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Stan's Java Jive: 1/18/21
Yandle Continues His Ironman Streak; Stars Set to Start NHL Season on Friday; VGK Skating Like Champs, and My Classic Yays and Boos return!
HEADLINE: YANDLE SCORES -- BUT IS HE SECURE?
THE JIVE: What a parlay in Sunrise last night! Fans show up. Keith Yandle scores his 100th goal and his iron man streak continues (867). PLUS, the Panthers conk Chicago, 5-2, and look mighty strong doing so. Yandle was the story because Joel Quenneville had threatened to scotch the streak, scratching his PP ace. Instead, Q gave him 16:41 of ice time and the vet finished with a Plus-2. Humorist Keith at first deadpanned his achievement but the array of teammate fist-bumps revealed the general joy. Finally, Yandle allowed, "It was special, especially seeing how the guys were excited."
CAUTIONARY NOTE: The Yandle yays may not be for long. Q had to scratch promising D-men Noah Juulsen and Riley Stillman. That means Keith's streak is far from secure. Ergo: A trade still is possible.
(Bottom Line.) This from our ace Florida reporter Al Greenberg: "Fortunes turn quickly as the Yandle Saga has proven. Meanwhile, The Cats played the way management wants. They are really tough to go up against.
HEADLINE: CASEY AT THE NET (NOT BAT) SAVES PENGUINS
THE JIVE: With alleged number one goalie Tristan Jarry auditioning as a sieve, Pittsburgh badly needed a puck-stopper to stop the crease-bleeding. Casey DeSmith stepped up last night in Pitt, securing a much-needed 4-3 headache-reliever for the Pens. He beat Alex Ovechkin for the key Shootout save while Jake (The Rake) Guentzel came through with the fourth-round game-winner. Noteworthy is that DeSmith would not be suckered into the overrated "Butterfly" fall-down. He stood tall vs. Ovie who was forced to find the 5-hole that wasn't there. "I saw the puck at my feet," says DeSmith, "and was ecstatic!" (Bottom Line.): Mike Sullivan should make DeSmith his top banana in goal and, while he's at it, deliver a wake-up call to Ev Malkin.
HEADLINE: STARS TO BEGIN PLAY ON FRIDAY
THE JIVE: Hey, we knew there would be scheduling challenges during the Covid-19 invasion.The NHL is doing a meticulous job coping and Exhibit A happens to be the Dallas Stars. After 17 players had been tested positive the club shut down facilities. Two games each -- vs.Panthers and Lightning -- were cancelled and postponed. The Preds will be at Dallas for the home opener in four days and, hopefully, all will be well for Rick Bowness and his fine fellows. (Bottom Line: This is game bears watching.)
HEADLINE: KNIGHTS PLAYING LIKE CUP-WINNERS
THE JIVE: Everything is going right in Vegas. Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner provide A-1 goaltending and this roster is balanced from the crease to the stickboy. Don't ask me why Max Pacioretty was (allegedly) on the trading block. Slapsy Maxie got the 2-1 OT game-winner over Anaheim just seven seconds into the extra session. The too-often over-looked William (No Relation To Erik) Karlsson tied the count with only 1:22 left in regulation.
HEADLINE: HOCKEY NEWS LISTS HART TROPHY FAVORITES
THE JIVE: Slingin' Sam McCaig of The Hockey News has a compelling piece on potential 2020-21 MVP's. No surprise, Connor McDavid boasts the best odds at 4-1. Worst? The Devils' Kyle Palmieri, 150-1; Sid Crosby and Al Ovechkin tie at 20-1 each. My personal favorite is Nathan MacKinnon who McCaig places right behind the McD Machine at 5-1.
* GOALIE TO WATCH: How about the Preds Juuse! Saros! In two games he made 71 saves on 74 shots. His response: "Gotta keep building."
* FORWARD TO NUDGE: Already, the Washington Post has Evgeny Kuznesov down as an underachiever. G.M. Brian MacLellan adds, "He's the key for us."
* LIVE FANS AT GAME: The Panthers allowed fans last night and 4,147 live ones showed up in Sunrise. Or, as one of the Cats sagely observed, "It's fun playing in front of people."
* PRE-GAME MEAL QUANDARY: The Red Wings host the Blue Jackets today at Noon. No pre-game pasta-with-salmon for a meal at 8-9 a.m. Certainly no steak: My recommendation: Corn Flakes with heavy cream!
* J.T. FOR JUST-IN-TIME: Slumping Vancouver's top line has been point-less in the last two games. That's the bad news. The good news is that prolific J.T. Miller received medical clearance and is back.
* CLIPPED PENGUIN: You have to wonder why the Penguins signed free agent defenseman Codi Ceci. He's been a healthy scratch for two straight games.
YAYS AND BOOS:
YAY TO MUCH-MALIGNED PHIL KESSEL. The NHL's most misunderstood forward scored three goals in his first two games for Phoenix; two of them beat San Jose. The Yotes need a productive Kessel and Phil filled the bill!
BOO TO CANADIENS COACH CLAUDE JULIEN: The Habs glorious leader has vowed not to name in advance his starting goalie -- as the media and fans would like."I want the other teams guessing," Julie explains. Sorry, pal, but if baseball can reveal starting pitchers a day before a game you can do the same as a favor to the press. Won't make a difference Claude, winning or losing.
PUT-DOWN OF THE WEEK: The Edmonton Sun's sardonic columnist Terry Jones has this scouting report on the Oilers beleaguered goalie, Mikko Koskinen: "He's setting records for goals allowed glove-side."
HISTORIC QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"Wayne Gretzky can put a pass through a thousand legs." -- Willy Lindstrom.