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Tag:Calgary Flames
Posted on: February 8, 2012 5:26 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 5:31 pm
 

Henrik Sedin's games streak could be in danger

By: Adam Gretz

Throughout his career Henrik Sedin has been one of the most durable players in the NHL.

He's missed just 10 regular season games since joining the Canucks, and you have to go all the way back to the 2003-04 season to find the last time he was not in the Vancouver lineup. That is a stretch of 552 consecutive games, the second-longest current streak in the NHL, trailing only Calgary's Jay Bouwmeester who has appeared in 559 consecutive games.

Sedin's ironman streak appears to be in some danger as he was reportedly spotted wearing a walking boot in Minnesota on Wednesday ahead of the Canucks game against the Wild on Thursday night. He was scheduled to have a CT scan on Wednesday according to Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province.

It goes without saying that Sedin, along with his twin brother Daniel, are the two biggest cogs in Vancouver's offensive machine, and in 53 games this season Henrik has 11 goals to go with a league-leading 46 assists. He's led the league in assists in each of the past two seasons.

Sedin was hit by a slap shot during the Canucks 4-3 shootout win in Nashville on Tuesday night.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 6, 2012 11:39 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 10:20 am
 

Video: Flames' Jones slashes Selanne in face

By Brian Stubits

Teemu Selanne continues to amaze the league at 41 years old this season for the Anaheim Ducks. His speed hasn't slowed and neither has his scoring pace.

Calgary Flames center Blair Jones tried a new approach to slowing down Selanne in the second period of their contest on Monday night, by slashing Selanne in the face.

You don't just slash Selanne in the face and get away with it. Of course Jones was sent to the sin bin for four minutes on the double minor and he could likely be getting a little more attention from the league.

To be clear, it in no way appeared to be intentional from Jones, but he hit Selanne in the face, and he hit him pretty hard. He was clearly disgusted with himself after the play, enough to signal to me that he was repentant.

But Brendan Shanahan has shown that he will still call on guys who are reckless with their stick. Intentional or not, you have to be responsible for your stick at all times.

It was made very clear earlier this season when Minnesota Wild forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard was suspended two games for a slash that was even more obviously unintentional than the Jones-Selanne hit.

Besides, that's no way to treat a legend like Selanne.

More NHL Discipline news

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 4, 2012 1:03 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2012 1:29 pm
 

A Big Mac helped Olli Jokinen end his slump

By: Adam Gretz

Before he scored on Friday night during the Calgary Flames 3-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks, Olli Jokinen had gone 14 consecutive games without a goal. That's a pretty lengthy drought (though, it's not the longest one we've seen in the NHL recently), and one that he was looking forward to ending.

So what did he do before the game to help snap out of his funk? He took some advice his former coach, Wayne Gretzky, gave him four years earlier and ate perhaps the worst possible thing an athlete can put into his or her body before competition -- a Big Mac. Even if he didn't really enjoy it, telling Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun, “You can’t eat a Big Mac meal before every game. It wasn’t that good, but whatever it takes. You’ve got to suck it up. We got two points and can move on I did it for the team. It’s all about the team. A little upset stomach (Friday), but it’s all good.”

It's probably a safe bet that Jokinen isn't one of the NHL players that sticks to the Gary Roberts all-natural, non-processed food diet, but whatever works.

Following his goal on Friday, Jokinen talked about his pre-game meal:



Hey, maybe somebody in Montreal should go pick up a Big Mac for Scott Gomez.

Also at Eye On Hockey

The Scott Gomez goal slump: by the Numbers

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 2, 2012 2:23 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 2:35 pm
 

Kings' Lombardi's clock response you have to read

By Brian Stubits

If you thought the story involving the Kings and Blue Jackets clock error was crazy enough, we present to you what Kings GM Dean Lombardi told Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com.

(Note: We are not liable if your mind is blown by the following. Reader discretion is advised.)

"Those clocks are sophisticated instruments that calculate time by measuring electrical charges called coulombs -- given the rapidity and volume of electrons that move through the measuring device the calibrator must adjust at certain points which was the delay you see -- the delay is just recalibrating for the clock moving too quickly during the 10 -- 10ths of a second before the delay -- this insures that the actual playing time during a period is exactly 20 minutes That is not an opinion -- that is science -- amazing devise quite frankly."

All I can say to that is Wow. I'm speechless. So instead I'll leave it to Dr. Emmett Brown.

Yes, there are all sorts of politically correct or even less P.C. answers a GM could give to being asked about this error. Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson took the less P.C. route on his blog earlier Thursday.

"It is an amazing coincidence that with the Kings on a power play at STAPLES Center and with a mad scramble around our net in the dying seconds of the third period of a 2-2 hockey game that the clock stopped for at least one full second. I can only think of two ways in which this would have happened. Either there was a deliberate stopping of the clock or the clock malfunctioned."

Going the much safer route, Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster, whose team is hoping for one of the last spots in the Western Conference playoff picture, said his team can't worry about it.

“It is our understanding the NHL is already investigating this matter.” Feaster said. “Moreover, as Colin Campbell was quoted as saying, once the game is over it is over. There is nothing the NHL is going to do, or can do, to correct the situation if, indeed, there was a mistake made in that game.

“Rather than crying over what happened in a game in which we did not take part, our time and energies are devoted to our own team and doing everything we can to win the games we play and in so doing qualify for the post-season. We sincerely believe that is a much better and more efficient use of our time and effort.”

Of course, none are even in the same realm as that Lombardi gem. I think. Maybe he could answer that one for me.

But seriously, here is the genius of it (besides the quantim physics involved): It's beyond almost everybody's comprehension that it sounds completely legitimate. Not that I'm implying it isn't true, but even if it weren't, who'd really know? Probably not many. Pure genius.

More from Eye on Hockey

Clock error helps Kings; Jackets GM responds

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: January 27, 2012 9:07 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 9:35 pm
 

Brendan Morrison traded to Blackhawks

BlackhawksBy: Adam Gretz

The Chicago Blackhawks added some center depth to their lineup on Friday evening by acquiring Brendan Morrison from the Calgary Flames in exchange for Brian Connelly.

Morrison, 36, has four goals and seven assists this season in 28 games with the Flames, and is playing on a one-year contract worth $1.25 million. The Blackhawks will be on the hook for a salary cap hit of about $354,000 for the remainder of the season, so it's a relatively cheap pick up, not only financially, but also in the sense that they didn't have to give up much in return.

Connelly, a 25-year-old defenseman that signed with the Blackhawks organization back in 2009 after playing his college hockey Colorado College, has spent his entire professional career playing for the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League scoring 21 goals to go with 105 assists. In 44 games this season he has five goals and 31 assists.

Morrison isn't going to provide much offense for the Blackhawks, but with players like Jonathan Toews and Dave Bolland logging the big minutes down the middle they only need some depth at the position. If nothing else, he gives Chicago another solid option in the faceoff dot as he's currently winning over 50 percent of his draws this season.

It is kind of interesting to see the Flames deal a veteran for a prospect that's already in his mid-20's when they're still in the playoff race, and just recently added Mike Cammalleri from Montreal. General manager Jay Feaster said it was mainly due to their projected lineup going forward, as well as Morrison's status as a free agent after this season.

“As we projected our line-up going forward we felt it was going to be difficult for us to find a spot for Brendan or get him significant ice-time,” said Feaster. "Given his pending UFA status and the fact that we were not going to re-sign him, we felt it important to try to move him for another asset. In Brian Connelly we obtain a 25 year old highly skilled AHL All-Star defenceman who is still a legitimate prospect. We are excited to have Brian in the organization.”

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 26, 2012 7:45 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 7:45 pm
 

NHL playoff race at the All-Star break

NHLPlayoffRaceAllStarBreakBy: Adam Gretz

Back in December I looked at the teams you could probably consider as being out of the playoff race at that point in the season, and how difficult it would be to overcome a slow start, even a quarter of the way through the schedule. Obviously, as you get deeper into the season teams that are on the outside of the playoff picture have an even more difficult time climbing back into it. Those points are tough to make up, and by the time you reach this point in the season you start to get an idea as to which teams are good, and which teams are not.

As we head into the All-Star break this weekend, we're a just passed the halfway point in the season, and in the Eastern Conference there are probably only two teams that currently sit outside of the top-eight that can still be considered to be in the playoff face: Toronto and Winnipeg.

The Maple Leafs are currently in a three-way tie with New Jersey and Florida with 55 points, but lose out on a tiebreaker. The Jets are barely holding on to their slim postseason hopes, trailing both the No. 8 seed, as well as the top spot in the Southeast Division, by five points.

The other teams in the East? See you guys next season.

The Western Conference has a few more teams still in contention as Colorado, Dallas, Calgary and Phoenix are all within three points of the current No. 8 seed, the Minnesota Wild. But even though some of those teams are still within striking distance, the bottom of the playoff picture in the west has a logjob of six teams (Los Angeles, Minnesota, and the four teams mentioned above) fighting for just two spots.

It's not just the fact you have to make up the points, but that you also have to jump over a number of teams, as well.

To get an idea as to how difficult a point deficit of even three or four points is to overcome at this point in the season, I went back over the standings at the past three All-Star breaks (not counting the 2010 season, as there was no All-Star game that year due to the Olympics). Of the 48 teams that held a top-eight spot at that point in the season, 40 of them went on to make the playoffs.

Of the eight teams that worked their way into a playoff spot over the remainder of the season, only two of them overcome a deficit of more than two points -- the 2010-11 Sabres, which overcame a six-point deficit, and the 2008-09 St. Louis Blues, a team that was nine points out at the break. Four teams overcame one point deficits, and two overcome two point deficits.

The race in the east this season has a pretty similar look when compared to last season's, not because of the teams involved, but in the sense that we have a pretty good idea as to which teams are going to represent the conference. Last year the Atlanta Thrashers held the No. 8 spot at the break (yeah, they had a great first half) but were replaced by the Sabres by the end of the season.

The Western Conference is a little bit cleaner this season, as last year's playoff race at the break had every team with the exception of the Edmonton Oilers within at least five points of a playoff spot. The Sharks and Kings, both one point out at the break, ended up making the playoffs, while the Dallas Stars let a six-point lead in the Pacific Division at the break slip away by losing 20 of their final 32 games.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 22, 2012 3:04 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2012 3:56 pm
 

Weekend Wrap: Halak, Elliott duo dominating

Halak and Elliott have nine shutouts combined(Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

When it comes to the awards season, not many people pay much attention to the Jennings Trophy. The goaltender hardware that matters is the Vezina, going to the top individual goaltender. But this year the Jennings race could be almost as compelling and debateable.

In case you need a refresher on one of the lesser-known NHL awards, the Jennings goes to the best goaltending tandem for one team. It's a way to recognize the best backups as well as starters in the league.

Now I'm starting to wonder just which duo is going to take the trophy home. It seems to me to be a two-horse race and will likely remain that way through the rest of the season: The Boston Bruins or St. Louis Blues.

Everybody knows about the Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask pairing in Boston. As great as Thomas is, it's Rask that's having the better season of the two with a 1.69 goals against average and a league-high .943 save percentage. To be honest, they are probably still the favorites.

But don't dismiss Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak in St. Louis. The only thing putting them in second place right now is the slow start to the season for Halak. I think it's safe to say he has rebounded just fine.

On Saturday night Halak grabbed another win when the Blues gave the Sabres their 12th straight road loss, 4-2. For Halak it meant a 14-game unbeaten (in regulation) streak. In that time he's an astonishing 11-0-3 and he has three shutouts now in his last five starts.

Let me put it this way to tell you how good this duo has become: On the season Elliott has five shutouts and Halak has four. That means they have shut out opponents in more than 19 percent of their games this season. Just how Ken Hitchcock likes it.

In all, it's part of the crazy trend that we're seeing under Hitchcock in St. Louis and the success of the Blues. In the month of January they are 8-0-1. At home now the Blues are 21-3-3. And check out this one from NHL.com's Brian Compton: With David Perron in the lineup (so stretching back two years), the Blues are 25-1-2 in their last 28 games. Unbelievable.

The return of Halak, though, is the most interesting aspect to me. The Blues brought him in from Montreal after that spectacular close to the season and playoff push with the Canadiens with the hope that he was going to be their feature goalie. It didn't start out that well. Last season was not good up to any starter's standards for Halak and you were left to wonder if this was another example of a playoff cinderella falling back to normalcy.

It was continuing this season, too. Remember back to the beginning of the year when Elliott was the only one winning in St. Louis. It seemed like the backup was on his way to becoming the starter for the Blues. Elliott is the one who earned an All-Star berth and turned a two-way contract into a three-year extension. Halak was becoming an afterthought.

So much for that theory. Apparently all it took was Hitchcock to come to town and bring a system to help Halak succeed. Usually I subscribe to the theory that if you have two starting goaltenders you really have none. That doesn't work in St. Louis, not this year.

It has all led to another unbelievable fact: the Bruins are no shoe-in for the Jennings this season.

All-time Canuck

Speaking of the Jennings Trophy, one of last season's winners, Roberto Luongo (along with his teammate Cory Schneider) took a rare honor home on Saturday after the Canucks' 4-3 win over the Sharks. With it he passed Kirk MacLean to become the franchise's all-time leader in wins with 212.

More from the weekend
Recaps
Stories

The rare honor? He currently holds that record for two franchises as he is still the all-time leader in wins for the Florida Panthers as well.

Not too shabby for a guy who has been treated awfully harshly over the years in Vancouver, particularly in the last year. It's been tough to keep the perspective on things that, yea, Luongo is a pretty damn good goalie.

Of course, he has been blessed enough to play in front of some good teams that can, for example, help him get a win against one of the best teams in the league despite giving up three goals, as was the case against San Jose.

Luongo won't be in the conversation this season for any of the regular-season awards, Vezina or Jennings. But don't mistake that for a goalie that isn't still one og the better netminders in the game.

Wings keep rollin', rollin', rollin'

Seriously, all due apologies for the Limp Bizkit reference a decade after the fact.

But the point stands: If the Detroit Red Wings are playing at home, they are going to win the game. The snuck past the Columbus Blue Jackets in the shootout on Saturday to extend their franchise-record home-winning streak to 16 games.

Imagine that, the Wings have been plowing through the rest of the league this season but need a shootout to get by the NHL-worst Blue Jackets.

Some people criticize when good teams sneak past bad teams. Me? I often take the other approach: Good teams find ways to win games when they aren't at their best. I'd put the shootout win for the Wings over the Jackets in that category. Still, a win is a win and now Detroit is only a couple of games from the NHL record.

One-sided rivalry

That describes the battle of Alberta at the moment.

Nobody is going to confused the Calgary Flames for juggernauts right now, except maybe their rivals in Edmonton.

The Flames continued their dominance over their provincial neighbors on Saturday with a 6-2 beating of the Oilers. You know it's one-sided in the series when Lee Stempniak is recording hat tricks.

For those keeping track at home, that makes nine consecutive wins in the series for the Flames. Man, that really has to sting the fans in Edmonton. They have to be dying for the team to return to respectability, getting dominated by the Flames isn't a sign you're there.

Quote of the weekend

“It’s hard to get shots when you don’t have everyone playing the right way, I guess. It’s going to take 20 guys. Tonight, I don’t think we had 20. It’s hard to say [how many they did have] right after a game. I’m sure it will be clear on video, but we need more. You need four lines if you want to win games in this league, bottom line.

“We’ve got to find more ways to score goals. There’s maybe some guys gripping the stick, but at the end of the day, guys have got to find the back of the net. It can’t just be one or two guys. That’s what it feels like it’s been, at least lately. We need more goals from lots of people." -- L.A. Kings captain Dustin Brown (from L.A. Kings Insider).

Well I know one of those 20 that didn't help in the Kings' 3-1 loss to the Avalanche on Saturday, backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier.

Lame jokes aside, it's a season-long issue that isn't getting much better under Darryl Sutter. The Kings just can't score and it's a massive testament to Jonathan Quick that the Kings are still in the thick of things in the Pacific Division.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: January 18, 2012 1:04 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2012 1:08 pm
 

Alfredsson, Chara named All-Star Game captains

By Brian Stubits

We're another step closer toward determining the All-Star lineups as the captains were announced for the game to be played later this month in Ottawa. Remember, they will be in charge of actually selecting the teams like a schoolyard kickball match, something the NHL first tried last season.

One of them was the lock of the century in Daniel Alfredsson. The longtime Senators captain will be the boss for one of the two teams and will have the task of being his own GM -- minus salary cap constraints, of course.

The other spot was a battle that likely came down to three names: Dion Phaneuf, Jarome Iginla and Zdeno Chara. It was eventually Chara who got the honor, a really good choice. First of all, he was a member of the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins a season ago and won the Norris Trophy for his efforts. Secondly, he was an Ottawa Senator once upon a time. So that Project Mayhem won out a little in the end after all.

“It’s gonna be interesting. It’s another honor on top of being selected as an All-Star. I found out this morning, so I’m a little bit surprised,” Chara said on Wednesday (via CSN New England). “I’m going to at least try to see how it is to be in the position that some GMs are in, or people that are making those decisions. In a group of players that are being selected I don’t think you can make a wrong choice.

“I’m not going to do too much research, but I’m going to do the best job I can to build the best possible team.”

The possibilities abound. The biggest question mark that we'll have to watch for in the draft is Chara and Phil Kessel or Chara and the Canucks. First with Kessel, the two didn't seem to have the best relationship while they were together with the Bruins, but Chara doesn't think that will matter when it comes to draft (again from CSN).

“I don’t know. We’ll see how it goes. Somebody has to go last,” said Chara with a smile on his face. “I don’t know if they’ll have a car for him or something else ... we’ll see how it goes.”

I would say with the season Kessel is having, the other team will take that problem off Chara's hands and select Kessel, but remember, we're talking about a member of the Maple Leafs here. The Battle of Ontario is picking up some steam again and Alfredsson might not be all that crazy about having a member of the Leafs on his team either.

Could another Mr. Irrelevant car be coming Kessel's way? I'll still say no.

I don't know about you, but this draft might have become my favorite part of the All-Star Weekend last year. It's fun and a good chance to see the players interacting. It's certainly better than the game itself (other than Cam Ward on the goalie mic, that was entertaining).

Previously at Eye On Hockey

Dissecting All-Star selections; predictions

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com