Patrick Kane has been named the NHL’s first star for the month of December, edging out Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby and Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller for the honor.
Kane led the league in assists (16) last month and tied Crosby for the points lead, with 23. The Chicago forward was a constant force as his club went 8-3-3, scoring at least one point in 13 of 14 games while becoming the first player to record two 10-game-plus scoring streaks in the same season since Jaromir Jagr did it in 2005-06.
Second star went to Crosby who, like Kane, recorded points in 13 of 14 games last month. Crosby also posted seven multi-point performances and helped Pittsburgh record 11 wins in December, keeping the Pens atop the Eastern Conference standings despite being ravaged by injuries.
Hiller, the third star for December, went 9-0-1 with a 1.96 GAA and .929 save percentage. The Ducks goalie closed the month with nine straight wins and allowed two goals or fewer in nine of his 10 games, which included a stellar 49-save effort against the Kings on Dec. 3.
GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now
Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline on Tuesday.
“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.
Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?
Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”
Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.
Portzline goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.
Next four games: Three out of four at home Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.
As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.
For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.
He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.
Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).
That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out
This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:
With Ovechkin out, Caps lines look like this: