NHL 2014-15 Recap Week 6 – Jack Johnson and Slava Voynov issues off ice, Sabres are winning, Ducks aren't in the shootout, Wednesday Night Rivarly rehash
There’s been a lot of stuff going on in the NHL off the ice lately. This is usually reserved for the NFL and sometimes the NBA and MLB. The NHL is mostly quiet off the ice, unless it involves Wayne Gretzky’s daughter. But all of the recent off ice new has been sad. First is the news that Jack Johnson, of the Columbus Blue Jackets, is bankrupt despite having made over 18 million in his career. A lot of athletes spend their money unwisely but in this case Johnson didn’t do anything wrong. It was his parents. Yes, his parents. This was made possible by Jack Johnson giving his mother power of attorney, which gave her full control over his finances. It’s a sad state of affairs when the people you are supposed to trust the most are the ones that actually betray you. Since all the money was borrowed in Johnson’s name he now has debts totaling over 10 million dollars. A hearing is scheduled next year. Johnson has, smartly, cut off all ties with his parents. I don’t how these cases work but I hope all the debt is transferred to his parents. Just despicable.
The other news isn’t any better and involves Slava Voynov. Kudos to the NHL for suspending him before anything was charged. I’m all for innocent until proven guilty but, in such a public profession, it’s best to just suspend first and sort it out later. There’s no guarantee he’s guilty after charges are filed but the backlash if he was playing this whole time, and he is found guilty, would be too great. Plus during this time, he shouldn’t be playing anyway. He has other things to focus on. But back to the actual charges . Voynov was charged with one felony count of corporal injury to a spouse. Apparently his wife suffered injuries to her eyebrow, cheek and neck and required medical attention at a hospital. What’s disturbing is his wife doesn’t think he did anything wrong and that no crime was committed. But she also said he didn’t mean to injure her. Well that means she was injured by him, whether he meant to do it or not. If your injuries require medical attention at a hospital it’s obviously pretty serious. My fear is with her lack of testimony of saying he did anything wrong that he will probably get off and then do it again to her. Just sad.
Things I like
1. All division battles at the top are pretty tight. I realize the season is only a quarter of the way done but it should stay this tight throughout the season. The only division race which figures to only have two teams fight for the top spot is the Metropolitan. Which will come down to the Islanders and the Penguins. Speaking of them, they just played back to back games both of which were won by the Islanders. The first one the Islanders won in Pittsburgh in the shootout the second the Islanders won at home in which they dominated the Penguins in the 3rd period. This proves the Islanders are for real this season. It also gives them a confidence boost and moves them back into first place for now. Just good stuff.
2. The Buffalo Sabres are wining. After giving up six goals in three straight games, the Sabres scored six of their own for the first of three wins in a row. Three game winning streak matches the total of wins they had previously. Maybe all they needed was a major snowstorm to get them going. Don’t expect the Sabres to escape the bottom of the division though. Just false hope.
3. Jakub Voracek is leading the league in points despite playing in the fewest games of any of his competition. He has the most multi-point games with 10 and he has played in only two games so far where he hasn’t recorded a point. At his current pace, he will double his previous highest point total. Just good.
Things I don’t
1. Last week I talked about Wednesday Night Rivalries and what a good idea it was but also how they always show the same teams. Well this past week they showed the Rangers vs Flyers, again. I’m pretty sure this is at east the third time, in this young season, they have shown that match-up on Wednesday. I didn’t look it up because I don’t really want to know the answer. New Flyers GM Ron called the Flyer’s performance an f’n embarrassment. What was more of an embarrassment is NBCSN showing that game again when there was a way more entertaining and competitive game of the Canucks vs. Oilers at the same time that they could have shown. But of course those are two Canadian teams. So nobody is going to watch that. Sigh. Between the Sedin Twins, Taylor Hall and others there are just as many stars playing on those teams than the Flyers and Rangers. Just ridiculous.
2. Apparently the NHL is going away with having the Zamboni scrapping the ice during the 3rd period and overtime intermission because it takes too long and ruins the flow of the game. While it might ruin the flow of the game a little, the break isn’t that long and the players like the better ice surface and the extra rest. Plus it has, so far, caused more games to end in overtime. The NFL would love something like this because it means they could shove in more advertising. The hand ice scraping, which is why they would do instead now, takes 90 seconds. So it’s only a difference of three and a half minutes. Really not worth it. They should just have more commercials or just have the announcers talk about the game. Just a shame.
3. The Ducks have played nine games in November so far. They have had seven of them go into overtime or the shootout. They lost three in the shootout and two in overtime. On the one hand they are getting points, on the other hand it’s not good that they are getting into so many close games. It’s also not good that they are terrible in the shootout. Lucky for them, that doesn’t matter come playoff time. They also lost to the Florida Panthers 6-2 at home which can only be described as embarrassing. They also have the least amount of regulation or overtime wins of all the top teams in the NHL. Just not good.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Paul Gaustad vs David Clarkson
Slim pickings in fights this week. This one was admirable. It wasn’t the best fight but it was long.
Steve Downie vs Travis Hamonic
A good old fashioned hockey fight Nobody really connects, until the end, but it was entertaining nonetheless.
Goat of the Week
Jonas Hiller – Calgary Flames
As a goalie myself I never leave the net to play the puck behind the net because nothing good happens and there’s no point/need to really. Jonas Hiller decided to play the puck, although in his defense he didn’t go to far out of the crease, and awkwardly bounced it off the boards. Not sure if that’s what he intended to do or he didn’t get enough on it or it just took a funny bounce. Nevertheless, it went right to Patrick Kane who scored on Hiller who wasn’t quite set yet. It was a bad blunder as it turned out to be the winning goal. Just careless.
Stat Line of the Week
11/18/14 Nashville 9 vs. Toronto 2
I would be remiss to not mention the Predators demolition of the Maple Leafs. The Predators scored the first eight goals and everyone on the team had at least one point except for three players. Taylor Beck got the boxscore nod as he was the only player to score more than one goal. Shea Weber also had three points with three assists. Just domination.
17,435 – The supposed number of fans at the Sharks vs Sabres game on Tuesday that was played during the blizzard.
53.2 – Percent capacity for the average home Florida Panthers game, yes that’s abysmal
20 – Plus/minus of Filip Forsberg, tops in the NHL and the only Predator in the top 10, which is odd
.615 – Save percentage of Ben Scrivens against the Chicago Blackhawks, five goals on 13 shots
4 – Shutouts for Marc-Andre Fleury tops in the NHL, not something I’d thought I’d write
737 – Games played in a row by James Bouwmeester before he had to sit out
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
November 17, 1934 Detroit goalie Norm Smith recorded the first shutout of his rookie season as the Red Wings won 3-0 over the Canadiens, at Montreal.
November 18, 1934 Toronto’s George Hainsworth became the first goaltender in NHL history to record 80 career shutouts, as the Maple Leafs won 5-0 at Chicago.
November 19, 1955 Gordie Howe scored two goals and an assist as the Red Wings beat Chicago, 4-1. The three points gave Howe career totals of 600 points in 591 NHL games.
November 20, 1979 Playing in his first NHL game, Quebec Nordiques’ rookie Paul Stewart fought Boston’s Terry O’Reilly, Stan Jonathan, and Al Secord all in the first period. Stewart later became an NHL referee.
November 21, 1992 Tom Barrasso recorded his second shutout of the month (the 17th of his career) to lead the Penguins to a 2-0 win over the Devils at the Civic Arena. Jaromir Jagr also scored his first career shorthanded goal.
November 22, 1986 Wayne Gretzky scored his 39th career hat trick and added two assists, to give him 500 career NHL goals. The milestone came in a 5-2 Oilers’ win over the Canucks in Edmonton. Gretzky’s 500 goals came in just 575 games.
November 23, 1947 Jim McFadden recorded five assists to set Red Wings team records for most assists and most points in a game by a rookie. Red Wings beat Chicago, 9-3. (Both records were tied in 1982 by Mark Osborne.)
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
1. NY Islanders
3. St. Louis
28. San Jose
27. New Jersey