It's Louis Riel Day in my neighbourhood. Apparently, the rest of Canada is celebrating "Family Day". While I'm not going to spin this into a political message in honouring the efforts of Louis Riel to get the Métis people in Canada some basic human rights, I hope everyone is enjoying the day off. As for me, I'm suffering with a ridiculous head cold, and I really am struggling to stay awake. However, because I'm a slave to my work, Hockey Blog In Canada isn't taking a day off. Lots of stuff to look at today, and we'll cover as much as possible while I'm awake. If you happen to notice that this entry ends abruptly, just roll with it.
- Great moment in Nashville tonight by Ottawa goaltender Alex Auld. Normally, goaltenders stand in their crease during the national anthems and wait for the game to begin. Tonight, Auld skated over to the boards and looked directly at the members of the US Armed Forces in attendance while the Star-Spangled Banner played. Auld, the son of a military man, paid a huge tribute to the men and women in the crowd from the US Armed Forces, and it is definitely worth mentioning.
- Pittsburgh's playoff hopes took a serious blow today in their shootout loss to the New York Islanders. While I'm not going to pass judgment on interim head coach Dan Bylsma after today's game, I will say that coaching a team that you haven't even seen practice is ridiculous. This is a team in serious turmoil right now, and it will take a big effort to get the Penguins playing as well as they were last season at this time.
- The NHL Trade Deadline is 15 days away, and one of the assets everyone wants is off the board. The Montreal Canadiens dealt two draft picks to the Atlanta Thrashers for defenceman Mathieu Schneider. Schneider has played in Montreal, so he knows the expectations, and he will be relied upon to get a stagnant powerplay back in gear. Atlanta gets a couple of picks they can use in 2009 and 2010. If I'm Ilya Kovalchuk, I'd be booking a one-way ticket out of Atlanta for the day after my contract expires.
- Sunday night saw London Knights forward John Tavares notch his 200th goal in the OHL. Tavares scored in overtime on the powerplay to give London a 3-2 win over the Kitchener Rangers. Congratulations to Tavares for reaching the 200-goal plateau!
- The QMJHL's Rimouski Oceanic appear to be ready to host this season's Memorial Cup. Last night, the Oceanic defeated the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 6-2 for their eleventh straight win. After starting the season on a seven-game losing streak, the Oceanic have turned it around, clinching a playoff spot in the QMJHL playoffs already. Congratulations to the Oceanic on the turn-around, and here's to a successful Memorial Cup!
- The AHL's Manitoba Moose have opened up a seven-point lead on the Hershey Bears and Milwaukee Admirals after they swept this weekend's games. The only problem? The schedule! Manitoba has now played 57 games - two more than Hershey, and four more than Milwaukee! This is still a race no matter how you look at it, and Manitoba shouldn't rest comfortably on its laurels.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!