In comes 2014 in the NHL much better than 2013 because now they are already playing hockey and, after a one year absence, we had a little something called the Winter Classic. Almost 105,500 fans, about equally split, braved the cold, snow and wind to root on their favorite team. There’s something about a hockey game in snow that just feels right. It harkens back to the way the game was played before leagues and money took it over. The ice conditions weren’t the greatest but the players did well anyway. This was the 3rd of six Winter Classics to go into at least overtime which is an added bonus as the extra time usually nets the best numbers. The Winter Classic was the most watched NHL regular season ever with over 8 million viewers in US. It also had over 8 million viewers in Canada. If you think it’s strange that Canada, where hockey has a much bigger following, had roughly the same viewers as the US; just remember that the US has a population of over 300 million while Canada has just a population of 35 million, less than the state of California. Now the NHL embarks on new territory with having several more outdoor US stadium games. Generally there is an outdoor Canadian game but they never show that over here. The additional outdoor US games will be televised nationally, although I question the intelligence of having two games (Kings vs Ducks at Dodger Stadium on January 25th and Rangers vs. Devils at Yankee Stadium on January 26th) on the same weekend back to back. Not to mention the Rangers playing the Islanders outdoors three days later. Space them out a little bit more NHL.

Things I Like

1. Kyle Okposo had an 8 game point streak and a three game goal streak going that was snapped against the Hurricanes. Against the Blackhawks he had an opportunity to win the game at the end of 3rd period at point blank range but was stopped by a great save from Corey Crawford. But in overtime he got another chance and netted the game winner. Speaking of Crawford, it was his first game back in almost a month from his injury. Although he didn’t get the win, he played very well and made some key saves.

2. The Anaheim Ducks are red hot having won 13 of their past 14 games. The Sharks were the only team to beat them during that stretch but the Ducks got their revenge at home in a wild 6-3 game. It’s not just the stars doing it for the Ducks though. Andrew Cogliano, who recently signed an extension, has points in five of the last six games. Nick Bonino is 3rd on the team in points and has a three game point streak going. Ben Lovejoy had a five game point streak going but he most recently had some key defensive stops and two goals in win against the Oilers. The Ducks will not be a first round out this postseason.

3. In a win against Pittsburgh, Martin Brodeur had his 44th career assist. He is now one behind Patrick Roy and four behind Tom Barrasso for tying the record. Although Brodeur has played in almost 500 more games than Barrasso did.

Things I Don’t

1. I don’t particularly care for Bobby Ryan being left off team USA. While I get Zach Parise and Dustin Brown over Ryan on the left wing side, I don’t really see how you can easily say James van Riemsdyk and Max Pacioretty over Ryan. The US Olympic brass deemed Ryan to not be very intense and overall just wasn’t a fan of his play. They also didn’t think goal scoring ability was that important. Okay then, that’s just the whole point of the game. All I know is that he’s scored more goals in the NHL than van Riemsdyk and Pacioretty and he averages more hots and blocked shots than they do. He also has 9 points in 14 international games. Personally, I have no idea why David Poile is the GM of Team US. He hasn’t exactly built the Nashville Predators into anything special.

2. Ilya Bryzgalov’s comeback hasn’t really panned out the way he probably thought it would. He has only two wins in ten games started and ironically he had a reunion tour when he played his three former teams in consecutive games. He ended up losing all of those games. It’s not like he’s playing bad or anything he just isn’t on a good team. I wonder if he regrets leaving the Coyotes. I’m guessing he’d do that over again differently.

3. Not much had gone right for The Los Angeles Kings as of late. They lost five in a row including a 5-0 thumping against St. Louis. Their captain Dustin Brown, who is 11th in the team in scoring, had only one goal and two points in the past eleven games. Against the Canucks, despite heavily out-shooting them 49 to 28, they were down 0-1 in the 3rd and it seemed like another loss. But Dustin Brown broke his drought with the game tying goal and Jeff Carter scored the game winner on a nifty top shelf goal. Jonathan Quick in his first game back in two and a half months made some nice saves down the stretch and picked up the win. Although they don’t exactly have the easiest schedule over the next couple of weeks, I suspect the Kings will start to get back on track. It’s good to see Quick back too.

Ryan Miller Watch

In a surprise to no one Ryan Miller made the US Olympic team. What is in question is if he or Jonathan Quick will be the starter. I would imagine Miller would get the nod. As for trade rumors not going to happen now. However, if Miller plays really well in the Olympics expect some phone calls to the Sabres.

Fights of the Week

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

Travis Moen vs Antoine Roussel

Decent fight and a lot of punches thrown, then some wrestling and then more punches.

Jay Rosehill vs Paul Bissonnette

A couple of big boys go at it in a decent even fight.

Goat of the Week

Alex Ovechkin – Washington Capitals

In overtime Alex Ovechkin throws a careless behind the back pass that ends up setting up the winning breakaway for the Hurricanes the other way. You might want to be a little more careful with the puck Alex.

Stat Line of the Week

01/02/14 Carolina 4 vs. Washington 3

Skater

TOI

G

A

+/-

SOG

PIM

Hits

J. Skinner

20:19

3

0

2

5

0

0

Although his hits and blocked shots totals are way down, Jeff Skinner’s scoring production is way up. Skinner has 30 points in 30 games so far and is on pace for his highest totals in his career. He scored the first goal, the game tying and game winning goals against the Capitals in a much needed win.

Numbers, Numbers

0 – Regulation home losses for the Anaheim Ducks for a record of 16-0-2 only the 2nd team in the NHL in 25 years to begin a campaign with a home point streak of 18 games
10,000 – Dollars fined by Joffrey Lupul for his hit on Patrick Eaves
39 – Assists for Duncan Keith 3rd in the NHL, it’s rare to see a defenseman that high
11 – Shots in a 5-3 win for the Minnesota Wild over the Washington Capitals
3 – Goals by Ryan Suter in the above mentioned game for the Wild

This Week in Hockey History

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

December 30, 1995 Pittsburgh’s Mario Lemieux scored his 35th career hat trick as the Penguins won 6-5 over Florida, at the Civic Arena.

December 31, 1992 Buffalo’s Yuri Khmylev scored his first career NHL hat trick in the third period as the Sabres won 11-6 over the visiting New York Rangers, to begin a six game winning streak.

January 01, 1936 Wilf Cude recorded his 11th career shutout as the Montreal Canadiens ended their team-record 12 game winless streak (0-8-4) with a 2-0 win at Boston.

January 02, 1957 Goaltender Glenn Hall recorded his second consecutive shutout (the 16th of his career) to lead the Red Wings to a 2-0 win at Toronto.

January 03, 1990 Quebec’s Guy Lafleur scored his 545th career NHL goal, to move past former Montreal star Maurice Richard into eighth place on the NHL’s career goal scoring list. Nordiques lost 5-4 to the Maple Leafs at Toronto.

January 04, 1985 Buffalo’s Gil Perreault had a goal and an assist to reach the 1,200th point of his NHL career as the Sabres won 7-2 over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.

January 05, 1987 Montreal’s Bob Gainey skated in the 1,000th game of his NHL career, joining Henri Richard, Jean Beliveau, Claude Provost and Larry Robinson as the only 1,000 game players in the club’s 70 year NHL history. Montreal won at Boston, 2-1.

Rankings

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

Top 5
1. Anaheim
2. Pittsburgh
3. St. Louis
4. Tampa Bay
5. Philadelphia

Bottom 5
30. Edmonton
29. Calgary
28. Washington
27. Detroit
26. Los Angeles

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.

http://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/bobby-ryan-usa-1024x658.jpghttp://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/bobby-ryan-usa-150x150.jpgAlex MuellerWeekly RecapsAlex Ovechkin,Anaheim Ducks,Andrew Cogliano,Antoine Roussel,Bobby Ryan,Corey Crawford,Dustin Brown,Ilya Bryzgalov,Jay Rosehill,Jeff Skinner,Jonathan Quick,Kyle Okposo,Los Angeles Kings,Martin Brodeur,Nick Bonino,Paul Bissonnette,Ryan Miller,Travis Moen,Winter Classic
In comes 2014 in the NHL much better than 2013 because now they are already playing hockey and, after a one year absence, we had a little something called the Winter Classic. Almost 105,500 fans, about equally split, braved the cold, snow and wind to root on their favorite...