James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Hold your breath for Hossa

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


SURGING SHEA

You know how I’ve consistently preached patience? Every now and then, my advice actually shines through a bit. No, really. Shea Weber’s the latest example of a player who’s been on a cold streak only to snap out of things and produce nicely.

After going 14 games without scoring a goal, Weber now has a three-game goal-scoring streak. That includes Tuesday’s two-point output, where he collected an assist but most importantly an overtime game-winner.

The big defenseman now has six of his seven points in a four-game run. If things go well, he could just hit double digits in tallies for the fifth straight season, even if it's only 48 games.

Even if that doesn't happen, Weber is starting to pay off.

BUMPS FOR BACKUPS

Tuesday’s Daily Dose focused on backups while Tuesday night’s games provided a little more data for us to chew on. For the most part, it wasn’t great.

Ben Scrivens, who still provides a bit of intrigue but lacks much of the sizzle, was pulled in Toronto's 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. He made way for Jussi Rynnas, another guy who is fighting for time behind James Reimer.

Jake Allen’s three-game winning streak came to an end as the San Jose Sharks beat his St. Louis Blues 2-1. That's not an awful output, obviously, but the goal he allowed against Tim Kennedy was a real softie. Makes you wonder if that might be enough to let some of the air out of his balloon. Jaroslav Halak is expected to play on Wednesday; we'll see if Allen backs him up or if Brian Elliott dresses instead.

Rick DiPietro was Rick DiPietro. Hopefully you haven’t invested anything in him. Conversely, Ray Emery went to 6-0-0 as the Chicago Blackhawks tied the NHL record with points in their first 16 games of the season. Again, he’s probably my favorite backup option.

One interesting wild card to ponder: Nikolai Khabibulin. Despite his 1-2-0 record, "The Bulin Wall" is putting up impressive numbers. He has a .940 save percentage and 1.91 GAA. The Russian goalie doesn't have much left in the tank at 40, but I'm narratively obligated to mention that he's had shocking success in contract years. He stole Cristobal Huet's starting job in Chicago and won a Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2003-04.

I’m not saying add Khabibulin right away, especially since Devan Dubnyk’s performances have been sneaky-good, although I’d watch list him.

INJURY NOTES (full list) and QUICK HITS

Alex Galchenyuk is having a really nice rookie season, with 10 points in 16 games so far … If Ottawa has a chance, Craig Anderson will drive the bus. He stopped 37 out of 38 shots on Tuesday in yet another impressive performance … Brent Seabrook is day-to-day with a lower-body injury … Be warned: Michael Ryder and Mikko Koivu are the latest players dealing with illnesses that might or might not make them miss some time … You know who’s gotten a raw deal lately? Antti Niemi. He went 0-2-3 in the five games before Tuesday’s win, despite great overall numbers. Still, a hot start keeps his record reasonable enough … Maybe Jonathan Quick finally has it together?



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


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