Wednesday night rivalries is something the NHL created to get more exposure and have a must see match-up. But like most games the NBC televises, it features mostly the same teams over and over again. Still it’s a great concept. My problem with it is this, on Wednesday Night they generally have about four games. Two early games and two late games. Sometimes they show one of the night games as a double header. Generally, the nightcap either feature the Avalanche or the Sharks. I get the Sharks because they can piggyback the Comcast sports feed, since they are part of the same family, and they are a perennial contender. Not sure what the love affair with the Avalanche is though.

My point is, I wish they would televise more games on Wednesday night. I get that they want you to focus on the “premiere” TV games but maybe you don’t want to watch the game they selected or the other game. In that case, you have no other games to watch. Contrast that with the heavy loaded Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights where I find myself trying to watch several games at watch, which is just as annoying and really hard to do. I have NHL TV but after you already know who won, it’s not as enjoyable to watch. I’d just prefer better balance on the schedule. Then having no games I want to watch on one night to wanting to watch several on other nights. A better schedule balance would be nice.

Although it’s early, I can safely say what my conference final predictions are already. The Eastern Conference Final will be the Lightning vs the Capitals. The Western Conference Final will be the Kings, of course, vs either the Blackhawks or the Stars. I honestly couldn’t say who would win a best of seven series between those two central teams but, if I had to guess, I would say the Blackhawks. More on those two teams below.

Things I like

1. Remember when Sidney Crosby wasn’t in the top 50 in NHL scoring and got snubbed for the All-Star game? Well now he’s sixth overall. He’s been one of the hottest players the past couple of weeks with one other guy you may also know, Connor McDavid. Despite playing 30 games less than most other rookies McDavid is in the top ten in rookie scoring. In about 3 more games, he should be 5th overall. The real question is can he win the Calder? If he can keep scoring at a two points per game pace, then he will win it. Starting next week I’ll make a McDavid Calder Tracker section.

2. Saturday night had a couple of big games. The Ducks dispatched the Blackhawks to get themselves some revenge from last year. The Ducks mostly dominated the game but the game was pretty boring to watch during the first two periods. Coincidentally, only one goal was scored during those periods. The 3rd period and overtime is where it got interesting. Ryan Getzlaf continues to regain his form as he had two assists and the game winner in overtime. The Stars beat a big team, not named the Blackhawks, when they beat the Capitals. The first period was fast and sloppy with neither team having the advantage. In the 2nd period, the Stars scored four goals to jump to a 4-0 lead. Not the best period for Braden Holtby, as he looked pretty average. The Capitals scored three in the 3rd to stage a comeback but ultimately fell short.

Things I don’t

1. I worry about the Blackhawks and the Stars. Not about their skills as hockey teams but their ability to put together a good playoff series against one another. This series is pretty much the only one that’s guaranteed in the playoffs. They won’t meet in the 1st round but they will in the 2nd. That’s assured because the other teams in the Central Division don’t have good playoff runs and the Blackhawks have never lost to a Central Division team since we switched to the current playoff format. So it’s happening. But so far they have played three games this season and all were over after the 1st period. The Stars jumped to a 4-0 lead after the 1st period on Thursday. I really don’t want to watch 5 to 7 blowout games in the playoffs. I want them to both bring their A game during the same game. Is that too much to ask?

2. All those teams clearing cap space for Steven Stamkos. I’m looking at you most notably Toronto. The Maple Leafs traded away Dion Phaneuf and his just under 5 million cap hit to make room for Steven Stamkos. I get that it’s a business and it makes sense for the Maple Leafs to go after Stamkos. My beef is with Stamkos. I get that players should try and maximize their earning potential as much as possible when they are health and in their prime, especially since they can’t/won’t be playing forever. But if I was a professional athlete, winning would be just as important as money. If I made millions of dollars when it was all over but did not win any championships, or play in a finals, I would be pretty sad and disappointed. So the longer Stamkos stalls with his contract with the Lightning, the more it seems like he will bolt. But is it really worth about a million or two more a season to play for a team that isn’t going to be making the playoffs for awhile? I rather contend for a championship, which he can do on the Lightning, and take a little bit of a paycut. It’s hard to build a contender when you spend all your money on a couple of players. But the latest leak is that he may opt for Buffalo instead of Toronto because it’s still close to home but avoids the negatives like the Toronto media scrutiny and the Sabres are further along in their rebuild than the Maple Leafs who is just starting. Time will tell.

Fights of the Week

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

Patrick Maroon vs Brandon Manning

A great fight that was really long and featured fists of furry.

Alex Petrovic vs Evander Kane

These two fought three times in the same game. This was the final and best fight of the trilogy. Kane pretty much won all three.

Derek MacKenzie vs Justin Abdelkader

Short, sweet and different.

Goat of the Week

Justin Williams – Washington Capitals

Williams passes it right to Ales Hemsky who leads a breakaway in the other direction that leads to a goal. The Stars ended up winning by just one so it was significant.

Stat Line of the Week

2/11/16 Edmonton 5 vs. Toronto 2

Skater

TOI

G

A

+/-

SOG

BS

J. Eberle

17:54

3

1

4

8

1

McDavid had the better night with five points but I highlight Jordan Eberle because it’s his first career hat trick. Hard to imagine a guy whose scored 138 goals has never had a hat trick before. These were once proud franchises that are now, both, at the bottom of their respective conferences. The downside is, there’s no Connor McDavid to draft in the upcoming draft as a reward. He’s already on the Oilers.

Numbers, Numbers

29 – Penalty minutes for Evander Kane against the Panthers
9 – Goals by the Kings against the Bruins on Tuesday night
84 – Giveaways for P.K Subban, last/worst in the NHL
931 – Career points for Shane Doan a Coyotes/Jets franchise record
900 – Career points for Pavel Datsyuk

Rankings

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

Top 5
1. Anaheim
2. Dallas
3. New Jersey
4. Pittsburgh
5. Columbus

Bottom 5
30. Minnesota
29. Ottawa
28. Edmonton
27. Toronto
26. Chicago

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.

NHL 2015-16 Recap Week 18 – Stamkos to Buffalo?, Ducks and Stars get big wins, Wednesday night needs more NHL gameshttp://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/tyler-seguin-up-1024x576.jpghttp://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/tyler-seguin-up-150x150.jpgAlex MuellerWeekly RecapsAles Hemsky,Braden Holtby,Connor McDavid,Dion Phaneuf,Evander Kane,Jordan Eberle,Justin Abdelkader,NBC,P.K Subban,Patrick Maroon,Pavel Datsyuk,Recap,Ryan Getzlaf,Shane Doan,Sidney Crosby,Steven Stamkos,Washington Capitals
Wednesday night rivalries is something the NHL created to get more exposure and have a must see match-up. But like most games the NBC televises, it features mostly the same teams over and over again. Still it's a great concept. My problem with it is this, on Wednesday Night...