Week 2 of Northwest Check arrives! Thanks for all the kind words welcoming me yesterday. It's greatly appreciated. As always, any criticisms or requests for changes/additional information for next week's edition is more than welcome.
A fresh week for the Avalanche begins anew tonight against Vancouver and while I won't be stealing any Game Preview thunder, I will be hitting you with plenty of random links and a whole lot of numbers to gaze at while you pretend to work on everyone's least favorite day of the week (there is no argument Tuesday is the worst. You just sat through a case of the Mondays and realize that 4 more days of this nonsense awaits. Good luck, troopers!).
The Northwest Division as a whole continues to try to dig itself out of the mediocrity that has so thoroughly plagued it to this point with 3 of the 5 teams at least breaking even. I expect better from you, Minnesota. Edmonton, you just keep doing what you're so...consistent at doing.
Last week was a fun one for Avalanche fans as we technically participated in 3 games but only really showed up for 2. Unsurprisingly, when our boys show up, so do the W's in the standings. I'll just play it off like the Chicago game was us lulling them into a false sense of security in case we meet them playoff time. Because everyone knows random games on Wednesday nights in the second week of January have a large carryover effect to the grind of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Besides, we beat Detroit. What else really mattered?
Stop nodding and start gazing at these standings:
Team capsules after the jump...
All standings related info pulled from NHL.com
Calgary Flames (46 GP 20-20-6 46 Pts)
Last Week: 2-0-2 5-6 OTL @ CAR, 3-2 W @ OTT, 2-1 W @ TOR, 4-5 OTL @ MTL
Conference Standing: 14th Place, 6 points behind 8th place Colorado and 18 behind 1st place Vancouver.
- Goals For: 2.6 (21st)
- Goals Against: 2.8 (18th)
- Power Play %: 14.9 (25th)
- Penalty Kill %: 80.7. (21st)
Fun Facts: Olli Jokinen has a -13 rating, good for 745th in the league. Seriously.
This Week: Calgary has really started rounding into form of late and this week will certainly test their mettle with a home game Wednesday vs. MIN before a difficult stretch of opponents with tilts Friday vs. Dallas and Saturday @VAN before being mercifully given one whole day off by the NHL Schedule Gods and returning home for Monday's throwdown vs. NSH.
News: Laurence Heinen shines the player spotlight on former Avalanche Left Wing Alex Tanguay.
Flames Forward Tim Jackman: The next Crosby?
Arik James over at Matchsticks and Gasoline asks: Who is the Flames First Half MVP?
Injuries: C Daymond Langkow is still out indefinitely with a "head" injury, D Steve Staios is listed as day to day with an "upper body" injury, and F Raitis Ivanans is day to day with a head injury (no shock there, really)
Colorado Avalanche (45 GP 23-16-6 52 Pts)
Last Week: 2-1-0 5-4 W vs. DET (yesssssssssssss), 0-4 L @ CHI, 4-1 W vs. MIN
Conference Standings: 8th place, 1 point ahead of 9th place San Jose and 12 points behind first place Vancouver.
- Goals For: 3.2 (4th)
- Goals Against: 3.2 (28th)
- Power Play %: 20.0 (10th)
- Penalty Kill %: 77.3 (28th)
This Week: Pure domination is all the Avalanche will know this week. I need it personally and we need it in the standings. Pure domination, baby. Duke Nukem Mode kicks in tonight in a pivotal home game vs. VAN and the crazy train of winrar continues Thursday vs. NSH and the week concludes with our second afternoon home game in 2 weeks against an Eastern Conference foe vs. BOS and the inevitable return to form of Chris Stewart as he single handedly brings us 2 points Monday vs. STL.
Fun Fact: I don't plan on doing one of these for the Avs every week but this was just too amusing to pass up. Detroit has gotten fat off games against the Northwest Division, going 12-2-2 against us. 2 of those 4 losses? Yeeeeaaaaaahhhhhh! /e-chest bump
Edmonton Oilers (44 GP 14-23-7 35 Pts)
Last Week: 1-3-0 2-3 L @ DAL, 5-2 W @ SJ, 2-5 L @ LA, 2-3 L @ ANA
Conference Standings: 15th place, 14 points behind 8th place Colorado and 29 (!) points behind first place Vancouver.
- Goals For: 2.5 (24th)
- Goals Against: 3.3 (30th)
- Power Play %: 14.2 (28th)
- Penalty Kill %: 74.3 (30th)
Fun Facts: Nikolai Khabibulin's sterling 3.46 GAA is good for 49th in the league. I know he was part of my fun fact last week but his futility is striking considering the body of work over his career.
This Week: Edmonton returns from its recently completed 5 game road trip with a very Oiler-like 1-4 and will return to their friendly confines for 3 games, starting Tuesday vs. MIN, continuing Thursday vs. DAL, and concluding Sunday vs. NSH.
News: Shooutout maestro Linus Omark was named to the AHL All-Star game.
The NHL apparently wants the Oilers in Europe to start next season.
Scott Reynolds at Copper N Blue has a profile of up-and-coming prospect Liam Reddox. Scanning for Oilers news is almost always related to the draft or the minors. I wonder why that is...
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal has a story about the under-the-radar rookie season of stud-in-waiting Magnus Paajarvi.
- Shawn Horcoff is on IR and is day to day with a knee injury.
- Ryan Whitney is on IR and is out indefinitely with an ankle injury.
- Jordan Eberle is on IR and is day to day with an ankle injury.
- Jim Vandermeer is on IR and is day to day with an ankle injury.
Gilbert Brule is not on IR (?!?!) and is out indefinitely with an ankle injury
Minnesota Wild (45 GP 22-18-5 49 Pts)
Last Week: 1-2-0 1-5 L @ NSH, 1-4 L vs. COL, 4-0 W vs. VAN
Conference Standing: 10th place, 3 points behind 8th place Colorado, 15 points behind 1st place Vancouver.
- Goals For: 2.5 (27th)
- Goals Against: 2.7 (13th)
- Power Play %: 20.5 (9th)
- Penalty Kill %: 82.7 (12th)
Fun Facts: Minnesota is the only team in the NW Division with a losing record against the Eastern Conference, going 5-6-1 to this point. Sunday's 4-0 shutout over Vancouver was the first shutout of young Anton Khudobin's career. As a big fan of him from our time together in Houston, congrats, kid. Don't ever do it to us.
This Week: Minnesota again hits the road as it has a back-to-back Tuesday @ EDM and Wednesday @CGY before having two days off and heading to Norcal Saturday for some late night hockey action @SJ.
News: Former Avalanche Left Wing Andrew Brunette was named as the Wild's Player of the Week for his goal scoring prowess.
A nice article about D Brent Burns and his trek to becoming an NHL All-Star.
Nathan & Co. over at Hockey Wilderness hand out First-Half Reviews and Awards for the Wild.
- Jan 13 - C Patrick O'Sullivan placed on waivers
- Jan 14 - G Matt Hackett and D Jared Spurgeon recalled from Houston
- Jan 15 - Reassigned G Matt Hackett to Houston
- Jan 17 - C Cody Almond recalled from Houston
- James Sheppard is still out with a knee injury with his return unknown.
- Josh Harding remains out with a knee injury of his own but has begun skating lightly.
- Guillaume Latendresse is out indefinitely with what is listed as a hip/hernia injury.
- Marek Zidlicky is on IR with a shoulder injury and will remain out for the next 4-6 weeks while he rehabs.
- Jose Theodore has a hip injury and is day to day.
Marco Scandella has a mild concussion after taking a puck to the face and will miss the first part of the team's upcoming road trip. Get well soon, Marco. Concussions are evil.
Vancouver Canucks (45 GP 29-10-6 64 Pts)
Last Week: 2-2-0 4-3 W @ NYI, 0-1 L @ NYR (Wollssskkkkiiiiii!), 4-2 W @ WSH, 0-4 L @ MIN
Conference Standing: 1st Place, 2 point ahead of 2nd place Detroit.
- Goals For: 3.3 (3rd)
- Goals Against: 2.4 (3rd)
- Power Play %: 23.9 (2nd)
- Penalty Kill %: 84.6 (7th)
Fun Facts: Wojtek Wolski became the 4th player in Rangers history to score his first goal with the team in a 1-0 win. What, you didn't think I would avoid giving Wolski love, did you?
This Week: Vancouver prepares for the whooping they shall receive (good thing hockey fans aren't superstitious, isn't it?) Tuesday @COL. The poor Canucks, winners of approximately 313 of their last 315 games in regulation, will have to pick themselves up off the killing floor and head home for a game vs. SJ and concluding their week with another divisional matchup vs. CGY and an enticing matchup of the Western Conference's 1 and 3 teams Monday vs. DAL.
News: Derek Jory flexes his investigative journalism muscles as he looks into the misleading photo of Keith Ballard in a hockey bag inside a garbage can. See the juicy details here!
Dave Lozo, who has an awesome last name, explores the growth of Ryan Kesler. That is not what she said.
More or less half the Canucks roster made the All-Star Game. Woohoo.
Nucks Misconduct member Semi_Colon shares his journey to DC for the Caps game. I love stories like this.
- Jan 16 - D Chris Tanev recalled from Manitoba.
- Jan 17 - RW Sergei Shirokov from Manitoba.
- Alex Bolduc will miss 3-4 weeks with a shoulder injury sustained in last week's win over Washington.
- Aaron Rome will also miss 3-4 weeks with an MCL sprain, also suffered in last week's win over Washington.
- Sami Salo remains sidelined with an exploded Achilles. He is listed as week-to-week.