Friday, 1 February 2008

Essays And Accolades

Hockey Blog In Canada's Essay Contest ended last night, and I'm now on to reviewing and reading through the essays that were submitted. Personally, I think those that submitted them did a great job, and should be rewarded. So they will be. Thank you to the TWO PEOPLE who decided to take up the challenge and actually put fingers-to-keyboard to come up with their essays. Rather than splitting hairs over who had the better essay, you two will now split the prizes. That's right: schwag just for writing something. Pretty good deal, I'd say. I'll be in contact with the two writers this week regarding the prizes won, and what relevant info I need to get the prizes to you. Congratulations to these two writers!

Settling In Music City: I would assume that Sage Confucius will be happy with this announcement. Winger J.P. Dumont has signed an extension with the Nashville Predators for four years worth a reported $16 million. The Montreal native was to become a free agent at the end of this season. This signing pretty much guarantees that he won't be moved at the trade deadline.

Yesterday, the Predators signed Jordin Tootoo to a to a two-year, $1.95 million contract as well. Over 210 NHL games, Tootoo has recorded 40 points and over 365 PIMs. He has seven goals and 13 points in 41 games this season.

"Since we drafted Jordin in 2001, we have seen him blossom into a complete player, as evidenced by his gradual increase in production since breaking into the NHL," said Predators general manager David Poile in a statement.

"Jordin is a physical player that can not only get under opponents' skin and draw penalties, but has proven he can score at this level as well. We are excited about watching his continued development over the next two seasons."

A couple of good re-signings for the Nashville franchise in my humble opinion.

First Doughnut: Stephen Valiquette made 20 saves to lead the New York Rangers to a 4-0 win over their divisional rivals in the Philadelphia Flyers. It was Valiquette's first career NHL shutout. Philly had not scored less than three goals since January 4 before running into Valiquette, and was clipping along with a 12-2-1 streak. The Rangers need to start defeating some of the teams ahead of them in their division, and Valiquette said the win was good for the team.

"I'm pumped, yeah, but with a 4-0 win, we're more excited about that as a team than a shutout for me, that's for sure," he said to the Canadian Press. They now trail the division-leading Flyers by five points. He also spoke of the importance of the Rangers' upcoming games.

"As long as we carry it over tomorrow in New Jersey and Sunday in Montreal, then we're back in the playoff picture and nobody can count us out anymore," Valiquette said.

Congratulations to Valiquette on his first career shutout!

Stitches And Scores: Alexander Ovechkin is now your leader in two NHL categories: points and goals. He also picked up some stitches as the Washington Capitals' winger broke his nose when he was sent into the boards hard last night against Montreal Canadiens' defenceman Francis Bouillon.

Ovechkin scored four goals to give him 43 on the season, including the overtime winner, and assisted on the other Capitals goal to lead his team to a 5-4 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in the extra frame. His point total of 70 is now two points better than Daniel Alfredsson, who didn't play in last night's Ottawa-Boston game due to an injury. It's the first time ever that the winger has led the league in scoring in his career.

Even his teammates were impressed with Ovechkin's performance.

"The way Ovie scored the goals today, he's pretty amazing," linemate Viktor Kozlov said to the Canadian Press. "Alex's game is excellent, excellent. Hitting people, passing, scoring. I don't know what else forwards could do."

Congratulations on Ovechkin's impressive performance, and for his lead in two major statistical categories!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Sage Confucius said...

Yes, I am glad that Dumont will be staying around for a while. He's having a good year and is quickly becoming a team leader. Tootoo is fun to watch, and he's definitely developing into a better offensive threat. It's good to see the Preds locking up some players for extended periods.

However, I fear that they will once again sell their souls again at the trade deadline hoping they get one player that will win them a playoff series. Look how well things worked out with Forsberg. Philly seems to be quite happy with Timonen and Hartnell.

This season is a rebuilding one. That was decided during the fire sale of uncertainty over the summer. Now that the ownership issue is decided I hope they will get some good talent in during the off season.