|Simmonds, bigger and better.
Dany Heatley is happy his emotional week is over.
In a five-day span, Heatley and his new team, the San Jose Sharks, faced the team he refused to go to and the club he was traded from.
He and the Sharks came out on top both times, and he had a pair of assists Tuesday night in San Jose’s 5-2 win against the Ottawa Senators, with whom he spent four seasons before being dealt during training camp.
"I thought he handled it just the way we knew he would," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "He was very mature. He faced everybody he needed to face and then he went out and let his play do the rest of the talking."
Heatley was serenaded with boos at Rexall Place on Nov. 27, when he made his first visit to Edmonton -- the team to which he wouldn't accept a trade in July.
"They booed a little bit, but it wasn't too bad," Heatley said after the Sharks' 5-4 shootout win. "I'm kind of glad to get this all over with. There was a lot of hype. I'm glad to get the two points and get out of here."
Heatley has been everything the Sharks could have asked for. Through 29 games, he had 18 goals and 32 points. He didn't get a goal against the Senators, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Heatley had six shots on goal in the first period and finished with eight.
He's glad to put the emotions of the past week behind him.
"It was an interesting week," Heatley said after the win against Ottawa. "It's good to get them over with. It's good to be back here and get on with things."Bigger, better Simmonds --
Wayne Simmonds, the Los Angeles Kings' second-round pick in the 2007 Entry Draft, has gone from project to producer.
The Kings surprised many when they picked Simmonds, a forward from Owen Sound of the Ontario Hockey League, No. 61 in the 2007 draft. He had plenty of speed and hustle, but not much size. Since then, the improvement he's made is staggering.
Simmonds went 9-14-23 while playing all 82 games for the Kings as a rookie in 2008-09. He already has 8 goals and 16 points through 28 games this season, and has become a reliable second-line scorer.
"I'm seeing a hockey player emerge, that's what I'm seeing," Kings coach Terry Murray said. "It goes to, why do players take it to the next level? How do they become NHL players? Well, you have to have, obviously, some qualifiers to get here, to be given the opportunity. Then it comes down to hard work.
"(Simmonds), from the first day that I saw him, in the development camp a year ago, he was out of the ice and he's having fun but he's working hard. I think, right now, he's making the hard work a part of his lifestyle. That ends up bringing all that other stuff out, the decisions, the quality plays that he's making, the awareness that he has. You have to give him a lot of credit for staying with it and working as hard as he has."
Simmonds has added nearly 20 pounds of muscle since he was drafted, though at 6-foot-2 and 183 pounds there's still room to grow. The Kings had hoped he might be a 20-goal scorer one day -- never dreaming that "day" could be this season.
He feels having an NHL season under his belt has made a lot of difference.
"I think it's just purely confidence right now," Simmonds told the Kings' Web site. "Last year I was a little jittery, in my first year in the League. You're afraid to make plays because you don't want to make mistakes, because you never know what can happen when your spot is not solidified."
Simmonds even saw some time on the Kings' top line this season when Justin Williams
was injured and acquitted himself well.
"Now he's a very important player to our hockey club, in all situations," Murray said. "I feel comfortable seeing him on the power play. Obviously I felt comfortable enough with him, when (Williams) was out, to put him on the top line, and he played very well there. It's great to see a young guy have his career progress in the right direction like this."Turco's troubles at The Joe continue --
Joe Louis Arena in Detroit never has been a favorite stopping point for Dallas goaltender Marty Turco -- and Monday night was no different. Turco again struggled at The Joe, looking shaky in the Stars' 4-1 loss to the Red Wings.
Turco saw one goal go in off the chest of defenseman Trevor Daley and appeared to have trouble following the puck all night. He fell to 1-9-2 all-time in regular-season visits to The Joe, and is just 5-15-5 all-time against the Wings.
That followed a poor showing at Phoenix on Friday in which he was beaten four times on 19 shots by the offensively challenged Coyotes.
"Marty has been around long enough that he knows he didn't have his best stuff," Stars coach Marc Crawford said. "And I feel confident he will respond to that."
Turco has allowed three or more goals in all but one of his last seven games -- a pace the Stars can't afford. Turco is fully aware that his play has to pick up for the Stars to make the playoffs.
"You can say I'm struggling, because the pucks are going in the net," Turco told the Dallas Morning News. "But you have to trust what you're doing and continue to do the right things, and things will turn around."'Stache man --
Anaheim forward George Parros is known for his trademark mustache, so what better name for his new line of apparel than 'Stache Gear.
Parros launched his line of hats and T-shirts for men and women last Friday, not long after the Ducks ended Chicago's eight-game winning streak with a 3-0 victory.
"I thought incorporating a mustache design into my new line of hats and T-shirts would be a light-hearted and fun way to raise funds for my two favorite non-profits," Parros told the Ducks' Web site. "I would like to thank the Ducks for their support in this charitable cause."
All proceeds from the 'Stache Gear line will benefit two charities close to Parros' heart: the Childhood Leukemia Foundation and Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids.
The 'Stache Gear line consists of two T-shirt designs for men, two T-shirt designs for women and two unisex hat designs. Each individual piece includes Parros' signature mustache as the line's logo. The new duds were a big hit -- the club will be re-ordering additional 'Stache Gear products, which will remain available at the Ducks' team store through the holidays.Touching visit --
The Phoenix Coyotes visit three area hospitals every year during the holiday season. It's an experience that always touches Coyotes captain Shane Doan.
"As players, this is an opportunity for us to give a little bit back for all the amazing things we are given," Doan told the team's Web site. "This time of year it's always tough for families to be away from each other and it feels good to be able to help them out in any way."
Many of the players visited the Phoenix Children's Hospital in Phoenix. Others visited Cardon Children's Medical Center in Mesa and Banner Thunderbird in Glendale.
The visits resonate with Doan, the father of three children and the only player who's been with the team since it moved from Winnipeg 13 years ago.
"I see brave kids that are my kids' ages who are going through stuff that I can't fathom," Doan said. "Any time you can visit with one of those children and maybe make them smile or laugh for a little while, it's a nice feeling."Ice chips --
San Jose added depth on the blue line by claiming defenseman Jay Leach from Montreal on Dec. 1. The Sharks are Leach's third organization this season -- he started with New Jersey before being claimed by the Canadiens last month. In seven games with Montreal, he had no points and five penalty minutes. ... San Jose is 8-1-2 at the Shark Tank partly because it has allowed a League-low three power-play goals at home. ... Los Angeles forward Brad Richardson
picked a good time to get his first point of the season -- he scored the game-winning goal with 2:20 left in regulation Tuesday to give the Kings a 4-3 win at Anaheim. ... The win over the Ducks improved L.A.'s record when leading after two periods to 10-0-0. ... Like the Sharks, the Anaheim Ducks added some depth by dealing with Montreal. They acquired center Kyle Chipchura from the Canadiens for a 2011 fourth-round pick. The 23-year-old 2004 first-round pick had no points in 19 games with Montreal this season. He'll take the place of Erik Christensen, who was lost to the New York Rangers on waivers. ... Anaheim went 4-2-1 on a seven-game homestand that ended with a disappointing loss to Los Angeles. The Ducks now face a severe test, with nine of their next 12 on the road. They are just 2-4-3 away from the Honda Center. ... Viktor Tikhonov became the second 2008 first-round pick to be loaned to a Russian team when the Phoenix Coyotes allowed him to go to the KHL for the rest of the 2009-10 season. Tikhonov, grandson of the legendary Russian coach of the same name, had 8 goals and 16 points with the Coyotes as an NHL rookie last season, but was playing with AHL San Antonio when he was loaned to the KHL. ... Defenseman Stephane Robidas has 10 points in the Dallas Stars' last 10 games and is at least forcing Canada officials to give him a second look as they prepare to pick their Olympic team. Material from wire services and team Web sites was used in this report
Author: John Kreiser | NHL.com Columnist