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!
Lubomir Visnovsky, D, Anaheim Ducks
Key stats: 1G-3A-4PTS in 14 GP, minus-7
Cap hit: $5.6 million annually
Last season, Lubomir Visnovsky led all NHL defensemen in scoring with 68 points. His 31 powerplay points were more than Ryan Kesler, Jarome Iginla and Henrik Zetterberg. He was one of four defensemen named to an NHL All-Star Team (Zdeno Chara, Nicklas Lidstrom and Shea Weber were the others). He finished fourth in Norris Trophy voting and tied for 23rd in Hart Trophy voting (with Chris Pronger.)
So needless to say, Visnovsky was a fairly elite player last year.
But this season? Not so much. His chemistry with blueline partner Toni Lydman has seemingly evaporated and they’ve been replaced as Anaheim’s top pairing by Cam Fowler and Francois Beauchemin. Visnovsky’s been accused of puckhandling too much, failing to defend the blue line and making plays that aren’t there.
Anaheim has yet to achieve that goal. Losers of five straight and eight of their last nine, the Ducks have been waiting for weeks for Visnovsky to break out — but it’s simply not happening. He’s gone seven straight games without registering a point and had unusually low ice times against Nashville (17:11) and Detroit (20:03). This from a guy that averaged 24:17 a night last year, 13th among all defensemen.
So wake up, Lubomir Visnovsky. Your team needs you.
Flames keep showing life, Stars stumble once again
If you think the Dallas Stars are struggling because of defense more than anything else, then you’ll make sure to keep the video above “on file.”
There Kari Lehtonen was, helpless on a 2-on-0 rush for the Calgary Flames, which Johnny Gaudreau finished with calm and ease. For some, that goal is the symbol of the Stars’ season.
Either way, it was a painful goal in the Flames’ 2-1 win against the Stars. Calgary won despite Dallas firing 30 shots on goal versus the Flames’ 20.
One team climbing, the other stumbling
With that, the Flames are now on a four-game winning streak. Since falling to 5-10-1 on Nov. 12, the Flames have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, pushing them to 14-13-2 overall. Gaudreau coming back is the icing on the cake after Chad Johnson really took charge of the Flames’ top job.
During a similar span, the Stars can’t seem to get it together. Dallas stood at 6-6-3 after beating the Oilers 3-2 on Nov. 11. They’re now 10-11-6, essentially standing in place as a .500 team.
Dallas can’t seem to get momentum going, a thought that might have left them envious of the team on the other end of the ice on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, it wasn’t just about Jack Eichel vs. Connor McDavid. Instead, it was a clash between a fleet of young scorers who were in their prime, with the Buffalo Sabres coming up on top against the Edmonton Oilers.