Saturday, December 31, 2011

Post Holiday Break Update, Part 2

This should hopefully get the blog caught up on the backlog of links and updates that have accumulated over the past week and a half. Expect an international update later today, a Harvard series recap Sunday or Monday, along with the remaining recruit profiles over the next week or so:
  • TJ Oshie was sidelined for St. Louis' first two games out of the holiday break, but he returned to action last night and scored the Blues' only goal in a 2-1 shootout loss to Nashville. Oshie now has 19 points (11G, 8A) and a +10 in his last 24 games after a bit of a slow start, but still feels as though he can play better. His 24 points are one shy of David Backes' team leading 25, while his 12 goals are second to Alex Steen's 13.
  • The Blues travel to Detroit to take on Mike Commodore and the Red Wings tonight. Commodore, who put in his work off the ice during an unfamiliar run of healthy scratches, has now played in the Wings' last four games, including last night's game against Chicago in which he registered his first point as a Wing. Red Wings' coach Mike Babcock says Commodore has seized the opportunity after earning his way back into the lineup.
  • The New Jersey Devils have sustained their recent strong play, having won eight of their last eleven games. Travis Zajac's return to the lineup has bolstered the Devil's depth up the middle, but the consistently strong play of the top two lines has been key during New Jersey's surge. Zajac has been centering the third line and will most likely not be 100% health-wise until next season as he continues working his way back from an Achilles tendon injury. The Devils and team captain Zach Parise, meanwhile, can enter into contract extension negotiations beginning tomorrow.
  • Last night Jonathan Toews, who has had a number of memorable NHL goals, was successful on his first career NHL penalty shot. The 'Hawks eventually earned a 3-2 victory over Detroit and extended their league-best point total to 52. Toews, who leads the 'Hawks with 21 goals and is second on the team with 38 points, continues to be mentioned in early Hart Trophy speculation and Chicago sports fans should be thankful for their hockey captain. Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville says it's the little things that make Toews so special. He was also recently featured in a rundown of Canada's last 10 years at the World Junior Championships, and he is one of many stars who can call themselves both Fighting Sioux and Shattuck-St. Mary's alumni.
  • Anaheim Ducks forward Jason Blake, who suffered a lacerated wrist tendon just three games into the season, has been practicing with the team and should return to game action within a week. Meanwhile there is no set timetable for the return of Blake's teammate Matt Smaby, but Duck beat writer Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register said that Smaby is progressing nicely and official word on Smaby's status should come soon. Smaby underwent thumb surgery prior to the regular season and was originally expected to be out 2-3 months.
  • Last week Colorado Avalanche rookie Brad Malone earned a nice review on his play since being called up from Lake Erie (AHL). In nine games with the Avs Malone has two assists and is a +1.
  • Joe Finley, who made his NHL debut with Buffalo earlier this season, is climbing the Sabres ladder and not looking back.
  • Drew Stafford has been in a season-long goal scoring drought, and he says extra focus is key to breaking out.
  • David Toews made his AHL debut last night with the Rockford Ice Hogs. Prior to the call-up Toews had spent the entire season with the Toledo Walleye, playing in 24 games and producing nine points (2G, 7A).
  • Taylor Chorney of Oklahoma City (AHL) received a three game suspension for an illegal check earlier this week.
  • Reigning ECHL Player of the Week Michael Forney of the Colorado Eagles will have to sit out one game after receiving an instigating game misconduct last night against the Alaska Aces.

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