Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.
News came late Friday that the Ice Edge investment group had agreed to buy the Phoenix Coyotes from the league for $140 million dollars, and that said sale will be voted on by the Board of Governors either today or tomorrow.
Some governors have said they're skeptical that the group has the financial juice to put this purchase together. Others don't care as long as they don't have to continue to prop up a franchise that isn't their own. All we know is Gary Bettman is cartoonishly wiping the sweat from his brow and breathing a big sigh of relief that there's now only a 40-percent chance he will be pelted with garbage next time he meets with an owner.
And that's a big, big step in the right direction.
But as we at Puck Daddy are sure you're aware, we have spies all over the hockey world, and one of them has leaked to us a list of Ice Edge's ideas to make the Coyotes into a moneymaker.
They are, of course, uniformly terrible.
(Coming Up: Calgary tries to rob the Craftmatic Adjustable Bed; Mike Fisher(notes) deludes himself; John Tortorella shows why he got fired by the Lightning; why you shouldn't stand too close to Jonathan Toews(notes); the Devs get good news, maybe; Matt Stajan(notes) gets a nickname; the Blues Fan Blues; Detroit finally cracks; and a number of mustache references you'll just love.)
1. Make Ed Jovanovski(notes) live on the roof of Jobing.com Arena until 15,000 fans actually pay full price for tickets. (Addendum: Remember to bring up some food and water at the end of the season. Glendale gets hot in the summer.)
3. Sign the best Canadian household name available at this point in the season: Steve Nash.
5. Sit on the franchise a few years before flipping it for double what they paid to a mysterious, mustachioed buyer who goes by Tim Talsillie.
9. If the Phoenix market really is done, explore several of the next-best markets on Gary Bettman's list of acceptable relocation cities: San Juan, Puerto Rico, Mexico City and Recife, Brazil (the hockey hotbed hometown of Robyn Regehr(notes)).
10. Let Wayne Gretzky be involved. (Oh they're actually doing that one.)
What We Learned
Anaheim Ducks: Dan Sexton(notes) has found instant chemistry with linemates Bobby Ryan(notes) and Saku Koivu(notes) since being called up from the AHL. The trio has combined for seven goals and eight assists in the last three games. Quite a season, too, for Sexton, who has played in the ECHL (13-13-26 in 18 games for Bakersfield), AHL (1-2-3 in five for Manitoba) and now NHL (4-1-5 in five).
Atlanta Thrashers: A bit of cognitive dissonance in this post at Birdwatchers Anonymous. "Thrashers Benefiting from Elite Goaltending Performance," says the headline. But the Thrashers had conceded 17 goals in their last five games prior to the post and lost all but one of them (which they won in a shootout); so while Johan Hedberg's(notes) stats (2.22/.929) look real good, the Thrashers are 20th in the league in goals allowed per game through Saturday. Not exactly elite, especially when factoring in that Hedberg gave up three on 19 to Montreal Saturday.
Boston Bruins: The NHL announced that James Taylor and Daniel Powter (I've never heard of him which means he must be a huge act) would sing "The Star Spangled Banner" and "O Canada," respectively, at the Winter Classic. Good news for me as a James Taylor fan, I guess, but this is Bruins/Flyers -- shouldn't, like, Motörhead be performing just to properly set the tone? That'd be good news for me as both a fan of Motörhead and excessive violence.
Calgary Flames: Scuttlebutt is it that the Flames offered Chris Chelios(notes) a contract, but that he turned it down. Jean Lefebvre puts it in perspective: "Dan Quinn, the Flames' leading scorer 24 seasons ago, is also three years younger than Chelios."
Chicago Blackhawks: Bad news everyone, the Toewsface is contagious.
This epidemic could consume us all.
Colorado Avalanche: Yes, the Avs are still contenders, but when your barometer for relative success in November is the Carolina Hurricanes, you're really trying to make chicken salad out of ... well, a really bad month.
Columbus Blue Jackets: So Derek Dorsett(notes) broke his left hand in the first period on Saturday night. He'll have surgery and be back in a month or so. I would link this on Puck-rakers, but as of this week you have to sign up to read it; which is stupid, and I refuse to subject you to that.
Dallas Stars: The Stars lost in a shootout on what they think was a dubious save. "Officials said that the puck must be kept moving forward by the skater, and as soon as Quick poke-checked it back, that ended Ribeiro's attempt. Officially, Quick poked the puck back and it hit almost immediately into the goal off of Ribeiro's skate. The Stars thought they had a legit goal. ... Afterward, Stars said that was the right interpretation." I'm not sure, given the wording, what they say is the "right interpretation," but if they're sticking to their guns that Ribeiro scored, then they're clearly wrong.
Detroit Red Wings: Nashville's Ryan Jones(notes) scored a power-play goal in the second period on Saturday night. That's notable because it was the first the Wings had given up in nine games. They were 23 for their previous 23 PKs before that.
Edmonton Oilers: They went from winning just three of 13 to going five-for-five on their most recent road trip, and as of Sunday afternoon the Oil were just three points out of a playoff spot in the West. Great news! (Just ignore that the 15th-place and far more talented Ducks are three points back of them.)
Florida Panthers: While some Panthers forwards, like Stephen Weiss(notes) and Nathan Horton(notes), have been outstanding for last 20 games or so, pretty much everyone else has been wholly disappointing. And there's really no end in sight.
Los Angeles Kings: Unfortunately for the Kings, Wayne Simmonds(notes) (9-11-20 in 33 games) is going to be out quite a while with some sort of knee injury. He's having surgery today and will be out at least several weeks, if not "a couple months."
Nashville Predators: Wow, half of the Predators' lineup is in a contract year. Obviously they can afford to let guys like Dave Scatchard(notes) and Wade Belak(notes) go, but Nashville's going to have to pony up some serious cash for guys they should keep Dan Hamhuis(notes), Dan Ellis(notes), Jordin Tootoo(notes), Kevin Klein(notes), Pekka Rinne(notes), Patric Hornqvist(notes). Well maybe not so much Tootoo.
I like that video because it shows how ugly the goal was. Bet most kids don't think they'll score their first NHL goal from behind the goal line.
New York Rangers: For some awful reason, John Tortorella put Chris Drury(notes) on the Rangers's power play unit with five minutes to go. That'd be Chris "I have two goals this year and the last one was on Oct. 19" Drury. Why? "I thought Dru was around the puck, I thought we were having problems retrieving pucks on a couple of (PPs). And to be honest with you, I was going with my gut in Dru. Hoping for a big play from a big guy." A big contract doesn't equal a big guy, just so ya know, Torts.
Ottawa Senators: The fact that Mike Fisher got to carry the Olympic torch and will play at GM Place on March 23 is as close as he'll get to Team Canada. "I'm probably a longshot, but who knows?" I do, Mike. Don't wait by the phone.
Philadelphia Flyers: Boy this post at Broad Street Hockey really puts it in perspective huh? "The Flyers are now tied at 29 points with the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team who won three of their first twenty games." Yikes.
Phoenix Coyotes: Dave Tippet's not wrong when he jokes that he can walk into every press conference and say, "'Bryzie was good, and we got a couple of goals. Thanks." Bryzgalov hasn't allowed more than two goals since Nov. 23 and the Coyotes are 6-1-1 in that stretch.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Dan Bylsma knows how to make shootout practice fun. "Juice Boy" has been widely reported. But "Mustache Boy?" Now that's something everyone can get behind.
The league should institute at least one of these contests as an actual rule next year.
San Jose Sharks: Dan Boyle(notes) got hurt at the end of the game on Saturday and if he's out a while the Sharks could be in serious trouble. And latest word on his status is that it may not be serious.
Tampa Bay Lightning: However you feel about Todd Fedoruk(notes) (that is, if you for some reason have any opinion of him at all), you gotta respect what this guy has given up for hockey. Look at this actual x-ray of his face. Holy hell.
Toronto Maple Leafs: In light of his sterling two-goal, one-assist effort against the Caps, one blogger suggests Matt Stajan's nickname be "Big Stage." I thought perhaps he was kidding, but then he said, "...the business of sports nicknames is no place for irony." That's definitely true, and why no one has ever nicknamed Ron Wilson "Good Coach." Stajan is so nicknamed at least until I forget, which I assume will be by the time you've read this.
Washington Capitals: Bruce Boudreau on the Caps' problems in the game's second half: "I think outside of Shaone Morrisonn(notes) and Tom Poti(notes) all of our defense struggled tonight..." That's not two names you want at the top of your Didn't Struggle list.
Play of the Weekend
Can you believe Bobby Ryan has FIFTY career goals already?
Gold Star Award
Minus of the Weekend
Yes, Ryan Callahan(notes) scored on the power play for the Rangers and was on the ice for Marian Gaborik's(notes) power play goal. Problem is, he and Henrik Lundqvist(notes) were the only two on the ice for all three Buffalo goals as well, and let's just say the fine stat guys at Madison Square Garden were extra-nice to not mark him down for any giveaways.
Perfect HFBoards trade proposal of the week
User "djroche," who actually lists his location as Florida, proposes this winner:
tomas vokoun for daniel briere
So Florida takes on terrible money, loses its only good goalie and gets another forward that can't score. Well done.
P.S. The comments are gold.
Franklin said some things Whitey wasn't ready to hear.