Eric Staal


Ottawa 1
Carolina 4 (Recap)

Detroit 3
Buffalo 1 (Recap)


Notable Numbers

* Eric Staal had a goal and two assists for the Hurricanes, which pushes him to 17 points in 24 games. His name comes up alongside “Team Canada” fairly often which isn’t a terrible call – what I do think is a terrible call is that he “deserves” to be there because he goes to the World Championships every year. To hell with “thank you” roster spots. Take him if you think he’s worth it this year and for no other reason.

* Johan Franzen had a goal and an assist, moving his year totals to 13 points (six + seven) in 20 games.

* ‘Canes d-man Justin Faulk grabbed two assists.

* Ryan Miller stopped 31 of 33 shots, which is good. But he plays for Buffalo, which is bad. The Sabres only managed to put up one in front of him, and lost their fourth straight.

* Cam Ward stopped 35 of 36 shots from the Ottawa Senators. Shall we watch one of those? Yes, lets…


What Happened

Cam “puttin’ forwards in the psych” Ward

It was Colin Greening who had the open put-back that Cam Ward batted away with a diving stick swat. Check it out:

Ward is now up to a .918 save percentage and a 2.66 goals-against average. There’s something else I want to talk about from this play, but we’ll save that for the opinion section.


Spinning backhand

There was a point this season where Elliotte Friedman mentioned that a healthy Darren Helm would’ve been at Team Canada’s orientation camp, and many people – me included – balked at the suggestion. Buuut there’s a reason Elliotte said that, and it has a lot to do with how much the Wings love him. He has seven points (including five goals) in 11 games this year, and the one he got last night was a beauty:

Goalies struggle with reading backhands because with the curve of the blade it’s tough to tell where the shot it going. I imagine being able to fire a hard backhand like this would result in some goals.


Really, Kevin Westgarth?

I really, really don’t understand how you go into the corner after a guy who is clearly getting up off the ice and not facing you, and still plow him into the boards. I expect Westgarth will miss a game or two for this hit on Mark Borowiecki:

Borowiecki left the game and didn’t return (neck).


Cody Hodgson scored a beauty

At first it looked like the debut of the Buffalo Sabres multi-colored thirds might go well – hell, they might even be lucky! – but of course, the Red Wings found a way to put them in their place.

Still, Hodgson opened the scoring in the game with this patient beauty:


An Opinion

You may want to re-watch the Cam Ward save on Colin Greening video to pay attention to the first part, or you can just take my word for it: What Erik Karlsson does at the start of the video is a prime example of why he leads NHL defensemen in points (again) and why he won the Norris Trophy – the dude is a one-man breakout machine.

In hockey, you’re constantly yelling one-word tips to defensemen – “reverse” or “behind” or “wrap” or whatever. That right there is the straight “wheel” call, which is pretty simple: wheel the puck. Skate it. All you.

When you have a guy like Karlsson who can skate it out of the zone like that, you eliminate the danger of bad passes leading to turnovers, or poor support being an issue – he can just do it on his one. The one-man breakout.

Maybe four or five defensemen in the league can provide their team with such a luxury (Ekman-Larsson, Subban, Keith…Pietrangelo?), because it’s rare to skate that much better than other NHLers. What treat for forwards.


Other News

* The Flames are willing to trade Mikael Backlund…

…which surprises him a bit. Or, maybe it doesn’t?

“Watching TV and my name comes up, it’s a little surprising. But at the same time, it’s part of the business and it hasn’t been a great start, so you kind of expect it, too.”

* If you missed it on Friday, I did a podcast with Jason Brough on some general hockey topics that I think you’ll enjoy.

* The Columbus Blue Jackets are being patient and waiting until they have their full, healthy roster to hit the panic button. Their chief of hockey operations John Davidson had some good quotes.

Nobody is in a position where he should feel this is a cemented roster, because it’s not. But we’re not just going to stick a finger in the dike. 

He added:

We knew going into this season that we would have to wait for Nathan Horton. We knew a bunch of injuries could hurt us. But you can’t go and make a short-term decision that is going to hurt you long term. We haven’t had a chance to look at the team when it is healthy, not yet.

* Three dudes who are clearly friends – Steve Ott, Adam Burish and Sheldon Souray – had a good Twitter chirp-around here.

* And finally, I believe Karri Ramo’s mask has to be the first inspired by Edgar Allen Poe. From “The Raven”:

Kari Ramo mask

You can check out more pics (and background on it) here.