Thrashers place big center Nik Antropov on injured reserve

Honestly, when the Atlanta Thrashers picked up former Toronto Maple Leafs center Nik Antropov, I was expecting minimal results. Instead, the big center produced the best statistical season of his career in 2009-10, with 24 goals and career highs in assists (43) and points (67).

The 2010-11 season hasn’t been as kind to Antropov so far (seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points with a -7 rating), but he’s still another large player who makes the Thrashers a robust, tough group to deal with. Unfortunately, a hip injury forced Atlanta to place the Russian on the injured reserve.

The team recalled Tim Stapleton to take Antropov’s spot in the lineup. As you may recall, they recently signed Stapleton to a two-year deal, so maybe Antropov’s loss is Stapleton’s gain. It’s not clear how long Antropov will be out, but we’ll keep an eye on his injury situation.

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

Justin Abdelkader
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In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal

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Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: