Brendan Shanahan has set out to clean up the game of hockey and enforce the cheap hits. While consistency is always an issue he has done a fairly good job of his main goal. In the past two weeks we’ve had 5 (Maxim Lapierre), 10 (Patrick Kaleta), 3 (Alex Edler) and 3 (Brad Stuart) games suspensions. I’m sure there will be another one after Cody Mcleod’s hit on Niklas Kronwall sent him off the ice on a stretcher. The real question is if any of this is having any effect at all? I mean if somebody hears someone just got suspended for 5 games and then goes and does basically the same thing a few games later, one can clearly say it’s not. So what’s the answer? That’s obviously not an easy question to give an answer to. Longer suspensions might be an answer, or fines that are double or triple his lost salary for the suspended games. I think a better answer would be something that would harm the player’s team. This way the player’s coach and teammates can get after him. Maybe a penalty shot to go with the powerplay. Or they can get thrown out and their team has to play shorthanded the rest of the game like they do in soccer with a red card. All I know is, what they are doing now isn’t working.

Things I like

1. Despite a modest roster, the Flames are keeping it close this season. In the mist of rebuilding the Flames don’t exactly sport a roster on paper that would strike fear in any opponent. However, on the ice they have been in every game they’ve played. They started out 3-0-2, all 1 goals games. They have since lost two games but one was to the Ducks by once again one goal and the other to the Sharks. The Sharks loss was by 3 goals but the Sharks are demolishing everybody this season. Even more encouraging has been the play of their 1sr round pick Sean Monahan whose been producing at a point per game pace. Sill, I just don’t see the Flames making the playoffs this season.

2. Taylor Hall did something even Wayne Gretzky couldn’t do, score two goals in 8 seconds. Although to be fair to Gretzky, his record was 9 seconds so not to shabby either. Unfortunately for the Oilers they lost that game and then lost Hall during the next game, but they won that game. On the plus side Hall’s injury doesn’t look to serious and he should be back soon. On the other hand their goaltending is atrocious and they really should have used some of those high picks on defenseman and goalies. Or they could make a trade for a certain goalie below who needs a fresh start.

3. How good the Western Conference is. There are five teams (Colorado, Chicago, St. Louis, San Jose, Anaheim) with only one regulation loss or less. They are also only two teams under .500 (Edmonton and Dallas). Even though the season just started, the playoff stretch out west should be really good. Out east… well that’s a different story.

Things I don’t

1. How bad is the Anaheim Ducks Powerplay? They were 1 for 27 on the man advantage for a whopping 3.7%. They have also given up one shorthanded goal. Although it could be worse as the Oilers have given up three shorthanded goals. Still with a powerplay that boasts one sure Hall of Famer and possibly two more, you think they could score more. The only thing that has really changed is Bobby Ryan is gone and he played on the 2nd unit and didn’t even produce that many powerplay goals. But I figured it’s mostly psychological and once they get it going watch out. And indeed they did get it going against the Stars, picking up two powerplay goals in the win. It should be all uphill from here.

2. Let’s check the NHL scoring leaders… I see Sidney Crosby a top the scoring lead. I’m just waiting, and hoping, for somebody new to come along and make it an exciting race again. Even this early in the season it’s safe to say Crosby will probably win it… again. Alexander Steen is currently in 5th but let’s face it, in his previous 8 seasons he’s never had more than 51 points. It’s not happening this season either. However, the Sharks should make this interesting as they are just piling up goals like nobody’s business and currently have players occupying 2nd through 4th in the scoring race. If they can maintain their current scoring pace, a few Sharks could take the title.

3. New Coach Alain Vigneault did say the opening schedule is no excuse for giving away the puck consistently and while he’s right, one can’t help but wonder how much better the Rangers would be doing if they had played as many home games as the rest of the teams in the league have. This does mean the Rangers will have way more home games than other teams moving forward but it might be too late at this point.

Ryan Miller Watch

New section devoted to when the Sabres will trade Miller. It will happen this season but nobody knows when. The Sabres are now 1-8-1 and are still going nowhere fast. Apparently there are 8 teams on the no trade list for Miller and one of them is the Oilers. Which is dumb because the only thing the Oilers need is a goalie. If I was Miller, I would go there. Which makes another watch of: Will Ryan Miller waive his no trade list desires for certain teams?

Fights of the Week

Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.

Matt Irwin vs Antoine Roussel

This was a great intense fight after a boarding call.

Drew Miller vs Cory Sarich

A fairly decent fight although Drew Miler’s gray hair makes him look like he’s 50.

Antoine Roussel vs Daniel Carcillo

This one had a lot of intensity too.

Goat of the Week

Jonathan Bernier – Toronto Maple Leafs

Bounces off the board are sometimes unpredictable and sometimes you think it might be icing but you always need to focus as a goalie. Bernier took his eye off the puck and regrettably gave up one of the easiest game winning goals around.

Stat Line of the Week

10/15/13 Ottawa 4 vs. Phoenix 3

Skater

TOI

G

A

+/-

SOG

PIM

Hits

J. Spezza

18:19

3

0

1

5

0

1

Jason Spezza scored a natural hat trick to help key a a much needed win, to snap a three game losing skid, against the Coyotes. Despite making the playoffs last season, the Senators really missed Spezza and hope to have him healthy this whole season.

Numbers, Numbers

0 – Regulation losses for the Sharks
0 – Wins for Martin Brodeur in 4 games started
.062 – The difference in SV% between Cory Schneider and Martin Brodeur
.954 – Jonas Hiller’s SV% tops in the league and a big difference from the last few seasons (doesn’t include last nights bad showing against the Stars)
322 – Shots for the Sharks so far which averages out to 40.25 a game, yikes

This Week in Hockey History

Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.

October 14, 1978 Atlanta’s Tom Lysiak scored his first NHL hat trick as the Flames began a team-record 10 game winning streak, with a 6-3 win over the Capitals, at Washington.

October 15, 1986 Tom Barrasso and rookie Patrick Roy traded shutouts as the Sabres and Canadiens tied 0-0 at the Aud in Buffalo. It was the NHL’s first scoreless tie in three years. It was also the 10th career shutout for Barrasso and the second for Roy.

October 16, 1988 Boston’s Cam Neely scored his 5th career hat trick and added four assists to lead the Bruins to a 10-3 win over the Blackhawks at Chicago.

October 17, 1988 Blues beat the Flyers 3-1, to end their 34 game winless streak (0-31-3) in Philadelphia, dating back 16 years. The Blues’ previous win in Philadelphia was January 6, 1972.

October 18, 2000 18-year-old rookie Marian Gaborik scored twice in the final 2:28 of the game to lead the Minnesota Wild to their first victory in team history, 6-5 over the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning.

October 19, 1980 Edmonton’s rookie defenseman Paul Coffey picked up the first assist of his NHL career, on a goal by Dave Semenko, in the Oilers’ 4-2 win over the Rangers, in New York.

October 20, 1977 Goaltender Bernie Parent recorded his 44th career shutout in the Flyers’ 11-0 win over the Penguins at the Spectrum. Bobby Clarke led the scoring with a goal and three assists.

Rankings

The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.

Top 5
1. San Jose
2. Colorado
3. Pittsburgh
4. St. Louis
5. Anaheim

Bottom 5
30. Buffalo
29. Philadelphia
28. N.Y Rangers
27. Edmonton
26. New Jersey

Alex Mueller

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.

Alex MuellerWeekly RecapsAlain Vigneault,Alexander Steen,Anaheim Ducks,Antoine Roussel,Bobby Clarke,Bobby Ryan,Brendan Shanahan,Calgary Flames,Cody McLeod,Cory Sarich,Cory Schneider,Daniel Carcillo,Drew Mille,Jason Spezza,Jonas Hiller,Jonathan Bernier,Marian Gaborik,Martin Brodeur,Matt Irwin,Minnesota Wild,New York Rangers,Niklas Kronwall,Patrick Kaleta,Patrick Roy,Recap,Ryan Miller,Sean Monahan,Sidney Crosby,Tampa Bay Lightning,Taylor Hall,Toronto Maple Leafs,Wayne Gretzky
Brendan Shanahan has set out to clean up the game of hockey and enforce the cheap hits. While consistency is always an issue he has done a fairly good job of his main goal. In the past two weeks we've had 5 (Maxim Lapierre), 10 (Patrick Kaleta), 3 (Alex...