James O'Brien

Dale Weise,

Habs confirm Weise’s injury from Winter Classic, estimate 2-3 week absence

The Montreal Canadiens confirmed Saturday’s report that Dale Weise will miss about 5-10 games with an upper body injury suffered during the 2016 Winter Classic.

Granted, they used slightly different terms, putting his absence at two-to-three weeks rather than estimating games, but it’s ultimately the same basic outlook.

In case you missed it, Weise was injured by a cross-check via Kevan Miller of the Boston Bruins:

Weise has been playing out of his mind so far this season, so this stings, especially for a Canadiens team that finally looked alive after a troubling end to 2015.

Devils have to hope Cammalleri’s upper-body injury is minor

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 06:  Mike Cammalleri #13 of the New Jersey Devils passes the puck during an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers at Prudential Center on December 6, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

It’s remarkable that the New Jersey Devils beat the Dallas Stars 3-2 in overtime last night, especially since they did so without Mike Cammalleri.

Cammalleri is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, as Devils head coach John Hynes told the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti.

The Devils must hope that those days are limited, as their offense clearly leans on a small handful of contributors:

1. Cammalleri – 35 points
2. Kyle Palmieri – 30 points
3. Lee Stempniak – 28 points
4. Adam Henrique – 27 points
5. Travis Zajac – 18 points
6. Damon Severson – 11 points

The Devils put on a brave face about playing without Cammalleri, mind you, noting previous successes without top scorers.

“We’ve gone through this when we didn’t have Travis, we went through it when we didn’t have Henrique and then we didn’t have both of those guys,” Hynes said. “At that time, they were big scorers for us and things were going on and this is something we had talked about. You have to be a strong team and these things are going to come up. Whatever group we have that night, we have to play a certain way and find a way to win a game and we were able to do that tonight.”

The Devils don’t really enjoy any big breaks this week, so if this is a lingering thing, they’ll face a real challenge. Their next game is a home date against the Detroit Red Wings.

Instead of being traded, Hamonic’s only become more crucial to Isles

Denis Potvin, Travis Hamonic

Even with his unusual trade request in mind, the New York Islanders weren’t shy about leaning on defenseman Travis Hamonic.

As New York Newsday details, their needs have only intensified with Johnny Boychuk‘s unsettling injury, and Hamonic seems fine with the situation.

Meaning: getting more minutes and not being traded anytime soon, or so it seems.

“I haven’t really thought about it, to be honest with you,” Hamonic told Newsday about how Boychuk’s injury might affect the trade situation. “I know that’s going to be hard for people to believe, but it’s the truth. I’m an Islander and I’m proud to be an Islander. It’s a big loss to not have Johnny out there but it doesn’t change anything for me personally.”

Newsday pegs sometime after the season as a more realistic time for Hamonic to be traded, rather than the 2015-16 season’s trade deadline on Feb. 29.

You never know how things can shake out in nearly two months, but that certainly seems like a realistic viewpoint as of today.

For more, check out that Newsday story.

Canucks best Ducks, thwart Kesler, Bieksa

via Vancouver Canucks

For a while there, it looked like the Anaheim Ducks might manage yet another 1-0 win, even without John Gibson in the net.

That didn’t hold, however, as Chris Tanev ended the Ducks’ lengthy streak of perfect goaltending, and that essentially did the job, as the Vancouver Canucks managed a 2-1 shootout win.

Seriously, it had been quite a while since someone scored against the Ducks.

The loss stings, but Anaheim continues to scrap its way into the future.

Yes, they lost, but the Ducks are now on a five-game point streak (3-0-2). Maybe even more promising: the Ducks will start an eight-game homestand on Sunday after a lengthy, largely successful road trip.

Vancouver takes plenty of positives out of this span beyond the obvious two standings points from this one.

The Canucks also scored a little personal pride win in defeating Kevin Bieksa and especially Ryan Kesler in their return to Vancouver. It got that much sweeter since Kesler clearly enjoyed scoring against Anaheim.

Seeing the home team (“good guys”) win is always sweet, but it’s even better against a quality “villain” lik Kesler, right?

Flyers’ Umberger is sick to his stomach about 39-game goal drought

Columbus Blue Jackets' RJ Umberger plays against the Pittsburgh Penguins in an NHL preseason hockey game Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Would-be sniper R.J. Umberger hasn’t scored a goal in almost a half-season worth of hockey.

His current goal-less streak is at 39 games, with 21 of them coming in the 2015-16 season.

While goals aren’t the only way Umberger can contribute for the Philadelphia Flyers (he has five assists this season and seven overall during that 39-game span), it’s been tough to look away from his struggles.

Even Umberger admitted to the Philadelphia Inquirer that he’s personally having a tough time with this slump.

“It’s frustrating. If I think about it, it makes me sick to my stomach,” Umberger said. “It’s not for a lack of trying or wanting to score goals. I’ve scored goals my entire career – scored a lot of goals – and you never dream you’ll ever go through a spell like this.”

The effort may be there, but the chances are not.

Umberger has only fired 24 shots on goal in 21 games so far this season, barely more than one per contest. Looking back to his season-ending slump in 2014-15, Umberger wasn’t getting that many chances either, with just 23 shots on goal in 18 contests. You’d think one of 47 shots on goal would go in, but that’s really not that big of a total in 39 games.

Granted, as a player uncomfortably transitioning at least short-term into a fourth-line role, the shots might not come very often.

That’s really the only way a sniper can get on the board, though. Saying “shoot more often” seems stupidly obvious but … how else can a guy with multiple 20-goal seasons to his name break out of this funk?

It’s the kind of talk that might leave you a little, well, sick to your stomach.