NHL Recap Week 5 – NHL Realignment, Canadiens Hot Start, Sharks Falling and more
The NHL’s new realignment plan can be summed up by me with one word… awful. I don’t know why they think they need four conferences. No other league has four. They don’t need it either. I hate it because I think this gives a team that doesn’t deserve to get in a greater chance to do so in a weaker conference. The other thing I hate is having the same early round matchups every year. You know that will happen for years at a time. The best playoffs round in ANY sport is the 1st round of the NHL playoffs. They need to protect that like the cure for cancer. I hope the NHPLA rejects this plan too. Just keep the current system and rearrange the teams. If you get rid of anything get rid of the reseeding. Teams should be rewarded for upsets and should not have to do the same thing all over again.
Things I like
1. We’ve had some really great games lately most involving the Blackhawks. The Ducks vs Blackhawks (from last week, which was great despite atrocious referring) and Blackhawks vs Canucks games were really good playoff caliber games. Though the Blackhawks should have won the Canucks game in regulation if not for a costly icing (bad decision) that shouldn’t have happened. The ensuing zone faceoff eventually led to the tying Canucks goal. But the Blackhawks did set an NHL record to the start the season and everyone wonders when their first regulation loss will be. It probably won’t happen soon with games against the Blue Jackets, Oilers and the Blues up next.
2. How about the Canadiens? It’s great for hockey in Canada and they have a shot of getting four teams in the playoffs this year. The Canadiens are really balanced and Carey Price is arguably having his best season ever. Hard to imagine with all that he has been through he’s only 25. Rookie Alex Galchenyuk is also off to a great start. The Candiens expect big things out of their Belarusian American former 3rd overall pick. They even have luck on their side. See the Goat of the Week section.
3. The Goal scoring race. Just a little over a third of the way through the season and we have seven players with at least 10 goals. Five that are tied at a dozen. Though Stamkos just netted his 13th tonight. My money would be on Stamkos to win but don’t discount the others, including Crosby and Ovechkin who are a little behind but could heat up at any moment.
Things I don’t
1. If you look up free fall in the dictionary you would see a picture of the San Jose Sharks playing in February. After starting out 7-0 the Sharks have really started to tumble. They have only 1 win, 5 regulation losses and 3 overtime losses. Three of the losses were to the Blackhawks. Now it’s no shame losing to the best team in the league three times, however, if they Sharks even make the playoffs, it doesn’t bode well for them going very far in them since they will probably have to get past Chicago at some point. Worse is players that started hot, like Patrick Marleau, are no longer.
2. I feel for Marian Hossa I really do. First the big hit by Raffi Torres and now the hit Jannik Hansen from virtually the same spot on the ice. You have to wonder how many of those someone can take. I don’t even know what to make of the latest Matt Cooke incident. Why anyone would need to put their skate like that is beyond me. Why Matt Cooke is still in the league is beyond me. As for the Malkin hit I wonder when the NHL is going to start trying to adopt safer playing conditions like the NFL. Padding on the boards would be a nice start. It sounds ridiculous but it would probably help a lot.
3. I’ll be honest I didn’t even know that Lindy Ruff had been coaching the Sabres that much but as sad as it is to see him go it’s a “What have you done for me lately” world. And what has he done for them lately? Two first round exists and three seasons of not making the playoffs and four if you count this season. That’s not really going to get it done. Granted the team has a dearth of talent, which means the GM should fire himself too.
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.
Joe Thornton vs Jamie Benn
This one gets the nod because these two don’t really fight and because the announcers were REALLY into it.
John Scott vs Frazer McLaren
I liked McLaren’s fighting style over the bigger Scott.
Wayne Simmonds vs Tanner Glass
A good high intensity bought from these two.
Colton Orr vs George Parros
I try to keep it to three or less fights but I thought this fight deserves an honorable mention.
Goat of the Week
Cam Ward – Carolina Hurricanes
Just a mere 18 seconds after letting in the 2nd Canadiens goal Ward let’s in a stinker from center ice from Max Pacioretty. Just not a goal you can allow ever, especially after just giving up a goal.
Stat Line of the Week
02/23/13 Washington 5 vs. New Jersey 1
Ovechkin matched almost half of his season point total in this game. This could be the game that launches him to finally getting his groove back. Kudos also goes to Braden Holtby who’s had just as rough of a season but has been getting better recently. He had one of his better game though he didn’t face as many shots (22) as usual.
14 – Points by Patrick Marleau in the first 7 games, all wins
3 – Points by Marleau in the last 9 games, only 1 win
3 – Powerplay goals allowed by Boston so far this year for a 94.4% penalty kill, tops in the league
8 – Wins for division leader Carolina, the only division leader without double digit wins
8 – Goals given up by Roberto Luongo against the Red Wings, not the first time he’s given up that many… won’t be the last
250 – Powerplay goals by Teemu Selanne, 3rd all-time
Quote of the Week
“What’s important to us is getting home-ice advantage, making the playoffs. Once you get there, the real season starts. When you get to that point, no one really cares or remembers those streaks at the start of the season.” — Jonathan Toews Chicago Blackhawks
Well in theory yes but when break an NHL record and have a chance to go the whole season without a regulation loss, people tend to remember that stuff.
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
February 18, 1926 Ottawa set a new NHL record for most wins in a season, with their 20th of the year, a 4-2 victory over the Canadiens. The Senators broke the record of 19 wins, set by 3 teams over the NHL’s first 8 seasons. Cy Denneny scored a natural hat trick.
February 19, 1955 Montreal’s Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion scored five goals (his fourth career hat trick) and an assist and defenseman Doug Harvey had five assists (a team record) as the Canadiens beat the NY Rangers, 10-2 at the Forum.
February 20, 1974 Goaltender Tony Esposito led the Black Hawks to a 3-0 win over the Oakland Seals at Chicago Stadium, with his third shutout in a week, and the 46th of his NHL career.
February 21, 1960 Chicago’s Bobby Hull scored four goals (his 4th career hat trick) and added an assist to lead the Black Hawks to a 7-5 win over Toronto. It was Hull’s first four-goal game.
February 22, 1989 Los Angeles Kings traded Mark Fitzpatrick, Wayne McBean and future considerations (Doug Crossman) to the New York Islanders in exchange for Kelly Hrudey.
February 23, 1999 Mike Modano scored his 7th career hat trick, becoming the third player in Stars’ franchise history to score 300 goals, and Joe Nieuwendyk picked up an assist for his 800th career point as Dallas won 4-3 at Nashville.
February 24, 1985 Philadelphia Flyers became the first post-1967 expansion team to record 700 NHL victories when they defeated the Calgary Flames 4-1 at the Spectrum. It was also their 7th consecutive win.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
28. San Jose
26. NY Islanders
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 currently plays goalie in ice hockey at San Diego Ice Arena.