A few days ago, the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes played the longest shootout in NHL history at 20 rounds where every player on each bench got a crack at it. The total time of the shootout, from beginning to end, lasted 22 minutes. One wonders what else could have been done in that time. Like a whole other 5 on 5 period or several five minute periods. This illustrates that shootouts could go as long as a full period overtime so, in essence, it’s not really any better. Granted, it usually doesn’t go that long but still it could. One wonders what would happen if they do start to go that long on a regular basis. Will they actually get rid of the shootout?

As a goalie, I enjoy breakaways in a real game but in a warmup situation I’m not really interested in them. A shootout is basically a glorified warmup. Not the best way to decide a game in my own opinion. Going down to 3 on 3 isn’t really any better. 4 on 4 is fine but no less. Hockey is the ultimate team sport and should be decided in a manner where you are playing as a team and not a glorified skills competition. Leave that for the actual skills competition during the All-Star break, which we can finally watch again this season.

Things I like

1. The Columbus Blue Jackets reeled off sevens wins in a row only to find themselves still quite a way from everyone else in the standings. It would have been nine in a row if it wasn’t for their loss in overtime two games ago. Speaking of overtimes, the Blue Jackets have now been in the shootout or overtime six games in a row and seven times in the last eight games. But the Blue Jackets are finally becoming the team that almost knocked off the Penguins in last years playoffs. They are also more healthy than they’ve ever been. The Blue Jackets seem like the most likely team to take away the last wildcard spot from the Rangers. Assuming the Bruins can’t pull it together.

2. The Tampa Bay Lighting and the New York Islanders faced off in a possible Eastern Conference Finals preview on Saturday Night. And yes you read that correctly. Of course Montreal and Pittsburgh will have something to say about that. The Islanders pretty much dominated most of the game, out shooting the Lightning 48 to 21. In the 3rd period the Lightning mostly dominated the first half, scoring their only goal. But the Islanders roared back to dominate the rest of the game looking like they were on a powerplay when they weren’t. The Islanders scored two goals in 12 seconds and that was all it took. The Lightning were without Ben Bishop so that made a difference. Steven Stamkos was largely invisible in the second half of the game. The teams won’t play each other again this season. The Islanders took the series 2-1.

3. Marc-Andre Fleury gets a lot of flack from me and deservedly so. But I give credit where credit is due. He currently leads the NHL in shutouts with 6 and it’s the most he’s ever had in a season with more than half the season left. He has career highs in SV% and GAA and he’s played exceptionally well the past two weeks. Of course the key is how well will he do in the playoffs? Maybe the new contract was the vote of confidence he needed.

Things I don’t

1. Former Edmonton Oilers Coach Dallas Eakins got the old public vote of confidence from his boss, which naturally meant he was canned two weeks later. Which of course makes you wonder why they even bother to say it publicly then. It’s the biggest jinx in sports and it makes you a liar. More importantly what does firing a coach on a team with not a lot of talent accomplish? You can’t blame a coach when he’s got nothing to work with. Worse GM Craig MacTavish is now the coach. That rarely ends up well. It’s hard to focus on doing two jobs at once, especially when a competent GM is really needed. Plus what happens when you don’t succeed? Do you fire yourself from one or both jobs? Have they even won since the coach was fired? No. This is a mess that won’t end anytime soon. How long has Gretzky been gone?

2. Speaking of shootouts… shootout shooters shooting (say that ten times fast) from the end zone face-off circle is just dumb. Against the Columbus Blue Jackets Bryan Bickell of the Chicago Blackhawks needed to score to keep the shootout going. And what does he do? He barely skates in and just lets one fly from the top of the end zone face-off circle. Like that’s going to go in. You should only do that if you’re a skilled marksman and can shoot it right into the top corner of the net. But since most can’t do that, skate in and fake out the goalie. Figures it was his first shootout attempt. But it’s not just him. I see a few players do it and I can’t remember the last time it actually worked.

3. After a hot start that nobody so coming the wheels have fallen off the Calgary Flames. The Flames have now lost eight in a row and are out of the playoffs. They lost to the Sabres and were crushed by the Rangers and Maple Leafs. The Flames were overachieving so this brings them back to their skill level. A higher pick is better for their long term then losing in the first round. Next up is the Kings at Los Angeles.

Fights of the Week

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

Nicolas Deslauriers vs Mark Stuart

A pretty decent fight with a slight advantage to Stuart until Deslauriers knocks him out.

Cody McLeod vs Bobby Farnham

A few words to sum up this fight, intense and falling down.

Goat of the Week

Riley Sheahan – Detroit Red Wings

In Sheahan’s defense Brock Nelson made a good play but Sheahan stopping dead and turning, while losing his balance, didn’t help matters. It turned out to be the game wining goal.

Stat Line of the Week

12/18/14 Los Angeles 6 vs St. Louis 4

Skater

TOI

G

A

+/-

SOG

PIM

Hits

A. Kopitar

18:47

1

4

2

2

0

2

The Los Angeles Kings haven’t exactly been playing to their potential and Anze Kopitar especially hasn’t been playing to his. On this night he exploded for five points and help key the Kings comeback after being down three goals early. It looks like this game was what Kopitar needed to get him going, as he collected three assists the next game against the Coyotes.

Numbers, Numbers

9 – Wins and no losses for the Islanders in overtime and shootouts
0 – Wins in the overtime and shootout for the Oilers, the only team without any
-3 – +/- for Phil Kessel, the only player in the top 20 in scoring with a minus
5 – NHL teams who have players with the mumps
16 – Teams that would make the playoffs with a positive goal differential

This Week in Hockey History

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

December 15, 1988 Pittsburgh’s Paul Coffey scored a goal and picked up four assists as the Penguins won 8-2 over the Islanders, at Long Island.

December 16, 2001 Tom Barrasso recorded his 37th career shutout, and Rod Brind’Amour scored a goal and added four assists in the Hurricanes 7-0 win at Pittsburgh. Carolina outshot the Penguins 49-11.

December 17, 1939 Reg ‘Pep’ Kelly scored his third (and final) career hat trick in the third period as the Toronto Maple Leafs won 4-1 against the Americans, at New York. NY Americans.

December 18, 1926 Goaltender George Hainsworth recorded the third shutout of his rookie season as the Canadiens won 2-0 over the St. Pats, at Toronto.

December 19, 1985 Montreal Canadiens defenseman Larry Robinson scored the only hat trick of his 20 year NHL career, in a 5-4 Canadiens’ loss to the Quebec Nordiques.

December 20, 1979 Philadelphia Flyers tied an NHL record by extending their undefeated streak to 28 games (19-0-9), with a 1-1 tie against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. Behn Wilson got the tying goal with 4:08 remaining in the game.

December 21, 1988 Kings’ Luc Robitaille and Bernie Nicholls each scored a goal and added three assists as Los Angeles won 8-6 over the Minnesota North Stars, at the Forum.

Rankings

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

Top 5
1. Columbus
2. Chicago
3. San Jose
4. Anaheim
5. Pittsburgh

Bottom 5
30. Edmonton
29. Calgary
28. Arizona
27. Carolina
26. New Jersey

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.

http://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/panthersvscapitals-1024x578.jpghttp://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/panthersvscapitals-150x150.jpgAlex MuellerWeekly RecapsAnze Kopitar,Ben Bishop,Bryan Bickell,Calgary Flames,Carolina Hurricanes,Chicago Blackhawks,Cody McLeod,Columbus Blue Jackets,Detroit Red Wings,Edmonton Oilers,George Hainsworth,Larry Robinson,Los Angeles Kings,Marc-Andre Fleury,Montreal Canadiens,New York Islanders,Nicolas Deslauriers,Phil Kessel,Philadelphia Flyers,Pittsburgh Penguins,Recap,Steven Stamkos,Toronto Maple Leafs,Washington Capitals
A few days ago, the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes played the longest shootout in NHL history at 20 rounds where every player on each bench got a crack at it. The total time of the shootout, from beginning to end, lasted 22 minutes. One wonders what else could...