IIya found a home… for now – Well the IIya Kovalchuk watch can officially end, until this season is over. Of course this is old news by now, but it happened and I’m recapping the week so deal with it! A great pick-up by New Jersey they really didn’t give up much except for that number 1 pick. If they can re-sign Ilya they made out like gangbusters. If they can’t well even though they didn’t give up much, giving up something for nothing is never a good thing. Even if they win the cup this year and he leaves, I still think it’s a waste. They probably have a good chance of re-assigning him but they will have to pay. As of now the move hasn’t really paid off. The Devils are 1-2 since acquiring him and it could very well have been 0-3 if it wasn’t for their three goal 3rd period rally against Toronto. It will probably take awhile for Kovalchuk to adjust to his new linemates.

As for the Thrashers, well what can you say; this team bleeds talent like no other. I still can’t wait for them to leave Atlanta. I think that will solve most of their problems. But that’s a topic for another discussion. It’s great they will have two 1st round picks in this year’s draft. Let’s hope they get some quality talent they can actually keep in Atlanta, for once.

Goalie Spotlight

Tomas Vokoun – Florida Panthers

So who are the league leaders in shutouts? That would be Martin Brodeur and Tomas Vokoun each with seven so far. Vokoun is one of those unheralded guys in the league. He doesn’t get much fanfare but goes out and puts up some decent numbers.

The Czech born Vokoun was drafted in 1994 by the Montreal Canadiens, he played only one game for them and gave up four goals in one period. Between 1994 and 1994 he played in Czechoslovakia, for the ECHL and AHL. He was then chosen by the Predators in the 1998 expansion draft. He split time between the Predators and the IHL his first two seasons, though he mostly played for the Predators. It wasn’t until the 2002-03 season, after Mike Dunham was traded, that Vokoun became the starter.

After he became the starter he posted solid numbers on a regular basis and set many franchise records. Of course at this point the franchise was only about five years old. He holds the franchise record for wins in a season (36), all-time wins (134), all-time losses (147) and goaltender games played (340). During the lockout year he went to play for the Finnish league SM-liiga. He led HIFK Helsinki to an 11-4-4 record with a .940SV%. However in the playoffs he folded big time with an .846SV%, worst in the league.

From 2006 on Vokoun suffered health issues ranging from blood-clotting to thumb surgery. During this time back-up Chris Mason emerged as the starter. Subsequently Vokoun was traded to the Florida Panthers, for draft picks, right before the 2007 draft. He made the All-Star team his first year with the Panthers and 2nd time overall he was selected. Vokoun made headlines this season when he was hit in the head with his own teammates, Keith Ballard, stick. Vokoun is posting decent numbers again this season and he is hoping to backstop the Panthers into the playoffs this year, a feat he almost accomplished last season.

Fights of the Week

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

Rick Rypien vs. Chris Neil

I good high intensity battle one of the few fights Rypien hasn’t dominated that he was in.

Tanner Glass vs. Matt Carkner

Carkner makes Glass his punching bag.

Dominic Moore vs. Zach Bogosian

Bogosian gets in a sneaky upper cut and that was the end of that.

Jody Shelley vs. Colton Orr

Shelley knocks out Orr with his 2nd punch.

Goat of the Week

Patrick Lalime – Buffalo Sabres

Lalime doesn’t play much backing up Ryan Miller and that isn’t likely to change anytime soon after this play. The puck did take a funny bounce off the boards but you have to be prepared, Lalime wasn’t and it bounced off his skate into the net.

Things I like

1. Great game between the Penguins and Capitals before the Super Bowl. Alex Ovechkin had a hat trick and assisted on the game winner in overtime and Sidney Crosby had two goals. Despite NBC’s constant drooling over Crosby and Ovechkin, they managed to mention former Hart trophy winner Evgeni Malkin. Hey NBC doesn’t winning the Hart Trophy mean your some kind of skilled hockey player?

2. Speaking of Ovechkin he notched his 500th point this week in 373 games the fastest to 500 since Eric Lindros did it in 352 games. You remember Lindros right?

3. There are only two teams that have 7 players above 35 or more points each. One of them is the Washington Capitals which I’m sure most of you would guess but I bet you can’t guess the other one. I’ll give you the answer later in the column.

4. The Maple Leafs are getting Jiggy with it. After debuting in Toronto with a shutout, Jean-Sebastien Giguere decided to follow that up with another shutout. He made 30 saves again. His shutout streak came to an end against San Jose though, as he gave up three goals in a losing effort. If he had shutout the Sharks, I’m sure they would be celebrating in Toronto like they just won the super bowl, jk.

Things I don’t

1. NHL scheduling quirks, the Maple Leafs and Devils played each other in three of the last four games. Is that really necessary? How about a little more space in between games NHL?

2. NBC explaining why you fight in a hockey game during the Penguins vs. Capitals. Please stop NBC. Next NBC will explain why you try and score goals, ugh.

3. I’d like to give my condolences to Brian Burke who lost his son Brendan Burke. He died in a car accident driving on a snowy road. As a former Mid-Atlantic resident, I know how difficult it can be to drive on snow and ice. A person should never have to outlive their children.

Trivia: The answer to the other team besides the Capitals would be the Los Angeles Kings.

Stat Line of the Week

02/06/10 Toronto 5 vs. Ottawa 0

Skater

TOI

G

A

+/-

SOG

PIM

L. Schenn

21:40

2

1

+4

4

2

Well there were many fine performances this week but I chose to highlight Schenn’s performance. A 5th overall selection, by the Maple Leafs, in his second season he is starting to develop into what the Maple Leafs had hoped when they drafted him. He was on the ice for four of the Maple Leaf’s five goals and he scored two of them himself.

Did You Know?

Patrick Roy is the only net minder to give up an opponent’s 500th career goal more than once. The players who have scored their 500th on Roy are: Steve Yzerman in 1996, Joe Mullen in 1997 and Brendan Shanahan in 2002.

Numbers, Numbers – the streak edition

14 – The Washington Capital’s current winning streak.

11 – The winning streak by the Ottawa Senators which came to an end against Toronto.

10 – The losing streak by the Boston Bruins which came to an end against Montreal.

16 – Would be the games points streak by Alex Ovechkin if he scored against the Islanders on 1/26 but he didn’t so it’s now six games.

10 – The current winning streak for home wins for the Anaheim Ducks

This Week in Hockey History

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

February 04, 1987 Wayne Gretzky scored his 50th goal of the season, to lead the Oilers to a 6-5 win over the North Stars at Minnesota. It was Gretzky’s eighth straight 50 goal season.

February 05, 1996 Colorado’s Patrick Roy became the 4th goaltender in NHL history to win 10 or more games with two teams in one season, when the Avalanche had a 4-2 win over the visiting Canadiens. Roy had won 12 games with Montreal before being traded.

February 06, 1993 Mike Gartner scored four goals and an assist (including a first period hat trick) to lead the Wales Conference to a 16-6 win over the Campbells, at the All Star Game in Montreal. Pierre Turgeon had three goals & two assists in the game

February 07, 1987 Cam Neely scored his first career NHL hat trick as the Bruins won 8-5 over the Maple Leafs in Boston.

February 08, 2004 Joe Sakic scored a hat trick to lead the Western Conference to a 6-4 win over the East, in the NHL All Star game played in Minnesota. Daniel Alfredsson led the East with two goals and an assist.

February 09, 1971 Vancouver Canucks ended their team-record 11 game home winless streak (0-10-1) with a 6-3 win over the visiting Buffalo Sabres. Rosaire Paiement led the Canucks with a team-record four goals (his first career hat trick).

Rankings

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

Top 5

1. Washington
2. Ottawa
3. Los Angeles
4. San Jose
5. Vancouver

Bottom 5

30. Edmonton
29. Boston
28. NY Islanders
27. Buffalo
26. NY Rangers

Anaheim Ducks Watch

The Ducks seem to have the Red Wings number at home lately and Wednesday was no different. They Jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back, prevailing 3-1. Hiller was sensational stopping 46 of 47 shots. The Ducks were firing on all cylinders with Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf leading the charge.

Next though they had to play the Kings in back to back games. They haven’t won the 2nd game in any of the back to backs this year and this time was no different. They quickly feel behind 4-1 only to crawl back and tie the game 4-4. Dustin Brown scored the game winner on a wide open net, a goal that was poorly defended by Anaheim. They gave up another goal after that and ended up losing 6-4. Memo to NHL book teams playing back to back games as little as possible. I’m pretty sure it can be done.

Next up was the Kings, wait didn’t I just type that, o wait that’s right the NHL doesn’t know how to schedule; either that or this is baseball. It was a great fast paced game with lots of chances. After the 1st which was tied 1-1 and saw Teemu Selanne net number 597, the Ducks dominated the 2nd period. Saku Koivu netted the game winner when he scored the puck and then himself. Surprisingly there was no scoring in the 3rd and the Ducks prevailed 4-2 and got those much needed two points. Unfortunately Ryan Getzlaf sprained his ankle and it didn’t look pretty. X-rays at this point are negative and I hope they stay that way.

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.

Alex MuellerWeekly RecapsAlex Ovechkin,Anaheim Ducks,Atlanta Thrashers,Brendan Burke,Brian Burke,Buffalo Sabres,Chris Mason,Chris Neil,Colton Orr,Dominic Moore,Eric Lindros,Evgeni Malkin,Florida Panthers,IIya Kovalchuk,Jean-Sebastien Giguere,Jody Shelley,Keith Ballard,Los Angeles Kings,Luke Schenn,Matt Carkner,Nashville Predators,New Jersey Devils,Patrick Lalime,Patrick Roy,Pittsburgh Penguins,Rick Rypien,Ryan Getzlaf,Sidney Crosby,Tanner Glass,Tomas Vokoun,Toronto Maple Leafs,Washington Capitals,Zach Bogosian
IIya found a home… for now – Well the IIya Kovalchuk watch can officially end, until this season is over. Of course this is old news by now, but it happened and I’m recapping the week so deal with it! A great pick-up by New Jersey they really didn’t...