March 28, 2011

Pucks On The 'Net

How is it the Calgary Flames can decide not to activate Daymond Langkow? He has been on injured reserve for more than a calendar year, suffering a horrific injury after taking a puck to the back of the head. Doctors have given him full medical clearance to resume his career, but the Flames, under the guise of "lack of fitness," keep him on the IR due to salary cap considerations. Does this not basically amount to salary cap circumvention?

Here's some more thoughts to start the week:
  • Ryan Kesler has 4 goals in last 20 games, including 2 empty netters. Kesler has a bad playoff history and really needs to return to his first half form if the Canucks hope to make it to the Stanley Cup finals. Especially in the absence of Manny Malhotra.
  • Last summer Mike Gillis added two key free agents to the Canucks - Malhotra and Dan Hamhuis - specifically for playoff success. Malhotra's done for the year and Hamhuis suffered his 4th career concussion on Sunday. No word on how long he will be out, but suddenly the mighty Canucks are heading into the playoffs with a more similar team to last year than they had hoped.
  • From the Elias Sports Bureau: Henrik Lundqvist posted his league-leading 11th shutout of the season with a 1-0 win at Boston on Saturday afternoon. His 11 shutouts are the most in one season by a Rangers goaltender since 1928-29, when John Ross Roach set the club record with 13 (in a 44-game schedule). Lundqvist's shutout was the 35th of his career and his fifth against the Bruins. The only other goaltenders with five shutouts versus the Bruins in the NHL's expansion era (i.e., 1967-68 to date) are Ed Belfour and Curtis Joseph.
  • Also from the Elias Sports Bureau, concerning Montreal's three consecutive games being shut out: It's only the third-time in the Canadiens' 93 seasons in the NHL that they've been shut out in three or more consecutive regular-season games. They suffered four straight shutouts in February 1928 and three in a row in October 1949.
  • Attention playoff poolies: I've said it before, but I will say it again: Washington's rookie goalie Brayden Holtby is worth a gamble.
  • One of the interesting changes that would come about of the potential Coyotes returning Winnipeg would be divisional realignment. Winnipeg would almost certainly go into the Northwest division, but who would slide into the Pacific to take Phoenix's spot? Vancouver makes sense, since it is on the Pacific Ocean, but there's no way the Canadian teams would want to be separated, for natural rivalry and marketing purposes. Similarly, it would make sense for Colorado to drop south. They may have more success selling tickets to casual fans if big name American teams were coming to town rather than the Canadian prairie teams. 
  • The Penguins and Devils 0-0 game through overtime was the 10th time in the past 2 seasons that has happened in the NHL. Interestingly, the road team won the shootout 8 times.
  • Is hockey too violent right now? Dave "The Hammer" Schultz, an expert on hockey violence, says no way.
  • Congratulations goes out to Montreal, who defeated Toronto to win the Clarkson Cup. Sarah Vaillancourt was named as tournament MVP. Here's hoping the Clarkson Cup win promotes the Canadian Women's Hockey League
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