NHL 2018-19 Recap Week 7 – NHL coaches dropping like flies, Sabres finally show promise, Goal scoring up
We are only a quarter of the way done the NHL season and we have already seen four coaches get the axe. Something that is quite unusual and a little alarming. Especially since it’s such a highly competitive and streaky season. Unless you started out 3-17, there’s no reason to fire anyone. But a lot of these firings have nothing to do with bad coaching.
The recent Chicago Blackhawks coaching staff and front office squabbles have been well documented. The front office was always going to win, seeing as how they get to do the firing. It doesn’t mean they are right though. They had already fired some assistant coaches. Since they’ve been wanting to do it for a while, I’m surprised they didn’t do it in the offseason. They may have been waiting for the right time but I don’t really see how doing it a few weeks ago was the right time. I would still like to know if the actually thought any of their recent moves were good or if they were just trying to tank to get rid of Joel Quenneville. They are transitioning to a rebuild.
The Edmonton Oilers firing their coach is nothing more than general manager Peter Chiarelli trying to save his job. During his short tenure all he has done is made the team worse with one questionable move after another. It’s likely that if the Oilers miss the playoffs this season he would be gone. This is a self preservation move. Todd McLellan was a good coach but there are certainly areas he could improve on. Most notably constantly collapsing at the end of games. But given what he had to work with, it’s not surprising he only made the playoffs once. They weren’t doing that bad when he was fired either. It’s unlikely Ken Hitchcock is going to make much of a difference. Kind of surprised they didn’t try to hire Joel Quenneville. Chiarelli really needs to go regardless of how this season turns out.
Mike Yeo was probably not the St. Louis Blues first choice but he did such a good job as interim coach they decided to keep him. Then he didn’t do so well after that and they fired him. I always thought the Blues were overrated and the team has only gotten worse the last couple of seasons. Not sure what they were expecting Yeo to do exactly.
Since the Los Angeles Kings won their second Stanley Cup they have literally accomplished nothing. John Stevens losing his job was a byproduct of that after Darryl Sutter was also fired. Stevens was also the interim coach who became the head coach. The Kings are like the Blackhawks in that their core is aging but they can still sort of produce and they have big contracts so you can’t just get rid of them. It hasn’t be easy to mesh in younger talent. It’s harder for the Kings because they have less young talent and then Jonathan Quick keeps getting injured. They should transition to a rebuild.
The Blackhawks and Kings are in tough spots. With an aging core that won Stanley Cups, it’s hard to know if you should go for one last run, try to transition or just rebuild. Transitioning would be the best thing to do but only the Sharks have recently been able to do it successfully.
Things I like
1.We’ve all been waiting for the Buffalo Sabres to finally put it all together with the young talent they have accumulated over the years. Now seems to finally be that time. The Sabres have rattled off nine wins in a row. Jack Eichel has developed nicely, although he still needs to work on his goal scoring, and Jeff Skinner has fit in better than expected and is currently second in the NHL in goals with 18. Two guys named Rasmus lead the defensive core. What are the odds of that by the way? But the key to the Sabres success is winning close games. Whether they make a comeback in the third period or they win in overtime and shootout. I just wonder if they can sustain this. They play in a really tough division where they could very easily end up in fourth place. I also wonder if Carter Hutton is really a number one goalie. It’s not a role he’s ever had before. The Sabres will be interesting team to watch as the season progresses.
2.Do you like goals? Of course you do. Just like NFL scoring is up in most games, goal scoring is up in most NHL games. On Wednesday we had nine teams in fourteen games score at least five goals. Thirteen scored at least four goals. On Friday we had eleven teams in fifteen games score at least four goals. On Saturday we had ten teams in eleven games score at least four goals. We are still on pace for the most goals in thirteen years.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Brandon Manning vs Troy Brouwer
Goat of the Week
None in a close game that I could find
Stat Line of the Week
11/24/18 Winnipeg 8 vs St. Louis 4
Patrik Laine is by any measure a great goal scorer. But he took it to another level against the Blues. Laine was a perfect five for five on his shots and he was the first player to score five in a game since 2011. He also had a natural hat trick and beat the Blues all by himself. Laine now leads the NHL in goals and he could potentially have over 60 goals this season.
2 – JT Compher goals scored shorthanded on the sam epower play. Only the 20th person in the NHL to do so.
17 – Game point streak for the Panthers’ Mike Hoffman snapped
1 – Predominantly yellow jersey for the Penguins against the Blue Jackets, just hideous
10 – Goal swing by the Flyers from their 4-0 win over the Rangers to their 6-0 loss to the Maple Leafs in their next game
1 – Hat trick in the first period for Andreas Johnsson of the Maple Leafs against the Flyers
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
November 19, 1981 Boston’s Wayne Cashman tied an NHL record with four assists in one period, in a 6-1 Bruins’ win over the Hartford Whalers, in Boston Garden.
November 20, 1982 Islanders’ Bill Smith became the 24th goaltender in the NHL to record 200 career victories when New York won 5-4 over the visiting Chicago Black Hawks. John Tonelli led the scoring with a goal and three assists for New York.
November 21, 1981 Edmonton’s Dave Lumley began a team-record 12 game goal scoring streak with two goals and two assists in an 8-3 win over the visiting Vancouver Canucks.
November 22, 2003 Montreal Canadiens beat the Oilers 4-3 at the first outdoor game in NHL history, played before a record crowd of 57,167 fans in Edmonton.
November 23, 1982 Neal Broten scored his first NHL hat trick, Steve Payne had three goals (the 5th hat trick of his career) along with an assist, and Bobby Smith added a goal and four assists in the Minnesota North Stars’ 8-8 tie with the Islanders, at New York.
November 24, 2003 Florida Panthers defenseman Mathieu Biron became the first NHL player since Phil Esposito in 1980 to score a goal against his brother (goaltender Martin) in a 2-1 win over the visiting Buffalo Sabres.
November 25, 1961 Jacques Plante became the 12th goaltender in NHL history to record 50 career shutouts, and Henri Richard scored a goal and added two assists as the Canadiens won 5-0 over the Bruins, at the Forum.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
4. 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.