NHL 2020-21 Recap Week 4 – Laine benched, Bruins Rangers overtime beauty, Fleury hot, Kings playing like it’s 2014
Patrik Laine began his Columbus Blue Jackets career the same way the guy he replaced ended his, with a benching. Only Laine said he deserved this one. After blowing an assignment, he blew off the assistant coach who wanted to talk to him about it. Apparently, words were exchanged, and he didn’t see any ice time the rest of the game. They’ve since patched it up but not the best way to start a tenure. It’s odd to me they think benching a top player is the best way to discipline them. That also hurts your team. A fine or some grunt work would be a better punishment. Laine has scored four goals in six games for the Blue Jackets.
Since Laine will more than likely be living, it’s great news for the Blue Jackets that Jack Roslovic has excelled in Columbus. Nine points in nine games is well beyond anything he ever did on the Winnipeg Jets.
Things I like
1. The end of the Boston Bruins vs New York Rangers on Wednesday night game sums up everything I love about hockey. With a minute left in the game, Tuukka Rask proceeds to head off the ice for the extra attacker. Only it’s a tie game. The bench yells at him to go back. Luckily, it didn’t lead to an easy Rangers goal. Overtime began with a great diving stop by Adam Fox behind his goalie to save a goal. That lead to a breakaway the other way that was broken up by Charlie Coyle, who sprung a pass to a wide-open Brad Marchand, who skated in for the game-winner. What’s not to love about 3 on 3 overtime? Simply beautiful. They really need to make overtime ten minutes.
2. As someone who wrote off Marc Andre-Fleury a few years ago, and he was dreadful for a couple of seasons, it must be nice to have the last laugh on everybody right now. He’s not that kind of guy, but it still must be nice. The goalie he was traded to make way for in Pittsburgh, Matt Murray, isn’t even there anymore. He’s now in Ottawa playing dreadfully. The guy who replaced Murray in Pittsburgh, Tristan Jarry, isn’t playing much better. The guy who was supposed to replace Fleury in Vegas, Robin Lehner, isn’t playing as well as Fleury is this season either. Kudos to the Vegas Golden Knights for keeping both goalies even though it costs them 12 million a season.
Things I don’t
1. It’s 2021, yet the Los Angeles Kings are still relying on most of the same players from their 2014 Stanley Cup team. Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, and Drew Doughty lead the team in scoring. There are no young players whatsoever doing anything significant. It’s doubtful Adrian Kempe, or Alex Iafallo will become anything special. Olli Maatta somehow ended up on the team and is dead last in scoring with one point. What a waste of a skilled player. The last three top picks for the Kings have yet to play any games in the NHL. In fact, none of their draft picks the last three years have ever played for the Kings. It’s normal for most to play elsewhere initially, but this is a little odd. I have no idea what the Kings are doing. I hope that Alex Turcotte and Quinton Byfield work out for them whenever they play.
2.Mikko Koivu retired, and I honestly didn’t realize he was still playing or that he was on the Blue Jackets. The younger brother of Saku Koivu amassed 711 points in 1035 games. His best season was in 2009-10 when he scored 71 points. Although a decent player, he never lived up to being selected sixth overall. I’m sure he quit for personal reasons, but just another forward who didn’t want to play in Columbus.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
A great slate of fights this week
Zack Kassian vs Erik Gudbranson
Luke Schenn vs Mathieu Olivier
Trent Frederic vs Brendan Lemieux
Jeremy Lauzon vs Pavel Buchnevich
Goat of the Week
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets had a one goal lead with about four minutes left in the game. They do an exceptionally poor job on failing to clear multiple times from their own end. Enabling the Blackhawks to tie it.
Then they do an even worse job in overtime. Kudos to Alex DeBrincat for his nifty bat of the puck in mid-air.
Play of the Week
What Miro Heiskanen did won’t show up in any stat sheet but boy was it good and important. His breakup of the Hurricanes scoring chance lead to Joe Pavelski tying the game to force overtime. The Stars lost in the shootout though.
Stat Line of the Week
02/11/21 Edmonton 3 vs. Montreal 0
I’ve always believed Mike Smith was overrated but he’s still a decent goalie. Against the Montreal Canadiens, he stopped all 28 shoots he faced in his second game of the season. In the first game of the season, he stopped 27 of 28 shots against the Ottawa Senators. He’s not the main guy anymore but he’s still significant.
35 – Games postponed by COVID
850 – Wins by coach Barry Trotz, third all time in the NHL
1300 – Wins by general manager Lou Lamoriello
16 – Overtime goals by Brad Marchand, most since 2013
2 – Games suspension for Johan Larsson for illegally checking Zach Sanford in the head
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
February 08, 1994 Adam Oates scored his 5th career hat trick, and Cam Neely had three assists as the Bruins extended their road undefeated streak in Quebec to 9 straight games (8-0-1) with a 6-1 win over the Nordiques.
February 09, 2003 Martin Brodeur became the first goaltender in NHL history to win 30 (or more) games for eight consecutive seasons, as the Devils won 3-2 over the visiting Minnesota Wild.
February 10, 1972 Montreal’s Guy Lafleur had three goals to become the first rookie in the modern NHL era to score three hat tricks in a season, as the Canadiens won 7-1 over the Black Hawks, at the Forum. Lafleur also had an assist in the game.
February 11, 1939 Montreal Canadiens tied against Toronto 3-3 in a penalty-free game played in Toronto. There were none called — against either team — for the entire game.
February 12, 1994 Calgary’s Al MacInnis became the first player in team history to score 800 points with the Flames; his milestone point came in a Flames’ game against the Winnipeg Jets.
February 13, 1990 Bryan Trottier became the 15th player in NHL history to score 500 career goals (and just the second to score 500 in an Islanders’ uniform); the milestone occured in a 4-2 Islanders loss to Calgary.
February 14, 1989 Chicago rookie Jeremy Roenick scored the first goal of his NHL career, in a 4-2 Blackhawks’ win over the North Stars at Minnesota.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
3. Tampa Bay
28. San Jose
27. NY Rangers