Henrik Zetterberg

Wednesday Wake-Up Call: Henrik Zetterberg


The Wednesday Wake-Up Call is where we pick a struggling player and kindly ask him to SNAP OUT OF IT ALREADY. COME ON. YOU’RE BETTER THAN THIS!

Henrik Zetterberg, C, Detroit Red Wings

Key stats: 2G-2A-4PTS in 10GP, minus-4.

Cap hit: $6.08 million annually.

Zetterberg’s poor start to the year is inexplicable. It’s not an injury issue (he’s healthy). It’s not a chemistry issue (he’s had his usual linemates in Pavel Datsyuk and Dan Cleary). It’s not an opportunity issue (he leads the league in shots per game) and it’s not an ice-time issue (he’s playing 20 minutes a night).

So, what gives? How has a line featuring three immensely talented players only mustered 14 combined points thus far?

Zetterberg is at a loss for answers.

“We should definitely score more goals than we’ve done,” he told NHL.com. “It’s not like we don’t have the chances, but somehow we can’t get the puck behind the goalie. It is frustrating. You’ve just got to keep going and doing the right things.”

Zetterberg might be preaching patience, but head coach Mike Babcock isn’t hearing it. He split up the Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Cleary line at practice today, which could actually be of benefit to Zetterberg. Rather than play the wing on the top line, he’ll center Johan Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi on the second. This definitely plays into the hands of a guy that’s put up assist totals of 56, 47, 42 and 49 in each of the last four years.

Check that — it better play into his hands. No. 40 needs to turn things around, and quick. He’s on pace for a career-low 33 points and the Wings are on pace for 88, which probably won’t be enough for a playoff spot.

So wake up, Henrik Zetterberg. Your team needs you.

Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau
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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.

Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning


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.

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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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.

Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

Peter Chiarelli

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.