Sean Avery Name Calling?

Once again hockey pest Sean Avery has found himself in some hot water with the National Hockey League. After keeping his nose clean since getting into trouble last year while with the Dallas Stars this seven year veteran who has six points thus far with the New York Rangers is being accused by current Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau of calling him fat. Boudreau who coached Avery back in 2003 with the American Hockey League’s Manchester Monarchs mentioned in his book called ‘Gabby: Confessions Of A Hockey Lifer that Avery made those remarks during game seven of last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. “He told me I was the biggest, fattest bleeping pig he had ever seen,” Boudreau wrote in the book. “He told me I was fatter than bleeping Ken Hitchcock. He told me that I was going to die because I was such a fat bleep.” Surprisingly enough the Capitals coach had nothing to say about this NHL bad boy who in his career has bounced around with the Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, Stars and the Rangers. “He’s a really good player,” Boudreau said. “I’ve had him, know of him, played with his dad and all those things. He knows how important the playoffs are and he’s just going to be a really good thorn in our side.” Still you can bet that Avery who is still on thin ice with NHL headquarters will be questioned about what he said last spring.

Evgeni Malkin Can’t Shoulder it Any More

Pittsburgh Penguins fans should rest assured as coach Dan Bylsma stressed that the recent shoulder injury to superstar Evgeni Malkin is not serious. The reining Art Ross Trophy Winner who last spring became the first European to win the Conn Smythe Trophy will be out of action for   approximately three weeks due to a shoulder strain. Bylsma used the word precautionary when describing the reason why Malkin who hurt the shoulder ten days ago was going on the disabled list. “Obviously he has played with it (shoulder woes) and could gut it out, which is what Geno would be apt to do,” Bylsma said. “At this time of the year the concern is the player and this is a precautionary measure.” On Friday night when the Penguins are in Columbus to play the Blue Jackets it will snap Malkin’s streak of playing in 254 consecutive games. Malkin who has scored 14 points in 12 games is not concerned with the streak ending and just wants to support his teammates while resting on the sidelines. “I feel good,” Malkin who scored 113 points last year said. “I’ll be watching and supporting the team on the trip. It’ll be fine.” Pittsburgh who are first in the Eastern Conference with a 10-2 start face their first bit of controversy this season.

NHL Short Notes

FLYRS LOSE GAGNE

The Philadelphia Flyers received a huge blow on Monday when it was announced that key veteran forward Simon Gagne had to go on the disabled list after two small hernias were discovered in his his right groin area. As a result of the discovery Gagne who has struggled with only one goal in nine games this season will have to more then likely undergo surgery. “I can’t really say for sure,” Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said. “We need to sit down and talk with Simon. It is an option.” (surgery)

 SMID HAS SWINE FLU

This week the slumping Edmonton Oilers announced that defenceman Ladislav Smid has become the latest victim of swine flu. Despite having the illness Smid who is only 23 years old was not sidelined as he logged 19 minutes and 47 seconds this past week against the Colorado Avalanche. So far this season Smid who was almost traded in the off-season to the Ottawa Senators is off to a strong start with four assist in 12 games.

Craig Anderson is Turning Heads in Colorado

It’s a safe bet that Craig Anderson wouldn’t exactly be the first name hockey fans would think of if they were to guess back in training camp what goalie would get off to the fastest start. This former Florida Panthers back-up was the number one story around the NHL on Tuesday night after he stopped 25 shots in shutting out the slumping Edmonton Oilers 3-0. “I think it was a great team effort,” Anderson who is 9-1-2 with a 1.97 GAA on the season said, “We didn’t give them all that much and whatever we did, I was able to see and make the save and the guys were there to clean up the rebound.” Anderson who is a seven year pro is a major reason why the Avalanche who finished with the third worst record last season currently occupy first place in the Western Conference. Also stepping up big for Colorado who now have a 5-1-2 road record was forward Woltek Wolski who scored two goals. “I think it was a great team effort,” Anderson who now has two shutouts on the season said, “We didn’t give them all that much and I was able to see and make the save and the guys were there to clean up the rebounds.” With the win Colorado extended their winning streak to three games and have won five out of their past six games. Meanwhile the Oilers are going the other direction as they dropped their third game in a row. “we’ve got to play better if we intend to be a top team,” Oilers forward Sam Gagner said. “Tonight we didn’t even show up for the first period. We should be embarrassed to get shut out two games in a row..”

Ilya Kovalchuk Breaks Foot, Out 4-6 Weeks

One can bet that on Saturday night all of Georgia were holding their collective breath and thinking the worst when Atlanta Thrashers captain and leading scorer Ilya Kovalchuk blocked a shot and in the process suffered a fractured right foot. This explosive scorer who already has nine goals represents a huge loss for the Thrashers who jumped out to their best start in franchise history at 4-1-1. Coach John Anderson stressed that even without his big gunner he still wants his team playing an offensive style as opposed to emphasizing defence. “I want us to attack,”Anderson who is in his second season behind the Thrashers bench said. “I want our (defence) to move up on the play. I don’t think we change our whole thought process because we lose on guy. I would hope not.” Even though he is scheduled to be gone for approximately five weeks Kovalchuk who calls this current squad the best ever in Thrashers history wants to remain close to the team and even go on the road trips. He also wants to make sure that his tough luck injury doesn’t become a distraction in bringing down the team. “I have to be in a good mood you kinow,” Kovalchuk said. Coach Anderson will be looking for the foursome of Nik Antropov, Bryan Little, Slava Kozlov and Colby Armstrong to elevate their play. Armstrong has scored only one goal while the rest of that group are all looking for their first goals. Last season all four had 20 or more goals and now will be the perfect time for them to start producing. “I think they realize it,” Anderson said. “I think that they’re actively doing things in practice to get better and to work on things in practice as to why they’re not scoring, but we need that production absolutely right now.”

NHL Short Notes

KROG CALLED UP TO THE ATLANTA THRASHERS

Seven year NHL veteran forward Jason Krog was called up to the Atlanta Thrashers on Tuesday to take the place of injured star Ilya Kovalchuk. It was recently diagnosed that Kovalchuk who was off to a great start will be missing for at least a month due to the fractured bone in his foot. Krog who was originally signed by the New York Islanders in 1999 is a utility forward who has scored one goal and seven points in only eight games this year with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. In his career Krog has played in 202 games and has scored 59 points.

GABORIK FLOURISHING IN BIG APPLE

On Monday night the New York Rangers got a brilliant effort out of their scoring star Marian Gaborik who scored his NHL leading 10th goal of the season. Heading into the campaign a lot of critics believed that Gaborik wouldn’t be able to handle the pressures of New York and would therefore disappoint. So far so good as this explosive forward was named first star after contributing with two points in what was a 5-2 win against the Phoenix Coyotes. For the young season Gaborik now has 16 points in 12 games.

CANADIENS WIN IN OVERTIME

Once again Jaroslav Halak was a force in the Montreal nets as he made 29 saves to help the Canadiens win their fourth in a row. This affair against the New York Islanders went into overtime where it was decided 1:32 in when defenceman Roman Hamrlik scored on a two on one break with Tomas Plekanec.

Tuomo Ruutu Gets Three Games For Head Shot

More than 48 hours after watching the horrifying event unfold I still can’t get the ugly picture of Colorado Avalanche forward Darcy Tucker lying motionless in his own blood out of my mind. Being a die hard Toronto Maple Leafs fan perhaps I’m being a little biased in saying that Tucker who is a former Leaf has played a significant role in the Avalanche getting off to a surprising 8-1-2 start that has them sitting atop the Western Conference. Coming off a forgettable campaign with the Avs’ Tucker who has scored six points in 10 games this season was the victim of a careless act on Friday night courtesy of Carolina Hurricanes forward Tuomo Ruutu. During the second period of a game the Avs would go on to win 5-4 Tucker who was thundered face first into the boards by Ruutu fell backwards and violently struck his head on the ice before losing consciousness. Tucker who was chasing down a lose puck in the Hurricanes end when hit remained on the ice for five minutes while Avalanche doctors and other medical doctors were examining him. Once he was fitted with a neck brace and onto a backboard Tucker regained consciousness. The good news for the soon to be 35 year-old is that a CT Scan revealed no damage except for a concussion. Tucker who needed 40 stitches to close an ugly gash from crashing to the ice will be out of action for an indefinite period of time while Ruutu begins serving his suspension that will end on Sunday November 1 when the Canes play the San Jose Sharks. Ruutu who isn’t known for playing dirty will have to pay a $59,067.36 penalty.