December 9, 2009

Drury gets a fresh look

by Stan Fischler

Chris Drury (photo: Getty)

A concussion sidelined Chris Drury (Trumbull, Conn.) for five games and the time away from the ice gave the Rangers’ captain time to evaluate his game.

“I was able to learn from watching our team, watching our guys,” says Drury. “When I get in trouble and I’m not playing my best is when I’m too much in a hurry. Just trying to do too much. I get in the defensive zone and help out and I miss my coverage.”

Drury has two goals and seven assists through 24 games.

Observations

* Alex Ovechkin
was censured by the NHL for a questionable infraction. Anyone who suggests that The Mad Russian should in any way tone down his exuberance is dead wrong.

Yes, Ovie plays with reckless abandon and that’s precisely why we’re electrified by his every shift. But, no, he’s not a dirty player.

While it appeared in his most recent episode as if Alex led with his knee, actually his shoulder was out front. Tim Gleason pulled a shifty move to avoid any upper-body contact but still caught Ovechkin’s knee. Ovie’s leg did not extend any more as Gleason put the move on Ovechkin.

* Joel Quenneville, who recently celebrated his 500th victory, has emerged as the coaching find of the Windy City.

Replacing Denis Savard with Quenneville was a gutsy move by the Chicago high command, but the dividends are obvious.

Quenneville has turned the Blackhawks into a Cup contender. It’s been almost a half-century since Lord Stanley’s mug graced Chicago. Quenneville’s sextet could well end the drought this season.

Gossip

* It’s hard to believe that a mere 12 years ago Marc Savard was regarded as an egomaniacal underachiever, discarded by the Rangers, Flames and Thrashers. Now, the slick center owns a seven-year, $28.5 million Boston contract.

* This from the TSN’s Kevin Gibson: “Phil Kessel has made the Leafs much better. He has incredible speed and always is on the puck. Even in his own end, his work ethic is rubbing off on everybody.”

* According to Yahoo! Sports, newly-minted American Martin Brodeur is second only to sensational Swede Nicklas Lidstrom on its list of the 10 best players of the decade.

It’s hard to argue against Lidstrom, whose two Stanley Cups, Conn Smythe Trophy, 574 points and plus-232 rating for the decade puts him in a class of his own.

* Brendan Shanahan has moved on to an exalted NHL position (Vice President of Hockey and Business Development) with the league.

This is good for Shanny because he segues from the ice to the high command. Plus, it’s a boon to the league, because nobody knows NHL politics better than Shanahan.

Don’t kid yourself, Brendan will play a major role when serious union/league CBA talks eventually resume.

Stan Fischler can be reached at fischlersp@gmail.com.