Avalanche fans not exactly enamored with Matt Hunwick on defense

Back in November, the Colorado Avalanche helped the Boston Bruins out of their salary cap hell by trading for mobile defenseman Matt Hunwick. Hunwick’s price tag was getting to be a bit much for the Bruins who had to make room for Marc Savard’s return to the lineup. Hunwick’s arrival in Denver was seen to be a positive one in a desperate moment with injuries littering their blue line corps.

Now that the injuries are healing and Hunwick is seeing more ice time, the warts on his game are showing and Avalanche fans are taking notice. Through 18 games with Colorado, Hunwick has no goals and two assists and is a -7. On a team that scores as often as the Avs do and how much they give up goal-wise, both his offensive and defensive are frustrating and people want to see a change made in favor of Jonas Holos. Adrian Dater of The Denver Post speaks for the people.

I and other media members have asked Sacco why he prefers to scratch Holos. He’s said, in essence, he thought he was looking tired or just not playing all that well. I thought he was playing very well myself. But what do I know? And what do you know?

Hunwick, Sacco said just the other day, has been playing better of late, and doing a lot of good things. I think a few of you beg to differ.

Oh yeah, one other thing: the only game Holos has played in of late, the other night against Buffalo, was the only game the Avs have won in the past 10 days.

The last part may be just coincidental as the Avs have been poor with stopping opposing offenses both on defense and in goal. The key point here, however, may be that the Avs need any change at all to get their consistency back. Hunwick is the team pariah right now but think of where they’d be without Kevin Shattenkirk emerging along with John-Michael Liles hot start to his season.

As for Holos being the answer, through 15 games this season he’s got no goals, three assists and a +4 rating. His numbers are better than Hunwick’s so the case can be made he should get more of a chance, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right decision in the long run.

Things could be worse for the Avs, but for now as long as the team is giving away goals like candy, someone’s going to hear it and for now it’s Hunwick and coach Joe Sacco. You can’t help but feel like the Bruins are feeling like they got away with one by adding to their team by subtracting Hunwick.

The Leafs will be without Reimer on Saturday

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James Reimer (lower body) won’t be available to play in Saturday’s game against Washington.

Reimer was injured during a team practice earlier this week and although the injury didn’t appear to be serious, it will prevent him from suiting up in at least one game.

The Leafs originally thought that the 27-year-old would be good to go for this tilt, but head coach Mike Babcock said Reimer didn’t feel good enough to play.

Reimer’s emerged as the go-to-guy for the Maple Leafs this season and for good reason.

He has 7-3-4 record with a 2.07 goals-against-average and a .934 save percentage in 15 games.

Another reason the Leafs have been counting on him so much is because Jonathan Bernier‘s been awful.

Bernier will get another opportunity to prove himself on Saturday night, but he faces a stiff test against Alex Ovechkin and company.

The 27-year-old has an 0-7-1 record with a 3.17 goals-against-average and a .895 save percentage in ’15-16.

In a corresponding move, the Leafs sent defenseman Scott Harrington to the minors and recalled goalie Garret Sparks.

Sparks was Toronto’s seventh round pick in 2011.

The 22-year-old has an 8-2-1 record with the Toronto Marlies this season.

War of words continues between Rangers and Bruins on Saturday


The Rangers are getting ready for their second straight matinee game on Saturday, but head coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t done addressing yesterday’s loss to the Bruins.

After Friday’s game, Bruins coach Claude Julien wasn’t pleased with Henrik Lundqvist‘s “acting” that led to a goalie interference penalty being called on forward Brad Marchand (above) and he let everyone know it in his postgame press conference.

On Saturday, it was Alain Vigneault’s turn to lash out.

“Well, (the Rangers public relations staff) filled me in a little bit on what was said after the game,” Vigneault said via the New York Daily News. “I mean it’s a little disappointing. Obviously everybody saw the knee to the head. The comments on Hank were very inappropriate. The way Hank conducts himself, on the ice, away from the rink, off the ice, the example that he sets. Who would you rather have as a son, Henrik Lundqvist or Brad Marchand? For him to say things like that about Hank, totally wrong, and probably Claude is getting a little older and needs to check his eyesight.”

The Rangers will take on the Flyers at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Dubinsky to have hearing for cross-check on Crosby


Brandon Dubinsky and the NHL’s Department of Player Safety will have a chat about his cross-check on Sidney Crosby.

The hearing is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, per beat reporter Aaron Portzline.

As you can see in the above video, Dubinsky delivers a two-handed cross-check to Crosby’s neck, so the fact that he’s getting a hearing is no surprise.

“There’s no secret. I try to play him as hard as I can,” said Dubinsky. “That being said, I don’t try and do anything dirty. I felt like my stick ride up his back a little bit. He’s kind of bent over there in front. But again, that’s not the type of player I am. I’m going to play hard, but try and play fair and play in between the whistle.”

Crosby isn’t willing to give Dubinsky the benefit of the doubt.

Anyone who follows the NHL knows that Dubinsky and Crosby aren’t fans of each other.

The two have engaged in some serious battles, including this fight last February:

Report: Habs will be Price-less for the next month

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It looks like the Canadiens will be without star goaltender Carey Price for the next month, per RDS.

“We still don’t know what the nature of the injury is, but we’re convinced it’s his right knee,” hockey analyst François Gagnon said on a french television show on Friday. “The Canadiens are preparing for him to be out for more than a week. They’re preparing for him to be out for a month.”

Price missed nine games with a lower-body injury between Oct. 30 and Nov. 19.

The 28-year-old won all three of his starts since returning, but he was forced from Wednesday’s game against the Rangers leading some to believe he came back too soon.

After Friday’s win over the Devils, Michel Therrien denied the validity of the report.

The Canadiens will have to provide an update on Price’s injury at some point, but their camp doesn’t typically give many details when it comes to this sort of thing.