Tag: James O’Brien


Landeskog says he’ll play for Avs on Tuesday


The Colorado Avalanche are off to a torrid start so far, but their odds of making the playoffs remain much higher with versatile captain Gabriel Landeskog in the mix. It’s good news, then, that the sturdy Swede expects to return from a leg injury in Tuesday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, according to the Denver Post’s Adrian Dater.

Landeskog, 20, played in Colorado’s 6-1 home-opening win against the Anaheim Ducks, going pointless in a little more than 16 minutes of action.

He was limited to 36 games played last season thanks to concussion concerns, scoring 17 points after his Calder Trophy-winning campaign in 2011-12 (30 goals, 52 points in 82 games).

Let’s hope the Avs are practicing adequate caution with the talented forward, as it would be a shame to see a second season ravaged by health issues.

Canes’ first win shines spotlight on Flyers’ woes


The score was just 2-1, but the Carolina Hurricanes’ first win of 2013-14 really digs the knife into the Philadelphia Flyers, who are still searching for their first win of the season after three frustrating games.

Carolina dominated much of the play, out-shooting Philly 34-18 (including 17-5 in the first period and 7-3 in the final frame despite Carolina holding that 2-1 lead).

Different goaltending pictures

It marks Anton Khudobin’s debut as Carolina’s sneaky-good backup after serving that part for the Boston Bruins.

In times like these, it’s basically a reflex to blame the goalie in Philly; can they really do that after Steve Mason stopped 32 out of 34 shots, though?

One might have seen some symbolism in Nicklas Grossmann’s third-period cross-checking penalty, as the blueliner sent Patrick Dwyer sprawling dangerously into his own goalie.

Few bright spots for Philly

Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier and Zac Rinaldo collected matching -2 ratings on Sunday, so if you want a quick group to blame, that might be a start.

Unfortunately, it appears that the Flyers’ problems are broad enough that the more useful activity might be finding the strong points.

  • Star center Claude Giroux hasn’t scored a point yet. The same can be said of Scott Hartnell, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and others.
  • To hammer the point home, the Flyers have only scored three goals in three games.
  • Philly scored its first even-strength goal of 2013-14 today. Other than that, they’ve only scored on the man advantage, going 2-for-14 so far. Special teams isn’t that much of strength, however, as they’ve allowed more power-play goals (three on 17 penalty kills) than they’ve scored.
  • Their shot totals have dropped from 32 to 23 to 18.

So … yeah, basically everything is going poorly.

Axe to fall?

The inevitable question, then, is how long is the leash for head coach Peter Laviolette and GM Paul Holmgren?

Both front office members have received multiple votes of confidence, yet there’s no denying that the Flyers organization has a tendency to make bold, reactive moves instead of staying the course. (“Hey, we gave Ilya Bryzgalov two whole seasons!”)

Fair or not, it wouldn’t be surprising if there’s a knee-jerk reaction coming soon. While we wait, feel free to play “When will the Flyers win their first game?” game by looking at the next 10 contests in their schedule:

Tuesday: vs. Florida
Friday: vs. Phoenix
Saturday: at Detroit
Oct. 15: vs. Vancouver
Oct. 17: vs. Pittsburgh
Oct. 24: vs. NY Rangers
Oct. 26: at NY Islanders
Oct. 29: vs. Anaheim
Nov. 1: vs. Washington
Nov. 2: at New Jersey

As you can see, the Flyers have a week between home games against the Penguins and Rangers, so … they might want to start winning by then. Just throwing it out there.

Brodeur’s No. 1 choice for Canada’s goalie: Luongo


Team Canada has plenty of choices when it comes to its No. 1 goalie for the 2014 Winter Olympics, but Martin Brodeur says his country should go with the guy who grabbed the starting gig (and credit for the gold) from him in 2010: Roberto Luongo.

That’s the word from the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti on Sunday, as the New Jersey Devils understandably have the Vancouver Canucks’ goalie in mind since the two teams play on Tuesday.

(For the record, Brodeur has stated that he’d like to be a member of Team Canada as well, even in a secondary role.)

With little surprise, Brodeur will play against the Oilers in Edmonton on Monday to make space for Cory Schneider to face his former team the Canucks in Vancouver on Tuesday.

It all shows that both Devils goalies have battled it out with Luongo for reps – one on the international level, the other in the NHL – yet both still respect the noted Twitter humorist.

Those two games kick off a five-game road trip for New Jersey, so all distractions aside, the Devils’ two netminders need to start piling up some wins.

Oilers’ Hall primed to return to left wing


Taylor Hall was back at left wing during the Edmonton Oilers’ Sunday practice, signifying the end of his run at center, according to the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson and the Edmonton Sun’s Derek Van Diest.

Hall, 21, played the first two games of this new season in the middle. The results were mixed:

  • He had an assist but no goals in those two contests. He had four shots on goal, which is a little off his usual three-per-game clip.
  • Plus/minus isn’t the fairest stat, but many NHL teams probably continue to judge players by it, and Hall’s -5 rating probably didn’t impress.
  • Still, he was actually pretty effective in the faceoff circle. He went 19-15 in those two games, good for a 55.9 percent success rate, second only on the Oilers to Boyd Gordon (24-18 for 57.1 percent).

The Oilers should be pleased that Hall was willing to leave his comfort zone for his team’s benefit, yet sometimes it’s best just to stick with what works. While the team hasn’t gotten it done overall, few would blame Hall, who tends to bull his way all over the ice at the wing.

He skated with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle on Sunday, so it sounds like the team’s formidable top line might be back in order.

Blues boot Tim Thomas out of net


The St. Louis Blues are 2-for-2 in getting big-name goalies pulled so far this season.

They did it to Pekka Rinne early in the first period of Thursday’s win against the Nashville Predators and the Blues managed to do so again on Saturday, as Tim Thomas couldn’t make it through all of tonight’s game. He was pulled after allowing five goals on 28 shots through two periods.

If it makes Thomas feel any better, Jacob Markstrom allowed two goals on four shots. Maybe the Blues are just that good.

Still, this could also serve as a “Welcome back, it’s not going to be so easy” moment for Thomas.

It’s currently 7-0 Blues, in case you were wondering.