After scoring five goals and putting forth a masterful performance on national television, Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin has been named the NHL’s first star of the week.
The honor is becoming old hat for Malkin. He’s been named a star in three of the last six weeks (third star on Dec. 19 and Jan. 16, first star this week) and was December’s first star of the month as well. He now has 35 points in his last 23 games — including three points in a 4-3 OT decision over Washington on NBC on Sunday — and is at the forefront of the Hart Trophy race, with his play being a major catalyst in Pittsburgh’s recent turnaround. The Pens have won six straight and are now just six points back of the Rangers for top spot in the Atlantic Division.
Second star of the week went to Philadelphia’s Scott Hartnell. He continued his banner campaign with a two-goal effort against New Jersey and a natural hat-trick against the Bruins. Hartnell is now fifth in the NHL in goals, with 25 (his previous career-high was 30) and leads the league in power-play goals, with 13. It’s probably safe to assume that, should the NHL need a capable replacement for the 2012 NHL All-Star game, Hartnell is at the top of the list.
Third star of the week went to Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov. He allowed just two goals in three starts last week, posting a 17-save shutout of the Capitals, then stopped 40 of 41 shots against the Flyers and 32 of 33 against the Hurricanes. He’s riding a four-game winning streak and has a .965 save percentage over that time.
Alumni rosters announced for Bruins-Habs at Gillette Stadium
The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.
Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.
The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)
The hope was that the Columbus Blue Jackets would be jolted into a great, long winning streak, and their season would be saved.
The reality of John Tortorella’s first month behind the bench has been, well, reality. The Jackets are 8-7-0 since Todd Richards was fired. Better than 0-7-0, sure, but at 8-14-0 overall, they remain last in the Eastern Conference.
Fifteen games into his tenure, Tortorella is still trying to get his message across.
“A big reason why we bring them in (to practice yesterday and today) is because we don’t have a full understanding of the standard we need to be at in all areas of the game,” he told The Columbus Dispatch. “Some things you can’t control in our game, but it’s how hard you play, how hard you are with your bite as a team, and the pace you play with – you can control that.”
The Jackets play Wednesday in New Jersey, where they’ll look to shake off Sunday’s disappointing home loss to San Jose. Columbus held a 3-1 third-period lead in that one. The Sharks scored four straight to win 5-3.
The San Jose Sharks have signed forward Dainius Zubrus to a one-year, two way contract, the club announced today.
Zubrus was given a tryout with the Sharks last week.
The 37-year-old played 74 games with the Devils last season, scoring just four goals with six assists. His contract was then bought out.
According to a Mercury News source, the decision to sign Zubrus lay “mainly” with his former coach in New Jersey, now San Jose’s bench boss, Pete DeBoer.
“He looks good,” DeBoer said of Zubrus last week, per CSN Bay Area. “He looks close. It’s tough to find six-foot-four, 215-pound guys who can play. … He’s an easy guy to play because he’s defensively reliable. He plays a big possession, heavy game. There’s a lot to like there.”
In a related move, the Sharks have reassigned forward Nikolay Goldobin to the AHL.