Updated: January 6, 2014, 9:53 PM ET

Just A Thought


Scott Burnside@ESPN_Burnside: Quite a statement game on the eve of the Canadian Olympic team roster announcement from John Tavares of the New York Islanders. Not that the slick center wasn't already a lock to join Canada in Sochi next month, but three goals and two assists in a 7-3 walkover against the Dallas Stars on Monday night reinforced the notion that Tavares should be a force for Canada in the tournament, even if he ends up playing the wing given the team's depth down the middle. On the other hand, not a good night for a Dallas team that fancies itself a playoff contender in the Western Conference. The Stars blew a 2-0 first-period lead, then allowed four Islanders goals in the second and three more in the third. Kari Lehtonen was in goal for all seven tallies, although it's hardly all hardly the netminder's fault given the 43 shots Dallas allowed. The team ranks 25th in the NHL in shots allowed per game and right now isn't nearly good enough defensively (also 25th in goals allowed per game) to crack the top eight in the west.

Craig Custance@CraigCustance: On the day he was getting his Vezina-winning goaltender back, Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen said he was encouraged by how his team battled without their star goalie. Kekalainen sees an opportunity to use Sergei Bobrovsky's return as a springboard up the standings for his team. "We want to take a step forward where we put together a good stretch," Kekalainen said on Monday from New York. "There are signs of us getting back." Those signs continued in a 4-3 shootout win over the Rangers. Bobrovsky had 40 saves in his first game back and the Blue Jackets got a goal and assist from former Ranger Brandon Dubinsky. Even when healthy, which they're not right now, the Blue Jackets don't have quite the same talent the teams around them in the standings but, a healthy Bobrovsky goes a long way toward hiding that.

Pierre LeBrun@Real_ESPNLeBrun: Aside from the possible Olympic implications, tough news late last night for the San Jose Sharks regarding star center Logan Couture, who will have surgery Wednesday to repair an injured hand which he apparently had been playing with for three or four weeks. Couture will be out three or four weeks, a source told me last night. That's a tough blow for a Sharks team also missing the likes of Tomas Hertl and Raffi Torres. There's no replacing Couture, who does it all for the Sharks. San Jose needs to try and hang on until the Olympic break

Picture This

Cory SarichMichael Martin/NHLI/Getty ImagesCory Sarich follows teammate Marc-Andre Cliche onto the ice before the start of the Avs game.


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