Parise, Kessel, Backlund named NHL’s stars of the week

Minnesota’s Zach Parise, Toronto’s Phil Kessel and Calgary’s Mikael Backlund have been named the NHL’s three stars of the week.

Parise, the first star, led all skaters with eight points as the Wild went 1-1-1 on the road last wee. Parise scored a goal and two assists in a win over the Ducks — netting the game-winner — before scoring a season-high four points against Colorado. The U.S. Olympic captain finished things off with an assist in a OT loss in Calgary on Saturday, capping off a wildly productive seven-day stretch.

Kessel, the second star, had seven points as the Leafs won all three of their games, moving into third place in the Atlanta Division. Kessel set up the game-winning goal against Tampa, had two assists against Florida and then scored his fifth career hat trick (along with an assist) in a 6-3 win over the Sens on Saturday. Like Parise, Kessel will also represent the U.S. at the upcoming Winter Olympics, and now sits second in the NHL with 30 goals, nine back of league leader Alex Ovechkin.

Third star went to Backlund, who scored six points in three games, helping the Flames rip off a perfect 5-0-0 homestand in the process. Backlund scored two goals in a win over Chicago, two assists in a win over San Jose, then scored his second shorthanded goal of the week and the OT winner against Minnesota on Saturday.

Watch the Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp tribute video


Over the years, the Chicago Blackhawks have been forced to let some important players leave to keep their core together, which ultimately meant parting ways with Patrick Sharp.

The talented winger now wears a Dallas Stars jersey, so Blackhawks fans must face the reality of watching Sharp ply his trade for a formidable Central Division opponent.

Even if that might feel awkward, Blackhawks fans gave Sharp (and Johnny Oduya) a warm reception in Chicago on Thursday. provides video of that ovation, which you can see in the clip above.

The Stars currently lead the Blackhawks 4-2, thanks in large part to Patrick … Eaves.

Wild must overcome Alex Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci


Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.

Fight video: Patrice Bergeron vs. Blake Wheeler (seriously)

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Regular Selke winner Patrice Bergeron can do it all on the ice, it seems. Apparently that means he’ll even drop the gloves.

That was the unlikely scene during Thursday’s Boston Bruins – Winnipeg Jets skirmish, as Bergeron fought fellow finesse forward Blake Wheeler.

Perhaps unusual feisty behavior was just in the air, as Tyler Myers squared off with Matt Beleskey.

(Not as unlikely, but still.)