Ovi survives flush

Washington captain Alex Ovechkin took a lot of heat early this season about his inability to produce offensively. But recently, all that has come to a halt.

Over the past few weeks, Ovechkin quietly climbed to 16 goals and 31 points, though he’s still a -4.

Ovechkin told reporters after Monday’s practice, “Right now I’m scoring goals and I’m king of the world. Couple weeks ago, I was, you know, almost in the toilet. Maybe [they] forgot to flush me.”


You want to make the “in the toilet” reference, fine. But don’t take it to the flush level. That’s just sick.

Boucher ya’ later

The Tampa Bay Lightning and coach Guy Boucher have parted ways. I’m guessing it has a little something to do with the Bolts being fourth in the league in goals (103), yet still sitting 14th in the Eastern Conference.

Boucher has been replaced by Jon Cooper. And although Cooper’s name is considerably less cooler than Boucher’s, he does currently run the best ship in the AHL – that of Tampa’s farm club, the Syracuse Crunch.

When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman made the announcement, he noted Cooper’s knowledge of the organization. And it’s hard to argue – not only has Cooper guided the Crunch, but he was also the coach of the Norfolk Admirals for two years prior to last season. At the time, Norfolk was the Tampa AHL affiliate.

Although Boucher came only one game away from taking the Lightning to the Stanley Cup finals in 2011, he’s been looked upon lately as the guy with so much talent around him, but no Cups.

I’m sure Barry Melrose and Eddie Olczyk have already reached out to Boucher about getting into broadcasting instead.

The Flyers: It’s bad

Even NHL.com is basically admitting the Flyers stink right now. Adam Kimelman, the Web site’s deputy managing editor (which sounds like a made up title), wrote a pretty good, in-depth piece about why the Flyers can’t seem to get many wins this season.

Among the reasons were Jaromir Jagr. Surprising as that may sound, it’s true. Of Jagr’s 54 points last year, 35 were assists. Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell reaped the benefits in the goal department. Now, Jagr is in Dallas, far from helping Philadelphia.

And it seems as though no matter who GM Paul Holmgren picks up as a starting goaltender, their play turns to ash almost immediately. Bryzgalov was on top of his game in Phoenix – yet he seems stalled in Philly.

Transversely, Sergei Bobrovsky spent his first two years with the Flyers. His second year, his numbers dipped to a 3.02 goals against average and .899 save percentage. Now in Columbus, Bobrovsky is 11-7-5, with a save percentage of .927, and GAA of 2.17.

After adjusting to his butterfly goaltending style, Bobrovsky has gotten the Blue Jackets to within two points of the playoffs. Philadelphia remains five points back. (As of Tuesday evening)

Trade winds

Since most of my esteemed colleagues here at FF have done a great job analyzing the recent trade acquisitions by Ray Shero and the Penguins, I will shine my light in a different direction.

There have been three times that Ray Shero made me believe he felt Pittsburgh had a Stanley Cup push in it:

1.) Hossa & Dupuis deal – 2008 – Stanley Cup finalists

2.) Guerin – 2009 – Stanley Cup champions

3.) Morrow/Murray deals – 2013 – ?

People can sit there and say just because the trades are similar, doesn’t mean it’s going to produce a similar result. And they’d be right, to an extent – because you can’t say it won’t produce a similar result, either.

Speculation aside, the point is that it seems Shero believes there is a Stanley Cup in this team. And I trust his judgment.

Offensive offensive

If you play offense in the NHL, and you play it well, chances are you’re about to get good money. Take, for example, the recent signings of guys like Ryan Getzlaf (8 yr, $66M), Corey Perry (8 yr, $69M), and Alex Semin (5 yr, $35M).

As James Mirtle put it on Twitter – imagine what that will make Malkin’s worth. Plus, there’s time for deals to get bigger between now and whenever that discussion starts. Scary to think about.

Bowling for Fleury

This was a late addition to the Report this week, considering I usually have to get everything finished by Tuesday evening, but it needed to be mentioned.

Let’s examine the facts:

Gionta has a history of running over goalies, including Fleury. But this wasn’t anything like the past. Gionta did what every player has done before – push an opposing player into the opposing goalie. We’ve all seen it.

Granted, it was subtle. But all you have to do to get Tyler Kennedy, the graceful skater that he is, off balance is a little nudge – and maybe a well-positioned skate.

Kennedy wasn’t ready for it, and obviously neither was Fleury. But no matter how much you examine that play, you won’t find anything (technically) wrong with it. Does that make the play any less dirty? No. But heck, even I’ve done that before.

This time, it just cost the Penguins.

Given that the circumstances around Fleury’s condition aren’t released at this time (approx. 10 p.m. Tuesday), I’m not going to delve any deeper. Look for more details on Faceoff-Factor as they develop.

Well that does it for this week’s edition. Be sure to check back next week for more. Until then, happy hating!