Friday, January 30, 2009

Avalanche vs Leafs Game Thoughts

My thoughts on this game are going to be a bit disjointed as I watched most of the first period at my place, about half of the second at my uncles and most of the third back at home.

Smyth responds to Toskala
I'll start off with the funniest one.

When Smyth got his garbage goaltender interference call, he was down on one knee arguing with the ref when Vesa Toskala turned and said something to him.

Smyth got a funny look on his face for a split second and promptly responded.

You couldn't hear what he said but I started laughing immediately.

My girlfriend asked "What? What did he say?"

So I rewound and let her follow his lips.

The first two words were hard to make out but the ending made it perfectly clear that his response to Toskala was "Shut the [email protected]$k up"

The Duke gets shafted again
After Milan Hejduk read my blog* and found out that he was shafted from the Top 10 Czech list, he decided to prove my point.

And he would have netted a hat trick had it not been for the aforementioned garbage goaltender interference call on Smyth.

But even with just two goals, Hejduk showed why his exclusion from that list was an egregious oversight.

And that ought to fill up my quota of big words quite nicely.

Schenn is schenn-sational
See, I can play the cheesy headline card just as well as the MSM. But they probably pulled that one already meaning I ripped it off from them. Damnit.

I love Luke Schenn. When the Leafs drafted him, it made me sad.

He is going to be a staple of their blueline for years to come and the Leafs should be thankful they have him.

But his big hit on Ryan Smyth, causing Smyth to contort like Gumby? It was interference.

Finger lickin' good
Was it just me or did it seem like Jeff Finger was on the ice for every Toronto goal?

Darcy Tucker and Andrew Raycroft might want to take notes on how to properly face off against your former team.

It's getting tiresome
Can they whine any flippin' more?

At some point you need to STFU and get on with your life.

Unless your life is just being a whiny bitch.

Are you there, Clark? It's me, Shane.
Geez, what the hell was Brett Clark doing last night?

How about that one goal where he took it from behind the net - albeit in a slightly bad spot set up by Raycroft - and then essentially handed it off to Jason Blake (I believe) so he could pot one past his old teammate?

I'm curious if he blacked out for a second there because that is not a play that an NHL player - let alone one making $3.5M - should be making.

Block all the damn shots you want, but don't hand out goals on a silver platter every other shift.

Spark the sizzle?
The Montreal Canadiens are in a bit of a slump.

It's been enough to cause soft-spoken Carey Price to softly drop the F-bomb during a post-game interview.

And he supposedly tossed his equipment bag across the room.

And then he kicked a bunny rabbit in the face.

Maybe not that last part.

AD mentioned a couple weeks back that he'd like to see some fire from Peter Budaj when things aren't going well.

He got taken to task because people thought he was asking for a Patrick Roy clone.

I think he was just asking for the Budaj - and the rest of the team - to look like they actually give a crap about losing and won't accept it.

Stop slumping your shoulders, stop bitching about injuries and quit complaining about bad breaks.

Stand up, grow a set and go play a brand of hockey that will make your fan base - and yourself - proud.

In other words, shut up and win.

*I have no knowledge of whether Hejduk did or did not read my blog. But I'm guessing he didn't.

Peter Forsberg to Play in Sweden

Peter Forsberg is going to stay in Sweden.

And why wouldn't he?

His choices are the cap-strapped Flyers - who are already deep at center - or the abysmal Colorado Avalanche who have absolutely no hope in hell of winning the Cup.

They barely have a shot at the playoffs at this point.

Good luck in Sweden, Peter.

We understand.

Related Links
Forsberg's NHL aspirations end this season because Avs stink

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Avalanche Pasted by Leafs, Lose 7-4

Season over.

More to come tomorrow once I dry the tears.

Avalanche vs Toronto Game Preview

I just got finished playing some parking lot hockey and boy did I feel old.

I'm still in Phase 1 of a recovery from a prolonged illness so I'll pretend that's the problem. It certainly has nothing to do with the big three-oh creeping up on me in a little over a year.

*waits for the 30+ crowd to throw some stones my way*

Big News!
The big news tonight is that David Jones is injured and Cody McCormick is back.

After sitting out a few games, Jones was injured in the first game back after a jarring check from Douglas Murray of the San Jose Sharks.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Douglas Murray hits hard and it's best to just stay out of his way.

Unfortunately Jones didn't heed my advice and is now listed as day-to day.

So much for the 30-goal season, eh? What idiot predicted that?

Injury updates
In other news, Adam Foote is still out with a triceps tear, Paul Stastny took a few laps after practice yesterday and Joe Sakic continues to avoid snowblowers.

Old teammates, old story
Oh, and Andrew Raycroft and Darcy Tucker are facing their former team for the first time since the Avs picked them up in the offseason.

But did anybody not know that?

Throw it in?
horbayj asked in the comments of my Minister of Defense post when it was time to throw in the towel.

I said if the Avs can't beat the Leafs at home, it might be time to call it a season.

I hope I don't have to hold myself to that.

Related Links
Practice Report: Rare visit by Toronto

In Defense of Claude Lemieux

Eric Mcerlain just posted a nice piece at the NHL Fanhouse outlining a defense of Claude Lemieux's NHL return.

Is there anybody - aside from Red Wings fans - who hope he fails spectacularly?

If so, they might be disappointed.

THN Top 10 Czech Players Snubs Milan Hejduk

THN's John Grigg just put up an article listing the Top 10 Czech Players and the list is absent of our favorite Czech: Milan Hejduk.

It appears Grigg tried to make an actual roster by ensuring he choose at least one player from every position as well as a two-way forward in Martin Hanzal.

As well, Grigg said he factored in career projections in addition to actual performance.

Because projections are so useful.

It's hard to argue with many of the players on the list, including Elias being at the top.

But Michael Frolik ahead of Hejudk?

Madness.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Minister of Defence?

I caught a bit of the Sharks broadcast before heading out last night and one thing caught my ear.

When Scott Hannan took a penalty, Randy Hahn said: "Scott Hannan, or the Minister of Defence as he's known in Colorado..."

I don't remember ever using that term for Hannan. I don't remember ever hearing it used. I don't remember seeing it in print. I don't remember seeing it on the Web.

So I can safely assume one of two things.

Either I'm clueless and have the memory of a two-year old or broadcasters sometimes don't know as much about the opposing team as they like to think they do.

Zetterberg Gets 12-year, $72M Extension

Unbelievable.

$6M/year for a player of Henrik Zetterberg's calibre is highway robbery on the part of the Wings.

They may yet get Marian Hossa and Johan Franzen in under the cap as well after this hometown discount.

Avalanche Drowned by Sharks, Lose 3-0

Of the four significant events that happened today, the Avalanche losing to the Sharks was the least shocking.

Losing my car keys in Martensville, getting a ride back to Saskatoon to grab my spare keys, turning around and going back to Martensville, getting in my car, heading back to Saskatoon and then discovering my keys were in my back pocket the whole time? Not as shocking as you'd think. I lose my car keys a lot.

Playing volleyball on a bum ankle and injuring my upper back? Not terribly shocking. I'm an idiot for not letting my ankle heal fully but given the distance between the body parts, I'll call it slightly more shocking than the lost key debacle.

Hearing a friend who was vacationing in the Dominican fell off a balcony, broke 3 vertebrae and sprained her ankle? That was far and away #1 on the list of shocking events.

And in light of that, I'm not even going to expend any energy watching a recorded version of the Avs getting shutout.

It's just not worth it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

What he said...

As the one drawback to following Kukla's Korner, I'm subjected to the thoughts of Bill Houlihan and his A2Y 19 "get on the stress train" crew.

Contrary to what some people might think, I'm a pretty open-minded guy. I like hearing other sides of debates and will often change my mind once new information comes to light.

So being subject to the disrespect he and his lapdogs spew out to the rest of the league - and most notably to Avalanche fans - is something I willingly accept.

I'd rather dig through their crap to find one or two gems than to ignore the prospect of gold entirely.

But this weekend it was like wading through the septic tank of Elvis in his latter years.

There were 14 All-Star related posts put up by Bill since January 21. And each one contained the same ideas.

Bettman hates the Wings.
The cap is a conspiracy to destroy the Wings dynasty.
Crosby is Bettman's love child
Lindstrom can't stand on his broken elbow.
Datsyuk can't get the sand out of his vagina.
Bettman hates the Wings.

Over and over and over and over and...

When I first heard that Datsyuk and Lidstrom would be unofficially suspended for not playing in the All-Star game, I had to agree with Bill.

I thought the league was saying the two injured Wings were going to be forced to play in a meaningless game and that's just plain stupid.

When it came out that the league simply wanted those two to be part of the All-Star weekend, meet and greet fans and put a smile on to promote the league, I changed my mind.

When it turned out that this wasn't a made up rule and that it was instituted last year after Brodeur no-showed the ASG, it cemented my thoughts.

But I didn't say anything.

I can only bang my head against so many walls each day and I chose not to bang it against that one.

Thankfully, Greg Wyshynski summed it up better than I ever could.

And of course the first response to his post spoke perfectly to the point Greg was making.

Related Links
Confessions of an All-Star game lover

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Undo! Undo!

I'm half-heartedly watching the All-Star Skills Competitions/Youngstars Game while catching up on my RSS and email.

I have a Google Alert set for "colorado avalanche" and frankly I hardly read them anymore.

It's not that the service is terrible, but there's only so much information I can take in on one topic and I take in a lot of Avalanche - and hockey - information every day.

I don't flat out delete them without skimming first though because every now and again, a gem might come through.

So I opened up the one I had left in my inbox and immediately hit Delete.

But not before my eyes caught the headline of: "Bettman: Avalanche franchise sold"

I quickly yelled "Undo! Undo!" at my computer.

Then I remembered my computer doesn't do voice commands so I clicked the Undo link.

And thankfully it was just a mild case of dyslexia as the actual headline was: "Bettman: Avalanche franchise solid"

But didn't we all know that?

Related Links
Bettman: Avalanche franchise solid

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Avalanche vs Kings Game Preview

The Avalanche are facing the Kings tonight but while that's going on, I'll be at SaskPlace - that's right, it's SaskPlace not Credit Union Center - watching the Blades hand the Wheat Kings a beating.

If anyone in Western Canada is on Shaw and interested in some junior hockey action, the virtually undefeated Vancouver Giants take on the Kelowna Rockets starting at 7:00 PST on the Shaw TV channel.

The Giants have just 4 losses in 44 games. Maybe the Canucks should swap rosters with them.

Streakin'
The Avs are on a huge winning streak* and though it would be nice to call a game against the Kings a slam dunk, that's just not the case.

Blamin'
I place the blame squarely at the skates of Scott Hannan.

He has 0 points in his last 27 games and that's just not acceptable.

What are we paying this guy $4.5M for anyways?

Goaltendin'
Peter Budaj will be back in net and will likely have Jonathon Quick staring back at him.

Hot or not?
Does 2 points in 2 games really mean a player is hot? TSN would have you believe so with seven players listed as "Hot" between these two teams.

You'd think with that many hot players that neither team would be in the bottom third of the standings.

Conversely, can you believe that Tyler Arnason has 4 points in his last 5 games? It's a bit surreal.

Game time
The puck drops at 9:00 ET and could either be really boring, or really exciting. Or it could be mediocre with no highs or lows.

But either way, they will be playing hockey.

Probably.

*Said winning streak may or may not be just one game long.

Monday, January 19, 2009

He's Baaa-ack!


Claude Lemieux has returned to the NHL.

How does that saying go?

First they ignore your comeback. Then they laugh at your comeback. Then they fight your comeback. Then you win.

Or something along those lines.

Related Links
Here comes Claude

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Milan Hejduk and Ryan Smyth Hit Career Milestone

I will be shooting for a recap at lunch - work willing - but first, congratulations to Ryan Smyth and Milan Hejduk on hitting the 300 career goal mark last night.

And what better game for it to be a part of than a win against the Flames?

I was quickly twitting with Tyler from NHLDigest.com and I mentioned that Hajduk's 300 felt more special since he'd scored every one of those goals as an Avalanche.

With Smyth, it's nice for him but it's piggy-backing off his work as an Oiler.

Am I crazy?

Probably.

But I'm not stupid.

Usually.

Related Links
Jib channels the Spartans for some creative juices
Hedgie and Smitty - the 300 club

Friday, January 16, 2009

Jose Theodore Returning to MVP Form

So it looks like ol Joe Ted is regaining his MVP form out in Washington.

The real question is: How many times will he "return to form" before reporters realize that with each rise comes a hard fall from grace?

But doesn't he look positively dreamy in that picture?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Avalanche Schooled by Blues, Lose 5-2


A 5-2 loss. To the Blues. Good grief.

I was so pumped about this game that I missed the first 30 minutes because I was shopping. That's right, shopping enthralled me more than the prospect of a game against the St. Louis Blues.

I'm so emotionally exhausted that I don't even have the energy to get upset about the game.

I'm in the "meh" zone.

Here are a few thoughts on the game to end your night/start your day with. And then I'm going to sleep and wait for the predicted near-zero temperatures tomorrow. T-shirt weather!

Darcy Tucker is still getting powerplay time based on what results? Wojtek Wolski, Milan Hejduk, Ryan Smyth, Marek Svatos, Chris Stewart and Cody Mcleod are all scoring at a better rate than Tucker. They were all in the lineup. So was the slumping T.J. Hensick who might benefit from a little boost to his playing time.

It's time to wave goodbye to the Tucker love train, Mr. Granato. We all got off a looong time ago.

Chris Stewart is a beast. He pummelled Tyson Strachan tonight and looked cool as a cucumber doing it.

"Who's Tyson Strachan?" you all ask? It doesn't matter. All you need to know is that he is from Melfort, Saskatchewan. In other words, dude knows how to fight.

Peter Budaj needs to become a bit more of a prude and keep those legs tight together.

He didn't have a great game tonight and the back-breaker fourth goal was a classic five-holer that Budaj is prone to giving up.

But hey, T.J. Oshie had a three point night while Patrick Berglund notched a goal. All was well in fantasy land for me this game.

Related Links
NHL.com Boxscore

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Avalanche Jobbed by BJs, Lose 4-3


(AP)
A low-scoring game exploded into a high-scoring affair in the span of less than four minutes.

The Avalanche scored in the final three minutes of the first but were answered by the Blue Jackets in the final two minutes of the second. I was half-asleep in my chair.

The third period started with me in the kitchen on a tangent about vitamins B12 and D (which I'm sure my girlfriend appreciated).

Then the goal horn went off.

Then the crowd went silent.

Then the goal horn went off again. And again.

From 1-1 to 4-2 Columbus in under three minutes.

Then the Columbus feed cut to some sort of infomercial with Mike Peca and by the time they cut back, the Avs had cut the lead to one while on the powerplay.

Note to producers: don't allow a lame, pre-taped vignette to take time away from the game. Especially while one team is on the powerplay. But especially never.

The least you could do is inset the bloody game so we can watch what we paid to see.

In the end, the Avs got a little sloppy, the BJs capitalized and there wasn't enough time for the Avalanche to recover.

Quick Thoughts
Why does Darcy Tucker have a perma-scowl on his face? And why does he continue to act like a fool on the ice? I'm tired of him.

Granato doesn't appear to feel the same way. He had Tucker out on the ice with just over a minute left in a one-goal game.

Steve Mason was very un-Mason-like tonight but he still got the job done. Oh what it must feel like to have a blue-chip goaltending prospect playing like a Vezina winner 95% of the time.

Brett Clark fired a slapshot at Mason from beyond the red line with a full six seconds left on the clock. Genius. It's what's for dinner.

John-Michael Liles laid out Derek Dorsett in the 2nd. I want to see that side of Liles more often.

Kristian Huselius was a fantasy stud for me tonight with one goal, two assists and a +2 rating. But it's a hollow victory.

Andrew Raycroft lost. Did you know that was allowed?

Related Links
Avs lose 4-3 at Columbus

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Avalanche Drown Penguins, Win 5-3


(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
What the hell is with the Rocky Mountain News byline in their game recap?

"Crosby, Malkin combine for 4 points"? Really?

Why not "Jones, Wolski combine for 5 points"? Doesn't that feel just a tad more appropriate for a Denver-based newspaper?

They did cover David Jones' and Wojtek Wolski's excellent games with this nice segue:
"But a couple of Avalanche youngsters had pretty good games, too..."
Sure, it was a bit tongue-in-cheek but when the home team hits a three-game winning streak on the backs of two of their young "stars", shouldn't you use that as the angle for the story?

I know, I know. "Sidney Crosby saved the NHL" as the Altidudes tried to convince us all game long.

No, he did not. It was the huge infusion of young talent - Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Ryan Getzlaf, Mike Richards, Dion Phaneuf, Shea Weber, Mike Green, Carey Price...need I continue? - that helped redefine the NHL post-lockout.

Crosby did not pick up the NHL, put it on his back and ride into town with guns blazing.

And now I've gone and made Crosby the focal point of my recap. Fudgsicles.

Wolski wunning with the ball
Why was Wolski not playing center since day one? Or to reword - since he did play center on day one - why did he not continue to play his natural position?

Having Sakic, Stastny and Wolski down the middle would have given the Avs one of the best best trios in the league.

Had Sakic and Stastny not gone down with injuries, Wolski would still be stuck at left wing with his maddenly inconsistent play. I don't want to say those injuries "happened for a reason" but at least some good came of it.

On the flip side, if Wolski hadn't stepped up to the #1 center role, Tyler Arnason might have been shipped out of town by now.

Though Francois Giguere would probably have needed to package up Wolski in any deal with a reasonably sane GM.

The great balance of life, eh?

Jones swimming to shore
Jones has been impressing me on a consistent basis with his intensity and it paid off big tonight with two goals and one assist.

Both goals came on rebounds in front of the net, proving once again that good things happen when you head to the net.

With his deceptive speed and power, I'm looking for Jones to become a real force on this squad. As I have been since the start of the season, proving once that you can't win 'em all.

Hannan shuts down Malkin
Saying a player got "shut down" when they notched a goal and an assist might make me sound like an idiot.

But if you saw the frustration that Scott Hannan caused Malkin today, you'd realize that I'm less of an idiot than you think I am.

Hannan was in Malkin's face all game long and if there's one knock on Malkin, it's that he can get frustrated easily.

Of course he'll still score 10 goals on you while frustrated, but imagine what he would do if he was happy?

That ought to restore the idiot level nicely.

Raycroft wins again
Andrew Raycroft is now 9-1-0 on the season with seven straight wins.

Is there anything this man can't do?

Raycroft actually presents a striking resemblance to Jose Theodore.

Ostracized by his former team (or the fans at least), won an award many years ago which their reputation is still based upon, pseudo-restored by Jeff Hackett, patchy facial hair, Canadian.

Of course Theodore catches with his right hand, is French, allegedly hooked up with Paris Hilton and has way more money.

But still...

Playoff bound!
The Avs are back in the playoff picture! And if the playoffs started today they would face the Detroit Red Wings.

But they don't so they won't. The playoffs are a long ways off and a lot can happen over the next 615 games.

For the trivia lovers, today's game was the exact halfway point of the 1230 game season.

I don't recall where I read that this afternoon but a glove tap goes out to someone on the ol' Interweb.

Game Highlights


Related Links
Avs beat Penguins, push win streak to three
Jones, Raycroft lead Avs to win
Raycroft, Top line leading the way
MHH Recap

Friday, January 9, 2009

Avalanche Slide Past Blackhawks, Win 2-1


(AP)
Full disclosure - I spent a lot of time watching funny videos on the Fail Blog during this game.

It's not that the game wasn't exciting. It was. But I needed some laughter and Fail Blog never lets me down.

Once the smoke had cleared, the Avs had their second straight win, Raycroft had his sixth, and I was in a pretty chipper mood.

Raycroft the starter?
Geo makes a case for Andrew Raycroft to be the starter.

And as long as he keeps winning, that's what will happen.

It's not that he has significantly outplayed Peter Budaj. It's that he has out-winned him.

If Raycroft keeps his streak going, Granato will keep playing him.


(AP)
Wolski a-way!
Wojtek Wolski has been a friggin' superhero since being moved to center.

With three goals in his last three games, it's almost enough to make you forget the team is missing Joe Sakic and Paul Stastny.

Ok, it's not even close but remember one thing: if those two hadn't gone down, Wolski would still be mired in inconsistency on the left wing.

Once Stastny and Sakic are back, the Avs will have a pretty solid group down the middle.

Related Links
Wolski, Raycroft lead Avs to win over Chicago
Wolski powers Avs past Blackhawks
MHH Recap
Rayzor vs Boods

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Joe Sakic Undergoes Back Surgery

Oh dear.

Joe Sakic just underwent successful back surgery for his herniated disc and will take 10 weeks to recover.

Those weeks include the time he was already out after his hand surgery so his timeline for return hasn't changed.

Will these injuries knock out Super Joe before he's mentally ready to retire?

I'm still holding out hope that Joe goes for one more year.

But I'm planning a trip to Denver towards the end of the season just in case.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Avalanche Shut out by Wild, Lose 2-0

I want to burn through the recap to get to the really interesting part of the night.

Two second recap
The Avs lost. They couldn't score. They couldn't play defense. Adam Foote got hurt. Darcy Tucker classed the joint up. Wojtek Wolski wants to continue playing center. 

The fun part
AD has gone on another classic rant

And it was good.  Right until the end.

Oh, and has anybody checked out Theodore’s record lately? 13-6-1. Yeah, we didn’t need guys like him anymore.
Must the horse continue to be beaten?

Theodore - and the Caps - are on a good run right now. Theodore has let in just one or two goals per game for his last four games.

Before that he was living up to his unfortunate "Three-or-four" nickname.

The Capitals were winning in spite of Theodore's play.

Their individual stats - which of course have their flaws - are nearly identical.
Theodore - 2.98 GAA, .892 Save Pct
Budaj - 2.84 GAA, .899 Save Pct

Francois Giguere made many questionable moves this offseason but letting Theodore walk was not one of those moves.

He's spot on with regards to Andrew Brunette, Stephane Yelle and the Toronto cast-offs.

Giguere's job will only be saved thanks to the injuries to Paul Stastny and Joe Sakic.

Avalanche vs Wild Game Preview

I'm still alive!


I took a few games off to rest and recharge but it appears I've regained the energy to write.

While I was kicking back, I was also slacking off on watching the Avs due to the ever-exciting World Junior Hockey Championship.

The hockey in that tournament has been magnitudes more exciting than what the Avalanche have been playing lately so I certainly don't regret the decision.

Canada goes for their fifth-straight gold on Monday and it's half as good as their games against the USA and Russia, you're going to be sorry if you missed it.

On to the game at hand
Colorado has just finished knocking themselves out of playoff contention for the moment and are facing another struggling team in the Minnesota Wild.

Minnesota got off to rocket start to the season but have since dropped below the 8th-seed, thanks in part to a 5-game losing streak in early December 

The Wild have had tough opponents in their last four matchups (Blackhawks, Flames, Sharks, Wings) and you can only imagine how happy they are to be facing the Avalanche.

Sure, if you ask one of their players they'll give the "It's the NHL and any team can win on any given night. They've got some quality players and you have to work hard against them" stock answer but can anyone not read between the lines there?

It's time for a line change
Tony Granato has shaken up the lines big time for this game after struggling to find some effective combinations during the last two games.

The first big move is that Wojtek Wolski is finally being moved to center. After declaring Wolski a capable fill-in at center should Joe Sakic retire, TG promptly decided to leave Wolski at the wing and move Ian Laperriere to center when Sakic went down with his injuries.

Jib makes an interesting comparison with Wolski and Joe Thornton. It's a great point and actually has me a little excited to see what Wolski can do.

Wolski's linemates will be Milan Hejduk and David Jones which puts a power forward on right and a sniper on the left. How will Milan Hejduk fair on the left-wing? He's always loved to fly down his off-wing so he might relish the chance. 

T.J. Hensick and Chris Stewart have been promoted to a line with Ryan Smyth. A playmaking center, a power forward and a guy who will plant himself in front of the crease. It's got potential.

Tyler Arnason has fallen from #1 center to the #3 slot as he will center Darcy Tucker and Marek Svatos. Tucker and Arnason had some chemistry earlier in the season and we're all hoping they find it again. Tucker and Arnason aren't such bad guys when they're putting points on the board.

It's unfortunate that Marek Svatos continues to spend time down on the third line but if Jones falters, he will be the first guy to be bumped up a slot.

The final line will consist of Brian Willsie and Cody Mcleod centered by Ian Laperriere. Lappy has been one of the few bright spots recently and it's unfortunate to see him playing on the grind line.

Goaltending
Peter Budaj gets the call again and will likely face off against Niklas Backstrom.

Game time
The game starts at 8:00 ET which gives me about 2 1/2 hours to warm up the car and grab some groceries first.

Normally that would be plenty of time but since it's -40C here today, I'm thinking the car might be a bit bitchy at being woken up.