Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday Evening Post

  • TJ Oshie scored a dynamite goal last night to put the streaking St. Louis Blues atop the NHL's Western Conference. The play started with a face-off win deep inside their own zone, and some slick passing and great spacing gave Oshie the opportunity to receive and bury a beautiful pass from David Perron. It was going to take a special play to beat either Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak or his Stars counterpart Kari Lehtonen, and Oshie and his linemates were able to get it done and provide what turned out to be the only goal in a 1-0 thriller. The St. Louis Game Time blog calls it the Blues' Goal of the Year (So Far) and goes so far as to say that last night's win could be a turning point for the franchise. It's been quite the in-season turnaround for St. Louis. In the thirteen games with Davis Payne behind the bench, the Blues went 6-7-0. Since Payne was replaced with Ken Hitchcock, the Blues have soared to the top of the West by going 21-5-6 Oshie is currently tied for the team lead in goals with 14 and is second on the team in points with 30. Here's the goal from Monday night:
  • Detroit defenseman Mike Commodore returned to the Red Wings' lineup tonight against the Dallas Stars. It's the first action for Commodore since taking a shot to his right foot Sunday, January 8.
  • The emerging play of Chicago Blackhawk winger Viktor Stalberg is meshing nicely with superstars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
  • Though the New Jersey Devils continue their strong play and are now threatening to move into the top four of the Eastern Conference, trade rumors continue to swirl around captain Zach Parise, and they will only intensify as we approach the February 27 trade deadline. In Lou We Trust speculates what it would take for other teams to land Parise, while St. Louis might have the necessary components to make Parise a Blue. The situation has the cash-strapped Devils in a bit of a tough situation as it's awfully hard to imagine that they'd deal Parise in the heat of a playoff race. On the other hand, they certainly don't want to see him walk as an unrestriceted free agent this summer. Whatever happens, it will be one of the top NHL story lines over the course of the next several months.
  • Last weekend's North Dakota-Minnesota series was featured in the NY Times.
  • Zane Gothberg had another outstanding game last night for the Fargo Force, posting his third shutout of the season and the second in his last five games. The reigning USHL Goaltender of the Week stopped all 27 shots he faced in leading the Force to a 4-0 win against Sioux Falls. Gothberg and the Force are riding a seven game win streak, during which time the future Sioux netminder has a 1.41 GAA and .946 Save %.
  • Nick Schmaltz had a goal and an assist to lead Team USA to a 5-4 win over Finland in the Youth Olympic Games. The Americans, who now sit at 2-1-0, will close out preliminary round play Wednesday against Russia.
  • There has been no substantiation at this point, but it is being rumored that North Dakota recruit Luke Voltin has been dismissed from the USNTDP Under-17 team. Chris Dilks of the Western College Hockey Blog first reported the news, and Voltin no longer appears on the team's official roster. He has played in 25 games with the U-17 team, producing five goals and seven assists. Updates will be posted as information is made available.

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