Around the Rink
Recently, the notion of the NHL expanding into Las Vegas has been in the news quite a bit. This is not necessarily about the concept of professional sports in Las Vegas and whether or not it can work. In the end, at some point, and probably soon, the NHL is going to expand, because it is a great way to make some cash. This is about the fact that, when the time comes, these new teams are going to need names, and here’s hoping these new franchises can be reasonable.
For whatever reason, when new franchise are born, the feel the need to be “inventive” or “unique” when they name their team. This tends to lead to clunky, even stupid, names. We’ve been living in a world where the Blue Jackets and Wild both exist for quite some time. Even the Predators isn’t necessarily a good name, it’s vague in an inane way, and let us not forget that the Mighty Ducks was once a thing. These are the names that were chosen, too. Let us not forget that names such as the Rubber Puckies were apparently given actual consideration, and could have been chosen in some nightmare version of our reality.
There’s no need for this. There’s nothing wrong with being simple, or even doing something that has been done in another sport. They could just be the Las Vegas Tigers, or the Las Vegas Bears. Are those imaginative? No, but they aren’t going to be ridiculed or lampooned, either. So, when expansion does eventually roll around, let these new teams make the unremarkable decision, which, in its own way, is the bolder choice.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
Maple Leafs (James Reimer) vs. Red Wings (Jimmy Howard) 8:00
Oilers (Viktor Fasth) vs. Ducks (Frederik Andersen) 10:00
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check out our Projected Goalies Grid.
Injury News For Teams Playing Wednesday
Carter Ashton, RW (suspension) – Still serving 20-game suspension.
Leo Komarov, LW (head) – Out until at least Saturday.
Roman Polak, D (knee) – On injured reserve.
Justin Abdelkader, LW (upper-body) – Practiced Tuesday, likely out Wednesday.
Jonas Gustavsson, G (shoulder) – Out about a month.
Boyd Gordon, C (back) – Did not play Tuesday, may play Wednesday.
Nikita Nikitin, D (back) – On injured reserve.
Benoit Pouliot, LW (foot) – On injured reserve.
Francois Beauchemin, D (finger) – Out 4-6 weeks.
Eric Brewer, D (foot) – On injured reserve.
John Gibson, G (groin) – Worked out Tuesday, still out indefinitely.
Dany Heatley, LW (groin) – Practiced Monday, return date unknown.
Jason LaBarbera, G (hand) – Out 2-3 weeks.
Ben Lovejoy, D (finger) – Out another week or two.
Corey Perry, RW (knee) – Out 3-4 weeks.
Patrick Marleau, C, SAN – The Sharks sort of tried to move beyond Marleau and Joe Thornton this offseason, although that was all a vague, stupid mess in the end. However, that doesn’t mean Marleau is just going to fade into oblivion. With two assists Tuesday, Marleau has a six game point scoring streak going on. Granted, almost all of those points are assists, but Marleau has seven goals on the season, so he’s still contributing there as well. San Jose still needs Marleau, and so do fantasy owners. Both are getting what they want recently.
Ryan Suter, D, MIN – Suter is more than just a guy who plays about a million minutes a season. Whilst playing almost 30 minutes on Tuesday, Suter tallied three helpers, giving him five assists in his last three games. He doesn’t score a ton of goals, but he gets assists, and he’s pretty much a lock to see more ice time than anybody else in the NHL. That alone has some value, and it gives him plenty of opportunities to notch some points.
Erik Johnson, D, COL – Johnson will never live up to being the first overall pick back in the day, but he has also done enough to avoid being considered a bust, settling into a solid but unspectacular spectrum of defensemen. However, recently, he’s been struggling, as he does not have a point in his last five games, and he is a minus-8 in those games, thanks in part to one minus-4 game. He’s playing a lot of minutes and taking plenty of shots, so he could turn it around soon. Fantasy owners just need to wait for that to happen before trusting him again.
Nathan MacKinnon, C, COL – Not to pile on the Avalanche, but they’ve been going through some bad times. Like Johnson, MacKinnon has not scored in a while, as he is on a four game pointless streak. The problem is scoring is sort of what MacKinnon is asked to do. He also doesn’t have a goal in his last 10 games, and he’s a minus-7 in his last three contests. He won the Calder last year, but if anybody wanted to try and “prove” the sophomore slump exists, they’d be pointing vehemently at MacKinnon.
Mike Ribeiro, C, NSH – Ribeiro has bounced around a lot in his career, his personality tends to wear on teams awfully fast, but there is a reason teams always want to be the one who give him his next chance. Ribeiro picked up two more assists Tuesday, giving him three goals and four helpers in his last five games. The Predators have needed scoring for years, and newcomers James Neal and Ribeiro are providing it so far.