Ducks making waves: HNIC Take 5
HNIC's senior online reporter Tim Wharnsby dishes out the latest news, buzz and inside information in the hockey world.
1. Duck flaps upset GM
Anaheim general manager Bob Murray is happy club owner Henry Samueli has been reinstated by the league after lying to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, but because of unhappy with rumours that his coach, Randy Carlyle, is in trouble and also about public comments made by goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere and defenceman Scott Niedermayer.
Giguere stated he would rather retire than be a backup goalie and Niedermayer remarked that there was a "possibility" he could be traded back to New Jersey if the Ducks playoff chances don’t improve.
Murray told the Los Angeles Times that Niedermayer will retire as a Duck, Carlyle’s job is safe and Giguere can help his own cause by playing well.
"There's going to be a lot of players going through the turnstiles going out the door before coaches go out the door here. And our players better get that through their thick skulls," Murray told the newspaper. "What Jiggy's got to do, first and foremost, is help himself and help the hockey team. He’s got to get playing well, like he used to play. He's in control of that. Whoever wins games is staying in the net."
2. Devils firing on all fronts
New Jersey coach Jacques Lemaire has put together one of the league’s top lines recently with centre Travis Zajac between Zach Parise and rookie Niclas Bergfors. They combined for a pair of goals and eight points to extend the Devils win streak to seven games on Thursday in New Jersey’s 4-1 win against Pittsburgh.
The victory also made Eastern Conference-leading New Jersey a perfect 9-for-9 on the road this season. If they can beat the Flyers in Philadelphia on Monday, the Devils will match Buffalo’s three-year-old record for the most consecutive road wins to start a season at 10 games. Also, New Jersey general manager Lou Lamoriello, inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday, has joined those voices not in favour of the NHL participating in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, because he doesn’t like disruption to the NHL season.
3. Canes near lowly franchise mark
While sports fans in the Raleigh, N.C., area are excited about the opening college basketball weekend for Duke, University of North Carolina and North Carolina State, and can’t wait to find out whether high school senior Harrison Barnes will choose Duke or UNC on Friday, the sad-sack Carolina Hurricanes' return to action.
Winless in 13 games, the Hurricanes meet the Islanders at home on yes, Friday the 13th. One more defeat in regulation, overtime or a shootout and the Hurricanes would tie a club record winless streak of 14, a streak of futility set in 1992.
It doesn’t help that the Hurricanes are missing their top two players in centre Eric Staal (upper body) and goalie Cam Ward (leg), that they have scored only eight goals in their past six games and have not scored a power-play goal in their last 23 man-advantage situations.
4. Howard steps up for Wings
Detroit backup goalie Jimmy Howard was forced to make starts on successive nights, when Chris Osgood came down with the flu. In the Red Wings' 9-1 throttling in Columbus on Wednesday and the 3-1 victory at home against Vancouver on Thursday, in which recent Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Steve Yzerman was honoured before the game, Howard stopped 56 of 58 shots. The solid performances were enough to earn him a third start in a row against Anaheim at home on Saturday. The Red Wings have won five of six and have enjoyed a 9-3-3 run since opening the season with back-to-back losses to the Blues in Stockholm.
5. DiPietro delay continues
Islanders injured goalie Rick DiPietro is still at least a month away from returning to action. The 28-year-old DiPietro, in the fourth season of a 15-year contract, hasn’t played since Jan. 2. He is attempting to bounce back from knee problems after being hampered by a concussion and hip ailments. The plan for DiPietro is to get through a period of practices when he is ready in a few weeks and then go through a two-week conditioning stint in the AHL before he will get a chance to play in the NHL.