and back-and-forth. The final score probably should've been 4-3; Patrick Sharp wristed an empty-netter with about two seconds left to play. Mike Richards hates him for that.

Vancouver Canucks vs. Anaheim Ducks

For the second straight game, the Ducks found themselves in a shootout. Unfortunately, Cam Fowler wasn't enough in this shootout as the Canucks won 5-4 after coming back from behind twice in regulation. The Ducks scored first, only to have the Canucks score twice. The Ducks then scored three unanswered goals to make it 4-2. Vancouver, bolstered by Ryan Kesler's heroics, scored another two goals to tie it 4-4 and Jeff Tambellini's lone shootout goal was enough to win it for the Canucks.


Tonight's Games-

7:00 pm
New York Islanders @ Boston Bruins
San Jose Sharks @ Buffalo Sabres
Philadelphia Flyers at Toronto Maple Leafs
Florida Panthers @ Washington Capitals

7:30 pm
New York Rangers @ Ottawa Senators

8:00 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets @ St. Louis Blues

9:00 pm
Minnesota Wild @ Phoenix Coyotes

10:30 pm
Calgary Flames @ Los Angeles Kings


Injury Report-

-Malkin is probably still a few games away from returning from his knee injury. Still no word on when we can expect to see J. Staal back in the lineup. Mike Comrie shows no sign of recovering from the suck bug (see our podcast).

-Andy McDonald of the St. Louis Blues is out indefinitely with a concussion.

-Patrick Kane is going to miss a maximum of three weeks with a lower body injury.

-The Blackhawks also placed Marian Hossa on IR to clear up roster room. Rob Klinkhammer and Jeremy Morin were recalled in his absence.

-Willie Mitchell, who's been out with a broken wrist, could return to the Kings lineup any day now.

-Vinny Prospal is skating with the rest of the Rangers for the first time since his knee surgery. He should be back in the lineup sometime after Christmas.

-Dion Phaneuf will return to the Leafs lineup tonight against Philly.


Trades/Signings-

-Nothing official, just a rumor that Shero is talking to Pascal Dupuis and his agent about a deal to keep him in Pittsburgh. Dupuis is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.


Other News-

-Michael Del Zotto will be a healthy scratch for the Rangers tonight. Matt Gilroy will play in his place.

-Jere Lehtinen, a 14-year veteran, has decided to join Guerin in retirement. A three-time Selke winner and one-time Cup champion, Lehtinen spent his entire NHL career with the Dallas Stars. Best of luck to him.

-Congratulation to Flyers defenseman Matt Walker and his wife Kate on the birth of their daughter and first child Georgia Isabel. She was born this morning at 5:32 a.m. Mom and baby are doing well.

-For my fellow Twitter addicts out there: Matt Duchene of the Avs is officially on Twitter. You can follow him at @Matt9Duchene.

The Penguins have only four games over the next 13 games. Stay strong everyone. Go Pens.

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