Capitals Add Physicality with Scott Hannan

Looking to shore up their defence the Washington Capitals added some much-needed size and physicality on Tuesday when they acquired 31 year-old Scott Hannan from the Colorado Avalanche for scoring forward Tomas Fleischmann. Hannan, who is a former 1997 San Jose Sharks first round pick has six assists in 23 games with a +1 rating. Hannan is 6-1 and 225 pounds is known for his hard body checks along with his strong defensive play. Over the past several years Hannan has led the Avalanche in blocked shots and dishing out checks. “First and foremost, I would like to thank Scott Hannan for his services to our organization and wish him the best,” said Avalanche General Manager/Executive Vice President Greg Sherman. “In Tomas we are acquiring a top-six forward who is only 26 years old. His addition will bolster our lineup immediately.” Fleischmann who is only 26 years-old had a 23 goal season last year but has slumped to only four goals and 10 points in 26 games. “We liked Tomas a lot. He’s a good guy, he’s played well for us,” Capitals GM Mike McPhee said. “He hasn’t played as well as he can play this year, but I expect that he’ll get that going again.”

Mike Modano Gone Until Playoffs?

Heading ino December it’s safe to say that one of the biggest on ice disappointments this year has been the shortened homecoming for Detroit Red Wings forward Mike Modano. After playing 20 years with the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars organization Modano decided last summer to postpone retirement and sign a one year contract with the Red Wings. This 40 year-old who hails from Livonia Michigan was talked into joining Detroit by their veteran coach Mike Babcock and defenceman Nicklas Lindstrom. Modano, who is the highest scoring American born player with 559 goals and 1367 points was excelling on the third line where he scored two goals and eight points before he got seriously injured. Last Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Modano suffered the misfortune of sufferering a torn tendon in his right wrist which was accidently cut by a R.J. Umberger skate blade. He returned to Detroit that night and underwent surgery on Saturday morning at the Detroit Medical Center. “A guy lost his balance and a skate came up and Mike was sort of stretched out and the skate got under the glove and did significant damage,” Red Wings GM Ken Holland said. “The doctor wants to give it a little time to see how he heals. It’s going to take a period of time to figure out. It’s a significant injury and it’s going to take a significant period of time.” Unfortunately the team doesn’t expect him to play again until around playoff time. Until then coach Babcock said that Modano faces a huge challenge when it comes to rehab. “The commitment he’s going to have to make off-ice is going to be as big as he’s ever made in his career,” Babcock said. ” Because when you arrive back, everything’s going 900 miles an hour. It’s different when you’re 25 than when you’re 35. Those are challenges for him.” Hockey fans especially in Detroit were obviously hoping to see him play and enjoy his skills for an entire season.

NHL Notes

1. AVALANCHE LOSE STEWART TO FRACTURED HAND

There is no question that the young Colorado Avalanche who will be life and death to make the playoffs suffered a huge blow when their young sniper Chris Stewart broke his hand in a fight.
Stewart, who has 11 goals and 25 points on the season got injured in a second period scrap with Kyle Brodziak. Stewart, who is a former Avalanche 2006 first round draft pick, is scheduled to undergo surgery and will be out for somewhere between four to six weeks.

2. CROSBY LEADING ALL STAR GAME VOTING

For a second straight week Pittsburgh Penguins Captain Sidney Crosby is tops among NHL forwards in all-star game votes with 218,791. Among names not on the ballot Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is on top with 145,726 votes in the goalie category. Steve Stamkos, who is having a breakout season with 21 goals, is third with 141,818 votes. Among the league leaders for the January 30th all-star game line-up are Crosby, Stamkos, Jonathan Toews, (139,570) up front. On defence the two highest vote getters are Duncan Keith (137,642) and Chris Pronger with (137,549).

3. BLUES PERRON FEELING BETTER AFTER CONCUSSION

St. Louis Blues forward David Perron is finally starting to feel better after suffering a concussion a few weeks ago against the San Jose Sharks. After suffering a series of headaches Perron who has five goals and seven points this season was injured on a Joe Thornton elbow in the November 5 game. After the hit Perron stayed in the game and even scored a goal in what was a 2-0 Blues victory. There is still no time-table in when he will be back.

Events From the NHL Last week

1. RYPIEN TAKES LEAVE OF ABSENCE

No details have been made available from the Vancouver Canucks who on last Thursday gave bruising winger Rick Rypien a leave of absence. This six-year veteran who has one assist this season got suspended for six games earlier this year when he got physical with a fan in Minnesota. Rypien, who has been a healthy scratch for three straight games will be taking his second indefinite leave of absence in the last three years. “Rick is a valued member of the organization and the club will continue to support Rick in every way possible.”
“Rick is a valued member of the organization and the club will continue to support Rick in every way possible,”

2. TORTORELLA PULLS NO PUNCHES AFTER LOSS TO THE LIGHTNING

New York Rangers coach John Tortorella didn’t hesitate in criticizing his team after they dropped a 5-3 road game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. “We couldn’t even make a pass,” Tortorella said. “We couldn’t even chip a puck in. we just looked brain-dead through the first part of that game. Why? I don’t know… I wish I had the answer.” Gaborik, who has four goals and 10 points in 11 games was singled out for his play by Tortorella. “He’s supposed to be our best player,” Tortorella said. “I looked at their players, and they were pretty good tonight. I didn’t see our best players.”

3. RECCHI REACHES 1,500 CAREER POINTS

At 42 years of age Mark Recchi doesn’t seem to be slowing down. This 21 year veteran reached the 1,500 point plateau in helping his Boston Bruins defeat the Florida Panthers 3-1. Recchi who has played in 1,591 NHL games becomes only the 13th player to hit the 1,500 point plateau. “It’s pretty nice when it comes on a big win like that,” Recchi said. “You get the two goals and it’s important ones and that makes it even more special.”

Last Week Pronger Cost the Flyers an Overtime Win

Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Chris Pronger cost his team an overtime win when he was given a controversial unsportsmanlike penalty which in turn cancelled out a Flyers goal.
According to a Sports Illustrated online report, Pronger who has always been known to play on the edge was parked in the Calgary Flames crease where he waved his glove in front of goalie Miikka Kiprusoff’s face seconds before Mike Richard’s scored the goal that was waved off. Not surprisingly Pronger whose team ended up losing 3-2 in a shootout didn’t agree with the penalty or the referee’s for calling off the goal.
“I wasn’t turned around waving at him,” Pronger said. “I put my hand back on my stick as the puck went in the net. It’s infuriating. It should’ve been two points instead of one.There’s no question about it. All you have to do is watch the replay. It doesn’t really matter, does it? I’m not going to get into a he said she said with the refs.”

Johan Hedberg Makes a Statement in New Jersey

New Jersey Devils backup goalie Johan Hedberg made quite the statement on Saturday as he made more than 40 saves in leading his team to a 2-1 shootout win against the Philadelphia Flyers. After regulation Hedberg, who is making his fourth straight start for injured started Martin Brodeur was also money in the shootout as he stopped three of the four shooters. When Jersey’s Travis Zajac scored to win it in the fourth round, it marked the Devils third win in the last four games. “I think it’s a team thing for me,” Hedberg whose Devils started out 5-13-2 said. “We started something good a few games ago. It’s put the goaltender in a different position. We’re way more sound. That’s the way we’ve got to play.” Even though the Devils are currently 14th in the Eastern Conference and seven points out of a playoff spot they still believe that it’s possible to make the playoffs. “It was a good week for us,” Devils coach John MacLean said. “We need to look that we got six of wight points. Going into next week, if we keep doing that, we’ll be in good shape.” Adam Mair scored for the Devils in regulation as did Danny Briere for the Flyers. “We progressed and got better as the game went on,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. “We fought for a point in the third period. Hedburg was pretty good, but our guy was too.”

Islanders Snap 14 Game Losing Streak

In what has been a lost season the New York Islanders finally have something to feel good about when on Saturday they snapped an ugly 14 game losing streak at home against the New Jersey Devils. After a promising start to the season New York who have been decimated with injuries quickly fell out of the playoff race and entered Saturday’s game one loss shy of their franchise record of 15 set in 1999. Staring for the Islanders against New Jersey was goallie Rick DiPietro who saved all 29 shots in what was a 2-0 win. “It’s like a big weight was taken off our shoulders,” Islanders center John Tavares said. “It was a great job by the penalty killers, and a great job by Ricky.” Scoring for the Islanders were forwards Rob Schremp and Jesse Joensuu. This game marked a special milestone for Jack Capuano who gained his first NHL win. Since taking over from Scott Gordon he has registered a 0-2-2 record heading into Saturday’s contest. “I was happy for the guys,” Capuano said. “We’ve worked very hard lately, and it’s nice to get rewarded.”