HEADS UP: Our weekly 'Fantasy Five' article is up over at HockeyDraft.ca... head on over and have a look
Lee Stempniak with the hat-trick last night, to go along with a plus-3 & five shots on goal, so a nice night for Stempy's owners. These were his first goals of the year and he's still not playing on a scoring line so we're cautiously optimistic about his chances but on the plus side he is shooting the puck a lot (18 through five games) and that will lead to more goals.
Love the pity star selections... obviously the Edmonton media is trying to lift Taylor Hall's spirits as he was chosen the 2nd star last night in a game where he was pointless, a minus-2 with two shots on goal (whereas MPS played four less minutes and had eight shots). I saw most the game and yes Hall was flying around out there and being flashy and all but there wasn't a lot of substance to it, he gave away the puck alot and when he had a chance, he missed the net. I don't dislike Hall, just think he's been waaaay overhyped.
Matt Taormina continues to impress as he scored last night while logging over 20 minutes of ice-time with four minutes on the top PP unit. He's now got 2+2=4 through seven games so far and has been one of the biggest surprises in this young season. As long as he's seeing the minutes then we like the good times to keep rolling.
Have to mention that Marc-Andre Fleury was back in the net for the Penguins last night and while he wasn't great (stopping 21 of 24), he did enough to pick up the win and that's a start. Expect to see him and Brent Johnson split the starts for a while until Johnson cools down and then Fleury will get his regular starting role back.
Antero Niittymaki got the start for San Jose last night and he stopped 29 of 31 to pick up the win over Colorado. Niemi has looked shaky, giving up nine goals to Carolina & Atlanta in his last two starts, so look for Niittymaki to get a chance to start a few in a row.
Jiri Hudler had less than 10 minutes of ice-time last night and on the broadcast they mentioned that the Wings were disappointed with his conditioning coming into this season (too much vodka last year I'd assume). He only has two assists and is a minus-4 through six games and hasn't found his way off the 3rd line yet.
Jamie Benn returned after missing three games with a concussion but he looked fine as he had a hat-trick of assists while playing on the 3rd/4th line... we're big fans and like his chances this year for a breakout so it's nice to see him return so fast and so effective.
James Neal is off to a great start this year and with a goal last night he keeps a four game goal streak alive and has 4+4=8 with a plus-8 & 8 PIMs through his first six games.
It was expected that Tuukka Rask would get the start last night for the Bruins but they went back to Tim Thomas and you can't really blame them... he stopped 38 of 39 to win his fourth in a row and has only allowed three goals so far this year. As we said the other day, hopefully the Rask owners out there grabbed Thomas as insurance cause there's not much Rask/you can do about this right now.
The Thrashers have put Nigel Dawes on waivers and he's likely headed to the AHL... another brilliant move by a team that needs more skill and can't score.
The Sharks have loaned goalie Thomas Greiss to Brynas in the Swedish Elite League. Good move by them as this allows both Greiss & Stalock to continue to see lots of action as opposed to sharing the net in Worcester.
A report out of Russia says that Alexander Radulov has signed a three-year extension to stay in the KHL. Damn, I was hoping he was coming back and grabbed him in a keeper league this year... looks like a wasted pick. [more from Dirk Hoag]