Â• Canadiens defenseman Craig Rivet understandably looked mighty sour this week after coach Guy Carbonneau made him a healthy scratch. He handled it like a pro, but you’ve got to figure he’ll remember exactly what went down when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Â• The Thrashers’ recent slide Â– they’ve dropped six of their last eight, including a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Habs Thursday night Â– can be chalked up to one thing: lack of offense. In those six losses, Atlanta’s scorers have only put up 11 goals Â– and if you take away the game in which they had four goals against Phoenix, they averaged 1.4 goals in that losing span. Since Bob Hartley doesn’t play trap-happy hockey, that’s never going to be good enough.
Â• Think Alex Semin’s breakout offensive season is a fluke? Think again Â– he’s got 10 goals in his last seven games, including a pair Thursday to help the Capitals beat Carolina 5-2. We’re creeping closer to February, and Semin still is on pace for a 46-goal, 81-point season. Whether you play alongside Alex Ovechkin or not, that’s no fluke.
Â• Chris Mason may not be the Predators’ starting goalie, but he’s certainly playing like it. After keeping the slumping Blue Jackets off the scoresheet Thursday, Mason now has five shutouts this season, tying him for third-best in the league and putting him in the select company of Dominik Hasek, Miikka Kiprusoff and Martin Brodeur. Not bad for a guy who had three shutouts in his entire career prior to this year.
Â• Read an internet report the other day where the writer described a player as having Â“donatedÂ” a goal and an assist in a game. That’s right, Â“donatedÂ”. Let no one ever say philanthropy in the NHL is dead.