It was reported yesterday that Rick DiPietro was being sent home for medical evaluations before the road trip even began as he had sustained yet another injury to add to the many setbacks of his career. Mike Mottau was also returned to Long Island with an upper-body injury. However, the story surrounding DiPietro is that this guy hadn't been playing; he was already on the Injured Reserve.
You have to wonder how a guy like Rick finds a way to injure himself while he is already...well...injured. He wasn't playing in games, although he had been skating on the ice. And according to Art Staple of Newsday, DiPietro wasn't even close to dressing as a back-up for any of the games on this road trip that saw them play Carolina last night, Anaheim on Friday and Phoenix on Saturday.
The Chicago Blackhawks get set to square off for the third time this season against their distant neighbors from the west coast when they host the Anaheim Ducks tonight at the United Center.
The last meeting between the Blackhawks and the Ducks saw Hawks' captain Jonathan Toews carry his team to a rallying 6-5 win with his 5 point effort. Anaheim will look to avoid the same fate tonight and stay on the winning path after a 4-1 victory over Phoenix.
Overall, however, the coaching change in Anaheim has yielded inconsequential results.
The Anaheim Ducks possess a lowly 9-16-5 overall record, good for 2nd to last in the Western Conference. Ryan Getzlaf hasn'...
It wasn't news to anyone that the NHL would be setting up a new realignment plan for the 2012-2013 season. Plenty of speculation went into this idea as to how it would effect the current Eastern and Western Conferences. The Winnipeg Jets, although presently in the East, seemed to be a team that would make much more sense in the West. Rumors began to run that the Detroit Red Wings would move to the Eastern Conference, or even quite possibly the Nashville Predators.
The bigger question, and one that still looms over the hearts of many fans out in the desert, is whether or not the Phoenix Coyotes will still be in any Conference next year. They are currently in what seems to be the final year of their lease agreement after almost being relocated this past summer. There's still a good possibility that they might be relocated in the near future as well, but all of that remains in limbo as the 2012 season moves forward.
However, the NHL and it's Board of Governors could not wait to see what happens in Phoenix and passed a very dramatic change to the current alignment. The Eastern and Western Conferences will ultimately be removed next year; the standard two conferences that consist of 15 teams will become four conferences with either seven or eight teams in each one.
In their first game on a short west coast swing, the Philadelphia Flyers looked awful. They turned the puck over. They blew defensive coverage in front of their net. Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov looked like he was 'lost in the woods' yet again.
Somehow, some way, the Flyers came back and defeated the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 in overtime.
It was almost exactly a month ago when the Sharks kicked off their 2011-12 season with an opening night win against the Phoenix Coyotes at the Shark Tank. San Jose dominated that game by a score of 6-3, which doesn't really do it justice, considering just how much better the Sharks actually were. This was the first time fans and coaches alike had a chance to see just what this new, and hopefully improved, Sharks team would look like, and it looked good.
But then there were the dark times. A three game stretch where the Sharks played Anaheim, St. Louis, and Anahe...
The Vancouver Canucks have only played 11 games this year so far and fans are already giving the team a bunch of flack. Are the 'Nucks still the "team to beat" this year? How much longer will fans put up with the mediocre hockey they have been seeing? Is Roberto Luongo on his way out of Van City this year? Will Vancouver be a legit playoff contender? Brian Raiger breaks down these questions with his own twist on things.
With 11 games in the book, the boys in blue and green have only managed to rack up 11 points. As of now, the Canucks sit in 4th place in the Northwest Division, 10th in the Western Conference, and 19th in the whole NHL.
The Sharks are too talented of a team to play the way they did in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday. After laying a huge egg against the Ducks, losing 1-0, the Sharks headed back home to play the Blues. Hoping for a better effort, the Sharks came out fairly flat, but did carry a 2-1 lead into the 3rd period. Unfortunately, they gave up 3 goals (one empty netter) in the final period (deja-vu?) and lost 4-2.
It isn't like this team to play two games and not pull out at least one point, and this kind of play cannot continue. The western conference, and the Pacific Division even more so, is too competitive to only win one game out of three.
The worst part of these losses is that ...
...Too bad the sharks aren't playing any today. We still have to wait until Friday to watch another Shark's game. But maybe, just maybe, what seems like a punishment might actually be a blessing in disguise.
You see, a myriad of Sharks are out right now with various injuries and would not have been ready to go on an earlier date. Havlat is still recuperating from a shoulder injury. Niemi is recovering from minor surgery that removed a cyst from his knee. And Marleau has missed every practice this week with the flu.
Two of these three players, sans Marleau, also missed the opening game of the season. Which is a real testament to how stacked this Sharks team is with depth at all position...
That was almost exactly how the Sharks would have wanted to start the 2011-12 season. Sure, it would have been nice if less starters had been injured and if they could kill a freaking penalty, but all in all, a 6-3 win against the Phoenix Coyotes at the home opener is a great start to what hopes to be a great season.
No starting goalie? No backup goalie? No problem. Enter Thomas Greiss, who is just two years removed from backing up Evgeni Nabokov. He played...