Canucks’ Hamhuis expected to be out till after Christmas


Sources have indicated to PHT that Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis will be out of the Vancouver lineup until after Christmas.

Hamhuis suffered a lower body injury on Nov. 20 and will miss his fourth game when the Canucks visit the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.

PHT has learned that Hamhuis’ “significant lower body injury” is not knee-related, but our source wouldn’t explicitly label the ailment.

Update: Sportsnet’s Dave Randorf reported Hamhuis is suffering from a groin injury.

The 31-year-old suffered the injury during the first period of the Canucks’ 4-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks when his right skate appeared to catch a rut in the ice in the Ducks zone.

Hamhuis, who was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 24, does not require surgery, but will seek a second opinion this week.

He has a history of abdominal and sports hernia issues, which required surgery in the summer of 2011 following a hip check delivered to Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic during Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup final.

For those who still haven’t seen the play where Hamhuis was hurt, here it is:

In 20 games this season Hamhuis has six assists and a minus-5 rating while averaging 20:36 in time on ice.

A brief post on the unpredictable nature of goaltending


Based on five-on-five save percentage, here are the bottom 10 goalies in the NHL this season (minimum 400 minutes played):

Mike Smith
Ben Scrivens
Darcy Kuemper
Semyon Varlamov
Sergei Bobrovsky
Ryan Miller
Cam Ward
Braden Holtby
Ben Bishop
Karri Ramo

We only mention the above because here are the top 10 goalies in the NHL last season (minimum 1,500 minutes played):

Tuukka Rask
Semyon Varlamov
Anton Khudobin
Carey Price
Ben Bishop
Sergei Bobrovsky
Ben Scrivens
Jonathan Bernier
Braden Holtby
Henrik Lundqvist

Which is to say, five goalies — Varlamov, Bishop, Bobrovsky, Scrivens, and Holtby — made both lists.

What gives?

Well, luck is one reason goaltending numbers fluctuate on a season-by-season basis, i.e. last year’s post-and-out is this year’s post-and-in.

Another factor may be mental. A confident goalie trusts his technique like a confident team trusts its system. An uncertain goalie, on the other hand, may have a tendency to start playing too aggressive or too conservative. He becomes like a golfer trying to find his swing. Typically, the results aren’t pretty.

The lesson for NHL general managers? Don’t overestimate one season of strong play from a goalie. If you sign a guy to a big-money, long-term contract, you’re taking a considerable risk if he has a limited number of games on his résumé.

Also, don’t ignore the back-up position. You might need him more than you think.

For a more detailed analysis of the above, I recommend this.

Stats via Puckaltyics

Not so big and bad anymore, the Bruins would like to add some ‘heaviness’


The Boston Bruins would like to add some “heaviness” to their lineup, GM Peter Chiarelli told reporters today.

From CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty:

No huge surprise to hear that. When the Bruins went to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2013, they had players like Jaromir Jagr, Nathan Horton, Shawn Thornton, and Johnny Boychuk. All four of those players, since departed, brought size and strength to Boston’s lineup.

While the B’s aren’t exactly a bunch of pipsqueaks now, they did intentionally go into the season with more speed and skill up front, and there’s a feeling they’ve lost that “big, bad” identity that accompanied their rise into the elite category of NHL teams. On Boston’s current active roster, only four forwards are listed at 200 pounds or more — Milan Lucic (235), Carl Soderberg (216), Matt Fraser (204), and Daniel Paille (200).

In yesterday’s mailbag, Haggerty suggested Columbus forward Nick Foligno (210 pounds) as a potential target for Chiarelli.

We’ll suggest another one, courtesy TSN’s Bob McKenzie — Jordan Nolan (221 pounds) of the Los Angeles Kings.

Crosby, Malkin power Penguins, help Fleury grab 300th win


Ultimately, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ star players came through on Monday, while many of the Boston Bruins’ best watched on the sidelines.

Boston managed to stick with Pittsburgh even with key players like Zdeno Chara still injured, yet much like head coach Claude Julien has said, they just haven’t had much margin of error. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to generate Pittsburgh’s three goals, including this electrifying game-winner by Malkin:

This 3-2 overtime win gives Marc-Andre Fleury 300 career regular season victories. His agent Allan Walsh points out that he’s the third youngest goalie to hit the 300 mark.

Crosby scored a goal and two assists while Malkin finished the night with two tallies. Kris Letang collected two helpers of his own and also helped trigger the overtime winner.

The Bruins deserve credit for hanging tough, including carrying the play for chunks of time, as you can see from this Natural Stat Trick graph:


The Bruins saw two goals get disallowed through the first 40 minutes of play. The bounces frequently didn’t go Boston’s way, even though they scored two goals in less than 30 seconds.

The Bruins have now lost two games in a row. Their next game is against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday. After that, it’s a foreboding four-game road trip through the West.

Pittsburgh bounces back from two straight losses against the Islanders and will see the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

The worst news for them was that Beau Bennett went down with an injury. He returned for a shift but it didn’t go well:

Video: Bruins see two goals waved off


If you ask head coach Claude Julien, he’ll tell you that goals and wins have been especially difficult to come by for the Boston Bruins lately. Losing out on two borderline ones can’t help.

Boston saw two goals disallowed in its Monday match against the Pittsburgh Penguins, which is set to resume in the third period on NBCSN. The Bruins are tied 2-2, but some will wonder if things would be even better if the reviews went Boston’s way.

Update: the Penguins beat the Bruins 3-2 in overtime. Read more about it here.

In the first period, a Patrice Bergeron tally was waved off because of a high stick:

Here’s the league’s official explanation via its Situation Room Blog:

At 10:00 of the first period in the Pittsburgh Penguins/Boston Bruins game, the referees held a group huddle that determined Patrice Bergeron’s stick was above the height of the crossbar when he deflected the puck into the net. Video review confirmed that group decision. According to Rule 60.5 “An apparent goal scored by an attacking player who strikes the puck with his stick carried above the height of the crossbar of the goal frame shall not be allowed. The determining factor is where the puck makes contact with the stick.” No goal Boston.

The second one came in the middle frame, and it was an odd situation overall:

Again, the NHL explained its logic:

At 10:53 of the second period in the Pittsburgh Penguins/Boston Bruins game, video review confirmed the referee’s call on the ice that Carl Soderberg directed the puck into the Pittsburgh net with his glove. According to Rule 67.6 “a goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who bats or directs the puck with his hand into the net.” No goal Boston.

Tough breaks. We’ll see if Boston can win despite these setbacks.