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Ice Chips: Holiday Edition

December 21, 2007 | By Steven Ovadia | comment on this post

The holidays certainly do strange things to people. Take Marian Gaborik from the Minnesota Wild. He’s been on a tear lately, with a shocking eight goals in his past four games, putting him at 18 goals and 15 assists on the season. Not bad for a guy who was apologizing to fantasy fans for his low production.

The holidays also seem to agree with New York Ranger Martin Straka. Gaborik torched the Rangers for five goals Thursday night, but Straka put up a goal, giving him five tallies in his last five games. Straka is now playing on a line with Scott Gomez and Jaromir Jagr, and while no one on the still slumbering Rangers really qualifies as hot, Gomez and Straka actually do seem to have an interesting, and more importantly, productive, chemistry.

Production is a funny thing. Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk leads the league with 28 goals but also has a -4. You have to wonder how much he’s really helping anyone out there. It’s especially shocking when you compare him to Ottawa’s Dany Heatley, his former linemate. Heatley has 20 goals and leads the NHL with a +29.

While the numbers certainly aren’t Heatley-esque, Toronto Maple Leaf Nik Antropov is quietly having a career year. He’s never scored more than 18 goals as a pro, and this season he’s already sitting on 15. He’s playing major minutes and it seems to work for him, although he sure screwed the pooch against the ‘Canes earlier this week.

The Week Ahead

  • Saturday, the Sabres play the Flyers, always a cause for Buffalo to wonder if it was the smartest move to trade goalie Martin Biron, he of the .921 save percentage and 2.69 goals against average, within the conference. Of course, the goalie Buffalo kept, Ryan Miller, is nothing to sneeze at. He’s currently riding a four-game winning streak, having given up just two goals in his past two games.
  • Sunday, the Devils pay a visit to the Flames, which isn’t horribly interesting unless you’re mesmerized by Satanic imagery. Look for Ozzy Osbourne to sing the national anthems.
  • Monday and Tuesday the league takes a brief Christmas break. Enjoy the holidays!

The Hockey Blog

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