Ryan Smyth must have thought he was wearing the old Oilers jersey and playing in one of those classic Battle of Alberta games cause he came up big with 3 points last night against Calgary and he is some kinda hot right now with 4+6=10 in his last 7 games. Smytty is healthy this year which is helping him atone for a pretty weak opening year in Colorado (in which he single-handedly destroyed this scout's fantasy hockey season).
Curtis McElhinney got only his 3rd start of the year for Calgary and it may be a while before his next as he gave up 6 goals to Colorado in the loss. Curtis' ass was visibly numb, full of splinters and Mike Keenan chew-marks during the game so not surprised he has a hard time stopping the puck.
Jonathan Bernier was called up by LA, Erik Ersberg picked up a UBI last game and might not be able to go on Tuesday so JB was called up just in case. Teddy Purcell was sent down to make room. If you checked out our last Below the Show, you'll know Bernier hasn't been lighting the AHL on fire this year, so don't expect much if he does see some NHL action.
Even though Sid the Kid didn't score in his return (see below) the Penguins still beat the Rangers 3-0 thanks to the stellar play of Marc-Andre Fleury. He stopped all 33 shots the Rangers threw his way and even looked good coming out as the first star(video). The Penguins need Fleury to be a bit more consistent...in January his goals allowed have looked like this: 3, 3, 1, 4, 1, 2, 5, 1, 0.
Kristian Huselius may be awaking from his long slumber. He's picked up two assists last night and now has ten points in his last nine games. We wouldn't count on him getting back to the 77 point pace he put up in 2006-07 due to his lack of power play production this year (only six points on the PP) but that's doesn't mean he's not a serviceable player in deeper leagues.
Jason Williams was on the 3rd/4th line again last night but did see #1 PP unit time and potted a PPG. We state again that we don't think it will be long before he's up on a scoring line, preferably with Rick Nash. Nash's Cmen right now is Manny Malhotra, and despite MMs 5 game point streak, the dude couldn't score in junior so I don't think he's going to turn into Mario Lemieux at this point.
For only the second time this season Steve Mason gave up five or more goals last night. He stopped 25 shots against the Canucks had his number on the night but managed to still pick up the win in the shootout. Even when he has a bad game he still helps his owners...whatta guy.
So much CBJs news today... Nikita Filatov was a scratch last night, Hitchcock thought the game might be too rough for Little Nikky and maybe he was right with the whole Kesler-Umberger feud boiling over again... we talked about this last time they played, its so high school boys, you should really just get over it... or fight like men, not grab on to each other and fall to the ice in a deep embrace like they did last night.
We took down our poll... of a few select WJHC stars you guys like Cody Hodgson's chances to breakout next year over guys like John Tavares and Nikita Filatov... very impressive. Our new poll wants to know which of some of the biggest 1st half flops can salvage their season with a decent 2nd half.
Dilemma of the Day: You gotta think that Wayne gets tired of being involved in like every ceremony in the league, last night it was Glenn Anderson's jersey retirement in Edmonton, what's next?... ahh, Wayne for your next game in St. Louis, they're having Mike Liut night and you need to be there cause you scored more goals against Liut than any other player.
Injury Updates (see our Injury Updates page for a consolidated list of injuries):
Sidney Crosby returned from injury after missing one game. Although he didn't register a point he played over 20 minutes and it looks like the knee injury isn't something you'll need to worry about
Rick Nash also returned from injury after missing four games with an ankle injury. He picked up a goal and two assists and played 23:45 minutes in the game. He looks good to start for this week's short week.
Another big fantasy return as Ales Hemsky played his first game since December 28th. His concussion problems didn't slow him down as he potted two goals. That's 37 points in 35 games for Hemsky. If he can stay healthy he could put together his best season yet.
Also returning from the injured list yesterday was: Kris Letang and Dan Girardi.
What's distracting us today? The Hockey News named Jeremy Roenick as the best interviewer in the league. He is pretty comfortable in front of the camera:
Roenick offered some advice to young NHL stars:
"There are two ways players can be better interviews," Roenick said. "No. 1: speak your mind. If you feel passionately about something, then grow a pair, grow a thick skin, and say so. Don’t be afraid that you’re going to say the wrong thing. If it comes from your heart, if you know that you’re right, step up and let people hear what you have to say.
"And No. 2: for christ’s sake – for christ’s sake – show some (expletive) enthusiasm during interviews," Roenick said. "I see too many interviews where young guys say the same thing night after night after night. It’s (expletive).
"You know what, guys? Don’t just give us the usual clichés. Don’t do interviews where your eyes are just staring off into space when they should be looking into the camera. Say something funny once in a while! And if somebody scores a sick goal, it’s OK to say ‘damn, my teammate scored a sick goal!’ "
He didn't mention them specifically but he had to be thinking of Jonathon Toews and Sidney Crosby when he made those comments.
We saw a good example of this yesterday with Toews. Asked on his opinion on a magazine cover featuring Patrick Sharp, Toews didn't give an answer because he was worried Sharp could hear him:
Come on Toews....harden up! Kudos to Adam Burish for at least giving it a go! If you're still not convinced Toews is one of the most monotone & boring speakers in the NHL....here's some more proof.
After watching a few of Toews' interviews we remembered an interview he did as a member of Team Canada a few years back. We think it might explain his hesitation with the media:
F-Bomb! That's more like it Toews!