So much to write about this week so let’s get started. I’m not much of a poll guy since they are usually really ridiculous. Unless you are taking thousands of opinions from all different locations and people of different backgrounds and cultures, they aren’t that accurate. But this poll was: Of people who follow multiple sports, which was their favorite? Football was of course number one at 35%. Hockey was sixth, behind auto racing. Seriously? It was still encouraging because since 1985 hockey has gone up 3%. Which is the 2nd largest gain behind, of course, football. It hasn’t changed the last few years but neither have much of the other sports. In another few years hockey should be 4th. Hockey really resonates with the younger crowd today because of it’s fast paced nature. Baseball has plummeted the most. It will continue to do so as the game is to slow for the shorter attention spans of the newer generations.

Things I Like

1. After coincidental minors in overtime, the Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings skated 3 on 3. Although it makes it less of a team game than 5 on 5, I have to say I enjoyed it. Tons of open space and a lot more scoring opportunities There is no room for error, as any mistake becomes magnified even more. Adding 4 or 5 minutes of 3 on 3, if nobody scores on the 4 on 4, sounds like a winner to me. I hope the NHL adds it soon. It will lessen the chances of the shootout. Although entertaining, it’s not the fairest way to decide a game.

2. There’s about twenty games left in the season but only five points separate 2nd place from 6th place in the Metropolitan division. And down the stretch they come indeed. I don’t think any team really has an advantage over the other, as they are all equally flawed. It will likely come down to whoever is hottest. In all likelihood two, possibly three, of the six will make the playoffs.

3. Break up the Los Angeles Kings! They have now scored eleven goal in three games. Which is a lot better than what they were producing before the Olympic break. The usual suspects of Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter have all played well since coming back. They were of course in the Olympics, were they also played well. Dustin Brown went to the Olympics and struggled just like he has all season. However, since coming back he has one goal and three assists and a point in each game. If Dustin Brown can regain his form, and the rest of the top Kings produce, Los Angeles will be a tough out in the playoffs.

4. The Heritage Classic was a much better and closer game than the last Stadium Series game (see below). I loved the throwback uniforms too. They should have teams that compete in all the outdoor games wear whatever their oldest jersey is. Of course the game wasn’t really outdoors, as they kept the roof closed. That was kind of a bummer but it still had three times the normal amount of people watching the game live.

Things I Don’t

1. Well it happened. Ryan Miller finally got traded and it was to the St. Louis Blues. Wait what want? Puck Daddy said it was a great trade as the Blues now have the goalie they’ve been lacking. Huh? I’m sure they watch hockey but I’m not sure what they are watching exactly. Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak were the tandem that won the William Jennings trophy just a few seasons ago, remember? They also swapped Christ Stewart for Steve Ott. That’s pretty much a wash so I’m not going to talk about it. The game the Blues just played against the Ducks illustrates why this is a bad trade. Against the top team in the West, and one of the highest scoring teams in the league, they lost 1-0. This illustrates two things. One, Brian Elliott, the backup, only allowed one goal and it was on a breakaway. But basically it showed he’s capable of being a top goalie and they don’t need Miller for that. Two, the Blues lost because they didn’t score goals. Last time I checked, Miller doesn’t score goals. The Blues need to add some scoring depth. Steve Ott is not that guy. I’m honestly surprised the Blues are the 3rd highest scoring team in the West. But most of their goals from their top line. Obviously that’s common, but playoff teams that win have depth. The Blues don’t. Plus it’s not like the Blues’ top line isn’t that hard to shut down. What they need to do is add a Jagr or Iginla equivalent this season. Worst of all, if Miller doesn’t resign with the Blues this trade will have been pointless because they aren’t winning the Stanley Cup this season.

2. It’s been over for a few days now, and I talked about it a little bit before, but it bears repeating of the bad job that was done putting together Team USA. I’m still not sure why a GM who has never assembled a team that has gotten past the 2nd round of the playoffs, or is currently the GM of a last place team, would be the GM of team USA. I’m looking at you David Poile. Bobby Ryan and Dustin Byfuglien should have been left off the team under any circumstance. Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, Justin Faulk and Brooks Orpik should not have been on the team. Not to sure about David Backes. If Dustin Brown wasn’t struggling this season he should have made it. But he has been all season long majorly, why they thought he wouldn’t also struggle in the Olympics is beyond me. Just a terrible job done all around.

3. The Blackhawks and Penguins played the last of the American outdoor hockey games in snowy Soldier Field. Unfortunately, watching the game was anything but a treat. The camera was shaky, it was zoomed out too far and the angles were horrible. Presumably, the camera was out further than normal so you could see the snow and could tell the game was being played outside. However, I think it’s fairly obvious it’s being played outside with a normal zoom and seeing a few inches of snow outside the rink doesn’t really add anything to the game. Furthermore, the stands are so far out that you could still barely see the fans, if that’s what they were trying to do. I also don’t recall the other outdoor games having camera work that shoddy. And then there was the game, which was not close. Apparently someone forget to tell the Penguins they were playing. Each team also scored on themselves for good measure. Not a good way to end the stadium series.

Fights of the Week

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

Kevin Westgarth vs Luke Gazdic

A good back and forth fight until Gazdic decks him or maybe he just lost his balance.

Clayton Stoner vs Luke Gazdic

Gazdic was in both fights of the weeks this week and he won both.

Goats of the Week

Jake Gardiner, Mason Raymond and Morgan Rielly – Toronto Maple Leafs

How many people does it take to cover one Islander in the corner with the puck? If you are the Maple Leafs apparently three. In an important game, in overtime, the Maple Leafs big gaffe led to the game winner by Lubomir Visnovsky.

Loui Eriksson – Boston Bruins

Loui Eriksson has had better passes in his career, that’s for sure. I’m not even sure who that was to but it missed everyone and led to a breakaway for the Sabres and the game winner by Matt D’Agostini.

Stat Line of the Week

03/02/14 Philadelphia 5 vs. Washington 4 OT

Skater

TOI

G

A

+/-

SOG

PIM

Hits

J. Voracek

16:19

1

2

1

2

0

0

Jakub Voracek is not a name I normally talk about but he was an integral part in an important win for the Flyers. Voracek scored the powerplay goal on the five minute powerplay to get the Flyers to within one and then assisted on the game tying goal. He also assisted on their first goal. Other notable efforts in this game were Kimmo Timonen with three assists for the Flyers and Dmitry Orlov with two goals for the Capitals and the aforementioned major boarding penalty that launched the Flyers comeback.

Numbers, Numbers

800 – Career points by Alex Ovechkin
700 – Career goals by Jaromir Jagr, seemingly breaking a new milestone each week
1 – Head to head meeting of Sidney Crosby vs Jonathan Toews
10 – Shutouts by the Los Angeles Kings as a team, tying their club record
14 – Overtime losses by the Chicago Blackhawks, tops in the league and a little bit of a concern for a skilled team
18 – Games with at least five goals scored buy the Ducks

This Week in Hockey History

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

February 24, 1982 Edmonton’s Wayne Gretzky beat Don Edwards for his 77th goal of the season, to break the NHL record of 76 held by Phil Esposito. Gretzky had a hat trick this night, and went on to score 92 goals for the season. Oilers won 6-3 at Buffalo.

February 25, 1983 Winnieg’s Dale Hawerchuk became just the second player in NHL history to score his fifth career hat trick before age 21, when he scored three times in a 5-3 Jets’ win over the visiting Hartford Whalers.

February 26, 1987 Wilf Paiement scored his 9th (and final) career hat trick (and his only one with Buffalo) as the Sabres beat St. Louis, 4-3 at the Aud.

February 27, 1999 Teemu Selanne scored his 300th career goal (the 6th-fastest in NHL history to reach the milestone) and added three assists as Anaheim won 4-1 at San Jose.

February 28, 2001 New York Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch scored the 200th goal of his NHL career in a 4-2 win over the visiting Florida Panthers. Leetch became the first defenseman in team history to score 200 goals.

March 01, 1980 NY Islanders’ Ken Morrow made his NHL debut in a 4-3 loss against Detroit. Morrow joined the team after winning a Gold Medal for Team USA in the 1980 Winter Olympics.

March 02, 1995 Joe Mullen became the second NHL player to play 300 games with three different teams, when he picked up a goal and an assist in his 300th game with the Penguins, a 6-3 loss at Buffalo. Bill Gadsby had been the first to play 300 games with 3 teams.

Rankings

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

Top 5
1. Washington
2. Minnesota
3. Los Angeles
4. Anaheim
5. Buffalo

Bottom 5
30. Florida
29. Carolina
28. Phoenix
27. Pittsburgh
26. Edmonton

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/2013/12/ryan-miller-1024x734.jpghttp://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/ryan-miller-150x150.jpgAlex MuellerWeekly RecapsBobby Ryan,Brian Elliott,Buffalo Sabres,Chicago Blackhawks,Clayton Stoner,Detroit Red Wings,Dmitry Orlov,Dustin Brown,Dustin Byfuglien,Jake Gardiner,Jakub Voracek,Jaroslav Halak,Kevin Westgarth,Kimmo Timonen,Los Angeles Kings,Loui Eriksson,Lubomir Visnovsky,Luke Gazdic,Mason Raymond,Montreal Canadiens,Morgan Rielly,Pittsburgh Penguins,Ryan Miller,St Louis Blues,Steve Ott
So much to write about this week so let's get started. I'm not much of a poll guy since they are usually really ridiculous. Unless you are taking thousands of opinions from all different locations and people of different backgrounds and cultures, they aren't that accurate. But this poll...