The tenth anniversary of the NHL Winter Classic was today. Hard to imagine it’s been ten years already. Where does the time go? Sidney Crosby was so young then. Hard to imagine it was only his third season in the NHL when he scored the game winning shootout goal. It felt like he’d been in the league for awhile at that point. For the tenth edition, we had the Sabres in it again, playing the Rangers who were also in it again.

The two things that traditionally make a winter classic great are the weather and a close game. We had another close game that went it to overtime but sadly, even though it was freezing, we had no snow. Sabres did not play well in the first period but they rebounded in the second period. Toward the end of the second period, we have several minutes of back and forth action with no whistles. That’s hockey at its best. The game winner came on a power-play goal by J.T. Miller. The other thing that makes the classic great is Jeremy Roenick interviewing random people. But I think he only interviewed one person and it wasn’t that memorable. Ironically, the US Men’s Olympic team was announced at the game. I’m surprised the NHL even allowed that. I’m also sure Jack Eichel loved it. Just ridiculous on so many levels.

Although some people might be sick of the Winter Classic, I think it’ still great. But they really need to showcase different teams. Having the game always be in a northeast location makes sense but start picking some west coast teams. The Sharks, Kings and Golden Knights would all work. It would also be better if they picked teams that are actually good. The Sabres are not. I realize they do it in advanced but they should probably wait until the Stanley Cup finals to announce the next one. So they at least know who went far in the playoffs.

Things I like

1. The Florida Panthers have won five in a row winning them the o so useless position of fourth place in the Atlantic Division. Also known as far away from a playoff spot. But it’s encouraging nonetheless. Specifically because this team started out nowhere near where it was expected to and number one goalie Roberto Luongo went down with an injury. That cleared the way for James Reimer who has made the most of his opportunity. He’s been sensational posting two shutouts and a .953 SV% in his last seven games. Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck and Aleksander Barkov are starting to find their groove in the last few games as well. The playoffs are probably not a possibility but if Reimer can continue his strong play the Panthers have found their goalie of the future.

2. The Bruins have been clobbering teams as of late. They had a tough one goal loss against the Capitals but they outscored their opponents 25-5 in their six wins in their last seven games. David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand lead the charge as usual and Ryan Spooner has come back from injury and has even improved his game. Tuukka Rask has been playing better and this team is very very deep. They might be a sleeper team to watch for in the playoffs.

Fights of the Week

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

Matthew Tkachuk vs Ryan Kesler

It’s Tkachuk vs Kesler that’s all you really need.

Goat of the Week

Blake Coleman – New Jersey Devils

The Sabres give it away in their own zone right up the middle but the Devils give it right back to them. Not sure what Coleman was trying to do. The Devils lost in overtime.

Stat Line of the Week

12/29/17 Anaheim 2 vs. Calgary 1

Skater

TOI

G

A

+/-

SOG

Hits

R. Rakell

20:36

1

1

0

2

2

Rickard Rakell is slowing becoming the Ducks best player. He had an assist and the game winning goal as the Ducks heavily out shot the Flames 41-23. Rakell currently has a five game point streak going.

Numbers, Numbers

1 – Hat trick, the first in franchise history, for the Golden Knights by William Karlsson, also his first
32 – Age of “rookie”goalie Jeff Glass of the Blackhawks who got his first NHL win against the Oilers
2.02 – GAA for Andrei Vasilevskiy, first in the NHL, to go along with his .935 SV%, also first in the NHL
127 – Hits for Adam Larsson, second in the NHL but more impressive because he is only 8 hits off the lead but he has played in nine fewer games

This Week in Hockey History

Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.

December 25, 1957 Toronto Maple Leafs’ rookie Frank Mahovlich recorded his second career hat trick (and added an assist) in a 5-4 win against the visiting Montreal Canadiens.

December 26, 2001 Colorado’s Patrick Roy became the first goaltender in NHL history to record 500 career wins, and picked up his 59th career shutout, in a 2-0 Avalanche victory at Dallas.

December 27, 1959 Boston’s Bronco Horvath began an NHL-record 22 game point-scoring streak in the Bruins’ 6-1 loss at Chicago.

December 28, 1987 Rookie Joe Nieuwendyk scored his 4th career hat trick and added an assist as the Flames won 9-3 over the Canadiens in Calgary.

December 29, 1965 Chicago’s Glenn Hall recorded a shutout as the Black Hawks won 3-0 over the New York Rangers. It was the 66th shutout of Hall’s NHL career.

December 30, 1978 Ulf Nilsson scored a goal and added three assists to lead the Rangers to a 5-4 win at Chicago Stadium. Stan Mikita had three assists for the Black Hawks.

December 31, 1910 Montreal Canadiens goalie Georges Vezina played the first of 367 consecutive regular season and playoff games, when Montreal lost their NHA season opener, 5-3 to the visiting Ottawa Senators. Vezina played every game for Montreal for 15 seasons.

Rankings

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

Top 5

1. Vegas
2. Tampa Bay
3. Florida
4. Boston
5. San Jose

Bottom 5

30. Arizona
29. Vancouver
28. Ottawa
27. St. Louis
26. Montreal

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 2017-18 Recap Week 12 – Winter Classic New York style, Bruins, Panthers, Rakell rollinghttp://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/henrik-lundqvist-winter-classic-1024x576.jpghttp://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/henrik-lundqvist-winter-classic-300x300.jpgAlex MuellerWeekly Recaps
The tenth anniversary of the NHL Winter Classic was today. Hard to imagine it's been ten years already. Where does the time go? Sidney Crosby was so young then. Hard to imagine it was only his third season in the NHL when he scored the game winning shootout goal....