Tyler Myers has my vote for the Calder

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Myers.jpgForget about Jimmy Howard, my vote — if I had one — is for Tyler
Myers for the Calder Trophy. The young defenseman simply dominated the
Dallas Stars tonight in the Sabres 5-3 win and if you haven’t had the
chance to see this young man play, then you need to find some way to do
so. Myers has carried over his dominance from last season with the
Kelowna Rockets, and it’s amazing to see a young player adjust to the
NHL so quickly.

Matt Duchene is the leader among all rookies in
scoring, but Myers — a defenseman — is not far behind. Even more
impressive is his plus-7 rating, but the numbers and the stats don’t
tell the whole story.

Myers is a player you have to watch to truly
be impressed by. His poise and his ability to read the ice are, dare I
say it, indicative of some of the best defensemen the NHL has seen over
the past 20 years. He’s a freakish combination of speed, scoring ability
and tremendous size — sort of a hybrid of Derian Hatcher and Nicklas
Lidstrom.

What’s scary is that he’s nowhere near the level of
defenseman he has the potential to be. He’ll only improve year after
year, and he still has some muscle and size to add to his already
impressive frame. It’s amazing he only went 12th overall in 2008.

I
know the popular opinion right now is that Jimmy Howard has the lock on
the Calder*, and if not he should. But what Tyler Myers is doing every
night in Buffalo is something that numbers and stats cannot quantify and
after a game like he had against Dallas, there should be no question
who deserves top rookie honors.

*Sporting News’ Craig Custance has informed me that most voters are with Myers, and not Howard. My point still stands, but it’s good to know that despite a late surge by Howard that voters are still sticking with the Sabres defenseman.

Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut

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A day after getting traded out of Toronto, Dion Phaneuf made his Ottawa Senators debut.

It ended with a 3-1 road loss for the Senators, and Phaneuf getting burned by Henrik Zetterberg on the eventual game winner early in the third period.

Zetterberg picked up the puck near the Ottawa blue line, beat Phaneuf to the outside, slipped the puck under the stick of the Sens’ newest blue liner and quickly roofed his shot on Craig Anderson.

“He made a real good play and you’ve got to give credit when credit is due,” Phaneuf told the Ottawa Sun.

“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”

Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.

Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.

DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.

Video: Rangers shut out red-hot Sidney Crosby and the Penguins

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The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.

But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.

In the process, they held a red-hot Sidney Crosby off the score sheet, which has been a difficult, sometimes impossible task for opposing teams since about the middle of December. He entered this game with a seven-game scoring streak.

(In fact, New York held No. 87 to without a shot on goal in the entire game.)

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout.

Kevin Hayes gave the Rangers the lead in the first period, before Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast put the game away in the third.

Pittsburgh remains in the second Wild Card spot in the East. The Rangers now move three points clear of the rival Islanders for second in the Metropolitan.

Video: Wideman hearing ‘a tricky case’ as NHLPA hopes to get 20-game suspension reduced

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There is no certain timeline for when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might rule on Dennis Wideman‘s appeal, according to a report from hockey insider Darren Dreger on NBCSN, as the Calgary Flames defenseman hopes to get his 20-game ban for hitting linesman Don Henderson reduced.

“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.

“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”

Report: Coyotes shut down Vitale (concussion) for the season

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Joe Vitale will not play again this season.

The Arizona Coyotes have shut Vitale down for the remainder of the 2015-16 campaign due to “concussion-related issues,” according to a report from Sarah McLellan of azcentral sports on Wednesday.

Vitale, a 30-year-old veteran center, appeared in only one game for the Coyotes this season. That was back on Oct. 17, when he suffered a concussion and broken orbital bone in a fight with Kevan Miller of the Boston Bruins.