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BY THE NUMBERS

550

Career victories by Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville after last week's win over the Calgary Flames, good for 10th on the NHL list.

7

Number of teams for which Bill Guerin scored 20 or more goals, an NHL record. Guerin retired officially last week, after a failed tryout with the Philadelphia Flyers.

THEY SAID IT

"A tough team is still a disciplined one. When they get hit, they don't chirp."

A refreshing take from Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler, who seems to understand the best way to get even is on the scoreboard, not by taking an unnecessary retaliation penalty.

"I came here to win, I didn't come here to be the big man, I just came to be a part of this and do my job."

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marty Turco, currently relegated to the bench behind rookie Corey Crawford, who has won seven games in a row.

AROUND THE RINKS

In the 72 hours between games in Calgary and Edmonton, the Tampa Bay Lightning spent some time in Banff, Alta., something that is neither unusual nor unprecedented. However, head coach Guy Boucher did do one thing differently from his peers. He decided not to include any team-building exercises during the mini-break, or otherwise involve his team in some form of forced camaraderie - curling bonspiels, bowling outings - that are all the rage in the new NHL. Is this guy innovative or what?

Rockies' Road

At one stage this season, Colorado had four defencemen on the shelf with injuries, and if that discouraging development had one silver lining, it was that Kevin Shattenkirk got a crack at regular NHL duty sooner than later. Fifteen games in, Shattenkirk had scored 14 points and had inserted himself into the Calder Memorial Trophy discussion, in the same way Buffalo Sabres defenceman Tyler Myers did last year. Myers was picked 12th overall in 2008; Shattenkirk 14th overall in 2007, a player drafted out of the U.S. development program who spent three seasons at Boston University before turning pro. Colorado was planning to trade Scott Hannan anyway, but Shattenkirk's emergence, plus the return to health of some of the aforementioned defencemen, made it easier to engineer the swap in which Colorado landed centre Tomas Fleischman in return.

A Capital Defence

Speaking of Hannan, he will get a chance to play as part of the Capitals' shut-down duo alongside Tom Poti, the two most experienced defencemen on an otherwise green Washington blueline. And speaking of Green, Mike Green's usual defence partner, Jeff Schultz, will miss up to six weeks while recovering from a fractured thumb. The injury happened on a shot from Toronto's Luke Schenn in the Maple Leafs' miracle 5-4 comeback win over the Caps. For a time, the Capitals were using Schultz and Green as their primary defensive shut-down pair.

ALL-STAR BALLOT

There has been ballot-box stuffing ever since the NHL gave the fans the vote for the annual all-star game, most notably in the campaign for journeyman Rory Fitzpatrick a few years back. (Slogan: Vote for Rory, he'd vote for you.) Fitzpatrick was edged out at the 11th-hour in curious fashion. This year, however, there is a far greater likelihood that a player not on the official ballot can crack the top six anyway as a write-in candidate. Currently, two players are in the race - Kris Letang, the Penguins' defenceman, and Carey Price, the Habs' goalie. And no, this isn't just a popularity contest either. Both have put up all-star calibre numbers and both would be solid choices, if their numbers hold up.

SINGING THE BLUES

The Blues haven't been able to sustain their first-month excellence and one reason is that they haven't done a good job of responding to the absences of two key young players - agitator and catalyst T.J. Oshie, who is recovering from a broken ankle, and David Perron, who is still sidelined after being concussed on that Joe Thornton hit that the San Jose Sharks thought didn't merit a suspension. Andy McDonald, who had a history of concussions in his Anaheim playing days, was kneed in the head this past Saturday and his status is uncertain as well.

 

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