NHL Recap Week 1 – Hot Sharks and Avalanche with Roy plus Miller, Reimer and Laviolette deserve better and more
This season is shaping up to a be a great wide open season. There’s really no clear cut favorite. Sports Illustrated would have you believe the Blackhawks and Penguins are the favorites but they basically pick those teams every year. Despite how talented the Blackhawks are, it’s highly unlikely they will repeat. 1998 was the last time we had a repeat winner and that’s not a coincidence. The San Jose Sharks would have to be one of the early favorites not just because of their fast start but because of how deep and talented they are. They’ve drafted really well as of late and have a few rookies that are really shining this season like Matthew Nieto and Thomas Hertl. (More on Hertl below) Also don’t forget that Antti Niemi is a former Stanley Cup winning goalie who has played really well the past few playoffs. The Anaheim Ducks would be another one of the favorites out West with a similarly deep team. Here’s looking hoping for an all California Western Conference Finals, which probably won’t happen anymore thanks to the new playoff formatting, sigh. Out east the Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins are the early favorites. We have a long way to go though.
Things I like
1. Patrick Roy was my favorite player growing up and he makes a damn fine coach as well. He has taken his fiery attitude as a player and channeled into his coaching which has rubbed off onto his young team. It only took Roy the first game of the season to yell at the opposing team’s coach, against the Ducks. But it’s working so far as the Avalanche are 5-0 and boast a balanced scoring attack.
2. Familiar faces in new places getting it done. Bobby Ryan and Tyler Seguin, two young stars not quite at their prime, were dealt in deals that I didn’t like this past offseason, even though I understood why they needed to happen. Ryan has now netted goals in three straight games including one against his former team, which had to feel good. Of course the Senators lost 4-1 so that probably didn’t feel as good. Seguin has points in three straight games and is in the Top 20 in scoring.
3. Although I previously ripped the Penguins a new one, and I stand by my criticism, they, and more importantly Marc-Andre Fleury, are off to a great start. But one has to wonder how much longer the strong play will continue. More importantly, Fleury has shown he can play decent in the regular season before and he is doing so now. But if he’s just going to crash and burn in the playoffs again, it doesn’t matter how good he is in the regular season.
Things I don’t
1. It’s going to be a long season for James Reimer in Toronto and sadly, we all pretty much saw this coming. Don’t get me wrong, Jonathan Bernier deserves a starting opportunity and he has made the most of it but Reimer deserves better than this after his regular and post season last year. Whatever confidence Reimer gained from that has now been shot to hell. I mean he has one bad game and that’s it, he loses his stating position. Since Reimer will be a free agent at the end of the season, expect it to be his last wearing the big leaf on his jersey. He will do well in a new setting.
2. Peter Laviolette was the first coaching casualty of the season. I can’t say it’s not surprising but it’s not deserved. As I wrote about previously, the Flyers have slowly been screwing up their team over the past few seasons. They have now officially reached rock bottom because of all of their stupid personal decisions over the years. It’s not Laviolette’s fault that the team sucks. Either way, I don’t know how you can fire someone after 3 games regardless of the fact that they didn’t score a regulation goal. Laviolette is a talented coach and will find a new home before the season is over.
3. I hate to see Ryan Miller finish off his career mired on a horrible team. The Sabres are going nowhere fast this season and they should just trade him and get it over with. There are plenty of teams that could use a goaltender like Miller. But since they didn’t trade him this past offseason one has to wonder if they would bother to do it now. The Sabres are now 0-5. Let’s see what happens when they get to 0-12.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Brandon Prust vs Luke Gazdic
A round and a round they go. Pretty even fight until the knockout at the end.
Arron Asham vs Patrick Maroon
A decent fight between Asham and the much bigger Maroon.
Goat of the Week
Jonathan Quick – Los Angeles Kings
Quick has been non to make some amazing saves and from time to time to make some really bad decisions. This was one of those bad decisions. We’ve some bad goals scored from past center ice and this one ranks right up there with the worst of them.
Stat Line of the Week
10/08/13 San Jose 9 vs. New York Rangers 2
Who is Tomas Hertl? He would be the 19 year old 2012 1st round rookie phenom who almost scored half of the Sharks goals on this night. 4 goals on shots in only 11 minutes is impressive any way you slice it. Not to mention his nifty between the legs goal and the fact that he leads the NHL in goals. Start in the making? I think so.
.850 – Tim Thomas’ SV% to go a long with his 5.02 GAA, I think there might be some rust
17 – Goal differential by the Sharks, the highest in the league so far
-16 – Goal differential by the Rangers, lowest in the league so far
1 – Goal differential for the Flames who are also undefeated
2 – Goals a piece for Curtis Glencross and Chuck Kobasew, all game winners
3 – Players on the Canadiens in the top 10 in scoring, not something you’ve normally seen the past few seasons. Let’s see if it holds up.
56 – Shots by the Ducks against the Senators on Sunday night
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
October 7, 1995 Cam Neely became the first player in NHL history to get an opening night hat trick twice in his career as the Bruins extended their opening night unbeaten streak to 9 games (8-0-1) with a 4-4 tie against the Islanders in Boston.
October 8, 1957 Chicago goaltender Glenn Hall recorded his 18th career shutout (and first as a Black Hawk), and Ted Lindsay scored the game’s only goal at 15:08 of the second period as the Black Hawks won 1-0 over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.
October 9, 1986 Los Angeles Kings center Marcel Dionne became just the second player in NHL history to score 1,600 NHL points, when he picked up two assists, in a 4-3 loss to St. Louis.
October 10, 2001 Mark Parrish scored two third-period goals and Claude Lapointe had a goal and three assists as the Islanders earned their 1,000th victory in team history, a 6-3 win at Pittsburgh. The Isles became the 14th NHL team to win 1,000 games.
October 11, 1930 Toronto Maple Leafs announced the acquisition of King Clancy from Ottawa, in exchange for Art Smith, Eric Pettinger and $35,000. The cash involved was a record price paid for any hockey player.
October 12, 2001 Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom had two assists for his 570th and 571st career points to pass Reed Larson as the highest scoring defenseman in Red Wings’ history, in a 4-2 win over the visiting Buffalo Sabres.
October 13, 1992 Calgary Flames edged the Minnesota North Stars 4-3 before a crowd of 8,783 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in the first game of the NHL’s experiment with neutral site games during the 1992-93 season.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
1. San Jose
3. St. Louis
28. N.Y Rangers