Each week, the NHL chooses the three players whose play stood out the most. Sometimes the league’s most talented skaters make the list; other times some unexpected names pop up.
This week’s winners were Vancouver Canucks winger Daniel Sedin, Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller and Minnesota Wild backup Jose Theodore. Let’s take a look at the weeks experienced by the three players, with a combination of our observations plus tidbits from the league’s press release.
First star: Daniel Sedin
Watching the Sedin twins play together is a true treat for connoisseurs of the game, unless they’re working their bewildering cycle against your team. Then it’s an unnerving process of inevitable doom that is reminiscent of the feeling you get watching a character in a horror movie who decides to investigate a loud noise.
Sedin led all players in goals (five) and points (seven) last week, helping the Canucks post a 3-0-1 record and claim first place in the NHL overall standings. Sedin recorded goals in all four starts, beginning with a one goal, one assist performance in a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks Jan. 3.
Daniel has notched points in 18 of his past 21 games with a +16 rating in that span, during which the Canucks have posted a 17-1-3 record.
Second star: Hiller
People unfamiliar with the Swiss goalie received an example of what he’s now doing for the Anaheim Ducks during the 2010 Olympics, as Hiller kept the over-matched team in hockey games against the U.S. and Canadian teams. The impressive franchise goalie makes a lot of starts and faces a lot of shots thanks to the Ducks’ rebuilding defensive corps, so he’ll need to keep producing great netminding for Anaheim to make the playoffs.
Hiller posted a 2-1-0 record, 0.67 goals-against average and .977 save percentage in three starts, concluding the week with consecutive shutouts and an active scoreless streak of 154:50.
Hiller also tops all NHL goaltenders in saves (1,156), is tied for second in victories, ranks third in save percentage and is tied for fourth in shutouts (four). He is the first Ducks goaltender to post back-to-back shutouts since J.S. Giguere had three straight from Dec. 8-15, 2002.
Third star: Theodore
There’s been some speculation that Wild franchise goalie Niklas Backstrom might be in danger of missing significant time, so Theodore might need to justify his expensive-for-a-backup salary of $1 million. It’s early, obviously, but so far so good. He looked solid even when he allowed four goals in a loss against the Dallas Stars last night.
Theodore posted a 3-1-0 record with a 1.50 goals-against average and .946 save percentage in four starts last week as the Wild swept a three-game east coast road trip.