The top four teams (Montreal, Boston, Chicago and Anaheim) in the league currently all have deep teams. They all have four lines that can score (each have at least 7 players in double digits) and beat you and great goaltending. It’s also becoming more and more evident that you need to have two quality goalies. Which is why Luongo will probably not leave Vancouver. I did say a few columns ago that if you have two goalies you don’t have one… which is true in a way. You need two quality goalies BUT you need to have one clear cut number one. For the most part that’s true with those four teams above, only Anaheim is in question. Jonas Hiller was the number one but he still has not fully recovered from his vertigo and has been out a few games. Viktor Fasth is for all intents and purposes the number one goalie now. Pittsburgh, Vancouver and Ottawa are all on the cusp of getting to the next level but it will probably end up being one of those teams (first four mentioned) from the West and one of those teams form the East meeting in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Things I like
1. Nazem Kadri netted his first hat trick of the season against the New York Islanders. It’s been a bumpy ride in the NHL so far for the 7th overall pick in the 2009 draft but it looks like he has finally arrived. He’s producing on about a point per game level and he has a four game point streak currently.
2. Braden Holtby has been getting even hotter lately. He now has two shutouts in the last three games, with a bad game against the Flyers sandwiched in between. But things are pointing northward for Holtby and Capitals who are not that far out of the Southeast division pack. It’s more and more likely that only the division winner will get in from that division.
3. Lots of great games this week as usual. You had a great game between the Bruins and Senators with nothing but cheap trickle in goals. The Bruins vs Canadiens game had everything you could want as the Canadiens came back in the 3rd to win when Chara was in the box. The Avalanche came back from a 0-3 deficit and scored 3 in the 3rd against the Flames to beat them 5-4. The Penguins topped the Canadiens in a wild one 7-6 in OT. The Red Wings looked like they would end the Blackhawks streak on national TV until the end… see below on the Goat of the Week section.
Things I don’t
1. As you all are aware after being waived by the New York Islanders Rick Dipetrio made comments about depression and killing himself. This somehow turned into him “just kidding” about killing himself (huh?) and about how supportive his wife has been throughout the whole process (double huh?). All I have to say is you signed a big contract, although not really you fault it’s the idiot GM’s fault, you played badly and you were injured a lot. Therefore you were cut. It happens a lot in sports and nobody ever responds the way you did Rick. While it’s depressing it certainly isn’t the end of the world. Try keeping it to yourself like everyone else does and if you really want to make a comeback, then do so.
2. According to ESPN the Florida Panthers home attendance has been 99.8% in other words basically sold out. However the past few home games I’ve seen the 100s section has been half empty all the way around the rink. So either that isn’t true or people have tickets and aren’t coming. Either way not good. Or maybe they had the tickets sold after the division win and then the team now sucks and people have better things to do with their time.
3. The Los Angeles Kings were down 2 against the Vancouver Canucks with 90 seconds to go. They had pulled the goalie and they made a “spirited” attempt at getting into the Canucks zone. This basically boiled down to them dumping it in the zone without much of a rush and the Canucks getting it right out. After the first few failures instead of either setting something up or gasp trying to actually carry it in, they would simply turn and fire it right back into the zone as quickly as the re-obtained possession. The Canucks ended up getting an empty netter and the Kings never did anything in the Canucks zone. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Congrats Kings you are all insane.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie vs Adam McQuaid
Pretty decent back and forth scrap
Kyle Chipchura vs Dale Weise
A fists of fury fight, I always love those
Nick Foligno vs Sheldon Brookbank
A good back and forth tussle
Goat of the Week
Detroit Red Wings – The whole team
You’re at home with 1-0 lead against the only team without a loss in regulation in the NHL with only a few minutes left in the 3rd period. Do you A) Clamp down and play great defense or do you B) Sit on the self destruct button? The Red Wings chose B. They had two delay of game penalties in the final three minutes of the game and a bad fanned clearing attempt on the first penalty which directly led to Patrick Kane’s tying goal in the clip below. They then promptly lose in the shootout. Definitely not the same old Red Wings.
Stat Line of the Week
02/27/13 Anaheim 5 vs. Nashville 1
Kyle Palmieri had a natural hat trick and had the first and second assists by Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry on each of his goals. He was injured against the Coyotes later but it appears he will be fine. It seems like this season he will finally live up to his 1st round draft status. Of course being linemates with Getzlaf and Perry will always help.
22 – Games with a point and counting for the Blackhawks
4 – Points in the last 9 games by Thomas Vanek (in which those 4 points game in 2 games) who is now day to day with an injury
7 – Number of 3 point games by NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby thus far
17 – Penalty minutes by Zdeno Chara on one play
.849 – SV% of Brian Elliot almost .1 less than last years amazing .940%
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
February 25, 1978 Islanders’ Mike Bossy set an NHL record for goals by a rookie, when he scored his 45th of the year in a 7-1 win against Chicago. Bossy broke the mark of 44 set by Buffalo’s Rick Martin in 1971-72.
February 26, 1944 Bill Durnan became the first goalie in Montreal Canadiens history to win 30 games in one season. The milestone was a 10-2 win over the visiting Boston Bruins. Defenseman Mike McMahon led the scoring with a goal and 4 assists.
February 27, 2000 Scotty Bowman earned his 300th victory as Red Wings head coach with a 3-1 win against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning.
February 28, 1993 Winnipeg’s Teemu Selanne scored four goals (including his 3rd career hat trick) to give him 50 in his rookie season, as the Jets won 7-6 over the visiting Minnesota North Stars. Selanne became the 3rd rookie in NHL history to score 50 goals.
March 01, 1980 Bruins’ goaltender Gerry Cheevers made 22 saves in a 4-0 win over Los Angeles, at Boston Garden. It was the 26th (and final) career shutout for Cheevers.
March 02, 2002 Kings outshot the visiting Blue Jackets 30-13, but Columbus goalie Ron Tugnutt made 30 saves to record his 21st career shutout, a 2-0 win at Los Angeles. Ray Whitney had two assists in the game.
March 03, 1927 Ottawa set a new NHL record for most wins in a season, with their 25th of the year, a 2-1 victory at Pittsburgh. The Senators broke the record of 24 they had set one year earlier.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
5. Los Angeles
28. Tampa Bay
27. San Jose
26. New Jersey