The big news this week was Thomas Vanek of the Sabres being traded to the Islanders for Matt Moulson. In reality the trade is a wash as they are about equal talents. The good thing for the Sabres is that they get the Islanders 1st pick in 2014 and 2nd round pick in 2015. Those are picks they desperately need. For the Islanders it’s a tough sell. Vanek isn’t really that much better than Moulson. He has some playoff experience but not much. Even thought the Islanders are an upcoming team, they still need their picks. Vanek is also a free agent at the end of the season, although so is Moulson, and is unlikely to resign with the Islanders. If I was the Islanders I wouldn’t have made the trade but we shall see how it turns out. I guess for the Islanders it shows they are committed to trying to win now and in turn the Sabres are officially in rebuilding mode. Which means Miller should be going soon.

Things I like

1. The Sharks finally lost in regulation so they won’t be matching the Blackhawks streak last year. But I like how they rebounded and went back to crushing their opponents. If they keep this up I don’t see how they won’t win the Stanley Cup. But that’s the key, whether they can maintain their momentum and play well down the stretch. But of course we are along ways from that.

2. I mentioned last week how I don’t think Alexander Steen can keep up his scoring pace and I still don’t think he can. In the mean time, you can’t help but marvel at what he has done so far. He’s tied for the league lead in goals and he has scored a goal in ever game but one. That one game? It was against the Sharks. That was also the only game in which he posted a minus (-3).

3. Josh Harding has been on the Minnesota Wild for several years as mostly an afterthought. This season, however, he is making the most of his opportunity to start with Niklas Backstrom’s struggles. In 7 starts he has posted 5 wins, 1 shutout, a 1.00 GAA and a .953 SV%. If he keeps it up, it might mean the end of Backstrom’s reign as a starter as Harding is 6 years younger. Harding is also a free agent first.

Things I don’t

1. So how about that Metropolitan division? Other than the Penguins, everyone is at .500 or worse. The Penguins also only have one loss against their division. That would be a close game against the Islanders. Although it’s really early, it’s probably safe to assume that the Devils, Flyers and Rangers are basically done. I am intrigued to see what the Blue Jackets, Capitals, Islanders and Hurricanes will do though. All of them have a decent enough team to make a move.

2. Injuries have been piling up lately for several teams. The Anaheim Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets have all been hit hard by the injury bug. The Ducks have been hit hard recently but they have a deep team to pull from. The Oilers and Canadiens are tied with 9 injuries reported. The Oilers are not deep enough to sustain them. It’s a shame that this will probably be another lost season for them. On the plus side, maybe they will finally take a defenseman or goalie that can immediately contribute for them.

3. Last week I mentioned the suspension and dirty hit problem. Well we can tack on another 5 games (Cody McCleod), 2 games (Michael Grabner) and 5 games (Ryan Garbutt). Yup like I said before it’s not really working NHL.

Ryan Miller Watch

Nothing new on the Ryan Miller front since the Oilers rumor. The Sabres still suck and Miller is still there. Yawn

Fights of the Week

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

Jay Rosehill vs Eric Boulton

A decent long fight that went in phases.

Christopher Breen vs Lane MacDermid

This was a pretty good fight but just listening to the ridiculous hyperbole of the announcers put it over the top.

Eric Nystrom vs Nate Prosser

Good back and froth fight but Prosser got in the better licks.

Goats of the Week

Ben Bishop, Radko Gudas and Martin St. Louis – Tampa Bay Lightning

Normally I only hand out the Goat Award to someone who cost his team the game. In this case the Lightning won in overtime but they shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Plus the play was so bad, it deserves a mention. First you have St. Louis errant pass, then Gudas inability to control it with his stick, or even his skate, and then you finish it off with Bishop not being alert. The triple whammy of incompetence.

Stat Line of the Week

10/24/13 Los Angeles 7 vs. Phoenix 4

Skater

TOI

G

A

+/-

SOG

PIM

Hits

D. King

16:02

3

0

3

3

0

1

Dwight King scored three goals on three shots for his first career hat trick in a wild game against the Coyotes. What makes it all the more impressive is that King only had one goal in his previous 9 games this season. He also only had 10 goals previously in his NHL career. It’s hard to know if this is a flash in the pan or a sign of things to come.

Numbers, Numbers

2 – Number of regulation wins by the Devils after 11 games
2 – Number of wins by the Sabres after 13 games
52 – Powerplay opportunities for the Sharks
27 – Powerplay opportunities for the Rangers, with 2 less games played
7 – Goals for Frans Nielsen in 11 games so far
17 – Goals in 82 games for Nielsen during his best goal year

This Week in Hockey History

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

October 21, 1995 The L.A. Kings 3-2 overtime win at Pittsburgh gave them the best start (4-0-3) in the franchise’s 28-year history. Coach Larry Robinson’s 4-0-3 streak was the third-best start by a new coach in NHL history.

October 22, 1986 Mario Lemieux scored twice to give him 100 career NHL goals as the Penguins improved their record to 7-0-0 from the start of the season, with a 5-4 overtime win over the Sabres, in Pittsburgh.

October 23, 1948 Detroit goalie Harry Lumley and Canadiens’ Bill Durnan dueled to a 0-0 scoreless tie, in a game played at Montreal. It was Durnan’s second straight shutout and the 18th of his career and the 15th for Lumley.

October 24, 1991 Canadiens’ Roland Melanson posted his second consecutive shutout (the 6th and final of his career) and led Montreal to a 5-0 win against the Nordiques, in Quebec City.

October 25, 1979 Steve Shutt scored his 250th career goal along with four assists, as Montreal won 8-5 against Pittsburgh, at the Forum. Teammate Pierre Larouche scored 4 goals (for his 5th career hat trick and his first with the Canadiens) and added an assist.

October 26, 1968 Goaltender Johnny Bower recorded his 36th career shutout as the Maple Leafs won 2-0 over Boston in Toronto.

October 27, 1949 Maple Leafs scored twice in the final two minutes of the game, and goaltender Turk Broda recorded his 48th career shutout to lead them to a 2-0 win over the Canadiens, in Montreal.

Rankings

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

Top 5
1. San Jose
2. Colorado
3. Boston
4. Pittsburgh
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 currently plays goalie in ice hockey at San Diego Ice Arena.

Alex MuellerWeekly RecapsAlexander Steen,Buffalo Sabres,Christopher Breen,Dwight King,Eric Boulton,Eric Nystrom,Jay Rosehill,Josh Harding,Lane MacDermid,Matt Moulson,Nate Prosser,New York Islanders,Niklas Backstrom,San Jose Sharks,Tampa Bay Lightning,thomas vanek
The big news this week was Thomas Vanek of the Sabres being traded to the Islanders for Matt Moulson. In reality the trade is a wash as they are about equal talents. The good thing for the Sabres is that they get the Islanders 1st pick in 2014 and...