Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom

Best and worst sweaters of all-time: Detroit Red Wings


When you’ve got a perfect look, there’s really nothing much you should do with it other than hanging on to it for the rest of your days. That’s just what the Red Wings do with their sweaters that have stayed essentially the same since the very get-go. After all, when you can say you’ve had everyone from Gordie Howe to Steve Yzerman all wearing essentially the same sweater, that’s impressive and even more so in an era where making things new and updated is all the rage.

Best: Well this is awkward. Detroit has essentially gone unchanged with their sweaters since 1937. The only real alterations have come in sprucing up the winged wheel logo and then adding names to the back of the sweaters in the late 1970s. Considering how bad the Wings were in the 70s, fans needed to know just who they were rooting for.

When it comes down to picking a “best” Red Wings sweater it’s down to red or white. Put me down as a fan of the (now) road white sweater. Dominating with just one color sometimes doesn’t do it for me and even with the Red Wings being just red and white with their colors, even the menacing all red look can be too much.

Worst: For the worst all-time Red Wings sweater we have to go back to the days when they were called the Detroit Cougars and apparently that meant dressing up like an oversized candy cane. In the 1927-1928 season, the Cougars’ sweater had horizontal stripes up and down the length of it with a bold “DETROIT” right smack through the middle of the sweater. When you’re rolling with just two colors that can get to be rough to look at and these peppermint-flavored nightmares are a good reason why we’re thankful photographs in that era were in black and white.

Classic at all costs: It’s incredible that the Wings have kept the same look for over 70 years and haven’t deviated off and introduced a new logo or a third sweater at all through recent years. The Wings fan base is big enough so that introducing something like that could mean even more money for owner Mike Ilitch and given how good the Wings have been for nearly the last 20 years having third jerseys with the names of Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom, or Henrik Zetterberg would be huge sellers.

Instead, the Wings keep it real and the only different sweater they’ve worn at all came in the 2009 Winter Classic when they threw on the franchise’s original Detroit Cougars sweater for the day.

Assessment: This original six franchise just keeps doing things right on and off the ice and keeping a classic look unencumbered by ad wizard-enhanced new logos, shoulder patches, or third jerseys keeps the Wings sweater looking old school and classic at all times. It’s up there with Chicago as one of the best looking teams in the NHL.

The Panthers are healthy scratching Bolland, and he is their highest-paid forward, but they insist they’re not sending a message

Dave Bolland, Derek Nansen
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It feels like there’s a story brewing in Florida, where Dave Bolland — the team’s most-expensive forward, at $5.5 million a season — has been a healthy scratch for three consecutive games.

But according to head coach Gerard Gallant, there’s nothing to see here. Move along.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” Gallant said, per the Miami Herald. “He sat out, our team is playing well. There’s nothing more than that. We have to sit two guys and I like the way we’re playing. The next game is a different game. We may change something up, who knows.”

Bolland had just one goal and five points in 18 games prior to getting parked in the press box. Well, technically he got dropped to the fourth line before hitting the press box, but you get the idea. He’s not exactly in Gallant’s good graces.

Not helping Bolland’s case is the fact that, as Gallant pointed out, the club is playing pretty well without him. The Panthers have rebounded from a rough start to November by winning back-to-back games against the Islanders and Red Wings, which set them up nicely for the remainder of this current five-game road swing.

Florida has games still to play in St. Louis, Nashville, Columbus and New Jersey. It’ll be interesting to see when — or, if — he draws back into the lineup.

In closing, a reminder that Bolland’s in the second of a five-year, $27.5 million deal.

Canucks rookie Virtanen exits with upper-body injury, won’t return


After sitting out Friday’s game in Dallas, Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen had to be excited at drawing back in for tonight’s game against the Ducks.

Unfortunately, the excitement didn’t last long.

Virtanen suffered an upper-body injury after playing just 1:45 in the opening frame, and was ruled out of the contest during the intermission. It’s unclear exactly what happened, but it looks like Virtanen was injured on a hit by Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.

Virtanen didn’t take another shift following the incident, and Getzlaf was given a minor penalty on the play.

While we don’t know what the injury is or it’s severity, losing Virtanen for any length of time would have ramifications for the Canucks and this year’s Canadian entry at the World Juniors. There has been talk of Virtanen possibly being released by the Canucks to participate in the tournament; last year, he was part of the team that captured gold in Montreal and Toronto.

Virtanen has played in 18 games for the Canucks this year, scoring one goal and four points while averaging 10:17 TOI per night.

McLellan sounds off on Oilers after shutout loss in Toronto

Todd McLellan

Edmonton lost for the fourth time in five games on Monday, a 3-0 defeat in Toronto that marked the second time in a week the Oilers have been shut out.

Needless to say, the head coach wasn’t happy.

In a fairly blunt and harsh assessment aimed at a variety of players, Todd McLellan had some choice words for what he called a “disappointing” effort.

Some of the more choice quotes:

“I didn’t think we were a very hard team. I didn’t think we stood over a lot of pucks. I didn’t think we won a lot of battles along the boards. I didn’t think we were competitive enough in a lot of areas.”

“When I look at the trip as a whole, we had some key, key people really under-perform on the trip. Significant minus numbers, not hitting the score sheet. It can’t always be the [Leon DraisaitlTaylor Hall line] that provides that.”

It’s fair to suggest that last one was directed at Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle.

Nugent-Hopkins has just two points and zero goals in his last five games, with a minus-8 rating. Eberle is pointless entirely, and also at minus-8 over the same stretch.

They’re hardly the only Oilers not pulling their weight at the moment, however. Edmonton has lost 15 times in its first 25 games, a figure that suggests there are more problems that just a couple of underachieving forwards.

Just ask McLellan, who all but admitted his team has issues matching up.

“We’re not where we need to be,” he said. “We’ve got work to do as a team, work to do as an organization to get bigger, stronger, harder, and physically win more battles than we lose.”

Roy: Avs ‘need, expect more’ from Varlamov


The tough times continue for Semyon Varlamov.

After another unsuccessful outing on Monday — allowing four goals on 27 shots in a loss to the Islanders — Varlamov was subjected to a familiar refrain: Patrick Roy saying the Avs need more from their No. 1 netminder.


You can hear all of the head coach’s comments in the video above but, for brevity’s sake, here’s the Varlamov stuff:

“It’s not easy for him. Obviously we need that extra save and we didn’t get it on the road. It’s hard to win if you’re giving four goals on the road.

“We just need more from him. He’s our No. 1 guy and we’re behind him, but we need, we expect more from him.”

There has to be serious concern about Varlamov right now, if there wasn’t already.

His save percentage through seven games in November (.891) is marginally better than it was through seven games in October (.889), and that’s not the only alarming stat. Varlamov’s yet to record a shutout this year, yet to record back-to-back victories and has given up at least three goals in six of his last seven starts.

Not good.

Compounding things for Colorado are the standings. The Avs are now 9-14-1 and mired in the Central Division basement, meaning that — if they have any hope of going on a tear and getting back into playoff content — they’ll need to do it soon.

Which means they might not have the time, or the patience, for Varlamov to find his game.