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The NHL Cycle: Weekly Hot Seat, Biggest Mystery and Top Plays

Dec 20, 2010 – 8:30 AM
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Christopher Botta

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Every Monday morning Adam Gretz and Chris Botta recap the week in the greatest hockey league in the world. We call it the NHL Cycle.

THIS WEEK'S HOT SEAT

Bruce Boudreau:
The Capitals finally won a game on Sunday in Ottawa, but here's one of the realities of "reality" television. When Coach Boudreau is shown on HBO using up his "A" material to get the Capitals motivated, and then his troops go out and show little fire, there's nothing to spin. It doesn't look good. The Washington coach is safe through at least the Winter Classic, but eight losses in a row is eight losses in a row. The seat is getting warmer than the heated bench at Heinz Field.

OUR PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Matt Duchene:
The second-year Colorado center, who does not turn 20 until Jan. 16, enjoyed a splendid and clutch week. Duchene had two goals -- including the overtime game-winner -- in a victory over Chicago on Monday. He had two assists in another win over the Blackhawks on Wednesday. On Friday night, he scored another overtime goal, his second tally of the night, in a 6-5 win at home over the Senators.

BIGGEST MYSTERY

Courtesy of the New York Islanders, as you might expect, for starting career minor leaguer Nathan Lawson in goal Saturday when Rick DiPietro was sidelined with a swollen knee. Asked why the Islanders did not start Dwayne Roloson, who has been outstanding for the team for a season-plus, interim coach Jack Capuano said the organization wants to play its prospects when they are recalled. Right, Coach. Even fringe prospects in goal when Roloson is healthy and your team has won two of its last 22 games? Lawson and the Islanders lost to Phoenix in a shootout 4-3. Lawson was 0-3 in the shootout.

MEMORABLE QUOTE

"I want your two little helpers." -- The gloriously politically incorrect Max Talbot to Santa at the Penguins Christmas Party about his attractive female assistants, as captured by HBO's "24/7."

STANDOUT PERFORMANCES

1. Eric Boulton, Atlanta vs. New Jersey, Saturday: Eric Staal also had a hat trick for Carolina on Saturday, but occasional greatness is expected of him. When a fourth-line grinder and brawler like Boulton gets three goals, as he did in the Thrashers' 7-1 win over the Devils, we bow to him.

2. Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit vs. St. Louis, Wednesday: When a living legend scores his first hat trick after 1,442 NHL games, we bow to him again and again.

3. Tomas Fleischmann, Colorado at Chicago, Wednesday: With the Avalanche and Blackhawks tied at 1-1, the recently-acquired Fleischmann scored a natural hat trick in the third period. He tallied power play goals at 4:30 and 6:24 of the period and an even-strength goal with just over fove minutes left in the game. Final score: Colorado 4, Chicago 1.

BEST IN GOALTENDING

Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles at Detroit, Monday: Quick stopped all 51 shots on goal in a 5-0 victory for the Kings in Detroit. The highlight of his heroics was a 26-save second period.

Top Plays

1) P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens:
The young Montreal defender has made a lot of enemies around the NHL -- just ask Mike Richards -- but he's a heck of a young player, and here is laying out a huge hit on Boston's Brad Marchand.



2) Kyle Turris, Phoenix Coyotes: Turris was the third straight Coyote to score in the shootout against the Islanders on Saturday night, and he uses some nifty footwork to beat the New York goaltender...



3. Artem Anisimov, New York Rangers: The New York Rangers scored four goals in the final 10 minutes of regulation on Wednesday night, and this beauty from Artem Anisimov came after he skated through the entire Pittsburgh defense.



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