The Detroit Red Wings took a significant risk when they signed Stephen Weiss to a five-year, $24.5 million contract over the summer.
The original hope was that Weiss could serve as the team’s second-line center, which would allow Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg to play together on the first line. That’s a role Weiss has historically been qualified for, but that was back when he was playing in a comparatively low pressure situation in Florida.
On top of that, Weiss had just four points in 17 contests in an injury-filled 2013 campaign. So essentially they were signing him to a long-term deal based on the hope that his most recent showing was an anomaly. It wasn’t.
Weiss has again run into injury problems this season and hasn’t been able to produce even when he has played, which has thrown a wrench in the Red Wings’ plans. At least he can use the Olympic break to continue his recovery from a sports hernia.
To that end he’s going back to his Ontario Hockey League roots. Starting on Tuesday, he’ll be skating with the Plymouth Whalers.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Weiss told the Detroit Free Press. “It should hopefully spark something.”
If all goes well, he’ll join the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins before the Olympic break is over on a conditioning stint. From there he could be back in Detroit’s lineup when the team resumes its schedule on Feb. 26.
Of course, he knows that getting healthy again is just the beginning of his professional recovery.
“I’ve gotta claw my way back into the lineup, and whatever role I’m given, just try to help the team in whatever way they want me to,” Weiss said.
Detroit could certainly still use him as they try to squeak into the postseason.
This hasn’t been a great weekend for the Chicago Blackhawks.
They lost on Saturday and lost again on Sunday, as the Winnipeg Jets came into Chicago and, thanks to a late goal from Andrew Copp, left with a 2-1 victory. The Blackhawks didn’t have Jonathan Toews in the lineup, as their captain remains out with an injury.
The news wasn’t particularly promising Sunday. Toews, who has four goals and 12 points in 21 games this season, is being kept off the ice for the next few days, because his injury isn’t improving.
“When you’re missing a guy right away for a couple of games, it may not really show up and guys are excited to get that chance. The longer you go, missing a great player, there’s going to be a hole,” Patrick Kane told CSN Chicago.
“Nothing we can control. It’s something guys like myself and other guys have to step up and try to [help], whether it’s taking on more ownership and leadership, playing the right way and do whatever you can to help this team win.”
The Blackhawks have been kept to two or fewer goals in four of their last five games. They haven’t scored a power play goal in the last five games, going 0-for-13 in that stretch.
In addition to missing Toews, the Blackhawks are also without goalie Corey Crawford for two to three weeks.
This is a difficult stretch they’re going through.
“Well, you certainly miss his presence in all aspects of your team game, his leadership as well, as good as anybody that’s played,” coach Joel Quenneville said of Toews. “You use all those important minutes.”
Connor McDavid is going through the league’s concussion protocol, according to multiple reports during Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Wild.
Per Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun, McDavid was ordered to undergo the protocol after falling to the ice when he got tangled up with Jared Spurgeon. As McDavid fell to the ice, his face hit hard and he appeared in immediate discomfort.
McDavid held the NHL lead with 34 points in 26 games coming into Sunday’s contest.
Updated: McDavid has returned to the Oilers bench to begin the third period.
The goaltending in Philadelphia has been talked about plenty this season, mainly because it had struggled.
That is only until recently, even with Michal Neuvirth still out with an injury.
The Flyers are on a five-game winning streak, reaching the mark with a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Sunday. Wayne Simmonds had a pair of goals and he now has six points in his last six games.
Ivan Provorov had a productive, two-goal game on Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks.
But goaltending has been much better for Philly as of late.
Steve Mason has been in net for four of the last five wins and he’s given his team the goaltending it needs to have a chance for those victories. Take his first win in this stretch: He faced 47 shots against the Bruins and stopped all but two of them.
He didn’t face the same workload Sunday against the Predators but he was still busy, particularly in the third period as Nashville pushed for the equalizer.
He stopped 30 of the 32 shots he faced. In his last four games, he’s allowed only seven goals and no more than two in a game. That save percentage — recently at an ugly .892 — has started to improve. It’s still at .904, which isn’t great. But better than a week ago.
That’s solid goaltending.
And right now, the Flyers are on a roll.
“For me, it’s really the last nine or 10 games. Some of those games, the results didn’t come… games 8, 9 10 ago,” said coach Dave Hakstol.
“But we were playing really complete games. There’s a time or two in a game where the momentum goes against you, but the bench stays strong and they just go out there and try to push the momentum back our way.”
Welcome back, Johnny Gaudreau.
The Flames forward returned to the lineup Sunday, after missing 10 games with a finger injury. He scored on his very first shift, on his very first shot of the game.
It’s a goal Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonathan Bernier would probably want back.
Gaudreau picked up the puck after briefly losing control and casually fired it toward the net from inside the faceoff circle. It made it’s way through Bernier, who wasn’t screened on the play, giving Calgary an early lead.