AROUND THE RINK is a new weekly hockey segment on the NHL and all of it’s teams. Every Wednesday we go over what’s new with your favorite teams, your favorite players, as well as the crazy things going on within the National Hockey League.
Boston Bruins: The Bruins snapped a 7 game winning streak when they were defeated by the Dallas Stars on New Years Eve. I guess nobody’s perfect, even if you are better than last year, when you won the Stanley Cup.
Buffalo Sabres: Can anyone find me the Buffalo Sabres on the standings? Oh there they are…wow, really? 2-6-2 in their last 10 games? That can’t be good. And Ryan Miller was playing? Wow, good thing he didn’t have this kind of performance in the Olympics, or he would have all heard it from us.
Carolina Hurricanes: More bad news for the ‘Canes. Defenseman Joni Pitkanen will be out for about a month. Good thing they still have Tomas Kaberle…oh wait.
Florida Panthers: The Panthers lost goaltender Jose Theodore to what the team is calling a lower-body injury. Despite that, the team remains on top of the Southeast Division.
Montreal Canadiens: Habs head coach Randy Cunneyworth promised to learn French after the Montreal media bashed him for only speaking one language in a two language city. Really?
New Jersey Devils: Yep, the Devils blew another lead and yep, it lead to a game-winning, overtime goal by Daniel Alfredsson to give the Devils the loss. This team seriously has to learn how to hold onto a lead.
New York Islanders: Nobody look, but the Islanders have won two in a row. They are still 4-6 in their last 10, though.
New York Rangers: The Rangers played an impressive game Monday night in the annual NHL Winter Classic, but none were more impressive than grinder Mike Rupp, who had two goals in the contest. Despite the close game, the Winter Classic still had it’s lowest TV ratings yet.
Ottawa Senators: The Senators jumped over the Devils Monday night to improve to the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference. This has been impressive all year, despite being miserable the past few seasons. One of the biggest surprises of the year.
Philadelphia Flyers: Yes, the Flyers looked beaten at the end of the Winter Classic but the refs gave them every chance to succeed at the end there. One iffy call which made it 4-4 and then a penalty shot for covering the puck up in the crease? Come on. On top of losing their second winter classic, the Flyers are now without Jaromir Jagr for 7-10 days.
Pittsburgh Penguins: The question on everyone’s mind is, where is Sidney Crosby? The Penguins have lost two in a row and are 5-5 in their last 10. Imagine if they had Crosby for those 3 months.
Tampa Bay Lightening: In more important news: the new name of the Tampa Bay Lightening Stadium is now the Tampa Bay Times Forum since the newspaper changed its name. Shocking development, really.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Brian Burke made another minor league trade yesterday. Don’t worry though, Toronto fans, it’s all leading up to some big mastermind plan that Burke has been planning from the beginning. He’s like the Christopher Nolan of sports management.
Washington Capitals: Talk about another surprise this season: the Capitals. Dale Hunter has failed to motivate this team since taking over the job from the now-Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. They have been getting better as of late, though, and have won their last 3 games and are 6-3-1 in their last 10.
Winnipeg Jets: The Jets were 10-3-1 in the month of December? In which every Winnipeg media outlet cried “I KNEW IT!!” in unison.
Anaheim Ducks– Perhaps its not Bobby Ryan who should be traded, but instead elder statesman Teemu Selanne who deserves to be dealt. Not for poor play, as the “Finnish Flash” leads Anaheim in points with 36, but just to give the 42-year-old winger one last shot at a championship. How cool would it be for the Ducks to send him back to Winnipeg, who is currently two wins out of first place in the Southeast Division?
Calgary Flames– Jarome Iginla’s career goal total now stands at 499. One more and he’ll become the first player in Flames history to score 500 goals solely as a Calgary Flame….
Chicago Blackhawks– Call-up Jimmy Hayes scored his first career NHL goal on Monday, January 2nd against the Edmonton Oilers. Congratulations are in order.
Colorado Avalanche– Top forward Matt Duchene has been lost for a month with a knee injury, so it remains to be seen if Colorado can maintain their current pace (8-2-0 in their last ten games) without him….
Columbus Blue Jackets– Columbus begins 2012 with a three-game trip through California, culminating (lowlighting?) in a game against the Ducks, a matchup that will feature the two last-place teams in the NHL. Fans will be riveted.
Dallas Stars– Hoping that the rest of their minor leaguers are as good as goalie Richard Bachman, who started nine games for the Stars while Kari Lehtonen was out with a groin injury, Dallas has called up defensemen Jordie Benn and Brendan Dillon from their AHL affiliate Texas. Benn, brother of Stars forward Jamie Benn, and Dillon, are being counted on to replace injured blueliners Philip Larsen and Sheldon Souray….
Detroit Red Wings– Detroit currently leads the Western Conference with a staggering +39 goal differential. They’ve scored the third most goals in the league, and have allowed the third fewest. Red Wings fans- you still clamoring for Jimmy Howard to be replaced? Didn’t think so….
Edmonton Oilers– Calder Trophy shoo-in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins suffered a shoulder injury against the Blackhawks on January 2nd, but the team has been very guarded as to how serious the ailment is. There is no indication as to whether he’ll be back on the ice for the Oilers anytime during their six-game road trip…
Los Angeles Kings– Rookie defenseman Slava Voynov has been a pleasant surprise for the Kings this season, registering ten points (4-6-10) while being +2, giving him the highest +/- rating for any Kings defenseman right now…
Minnesota Wild– as the World Junior Championships draw to a close, Minnesota Wild fans have to be excited about their future. Top prospects for the Wild Mikael Granlund (Finland), Jason Zucker (USA) and Charlie Coyle (USA) all represented their respective countries. Granlund paced Suomi with 11 points (2-9-11), Zucker led the Americans in total points with 7 (3-4-7). Coyle was no slouch either, leading Team USA with four goals…
Nashville Predators– LW Sergei Kostitsyn earned his first career hat trick in Nashville’s 5-3 win on January 1st over Calgary, but the empty netter that gave him the third goal was one of the bigger “dick moves” we’ve seen in hockey lately, as he stole a goal from teammate Kevin Klein. Check it out:
Phoenix Coyotes– After losing franchise goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, the Coyotes’ marketing slogan for the 2011-12 season was “Hockey the Hard Way”. Their latest marketing tool in this vein is offering a hard hat to fans who donate $25 to their Hardway Heroes program.
San Jose Sharks– Does Ryan Clowe have a future in Hollywood after he’s done playing hockey in San Jose?
St. Louis Blues– In a strange twist of events, after St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo was fired, Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock, who’s only coached in St. Louis for 57 days, is now the longest-tenured coach currently employed in St. Louis.
Vancouver Canucks– They’re the only team in the Northwest Division with a positive goal differential. It should be no surprise as to why the Canucks run away with the division title every year…