Thoughts and whatnots from the weekend:
Â– Panthers No.1 goalie Alex Auld was injured outside a New York nightclub early Friday morning when he allegedly Â“slipped on waterÂ” from a bottle Â“droppedÂ” by backup Ed Belfour and hit his head on the floor. Auld was rushed to the hospital for stitches, while Islanders officials rushed to institute a new team rule banning Mike Dunham from carrying any liquid substance within a 25-foot radius of Rick DiPietro.
Â– I don't care how many goals Tomas Kaberle scored against the Canadiens Saturday. Considering his overall performance this season (three goals and six points in 12 games), as well as Alex Steen's (one goal and three points), I'm thinking Leafs GM John Ferguson might regret not dealing the two of them for Chris Pronger last summer. Then again, this is a franchise equipped with a bottomless pit of optimism (see Antropov, N.), so I'm sure someone in the organization can rationalize a way to be pleased that they avoided acquiring one of the league's most punishing physical presences.
Â– A statistical update for those of you playing Â“How Much Longer Â‘Till Gerard Gallant and/or Doug MacLean Gets The Hook?Â” at home: The Blue Jackets have been shut out twice in their last three games. In the one win they had, they only managed 14 shots on Dan Cloutier, and needed Pascal Leclaire to turn aside 38 Kings attempts. After Saturday's 1-0 loss to New Jersey, the Jackets have dropped five of their last six. Major news conference, anyone?
Â– Haven't met Stars backup Mike Smith, but I giggle a little every time I see his name. That's because he's got the same one as the actor who plays the immortal Â“BubblesÂ” on Canadian cult TV gem Trailer Park Boys. If the NHLer has even one picture of a kitten in his dressing room stall, I might laugh myself into an aneurysm.
Â– Some lowlights from Saturday's NHL attendance figures Â– none of which are anything to worry about, of course: 14,015 in New Jersey; 14,513 in Phoenix; 13,580 in Chicago; 13,281 in Boston; 12,700 in St. Louis; and 10,455 brave showed up on Long Island.