Extinguished Flames? – The Flames were my pick for Northwest division champion. While they were the leader at one point this season, they have since fallen dramatically. They have 7 of their last 8 games including an ugly 9-1 loss to San Jose. Most of their other losses were by 1 or 2 goals, including one in overtime. Captain Jerome Iginla has not played well in their most recent stretch including having a 6 game pointless streak. Dion Phaneuf has struggled offensively and defensively including a minus 4 in that game against the Sharks. Olli Jokinen has been pretty much a bust this season certainly not what the Flames had hoped when they acquired him last season near the end. While he did play well after being acquired, this season he has only 10 goals and is on pace to have his lowest goal total since the 2001-02 season. It’s not like he hasn’t been shooting, his shooting percentage is currently .068 which would also be his lowest since the 01-02 season. Speaking of busts Jay Bouwmeester was added in hopes of giving the Flames that final needed piece after Jokinen. In the whole month of January he has only one assist. He also hasn’t scored a goal since Nov. 14th. Putrid is the only word I can think of to sum that all up. On paper the Flames have a decent team of course what matters is how you actually play. But they were playing well in November going 10-2-2 at that time and not much has changed. Sometimes it’s just chemistry issues. The Flames biggest problems is lack of goal scoring, I think it’s time for the Flames to start juggling the lines. Iginla is having one of his worst stretches of the year, so take him off the first line so he won’t match up against other team’s top lines. Also how about a line of Iginla, Jokinen and maybe Rene Bourque? It can’t hurt and it’s a lot better then what they have going now. The Ducks started to get hot after they tinkered with their lines. It’s not time to panic yet but the Flames need to get creative to douse their current woes.

Goalie Spotlight

Johan Hedberg – Atlanta Thrashers

After watching him make some awesome saves against the Ducks I figured I would spotlight Hedberg, also know as the “Moose.” The nicknamed was coined when he was quickly called up to play in a game for the Pittsburgh Penguins and he was still wearing his Manitoba Moose (AHL) helmet which also sported a huge moose on the mask.

Hedberg was drafted in the 9th round by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1994 draft, he never played for them and was traded in 1999 to the San Jose Sharks. He never played for the Sharks either; however he did play for their affiliate the Kentucky Thoroughblades. It wasn’t until he was then traded to the Penguins that he actually played in the NHL. Before his NHL debate Hedberg mainly played in Sweden for Leksands IF. He didn’t make his way back to North America until the 1997-98 season when he played for the Detroit Vipers (IHL). After bouncing around the IHL, AHL, ECHL and Sweden for awhile Hedberg debuted for the Penguins in the 2000-01 season. He only played in 6 games, most of the year he played for the Moose, but the following year he was a regular starter. He ended up leading the league in losses, a record I’m sure he didn’t want. He was then traded to Vancouver and then Dallas before finding a home in Atlanta in 2006. The 2008-09 season was one of Hedberg’s worst. He set career lows in GAA and SV%. He has rebounded nicely this season and so far has career bests in GAA and SV% and has a chance to surpass his previous season high in wins. One highlight of his career was recording two assists in a game while playing for Dallas in 2005. This hadn’t been done since Patrick Roy had two assists in a game in 2000.

Hedberg signed a multi-year extension with the Thrashers in 2008. Currently he is hoping to backstop the Thrashers into the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

Fights of the Week

Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.

Jay Rosehill vs. Matt Walker

Decent fight and then at the end, Walker decks Rosehill.

Nick Boynton vs. Brad Staubitz

Short and sweet fight.

Cam Janssen vs. Brian McGrattan

McGrattan has about 4 inches over Janssen and he pretty much dominated this fight, Janssen did pop off his helmet though.

Goat of the Week

Ray Emery – Philadelphia Flyers

Hey what do you know another goalie as a goat. This time Ray Emery goes behind the net and passes it to Sergei Samsonov of the Hurricanes, oops, and Samsonov makes a nice pass to Rob Brind’Amour.

Things I like

1. The Burrows with the Sedin twins line is on fire, and is right up their with the Sharks line. Burrows with an 11 game point streak and both Sedins have a 5 game point streak going. All told this line has amassed 60 points in 11 games so far this January. This has propelled the Canucks all the way up into 4th place in the Western Conference.

2. Anze Kopitar has rebounded big with a nice January after having a cold six point December. He has points in 8 of his last 10 games and he was apart of every goal, 1 goal 2 assists, in the Kings huge comeback win against Detroit 3-2. It was huge because it was on the road but also because the Kings and Red Wings are neck in neck in the standings.

3. Eric Staal being named captain of the Carolina Hurricanes. On the one hand it’s a tough role becoming the captain of a team in last past in the conference. On the other hand there isn’t anywhere else to go but up and since this is now a rebuilding year, it’s time for the youth to start leading.

Things I don’t

1. All the Ilya Kovalchuk trade talk rumors. Nothing worse than having to hear a billion scenarios or possible teams a player could be going to. I’m sure it’s even more annoying to him. Most unbelievable scenario was him going to the Blackhawks. Yes I’m sure that will happen.

2. The Oilers now have fewer points than Toronto and Carolina. After how the season started for those two teams you never would have saw this day coming.

3. I wrote about this a month ago but I’m concerned with the success of the Sharks. The more they win and run away with the top seed in the west, the more pressure they will have come playoff time. The Western Conference is especially stacked this year and it’s very possible they will have another 1st round bounce. I can only imagine how another early round exit will go.

Stat Line of the Week

01/23/10  Montreal 6 vs. New York 0

Skater

TOI

G

A

+/-

SOG

PIM

M. Cammalleri

18:15

2

2

+2

4

0

Cammalleri’s name is not one you hear often but he is having himself a nice little season. Coming off a career year last season, in Calgary, that saw him post career highs in goals and points, Cammalleri leads the Canadiens in goals currently. His four point night help key the 6-0 victory over the Rangers.

Did You Know?

Rob Ray led the NHL in PIM with 261 in the 1998-99 season, while playing for the Sabres. He also had the dubious distinction of not scoring a goal that year.

Numbers, Numbers

127 – Goals for Boston the lowest in the NHL currently.

274 – Goals for Boston last year, when they led the Eastern Conference.

26 – Wins this year so far for Craig Anderson in 43 games for a .604 W%

36 – Wins prior to this year for Anderson in 88 games for a .409 W%

This Week in Hockey History

Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.

January 21, 2000 Valeri Bure scored at 3:06 of overtime to give the Flames a 5-4 win against the visiting Nashville Predators. It was the Flames’ 9th OT win of the season, a new NHL record. The Winnipeg Jets held the old mark with 8 OT wins in 1987-88.

January 22, 1987 A snowstorm in New Jersey delayed the game between the Devils and Flames for two hours. When it finally started, only 334 fans were on hand to see the Devils beat the Flames 7-5. The game ended at 11:44 PM.

January 23, 1972 Chicago’s Bobby Hull extended his team-record point scoring streak to 21 games in the Black Hawks’ 4-0 win over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs. Hull scored 23 goals, 12 assists for a total of 35 points during the 21 game streak.

January 24, 1998 Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne scored his 250th career NHL goal in the Mighty Ducks’ 3-3 tie against the visiting Los Angeles Kings.

January 25, 1996 The Ottawa Senators set an NHL record with their 16th consecutive home game without a win (0-15-1) in a 4-2 loss to Detroit at the Palladium. They broke the old record of 15 shared by the 1928 Black Hawks & 1939 Canadiens.

January 26, 2002 Eric Lindros scored once to give him 20 goals in each of his nine NHL seasons, and Theoren Fleury added his 20th goal of the year for the 12th time in his career as the Rangers won 6-3 against the visiting Washington Capitals.

Rankings

The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.

Top 5

1. Washington
2. San Jose
3. Anaheim
4. Vancouver
5. Philadelphia

Bottom 5

30. Edmonton
29. Calgary
28. Toronto
27. Boston
26. NY Rangers

Yikes the last 3 teams are all Canadian, not happy times in Canada for hockey fans these days.

Anaheim Ducks Watch

The Ducks started their long six game road trip in the Shark Tank. Anaheim has lost all four meeting against the Sharks this year coming into the game. You can make it five after the loss on Thursday. Both teams had chances and the Ducks actually out shot the Sharks. Beleskey had the only goal for the Ducks and it was a pretty one at that. In the end the Sharks were the better team, full avenging their playoff exit from last season.

Next up were the Blues an important game standing wise and the Ducks sure made it interesting. Down 3-0 in the 3rd all seemed lost. But then Niedermayer scored to put the Ducks on the board. Then the Bobby Ryan show took over as Ryan scored his 23rd and 24th goal of the year. The 34th came with just 30 seconds left in the game. Ryan did however miss the 3rd shootout shot, the first duck to miss, which would have given them the win. Instead it took 7 rounds for the Ducks to get the win.

Next for the Ducks were the Thrashers in a game they really needed to have because they play back to back games and their next opponent is the Capitals. Unfortunately the Ducks didn’t play all that well and lost 2-1, though at times they did have their chances. A couple of really dumb penalties at the end really sealed Anaheim’s fate. Sexton’s hooking call was a bad call by the refs but Whitney’s boarding call was just a bad move on Whitney’s part. Atlanta also had a questionable non call penalty towards the end, can’t remember who was involved.

Not sure what the future of this section holds, seeing as how I’m leaving Southern California, I won’t be able to watch the local broadcasts anymore and watching online isn’t always reliable. But maybe I’ll still do it. Either way I hope the Ducks make the playoffs this year.

Alex Mueller

Author: Alex Mueller

Alex Mueller graduated from Temple University with a minor in journalism over a decade ago. He’s been writing about NHL hockey, on and off, since the Fall of 2009. He’s written for Pucking Awesome, the Checking Line and now Hockey Recaps. He played goalie at San Diego Ice Arena. His first novel, Bobby Sterling vs Truth, is available on Amazon now.

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Extinguished Flames? – The Flames were my pick for Northwest division champion. While they were the leader at one point this season, they have since fallen dramatically. They have 7 of their last 8 games including an ugly 9-1 loss to San Jose. Most of their other losses were...