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.
We are now sufficiently deep into the season that we can start looking at whether or not a team's offseason moves have worked out for the best. If nothing else, it will give you a reason to feel really good or really bad about the team you have chosen to support.
To be honest, a shocking number of huge decisions have turned out to be very, very good. The
trade is working out for everyone, Dany Heatley (notes) been lights-out in Toronto, Phil Kessel's (notes) has helped the Flames' defense be not-terrible and Jay Bouwmeester (notes) was dominant in LA before going down with an injury. Ryan Smyth (notes)
But those aren't as interesting as some of the massive blunders GMs across the league have made in acquiring what they thought would be exceptional players only to find they got a dud.
What, for example, were the
Edmonton Oilers thinking? [Coming up: No. 1 and so is Jordin Tootoo's (notes) Corey Perry (notes); old trick knee is acting up again while Angelo Esposito's (notes) (unspecified) is bothering him; Miller's save-of-the-year candidate; the Wings revel in beating St. Louis in a shootout; the Sharks' power play goes in search of the Washington Generals; the Habs get a participant trophy; and the Leafs hire Mocha Joe to mediate a dispute.] Patrice Bergeron's (notes)
Edmonton could have re-signed
on the cheap for a year or two and gotten a somewhat effective goalie. Instead Steve Tambellini gave a four-year, $15 million deal to injury-prone, 36-year-old Dwayne Roloson (notes) who couldn't even out-duel Nikolai Khabibulin (notes), for a starting job in Chicago. Cristobal Huet (notes)
The results, of course, have been predictable. He's played 18 games with a 3.03/.909 line, and -- guess what? -- now he's hurt, leaving the Oilers to rely upon Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers, who is somehow even worse. And jeez, that
deal worked out too, didn't it? I still don't know how people thought this team would make the playoffs. Mike Comrie (notes)
But it's hard to have done a worse job than the Canadiens did over on the other side of Canada. Mike Cammalleri has been just fine, but
Scott Gomez (notes), and Brian Gionta (notes) were hilariously bad decisions, especially considering what the Habs gave up to get Gomez in the first place, not that anyone thought the Habs were getting their loonie's worth when they signed anyway. And here I would also list some of the Maple Leafs' offseason acquisitions like Hal Gill (notes) and Mike Komisarek (notes) but that'd feel too much like kicking the slow kid. Francois Beauchemin (notes),
The Rangers, too, have problems. Sure, their three big free agent signings of
Vinny Prospal and Marian Gaborik (notes), are leading the team in scoring, but by acquiring them, the Rangers went all-in on a defense made up of two rookies, two decent second-pairing guys, and Michal Roszival and Ales Kotalik (notes) Couldn't have invested $11.6 million in defense? Offense is nice but when you score better than league average and then allow more than you score, that's a very, very bad thing. Wade Redden (notes).
Speaking of Gaborik, Minnesota replaced him with
which seemed like a good idea at the time. Consider, then, that Martin Havlat (notes) has twice as many goals as Havlat, ye fantasy owners, and weep. Kyle Brodziak (notes)
And finally, what was going through Ken Holland's head when he let
walk, and then replaced him with Marian Hossa (notes) and Jason Williams (notes) Keeping the team together is important, I guess, but you can't know you're going to let a 40-goal guy go and not have some sort of contingency plan. That blunder is a huge reason they're 10th in the West right now. Todd Bertuzzi (notes)? What We Learned As bad as Anaheim has been this year, Corey Perry been just as amazing. On Friday he tied Anaheim Ducks: club record for consecutive games with a point, Teemu Selanne's (notes) getting a point in 17 straight. Then last night he picked up a helper on late game-tying goal to break the record. During the run, he's scored 9-15-24. Bobby Ryan's (notes) That's Atlanta Thrashers: two ACL tears in two seasons for Angelo Esposito. Oh yeah, and it was the ACL in his right knee both times, which, speaking as an unlicensed and untrained medical professional, isn't good. So Patrice Bergeron drops in front of a Boston Bruins: slapshot in Saturday's game and blocks the shot, but immediately Filip Kuba (notes) begins writhing in pain on the ice (he returned later but was not available to the media after the game and his status is uncertain for Wednesday). But to make matters worse, while Bergeron was still lying on the ice, the Senators scored a goal. That's literally adding insult to injury. Hey Buffalo Sabres: can you stop making saves like this so these games can be fair? Ryan Miller (notes), Kind of interesting to see players Calgary Flames: talking shop on shootout technique. At least I think so. I also think it's interesting that Saturday's shootout victory over Columbus was only Calgary's fifth win ever at Nationwide Arena. Despite whatever moves the team makes in the next few days, don't go around thinking that Paul Maurice is going to get shuffled out as well. Carolina Hurricanes: Jim Rutherford backs him 100 percent. What's less clear is why he does so. Things are taking a turn for the worse in Chicago. They didn't score in Chicago Blackhawks: close to two games' worth of hockey before picked up his fifth of the year early in the third period. As such they haven't won in TWO WHOLE GAMES. Time to panic! Jonathan Toews (notes) Jibblescribbits takes a whack at Colorado Avalanche: breaking down the Avs' flaws. Whether or not you agree with them, he at least nails this part: "Well, the critics may be insufferably smug now that the Avs have been a very pedestrian 4-5-3 in November, and falling out of 1st place in the Northwest." Yes, yes we are. Very smug. I do find being right all the time rather burdensome. It won't be a trade that fixes Columbus' recent struggles. Someone, Columbus Blue Jackets: says GM Scott Howson, has to step up. You'd think they would have realized this prior to Saturday night's loss when they had a .500 record but a minus-13 goal differential. Just for fun: I blame Ken Hitchcock! Said Marc Crawford of Dallas Stars: his team's late comeback against Tampa on Saturday: "It's all about patience with our club. We have to show patience throughout 60 minutes as the game unfolds. We can't change the way that we play. The lesson for us is to stay with it." Patience, staying with it, and playing Tampa's backup goaltender. All recipes for success. : As if we needed more proof that even when the Red Wings suck, that's when they're most dangerous -- it took them Detroit Red Wings 175:57 to break their scoreless streak (the team's longest since 1977), but when they did, they scored three goals in the third period and won 4-3 in a shootout. Edmonton Oilers: You mean Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers coughing up four goals on seven shots in 8:25 cost his team the game? Get outta here. A lot of questions to ponder following Florida's demoralizing loss to Nashville, but Florida Panthers: this is probably the best one: "Why - OH WHY - did defenseman lead his team in SOG?" Bryan McCabe (notes) Ryan Smyth is Los Angeles Kings: already back practicing. Bad news for the Western Conference. So I'm on Twitter last night, checking out what people think about their team's games as I do. And I stumble across Minnesota Wild: this from the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Michael Russo: "Get Hnidy off the PP." This should be common sense, but that tells you just how bad the Wild offense is. Sheriff career high in points after nine years in the league is 12. And he's on Minnesota's power play. Yikes. Shane Hnidy's (notes) Normally, Mike Boone is one of the best hockey writers alive, but I hate stuff like his Montreal Canadiens: "‘A' for effort" talk regarding the Habs' shootout loss to the Caps. Yeah, they didn't get embarrassed by a skills-y team. They also blew a 2-0 lead and gave up the tying goal with 12 seconds left. Good work everyone. (Ed. Note: As pointed out by a few of ye, including Puck Buddy Matt B. over email, the Habs rallied from 2-0 down and then blew their lead late. Bad Lambert!) Congratulations are in order for Jordin Tootoo, who got into his first fight of the year on Saturday, and then his second about eight minutes later. The two scraps moved him into Nashville Predators: the top spot on the Preds' all-time penalty minutes list. Well done. Early in the week it looked like the Devils could be in trouble. Hosting then-Northeast leaders Ottawa Wednesday night, visiting current Northeast leaders Boston Friday afternoon, then hosting the Islanders Saturday afternoon. The results: 3-1 win, 2-1 shootout win, 6-1 win. New Jersey Devils: This is a pretty good team right here. There was one interesting note from the Isles' embarrassing 6-1 loss to the Devils -- New York Islanders: Andrew MacDonald (notes) finished a plus-1 and therefore was not on the ice for any of New Jersey's four even-strength goals. In fact, he hasn't been on the ice for one in any of his games this season (okay, so he's only played three, but still). Saturday's ugly 8-3 loss to the Penguins may not have Ranger fans abandoning ship, but they're definitely getting the vests on and New York Rangers: queuing up next to the lifeboats. Even when Ottawa Senators: stinks on ice in the first period, the Sens Tim Thomas (notes) just can't beat him. Thomas is now 14-5-2 against Ottawa in his career. Why aren't more people talking about Philadelphia Flyers: the contributions of The kid has 19 points in 20 games as a rookie, including four of his six goals being game-winners. And by the way, this is his first full year as a pro. James van Riemsdyk (notes)? Phoenix Coyotes: got Viktor Tikhonov (notes) loaned to the KHL on Saturday. That usually ends well, right? Pittsburgh Penguins: has been suspended two games for a hit on Matt Cooke (notes) that Artem Anisimov (notes) Pensburgh says, "was away from the play [and] targeted the head." Well that'll do it, eh? Todd McLellan is now critical of his team's third-ranked power play, referring to it as "Globetrotters" because San Jose Sharks: it looks great doing nothing. That's a fantastic term right there, and I like it so much I think I'm going to steal it. Remember like a week ago when everyone was all upset that St. Louis Blues: had essentially played himself off the U.S. Olympic team with four points in 21 games? Well he might just play his way back on it. With David Backes (notes) Saturday's two-point night, he's got five in his last three games and has gone from a minus-4 to a plus-2. Not bad. Least-surprising headline of the week goes to the St. Pete Times for: " Tampa Bay Lightning: Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos in the mix for Canada's Olympic team." Scoring more goals over the last 49 games than everyone in the league but Ovie and will do that, I guess. Rick Nash (notes) So Toronto Maple Leafs: Mikhail Grabovski (notes) took a swing at Francois Beauchemin at Leafs practice Sunday. Actual Ron Wilson quote: "They were arguing over the last 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' episode. Grabo did not quite understand of those some of the little idioms, and Francois, who is a master of the English language, was explaining to him." I now suspect that Beauchemin revealed to Grabovski that he does not respect wood. That being said, Grabovski apparently wrote the pamphlet on fighting teammates, since he scrapped with in practice last year. Now that's acting without acting. Jason Blake (notes) I love how, thanks to one stupid empty net goal that he needed two tries to score, Vancouver Canucks: has achieved some sort of folk hero status among the media in Vancouver. Same thing goes for the chuckleheads on Hockey Night in Canada. "HOW DID HE DO IT?" they asked. Oh I know, it must've been by Kyle Wellwood (notes) 86'ing the composite stick. That was the problem. He's gonna make a serious run at the Rocket Richard now. (Ugh, after I wrote this he went and scored early against San Jose. Now I really hate Wellwood for going out of his way to make me look bad.) Memo to the good folks at Geico Sportsnite: Maybe next time you wanna wait on a game to end before Washington Capitals: declaring it over. Play of the Weekend
Have a look at this golazzo by Phil Kessel on Friday.
Gold Star Award
Well, Sid Crosby, if you're gonna score a hat trick (and add two assists, but who's counting?), you might as well do it on Hat Night, eh?
Minus of the Weekend wins this one in a runaway. Not for the big, illegal hit on Patrick Kaleta (notes) Jared Ross. It happens, whatever. But he pulls down this award for turtling like a scared schoolgirl the second someone challenges him.
Even if you think he didn't deserve to sit out two games for that hit (you're wrong, by the way), he deserved it for that Cold War-quality duck-and-cover job. What a punk.
Perfect HFBoards trade proposal of the week
The username "Blackhawkswincup" is a tipoff that the poster of this proposal is a Blackhawks fan. The proposal itself is a tipoff that he's out of his mind.
Cam Barker (notes)
2nd in 2011 Joe Corvo (notes)/Carolina
Car - D
Tom Gilbert (notes)
Yeah, because Joe Corvo's having such a great season?
Let's see some smiles, people. It's a party, not a shareholders' meeting.
Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness pretty much every day over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don't you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.