Author: James O'Brien

Kiss of bad luck: Kings’ Toffoli sidelined with mono


If you’re prone to being annoyed by cheesy word play, kiss your patience goodbye, because Los Angeles Kings forward Tyler Toffoli’s missing Saturday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets because of mono.

That’s the word from the OC Register’s Rich Hammond, who asks the question on many hockey peoples’ minds: is that better or worse than the mumps?

Here’s a quick rundown of the ailment via Web MD:

Mononucleosis, also called “mono,” is a common illness that can leave you feeling tired and weak for weeks or months. Mono goes away on its own, but lots of rest and good self-care can help you feel better.

Mono usually is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). It is most often seen in teens and young adults. Children can get the virus, but it often goes unnoticed because their symptoms are mild. Older adults usually don’t get mono, because they have immunity to the virus.

At first, the impression was that the mumps might be worse, but then again:

Either way, it’s a bummer for the Kings, as they had just reaped some rewards for reuniting Toffoli, Tanner Pearson and Jeff Carter.

Video: Habs honor shooting victims by playing French anthem

Boston Bruins Vs. Montreal Canadiens At The Bell Centre

The Montreal Canadiens made a great gesture toward the 12 victims of the Charlie Hebdo shootings on Saturday by playing France’s national anthem “La Marseillaise” before their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

You can watch video of that emotional moment below:

Nicely done by the Canadiens.

Varlamov, Avs are suddenly winning like they did last season

Nate Guenin, Semyon Varlamov

Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy has been pretty stubborn about that whole “getting massively out-shot but relying on your skill players and goalie to bail you out” thing.

Er, scratch that, Roy probably describes it as “shot quality over quantity” or something like that.

Either way, the Avalanche are suddenly starting to look like that 2013-14 team that surprised the NHL (or at least a squad that might flirt with a playoff berth). They edged the Dallas Stars 4-3 on Saturday while enjoying the type of advantages they leveraged last season:

Semyon Varlamov leading the way: Varlamov and the Avalanche are on a three-game winning streak. If you just looked at his save totals (37, 36 and 54), you’d wonder if you stepped into a time machine to early 2014.

Matt Duchene blowing some minds: It’s been a rough season for quite a few of Colorado’s top scorers, but Duchene also reminded us of how dangerous he can be. Just look at this nutty goal from today:

The best sign is that Colorado is always getting dominated in the sheer volume of shots department, though. The Avalanche won seven of 10 games, and equaled or exceeded their opponents’ shot totals four times in that span. (Hey, baby steps.)

Will Colorado keep up the good work? The road is still bumpy ahead, but it looks like many celebrated the Avalanche’s demise a bit early.

Report: Steve Mason is only expected to miss one week

Steve Mason

The bad news is that Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason injured himself again on Saturday. The good news is that the early prognosis is that he won’t miss much time with what appears to be a knee injury. reports through a source that Mason, 26, saw promising results from an MRI and is only expected to miss about one week with a “tweaked knee.”

In the next week, the Flyers have four games: vs. Tampa Bay on Monday, at Washington on Wednesday, vs. Vancouver on Thursday and at Buffalo next Saturday. Naturally, it’s dangerous to take injury updates like these too literally, as he could just as easily come back or miss quite a bit more time. Still, if it’s four games, that’s not quite a crisis, though it is a tough blow for Philly.

The Flyers might want to tread lightly here, however. Mason’s been tormented by back and knee issues quite a bit lately, and it might be prudent to err on the side of caution (for a change?).

While Mason’s 8-12-6 record is far from impressive, he’s kept Philadelphia in plenty of games, as his .919 save percentage can attest.

Red Wings’ Howard leaves on stretcher, won’t return because of groin injury (Update)

Jimmy Howard

It was a scary scene for the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, as Jimmy Howard needed help off the ice on a stretcher during tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals.

Here’s video of the injury:

In the meantime, here’s a useful description of what happened:

Update: When you see the word “stretcher,” you imagine the worst, but it looks like a groin injury so far. That doesn’t mean that Howard will avoid missing a big chunk of games, however. He won’t return to Saturday’s contest.

If he’s out for a while, Detroit’s goaltending group is seriously depleted. Petr Mrazek may have to shoulder quite the burden with Jonas Gustavsson also on the mend.