GARTH’S CORNER: @Zemgus94 Is An NHL All Star

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Props to The Latvia Locomotive.

Buffalo Sabres power center was the leading vote getter and has been voted into to the NHL All Star Game. Girgensons earned 1,574,896 votes which was by far more than any other NHL player.

His fans in his native Latvia and in his new home of Buffalo voted early and often for the 20 year old difference maker.

Girgensons will be joined by five Chicago Blackhawks Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford.

Girgensons and Kane played together on the same team last summer in Buffalo’s Fattey Hockey League.

IT’S OFFICIAL! #Sabres@zemgus94 will be going to the 2015 @NHL All-Star Game in Columbus. Thanks to all who voted! pic.twitter.com/3pgKpts9B9

— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) January 3, 2015

**

Don’t look now, but the Philadelphia Flyers have just entered the EichDavid Zone

On Friday night, the Flyers lost 2-1 to lowly Carolina.

It was there fourth loss in a row.

The Flyers are leaving points on the table on a nightly basis.

Their current eight-game road trip started well. however, it is ending with a resounding thud.

The Flyers are now 3-3-1 record on their current road trip.

When this roadie began, the Flyers were just eight points out of a playoff spot. They are now ten points out. The NY Rangers have three games in hand on the Flyers, and host the Buffalo Sabres tonight.

All of their recent losing has earned them VIP seating in the bottom of the NHL standings. Today, they are closer to the EichDavid Sweepstakes than they are to earning a wild card berth into the playoffs.

Here are your Saturday morning standings: 25. Philadelphia: 35 points

26. New Jersey: 33 points

27. Arizona: 32 points

28. Buffalo: 31 points

29. Carolina: 26 points

30. Edmonton: 25 points

Flyers GM Ron Hextall now has to make a serious decision.

Will he make a bold trade or two that will serve as shock paddles to kick start his team’s heart? Or, will he opt to throw in the towel and reserve his team’s spot in the quest to draft Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel this June?

Friday night’s loss in Raleigh moved the Flyers to 10 point behind Toronto Maple Leafs for a wild card berth. The Flyers have played only 38 games. Its not an impossibility to think that they can fight their way out of these turbulent times and put their season back on its original winning course. Hextall, who was in Toronto for the World Junior Hockey Championships on Friday night, is a patient man whose patients may be reaching its end.

Last week, Hextall said that changes to the roster are coming if his team can’t stop losing games. I suspect that Hextall is looking for help on his blue line. The Flyers are in desperate need of a top four D who can skate, make the one-pass breakout, play in all situations and can eat 23-26 minutes TOI per night. Hextall also needs secondary and tertiary scoring.

***

What is it with the Philadelphia Flyers and their players suffering nasty cuts from skate blades this week?

On New Years Eve, D-man Michael Del Zotto suffered this disgustibg cut to his throat area in the OT loss to Colorado.

What a way to finish 2014!

Een foto die is geplaatst door Michael Del Zotto (@mdzofficial) op

On Friday night, Flyers captain Claude Giroux suffered an ugly cut on his left leg when he was slashed by the skate of Hurricanes D Justin Faulk’s skate.

Thanks, CSN Philly

After the game, Giroux said that he was wearing special cut-resistant Kevlar socks at the time that he was cut. He also said that he would like to play in New Jersey on Saturday night.

If the Flyers had lost Giroux to a long term injury, their season would be ruined. Giroux has 43 points (30 assists) in 38 games played this season,

***

Player of the game @cmcdavid97 receives some high fives from some very happy fans pic.twitter.com/le1I1D3y6G

— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) January 3, 2015

While the Buffalo Sabres were losing 2-0 to Roberto Luongo and the Florida Panthers, Team Canada was eliminating the upstart Danes from the World Junior Hockey Championships at the ACC in Toronto.

Who needs Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel when the Buffalo Sabres have Samson Reinhart?

The second overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft is absolutely dominating all opposition at the World Junior Hockey Championships.

Tonight in Toronto, Samson scored his tourney leading ninth point on this exquisite pass from his line mate Anthony Duclair (NY Rangers). Reinhart, Oscar Lindholm (SWE) and William Nylander (SWE) are all tied for the scoring lead with nine points apiece.

Curtis Lazar had two goals and an assist and Connor McDavid added a goal and two assists to lead Canada’s National Junior Team over Denmark 8-0 on Friday and into the semifinals at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Next up for the Canadians is Slovakia in Sunday’s semifinals. Canada scored a 7-0 win over the Slovaks in the tournament opener for both teams back on Boxing Day.

Canada also got big goals from Sam Reinhart Lawson Crouse , Nick Paul , Brayden Point and Nick Ritchie.

Joe Hicketts (Kamloops, B.C./Victoria, WHL) added two assists from the blue-line.

Zachary Fucale made 14 saves for the win and the shutout.

George Sorensen and Thomas Lillie combined to stop 42 shots for Denmark

Thanks, @PeteBlackburn

The line of Duclair-Reinhart-Domi have been killing it in their first four games of this tourney. I rise up out of my seat every time they step onto the ice. This trio is electric!

McDavid would finish the game with a goal and an assist in his return to his hometown of Toronto. McDavid earned Player of The Game honors for Canada.

Denmark’s 3 best players:

Sorensen, Ehlers, Bjorkstrand

— SabresBuzz (@SabresBuzz) January 3, 2015

Make the final scores 8-0 Canada.

Speaking of the aforementioned McDavid, look at this disgusting pass he made from his belly to Curtis Lazar in the slot for Canada’s first goal against the Danes. McDavid blew a shoe and continued to concentrate and executed a splendid pass for the goal.

Thanks, @PeteBlackburn

Draft eligible power forward Lawson Crouse made it 3-0.

Thanks, @PeteBlackburn

Connor McDavid is bringin’ sexy back, yep! 4-0

Thanks, @PeteBlackburn

Curtis Lazar made it 5-0 and blew a kiss to Joey Hicketts. 5-0

Thanks, @PeteBlackburn

Nick Paul made it 6-0

Thanks, @PeteBlackburn

Brayden Point scored the touchdown

Nick Ritchie scored the eighth goal.

Canada advances to play Slovakia on Sunday night.

**

#Oilers acquire forward Rob Klinkhammer and a 2015 1st-round draft choice from Pittsburgh in exchange for forward David Perron.

— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 2, 2015

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been desperate to find a solution to the injuries that have besieged their team. Sidney Crosby has lost two wingers this season in Pascal Dupuis and Patrik Hornqvist.

Enter David Perron, who was disgruntled with all of the losing and dysfunction in Edmonton the past couple of seasons. The Oil are in tear-it-down and start over mode. This trade signals their willingness to reshape their roster.

Perron will earn $3.8M this and next season.

Perron can also play with Geno Malkin.

Oilers trade Perron to the Penguins for a 1st round pick in 2015.

— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 2, 2015

Oilers start the 2015 with tanking on their minds. Your move, Mr. Murray.

— SabresBuzz (@SabresBuzz) January 2, 2015

The Oilers also receive depth forward Rob Klinkhammer in the deal. Klinkhammer is earning $625K this season and will be UFA this July.

This is a classic salary cap clearing trade for Edmonton.

The Oilers now have two 1st round picks in the Connor McDavid-Jack Eichel sweepstakes.

One gets the sense that Oilers GM Craig MacTavish will continue making deals in order to gather more draft choices and prospects.

The Penguins had been scouting the Chris Stewart and Drew Stafford of the Buffalo Sabres every since last week when they learned that Hornqvist would be lost to injury long term.

Look for this trade to serve as a kick start for the trade market in the NHL. Sabres GM Tim Murray will be actively shopping his pending UFAs to be in Stewart, Stafford, and Neuvirth.

If I’m Tim Murray, I’m calling MacT and inquiring about the availability of one Taylor Hall.

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