danielsedinsfirststar

Daniel Sedin, Jonas Hiller and Jose Theodore named NHL’s three stars of the week

Each week, the NHL chooses the three players whose play stood out the most. Sometimes the league’s most talented skaters make the list; other times some unexpected names pop up.

This week’s winners were Vancouver Canucks winger Daniel Sedin, Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller and Minnesota Wild backup Jose Theodore. Let’s take a look at the weeks experienced by the three players, with a combination of our observations plus tidbits from the league’s press release.

First star: Daniel Sedin

Watching the Sedin twins play together is a true treat for connoisseurs of the game, unless they’re working their bewildering cycle against your team. Then it’s an unnerving process of inevitable doom that is reminiscent of the feeling you get watching a character in a horror movie who decides to investigate a loud noise.

Sedin led all players in goals (five) and points (seven) last week, helping the Canucks post a 3-0-1 record and claim first place in the NHL overall standings. Sedin recorded goals in all four starts, beginning with a one goal, one assist performance in a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks Jan. 3.

(snip)

Daniel has notched points in 18 of his past 21 games with a +16 rating in that span, during which the Canucks have posted a 17-1-3 record.

Second star: Hiller

People unfamiliar with the Swiss goalie received an example of what he’s now doing for the Anaheim Ducks during the 2010 Olympics, as Hiller kept the over-matched team in hockey games against the U.S. and Canadian teams. The impressive franchise goalie makes a lot of starts and faces a lot of shots thanks to the Ducks’ rebuilding defensive corps, so he’ll need to keep producing great netminding for Anaheim to make the playoffs.

Hiller posted a 2-1-0 record, 0.67 goals-against average and .977 save percentage in three starts, concluding the week with consecutive shutouts and an active scoreless streak of 154:50.

(Snip)

Hiller also tops all NHL goaltenders in saves (1,156), is tied for second in victories, ranks third in save percentage and is tied for fourth in shutouts (four). He is the first Ducks goaltender to post back-to-back shutouts since J.S. Giguere had three straight from Dec. 8-15, 2002.

Third star: Theodore

There’s been some speculation that Wild franchise goalie Niklas Backstrom might be in danger of missing significant time, so Theodore might need to justify his expensive-for-a-backup salary of $1 million. It’s early, obviously, but so far so good. He looked solid even when he allowed four goals in a loss against the Dallas Stars last night.

Theodore posted a 3-1-0 record with a 1.50 goals-against average and .946 save percentage in four starts last week as the Wild swept a three-game east coast road trip.

Fight video: Someone other than Evander Kane beats up Alex Petrovic

Leave a comment

Bummed out on this holiday? Look on the bright side: at least you’re not as sore as Florida Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic likely is right now.

Not long after suffering three defeats at the hands/fists of Evander Kane, Petrovic likely lost another bout to Nashville Predators tough guy Anthony Bitetto.

(Note: some might consider this more of a draw, for what it’s worth. You can watch that latest fight in the video above.)

Hey, at least Bitetto didn’t taunt Petrovic after their fight …

It was a rough night for the Panthers overall, as they suffered a gruesome injury or two and fell to the Predators by a score of 5-0.

Outdoor game rumors: Jets host Oilers, Red Wings at Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings face off during the first period of the Winter Classic outdoor NHL hockey game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP
3 Comments

Love is in the air on Valentine’s Day, and so are rumors about hockey fans bundling up for outdoor games next season.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman went over two possible outdoor matchups coming for 2016-17 during Saturday’s Headlines segment.

A smart move for a potential game in Winnipeg: Imagine the Jets hosting a game in Winnipeg in February? Ilya Bryzgalov almost turned off his TV in protest.

Instead, Sportsnet’s John Shannon reports that the Jets are likely to host the Edmonton Oilers in October. That would be a smart logistical move, as long as it isn’t too hot.

(Also, playing it then would hopefully increase the odds of the mainstream sporting public seeing Connor McDavid in an outdoor game.)

Toronto’s turn: Friedman reports that the Toronto Maple Leafs are likely to host the Detroit Red Wings in the 2017 Winter Classic (or at least an outdoor game), almost certainly on New Year’s Day 2017.

The two teams combined for a great Winter Classic at Ann Arbor in 2014, so that could be a fun time.

***

Keep in mind these are reports (and well-placed ones at that) rather than official announcements for the NHL. These things could always change.

Related: Could the Penguins host the Flyers outdoors next season, too?

Ducks likely to recall Khudobin after Gibson injury

Chicago Blackhawks' Richard Panik (14), of Slovakia, collides with Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson (36) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Chicago. Anaheim won 3-2 in overtime. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
AP
Leave a comment

“Costly victories” may have been one of the themes of Saturday night, as some teams paired impressive wins with worrisome injuries.

The good news is that, in each case, it appears that the early word is optimistic about those players (Tyler Seguin got stitched up in the Stars’ win, for example).

The Anaheim Ducks are reportedly readying to recall Anton Khudobin on Sunday after John Gibson suffered an upper-body injury during a collision with Chicago Blackhawks forward Richard Panik.

Again, so far the hope/expectation is that this might not be a major issue:

The pessimistic take would be to wonder “Uh oh, is the Ducks goalie carousel starting again?”

Frederik Andersen has seen some runs as Anaheim’s No. 1 guy, so maybe this issue is a reminder that the Ducks may be better off keeping both Gibson and Andersen around … at least while they can.

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

1 Comment

For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.