BY THE NUMBERS
Of the approximately 24 million ballots cast by fans for the NHL's all-star game in Ottawa, the number of votes received by Vancouver's Henrik Sedin, the NHL's scoring leader, good for 21st among forwards. Brother Daniel didn't fare much better either. The NHL's No. 2 scorer finished 19th among forwards, with 180,636 votes.
Number of votes received by Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings for the all-star game, fifth among goaltenders, but the overwhelming leader among players not officially on the ballot. All of Howard's support came via a write-in campaign.
"I acknowledge my mistake, regret my action and take full responsibility. I accept the decision rendered by Brendan Shanahan on behalf of the league. I apologize to my teammates, the Flames organization and to Niklas Backstrom. I am embarrassed for what I did. These are exactly the type of plays that need to be eliminated from hockey." ~ Rene Bourque
The Flames forward accepts his five-game suspension for elbowing Washington's Backstrom, a few weeks after being unrepentant for a hit on the Blackhawks' Brent Seabrook that cost him two games.
"I've put all my trust and loyalty into this organization. I'd have to trust them 100 per cent, whatever their decisions are." ~ Rick Nash
The Columbus Blue Jackets star says the only way he would waive his no-trade clause was if the organization told him they wanted to move his playing rights as part of a rebuilding process. GM Scott Howson later confirmed that Nash was going nowhere.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
we believed and never gave up. People will have their own opinions and views. Heads held high, live and learn #kneestoheadhurt
Canada's world junior goalie laments what might have been at this year's tournament, after the team lost a chance for the gold medal in a 6-5 semi-final loss to Russia.
AROUND THE RINKS ERIC DUHATSCHEK
Don't look now but the NHL's rookie-of-the-year race just got a little more interesting. A third of the way into the season, the Edmonton Oilers' Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was running away with the Calder, but then he hurt his shoulder and is on the sidelines until February. The New Jersey Devils' Adam Henrique, who started the year in the minors and a month ago was fifth in the rookie scoring race, had a December to remember, closing what was a 12-point gap on Dec. 6 to just seven. Even after Travis Zajac returned (and then subsequently missed some time with a swollen Achilles' tendon), Henrique continued to get big minutes for the Devils, who are in a soft rebuild of their own, and likely will chase Nugent-Hopkins to the finish line. And even though he's seemingly been around forever, Vancouver's Cody Hodgson qualifies as a rookie, although, at 13 minutes per night of ice time, it is unlikely that he will inject himself into the Calder race.
Ending Florida's long playoff drought hinges on a lot of factors, including good health of goaltender Jose Theodore, who was signed to replace Tomas Vokoun but is currently on the sidelines with a knee injury. Theodore is a sparkling 14-6-1 as the Panthers' starter and his GAA of 2.43 is lower than in any full season since 2003-04 (2.27) when he was still in Montreal. Theodore's injury, which is not expected to cost him any significant time, temporarily leaves the goaltending in the hands of Scott Clemmensen and Jacob Markstrom and in a bid to shore up their defensive commitment, the Panthers signed veteran centre John Madden to a contract for the balance of the season. Madden played for the Chicago Blackhawks' 2009 Stanley Cup champions, a team formerly run by Panthers GM Dale Tallon. Edmonton, Minnesota and Toronto, three of the year's surprise teams early on, have fallen off the pace, but Florida continues to hold on to top spot in the Southeast, where it is being chased by Winnipeg as hard as it is by Washington. Florida last made the playoffs in the 1999-00 season.
The Anaheim Ducks were in all the trade rumours this week, after general manager Bob Murray suggested to both the L.A. Times and Orange County Register that there are no untouchables on his disappointing underperforming team, save for Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu, both of whom are protected by no-trade clauses. Anaheim and Toronto have a recent history of transactions – Murray inherited the Ducks job after his predecessor, Brian Burke, left for Toronto to run the Leafs – so naturally, all the chatter was who, among the players made available in Anaheim's fire sale, might Toronto land: Ryan Getzlaf? Corey Perry? Bobby Ryan? Burke has a long-documented wish for a dominant No. 1 centre, which is what the slumping Getzlaf would be – or could be again. Meanwhile, one of the many former Leafs to land with the Ducks, Jason Blake, finally returned to the Anaheim lineup this past week after missing almost three months recovering from severed wrist tendons, an injury suffered when the skate of San Jose Sharks' defenceman Brent Burns accidentally sliced him open.