With the calendar turning to January, the NHL announced its Three Stars for December. Taking home the top spot was Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin, whose 13 goals last month moved him up into second in all-time NHL goals as he now sits at 806, 88 behind Wayne Gretzky for the record. Oilers center Connor McDavid was the second star after leading the league in goals (14) and points (31) while tying for the lead in assists (17) and is the first player this season to record 30 points in a month. Sabres center Tage Thompson was the third star after picking up 22 points in 11 games while helping Buffalo pick up eight wins to get back within striking distance of a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Elsewhere around the hockey world:
- The NHL also revealed the Rookie of the Month for December with Hurricanes netminder Pyotr Kochetkov getting the nod. The 23-year-old posted a 1.63 GAA along with a .939 SV% and two shutouts in eight appearances last month, just weeks after inking a four-year, $8MM contract extension that kicks in next season.
- Penguins defenseman Kris Letang accompanied the team to Boston in advance of tomorrow’s Winter Classic but didn’t practice and remains listed as day-to-day, notes Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. At this point, it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to suit up in the outdoor game. Meanwhile, blueliner Chad Ruhwedel was a participant in practice, albeit in more of a reserve capacity. He has been out for the last two games and could be available to suit up against the Bruins.
- Radim Zohorna has been shuffled back and forth off Calgary’s roster in recent days and that trend continued today as FlamesNation’s Ryan Pike relays (Twitter link) that the Flames have sent Zohorna back to AHL Calgary. The 26-year-old has played in five NHL games this season and will likely be recalled in advance of their next game on Tuesday. For each day Zohorna is in the minors, the Flames are banking a little over $4K in cap space while extending his waiver exemption as he’ll remain exempt until he plays in ten NHL games or is on Calgary’s roster for 30 days.