Kris Versteeg is enjoying a mighty fine rookie season leading all freshmen in scoring with 31 points including 2 more in the Winter Classic yesterday and that gives him 3+4=7 in his last 5 games. We like the kid but don't be blown away by his numbers as his shots are less than adequate, he racked up most his PIMs when he jumped Kyle Turris and he's pretty low on the PP time food-chain.
It pains us to say it, cause we think he's pretty useless, but PJ Axelsson has been productive lately with 8 points in his last 8 games. In defense of our position, it would be hard not to be productive on a line with Marc Savard (5+9=14 in last 8) and Philly Kessel (4+4=8 in last 8). So feel free to take a look at Axelsson if you need help on wing but just don't expect us to be a fan of your team.
Rough patch lately for Christian Ehrhoff as he gone 16 games without a point, he's a -7 in his last 7 games and has been bumped down to the third pairing or press box recently. He's had some historical success so he's not as bad as this but we're not sold that he's going to come close to regaining the form he had at the beginning of the year so you might look at shopping him.
Another struggling dman that we don't have a lot of time for is Toby Enstrom. Only 2 assists in his last 20 games and he doesn't shoot the puck or get you PIMs so he's really not helping you at all right now. He still gets a little PP time but only on the 2nd unit so he's what Bettman would call, almost incredibly droppable.
Big night for the big guns in Buffalo as they had been in some sort of chicken wings for Christmas malaise lately but snapped out of it last night as Jason Pominville had 2 goals, Derek Roy had 2+1=3 and Thomas Vanek had 2 assists. Lindy Ruff called out his best players recently and it seems these guys are paying attention. Hopefully they can go on a tear like they did at the end of last season when Roy and Pominville were only outdone by Ovechkin and Malkin for points post all-star break.
While on the topic of Buffalo and 2nd half performances, we've got to remind you about Ryan Miller. Millsy has never been strong finisher, in fact his number usually go dramatically downhill post all-star break, take a look at his career splits:
Pre all-star break: 150 starts, 84 wins, 2.54, .912
Post all-star break: 82 starts, 44 wins, 2.93, .902
So now's the time to act, you know what to do.
Injury Updates (see our Injury Updates page for a consolidated list of injuries):
Oh snap, this is hilarious... Maid Marian Gaborik is considering season ending hip surgery which will put Minny in a dilly of a pickle as they won't be able to move him at the trade deadline and could lose their ace for nothing. Wonder if Atlanta and Columbus are taking note as they will have similar situations next year with Kovalchuk and Nash and they'd have to consider moving these guys earlier to avoid a similar fate.
Bad news for Alex Tanguay sympathizers... that minor shoulder injury he picked up has mushroomed into a 6 week trip on the IR.
Carey Price has a LBI and will miss tonight's game but could be back as early as Sunday so it doesn't appear to be too serious.
Kris Letang returned to the lineup last night but only played 13:55. This was Letang's first game in the lineup since Ryan Whitney's been back and RyWi played 30:07 (with 7:59 of PP time) last night. So just to be clear, Whitney's return has really eaten into the ice time and PP time for Letang and Alex Goligoski... adjust accordingly.
The following guys returned to action from the injured list yesterday: Nicklas Lidstrom, Cam Barker and Brent Johnson.
What's distracting us today? We were so distracted by the Winter Classic yesterday that it would be hard for us to be distracted by much else. In the end, it was interesting, but we're not the type to be wetting our collective pants over it... speaking of pant-wetting, I hope Pierre McGuire was wearing a diaper when he made this call on Dustin Tokarski's save at the WJHC the other day cause it's a human impossibility for a man to be that excited and not lose control of his bodily functions.