Cheering for Dennis Wideman can be a challenge at times. Google “Dennis Wideman mistakes” and the top result is a Boston message-board thread entitled “Dennis Wideman is killing me slowly.” The second result is a Facebook page entitled “DWD (Dennis Wideman Disease) Therapy Group.”
So yeah, he’s been known to make the odd blunder.
Wideman, a defenseman, has only been in the NHL since 2005, yet he’s already played on four teams. Currently he’s in Washington, and with the injury to Mike Green (sprained ankle), he’s being asked to step up in a big way. In each of the past three games, Wideman has been on the ice for over 23 minutes.
So far, the reviews have been extremely positive. Teammate Brooks Laich says Wideman “may be playing the best hockey I’ve ever seen him play.”
Wideman’s 10 points ranks him seventh among NHL defensemen.
“He’s very confident with the puck,” Laich added, as reported by CSNWashington.com. “He makes a lot of plays into the middle of the ice. A lot of defensemen will take the safe play and throw it off the wall, but his head is always up and he makes confident sharp passes up the middle of the ice and that allows us to transition out of our zone rather than getting stuck in scrums on the wall.”
Cue the bitter Bruins fans saying they could’ve used a few more “safe plays” out of the guy.
Green will miss his fourth straight game tonight when the Caps take on the Hurricanes in Carolina, and with a game in Long Island tomorrow, you have to think it’ll be at least five games in the press box before he’s ready to return.
When Carolina put Jordan Staal on IR with a concussion eight days ago, many wondered how the club would react to losing such a versatile performer.
Those same people will have to wonder a little longer.
The ‘Canes, who have gone 1-2-1 in their first four games without Staal, are unlikely to get him back for at least another three — on Tuesday, head coach Bill Peters said Staal was unlikely to travel with the team for its upcoming road trip through California.
Also, there’s this:
It’s a profound loss, to say the least. The 28-year-old has a pretty big role in Carolina, and is the club’s top defensive center. He averages a healthy 18:29 TOI per game, and is one of the club’s best faceoff men, winning draws at a 60 percent clip.
Last year, Staal scored 20 goals for the first time since being acquired by the ‘Canes. He was off to a modest offensive start this year, with five goals and nine points through 21 contests.
Having a big-bodied center like Staal is usually vital for these California trips. The ‘Canes will have to deal with the likes of Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler, Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar and San Jose’s Joe Thornton.
With Staal out, Teuvo Teravainen has picked up the slack at center. He played a healthy 18:21 in Sunday’s OT win over the Lightning.
These are not the best of times for Florida.
Just weeks removed from the controversial firing of head coach Gerard Gallant — and having sputtered to a 1-1-2 record under new bench boss Tom Rowe — the Panthers got more bad news on Tuesday, as Rowe ruled out d-man Keith Yandle “for a while,” after Yandle suffered a lower-body injury in Boston on Monday night (per ESPN).
Yandle, the prized piece of an offseason blueline rebuild, has played a significant role for the Panthers this year.
He sits second on the team in ice time — trailing only Aaron Ekblad — and his offensive production has been vital. The 30-year-old sits second on the team in assists, with 11, and is the top point-getter among Florida’s defensemen.
By missing tonight’s game in Philly, Yandle also loses out on a personal milestone.
He had played the previous 577 games — the 10th-longest ironman streak in NHL history — and was within spitting distance of becoming one of just nine players to have appeared in 600 consecutive contests.
With Yandle out, Florida could bring Dylan McIlrath into the blueline mix. He’s only appeared in one game for the Panthers since being acquired from the Rangers — a 6-1 loss to Toronto back in mid-November.
And the Yandle injury isn’t the only one Florida’s currently dealing with. Jonathan Marchessault missed the B’s game with a lower-body ailment, and d-man Alex Petrovic is out after undergoing ankle surgery. The Panthers, of course, are also without star forward Jonathan Huberdeau, who hasn’t played at all this year due to a lacerated Achilles.
It hasn’t been the easiest year for Senators forward Curtis Lazar.
After sticking in the NHL for his first two pro seasons, Lazar began the 2016-17 campaign in the minors. That’s a pretty big step back for the former 17th overall pick in 2013.
The 21-year-old managed to earn a call up back in November, but there’s now some more adversity for him to face.
Lazar suffered a an upper-body injury in last night’s 8-5 loss to the Penguins and although we don’t know how long he’ll be out, we do know he’ll miss some time, as he’s out indefinitely.
He appeared to be injured after being on the receiving end of a hit by Pens defenseman Brian Dumoulin. It was a hit that Sens play-by-play announcer described as being “from behind”.
With Craig Anderson also leaving the team to head back to Ottawa, the Sens were forced to recall forward Phil Varone and goalie Andrew Hammond from the minors.
Ottawa has three games remaining on their four-game road trip. They’ll take on the Sharks on Wednesday, the Kings on Saturday and the Ducks on Sunday.
With Corey Crawford now on the shelf, the ‘Hawks will turn to Scott Darling as their starter. But new backup goalie Lars Johansson is a bit of an unknown. This is the 29-year-old’s first year in North America and he could get his first taste of NHL action. “If something were to happen (to Darling), absolutely I would be nervous, as excited for any new thing in my career,” Johansson said. (Chicago Tribune)
–Paul Maurice had some interesting comments about his former goalies Vesa Toskala and Andrew Raycroft. Maurice said that those goalies didn’t give him a very good shot to win in the shootout. (Sportsnet)
–How has the goalie position changed over the years? The Hockey News sat down with current and former NHL goalies, as well as some goalie coaches. “If I still played the way I did back in the day, I wouldn’t be in the NHL anymore. You have to evolve with the time and the position and the new techniques that come out every year,” said Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo. (The Hockey News)
–The New York Post looks back at former Rangers captain Vic Hadfield’s famous smile at the Spectrum in 1974. Hadfield explained that he wasn’t actually happy at the time because his team was on the verge of being eliminated by the Philadelphia Flyers. (NY Post)
–Tyler Murovich of the Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL) was suspended 12 games for this reckless hit on Anthony Calabrese of the Norfolk Admirals. (Yahoo)
–This youth hockey player had an emotional celebration after he scored during the intermission of the Caps game on Monday: