Midweek odds and ends:
• Should the Dallas Stars pull off the almost impossible feat of winning tonight in Minnesota and Friday night at home to San Jose, they’ll do something they haven’t done in nine months – win back-to-back games in the regular season.
The Stars, who marched to the Western Conference final last spring, have not strung together two straight wins in 20 games this season and didn’t do it in their final 14 of last season. To put it into perspective, Brad Richards joined the Stars at the trade deadline last season and has yet to experience what it’s like to win two straight in the regular season with the team.
• There are two NHL captains who have yet to score a goal this season. One of them is Roberto Luongo. The other is Washington Capitals captain Chris Clark, who has three assists in 20 games this season. Neither is likely to score any time soon, either, as both are out for extended periods of time with injuries.
• Rod Brind’Amour has never been better on faceoffs than he is this season and his plus-minus has never been worse. Has anyone noticed the two-time Selke Trophy winner is tied for last in the NHL with Brad Boyes of the St. Louis Blues at minus-14?
What’s weird about it is that opponents don’t seem to be scoring off the draw. Brind’Amour has taken a league-high 485 faceoffs this season and stands second in the league with a 62.3 percent winning rate. The best he’s ever posted since the league began keeping track of faceoff wins 10 years ago was in 2003-04, when he won 61.1 percent of his draws. He won just more than 59 percent when he captured the Selke in 2006 and 2007.
• Could be all the lost brain cells over the years, but I distinctly remember watching Montreal Canadiens games when I was a kid (on either CBC English or CBC French, the two television stations we got in Sudbury when I was a wee lad) and often hearing fans start a chant that went: “Ooh, Ah, Habs on the warpath! Ooh, Ah, Habs on the warpath!”
Wonder whatever happened with that. Maybe they did it between plays, a phase of the game today in which you can’t even hear yourself think, let alone start a chant.
• There seems to be the feeling, particularly in Canada, that if the Nashville Predators don’t average 14,000 in paid attendance this season, the owners can trigger a clause that will allow them out of their lease after the season. Not true, say those who know.
But if the Predators don’t get 14,000 paid this season, they’ll lose a significant portion of their revenue sharing money from the league. Early indications are not good.
Through their first eight home games this season, the Predators are averaging just 13,807 per game in announced attendance, which represents all tickets that go out of the building, including giveaways. The Predators say they’re actually up in paid attendance from a year ago, largely because they aren’t giving away so many tickets.
• Still with Nashville, look for Alexander Radulov to bolt from the Russian League after this season and come back to the NHL. All of which would create an even nastier quagmire between the NHL and the Kontinental League.
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