It's Hockey Day In Canada today as all six of the league's Canadian teams matchup and I guess that kinda makes it Hockey Day in the USA as well as only American teams will play each other... so enjoy, wherever you at. Of course, the big game is the return of a Canuck to Toronto... will they boo him? how will he react? Yes, it should be an interesting night for Kyle Wellwood.
Big news yesterday about links between the Brothers Kostitsyn and organized criminals. This is probably way overblown as it doesn't sound like they've been involved in too many crimes but not the kind of distraction that the struggling Habs need right now. Good thing they sent Sergei down to Hamilton, the place is a ghost town, even the criminals have deserted that place.
Mike Comrie and Chris Campoli have found a new home. The Sens picked up the pair for Dean McAmmond and a 1st round pick. It's a pretty bad deal by the Sens as they are 16 points out of the playoffs right now. Fantasy-wise Comrie and Campoli are in a better situation now. If Comrie gets some talent on his wings and if Campoli gets some PP time there's a small chance they can get back to the 60 and 30 point paces they have played at in the past.
Dan Cleary kept his nice streak going with a goal last night. That's nine points in ten games for Cleary. With Tomas Holmstrom out Cleary is getting an opportunity to play with the big boys.
Mark Recchi was scratched last night and like all good 41 year old veteran's should do, he threw a hissy-fit saying, "I play better in the second half of back-to-back games"... wait a tick, you can't make a statement like that and just expect us not to investigate, so we did... Recchi's played 11 games that were the second of back-to-back games and he's had five assists and minus three. Nice try Mark, those antics might work in Tampa Bay, but it don't fly here... sit your ass down.
Alex Kovalev is expected to play for the Habs tonight. After a two day mental health break it will be interesting to see if Kovy can take things up a few notches. Maybe the two days will give Kovy a little extra motivation but our guess is that this sinking ship is too messed up to fix.
Looks like Detroit picked up few pointers from Montreal GM Bob Gainey's handling of the struggling Kovalev. The Wings' are giving the struggling Chris Osgood a ten day mental break so he can re-focus and work on his game...his all star season last year seems very far away doesn't it? Jimmy Howard has been called up and will get the start for the Wings tonight. It's looking like Ty Conklin will be getting the large majority of the starts down the stretch.
Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan both picked up their 20th goal of the season last night. Getz has a nice 67 points in 59 games and Bobby has put up an equally impressive 38 in 42. They have been two of the bright spots in a mostly disappointing Duck season.
One guy who we've been keeping an eye on lately is Anaheim rookie center Andrew Ebbett. He's been stealing a lot of ice-time from Brendan Morrison lately as the Ducks #2 Cman playing with Selanne and Ryan and has responded with seven points in his last nine games. He's probably not one for this year but may be one to keep in mind for next year.
For those of you in daily leagues...Ilya Bryzgalov will be between the pipes for the 'Yotes this afternoon. Vesa Toskala and Jaroslav Halak are also getting the nod to start tonight.
Injury Updates (see our Injury Updates page for a consolidated list of injuries):
Paul Stastny didn't play last night but is expected back very shortly...perhaps as early as Sunday. He's had no setbacks so far and a Sunday start would be nice so those of you in weekly leagues could get a look before starting him. He would be a nice boost to the struggling Avs offense.
What's distracting us today? After seeing Alex Ovechkin's amazing goal against the Habs a few nights ago we've been thinking about where that goals ranks in OV's greatest. The consensus seems to be it's a solid number two on the list. That's what TSN says in their Top 10 Ovechkin Goals:
We'll stick with the Ovechkin theme and send you over to a great interview that On Frozen Pond posted with Alex. Some of the highlights:
- AO thinks his best goal wasn't the one against Montreal (#2 on TSN's list) or the one against Phoenix (#1)...his personal fav is #3 against Buffalo.
- Bob Gainey made the mistake of giving Alex some extra motivation...note to NHL GM's: don't do that.
- Alex's answer to whether he would give up a stick that was used to establish a new record (ala Mike Green) is priceless:
"No. I was actually asked to give up my stick last year when I scored my 63rd goal to equal the record for left wingers. But I didn't give it up. What for? Let them look at a different one. The stick I used to score my 65th goal was taken away from me. And they also took my gloves and my helmet... If you give everything away then you might be left without any equipment. Moreover, I have my own museum at home. It needs exhibits too."
Next up on our tour of all things Alex is a video from a few years back. Comcast checks out his new pad. We discover that Alex is a bit of a pig and he buys his dad's jeans:
How about a few lesser known Ovie facts:
- His middle name is Mikhaylovich.
- He is the proud owner of the biggest contract in NHL history...$124 million over 13 years. He negotiated the contract himself and doesn't employ an agent...because he is cheap.
- He is the son of Mikhail Ovechkin (a former professional soccer player) and Tatyana Ovechkina (considered to be one of the greatest Russian basketball players...she also wore number 8).
- His older brother Sergei died in a car accident when Alex was 10 years old.
- When AO was two years old, in a Soviet toy store, he grabbed a toy hockey stick and helmet and refused to let go.
- He almost stopped playing hockey when he was 8 because the rink was too far from home. A coach convinced his parents he was worth the trip.
- Alex was almost drafted in the 9th round of the 2003 draft by the Florida Panthers. His birthday was just two days after the cut-off so the Panthers argued that if leap year were taken into account he would be old enough. The NHL said no.
- He scored his 200th goal on February 5th 2009. Not really a lesser known fact but it gives us an excuse to this video...AO's first 200 goals in 200 seconds.
- He appeared in the video "Perfect Criminal" by Vlad Topalov (3:30 mark(. It's a small part but we might see big things from his rock star.
We'll end our OV-centric Distraction with one of our favourite NHL commercials: