With only two games on the schedule Monday night, Cisco NHL Live with Steve Mears and EJ Hradek, at 5 p.m. ET on the NHL Network, will have both covered. We'll get a pre-game interview on our Cisco NHL Arena Cam in Ottawa with Bruce Garrioch form the Ottawa Sun. We'll also break down the third and final meeting between the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings. Fresh off his hat trick and five-point game Sunday night, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Chris Kunitz will also join the show as well as Colorado Avalanche forward Ryan O'Reilly, who has scored in each of his past two games.
NHL Network insider Bob McKenzie will drop by the show to give the latest on realignment and some trade rumors floating around. We'll also examine some lesser known league leaders with our resident coach NHL Network analyst Barry Melrose.
Don't forget to submit your #AskEJ questions through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL, and stick around for the shootout as EJ picks both games being played on Monday.
As the NHL season chugs along, all but one team has reached the halfway point in its season, and the one team that hasn't, the Los Angeles Kings, will get there Monday when they play the Calgary Flames. With the abbreviated 2012-13 season moving so quickly, it's amazing that we're already halfway through the schedule, but it doesn't mean we can't see which players are having tremendous seasons and who has the leg up for this season's major honors.
Here are my picks for some of the NHL's major awards at the midway point:
One of the most important things to me is that I just don't think an MVP can be on a team that doesn't make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Plenty of players are having great seasons, but players like Steven Stamkos or John Tavares probably are not going to be in the postseason mix at the end. I've got to look at a team that's going to the playoffs and right now Pittsburgh is winning even if they really aren't playing that well, and Sidney Crosby is the reason. Sid is leading the NHL in scoring and assists. On Saturday night he scored a goal against Toronto and then got the winner in the shootout, and with Evgeni Malkin missing chunks of time, Sid is regularly seeing the other team's best players every night and he's still producing. He's very quietly had a great year, and it looks like he's playing hard as if his injury worries are a thing of the past. He's flying around and playing with reckless abandon because he's confident that his injury won't come back every time he gets nailed. He's past that mentally and all the good things in Pittsburgh this season -- the Pens' record, Chris Kunitz's 17 goals, Pascal Dupuis' 11 goals -- those just don't happen without Sid.
Cory Schneider started the Canucks' previous three games -- all losses -- and has just two wins in his last eight starts. The Canucks have lost four straight and have been overtaken by the Minnesota Wild for first place in the Northwest Division.
Luongo hasn't played since March 3, when he allowed three goals on 24 shots in a 4-2 loss to the Calgary Flames. For the season, Luongo is 5-2-3 with a 2.19 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.
The coaches of the British Columbia Hockey League recently revealed their league all-star team selections for the 2012-13 season.
Among those listed were two skaters on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft -- forward Adam Tambellini of the Surrey Eagles was named a Second-Team All-Star, and defenseman Dane Birks of the Merritt Centennials was named to the league's All-Rookie Team.
Tambellini, son of Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini, was listed as a 'B' prospect at the start of the season for the Vernon Vipers before his trade to Surrey on Jan. 10. Tambellini, who is committed to the University of North Dakota for the 2013-14 season, had 36 goals and 65 points in 52 games for Vernon and Surrey. In 16 games with Surrey, he's totaled 14 goals and 26 points.
The mindset of the Tampa Bay Lightning at the NHL Trade Deadline is a topic now being addressed with more regularity.
Inconceivably, the Lightning sit near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings -- eight points adrift in both the Southeast Division and the Eastern Conference -- thanks, in large part, to a 4-13-1 streak that has all but erased memories of their rather torrid start to the season.
Yet, general manager Steve Yzerman still believes his club has the goods to develop into a Stanley Cup Playoffs-caliber team.
In five games earlier this season with the Canucks, Ebbett had no points, two penalty minutes and four shots on goal, while averaging 11:50 of ice time per game.
Schroeder, who played his first 22 NHL games this season, has two goals and three assists.
At 1:02 of the third period in the Canucks/Wild game, video review determined the puck deflected off Henrik Sedin's skate and into the net in a legal fashion. According to Rule 49.2 "A puck that deflects into the net off an attacking player's skate who does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal." Good Goal Vancouver.
At 15:05 of the second period in the Oilers/Blackhawks game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that the puck deflected off Sheldon Brookbank and into the net in a legal fashion. According to Rule 78.4 "if an attacking player has the puck deflect into the net, off his skate or body, in any manner, the goal shall be allowed." Good Goal Chicago.
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There's standards that this team is going to play to and there are expectations. We're going to hold these guys accountable to high standards.