Monday Musings: Showdown in Chi-town | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaMonday Musings: Showdown in Chi-town

Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013 | 06:00 AM

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Netminder Roberto Luongo (1) foils Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews in the shootout for a 2-1 Canucks victory on Feb. 1. (Rich Lam/Getty Images) Netminder Roberto Luongo (1) foils Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews in the shootout for a 2-1 Canucks victory on Feb. 1. (Rich Lam/Getty Images)

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The Monday musings this week takes a look at the Chicago Blackhawks-Vancouver Canucks showdown on Tuesday, the scary AHL incident involving Wade MacLeod, Ales Hemsky's strong start, realignment, Olympic participation by the NHL and the Boston Bruins visit to Newtown.

The Vancouver Canucks hoped to land in the Windy City for Tuesday's showdown against the Chicago Blackhawks still on a roll.

But the Canucks had their six-game win streak stopped over the weekend with two mediocre results at home. They blew a third-period lead in a 4-3 loss to the Dallas Stars on Friday and followed up that effort with a 4-3 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues on Sunday.

The Blackhawks are on the verge of history. Their 3-2 win at home over the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on Sunday improved their record to 12-0-3, matching the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers for the second best start to a season without a loss in regulation. The best record to start a season belongs to the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks at 12-0-4.

Both the Oilers and Ducks won the Stanley Cup in their fast-start seasons.

The Canucks, meanwhile, beat the Blackhawks 2-1 in a shootout in Vancouver on Feb. 1.

MacLeod on mend

The Adirondack Phantoms game against the Falcons in Springfield was postponed in the second period on Sunday, when Falcons forward Wade MacLeod went into convulsions after he was hammered into the boards by opponent Brandon Manning. 

The 26-year-old MacLeod from Coquitlam, B.C., was taken to hospital after his seizure, but later a team statement team reported he was "alert, in good condition, in positive spirits and is resting comfortably." His girlfriend and his parents were at the game.

MacLeod later tweeted: "Feeling very blessed with all the love and support I've received. I am feeling a lot better. Thank you everyone!"

Both teams agreed not to finish the game after the scary incident. The Phantoms held a 2-1 lead and MacLeod set up teammate Ryan Craig for the game's opening goal in the first period. Manning was given a boarding penalty on the play involving MacLeod.

Manning later wrote in two tweets on his Twitter account: "would like to give my best to Wade MacLeod and his family. Never had any intention of ever hurting another player ... hope for a speedy recovery and see him back on the ice soon. Thoughts and prayers to him and his family."

MacLeod played for Merritt Centennials of the BCHL and four years at Northeastern University. His father Scott played for Canada at the 1979 world junior tournament and won the IHL scoring title in 1985 and 1986 with the Salt Lake City Golden Eagles.

Red-hot Hemsky

When the Edmonton Oilers signed Ales Hemsky to a two-year, $10-million US extension a year ago, the Twitter feed down the highway for the Calgary Flames called the move a joke.

Plenty in the hockey world snickered. After all, Hemsky had scored only five times in the 47 games before the extension was signed. But since then, he has scored 31 goals in 73 games. Here's the breakdown:

  • Five goals in final 22 games of 2011-12 NHL season
  • Five goals in 10 games for bronze medallist Czech Republic at 2012 worlds
  • 14 goals in 27 games for Pardubice HC of Czech Extraliga during lockout
  • Seven goals in 14 games to start 2012-13 NHL season

Realignment, Olympics

For those of you surprised two days of meetings in New York last week didn't result in an agreement that would see NHL players participate in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, don't be.

Before there is an arrangement between the NHL, NHLPA, IIHF and IOC on the NHL's commitment to a fifth consecutive Winter Games, the league and the players want to sort out a settlement on realignment. The two sides have been discussed realignment for the past two-plus weeks and remain hopeful something will be worked out in the next few weeks.

It's good news that after the heated four-month lockout, the NHLPA and NHL are working together on realignment. A year ago, the NHLPA quashed the NHL's realignment proposal because the players were concerned the proposed dynamics would result in increased and more onerous travel and there was a disparity in chances of making the playoffs because of smaller and larger conferences.

When the league and the players agree on a new realignment structure, then it will be on to hammering out an Olympic deal. The players want to be in Sochi and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman indicated last week that he wants the world's best players to be there.

But because the IOC makes plenty of currency off the NHL and NHLPA, the league and the players want enhanced treatment, access for medical staff, assurances of proper medical facilities, player insurance for summer-time orientation camps, use of the Olympic rings for promotion and access for both the NHL and NHLPA digital properties.

Bruins to visit Newtown

Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien and several players, including Chris Bourque, Andrew Ference, Dougie Hamilton, Aaron Johnson, Adam McQuaid, Daniel Paille and Rich Peverley, will visit Newtown, Conn., on Monday. The Stanley Cup also is expected to make an appearance to the town devastated by an elementary school massacre last fall.

The players will conduct a clinic for the local high school team, sign autographs and present first responders with framed autograph sweaters.

On March 3, Sandy Hook vice-principal Natalie Green Hammond, a lifelong Bruins fan, will drop the ceremonial puck prior to the Bruins-Montreal Canadiens game in Boston.

By the numbers

3 -- Matinee games on Monday, thanks to President's Day in the United States. The Ottawa Senators visit the New Jersey Devils at 1 p.m. ET, the same start time for the Philadelphia Flyers at New York Islanders. The Nashville Predators visit the struggling Colorado Avalanche at 3 p.m. ET.

8 -- Wins in eight starts for Anaheim Ducks rookie goalie Viktor Fasth. The 30-year-old Swede is the third goalie in NHL history to start at least 8-0-0. Between 2003 and 2005, Ray Emery won nine straight for the Ottawa Senators. Philadelphia Flyers' Bob Froese won his first eight in January 1983.

11 -- Times in 14 games the Montreal Canadiens have scored the game's first goal this season. Only the Pittsburgh Penguins have scored first more at 13 times in 16 games.

14 -- Consecutive games that Kitchener Rangers forward Joshua Leivo, a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect, has checked in with at least a point. The native of Innisfil, Ont., has been kept off the scoresheet in only nine times in 51 games this season.

1,023 -- Days between NHL goals for Calgary Flames forward Steve Begin. He scored the game-winner in the Flames' 4-3 win in Dallas on Sunday, 33 months after he scored the game's first goal for the Boston Bruins in their 5-4 overtime thriller versus the Philadelphia Flyers in the playoffs on May 1, 2010.

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