1. Blackhawks fire Trent Yawney
You think going back to work today was tough for you? Consider Trent Yawney, fired today by the Chicago Blackhawks who have lost 12 of the last 15 games. He was replaced by assistant Denis Savard. No word on whether Yawney said during Thanksgiving dinner, “I am thankful for my job as head coach of the Blackhawks.”
2. Lighting Up The Sens
Tampa Bay goalie Johan Holmqvist chalked up 22 saves on Sunday night in a 3-1 win over a somewhat mysterious Ottawa Senators team. Holmqvist is hot, now having won a miraculous eight of his last nine starts to lead the Lightning back into the thick of things in a crowded Southeast Division. It prompts this question: why even have goaltender Marc Denis on the roster (this year, new Denis is 5-7-1, while Holmqvist is 8-3-0). Holmie’s terrific performance in net snapped a four game winning streak for a second-to-last Sens team, and also ended a seven game point streak for Ottawa sniper Daniel Alfredsson. Offensivley for Tampa, Brad Richards had an impressive night with a goal and an assist–helping the Bolts to their fourth win in the last six games.
3. Kari Goes Krazy
Thrashers’ netminder Kari Lehtonen produced one of the best performances thus far in the NHL season, leading Atlanta to a 1-0 win on Saturday night. He stopped all 37 shots that came his way from the sticks of the Florida Panthers, paving the way for his third shutout of the year. Florida has had no answer for the boys from “Blueland” this year, now dropping to 0-4 against Atlanta. This can be credited in large part to Atlanta’s penalty kill against Florida, who has been shut down to the tune of 1-for-23 in the four meetings between the teams. Ilya Kovalchuck increased his team lead in goals on Saturday, tallying the lone score for Atlanta.
4. BIZZARO NEWS BREAK: Columbus Wins
In an event that can only be considered bizarre, the Columbus Blue Jackets actually showed up to play on Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild. They walked off of the ice as a 5-3 winner in the contest, which is probably the most amazing thing to happen in the NHL in recent memory. Sergei Fedorov had a productive performance for the Blue Jackets, scoring two goals and adding two assists. Still, with only five goals and seven assists on the year, he has to be considered an underachiever (but it is tough to blame him completely, when he’s usually the only Columbus player awake on the ice). The win ended an abysmal stretch of eight straight losses for the Blue Jackets, and also gave new coach Ken Hitchcock his first victory behind the bench. For Minnesota, who is tied for first in the Northwest, it was not the first time they have lost to a last-place team. The Wild dropped a 4-3 decision to the Phoenix Coyotes on November 14th.
Check It Out
In an interesting story from The New York Times, this edition of NHL Notebook discuses the impact of Bo Schembechler’s loss in the NHL. It revolves around Rangers’ defenseman Aaron Ward, who has roots in Ann Arbor. Stories like these just cushion the stories we’ve all heard about Schembechler as not only a coach, but a man.
Game of the Night: Dallas at Detroit, 7:00PM ET
The Red Wings have lost five straight after winning nine in a row
The Last Shot
SI.com’s Brian Cazeneuve releases his thoughts on a crowded Western Conference, as well as other notes from around the NHL. Brian tends to agree with us in thinking that Anaheim holds Western Conference supremacy.