NHL 2016-17 Recap Week 1 – Hot players from World Cup of Hockey keep rolling, Elliott struggles, Panik finds a home and NHL injuries start to mount
The NHL season has just begun and it looks like the World Cup of hockey did wonders for those who played in it. All the players that were hot in the tournament, remained so to start the NHL season.
Brad Marchand, who was defacto runner up to Sidney Crosby for MVP, is tied for 1st in points with a great game highlighted in the box score below. Team North America wunderkids Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews have already set the hockey world on fire. McDavid has averaged three points per game so far, until not notching any points in his last game. Matthews set an NHL rookie record for most goals in their first NHL game ever with four. Not too shabby. Leon Draisaitl, who was hot on Team Europe, remained so for the Oilers.
But back to Matthews. I was annoyed that an American player went to a Canadian team just because so few American players are great. But it will be something if an American born player can resurrect a once proud and storied Canadian team. I’m more interested in how many more players will come from the south. It seems to be working in California already and now Arizona with Matthews. There’s also a 17 year old top prospect from Florida. Times are a changing. I just think Matthews would have a greater impact playing for an American team as the coverage of the Maple Leafs won’t be that great down here.
Things I like
1. Richard Panik is the latest beneficiary of being inserted into a major part in the Blackhawks talented lineup. Panik has had a mostly uninteresting career thus far with two season in Tampa Bay, one in Toronto and a partial one in Chicago last season. But he now has five points in three games, including a hat trick in his last game. It’ll be interesting to see if he can maintain this pace for the rest of the season.
2. Rasmus Ristolainen just signed a big contract so he had a lot to prove this season. The Sabres didn’t play well, as a whole, opening night against Montreal but they bounced back big against an Oilers team on a roll. Ristolainen had three assists, four block shots and a hit against the Oilers. If the Sabres are to do anything this season, he will need to play like this all season long.
Things I don’t
1. Brian Elliott was consider by many, including me, to be the missing piece to return the Flames to the playoffs. But his start hasn’t gone as plan. It’s a tough draw to open against the Oilers in back to back games but a 5.07 GAA and .818 SV% is never good. Not to mention a few of those goals were pretty weak. Here’s hoping it’s just opening jitters and Elliott can return to form.
2. We are less than a week into the season and already key players are injured. Sidney Crosby’s season hasn’t even begun yet due to concussions, which is never good. Especially since he’s had them before in his career. Jonathan Quick will more than likely be out for three to four weeks with a lower body injury. Jeff Zatkoff isn’t really Ben Scrivens or Jonathan Bernier. So hopefully the Kings can stay a float in the meantime. Evander Kane is out for weeks with three cracked ribs. All in all, not a good start to the NHL season.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Jonathan Toews vs James Neal
Yes, you read that correctly. This actually happened. It was a pretty decent fight as well.
David Backes vs Nazem Kadri
Here’s another fight between two players that normally don’t fight. It was decent.
Goats of the Week
Normally, I show bad goals that cost a team a game but it’s a short week and these goals were so bad they needed to be shown. Even though both offending teams won their games anyway.
Ben Bishop – Tampa Bay Lightning
You can’t really blame Bishop here. I’ve let in some long goals that take weird bounces too. But I still need to show it.
Loui Eriksson – Vancouver Canucks
I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often. The Canucks had pulled their goalie on a delayed penalty and Eriksson was pressured and sent it back to his defense. Only problem was the defense wasn’t there.
Stat Line of the Week
10/13/16 Boston 6 vs. Columbus 4
There were so many to choose from but Marchand stands out because he was the only one with five points in a game so far. He had a hand in all of the goals scored except the empty netter, which doesn’t really count. So, in other words, he was the man Thursday night. Not bad in 17 minutes of playing time. Keep an eye on him this season.
15 – Shot differential by the Rangers (15) over the Blues (0) in the 3rd period. The Blues own anyway 3-2.
0 – for 8 on the powerplay for both the Maple Leafs and Capitals, not a great way to start the season
2 – Shorthanded goals already for the Flames, which is already as many as two teams had all last season
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
October 12, 2003 Keith Tkachuk scored twice to become the 74th player to score 400 NHL goals, and Chris Osgood made 39 saves in the Blues 2-1 win over the Avalanche at Colorado.
October 13, 1993 New York Rangers set a franchise record with six power play goals and overcame a 3-0 deficit to beat the Quebec Nordiques 6-4 in New York. Brian Leetch led the scoring with two goals and two assists for the Rangers.
October 14, 1978 Denis Potvin set an Islanders’ team record with three goals in 3:21 as the Islanders lost 10-7 to the Maple Leafs at Toronto. It was the third hat trick of Potvin’s NHL career.
October 15, 1983 Chicago and Toronto combined to score five goals within a span of 1:24, an NHL record for fastest five goals by two teams. The Black Hawks won the mini-battle 3-2, but the Leafs won the game 10-8.
October 16, 1991 Bob Kudelski scored his second career hat trick and added an assist to lead the Kings to an 8-5 win over the Sharks at the Forum, in the first ever NHL meeting between the two California teams.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
1. St. Louis
3. Tampa Bay
4. San Jose
27. Los Angeles
26. New Jersey
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.