|ESPN.com: NHL||[Print without images]|
Five guys who have to pick up their games in the second quarter:
Nail Yakupov, Edmonton Oilers. This guy is going to have a great career, but he's got to put his head down and focus on what matters. Stop whining, tell your agent to stop whining and get to work. There's no easy way in the NHL. Only hard work gets you to where your talent should bring you. And he's got oodles of it.
Marian Gaborik, Columbus Blue Jackets. He's injured now, but it was a quiet first quarter for the Slovak star, who has only five goals. Not what the Jackets had in mind when they acquired him in a blockbuster deal last April.
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers. A slow opening month has jeopardized his Team Canada standing but, to his credit, the native of Hearst, Ontario, has never stopped working as he led his team to better play late in the first quarter in early to mid-November.
Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes. Kind of amazing the Hurricanes have hung in there in the opening quarter with both their goalies out for a long chunk of time plus their team's low-scoring issues. Staal leads his team in scoring but had only 11 points in the opening 20 games, not the kind of offense he's accustomed to putting up.
Stephen Weiss, Detroit Red Wings. So far, the decision to replace Valtteri Filppula with Weiss as the No. 2 center has not looked great. While Filppula has flourished in Tampa, Weiss has struggled to find his stride in Detroit with only three points in 17 games in the opening quarter. I still think he'll come around but it's been a slow start for sure.