Daily Cupcakes - Links from around the unlocked out NHL - February 7th, 2013

Doug Pensinger

An article about concussions.

Tonight, the Colorado Avalanche will likely be without their captain, 20-year-old Gabe Landeskog, for the sixth-straight game. The Avs have gone 2-3 thus far without No. 92 and there is currently no timetable on his return.

The Hit

Landeskog was on the receiving end of a massive hit from defenseman Brad Stuart during the Avs’ matchup on January 26th against the San Jose Sharks. He returned to the game after a brief absence, but was ruled out of the Avs’ next contest two days later with what the team described as "head and leg injuries." The hit itself did not get called for a penalty, however, Avalanche defenseman Ryan O’Byrne was assessed 19 PIMS (2 for instigating, 2 for fighting with a visor, 5 for fighting, and a 10 minute misconduct) when he came to the aid of his fallen captain and fought Brad Stuart. While I do believe Stuart’s hit on Landeskog should have been penalized, I can forgive the non-call because hockey is certainly a fast game and at full speed, it can pass for a good, clean hockey hit.

A status report on Team USA.

Projected centers: Ryan Kesler (Vancouver), Paul Stastny (Colorado Avalanche), Joe Pavelski (San Jose Sharks) and David Backes (St. Louis Blues)

Discussion: The Americans' problem area is at center. They have quality players at the position, but no superstars. It's not like the 1990s when the Americans could send out Pat LaFontaine, Mike Modano, Jeremy Roenick, Doug Weight and big, gritty Joel Otto just to keep you honest.

An update on Team Canada.

I don’t see Brodeur making it after losing the starting job at the Vancouver Games. Brodeur is a guy who wants to start all the time, and if he’s there, he’ll want first crack. I think the team has to look more to the future. Marc-Andre Fleury is wildly inconsistent of late, and crumbled under the pressure in Pittsburgh’s first-round loss to Philadelphia last spring. Ward hasn’t been anything special since 2010-11. I’d say it probably either ends up being Corey Crawford, who has been resurgent in Chicago this season…

… or Dubnyk. Don’t laugh. The Edmonton netminder has posted two seasons’ worth of respectable save percentages behind a defence that can only be classified as atrocious. With a moderate improvement on the Oilers’ blue line, he’s at a .925 SV% through nine appearances this year. And his size — 6-foot-5, 194 pounds — gives opposing forwards fits.

No training camp = more penalties.

Adam Oates thinks the lockout is behind yet another phenomenon of the shortened NHL season, an increase in delay-of-game penalties from players firing the puck over the glass.

When it was brought up by reporters during Oates’s media scrum Monday, the Washington Capitals’ head coach said he noticed the same thing. For example, Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Simon Despres was given one during Sunday’s 6-3 win over the Capitals when his attempt to relieve pressure from the Caps saw the puck clear the glass and draw a whistle.

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