BY KYLE MYERS – FAN FUEL BLOGGER
Each week I take a look at five hot and cold players from around the NHL. Let’s get to it.
Four that are Hot:
1. Jakub Voracek, Flyers: Voracek has been an offensive machine this year for the Philadelphia Flyers. He scored his first career hat trick against the Penguins on February 20th, and in his past five games Voracek has a ridiculous 12 points, including four goals. Voracek has really caught fire in February, and his increased production is much of the reason that Philly has started to turn their season around.
2. Corey Crawford, Blackhawks: Crawford could have seriously been on the hot list every week so far this season. He (and the Blackhawks) still haven’t lost in regulation, giving them a huge early lead in the Western Conference. Crawford has two shutouts in his last three starts, and has a save percentage of .941, with a GAA of only 1.50 – both good enough for second in the NHL. If Crawford and the Blackhawks continue to play this well, Chicago may be an unstoppable force this season.
3. Sidney Crosby, Penguins: Sid the Kid hasn’t lost a step since before the terrible string of injuries which plagued him for the past couple seasons. Crosby is coming off a three point effort on Sunday, and sits only one point back from the lead in both assists and total points. Pittsburgh is rolling, and with the news that Evgeni Malkin is suffering from a concussion, the Penguins will need all the production they can get out of their captain.
Four that are Cold:
1. Ilya Bryzgalov, Flyers: The Flyers may be heating up, but it’s not thanks to the stellar play of their goaltender. In his past five games, Bryzgalov has allowed three goals or more four times. Yes, Philly has had defensive lapses this season, and Bryz is seeing a whole lot of rubber. However, Bryzgalov was expected to be an elite goaltender when Philly signed him to that huge deal, and he isn’t living up those expectations right now.
2. Rick DiPietro, Islanders: DiPietro is a strong candidate for the man with the worst contract in NHL history. Due $4.5 million each season through 2020-2021, DiPietro has only appeared in 50 of the Islanders’ last 345 games, and he hasn’t been efficient even when he is healthy enough to play. In three starts this season, DiPietro is 0-3, with a GAA of 4.09 and a save percentage just above .850. DiPietro was waived by the Islanders just a few days ago, and it’s likely his contract will haunt the franchise for the next eight years.
3. Stephen Weiss, Panthers: Weiss is known to be a consistent point getter throughout his career, averaging about 20 goals and over 40 points per season with the Panthers. This season Weiss has struggled to find any consistency or offensive success, only netting a single goal and four points through 14 games. He’s a league-worst minus-11, and the Panthers are far out of the playoff picture. Weiss is in the middle of one of the worst seasons of his professional career.
4. Olli Jokinen, Jets: Jokinen was thought to be an addition to the Winnipeg Jets that would put them over the top and into playoff contention, but he’s been anything but this season. With only five points through 18 games, Jokinen, like many other Jets, has struggled to find success. He’s tied with Stephen Weiss at minus-11, and is pointless in four of his last five games. Winnipeg needs Jokinen to step his game up.
More NHL: Hockey Central Insiders answer fan questions – February 20