Ales Hemsky left tonight’s game against the Minnesota Wild at the end of the 1st period with sore shoulder and did not return. The talented winger has had surgery on each of his shoulders over the last two seasons. News that Hemsky hurt his shoulder tonight is only mildly more surprising than the Ottawa Senators lost. Yeah, it was that predictable.
The worst part of the deal is that played well in his 5:28 first period minutes before he left for the rest of the game. You could make the argument that he was the best player on his line—which will put him high in the running for player of the game on a nightly basis. Such is life when he’s the answer to the answer to the trivia question: Who plays on the same line as Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins?
The shootout loss means Edmonton is now winless in their last 17 games in Minnesota since January of 2007. For some perspective, the last time the Oil won in the Twin Cities, Kyle Turris was supposed to be the next coming and Phil Kessel was going to be the next superstar in Boston.
No one wants to lose any games (especially divisional games), but the bigger story from Minnesota is Hemsky suffering yet another injury. Hemsky missed 60 games in 2009-10 with his first shoulder injury; then missed another 35 more games with another shoulder injury last season after the trade deadline. He’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and unquestionably wants to put his best foot forward as he looks for a new contract at the end of the season. He’s making $5 million this season ($4.1 million cap hit)—the last year of his 6-year, $24.6 million contract.
When he’s on the ice, he’s one of the best players on a team stacked with talented young forwards. His 492 career games make him a virtual senior citizen around guys like Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi, Hall, and Nugent-Hopkins. From the team’s point of view, the Oilers could use Hemsky’s talent as well as his experience. From Hemsky’s standpoint, he could use a healthy season going into free agency.
Hemsky’s scheduled to be reevaluated on Friday to determine the severity of his injury. But at this point, will anyone be willing to take a chance on him if he can’t stay on the ice?
If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:
“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”
The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.
Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:
With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.
Measuring stick stretch begins
Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.
This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.
It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.
In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.
Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.
It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.
His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:
These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”
Update: It wasn’t enough for a win, however, as the Oilers beat the Penguins 3-2 via a shootout.
Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.
Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.
It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.
Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.
It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.
Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.
You can see and hear his full comments below:
If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.
Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.
Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.
Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.