• The Colorado Avalanche, losers of eight straight at home, has become a laughingstock, and it’ll be interesting to see how Joe Sakic addresses this once the holiday roster freeze is lifted. Dead last in the NHL, the Avs have a losing culture and no chemistry since somehow winning the division in 2014. With Erik Johnson hurt, Tyson Barrie might be the only defenseman anybody in the league would even want, and the core of Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon is leading the Avalanche nowhere. Big changes could be coming. After a 6-0 loss to Toronto, MacKinnon said, “We didn’t even deserve to be in the NHL tonight, it was so bad.”
• Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele continue to rack uppoints. Laine, a rookie, is tied for second in the NHL with 19 goals, and Scheifele is tied for 11th with 31 points. “I think they’ve snuck up a little bit on the league,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “It’ll be interesting to see if they can maintain now that they’re getting that recognition. They’ve been two of the best. But for the most part, everybody should have a book. Most teams will be paying more attention to them, giving them a lot more respect for the fact that this kid can shoot and score from a lot of places and Scheifele has tremendous speed and skill.”
• After Florida’s Nick Bjugstad finally scored his first goal of the season last week, future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr, who became the second-leading scorer in NHL history, bought a stuffed monkey and placed it over Bjugstad’s stall. Why? He got the monkey off his back.