A Day in the NHL: Thursday December 9


Coming up, we’ve got word on how Marco Sturm feels, the retirement of a great defensive player, last night’s recap and a rundown of tonight, and a great rant by Marc Crawford.

The Night that Was:

How about that for close? After a monumental comeback by the San Jose Sharks who were down 4-1 in the third to the Philadelphia Flyers, Mike Richards got as close to winning it in OT as you can without actually winning it. The puck was on the goalline as the buzzer went. Literally. So San Jose took the momentum they had built over that three-goal comeback, and capped it off with one from Logan Couture in the shootout, and another from Ryan Clowe. It wasn’t pretty for the Sharks or former Flyer Antero Niittymaki (at least the Flyers didn’t have to put up with Antti Niemi), but they got the win.

Yet again the Toronto Maple Leafs trailed late in a game and…this time they weren’t able to come back. Sidney Crosby scored his 25 and 26 goals of the season and Mark Letestu added on a couple as well, as Pittsburgh won 5-2 with both Toronto goals coming in the third. The Leafs didn’t have Dion Phaneuf back in the lineup but he will be back tonight, while their two most consistent forwards this year (Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski) were both in on the second goal.

If the Nasvhille Predators are going to make the playoffs, last night’s win helped (it moved them into playoff position), and they’re going to have to continue getting the under-rated seasons from Colin Wilson and Cal O’Reilly that they’ve been getting so far. The two of them got together on the first goal of a 3-2 win over Detroit, which had the makings of a late Red Wings’ comeback when Johan Franzen made it 3-2 with a minute and a half to go. Anders Lindback recorded his second win in three games and third consecutive quality outing since taking over for the injured Pekka Rinne.

The NHL firsts from Tuesday carried over to last night when the Blackhawks’ Jeremy Morin scored his first NHL goal amidst a 5-3 Chicago win. The game however, was marred/highlighted by an outrageous missed call/rant from Marc Crawford when Brent Seabrook threw his stick to break up a Dallas chance. Vancouver was much-less trilling. You know, just the standard two-goal, third period comeback with the last one scored with less than 30 seconds remaining. Then a missed chance on a late OT power play and Roberto Luongo actually having success in the shootout. Yep…nothing really exciting.

What’s on Tonight?

The Philadelphia Flyers visit the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second game in as many nights for both sides while the Islanders meet up with Boston and the Sharks continue their Eastern swing in Buffalo. The New York Rangers head to Canada’s Capital to face the Senators, while it’s the battle of Blue when the Blue Jackets and Blues meet under the arch. Minnesota also visits Phoenix and Calgary takes a trip to Los Angeles.

The Injury Bug:

Bryan Allen won’t play against Washington because of a broken foot, while Cory Stillman and Chris Higgins are questionable as well for the Panthers.

Mark Stuart’s injury the other night was a broken hand. He’ll be out of the Bruins’ lineup for six weeks.

Martin Brodeur may be making a comeback from his injury. The veteran and future Hall-of-Famer is probably for Friday with that bruised elbow.

No update on what Scott Gomez’s injury is, but it has him as questionable for Friday night.

Rumours and News Around the League:

The Marco Sturm situation is something to watch. About two weeks from returning and Sturm isn’t happy with the situation he’s been put in, what with the prospective trade to LA going public. Sturm has said that it’s hard on his family and it “isn’t fun”. It’s understandable, and if something is going to get done, it’ll obviously happen soon before his contract becomes a cap hit.

In regular quiet fashion, Jere Lehtinen announced his retirement from hockey yesterday. Lehtinen was one of the best defensive forwards in the game, winning the Selke trophy three times and earning a nomination six times overall.

The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

Todd Marchant and Christian Erhoff each had two assists last night in the Ducks/Canucks game. As another tidbit, Joffrey Lupul scored his first goal since returning to the Anaheim lineup, opening the second period scoring and tying the game at two.

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, e-mail him at bryanthiel74@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter at BryanThiel_88.