NHL Recap Week 3- Streaking Blackhawks, Struggling Kings, Ridiculous Islanders
Heavy is the crown the Los Angeles Kings wear. After raising their first Stanley Cup banner ever the Kings have mostly gotten off to a bad start. The Kings had one of the longer cup reigns due to the lockout and the Stanley Cup hangover will have an effect on a team not used to much playoff success. Of course you know it’s going to be a long season when Kyle Clifford is tied for the lead in points on your team. Drew Doughty has no goals and a -10. Jonathan Quick, for basically the first time ever, has a SV% under .900 and Jonathan Bernier has been worse. Attendance has been really good this year so I hope the Kings poor performance won’t keep people at home eventually. But I don’t expect the team to make the playoffs on a late surge like last year. Which is probably not what the Kings had in mind when everyone returned form last year’s winner.
Things I like
1. The Chicago Blackhawks remain the only undefeated team in regulation and that’s a really good thing for the league especially since it’s a big market team. It might peak the casual fan to tune in and watch as they start to grab more headlines. The fact that they have a star studded team only helps. It’ll be interesting to see how far they can go. True it would be better if they didn’t lose in the overtime/shootout but the NHL will take what it can get. Since this is a shortened season they have a real chance of going undefeated in regulation.
2. Speaking of the Blackhawks that game against the Sharks, where 6 goals were scored in the first 12 minutes, was highly entertaining. Not the crispest goals ever, mind you, but from a fan’s perspective we will take all those red lights.
3. How do the Devils do it? In first place in the East, thought they’ve played more games, the Devils just find ways to win. They lost their best player to free agency, their starting goalie has aged another year and they play in one of the toughest divisions. Best of all David Clarkson, who’s more known for his fighting, has followed up his impressive 30 goal breakout season last year with a team high 9 goals so far this season. Five more than the next highest player by someone you might have heard of in Ilya Kovalchuk. I also admit I wrote a few years ago that Martin Brodeur should just retire. Well I can admit when I’m wrong… so I’m wrong.
Things I don’t
1. The Islanders trade for Tim Thomas… even though the know the chance of him playing for them is like 1%. They basically did it because they wanted to be over the cap floor. Here’s an idea, why don’t you try going after good players or locking up your own players with better contracts. This is just a mockery of the whole system in general and something that shouldn’t be allowed. If Gary Bettman was a good commissioner who would do something about this but he isn’t. There’s a reason you are continually at the bottom of the NHL’s standings Islanders.
2. All of those blowouts. We had 6 blowouts (wins by at least 4 goals) in the span of four days (Thursday to Sunday, although Friday only had one game so that didn’t really count. Kind of takes the fun out of watching some games. I’ll admit some of the best games are where a team makes a great comeback to tie the game but obviously that didn’t happen here.
3. It’s really strange looking at the standings and seeing the Capitals dead last in the East. They’ve finished 1st or 2nd in the their division and made the playoffs the last 5 seasons. They did just blowout the Panthers but that’s the Panthers, another disappointing team but they seemed like a one hit wonder and that’s probably all they will really be so it doesn’t really mean much. But who knows it could be their springboard to a hot streak.
4. Funny bounces in games. I don’t care for them. There’s no skill involved with it it, the puck just bounces off the boards funny and the other team capitalizes on it. It can change momentum like that. I suppose there is some skill involved with being more observant and quicker to the puck than the other team but it’s such a unfair way to score a goal because it can change momentum so quickly. It happened in a couple of times this week once in the Maple Leafs vs Capitals game and in the Blues vs Sharks game.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Much better fights this week than last weeks.
B.J. Crombeen vs Zac Rinaldo
This one was fairly even until Rinaldo pops him good at the end.
Gregory Campbell vs Patrick Kaleta
Kaleta destroys Campbell
Steve Begin vs Jordin Tootoo
Fist of Fury to start and the refs try and break it up but they keep going.
Goat of the Week
Matt Carle – Tampa Bay Lightning
Though the game ended 5-1 in the Rangers favor, when Carle did this it was only 1-0 New York.
Stat Line of the Week
02/09/13 Anaheim 6 vs. St. Louis 5
The “old guy” Teemu Selanne had his 2nd 4 point night of the season. He’s currently tied for 16th in points all-time, not too shabby. His linemate Bobby Ryan also had 4 points on the night.
6 – Goals allowed by Carey Price against the Maple Leafs
7 – The plus for John Mitchell of the Colorado Avalanche, the only player in the top 15 in +/- who is not on a winning team
.429 – The shooting percentage of Brad Marchand, tops in the league
0 – Road wins, or lack thereof, for Washington and Minnesota
36.6 – The powerplay percentage of the St. Louis Blues, tops in the league by a wide margin
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
February 4, 1973 J.P. Parise scored a goal and added three assists to lead the Minnesota North Stars to a 4-3 win over Pittsburgh at the Met Center
February 05, 1987 Mario Lemieux scored his 5th career hat trick and added two assists as the Penguins lost to the Bruins, 6-5 at Boston.
February 06, 1982 Islanders’ Mike Bossy scored his 18th career hat trick along with two assists, and John Tonelli had two goals and two assists as New York won 6-2 over the visiting Detroit Red Wings, for their 9th straight home victory.
February 07, 1965 Detroit’s Gordie Howe became the first player in NHL history to score 100 career goals against every opposing team in the league, during a 6-0 win over the visiting Montreal Canadiens. Rookie Roger Crozier recorded his 7th career shutout. – This would be REALLY impressive if done in this day age. But that would never happen.
February 08, 1997 Scotty Bowman became the first coach in history to win 1,000 NHL games, as the Red Wings won 6-5 in overtime, at Pittsburgh.
February 09, 1985 New York’s Bryan Trottier became the first player in league history to get 25 goals in each of his first 10 NHL seasons, when he scored twice as the Islanders won 4-1 over the Penguins, in Long Island.
February 10 2003 Pittsburgh Penguins traded Alexei Kovalev, Dan LaCouture, Janne Laukkanen and Mike Wilson to the NY Rangers in exchange for Rico Fata, Mikael Samuelsson, Joel Bouchard, Richard Lintner, and other future considerations.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
3. New Jersey
27. Los Angeles
Author: Alex Mueller
Alex Mueller graduated from Temple University with a minor in journalism over a decade ago. He’s been writing about NHL hockey, on and off, since the Fall of 2009. He’s written for Pucking Awesome, the Checking Line and now Hockey Recaps. He played goalie at San Diego Ice Arena. His first novel, Bobby Sterling vs Truth, is available on Amazon now.