Every year there are players that flat out underachieve. They are the players that fans (and pissed off fantasy players) had high hopes for going into the season, but for different reasons have just…sucked. When these players don’t put up numbers, everyone gets in their shots. Fans and media alike will jump on every opportunity to point out how bad they are playing. I am no different (it’s kind of my job), but I also give credit when it’s due. So with that here are some players I have ragged on this season who, at least lately, seem to be turning things around.

Ryan Miller

Miller has been nowhere near the top of any significant goaltending statistic this season. In fact, he wasn’t even in the top 30 for most of the year. This is super strange for a Vezina trophy winning, all time franchise wins leading, Olympic medal wearing goaltender. Miller however is starting to look like the keeper we are used to seeing. He has won 4 of his last 5 starts, and you can’t really blame him for that one loss, he did pick up a shutout! He also shutout the Bruins of all teams last night. Over the last 5 games he has 2 shutouts and has allowed just 5 goals.

Eric Staal

I have been all over Staal this season, and with good reason. It has been far and away his worst and to be honest, I don’t think there is anything he can do to save it. The biggest knock on Staal this year has been his plus/minus numbers (he still sits dead last in the NHL with a -23). But he has had three straight +1 games (first time he has done that all year), and has picked up points in 3 of his last 4. I’m looking really hard for a silver lining here Eric!

Sam Gagner

This one may seem a bit out of place because his numbers are crazy over the last 5 games and would make anything before it seem bad. Who would have thought we would have had to use “Gagner”, “Gretzky” and “record” in the same sentence (two days in a row to boot). However, consider this; during his 5 game point streak he has 15 points, he had that many points in the previous 23 games. You have to tip your hat off to him.

Jarome Iginla

I HATE putting Iginla in this list because I don’t really believe he has ever “sucked” in his career, however, check out these numbers:

First 26 games of season: 15 points (0.57 points per game, well below career average of 0.90)

Last 27 games of season: 29 points (That’s more Iggy like)

Ryan Getzlaf/Corey Perry/Bobby Ryan

Yes I think of them as one person, and for most of this season they were one underachieving couldn’t-score-on-the-zamboni-gates person.  The Ducks have however started to turn things around winning 11 of their last 15 games (dare I say playoffs?). They still haven’t reached the heights we have seen them hit in the past, but they each have 11 points during this run.

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Let’s head to the links

Speaking of the word “suck”, the Days of Y’Orr use it a few times in regards to last nights Bruins game

Pro Hockey Talk takes a closer look at Miikka Kirusoff’s 300th winthat he picked up last night.

Could Vinny Prospal’s “gentleman’s agreement” with Columbus violate the CBA? (Puck Daddy)

Henrik Sedin is wearing a walking boot. What does that mean? Dr Recchi has a diagnosis (The Province)

How dangerous is the possibility of the hip check becoming extinct? (Dirty Dangle)

Pretty long article, but Stephania Bell with a very interesting look at Sid’s injury (ESPN)

18 and counting (Winging it in Motown)

Score Nation takes a look at the value of staged fights in hockey

Blueshirt Banter talks about the possibility of Rick Nash trading one blue shirt for another

and finally…what a save by Kipper

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