Hope everyone had a great weekend. There was plenty of action to keep everyone busy and on their toes. Monday means we’re back at the grind though.
The Night that Was:
returned in a big way yesterday afternoon. While it was technically his second game back from injury, his hat-trick, one assist, and plus-five is good enough that we can overlook his Thursday return. The New York Rangers did have to overcome a 2-1 defecity against Edmonton, but they did that in a big way, scoring seven straight after
scored the Oilers’ second goal.
had a big night too with two goals and two assists.
As a sidenote, Sean Avery was up to his old tricks again. After he hammered Colin Fraser in to the boards, Ladislav Smid came over to challenge him. Avery glanced over his should a few times, convincing Smid a fight wouldn’t be happening, and then he pounced. Then, as he was leaving, Ryan Whitney confronted him, and a tussle started as Avery was leaving the ice which escalated into a good, old-fashioned line brawl. Don’t be surprised when suspensions get handed down as ten players hit double-digits in penalties.
Antti Miettinen has been a little up and down since returning. Although he’s a minus-four in the three games since his return, he’s got two goals—one of them an insurance marker against the Tampa Bay Lightning yesterday. The Minnesota Wild got out of a two-game mini-funk with a 4-1 win.
It seems that the second game of a return from injury is the most productive. The Atlanta Thrashers got two goals out of Bryan Little in the second period yesterday to tie their game with the Washington Capitals, but the unlikeliest of heroes gave Washington the win: John Erskine had the game winner in the third, while David Steckel added late insurance. The two have combined for 29 goals over their NHL careers (20 of them Steckel’s), but it wasn’t Erskine’s first-ever game-winner. He had one for the Caps in 2007-08.
The Chicago Blackhawks keep shooting, but Jonas Hiller nearly stopped them all. 28 seconds away from a shootout, the Swiss netminder stopped 40 of 43 shots, but it was the last one from Viktor Stalberg that eluded him. The former College Standout scored his sixth from the doorstep of the crease. Corey Perry had both goals for the Ducks who fell 3-2, while rookie Cam Fowler recorded another assist giving him one goal and seven assists to start his career. The loss snapped a six-game Ducks’ winning streak.
What’s on Tonight?
While six games isn’t the most you’ll see on an NHL slate this week (there are 12 games on Wednesday), there are some good matchups. The second-place Philadelphia Flyers taking on the Ottawa Senators is always a good matchup, while New Jersey visits the Boston Bruins and the Sabres host Vancouver. If the New York Rangers’ offense sticks around another night, there could be a shootout in Pittsburgh. St. Louis and Colorado are matched up tonight, but another one I’d keep an eye on is San Jose hosting the Los Angeles Kings. The Sharks have won two in a row, but the Kings have the NHL longest winning streak at six games.
The Injury Bug:
Craig Rivet, who has been battling the flu lately, is a game-time decision for the Sabres, while Ryan Parent’s groin will keep him out of game action.
Vincent Lecavalier is going under the knife today (Monday) in hopes that he can speed up the healing process of his broken hand.
The Montreal Canadiens, who had just gotten used to having Andrei Markov in the lineup, may have to get used to not having him again. Markov re-aggravated the knee that delayed the start to his season on Saturday night against the Hurricanes. While nothing is official, an early report on Sunday night had Markov out for three months. Keep in mind that Markov is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, so this won’t help his case for next season (Let alone the impact this could have on his career), but there’ll be a big opportunity for a youngster in the AHL.
Matthew Corrente is getting close to coming back for the New Jersey Devils from a broken hand. There’s no report on Jamie Langenbrunner from the Devil’s official website, so consider him a game-time decision.
Rumours Around the League:
Not a rumour, but Scott Gordon has been fired by the New York Islanders. The Isles’ ten-game losing streak and basement standing in the Eastern Conference led to the dismissal. Gordon is reportedly remaining with the organization while Bridgeport Head Coach Jack Capuano gets called up to assume the bench.
Other oddities instead of rumours: Marcus Vinnerborg will be working the Anaheim/Dallas game on Tuesday and San Jose/Colorado the following evening. Why is this big? Vinnerborg will become the first European referee in NHL history. Vinnerborg has been working the AHL this season while also working the 2010 Olympics and stints in the Swedish Elite league.
In terms of actual rumors, Devin Setoguchi’s name is coming up in terms of trades, while a free agent signing might be on the horizon. Lots of people are talking about Miroslav Satan signing, and it could be with the Devils or the Sabres.
The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:
For the second-straight day, we choose a New York Ranger. Erik Christensen had three assists in their victory over the Oilers yesterday, as three players had at least three points for them and ten players overall recorded a point.
We’re leaving today on a somber note. Please send your thoughts and prayers to the Ottawa Senators organization. Assistant Coach Luke Richardson’s daughter Daron passed away this weekend. She was 14.
Bryan Thiel is a columnist for TooManyMenontheSite.com and Hockey54.com—The Face of the Game! If you want to get in contact with Bryan you can e-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at BryanThiel_88.