James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Alex Ovechkin sits and skips

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


As Tuesday’s Daily Dose anticipated, Alex Ovechkin won’t participate in the 2012 All-Star Game. In a way, it’s as “political” a protest as Tim Thomas giving the White House the shaft even though the target is the NHL’s disciplinary wing rather than the federal government. Ovechkin isn’t pleased with the three-game suspension he received for his questionable check on Zbynek Michalek, so he’ll provide some civil disobedience by way of passing on this weekend’s festivities.

 

While the three-game suspension is far from a good thing for fantasy owners, the combination of that and his little siesta on the weekend might just make for a strong stretch run for Ovechkin, who won’t play in another NHL game until Feb. 4.

 

As I discussed yesterday, Ovechkin hasn’t had many opportunities to rest, so this could give him a great chance to heal up a bit. Of course, it’s pretty tough to imagine Ovi totally taking it easy – perhaps playing hockey merely slows him down – but a little break from the wear and tear could do some great things for him as the season’s stretch run approaches.

 

In fact, this might be a rather brilliant time to strike with a trade offer for the Washington Capitals captain. Owners are likely frustrated with him after a season riddled with borderline indifferent play, but losing him altogether for three games might be the clincher for some. He only has two missed games left after Tuesday’s game but it could still be a good time to strike since you could market the deal as the other party “gaining” two nights of production in the process.


BURNS BUNRED

 

A bad-luck knee-to-knee hit from Ales Hemsky looks to the sideline San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns for an unknown amount of time. Well, it’s unknown at this moment, but word is that an update will be provided sometime today.

 

The Sharks could be in an awfully intriguing situation once the trade deadline rolls around, by the way. With Burns’ situation up in the air and the hazy situations for forwards Ryane Clowe and Martin Havlat in mind, it’s quite possible that GM Doug Wilson might be forced into a corner. Could that mean a big move or two? I have no idea, but it has the makings of an entertaining scenario if the offers start to fly.

 

MORE BANGED UP BLUELINERS

 

Burns isn’t the only blueliner who’s dealing with injury issues. Two defensemen from Southeast Division teams are also fighting through problems with their knees.

 

The first is young Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitri Kulikov. Knee surgery looks to sideline him for six-to-eight weeks, meaning that he won’t be back until March and could miss almost all of the regular season. It’ll be interesting to see if he’ll be revving up for the playoffs by then or if his Panthers will cave in after losing some important defensemen or just being hit hard by reality.

 

Knee surgery will keep Carolina Hurricanes blueliner Joni Pitkanen out until March, too, although he’s also reportedly dealing with concussion issues. It wouldn’t be shocking if the former Flyers player barely plays another game considering how far the Canes are out of the playoffs.


CROSBY AT THE BEACH

 

It doesn’t appear that there is much to update about Sidney Crosby’s concussion situation, but the latest little nugget doesn’t exactly fill one up with optimism about the prospects of him returning anytime soon. Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma told reports that Crosby will stay in California for more than just the time it takes to run tests with the spinal/concussion specialists he’s working with.

 

Going on a little vacation might seem absurd to some since he’s only played eight games so far this season, but my guess is that this process has been almost as exhausting as going through an 82-game season.

 

The recovery might just match the significant amounts of ups and downs, too.


QUICK HITS

 

Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray said that he won’t trade Teemu Selanne, period … We’ve discussed All-Star hold-outs, but what about the guys who will take their place? It looks like Scott Hartnell will take Jonathan Toews’ vacated spot while Ovechkin’s slot is still open. Rumor has it that James Neal might be the guy who gets the call, but we’ll see. One thing is clear: if there was a fantasy All-Star Game, Neal and Hartnell would almost certainly make it … The Penguins won their seventh straight win by topping the Blues in a shootout while the Sabres ended their team-record 12-game road losing streak by winning a skills competition against the Devils … Mathieu Perreault’s hat trick powered the Capitals to a win against the Boston Bruins last night … Henrik Lundqvist, Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi earned shutouts on Tuesday. Lehtonen and Niemi might deserve bonus points for doing so while their teams only scored a goal. (Lundqvist's Rangers handled the Winnipeg Jets 3-0.)

 

INJURY SNIPES


Alex Tanguay returned to action after missing about a month … Toews was placed on the injured reserve. Evander Kane was, too … Patrick Sharp could be back after All-Star weekend … Brenden Morrow is also on the IR … Victor Hedman remains in concussion limbo. (Click here to read the full injury list.)



James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.
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