The red-hot Ducks
had the reeling Canucks
under siege all night. (Debora Robinson/Getty Images)
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Jonas Hiller didn't just miss out on a start on Wednesday night. Too sick to go against the Canucks, the NHL's hottest goaltender missed out on all the fun as the Ducks set a pair of franchise records in a 9-1 thrashing of Vancouver. The most amazing stat of the evening? Anaheim started the game with the league's 22nd ranked power play, but after scoring five times with the extra man the Ducks had jumped up to 15th.
• So instead of turning a corner with their hard-fought 1-0 loss to the Kings last Monday, the Canucks simply ran face first into a different wall. With seven losses in their last eight games, it's fair to ask where do they go from here?
• Wyatt Arndt doesn't blames referee Paul Devorski for making the calls that turned the game into a farce, but he's sure not thrilled by how they were made.
• A young Finn took center stage in Pittsburgh as the Penguins set a franchise record of their own.
• Adam Oates did not enjoy his part in that historic event.
• Claude Julien says he knows there's something wrong with Tuukka Rask's game and that the team has a plan to address the goalie's tumbling numbers. With defenseman Dennis Seidenberg out of the lineup, Rask is not getting the help he's used to, but he's also visibly not as sharp, either, especially when the Bruins are on the penalty kill.
• Rask's swoon could cost him the starting job on Team Finland in Sochi if it's not quickly corrected, especially in light of how well Antti Niemi has played of late.
• One goalie is on a 9-0-1 run. The other has stopped 53-of-54 shots since coming back from illness. There is no wrong choice when Blues coach Ken Hitchcock taps his starter these days.
• Terry Jones writes that the perception in Edmonton has changed after a pair of deals that saw goalie Devan Dubnyk shipped out to Nashville and netminder Ben Scrivens airlifted in from Los Angeles.
• The big winner in the trades? Martin Jones, who has now been promoted to the NHL full-time as Jonathan Quick's understudy. The big loser? Mrs. Scrivens.
• Good news for Team USA (and the Wild): Zach Parise is one of four injured vets who is closing in on a return to action in the next few days. Minnesota has played some of its best hockey of the season with a patchwork lineup. Can they keep rolling when they take the hunger of their kids out of the equation?
• He has the athletic skill of a top forward and the competitive spirit of a grinding fourth-liner. No wonder Sabres fans are falling in love with rookie Zemgus Girgensons.
• Justin Bourne offers a look into the game-day routine of a scratched player. It appears to involve a lot of mall walking and/or XBox.
• Here's a look at the new autobiography from second-generation Hall of Famer Mark Howe. You won't believe who he picks as the greatest player of all time.
• Jamie Langenbrunner finally made it official yesterday. The two-time Stanley Cup winner announced his retirement after 16 seasons in the NHL.
• Get ready for more tweaks to the equipment worn by goaltenders. No doubt this will lead to much wailing and gnashing of teeth, but you'd think goalies would be all for it. Just take a look at the numbers: As pads have shrunk, save percentages have gone up.
• Is a smallish blue line really the biggest problem facing the Stars?
• Cory Schneider says that negativity crept into his mind in the first half of the season, but that a Christmas-time mental reset changed everything.
• Ryan Kennedy takes a look at the players who made an impact in last night's CHL Top Prospects Game. Not sure why he undersells Josh Ho-Sang's performance. He was easily the most creative player on the ice, and showed terrific hand-eye coordination on his goal. H0-Sang's currently viewed by most observers as a bottom-of-the first-round player. I think he rises toward the middle of the round before all is said and done.
• Yep, it's really him: