BY THE NUMBERS
Number of teams that won't have a representative in the NHL all-star game at the end of January (New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, Buffalo Sabres, Phoenix Coyotes). Instead, each will have a skater participating in the rookie events.
Assists in consecutive games for New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, making him the first NHL goaltender since Ed Belfour in 1991 to go on such an extensive scoring streak.
Sets of brothers in the all-star game in Raleigh, N.C.: the Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik, along with Carolina Hurricanes star Eric Staal and his younger brother, Marc.
THEY SAID IT
"We may well sell it, but let's take it one step at a time," Larry Quinn, The Buffalo Sabres' managing partner addresses persistent rumours that Tom Golisano will sell his majority interest in the team to Pennsylvania gazillionaire Terry Pegula.
AROUND THE RINKS
Pominville's slow headway
Just because a player recovers from a concussion doesn't mean that all is sweetness and light right away. Jason Pominville of the Buffalo Sabres is a sobering case in point. The lingering effects - on confidence, on conditioning, on preparing and dealing with contact - can have a negative effect on performance, even for someone as reliable a point producer as Pominville. Altogether, Pominville missed eight October games after getting hit in the head by Niklas Hjalmarsson of the Chicago Blackhawks. In the first 15 games after his return, Pominville managed just two points, further undermining the Sabres' season, given how they are short on scoring at the best of times. Lately, it's been better for Pominville - 13 points in 13 games - as the Sabres now deal with Derek Roy's long-term absence. As Pominville told the Buffalo News: "It's tough to look at the numbers and see them lower than what they're usually at, but I've had to deal with things I've never dealt with in my NHL career." It's also something worth monitoring when Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby returns to action. How long will it take for him to hit his stride again.
Brain fog on head shots
Even if commissioner Gary Bettman disagrees, there is clearly still a great deal of confusion among NHL teams when it comes to supplementary discipline, particularly relating to head shots. How else to explain the wildly differing views of the six-game suspension levied against Calgary Flames forward Tom Kostopoulos for breaking the jaw of Detroit Red Wings defenceman Brad Stuart? The Flames were shocked and appalled that Kostopoulos received anything on the play; the Red Wings didn't think the penalty was severe enough to suit the crime. Some of that may be posturing - that's Bettman's hypothesis - but it also speaks to the confusion over a culture change relating to head hits that hasn't penetrated the collective NHL cranium yet. The normally reticent Sidney Crosby spoke out against head shots, further proof that more effective measures need to be introduced. At some stage, the NHL's general managers will have to consider banning all hits to the head. Then at least the chaos disappears - and maybe even some of the concussions.
Avs' embarrassment of riches
The Colorado Avalanche will soon ponder a dilemma that few in the goal-starved NHL face these days: where to play Chris Stewart, when he returns from a broken hand he suffered on Nov. 27 and has kept him out of the lineup for six weeks and counting? Stewart was leading the Avs in goals and flirting with the overall top-10 in scoring when he went down. One of the reasons Colorado reached out for point-a-game man Tomas Fleischmann in the trade with the Washington Capitals in December was to replace Stewart's scoring, and he has been a nice fit on the Matt Duchene line. If Stewart draws in with Paul Stastny, then Colorado's already potent attack (141 goals, fourth overall in the league, as of Wednesday) gets another boost. And they haven't even heard from Peter Mueller this year, who was a point-a-game player until a concussion pushed him to the sidelines.
Eric DuhatschekReport Typo/Error