Sunday Morning NHL Papers (Western Conference): Patience wearing thin in St. Louis, Jay Bouwmeester’s amazing ability to log big minutes and Kings leading Western Conference
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- Joel Quenneville is looking at all different line combinations to get his team’s offense going. Here’s what the top three lines were at practice yesterday.
- The Blue Jackets were down one goal with a 5-on-3 advantage and couldn’t even get a shot on net, as they lost to the Ducks 3-1 in Columbus. Blue Jackets forward Derek Dorsett has broken his hand.
- Todd Bertuzzi was the hero for the second consecutive night, as the big winger scored the overtime winner against Nashville last night. Even with injuries, the Wings penalty killing unit has improved. The injuries up front have allowed Patrick Eaves to take on a bigger role.
- The Predators lost on Saturday but at least the team fought back from a two goal deficit against the Wings. Jordin Tootoo injured his foot in last night’s contest.
- The Blues weren’t yelled at during practice yesterday, but the team is certainly moving in circles. Brett Hull recalls the Garth Butcher trade and still wonders why the Blues gave away so much for him at the time.
- The Flames play the Avalanche in a battle for first place tonight, writes Randy Sportak. Some thought Jay Bouwmeester’s ice-time would decrease in Calgary, not so. Look at Aaron Johnson and his recent “offensive outburst.”
- It is a big game tonight and the Avalanche may be without Milan Hejduk. Terry Frei tells us that the Moore/Bertuzzi case isn’t even at trial yet. Does the Avalanche lack an identity?
- Injury news out of Edmonton has Nikolai Khabibulin not even ready to face shots yet. Former Oilers owner Cal Nichols says the team’s long-term viability depends on building a new arena. In his Hockey World column, Jim Matheson says Gretzky would long good as a front office consultant for the Kings. Here are some notes from around the NHL in Matheson’s More Hockey World.
- Josh Harding put yesterday’s loss to Vancouver on his shoulders. It is a testament to his perseverance that Andrew Brunette played in NHL game number 900 last night. Will Niklas Backstrom backstop the Finnish national team in Vancouver?
- One thing is for certain, the Sedins are producing these days on the left coast, as Vancouver defeated Minnesota 4-2 last night on HNIC.
- After losing in overtime to the Wings, Anaheim stuck with it and recorded a road victory in Columbus last night.
- The Stars can thank Marty Turco for last night’s win, as he stopped 10/11 shots in the shootout. Steve Ott can do more than just cause frustration for opposing players.
- People may not realize that with last night’s victory, the Kings are atop the Western Conference. Make no mistake, the Kings have far more they want to accomplish.
- Ilya Bryzgalov continued his tremendous play last night, as the Coyotes beat the visiting Sharks. Bryzgalov turned aside 37 shots.
- Due to the Olympics, Evgeni Nabokov will be getting more time off this season. The Sharks have quietly gone five games without recording a win.