Friday, February 5, 2010

NHL Recap 2-4-10: Kovalchuk traded, plus other stuff

Long day plus long night plus sicky body equals short recap.

First, as I broke on Twitter under the pseudonym Kevin Allen of USA Today (note: I am not actually Kevin Allen; he's the one who broke the news. I'm Kevin Inpa) Ilya Kovalchuk was traded from Atlanta along with Anssi Salmela to New Jersey for winger Niclas Bergfors, defenseman Johnny Oduya, prospect/sucker punch elbow artist Patrice Cormier and a first round pick. Second round picks in 2010 swapped hands.

Bergfors made a splash on the NHL scene in the early going but has struggled mightily since then. He's still a bit of a mystery but potentially he's a top-six forward. Oduya is a steady defenseman who can chip in on offense now and then, but we'll see how he does going from Lou Lamiorello's trap to the trap of Atlanta. Cormier... well, I personally wouldn't have wanted to bring him into my organization, but we'll see down the road if he can return to playing hockey.

It's not a great return but it could've been worse. Like Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen and Angelo Esposito...

On the ice
--Jaroslav Halak made 45 saves and three more in a shootout and Montreal beat Boston, 3-2.
--Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and four assists and Washington won a barn-burner, 6-5 over the Rangers.
--Steve Mason's 22 saves were enough to lead Columbus over Dallas, 2-1.
--Brian Elliott made 29 saves, Daniel Alfredsson had three assists and Ottawa beat Vancouver, 3-1.
--Steven Stamkos scored twice and added an assist to lead Tampa Bay past the Islanders, 5-2.
--Thomas Greiss made 35 saves as San Jose doubled up St. Louis, 4-2.
--Nashville got two goals and an assist from Patric Hornqvist plus four points (one goal) from Jason Arnott to down Colorado, 5-3.
--Martin Havlat's two goals powered Minnesota past Edmonton, 4-2.
--Anze Kopitar's two goals and two assists plus Jack Johnson's goal and three assists helped Los Angeles knock off Anaheim in a wild one, 6-4.

Pat Quinn-ism of the night
"That's been the story of a lot of our games. We just don't do it, and they do. We waste a good effort. I suppose it's not a waste if we learn something."

Notable games
Friday, Feb. 5 (5 games)
-Atlanta at Washington to see Russian stars Ilya Kovalchuk and Alex Ovechkin duel. Toronto (18-28-11) at New Jersey (35-18-2), 7 p.m. ET to see Ilya Kovalchuk on his new team.

-Phoenix (34-18-5) at Chicago (37-15-4), 8:30 p.m.

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