Author: Matt Reitz

Johnny Boychuk, Blake Wheeler

Wheeler hospitalized after taking shot in throat

There was a frightening moment in the middle of the second period of the Jets/Devils game when Blake Wheeler took a slapshot from Petr Sykora straight to the throat. Wheeler was forced straight to the locker room and was unable to return to the ice as New Jersey escaped with a 2-1 victory.

After the game, Jets head coach Claude Noel shared a little more about Wheeler’s injury. He explained after the game that Wheeler was forced to the hospital to undergo additional tests. Thankfully, all of the tests came back negative and the team is saying that all will be well with the power forward. In fact, the word is that he’ll be able to travel with the team to Ottawa for their game on Monday night against the Senators.

Wheeler has taken has game to a new level this season. The former Minnesota Golden Gopher is starting to fulfill the potential that made him the fifth overall pick in the 2005 Entry Draft. He’s leading the Jets with 23 assists, 32 points, and a plus 10 rating. It may have taken a few years (and a few teams), but he’s finally starting to play like the guy who had scouts salivating over his impressive mixture of size, strength, and skill.

For anyone watching the game live, they know it looked like it could have been much worse.

Cunneyworth likes Bourque’s nasty streak

Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks

There’s been plenty of debate surrounding Michael Cammalleri, Rene Bourque, and the trade that was designed to shake-up two organizations north of the border. The next step in the process is watching the two players attempt to fit in with their new teammates. While Cammalleri is set to appear with his new team against the Kings tonight in Calgary, Bourque practiced with his new team for the first time on Saturday morning.

Bourque is unavailable for the Habs tonight against the Senators as he serves the final game of his five-game suspension for delivering an elbow to Nicklas Backstrom’s head. He’ll be available to Randy Cunneyworth and the Canadiens starting tomorrow night against the Rangers.

Even though he’s sidelined from tonight’s actions for the dirty hit he made while with the Flames, Cunneyworth is excited to add that type of player into the mix.

“It’s an expensive mistake, but you’re playing hard, rugged, there’s a bit of reckless abandon,” Cunneyworth told The Hockey News. “But that’s OK as long as you’re going to those other areas and making sure they pay offensively.”

“It makes others wary a bit when you know that a guy has that reckless tendency and if other guys shy from that, that’s where you win those battles.”

When Bourque is at his best, he is a forward that can fill up the net while he’s playing with an edge. He’s shown in the past that he’s capable of playing the type of game that physically punishes the opposition on the ice, while adding more punishment on the scoreboard. That’s when he’s at his best.

When he’s at his worst, he’s a player that isn’t as engaged as his coach, teammates, or fans would like him to be. What makes it even worse is that he’ll show glimpses of his potential, and then frustrate people by floating though extended periods of a given game. Or worse yet, extended periods of multiple games.

If he can put it together and play with consistency, he should be a good fit for a team that could use a physical presence. That’s exactly what Mr. Gauthier and Mr. Cunneyworth are betting on.

Recap: Red Wings win 14th straight at home

Phoenix Coyotes v Detroit Red Wings
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The outcome was in doubt when Jonathan Toews scored with less than a minute left to force the game into overtime. But when Todd Bertuzzi buried his second of the game, he sent the Joe Louis faithful home happy for a 14th consecutive time as the Red Wings earned the 3-2 victory. The 14th straight home wins ties a 47-year old record in Detroit. Anytime an Original 6 team can tie a franchise record, you know things are going pretty well.

The Red Wings have a chance to break the franchise record on Monday when they face off against the Buffalo Sabres in Detroit.

Nicklas Lidstrom talked about the difference for the Red Wings at home after the game. “I think we’re playing more aggressive at home. We’re going after teams more. We’re forechecking harder and have the puck more.” Every team players better when they have the puck (and they’re not chasing), but it’s doubly important for a team like the Red Wings that depends so much on puck possession.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt when Jimmy Howard plays out of his mind.

Here are some moving pictures from Saturday afternoon’s game as Doc and Eddie break it down. Enjoy!


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Video: Bertuzzi talks about game-winner

Detroit Red Wings v Toronto Maple Leafs

What happens when you score a pair of goals on national television (including a game-winner in OT)? You get a little face time on the network; and more importantly, a little love here on Pro Hockey Talk.

Check out Todd Bertuzzi’s postgame comments where, among other things, he says that Pavel Datsyuk is the best player he’s ever played with. High praise from a guy that’s played with some pretty good players over the course of his career.

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Injury report: Mike Green leaves game with tightness in groin

Mike Green, Paul Byron

Going into Washington’s game against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night, the Capitals were 9-0 with defenseman Mike Green in the lineup. After the 5-2 defeat in northern California, the team fell to 9-1 and it may be a while before we get to add to those totals. He only played three shifts and missed the last 10 minutes of the second period—and never appeared in the final frame. For those keeping track at home, the comeback attempt lasted all of 26 shifts in a game and a half.

After the game, Caps head coach Dale Hunter said that Green was removed from the game because he felt tightness in his injured groin. Like teammate Nicklas Backstrom before the game, Green was taken out of the game as a precautionary measure. He’s already missed 29 games with a sprained ankle and his injured groin, so the last thing the Caps want to do is take any extra risks with a player that has already struggled with injuries this year.

There was worry that Green left the game due to an injury he may have sustained when he was drilled with a tough check from Andrew Desjardins in the second, but Hunter explained that Green’s absence in the third period was unrelated to the body check. The good news is that it could just be his previous injury flaring up a little bit.

Of course, the bad news is that his previous injury may be flaring up.