* The New York Islanders top line of Thomas Vanek, John Tavares and Kyle Okposo pushed the team past the Rangers in MSG last night, combining for seven points.
* Drew Stafford touched all three Buffalo goals (two and one), but it wasn’t enough for the lowly Sabres. Florida nipped them 4-3.
* Both Damien Brunner (just back from a knee injury) and Eric Gelinas had a goal and two assists each in the Devils 7-1 rout of St. Louis.
* RJ Umberger had two goals in Columbus’ 5-3 win over LA. That’s seven straight for CBJ, a franchise record.
* Craig Anderson was in the net for 34 shots and a shutout for Ottawa over Washington. Kari Lehtonen of the Dallas Stars also had a shutout last night, making 18 saves vs. the Wild.
* Phil Kessel and Nathan MacKinnon both scored twice, but it was Kessel’s Leafs who emerged victorious.
* Roberto Luongo stopped 28 of 29 shots to help the Canucks past the Oilers. Ben Scrivens made his first start for Edmonton at the other end, and stopped 25 of 27 shots in the loss.
* Ondrej Pavelec stopped 40 of 42 shots to help the Winnipeg Jets hand the Ducks their first home loss of the season. Which is kind of insane, in couple ways.
Martin Jones was real, real close to grabbing this puck that went off the post, then his back last night. (Stick-tap to Katie Flynn for the .GIF)
And another one…
Rich Nash sure gets a lot of breakaways for a big man. He put this one home, though unfortunately for him the Rangers would still blow a 3-1 lead to the Isles, losing 5-3. Nash had two on the night.
I know, that’s some NHL.com-style headline writing. Anyway, here’s the GWG from Vanek that put the Isles up for good:
Wait, which Benn?
Jordie Benn hopped out of the penalty box last night and found himself in a situation he isn’t often in. Oddly enough, it ended in a penalty shot, and welp, check this out:
And in sum…
This is how the game went for the Blues vs. the Devils last night:
The Islanders are going to trade Thomas Vanek, aren’t they? Despite the fact that someone sent me this screenshot taken sometime during last night’s game…
— IslesBlog (@IslesBlog) January 22, 2014
…I still have to believe it’s happening.
It’s really not all that complicated. The Islanders and Vanek don’t exactly seem to be headed for a deal. Here’s a quote Pierre LeBrun picked up from Stephen Bartlett, Vanek’s agent yesterday:
“There’s no question he has liked his teammates, he has liked his coaches, has been impressed with [Isles GM] Garth Snow and management; two weeks into it he realized there was tons of positives that he liked. Does that mean that we’re ready to sign on the dotted line? No that’s still being discussed in a number of ways. They have to make a decision where he fits into their team structure … and Thomas has to decide whether at this stage of his career if that’s the best spot for him. But his decision in the end won’t reflect at all in the fact that he’s found way more positives than negatives about his experience on the Island. He’s had nothing but positives to say to me about the way he’s been treated.”
His decision in the end won’t reflect at all in the fact that he’s found way more positives than negatives….uh oh.
On the one hand it sounds a lot like a guy trying to build leverage – we will walk, I swear – but on the other hand, let’s say Thomas decides at this point in his career that being on a team that won’t seriously spend to win isn’t worth it. I could see that. Let’s say the notoriously frugal Islanders decide they don’t want to be a team committing eight million dollars a year for six-seven years to a guy. I could see that. Let’s say, as it is very likely, that the Isles aren’t able to get a contract done for Vanek by the deadline…well, then he’s gone.
There’s no chance you risk losing an asset this large for nothing. You just don’t. So, there it is. Vanek is signed by the deadline or he’s gone. And, there are reasons to believe he wouldn’t choose the Islanders after all his years in Buffalo. I sure hope he does, but this does sort of seem to be looming right now.
* Matt Moulson is on the LA Kings (how fitting) and Ottawa Senators radars. He has 30 points in 45 games.
* The Oilers are real serious about taking the temperature of their fans these days. Here’s a poll they gave fans.
* NHL executives might be interested in changing the NHL’s current point system, which, as it stands, encourages teams to play for ties late, and sees too many games go to shootouts.
* From Redditor “piranhakiler“, here’s an apparently drunk beer league goalie in the Czech Republic: