Big losses for the Blues, interesting times in Pittsburgh, some USA Olympic Team notes, the Liles-Gleason deal, Claude Giroux, Duncan Keith. Eric Ebron Jersey . Ryan Johansen and more in Scott Cullens latest blog. 1. The St. Louis Blues have been one of the leagues best teams to this point in the season, and a lot of that success has been due to the strong play of David Backes and Alexander Steen, both of whom are currently injured. Steen, in the midst of a career year, is out with a concussion. Backes, who had missed three games in the previous five seasons, has missed the last couple games due to an upper-body injury. Obviously, the Blues cant afford to roll without Steen and Backes long-term but, in the meantime, theyve moved RW T.J. Oshie to play with C Vladimir Sobotka and LW Jaden Schwartz, both of whom are versatile productive forwards. Sobotka has eight points (2 G, 6 A) in his past 12 games and puts up strong puck possession stats. Schwartz has strong possession stats too, but is showing a higher offensive ceiling, putting up 18 points (11 G, 9 A) in his past 18 games, including goals in each of the past six. 2. Penguins RW Pascal Dupuis suffered a season-ending knee injury December 23 against Ottawa and, even though he hasnt had his most productive season, Dupuis absence does leave the Penguins short-staffed up front. Of course, you can hardly tell right now, as the Penguins have shifted James Neal to join Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz on Pittsburghs top line and the trio has been productive (Neal had three goals and five points Saturday night). Once C Evgeni Malkin returns to the lineup, however, the Penguins arent going to leave Malkin without support, so Neal would most likely return to that line with Malkin and Jussi Jokinen, once again leaving room on the right side with Crosby and Kunitz. It could be an ideal opportunity for Beau Bennett, who is recovering from a broken wrist and did get an audition with Crosby and Kunitz before he was injured. Bennetts time frame for return was 2-3 months after suffering his injury November 22. If the Penguins are prepared to put Bennett in that spot, a lot of responsibility for a 22-year-old who has 17 points in 38 career games, then they may not be inclined to seek out trade alternatives. They can plug in Joe Vitale, Chuck Kobasew or Brian Gibbons. The Penguins have even claimed Taylor Pyatt on waivers from the Rangers, so hes another possibility to take up space on the right flank. None of those are ideal choices but, really, the Penguins need someone that can help out, but also stay out of the way when Crosby and Kunitz are generating opportunities. Anyway, if the Penguins want a more established scorer in that spot, then pending free agents like Ales Hemsky, Mike Cammalleri or Matt Moulson could have some appeal, but Id bet on Bennett getting an opportunity to stick before other alternatives are explored. 3. Avalanche RW PA Parenteau is out for the next six weeks with a knee injury, forcing a shuffle of Colorados scoring lines. The main beneficiary appears to be Jamie McGinn, who joins Matt Duchene and Ryan OReilly. McGinns ice time is down this year, from 17:17 per game last season to 14:27 this season, and even with a couple goals in the past four games, has seven goals and 12 points in 36 games, giving him 47 points in 100 games with Colorado since he was acquired from San Jose. 4. Dallas defence has taken a hit with Stephane Robidas and Trevor Daley out long-term, and Sergei Gonchar sidelined by a concussion. As a result, theyve been giving ice time to Aaron Rome, who has been injured for a good portion of the season, Kevin Connauton and Cameron Gaunce; the latter two have combined to play a total of 32 career NHL games. In very small samples, both Rome and Gaunce have put up solid possession numbers for the Stars this season, but if the Stars are going to be legit playoff contenders, they may need to bring in more proven blueline help. 5. Team USA announced their mens hockey roster for the 2014 Olympics and, as I noted on Twitter, Ben Bishop, Dustin Byfuglien, Kyle Okposo, Keith Yandle and Bobby Ryan were my highest-rated players excluded from the roster, while Dustin Brown, Jimmy Howard, Brooks Orpik and Derek Stepan were my lowest-rated inclusions. Ryan has caused some fuss with his reaction to comments made about his play by Brian Burke during the evaluation process and it is notable, even if justified, that Jack Johnson didnt land a spot given that hes been pretty much automatic for international play. The one thing that stands out to me as not getting much reaction is the inclusion of Brown. Not a surprise, since hes recently captained a Stanley Cup winner and been a strong possession player for a while, but hes really having a tough season. It started early in the year, when Kings coach Darryl Sutter called out Brown for his lack of physical play. Browns possession numbers are still very good but a 4.0% on-ice shooting percentage leaves him with 13 points in 40 games. Bad luck or not, its a relative free pass for a forward on pace for a 27-point season -- his 0.33 points per game is his lowest since his rookie year in 2003-2004 -- to not only be included on an Olympic roster, but to be there without question. 6. The easiest choice for USA Hockey would have been selecting Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane, who tied Sidney Crosby for the December scoring lead (23 points in 14 games). Kane, with 53 points, is six points behind Crosby for the overall scoring lead and since the U.S. left Okposo (and his 40 points) off the roster, Kane is 15 points ahead of the next-highest American scorer, Leafs RW Phil Kessel. More intriguing, when it comes to Blackhawks wingers, is the case for Patrick Sharp on Team Canada. Sharp is making a strong push over the last month. In his last 11 games, he has scored 11 goals and six assists. His 4.3 shots on goal per game in December ranked fourth in the league. A versatile forward who plays both ends of the rink and is tied for fourth with 22 goals this season, Sharp is going to be an interesting decision. Has he done enough this season to unseat others that might have been ahead of him coming into 2013-2014? 7. The Philadelphia Flyers are turning their season around, with one regulation loss in the past nine games, and a large part of their resurgence can be attributed to C Claude Giroux and RW Jakub Voracek, getting back on track on the number one line. Giroux started the year without a point in the first five games -- remember he had finger surgery late in the summer -- but has 37 points in 35 games since and had a 9-game point streak snapped New Years Eve in Calgary. Since the start of the 2010-2011 season, Giroux has 254 points, ranking fourth, behind Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Henrik Sedin. His shots per game (2.85) is back up to last years level, so any early-season concerns about Giroux should be long buried. Girouxs recovery has also helped lift RW Jakub Voracek, who started really slowly this year, with 12 points through the first 29 games, but 15 points in the past 11 games has Voracek climbing back towards more typical production. Joining that pair on the Flyers top line has been rookie Michael Raffl, who managed one point in his first 15 NHL games, but has 10 points in his past 13 games as hes obviously getting a pretty great opportunity. 8. Its no secret that Blackhawks D Duncan Keith is great, one of the best when hes on his game and, this year, hes on his game. Keith has 39 points in 42 games, his 0.93 points per game representing a career-high and he has the strongest possession numbers of his career, which has allowed him to post another double-digit plus rating (+16), despite mediocre goaltending in Chicago this year. This is the sixth time in the past seven seasons that Keith has a double-digit plus rating. Zdeno Chara and Brent Seabrook (Keiths partner) are the only defencemen in the league to have double-digit plus ratings six times in the past seven seasons. 9. Blue Jackets C Ryan Johansen keeps improving and has tallied 19 points in the past 18 games. He has strong possession stats, plays tough minutes and starts more of his shifts in the defensive zone. He might have looked like a bit of a project last season, but the 21-year-old has quickly become a bona fide No. 1 centre. 10. The leading scorer for the New York Rangers has, surprisingly enough, been RW Mats Zuccarello, who has 18 points in his past 19 games, giving him 28 points in 40 games for the season. Hes also been a puck possession ace, so there doesnt seem any reason to suspect that hell lose significant ice time even when the Rangers are fully healthy. LILES-GLEASON TRADE While he was unceremoniously buried by Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, 33-year-old D John-Michael Liles hasnt been very productive either. He scored 38 points in 104 games over the past three seasons for Toronto and, among defencemen to play at least 2500 5-on-5 minutes over that time, Liles Corsi percentage of 48.0%, ranked 87th out of 111. At the same time, hes scored at least 20 power play points five times in his career and hes joining a Carolina defence that could use an upgrade in the puck-moving department. Andrej Sekera leads Hurricanes defencemen with 10 power play points (23 points overall) and is followed by Justin Faulk (5 of 16 point on the PP), so there ought to be opportunity for Liles to play on the Carolina power play right away. Will that make it more palatable to deal with a $3.875-million cap hit? Maybe. The final year of Liles contract, 2015-2016, only costs $2.75-million., but what the Hurricanes need is Liles to handle a regular turn on their blueline and contribute some with the man advantage. If he can do that, at even a mediocre level, thats okay. Liles struggled in six games with the Leafs this season, but had 13 points and a plus-9 rating in 16 AHL games, a reasonable indication that he is ready for another chance in the NHL. Gleason, 30, has declined noticeably in the last couple seasons, so if hes going to help the Maple Leafs, he will have to reverse the trend. Gleasons had Corsi deficits as a standard, but its dramatically worse since the start of last season and hes not playing the same minutes, nor facing the same level of competition that he has in past seasons. A stay-at-home defenceman whose career-high in scoring was 21 points with Los Angeles in 2005-2006, Gleason wont be asked to work the power play or anything of the sort in Toronto, but dont be surprised if the Maple Leafs give Gleason a chance to play 20 minutes a night, either as a veteran complement to a young puck-movers Jake Gardiner or Morgan Rielly or, potentially, alongside Dion Phaneuf on the top shutdown pair. There isnt anything to suggest that Gleason is up to the latter challenge, which is fine since the Leafs are giving up a player that they were barely using anyway, but its unrealistic to expect Gleason to suddenly become a difference-maker on the Toronto blueline when he was entirely mediocre while playing 15:54 per game in Carolina this year. To be fair, injuries have been part of Gleasons problem this year, as hes been limited to just 17 games. The Leafs also sent D Dennis Robertson to Carolina as part of the deal. Robertson, 22, was a sixth-round pick in 2011, has decent size and had 61 points in 110 games at Brown University. Hes not expected to make a major difference. FIRST NHL GAMES David Warsofsky, D, Boston - With injuries wreaking havoc on the Bruins blueline, 23-year-old Warsofsky has been pressed into action. The former Boston University Terrier is 5-foot-8, which helps explain the uphill battle that hes fought to reach the NHL, but the fourth-round pick of the Blues in 2008 has acquitted himself well enough in his first four games. Tomas Jurco, RW, Detroit - A second-round pick of the Red Wings in 2011, Jurco has already made a reputation for slick puckhandling, but after scoring 28 points in 74 games as an AHL rookie last season, hes taken a leap forward this year, putting up a point-per-game in 27 games with Grand Rapids. Injuries in Detroit opened the door for Jurco and hes impressed in his first seven games, scoring a couple goals and putting up strong possession numbers. Brian Dumoulin, D, Pittsburgh - Injuries ravaged the Penguins blueline, creating an opportunity for 22-year-old Dumoulin, a second-round pick of Carolina in 2009 who was acquired as part of the Jordan Staal trade. He saw some significant ice time, but maybe more than hes ready for at this point in his development. Ryan Strome, C, N.Y. Islanders - The fifth overall pick in 2011, Strome had 40 points in 33 AHL games, including late last season, before getting the call to the Island, where hes had some trouble, managing two points with lacklustre possession stats in eight games. Expectations are definitely high for the 20-year-old to produce, but he needs to generate more than a shot per game if hes going to be a consistent offensive contributor. Cody Ceci, D, Ottawa - Taken 15th overall in 2012, Ceci is an Ottawa native who played junior for the 67s. In 27 career AHL games, he had 19 points and a plus-10 rating and hes played 18:38 per game in his first 10 NHL games, putting up four points and a plus-4 rating, though his puck possession stats indicate room for improvement. Zach Trotman, D, Boston - A 23-year-old who doesnt lack size, at 6-foot-4, Trotman played three seasons for Lake Superior State and has talled 28 points wit ha plus-12 rating in 81 career AHL games since leaving school. He played 16:41 against Ottawa in his NHL debut, but may have been a stopgap as the Bruins appear to be getting healthier on defence. Eric ODell, C, Winnipeg - Acquired from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Erik Christensen in 2009, when he was still a junior in Sudbury, 23-year-old ODell has developed offensively over the last couple seasons, putting up 41 goals and 84 points in 87 AHL games. His reward was six minutes per game for four games on the Jets fourth line, but it was a first taste of NHL action for the 2008 second-round pick. Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. Theo Riddick Jersey .Mack, a reserve guard who came in averaging 3.8 points, made all six of his 3-pointers as the Hawks went 16 for 28 from behind the arc.Trailing 50-38 midway through the second quarter, Atlanta outscored Cleveland 89-48 the rest of the way and sent the Cavaliers to their largest loss of the season. Graham Glasgow Jersey .Hammel pitched inside more and it helped him get into the seventh inning as the Colorado Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 3-2 on Friday night. http://www.authenticnfllionslockroom.com/Youth-Calvin-Johnson-Elite-Jersey/ . -- Phil Mickelson came to the St.SAN FRANCISCO - Homer Bailey heard frequent reminders that he had a no-hit bid in progress. Not anyone on the Cincinnati bench mentioned it, however. "I wasnt really thinking about it, other than the fan just above our dugout who kept yelling at me about it," Bailey said. "That was nice of him." Bailey made a strong bid for yet another no-hitter, shutting down San Francisco until Buster Poseys two-out single in the seventh inning and pitching the Reds past the Giants 4-0 Sunday. Bailey has thrown no-hitters in each of the last two seasons, and did it against the Giants at home last July 2. He came close to pitching the latest gem at AT&T Park — the ballpark was the scene of Tim Lincecums no-hitter Wednesday against San Diego. "I had pretty good stuff, got a lot of early outs and we scored enough runs," Bailey said. "It was our lucky day, I guess." Bailey (8-4) finished with a three-hitter as the Reds completed their first four-game sweep in San Francisco since 1972 at Candlestick Park. Billy Hamilton, Brandon Phillips, Brayan Pena and Skip Schumaker drove in runs as the Reds won their season-best fifth straight and eighth in nine overall. The Giants were swept in a four-game series for the first time in their ballpark that opened in 2000. San Francisco has lost 15 of 19 while watching its lead dwindle in the NL West. "We got them at the right time," Schumaker said. "Its still a playoff team, in my opinion. They are too good of a team. Im just happy to get out of here while they were struggling a little bit." Bailey walked one and struck out seven in his fourth career shutout and sixth complete game. Bailey walked Gregor Blanco leading off the fourth, but later caught him taking off early for third base and threw him out. That was all the Giants got into Posey singled cleanly to right-centre field. Pablo Sandovals bloop single moved Posey to third, but Bailey struck out Michael Morse looking to end the inning. "We ran into four starters as dominant as four starters Ive ever seen before," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "They caught everything we hit. They are as hot as any team, and as cold as we are, its what we have to deal with. Marvin Jones Jr Jersey. " Bailey was trying to become just the sixth pitcher with at least three career no-hitters. Nolan Ryan leads that list with seven. "He pitched efficiently and we played great defence," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "When the outs are coming so early in the count, he has a chance." Tim Hudson (7-5) allowed two runs on five hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out six. Hes lost his last two starts at home after opening the season with seven straight wins. "My delivery felt a lot better and my timing was good," Hudson said. "They had one or two opportunities to score and they took advantage. I felt like I made a pretty good pitch on Hamilton. Every little run counts in a game like this." Hamiltons two-out double in the third drove in the Reds first run, and with the way Hudson was pitching — he retired 12 of 13 following the double — Bailey needed to be nearly perfect. The Reds tacked on three runs in the ninth against Jeremy Affledt, who took over for Hudson after Todd Frazier started the frame with a single. Affledt balked, hit a batter, threw a wild pitch, allowed three hits and an inherited runner to score and got his only out on Phillips sacrifice fly. NOTES: Bochy announced before the game he would be going with a closer-by-committee for the time being, with RHP Sergio Romo in the mix. "I think its time to tweak it a little bit, get guys on track," Bochy said. ... Giants 1B Brandon Belt (thumb) could rejoin the team Friday in San Diego, but not likely before then. ... Lincecum (6-5, 4.42) makes his first start since throwing his second career no-hitter. Hell face the Cardinals and Marco Gonzales (0-0, 9.00) on Tuesday night. ... Mat Latos (1-0, 2.89) will start Monday nights game in San Diego for the Reds. ... The Reds have won their last five series and are 6-0-1 in their past seven. ... Hamiltons 16th double gives him the lead among NL rookies, breaking a tie with Arizonas Chris Owings, who is on the DL. ... The other pitchers with three or more no-hitters: Sandy Koufax with four and Cy Young, Bob Feller and 1880s pitcher Larry Corcoran with three. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '