OK, break time is over. Time to get down to business. For some teams, say the Toronto Maple Leafs, this means trying to clear the deck of big contracts to make room for prospects. Good luck Cliff Fletcher.
For others, like the Detroit Red Wings, defending champion Anaheim Ducks and the Ottawa Senators, it means gearing up for a long playoff run. With the NHL trade deadline only a few weeks ahead, it will be interesting to see which teams identify themselves as buyers and which will be sellers.
Buckle up and enjoy the ride.
For a while it looked like the Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk show, but don’t discount the contributions of Dan Cleary who, with 19 goals, is headed for a single-season high.
So Teemu Selanne is back. Hardly a shock. Who the heck quits after scoring 48 goals and winning the Cup?
Doing just fine without Sid The Kid, thank you very much. It helps, of course, when Evgeni Malkin chips in four goals and six points in three games.
Time to decide, once and for all, if troubled goalie Ray Emery is worth the headache. And if Martin Gerber is the man to carry the Senators through the long grind of the playoffs. Oh, and by the way, captain Daniel Alfredsson had a seven-point game just prior to the break.
High-priced free agent Daniel Briere hit the 20-goal mark, but his minus-13 has to be of some concern to the Flyers.
Winger Alex Tanguay, whose name is often mentioned in trade talk, has no goals in his last six games.
Back-to-back two-goal games for Patrik Elias has some in Jersey believing he can salvage what has otherwise been a very disappointing season.
Jonathan Cheechoo appears to be rounding into form and not a second too early. The Sharks responded to a 6-3 spanking by Detroit by beating Chicago and St. Louis.
Mike Komisarek has emerged as a bona fide frontline defenseman on a team that derives success in keeping the puck out of its net.
A two-game losing skid was not exactly how the Stars hoped to enter the all-star break.
The Wild carried a 40-minute lead to victory for the 20th time this season (20-0-0), beating Colorado 3-2.
Roberto Luongo took a well-earned rest at the all-star break and now will have to contend with carrying a team still in search of secondary scoring as far as he can.
Everything that could go wrong did in an 8-2 shellacking by Montreal, but the Bruins responded nicely by beating the Islanders 4-1 in their next game.
Radim Vrbata returned from a groin injury with three goals and an assist in a 4-3 overtime victory over Nashville.
Radek Bonk, who got off to a quick start for the Predators, has not scored in 15 games and has just one goal in his last 23. Welcome back to Earth.
After a slow start, rookie Nicklas Backstrom has put up nine points (all assists) in his last four games for the improving Capitals.
Two straight losses have the Avalanche clinging to the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Goalie Jose Theodore continues to sparkle with Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth and Paul Stastny all out of the lineup.
It may be too late for a serious charge at a playoff spot, but the Oilers are serving notice they will be a team to contend with in the very near future.
With all due respect to Eric Staal, can anybody explain how Rick Nash didn’t win the car at the All-Star Game? Just wondering.
Three losses in four games have the Islanders barely holding onto the final playoff spot in the East. Not only that, there has to be some concern about goalie Rick DiPietro’s health. He pulled out of the skills competition at the All-Star Game.
As if losing isn’t bad enough, the Hurricanes surrendered three shorthanded goals to the Islanders in a 6-3 loss Jan. 22.
Jaromir Jagr had two three-point efforts in four games for the Rangers.
Coach-GM Don Waddell told thehockeynews.com his team would be a buyer at the trade deadline. The question is, will he give up impending UFA Marian Hossa in the process?
A pair of one-goal losses before the break have the young Blackhawks scrambling to keep their heads above water.
What was turning out to be a storybook season took a sudden turn for the worse when the Blues dropped seven in a row.
They still sit in last place in the league, but the Kings continue to show improvement. Don’t be surprised if they unload a few veterans at the deadline.
Typical of the Lightning’s inconsistency, Tampa Bay shut out Ottawa in Canada’s capital and two games later got beat at home by the Senators.
Let the yard sale begin. Toronto dumped GM John Ferguson and replaced him, temporarily at least, with 72-year-old Cliff Fletcher.
Can you imagine this team without goalie Tomas Vokoun? Yikes!
Defenseman Brian Campbell called a halt to contract negotiations, which means the Sabres will likely trade the impending UFA.
The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 on Mondays. Changes in rankings reflect each team’s play from the previous seven days.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.