Connect with us

On the Beat

On the Beat (Western Conference): Hossa hopes to reach top with Hawks, Craig Anderson returns to South Florida, Oilers making mental errors.

Duck fans don’t expect playoffs this season; Blue Jackets defenseman Rusty Klesla will have surgery; Marc Crawford does some line juggling; Wild have two healthy scratches; Blues hope good December will help avoid last season’s drama; Willie Mitchell is important to the Canucks. These stories and more after the jump.

Here is today’s word from the team beat writer’s:

  • The Ducks’ 4-3 loss to the Kings dropped them 10 points behind their neighbours in the Western Conference standings and it looks like fans think only the Kings will make the playoffs this season.
  • Although Nigel Dawes‘ has struggled with confidence and consistency during his first couple of seasons in the NHL, he seems to have his hubris at a high point.
  • Marian Hossa is driven to win a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks and despite his incredible abilities, he remains humble and lacks pretense which hasn’t gone unnoticed by his Hawks teammates.
  • Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson returns to south Florida to face off against his former team the Panthers as he makes his 27th of 29 stars for Colorado.
  • Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch is reporting that Blue Jackets defenseman Rusty Klesla will have surgery Friday to repair a stomach muscle tear.
  • Stars coach Marc Crawford did some line juggling on Tuesday, and it looks like these could be the lines he tries on Thursday vs. Anaheim.
  • While the Oilers do lose too many physical battles, writes David Staples of the Edmonton Journal, he feels their biggest problem on defence, the one that costs the team the most goals against, is mental errors.
  • Helenne Elliot of the L.A. Times writes that the Los Angeles Kings were able to take Round 1 of the Battle of California by keeping it simple.
  • The Minnesota Wild just finished practicing, writes Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and for the first time since Oct. 24, the Wild will have two healthy scratches tonight.
  • In the past five days, the Sharks Dany Heatley faced the team he demanded a trade from and the team he refused to go to and came out on the winning end both times.
  • The St. Louis Blues took their fans on quite the wild ride last season and they know that playing well this December is pivotal if they hope to avoid the same drama they faced last season.
  • Willie Mitchell may not be willing to talk about his future, but his coach didn’t hesitate Tuesday to emphasize Mitchell’s importance to the Vancouver Canucks.