Carolina Hurricanes v Atlanta Thrashers

Jussi Jokinen named NHL’s top star of the week; Bergeron, Bryzgalov also honored

They call him “Juice” in Carolina and for Jussi Jokinen his return to the Hurricanes lineup has been a huge boost of late. With the Hurricanes going 2-1-0 this past week, Jokinen’s efforts scoring four goals and three assists did not go unnoticed by the NHL as he was named the NHL’s #1 star of the week. Seven points in three games is pretty impressive and with the Hurricanes now just one point behind Atlanta in the race for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference and seven points behind Tampa Bay and Washington for the Southeast Division lead, it’s time people started taking notice of the Hurricanes. The spark Jokinen has provided of late has been key to their rise up the standings.

Boston’s Patrice Bergeron did pretty well himself also earning four goals and three assists last week in helping the Bruins go 3-1-0 last week and earning the #2 star of the week. Bergeron’s play has been huge for Boston with Marc Savard having missed a good chunk of the season and David Krejci struggling. It’s taken a couple years, but perhaps this is the real Patrice Bergeron we’ve been waiting to see. A guy you can put on the ice in any situation and see positive results out of.

Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov earned #3 star status for the week helping the Coyotes to a 3-0-0 record during that time. Sporting a healthy 2.00 goals against average with a .938 save percentage will make sure you get noticed. Bryzgalov stopped 91 of 97 shots in the week and got the Coyotes to within four points of Dallas for the lead in the Pacific Division.

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.

Diaz could leave Rangers for Europe

Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
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Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?

We’ll know in a month.

Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:

The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.

The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.

If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.

Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”

And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.

While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.