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Los Angeles Kings' Dustin Penner (file photo).

Julio Cortez/AP

You can't make this stuff up: On National Pancake Day, Feb. 5, the Los Angeles Kings made Dustin Penner a healthy scratch for the fourth time this season. It was the same day that the Kings' FoxSportsWest affiliate broadcast a feature on Penner's day with the Stanley Cup, which began in Winkler, Man., with his mother making, er, crêpes, for breakfast. Penner appeared to emerge from the meal injury-free. … Andrei Loktionov played in 39 regular-season and two playoff games for the Kings last season, but didn't get his name on the Stanley Cup when they won last spring. Kevin Westgarth (25 regular-season, zero playoff games) did. Both are now ex-Kings, Loktionov traded this week to the New Jersey Devils for a fifth-round pick. Loktionov didn't get a training-camp invite for the shortened NHL season, even though the Kings' starting centre, Anze Kopitar, was injured, a clear sign he didn't figure in the organization's future. … Think maybe the Washington Capitals are having second thoughts about firing Bruce Boudreau after a 12-9-1 start last year? Since then, they've used Dale Hunter and now Adam Oates behind the bench and things are getting worse, not better. The Caps were 30th out of 30 teams entering play Thursday, which is also where they were when Boudreau took over from Glen Hanlon on an interim basis in November of 2007. Overall, Boudreau had a .672 winning percentage in Washington (201-88-40) and became the fastest coach in the NHL's modern era to win 200 games. His current team, the Anaheim Ducks, are off to a 7-1-1 start. … The goalie controversy, the absence of Ryan Kesler, the minuscule secondary scoring – and still the Vancouver Canucks were 5-2-2 in their first nine games. Will coach Alain Vigneault ever get a little love from the Jack Adams Trophy voters for how he steers the good ship Canuck through those daily stormy waters? … The goaltending guard rarely changes in the NHL, but the Ducks may have a keeper in Viktor Fasth, a 30-year-old from Sweden, who was the top goalie in the Elitserien the past two years and has outplayed Jonas Hiller in the early going. Fasth would not be the first 30-something goalie to become an overnight NHL sensation. Most recent example: the New York Islanders' Tim Thomas, currently on an NHL hiatus after helping the Boston Bruins win the 2011 Stanley Cup. … Unhappy with how he'd been playing, the Dallas Stars made defenceman Alex Goligoski a healthy scratch Wednesday night against the Oilers. Goligoski arrived in Dallas in February of 2011 from Pittsburgh to add an offensive presence to the blueline and is its second-highest-paid player. So far the deal looks heavily skewed in the Penguins' favour. James Neal, who went the other way, had 40 goals for the Pens last season and the throw-in, defenceman Matt Niskanen, is playing 18-plus minutes a night for them. … Three weeks in, only one NHL player has scored a point in every one of his team's games: the Edmonton Oilers' Sam Gagner, who last year was the only NHLer to score eight points in a single game. Gagner's contributions were heightened by the Oilers' long list of injuries to centres: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Shawn Horcoff and Eric Belanger were all out of action for Wednesday's OT loss to Dallas, a game in which Anton Lander left with a foot injury It gave Mark Arcobello a chance to make his NHL debut against Dallas, centring the top line with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. Arcobello had some success doing that in the AHL, after Nugent-Hopkins left the Oklahoma City Barons to play for Canada in the world junior tournament. Arcobello, who was in the ECHL (Stockton Thunder) just three years ago, was returned to the minors after the game. … The San Jose Sharks cooled off after their red-hot start, largely because of a power-play outage. After going 30.8 per cent in the first seven games (7-0), which propelled Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau into the NHL scoring lead, they went just 1-for-14 in the next three games and managed just a 0-2-1 record. … Anaheim gave up a fifth-rounder to Pittsburgh for depth defenceman Ben Lovejoy because Cam Fowler is on injured reserve with a head injury of undisclosed severity. … Defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky, the reluctant Islander, finally showed up for work this week, after twice balking at the opportunity. First, Visnovsky tried to have the trade – from Anaheim for a second-rounder – voided, then refused to report after starting the year in the KHL. Visnovsky is 36, but only two years removed from a 68-point season. If he passes his medical and gets his paperwork in order, he could play as early as Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres.

BY THE NUMBERS

2

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Of their past 31 games, number of road wins for the Minnesota Wild, dating to last season.

668

Career NHL goals for Jaromir Jagr after scoring the OT winner against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday, moving him into a tie for 10th place with Luc Robitaille. Next to overhaul: his former employer, Mario Lemieux, at 690.

4

Consecutive games in which Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller has allowed four goals, something that hadn't happened since November of 2006.

THEY SAID IT

"We're winning games, so it doesn't matter."

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~Shea Weber...The Nashville Predators' defenceman and Norris Trophy finalist has zero points in his first nine games, after scoring 49 points in 82 games last year.

"I think we haven't adjusted well to the new rules. They're cracking down on pretty much everything, and that's something for us players that we have to do a better job staying within the limits."

~ Niklas Kronwall...The Detroit Red Wings' defenceman discusses how NHL officials are calling it tighter again, after criticism last spring that the officiating standard had become too lax in the playoffs.

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About the Author

Eric was the winner of the Hockey Hall Of Fame's Elmer Ferguson award for "distinguished contributions to hockey writing" in 2001. A graduate of the University of Western Ontario's grad school of journalism, he began covering hockey in 1978 and after spending 20 years covering the NHL and the Calgary Flames, joined The Globe in 2000. More

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