NHL 2016-17 Recap Week 17 – Coyotes and Islanders rink problems, Hitchcock out, Iginla moving, Stars have effort but no wins and much more
Sports are great but sometimes finding a home to play them is not. Just ask San Diego and Oakland in the NFL. In Phoenix, the Coyotes were planning on making a new arena in conjunction with ASU but that is now dead. The Coyotes have a home in a rink that seats over 17,000 people and was built this century. But of course the City of Glendale withdrew from the contract it had signed with the Coyotes. I get that they didn’t like how they were using the money and they thought operating costs for the rink were too high but what’s the point of having an arena if you won’t use it? Just another reason Arizona should not have a hockey team. So naturally they put a team in Las Vegas. It’s smooth sailing now for Vegas but just you wait. They should have just moved the Coyotes to Las Vegas.
In other rink/arena news, the Barclay’s Center is saying they no longer wish to have the lslanders play there. Which is always nice. Apparently they can make more money without them being there. Which is just as well since the Barclay’s Center was made specifically for basketball anyway. Because there’s no reason to make multi-use arenas or stadiums anymore. Since there’s an abundance of land everywhere and everyone is rich, don’t you know. This will leave the Islanders homeless, unless they want to go back to their old home. Which they clearly don’t want to do. But Hartford has stepped up saying they want them to come over. Either temporarily or permanently. Of course their rink is almost as old and smaller than the Islanders old home. So not sure why they would jump at that. The NHL and the Islanders say they are committed to New York. But, so far, the Islanders are 0 for 2 in arenas in the greater New York City area. At some point they will exhaust all their resources there.
I actually like the idea of moving to Hartford. It makes sense, if they can get a better arena there. But that might be a hard sell. I’m never in favor of teams relocating but if it’s within a two hour drive from where they used to be, fans can still see them. It might not be that convenient but you can always make it a weekend trip.
Things I like
1. The Dallas Stars have been in some highly entertaining games of late. The only downside is, they aren’t winning them. They lost a tough game to the Winnipeg Jets, mostly due to the blunder in the Goat of the Week section below. But if you watched the third period, you would know they deserved to win. They out hustled the Jets to every puck, the defensemen dove to break up breakaways, they knew when to pinch too and they had the better scoring chances. But they still came up short. Their loss against the Blackhawks was even more heartbreaking. With a 3-2 lead in the third period, several Stars awkwardly played the puck as it was leaving the Blackhawks end. Enabling Patrick Kane to get behind them and score to tie the game. The winning goal was scored when Trevor van Riemsdyk knocked in the puck that Kari Lehtonen thought he had covered but didn’t. Why he couldn’t tell he didn’t have it covered, I don’t know. But this is indicative of the Stars season. Hard fought games coupled with goalie blunders just equals more devastating losses.
2. Finally, after all these years, the biggest thing that didn’t make any sense has now reached a logical conclusion. Jarome Iginla actually wants out of Colorado. While I sort of, not really, get why he signed there in 2014, it should have been pretty obvious after that season the team wasn’t going in the right direction. He shouldn’t have wanted out last year too. Unless he just wanted to wait until his contract was just about over. Which is admirable but you aren’t getting any younger there Jarome. Unfortunately for him, he’s having his worst season so who knows if there will be any takers.
Things I don’t
1. As a thank you for finally leading the Blues past the second round, the Blues fired coach Ken Hitchcock. This was already an odd situation, as they had already announced this would be his last season coaching there anyway. But they decided to just show him the door now. It’s a classless move because he only has a few months left and he’s done a fairly decent job of coaching the team over the years. He’s only made bad decisions with goaltending. But that problem was compounded by letting Brian Elliott go and leaving a not ready for prime time yet Jake Allen. They also lost two of their top six scores from last year in David Backes and Troy Brouwer. But it’s not Hitchcocks’ problem anymore. It’s Mike Yeo’s, who was also canned mid-season before as well.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a lot easier to do.
Matt Martin vs Adam McQuaid
A couple of big boys going at it, with one that really connects and some blood at the end.
Jordin Tootoo vs Antoine Roussel
This one also had one at the end that really connected and some more blood.
Joseph Cramarossa vs J.T. Brown
A decent fight with a lot of haymakers.
Patrick Maroon vs Cody McLeod
A really great and really long fight.
Goat of the Week
Kari Lehtonen – Dallas Stars
In a common theme for Stars goalies this year, Lehtonen goes behind his own net and plays the puck poorly. Perhaps they should just stop doing that altogether.
Stat Line of the Week
2/04/17 Toronto 6 vs. Boston 5
In a wild and crazy game in Boston, William Nylander had his first career hat trick. The Leafs jumped out to a 4-1 lead, in which Nylander scored three of those, only to see the Bruins tie it at 4-4. In a three minute span in the third period, the Bruins scored once and the Maple Leafs twice to win it. Nylander was the 8th overall pick in 2014 and is in his official rookie season.
500 – Career goals for Patrick Marleau
3 – Goals scored, or all of them, on 4 on 4 in the Panthers 2 -1 win over the Ducks
0 – Shorthanded goals against for the Blue Jackets, the only team left to not give up one
30 – Goals for Sidney Crosby this season. The first to crack the mark and with about five fewer games played than everyone else.
1.11 – Points per game average this season for Connor McDavid
1.27 – Points per game average this season for Sidney Crosby
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
January 30, 1987 Washington Capitals tied the NY Islanders 3-3 to extend their overtime undefeated streak to 35 games, the second longest in NHL history. Boston holds the NHL record (37 games) set between Dec. 30, 1934 and Nov. 15, 1938.
January 31, 1928 Senators’ Alex Connell recorded the first of his NHL-record six consecutive shutouts, with a 4-0 win over Toronto, in Ottawa. It was the 42nd career shutout for Connell.
February 01, 1970 Rangers’ Terry Sawchuk recorded his 447th (and final) victory, and 103rd career shutout when New York defeated Pittsburgh, 6-0. Sawchuk’s 447 wins and 103 career shutouts were both NHL records at the time of his retirement.
February 02, 1975 Bobby Orr scored a goal and added four assists to lead the Bruins to a 5-1 win over the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.
February 03, 1932 Paul Thompson scored four goals for his first hat trick with Chicago in the Black Hawks’ 7-0 win over Toronto. Chuck Gardiner recorded his 26th career shutout.
February 04, 1988 Montreal’s Bobby Smith had a goal and an assist to collect his 800th career NHL point as the Canadiens lost 7-3 at Boston. It was also Smith’s 350th point as a member of the Canadiens.
February 05, 1950 Montreal’s Dick Irvin became the first coach in NHL history to win 500 games, when the Canadiens beat the Bruins 5-3 at the Forum in Montreal.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
1. San Jose
2. Los Angeles
28. Tampa Bay
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.