Sidney Crosby’s struggles have been well documented this season. And now it has led to the coach getting fired. Not entirely sure it’s the coach’s fault but then again they should never have fired coach Dan Bylsma. Bylsma was blamed for things that were mostly the GM’s fault like lack of necessary talent on the roster. Although the Penguins not knowing how to play defense does fall on the coach and his assistant coaches. But Crosby looks like he just isn’t in the right place at the right time and that’s a lot of what offensive hockey is about. Counter that with Evgeni Malkin who generally is in the right place at the right time this season. Crosby is also just slow and makes mistakes he doesn’t normally make. I’m not Sidney Crosby but I’m going to guess two things. 1) He isn’t enjoying playing the game right now. 2) He’s putting too much pressure on himself to make the team better.

Chris Kunitz is also on the decline but he’s really only produced four good seasons in his entire career. Phil Kessel is also going to take some time to gel with his new linemates. The Penguins powerplay of Crosby, Kessel and Malkin is 4th from the bottom of the NHL at 15.6%. Obviously, that’s not very good, especially with that talent. But it will take more time than only 28 games together to develop great chemistry. Wingers and centers are like quarterbacks and receivers. It takes time to learn timing, rhythm, passing, a sense of where they will be. The ironic thing is, the Penguins are only a few points back of a playoff spot in a highly competitive Eastern Conference. Even the Lightning wouldn’t make it in. The real question is, if Mike Sullivan can’t get it done either, then what? This is now the fourth coach in the Sidney Crosby era. The Blackhawks have only had two during the Jonathan Toews era.

Things I like

1. Patrick Kane is still going. Sidney Crosby is congratulating him and even Wayne Gretzky has chimed in, saying he could beat his record of 51. He’s about halfway there but I don’t really think it’s feasible that he will break it. He’s already needed the benefit of an empty net goal and assist to continue his streak. But kudos for him for pulling a Tom Brady and taking a bad public off season and turning it into one of your best seasons ever. I don’t know how far he will go but he is making it interesting.

2. The Edmonton Oilers have turned into one of the most exciting teams to watch along with the Dallas Stars. They have now won five in a row and have done so without Connor McDavid. Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl have been hot and they connected on the overtime winner against the Sharks. I still think playoffs are another year away but with everyone in the Pacific division, besides the Kings, crapping it up this season you never know. Three teams have to get in. And this might be the first time they end questioning the whole three teams automatically get in. The 6th place team in the Central Division has more points than the 3rd place team in the Pacific but the Jets would be left out under this format. It’s too early to tell but it’s something to think about.

3. Here come the Boston Bruins. Only one regulation loss in their last ten games. They’ve made many questionable personnel changes over the last few seasons. Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin being the most notable. Both are flourishing in their new homes. But Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Loui Eriksson and Brad Marchand are playing well and leading the team. Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug lead the backend, with Krug continuing his development. Ryan Spooner is just on the cusp of breaking out as well. But the main catalyst has been Tuukka Rask regaining his form. He’s finally gotten over his exceptionally bad play from the beginning of the year. Rask has had only two bad games in his last ten and has two shutouts in that span as well. The Bruins should make the playoffs again this season.

Things I don’t

1. At this point there’s nothing else to say about the Anaheim Ducks. They finally put together a few wins and then they get destroyed at home by one of the worst teams in the league, the Carolina Hurricanes. Ryan Getzlaf even fought and he got his ass handed to him as well. But still had the balls to call out his team afterward. Of course recordwise, the teams are equal so maybe it’s not all that surprising. The difference is, the Ducks are supposed to be much better than this and the Hurricanes haven’t made the playoffs in years. If it wasn’t made clear already, the Coach needs to go. I hope, if they don’t make the playoffs, GM Bob Murray is let go for his refusal to can the coach.

2. Is it time to hit the panic button on the Rangers? I’ve always believed that the team was overrated. They have a great coach and a great goalie. That’s it. So panic is in the eye of the beholder. They are now 2-6-2 in their last ten though. Including their latest loss to a last place Flames team. Although it was in Calgary, where the Flames play really well. But they did fight back after being down 4-1 in the 3rd period to force overtime so that shows they didn’t quit. But that’s a testament to their great coaching again. Henrik Lundqvist also wasn’t playing that night so that explains a lot as well. Rick Nash has always been overrated. Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard are decent but they aren’t really top line talent. Although people go gaga over their defense, I was also never one too. I always thought it was a little overrated. However, the fact that they have made it to three conference finals in four years is very impressive. But I always thought that was because they played better as a team than most of their opponents. But when you go up against other teams that also play well as a team which have more and better talent, talent will always win out. Which explains the Rangers in a nutshell.

Fights of the Week

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

Brenden Dillon vs Jujhar Khaira

One of the most even and best fights for the week. It featured Khaira’s helmet halfway off and sideways.

Jamie Benn vs David Backes

Captain vs Captain here. Backes had the upper hand until he got his head caught in his jersey.

Goat of the Week

Zach Parise – Minnesota Wild

Another big star, another goat. This week Parise gets a pass from Ryan Suter and I honestly have no idea what he was trying to do. I’m assuming it was supposed to be a redirect pass of some sort to his teammate. At any rate, the Coyotes take advantage and tie the game despite being outshot at this point 19 to 6. The Coyotes ended up winning in overtime.

Stat Line of the Week

12/11/15 Edmonton 7 vs. NY Rangers 5








T. Hall







We mentioned the Oilers and Rangers above and here they are in the highest scoring game of the week. In fact the Rangers Canadian road trip featured two of the more entertaining games of the week. The Flames game, which was mentioned above, was the other one. The Oilers scored first and then the Rangers tied it. Then deuces were wild. The Oilers scored two, then the Rangers scored two, then the Oilers scored two, then the Rangers scored two and finally the Oilers scored two. Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl both had four points. Hall had the two goals so he was featured. Draisaitl had four assists.

Numbers, Numbers

26 – Game point streak for Patrick Kane, yup still going
6 – Teams out of seven with a negative goal differential in the Pacific division
15 – +/- for Taylor Hall, now 2nd in the NHL in that category and only the 2nd time in his career he’s had a positive one
3 – Consecutive shutouts in the AHL for Jonathan Bernier during his conditioning stint. The stint is now over.
18 – Wins to four losses for Braden Holtby tops in the NHL in winning percentage
1 – Hat trick by a Sabres’ defenseman since 1988 by Rasmus Ristolainen a week after Shea Weber became the first defenseman in Predators history to have one


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

Top 5
1. Los Angeles
2. Edmonton
3. Calgary
4. Washington
5. Boston

Bottom 5
30. San Jose
29. NY Rangers
28. Columbus
27. Arizona
26. Buffalo

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.

NHL 2015-16 Recap Week 9 – Penguins try again, Kane keeps going, Oilers and Bruins are hot, Rangers are not MuellerWeekly Recaps
Sidney Crosby's struggles have been well documented this season. And now it has led to the coach getting fired. Not entirely sure it's the coach's fault but then again they should never have fired coach Dan Bylsma. Bylsma was blamed for things that were mostly the GM's fault like...