Checking up on the West's free agents to watch

pavelski.jpgA couple weeks ago, I broke down the pending free agents (unrestricted and restricted alike) for each conference. (East hereWest here)

So let’s take a gander at how some of the most noteworthy free-agents-to-be fared up to this point. Obviously, for players on half the teams, they won’t get another chance to show off their skills. I’ll begin with the West in this post and then discuss the East later on. This might not be a comprehensive list, so apologies if your favorite pending free agent is left out.

San Jose

Joe Pavelski – 11 points/becoming the Sharks’ American hero.

Evgeni Nabokov – a 1.93 GAA and 91.9% save percentage. Not bad at all.

Devin Setoguchi – 7 points in 7 games played. Not bad, either.

Patrick Marleau – 3 points. Not so good.

Colorado

Peter Mueller’s concussion issues kept him from making an impact, but Chris Stewart and Kyle Quincey were solid in the playoffs.

Chicago

Antti Niemi – probably pricing himself out of Chicago with a fabulous (92.1 save percentage) playoff run so far.

Nashville

Patric Hornqvist had health problems so he gets an “Incomplete” while Dan Hamhuis had quite the checkered post-season, most notably being the victim of what should have been a more beneficial boarding penalty from Marian Hossa …

Vancouver

Pavol Demitra’s been nicely productive (5 points) but Willie Mitchell has been injured.

Los Angeles

Alex Frolov produced a decent (1 goal, 3 assists) but unspectacular post-season. It seems likely that he’ll be wearing a different sweater next year.

Phoenix

Lee Stempniak – a rough playoffs with just 2 points and a -4 rating.

Wojtek Wolski – The team’s second leading scorer with 5 points, including 4 goals.

Detroit

Nicklas Lidstrom – 6 points in 8 games for the superhuman Swede.

Todd Bertuzzi – 5 points for the surprisingly effective brute.

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    Video: Ovechkin rocks custom skates for Russian Heritage Night

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    As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.

    On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.

    He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.

    From CSN Mid-Atlantic:

    The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.

    Video: Crosby slash leaves Methot’s finger bloodied and injured (Updated)

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    Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.

    He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.

    The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.

    There was no call on the play.

    Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.

    Show me the money! Nylander sets Leafs rookie record with latest assist

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    Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.

    Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.

    That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus:

    Not bad.

    Gibson (lower-body injury) will play again this regular season, says Carlyle

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    The Anaheim Ducks have been without goalie John Gibson for almost two full weeks because of injury, but head coach Randy Carlyle provided reason for optimism on Thursday.

    Per reports, Gibson took part in practice and Carlyle has said that his No. 1 netminder will play again during the regular season. Anaheim has nine games remaining on its schedule.

    That’s good news for Anaheim heading into the post-season.

    While Gibson has been out, Jonathan Bernier has stepped beyond his back-up role and provided solid goaltending for the Ducks during the stretch drive — which should also be a bonus for this club with the playoffs quickly approaching.

    Bernier has wins in six of his last seven starts. In nine games this month, he has only twice allowed three goals or more.

    The Ducks have fought their way back into contention for the Pacific Division with a recent surge that has coincided with San Jose’s current skid — only four wins in their last 10 games and four straight losses.

    Related: Career back on track, Bernier hopes he can re-sign in Anaheim