Patrick Kane is third in the NHL with 16 goals (Getty Images).
By Mike Harrington
Here's an afternoon update of news and notes from around the NHL:
---South Buffalo's Patrick Kane was named the NHL's First Star for November after collecting nine goals and 19 points as the Chicago Blackhawks moved into first place overall. They Hawks did it in part by going 6-1 on their annual extended road trip when the circus moves into United Center. Kane is third in the league with 16 goals and is tied for fifth with 30 points in 28 games this season. The second star was Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin and the third star was Minnesota goalie Josh Harding.
---Pavel Datsyuk missed the Red Wings' Nov. 24 win here over the Sabres with an apparent concussion suffered the night before in Ottawa. Now captain Henrik Zetterberg is out of the lineup for at least two weeks with a herniated disc in his back, the team announced today. He leads the team with 30 points in 19 games. (An aside on Datsyuk: I said the hit by Ottawa's Jared Cowen was worthy of a Shanaban. Now he's been out two weeks and there was no suspension? Terrible).
---The Edmonton Oilers have announced their new arena opening in 2016 will be named Rogers Place. It replaces Rexall Place, the former Northlands Coliseum during the Wayne Gretzky glory days. The building has seen better days and is now well behind its counterparts.
Rogers is just everywhere in Canada, especially with the new TV deal. As friend of the blog and NHL.com senior writer Dan Rosen points out, we already have Rogers Arena (in Vancouver), the NHL has its new multi-billion TV deal with Rogers, Rogers owns 37.5 percent of the Toronto Maple Leafs and, of course, the Blue Jays play in Rogers Centre.
One of the major curiosity dates on the NHL schedule takes place this evening when longtime captain Daniel Alfredsson returns to Ottawa for the first time as a member of the Detroit Red Wings.
It's the biggest story in town in Canada's capital, as evidenced by today's cover of the Ottawa Sun (left). The game is a 5:30 start and will be shown nationwide in Canada, and on NHL Network in the United States.
(* -- If you're looking for Sabres news, they're off today and return to the ice tomorrow *)
It will certainly be interesting to see the reaction for Alfredsson, who is clearly the greatest Senator of all time but was a bit of a turncoat when he spured Ottawa and signed a one-year deal with Detroit in July. I'm sure there are Senators fans who aren't keen on the idea of a tribute.
An aside here: The Sabres correctly never considered a tribute for Daniel Briere and Chris Drury when they returned in 2008 because fan backlash would have been huge. If you remember, they basically both got booed every time they touched the puck. Alfredsson, on the other hand, is essentially the Gilbert Perreault of Ottawa.
(And, for the record, the Sabres still were dopes for not giving Jason Pominville 30 seconds when he returned in October, although the current belief is Darcy Regier nixed that plan. Still, no current Sabres employee has ever confirmed that point to me and it would have made sense to given how they got shredded in my column and by plenty of fans. But I digress...)
"I'm anxious to play the game. What's going to happen will happen," Alfredsson said. "It's very different from anything I've ever gone through before. I don't know what to expect or what's going to happen. I'm hopeful it will be a good night."
Datsyuk has a team-leading 12 goals and is second on the team in scoring with 23 points. The three-time Selke Award winner and four-time recipient of the Lady Byng Trophy was hit by Ottawa defenseman Jared Cowen with 7:48 to play, a clear elbow that television replays caught but neither official did.
Although no penalty was called on the play, Cowen is almost certain to hear from NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan about the play. Check it out here (it's near the top of the screen on the live run).
With Datsyuk out, Detroit general manager Ken Holland said early this morning before boarding the team plane to Buffalo that veteran Daniel Alfredsson will now return to the Detroit lineup. Alfredsson has missed the last five games with a groin pull. He has 42 goals and 84 points in 90 games against Buffalo, with the goal total tied with Jaromir Jagr for the most all-time vs. the Sabres and Alfredsson's most against any team.
Forward Todd Bertuzzi (back) also stayed home and will not play today. The Red Wings are also missing young defense star Danny DeKeyser, who suffered a shoulder injury last week.
The Wings have been a big disappointment of late, going just 1-3-5 in their last nine games and 10-7-7 overall. This will be their third game in four nights.
DETROIT -- The Red Wings were busy this offseason, kicking off free agency by signing big-name forwards Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss. The duo is ready to debut tonight against the Sabres.
"I’m a little disappointed the game’s at 8," Weiss said this morning in Joe Louis Arena. "I’ve got a little
bit more time to wait than usual. I’m just really excited. Can’t wait to get it
The 40-year-old Alfredsson, who's in his 18th season, will play his first game for someone other than the Ottawa Senators.
"It’s just been a process here of getting used to
everything, the guys, the room, playing my first exhibition game at home here
last week," said the notorious Sabres tormentor, who has 84 points in 89 career games against Buffalo. "I can’t say I’ve felt any different. It feels like you’re part of
the team. Obviously, this being a great organization, it’s a lot of fun to be
"It’s been pretty much what I expected. They’re very
professional, pay attention to details. I think we have very good skill on this
team, but the basic message for everybody is if you play within the structure,
we have a good foundation, our skill is going to show at the end of the night.
That’s kind of the theme."
CBC's "Hot Stove" segment on realignment from Saturday night.
By Mike Harrington
I watched the Red Wings-Canucks game Sunday night with a different eye, knowing that it's very possible Joe Louis Arena will be a regular stop for the Sabres come next season.
That was the word late Saturday night from CBC's Elliotte Friedman, who broke on Hockey Night in Canada that the NHL and NHLPA are well on their way to agreeing on a realignment proposal similar to one the players voted down last season but with some key differences.
It will still be a four-conference arrangement but the difference this time is the two Eastern conferences will have eight teams each while the two Western ones will have seven (last year's proposal had it reversed). It will look like this:
John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.
Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.