Hey there, time traveller! This article was published 18/11/2013 (1406 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec will lead his nation into the Olympics and he'll be bringing his best friend and Winnipeg teammate Michael Frolik along for the ride.
Sources in the Czech Hockey Federation have told the Free Press the duo will be named to the Czech Olympic roster barring injury.
Pavelec, according to the same source, is slated to be the No. 1 goalie with Washington Capitals netminder Michal Neuvirth backing up.
Czech stalwart Tomas Vokoun is dealing with blood clots for the second time in his career and the 37-year-old is expected to be unavailable for the Olympics.
Pavelec was a member of the Czech team at the 2010 Olympics and has also represented his team at the 2006 world junior, 2010 World Championship and 2011 World Championship. The Czech's won gold at the 2010 worlds and bronze in 2011.
Frolik played in four world junior tourneys for his country as well as the 2011 world championship.
Jets captain Andrew Ladd remains the only hopeful from his club to make Team Canada. Ladd has had a solid start to his NHL season and remains in the conversation but will likely need an injury to one of the players ahead of him on the left side to get the call.
Evander Kane has not done enough to help his cause and is off the radar for Team Canada.
Defenceman Dustin Byfuglien is still in the picture for Team USA but will need a push to hear his name called. The U.S. aren't deep enough to ignore a talent like Byfuglien but if the coaching staff thinks he's too much of a risk he'll get left home. Byfuglien will likely be in a battle right until the end of December to earn or lose a spot.
Veteran forward Olli Jokinen was on the Finnish summer list and his play this season has likely improved his chances to suit up for his country.
On the world junior scene, the Jets also have a number of prospects with that could find their way to the tournament in Malmo, Sweden.
For Canada, forwards Scott Kosmachuk and Nic Petan will push for spots as will defenceman Josh Morrissey. Goalie Eric Comrie is the favourite to start in goal for Canada.
Defenceman Jan Kostalek will likely earn work for the Czech Republic. Centre Andrew Copp has had a good start to his season at Michigan and has received attention from Team USA.
On the subject of the American squad, don't expect still-eligible defenceman Jacob Trouba to be leaving the Jets to play for his country. NHL teams sometimes send players back to their country's junior team but not in cases such as Trouba's.
Prior to his injury, Trouba was playing well over 20 minutes per game for the Jets and was among their top four defenders.
Impact players don't get assigned to the world junior tournament.
Last week's GM's meetings in Toronto featured a discussion on changing overtime to try to conclude more games prior to the shootout. Lots of hockey people think the shootout has too much of a bearing on playoff races.
Detroit GM Ken Holland has brought forth a concept where overtime would be extended to include a segment of 3-on-3 play. Currently teams play 4-on-4 for five minutes and then go to the shootout if no one scores.
The NHL's hockey operations department is looking at a number of issues and concepts but the basic idea is to play three or four minutes of 4-on-4 and then go to 3-on-3 for the same amount of time.
Issues being discussed are whether to flood the ice, the effect on top end players and what to do if a team is penalized during 3-on-3.
Don't expect a flood as no one wants to extend the length of games. The NHLPA might have an issue with the extra workload on its top players but this idea has traction and the NHL might decide to go forward with a change to overtime with or without the union's blessing.
If a team is penalized during 3-on-3 a penalty shot could be awarded or a player could be added to create a 4-on-3 power play. Also, points scored during overtime would continue to count in the statistics regardless of when they occurred, 4-on-4 or 3-on-3.
The NHL is expected to have something for the GMs to look at during their winter meetings in March.
OVIE GREAT BUT NOT GREATEST
Alex Ovechkin scored a pair on Sunday night (including the game-winner) to tie St. Louis Blues forward Alex Steen for the league lead in goals at 17.
Ovechkin is hot scoring four goals in the Caps last three games, which were all wins.
Ovechkin has seven goals and two assists in his last seven games and now has 80 career multi-goal games (620 GP), including four this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only player in the last 20 NHL seasons to reach 80 multi-goal games quicker than Ovechkin was Pavel Bure, who did so in 586 games.
The Capitals have earned at least one point in eight of their last nine games (7-1-1) to climb into first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Ovechkin now has 17 goals and seven assists to sit just two back of Steen and the league lead. The talented Russian, however, is a minus-seven and is the only player in the top-ten scorers who isn't even or better. There's been lots of talk about Ovechkin rounding out his game but the reality is he still cheats offensively and it costs his team.
V or TORTS
The Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers traded coaches this off-season and while the early returns favoured John Tortorella and his move West, there is now an argument being made by Alain Vigneault in Manhattan.
The Canucks are now realizing how difficult life is outside of the cozy Northwest Division, which they owned under Vigneault. The Canucks and their 11-8-3 mark find themselves fifth in the much tougher Pacific and would not be a playoff team if the season were to end today.
Vigneault's Rangers started out poorly due to a very-heavy road schedule and some injuries, but have bounced back nicely, winning seven of their last 10 to climb into third spot in the Metro Division with a 10-10-0 mark.
There's lots of hockey to be played and comparing the work of coaches with different teams in different divisions is awkward at best, but at this stage it appears the coaching changes in Vancouver and New York have had little effect on the performance of the teams.
Players win games. Coaches can lose them, but they can't win them.
EACH week we'll take a look at the NHL and put out power rankings based on our criteria -- a combination of record, schedule and roster. Previous ranking in parentheses:
1. Chicago Blackhawks (4) (14-3-4) The Hawks have won eight in a row and the defending champs are the best team in hockey right now. 2. Anahiem Ducks (1) (15-5-2) The Ducks have actually lost a few games of late. 3. St. Louis Blues (3) (13-3-3) The Blues just keep rolling along. Won six or seven in a row before losing one. Great team concept. 4. Phoenix Coyotes (5) (14-4-3) Proven they deserve to be in conversation of the West's best. Hot right now winning eight of last 10. 5. Minnesota Wild (8) (13-4-4) They don't score a lot but they give up less. 6. San Jose Sharks (6) (13-3-5) After a torrid start they've cooled off. Who are the real Sharks? 7. Los Angeles Kings (10) (14-6-1) The Kings' depth has begun to show through. Balanced attack. 8. Tampa Bay Lightning (7) (14-6-0) After losing Steven Stamkos they've kept winning. Ben Bishop in net has stabilized franchise. 9. Colorado Avalanche (2) (14-5-0) Patrick Roy knows winning in the NHL is difficult and his team has lost three straight. 10. Washington Capitals (16) (12-8-1) Ovechkin is still hot and they knocked off the Blues last week proving they can dance with the West's best. 11. Boston Bruins (11) (12-6-1) The Bruins might be a little sleepy right now but they're built for May not November. 12. Toronto Maple Leafs (13) (12-7-1) Injuries have yet to take a major toll and the Leafs have settled into the league's middle third. Right where they belong. 13. Vancouver Canucks (9) (11-8-3) The Canucks are finding life outside the Northwest difficult. Maybe Alain Vigneault wasn't the issue after all? 14. Pittsburgh Penguins (12) (12-8-0) When are the Penguins going to begin living up to their potential? 15. Detroit Red Wings (14) (9-5-7) Have the Red Wings become ordinary? Or is this just a blip? 16. Dallas Stars (21) (11-7-2) The Stars are hot and following the lead of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. 17. Montreal Canadiens (15) (10-9-2) The Habs need some help scoring goals. Will they try to go get it or be patient with a young roster? 18. Winnipeg Jets (20) (10-10-2) Jets have stacked up some wins but gained no ground in theCentral. 19. New York Rangers (17) (10-10-0) Have won seven of the last 10 and are beginning to get healthy. 20. New Jersey Devils (23) (7-8-5) Where's the offence? Cory Schneider and Martin Brodeur are carrying this club. 21. Nashville Predators (24) (9-9-2) The Preds are average in a division where that won't get it done. 22. Ottawa Senators (19) (8-8-4) Team defence hasn't been a priority and it shows in the record and goals against. 23. Carolina Hurricanes (22) (8-8-5) Eric Staal has been awful and the Canes need him to be great. 24. New York Islanders (25) (4-6-0) Losing six of last 10 has bumped Isles below .500. 25. Columbus Blue Jackets (26) (7-10-3) Marian Gaborik has been a disaster in Columbus. 26. Philadelphia Flyers (27) (7-10-2) Bit of a surge of late but not sure this roster has what it takes. 27. Calgary Flames (24) (6-11-3) Flames have sunk to their roster's level. 28. Florida Panthers (29) (5-12-4) Kevin Dineen wasn't the problem here. 29. Edmonton Oilers (28) (5-15-2) Lots of talent but need to learn to play winning hockey. 30. Buffalo Sabres (30) (5-16-1) Pat LaFontaine and Ted Nolan have their work cut out for them.