Between the Pipes – NHL Recap Week 18
Greetings from Seattle, colder and wetter than Southern California, and home to no hockey teams, thank you Gary Bettman.
Wheelings and Dealings – Brian Burke has been a busy man and so has Darryl Sutter. Jean-Sebastian Giguere to Toronto had been rumored all season and finally happened. So it isn’t really surprising. It’s sad to seem him leave Anaheim but in the “what have you done for me lately” world of sports, the answer for Giguere would be nothing. Best of luck in Toronto Jiggy, where you will be re-united with your former goalie coach. Toronto also picked up Dion Phaneuf to help solidify their defense. Most of the time it’s good for a veteran, whose played a while in the same place and is struggling, to go to another team to rejuvenize his career. Toronto sure hopes that is the case this time. Burke had some questionable calls toward the end of his tenure in Anaheim that I didn’t care for. This includes the handling of Bobby Ryan, Andy McDonald, Teemu Selanne, Scott Neidermayer and Dustin Penner. But I like that he is shaking up the Maple Leafs and he is acquiring key pieces without really giving anything up. As good as the Giguere and Phaneuf pickups are, what may really be the best acquisition is how good the 6 foot 6 Keith Aulie ends up being. If he ends up being a star this deal was defiantly more than worth it and then some.
On the other hand…. It’s very interesting to me that I wrote about the Flames last week and how a shake-up was needed, you know get creative. I don’t think this was quite what I had in mind. Darryl Sutter obviously had other thoughts. I’m not sure trading two struggling stars; I used that term loosely, for a bunch of third rate NHL’ers is the way to go. If they would have traded Jay Bouwmeester instead of Phaneuf, and in effect it’s almost the same thing, that would have sent the message, “Hi I’m Darryl Sutter the two moves I made last season to strengthen our team didn’t work, so I am starting over. I also have no idea what this team needs to win the Cup.” Giving up after a year and starting over shows you don’t really know what chemistry your team needs and you have no faith in your players. This certainly doesn’t make a winning combination. I had high hopes for the Flames this year but I don’t think they will be making the playoffs this year. The cup runner up team of 2004 seems so long ago. Neither of the players they received from the Rangers for Olli Jokinen have much of an upside. Plus as I mentioned above if Aulie becomes a star Sutter is really going to be roasted, more so than he is now. Though he probably won’t be in Calgary by the time we know the verdict on Aulie. I’m having a hard time figuring out what the Flames gained in any of these trades. Unless they are just unloading everyone since Niklas Hagman and Ales Kotalik are the only one still under contract after this season. I do wonder if Brandon Prust will make his way back to Calgary as he did when he was traded for Jokinen. It makes you wonder how Prust feels to be traded with the same player he was traded to get just a year ago.
None this week, will be back next week
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
This week had the least amount of fights to pick from this season.
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond vs. Jay Rosehill
Pretty decent, but messy fight, that features the best French name ever!
Colin White vs Dion Phaneuf
This fight is selected because there are no other decent fights this week and it is the first fight for Phaneuf as a Maple Leaf.
Goat(s) of the Week
Johan Hedberg – Atlanta Thrashers
He didn’t really do anything goatish but he got his jersey stuck over his head and couldn’t see, which is just funny. I’m glad he didn’t get hurt though.
Ryan Miller – Buffalo Sabres
Ryan Miller questionably attempts to clear the puck from behind the net passing it behind his back which bounces off of Tyler Myers into Crosby’s stick and he scores a goal which Miller had a chance to stop but failed again. Not the best sequence for Miller.
Things I like
1. Sidney Crosby almost had a natural hat trick against the Sabres on Monday night. He has really carried the penguins this year, since Malkin has struggled at times this season. Call him Cindy, call him a cheap shot artist, or a whiner but whatever you call him you can’t deny he’s a damn fine hockey player.
2. Hiller shutting out the Panthers after signing his new contract. Ironically he would have gotten the new contract earlier, and Giguere shipped out earlier, if he had played better at the beginning of the season.
3. Speaking of Jean-Sebastien Giguere, he recorded his own shutout in his Toronto debut against the Devils making 30 saves. I expect Giguere will play well for the Maple Leafs and lead them back to respectability.
4. Edmonton won! They beat the mighty Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 in a game I’m sure fans were turned away at the door. All kidding aside this was a much needed victory for the Oilers. Losing 13 games in a row you probably start to question if you can ever win again.
5. Quiet teams like Los Angeles, Phoenix and Ottawa winning and winning a lot lately. I can’t believe Ottawa is 9-1 in their last 10 games. But I guess with the Capitals winning 11 in a row stuff like that happens.
Things I don’t
1. All these slumping teams Edmonton, Calgary, Detroit, Boston, Toronto, New Jersey, NY Rangers. They all have 3 wins or less in their last 10 games. It’s probably been a long time since that has happened.
2. Dan Sexton being reassigned to the Manitoba Moose, that’s a cool team name though. I’ll write some more about this in the Ducks watch below.
3. Mike Green, Capitals, taking out Michael Frolik, Panthers, with an elbow to the head, just a sick defenseless shot. Green received a three game suspension for the hit. Then the next period Mike Green and Dmitry Kulikov hit knee to knee, perhaps karma’s payback. Never good to hit knee to knee and both men leapt off the ice. You can see both hits below.
Stat Line of the Week
01/30/10 Calgary 6 vs. Edmonton 1
Captain Iginla brought his A game as he tried to turn around the sinking ship knows as the Flames. He did an awesome job as he netted 2 goals, 2 assists and gave up no goals while he was on the ice. Unfortunately, this came against the Oilers who are more hapless than the Flames right now. Also the Flames were unable to maintain their momentum losing to the Flyers 3-0 the next game.
Did You Know?
That in the 1993 Stanley Cup Playoffs the eventual champion Canadiens swept the Sabres 4-0 in the 2nd round but won every game by a score of 4-3. The last three games all went to overtime.
11 – The current winning streak by the Capitals, the longest in franchise history.
8 – Consecutive losses by the Bruins.
.9325% – Ryan Miller’s save percentage just a hair behind Hasek’s all-time single season record of .9366%.
0 – The number of wins by the Oilers in the month of January.
6,896 – Fans in attendance for the Hurricanes vs. Blackhawks due to snow in the Carolinas.
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
January 28, 1992 Brett Hull became just the second player in NHL history to record back to back seasons of 50 goals in 50 games (Wayne Gretzky had done so in 1983 & 1984). He scored #50 in a 3-3 Blues’ tie at Los Angeles.
January 29, 1977 The Blizzard of ’77 left many of the Sabres trapped in Buffalo. Only 14 players made it up to Montreal, but they managed to tie the Canadiens, 3-3.
January 30, 2003 Owen Nolan tied a San Jose team record with a goal in his sixth consecutive game, a 4-3 loss to the visiting Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Nolan scored 8 goals in the six games.
January 31, 1982 Grant Fuhr became the first goaltender in Edmonton Oilers history to win 20 games in one season. The milestone 20th victory of the year was a 7-4 win against the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.
February 01, 1977 Montreal’s Guy Lafleur began an NHL-record 28 game point scoring streak, with a goal and three assists, in the Canadiens’ 7-3 win over the Barons, at Cleveland. Wayne Gretzky later upped the record to 51 games.
February 02, 1928 Senators’ Alex Connell recorded the second of his NHL-record six consecutive shutouts, with a 1-0 win over the Montreal Maroons, in Ottawa. It was Connell’s 43rd career shutout.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
3. Los Angeles
4. San Jose
26. NY Rangers
Anaheim Ducks Watch
Well it looks like I’ll keep this section for now.
In order to make room for newly acquired Jason Blake and the returning Teemu Selanne they moved down Dan Sexton and Matt Beleskey. I don’t particularly care for those moves, particularly the Sexton move. I don’t think Blake and his high salary will add much to the Ducks team. Sexton, while not as hot as he was, is a fast and skilled player. Ryan Carter or Troy Bodie would have been better choices to demote.
The Ducks played the Capitals a day after losing to the Thrashers and as predicted they got crushed 5-1. Playing back to back games especially games that far away is ridiculous. I don’t see how any team would have a chance. In Giguere’s send off game, he gave up 5 goals on 49 shots. Not to shabby considering how under siege he was. The lone goal was scored by the newly demoted Dan Sexton. The Ducks have a funny way of thanking people sometimes.
My last game on Fox Sports Prime Ticket was against the Lightning and it was a good one. The Ducks prevailed 2-1 in a tight contest that showcased the James Wisniewski show. Wisniewski scored the only goal for the Ducks in regulation and then he followed it up with his second consecutive shootout winning goal. The Wisniewski pick-up last year was a really great find for the Ducks and Bob Murray. Hiller had some nice saves as did Niittymaki.
Then in a game no one saw because it wasn’t televised anywhere, the Ducks beat the Panthers 3-0. Truly pathetic that no one broadcasted the game. Selanne made his triumphant return and scored, what else, a powerplay goal. He is just 4 goals shy of joining the 600 goal club. If he can find a way to not get injured again, he will get that this season. The Ducks have the always fun Red Wings up next.
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.