NHL News & Notes: Okposo, Ovechkin & More

In today’s News & Notes, Kyle Okposo is injured and will miss a few games after suffering an upper-body injury, Alex Ovechkin has scored 40 goals once again and the NHL has announced their three stars of the week.

Okposo Injured Following Fight

The Buffalo Sabres have sent Okposo home for further medical evaluation after the veteran winger was injured during a fight with New York Rangers’ defender Tony DeAngelo. Okposo was punched in the face during the altercation, as one would expect in a fight in the NHL, and three days after the incident, the Sabres decided that Okposo needed further testing.

Vancouver Canucks Erik Gudbranson Buffalo Sabres Kyle Okposo
Vancouver Canucks Erik Gudbranson fights for control of the puck with Buffalo Sabres Kyle Okposo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

Okposo traveled with the Sabres for the start of their three-game road trip but did not suit up against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. The team took the precautious route with Okposo given his injury history and opted to send him home for the remainder of the trip.

In 57 games this season, Okposo has scored 10 goals and 22 points. He’s missed time in just about every single season of his NHL career and has a history of concussions. In his career, he’d scored 183 goals and 480 points in  727 games split between the New York Islanders and the Sabres.

Ovechkin Scores 40 Goals Again

After reaching the top of the mountain for the first time in his career, Ovechkin could have easily taken his foot off of the gas pedal knowing he has nothing left to prove to anybody. Instead, the 33-year-old turned things up a notch and has scored 40 goals and 57 points in 58 games. This marks the 10th time in his career that he’s reached the 40-goal plateau, making him just the fourth player in NHL history to do so.

Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin
Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin celebrates his goal for a hat trick. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

If Ovechkin can continue this production for a few more seasons, he could break Wayne Gretzky’s mark of 12 seasons of 40 or more goals. For now, though, he joins Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Marcel Dionne as the only players to have done so 10 times.

In 1,061 games, Ovechkin has scored 647 goals and 1,189 points. He’s never recorded under 30 goals in a season throughout his entire career and is one of only 20 players in the 600-Goal Club.

NHL 3 Stars of the Week

Sidney Crosby has been named the NHL’s third star of the week. The Pittsburgh Penguins’ star would score two goals and 10 points in four games last week, bringing his season totals to 25 goals and 72 points in just 56 games. This is the best point production we’ve seen from Crosby since the 2013-14 season when he’d score 36 goals and 104 points in just 80 games.

Sidney Crosby, Alexandar Georgiev, Marc Staal
Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby is stopped by New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev with Rangers’ Marc Staal defending. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Crosby’s impressive week would help lead the Penguins to three victories in those four games, lifting them to the first wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.

Vladimir Tarasenko has been named the NHL’s second star of the week after compiling four goals and 10 points in four games, including a multi-point effort in each contest.

The Tarasenko has turned up the heat as of late and is up to 26 goals and 51 points in 57 games. He’s second on the suddenly-surging St. Louis Blues in points behind only Ryan O’Reilly who has scored 22 goals and 60 points in 58 games.

St. Louis Blues Vladimir Tarasenko
St. Louis Blues Vladimir Tarasenko (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Tarasenko would reach the 400-point milestone as well. Tarasenko did so in the fifth-fewest games in Blues’ franchise history as it took him only 478 games to do so. The Blues have won 10 consecutive games.

Nikita Kucherov has been named the NHL’s first star of the week. The Tampa Bay Lightning star would score three goals and 10 points in just three games, including three multi-point efforts to help the Lightning win all three games, propelling the team to five straight wins.

Nikita Kucherov
Nikita Kucherov (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Kucherov has been dominant this season and has scored 27 goals and 94 points in just 59 games. He’s well on his way to breaking his career-high 100 points set last season and is producing offense as a rate that the NHL hasn’t seen very often in recent seasons. He’s still only 25 years old, too, which bodes well for the Lightning and for fans of scoring in general.