All Star Weekend
This years All Star game was perhaps the most exciting, as the game was not decided until Marc Savard scored a goal with 20 seconds left in the third to give the Eastern Conference All Stars an 8-7 lead. Eric Staal scored two goals and picked up an assist in his MVP performance. Evgeni Nabokov of the San Jose Sharks shut down the Eastern All Stars in the second period as he stopped all eight shots he faced and became the first goaltender to have a scoreless All Star period since Nikolai Khabibulin did it in 2002, when the World vs. North America format was used. Rick Nash impressed the crowd as he scored just twelve seconds into the game. He finished the game with three goals, getting one in each period. The Eastern Conference also won the super skills completion on Saturday.
Sabres break on positive note
The Buffalo Sabres who have had a rough January broke for the All Star game on a positive note, beating the Stars 2-1 in Dallas last Thursday. The Sabres have lost nine of eleven games in January and twelve of fourteen dating back to the last week of December. Buffalo has lost five of the games in overtime or a shootout, earning them one point each time. They will be in Florida this week to take on the Lighting and Panthers before going to Atlanta for a match up with the Thrashers on Friday.
Ducks need break after tough week
The Anaheim Ducks were streaking, but they hit a road block this week. Dropping three games to the Stars, Red Wings, and Kings. Before that they had won six straight. They will close out the month in Minnesota on Wednesday.
Atlanta All Star Ilya Kovalchuck was suspended one game this week; for hitting from behind. He put the hit on Michael Rozsival of the New York Rangers about three minutes into the game and was ejected from the game. The All Star forward missed the next game, also against the Rangers. He lost $34,224.60 from his salary, the money goes to the players emergency fund.
Bryzalov signs deal
Ilya Bryzalov of the Phoenix Coyotes signed a three year extension this week. The net minder has posted a 16-10-2 record this season, with a 2.33 GAA and a .921 save percentage in 28 games.
Red Wings rocking
The Detroit Red Wings put together a fancy little win streak right before the All Star break. They have won their last four, beating the Canucks, Sharks, Kings and Ducks. They have been scoring goals and playing great defense during this four game run, out scoring opponents 14-6. This week they play the Coyotes, Avalanche and Bruins.
Two to the Rafter
The New York Rangers honored one of the best defensemen ever to play the game. They retired Brian Leetch’s number 2. Leetch wore the number for the Rangers during the 90’s when he helped bring a Stanley Cup to New York. Leetch is the fifth Ranger to have his number retired. The sixth player to have his number retired in New York will be Adam Graves who wore number nine and skated along side Leetch.
Over the ocean again
The 2008-2009 NHL season will open on a continent other than North America for the second time in two seasons. The Tampa Bay Lighting and New York Rangers will play two games in the Czech Republic. While the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators will play a few games in Sweden.