Millions of men woke up this morning, looked at themselves in the mirror, whipped out the razor and bid adieu to their dusters, signifying that — yes indeed — Movember is now over.
To celebrate, the National Hockey League announced that Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas was named Player of the Month.
(Appropriate, given the mask Thomas rocked throughout Movember.)
Thomas won all nine of his starts, which included three shutouts — one against Toronto, then two back-to-back against the Isles and Habs. His save percentage for the month was .941, topping his seemingly untoppable .938 from a season ago (an NHL record.) Most impressive, though, was the role he played in Boston’s amazing turnaround. The Bruins started November dead last in the Northeast Division at 4-7-0.
Today, they’re in first place at 15-7-1.
Second star of the month went to Chicago’s Jonathan Toews. Captain Serious pushed the Blackhawks to a first-place tie with Detroit in the Central Division with a huge effort — nine goals and 18 points, including a late-month evisceration of California. He had 2G3A-5PTS in a win over the Ducks on Nov. 25, then followed that up with the game-winning goal 24 hours later against Los Angeles.
Third star went to Toronto’s Joffrey Lupul. He registered at least a point in 12 of the Leafs’ 14 November games and saved his best performance for one of the biggest games — three assists in a 7-1 drubbing of the Washington Capitals. Lupul now has 30 points on the year, second-most in the NHL and just two back of the leader — teammate Phil Kessel.
Of note, Kessel was the NHL’s Player of the Month for October.
Alexei Emelin has been in and out of the Montreal Canadiens lineup, but this wasn’t the way they wanted him to keep his legs fresh.
The hard-hitting defenseman received a game misconduct and five-minute major penalty for a late hit on Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert on Tuesday.
So far, it sounds like Calvert may be OK.
You can see video of that hit above, as well as a GIF of the infraction via My Regular Face.
Many believe that Emelin should not have been ejected.
Injuries have been a regular problem for Joffrey Lupul for much of his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it doesn’t look like that’s changing in 2015-16.
The team placed him on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 28, calling up Rich Clune in the process.
This IR stint means that Lupul will miss at least three games for Toronto.
From the sound of things, it’s a nagging issue, as NHL.com notes.
“He’s been having the same problem here for a bit,” Mike Babcock told media members on Sunday. “He doesn’t seem to be getting the power back that they thought, so we’re just trying to monitor it the best we can.”
Leafs Nation points out that Lupul has missed about one-third of Toronto’s contests since suffering a separated shoulder in April 2012.
At 32, there’s still time for Lupul to fight through this, although injuries generally accumulate with age.
Will Ryan Suter say something foolish during tonight’s game? Is Brent Burns‘ beard so long that it’s finally starting to scrape the ice?
We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more during Tuesday’s NBCSN doubleheader.
Need to follow the two games online? Never fear.
Game 1: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Message sent or not via healthy scratches or not, Dave Bolland returns to the Florida Panthers mix on Tuesday.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, it’s maybe not under the most ideal circumstances, as part of the explanation for his return is Nick Bjugstad‘s absence.
The Miami Herald’s George Richards reports that Bjugstad is out tonight against the St. Louis Blues with an upper-body injury that he suffered during a Monday practice.
In fact, as you can see in the tweet above, the young forward was sent home because of the injury.
This forces some shuffling, with Vincent Trocheck moving up to the second line while Bolland centers the third combo as usual.
The Panthers are currently on a two-game winning streak and visit St. Louis as the second date in a five-game road trip.
This is also the early part of a span in which they play nine of 10 games on the road (counting Sunday’s away win), so a prolonged absence from Bjugstad could sting that much more.