*Welcome back to “The Show,” Bobby Ryan! Always one of CTN’s favorites, Ryan earned a promotion to Anaheim after the Andy McDonald trade and scored in his return Sunday.
*Joel Perrault’s first trip to Madison Square Garden certainly was a memorable one. With all the focus on Wayne Gretzky’s return as the Phoenix coach to MSG, the Coyote rookie turned in a two-goal effort and three-point night to steal some of the limelight from “The Great One.”
*Dan Fogelberg passed away this past week. For the younger readers of CTN, Fogelberg was a soft-rock star of the ‘80s. CTN doesn’t listen to much soft rock, but has to admit that Fogelberg’s Same Old Lang Syne is one of the best stories ever put to lyrics. Check it out if you have never heard it.
*So, Scott Niedermayer decides he is coming back, skates by himself for a few days to prepare and then plays 24 flawless minutes in his return to the Ducks. How special is that? CTN has trouble walking for 24 minutes on some days.
*NHL Connect is certainly home to some passionate bloggers. Craig is one and he obviously has a lot of free time on his hands. At least he is spending it constructively by running a simulation tournament featuring many of the best teams in NHL history. Check it out at http://fans.nhl.com/members/craig_7296
*Calgary’s first line is certainly playing like a special unit these days. Jarome Iginla, the NHL’s first star for this past week, had six goals and nine points during a recent three-game run. Kristian Huselius added five goals and 11 points in the same stretch. Daymond Langkow, the straggler in the group, had three goals and three assists. Wow!
*CTN understands that Andy McDonald was going bad this year and that the Ducks needed salary-cap breathing room, but CTN still has to believe that the Blues got a steal in landing the fleet-footed McDonald for an aging Doug Weight, a middling prospect and a late-round draft pick. McDonald will be good for the Blues for years to come.
*CTN must extend congratulations to the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, who won for the first time this season in 14 tries. And, no the kudos are not just because CTN’s boss at NHL.com is a card-carrying sea mammal supporter. Rather, CTN believes that perseverance should be rewarded.
*CTN enjoyed a good weekend. Not only did CTN get to spend some quality time with the family on a 48-hour vacation, two of CTN’s favorite non-hockey franchises posted huge victories. The New England Patriots slapped down the rival J-E-T-S and Manchester United strolled past Liverpool. The smiles never stopped all weekend.
*Speaking of the Patriots, has there been a more-watched handshake than the one between New England coach Bill Belichick and New York coach Eric Mangini after Sunday’s game? Perhaps only the 20-something handshakes of former NHL.com staffer Evan Grossman’s “Operation Handshake” at last year’s NHL Entry Draft.
* There’s no question Bryan McCabe (broken hand) will be missed for the next six weeks in Toronto. But it gives ballyhooed prospect Anton Stralman a chance to shine. Whether he seizes it or not will be a constant storyline in that city’s sports’ discussions.
*Ottawa’s Andrej Meszaros appears to be eying an iron-man run of his own. In his third NHL season, the Senator defenseman has never missed a game for any reason.
*Look out for Tyler Kennedy. The rookie is being given an audition as Sidney Crosby’s linemate. He has looked good in limited duty there so far and has earned a further audition on Pittsburgh’s top unit.
*Snoop Dog’s new show on E!, Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood, looks interesting. CTN caught a snippet of his hilarious visit to the acupuncturist this weekend and was left wanting more.
*It’s nice to see Hnat Domenichelli’s name back in the news. CTN always liked Domenichilli’s game during his career as a NHL journeyman. Domenichelli is now playing in Switzerland; but will play for Canada in the upcoming Spengler Cup.
*Curtis Joseph is also playing for Canada in the Spengler Cup. There are rumblings that Cujo is interested in playing in the NHL again. Surely, there is a NHL team out there that needs some goaltending depth, no?
*It appears about 1,500 people were in attendance for the Bruins’ loss to the Devils last Thursday because of the paralyzing snowstorm that hit the New England area. Ten years from now, CTN figures 15,000 people, if not more, will claim to have been at the game.
*The Stanley Cup will be in the Rose Parade this year. Not a bad way to spend New Year’s Day – at least if you can’t be at the NHL Winter Classic in Buffalo.
*The QMJHL opened its mid-season trading window Tuesday and saw 10 big-name players, including Team Canada star Brad Marchand, and several high draft picks moved in the first 24 hours. Just gets the blood pumping for the NHL’s trading deadline, doesn’t it?
*Good news for World Junior Championships fans. The NHL Network, in the United States, will air all six medal-round games of this year’s tournament. Stay tuned to NHL.com for all the details.