We've been punked by Kovy... don't get too down on Leighton but beware... not convinced by Dvo or TV... buying Soupy... Sittler goes off
Well Alexei Kovalev certainly showed us... we've been bad mouthing him all year as its been pretty obvious that he's just mailing it in but I guess you should keep him around for games such as last night... Kovy dropped four goals and added an assist, those being his first goals in 11 games. One good thing that we'll say about Kovy is that he is shooting the puck more lately as he has 26 shots in his last six games, so that's somewhat encouraging.
Kovalev's linemate, Ryan Shannon, continued his mini-hot streak as he had three assists last night and now has 4+3=7 in his last five games while seeing a decent amount of ice & PP time.
We're playing devil's advocate with Mike Leighton as we've been telling you not to get too excited about him as his four game win streak came against weak competition but after giving up two goals on seven shots and getting pulled last night, we're also going to tell you not to write him off. He had six solid performances in a row for the Flyers before last night, so he should be given another chance soon. Also note that Ray Emery is on the comeback trail and could be back within the next two weeks.
Radek Dvorak notched a hat-trick for the Panthers last night and while we don't have any use for this guy, he does have 6+6=12 in his last 11 games and might be useful for a few GMs in deeper leagues.
But Tomas Vokoun was the real story for the Panthers last night as he stopped 46 of 48 shots to beat the Penguinos. Vokoun has won five of his past seven games, which is good, but he was shelled for nine goals in the two losses so he's a risky play as the Panthers continue to allow way too many shots, 34.6 /game over Vokoun's last seven games.
We don't speak too much of Brian Campbell as we think he's vastly overrated but we're man enough to admit that he's looking damn good right now, 4+6=10, plus-9 and 27 shots over his last 11 games. Its the shots that really gets us as he's on pace for a career high of 152 and he'll blow that away if he keeps up his recent form.
Ken Hitchcock went with the 'win-and-you're-in' method of picking his starting goalie about two weeks ago it was more like 'lose-and-you'll-get-a-game-off' as it resulted in one win in their last seven games. So Hitchy has decided to scrap that idea and go back to the underachieving Steve Mason back-to-back... we'd say this is good news for Mason owners but having Mason in your lineup has not been a good idea so far this year.
More on the Blues coaching change... outside of last season, Andy Murray has typically had a poor PP and had teams that didn't score a lot of goals so the fact that they're in the bottom third of the league in those categories again this year shouldn't come as much of a shock. But there is quite a bit of talent there so look for them to produce more (they can't really be worse) with a new voice behind the bench. There's been talk that new coach Davis Payne will help the young players as he's been the Blues AHL coach for the past two seasons but let's remember that none of Johnson, Oshie, Berglund or Perron spent any time in the AHL... Payne will lean on the young guy because that's the mandate from management, so we should see those guys given lots of opportunities.
Injury Updates (see our Injury Updates page for a consolidated list of injuries):
Scottie Upshall left Saturday night's game early with a LBI, we're still awaiting the word on the full extent but this is poor timing as he's just starting to make himself a useful fantasy player.
The Avs Brett Clark missed Saturday's game due to facial injuries... they're not expected to keep him out much longer.
Returning to action from the injured list last night was: Brian Boucher.
What's distracting us today? A new short from Bloge Salming with one of our favourite classic Leafs, Darryl Sittler, and his ode to Habs, Sens and Sabres fans...