Friday night around the NHL

1. OMARK SENT BACK DOWN TO THE AHL

Linus Omark who made news around the NHL a few weeks ago for his unorthodox shootout goal was sent back down to Oklahoma City on Friday afternoon. Omark, who had a goal and five assists in eight games with the Edmonton Oilers had scored 13 goals and 26 points in as many games with Oklahoma before being called up. Omark, who was a 2007 fourth round draft choice will always be remembered for the spin-o-rama shootout goal which gave the Oilers a 4-3 win against the Anaheim Ducks.

2. STAAL COULD BE BACK FOR WINTER CLASSIC

The Pittsburgh Penguins are about to get that much better as forward Jordan Staal is set to make his season debut. This former 2006 first rounder who has been out all season with an infective foot and broken hand is targetting a Saturday night return against the Washington Capitals in the Outdoor Winter Classic. Prior to this season Staal played four straight seasons without missing a game.

3. GETZLAF OUT INDEFINATELY

Ryan Getzlaf, who has 13 goals and 37 points on the season will be missing from the Anaheim Ducks for an indefinate period of time due to suffering multiple nasal sinis fractures in his face. This accident occured on Tuesday night during a 3-1 loss against the Phoenix Coyotes, when Getzlaf took a puck to the forehead. On Friday Getzlaf will be undergoing further tests to determine the extent of the injuries.

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Sidney Crosby’s Consecutive Games Point Streak Ends at 25

Surprisingly it was the lowly New York Islanders who put an abrupt halt to Sidney Crosby’s consecutive game’s point streak. What makes this so surprising is that throughout his career Crosby has always dominated the Islanders by scoring 62 points in 33 games. Wednesday night however belonged to the New York Islanders who enjoyed the highlight of their dismal season by not only shutting out Crosby but beating the first place Penguins 2-1 in a shootout. “It would’ve been nice to keep things going, but it was one of those games,” Crosby said. Playing a huge role for the Islanders was veteran goalie Rick DiPietro who made 37 saves including several on Crosby. Afterwards the 29 year-old was quick to praise his team for the quality effort on Crosby. “That wasn’t me. It was a complete team effort,” DiPietro said. “The defensive corps played with a lot of focus and a lot of heart. When we’re playing smart in our defensive zone, we’re a good hockey team.” Scoring for New York was Josh Bailey and P.A. Parenteau with the shootout winner. Meanwhile scoring for Pittsburgh was Chris Conner. During Crosby’s point streak the Penguins, who are first overall have gone an impressive 19-5-1. Over the past two years Pittsburgh have gon 16-4-1 against New York since the start of the 2007/08 season. Over the past two years they have dominated to the tune of a 11-1-1 record.
Note: The last time Crosby was shut out in a game was way back on November 3 against the Dallas Stars.

Thursday news around the NHL

1. BLACKHAWKS LOSE TOEWS TO INJURY

The Chicago Blackhawks must feel like they’re cursed as they can’t seem to dodge that dreaded injury bug. One day after getting scoring forwards Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa back from lengthy injuries the Hawks lost their captain Jonathan Toews to what is being described as an upper body injury. Toews, who has 15 goals and 33 points is expected to miss the next two weeks. “The tests that were done, I think we got a pretty good read on him,” coach Joel Quenneville said on Wednesday. “I think [Tuesday] night we had a pretty good idea, and he’s feeling OK [Wednesday]. That’s kind of where we are at.”

2. LEAFS SEND KADRI BACK DOWN

After being held scoreless in 17 games the Toronto Maple Leafs have decided to send their 2009 first round pick Nazem Kadri back down to the Toronto Marlies. Kadri who has scored and impressive five goals and 14 points with the Marlies will not play the first two games due to a two game suspension he earned back on November 11 against the Adirondack Phantoms. In his stay with the Leafs Kadri registered six assists.

3. Flyers Lose Shelley To Suspension

The Philadelphia Flyers will be without the services of their tough guy Jody Shelley who was suspended for a couple of games due to punching Vancouver Canucks Andrew Alberts during a scrum. Shelley, who has 83 penalty minutes was given a match penalty which automatically means a hearing with the league. On December 13 Shelley also got into toruble by the league when he was suspended also from two games due to a hit from behind on Boston Bruins defenceman Adam McQuaid.

Subban Shows Frustration at Canadiens Practice

Perhaps it was frustration from sitting out five of the past 12 games which got the better of P.K. Subban who got into a heated discussion with a couple of his Montreal Canadiens teammates during Monday morning practice. Subban who has 11 points and a -1 rating in 31 games this year apparently was taking out some bent up frustrations with teammate Tomas Plekanec in practice when Maxim Lapierre came over and began jawing with Subban. At that point veteran defenceman Roman Hamrlik broke up the confrontation just before things turned physical. Naturally Subban emphasized afterwards that what happened was no big deal. “It’s practice, it’s battling. It’s tough,” Subban said. “When you’re doing three-on-two drills and three-on-three, there is going to be chippy battles in front of the net. You’ve just got to work through it. It was a good practice today.” Subban, who was defended afterwards by team captain Brian Gionta for his actions told the media that despite being disappointed about not playing he will continue to work hard and be ready when called upon. In a tail spin which has seen the Canadiens lose six of their past eight games, there is a good chance that Subban will very shortly be back playing. “Like I said at the start of the year my mentality is to come to the rink everyday, trying to learn and get better. It’s the same thing now,” said Subban. “Everyday you’re learning in a different way and you have to take it all in positively. Today was just another opportunity for me to go out there and get better and try to make the best of it.”

NHL notes for a Monday night

1. CLEARY OUT FOR RED WINGS

Approximately one week after losing high scoring forward Pavel Datsyuk the Detroit Red Wings suffered another big blow. Last Sunday during a 4-1 win against the Minnesota Wild, Dan Cleary who was having a big season for the Wings fractured his ankle when he was hit by a slapshot taken from his teammate Brad Stuart. Prior to the injury Cleary scored what was his team leading 16th goal. It’s estimated that Cleary who has 26 points on the season will miss about a month.

2. FORSBERG NOT COMING BACK

Contrary to all the rumours former NHL forward Peter Forsberg won’t be making a comeback in the NHL or for that matter with MODO. Apparently Forsberg missed a team practice on Sunday with MODO and left a voice message with the team which translated to English read “There will be no comeback – the foot is not for games.” The foot injury, which has lingered for the past few years limited Forsberg to only 23 games last year with MODO. During his NHL career Forsberg had a borderline hall of fame career as he scored 249 goals and 885 points in only 706 games suring what was a 12 year career.

3. KANE TARGETTING A TUESDAY RETURN

The Chicago Blackhawks received some welcoming news as it was announced by coach Joel Quenneville that scoring forward Patrick Kane will more than likely be returning Tuesday night against the St. Louis Blues. Kane, who has 11 goals and 27 points on the season has missed eight straight games due to a nagging ankle injury. “I’m really happy with the last couple days, [but] I think once you get in a game it’s a little bit different,” Kane said. “For now I’m pretty happy with it.”

Spezza Sidelined with Shoulder Injury

The uphill battle for a playoff spot just became that much harder for the Ottawa Senators who lost scoring forward Jason Spezza with a shoulder injury. Ottawa, who are currently four points behind the Boston Bruins for that final playoff spot will be without Spezza for the second time due to injury this season. Spezza, who missed some time last month with a groin injury is a major part of Ottawa’s offence as seen by his nine goals and 20 points this season. This second injury, which came in a 3-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday night-time is deemed to be more serious than the groin was. The injury occurred when Spezza was taken forcefully into the boards by Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Kris Letang. “We’ll just take it day by day and see but it’s not going to be any time soon,” Spezza said about his return. “I knew something was wrong. The shoulder didn’t feel good and I just knew when I got off the ice that something was pretty bad.” Spezza who is a former 2001 Senators first round draft pick said. “He doesn’t have to push me there,” Spezza said about Letang. “My back is to him the whole time, I’m going for the puck. I think he even realized that he pushed me and he tried to catch me, I think.” “It is what it is and it happens. The league will look at it I’m sure.”

Canada’s Jaden Schwartz Playing for Sister

No one can question the character and inner strength shown by Team Canada’s forward Jaden Schwartz who is on a mission to win gold at the World Junior Championships for his cancer stricken sister Mandi who is undergoing chemo sessions at the hospital in Seattle. Jaden Schwartz, who plays for Colorado College admits to finding it hard focusing all his attention on the tournament without thinking about his older sister. “It’s tough, but it makes me want to win it for her even more,” Schwartz said about his sister who was first diagnosed with leukemia a couple of years ago while a member of the Yale University women’s hockey team. “This is Christmas and it’s a time you want to be with your family, but I’m trying to keep my focus on the task at hand.” In September Mandi was given a stem-cell transplant after radiation and chemotherapy had a negative effect on her immune system. Recently the family was dealt a huge blow as the cancer returned to Mandi’s system. Besides for another round of chemotherapy Mandi is also being set up for a trial with an experimental drug. 29sports.com will be pulling for Jaden Schwartz to achieve that ultimate goal of winning and presenting her with the gold medal.