Between the Pipes – NHL Recap Week 9
I’d just like to say at the top of this column, Keith Ballard you’re an idiot. There’s no reason to do that in any game, especially in the 1st period of a game. I wouldn’t have let him play anymore. In case you missed it you can see it here.
NHL Point Standings System – It sucks. In all seriousness I think it’s a joke you get a point for losing. Why reward failure? You lost? Here have a point. I like the old way where if you lose in overtime you get nothing, if you win you get two points and if you tie you each get a point. Somewhere along the line the NHL decided it didn’t want ties. That kind of makes sense because no one comes to any sporting event to watch a tie game. However football has ties, though it mostly never happens. Of course football doesn’t have 5 minute overtimes they go the full 15 minutes of a quarter. Not sure why the NHL shortened its overtime to 5 minutes. I mean you would get a lot less ties if you let the game go another period worth of time. It would be more exciting too. The shootouts are an exciting way to break the tie. It’s just a bit unorthodox to end a team game in a 1 on 1 situation. I mean what if after one overtime, the NBA went to a 1 on 1 between their best players? I’m just glad the playoffs don’t have shootouts as the multiple overtimes provide some of the most thrilling games. I’ll never forget the 4 overtime classic between the San Jose Sharks and the Dallas Stars in 2008. If they want to keep it as it is, then award no points for overtime or shutout losses. You could also award no points for an overtime loss but a shootout loss could be worth one point since that is a different format.
But the way I see it the NHL has 9 possible options for games that are tied after regulation:
A) Keep it the way it is (5 min. OT with shootout same point system)
B) Keep it the way it is but no points for any loss
C) Keep it the way it is but only one point for shootout loss
D) Go back to the old way (tie after overtime, no points for loss, no shootout)
E) Change the OT to 20 min., ties, no shootout, no points if you lose in OT
F) Change the OT to 20 min., ties, no shootout, one point if you lose in OT
G) Change the OT to 20 min., shootout if still tied no points for loss
H) Change the OT to 20 min., shootout if still tied, one point for either loss
I) Change the OT to 20 min., shootout if still tied only point for shootout loss
Now these are all the possibilities, I may have missed one; I’m not really in favor of most of them, since we are trying to eliminate points for losing. I understand the NHL wants to award 1 point for something just to make it more interesting. My personal choice is the last one, I. It would give the game a chance to end more likely in a non shootout. But it would still have the shootout if necessary since it’s exciting. You don’t reward failure in the overtime but you do in the shootout. However at the point the losing team has played a strong hockey game and I don’t really believe the shootout is part of a game, it’s more like a supplement to a game.
Evgeni Nabokov – San Jose Sharks
Evgeni Nabokov was born in Russia but where he was born has since become Kazakhstan, the place made famous by the Borat movie. As such he has played internationally for both nations, something that normally doesn’t happen. He has also been the main cog in goal for the Sharks during their prosperous and at the same time under achieving decade.
Nabokov was taken in the 9th round in 1994 by the Sharks. He was mostly drafted because of the highly successful and long career his father, Viktor Nabokov, had in Russia. In 1997 he made his way stateside to play for the Kentucky Thoroughblades and the Cleveland Lumberjacks in the AHL and IHL. After successful seasons there, he was called up in 2000 to play with the Sharks. In the first start of his career he dueled with Patrick Roy to a 0-0 tie. Not bad for your first start, something I’m sure he will never forget.
In the 00-01 season when starting goalie Steve Shields went down with an injury, most thought Miikka Kiprusoff would get the starting nod. The Sharks highly regarded Kiprusoff but decided he needed more seasoning in the AHL so they gave the nod to Nabokov, and they never looked back. Nabokov posted impressive numbers and won the Calder Trophy, for rookie of the year, and made the All-Star game in 2001. Ironically Nabokov and Kiprusoff, Calgary Flames, are now foes in the western conference and the playoffs. They have each won a playoff series against each other (Nabokov in 08, Kiprusoff in 04).
Since Nabokov has been the Sharks starter he has amassed many of the Sharks franchise goalie records and a few more all-star appearances. Though he did have a down year in the 05-06 season and was regulated to a backup role for a bit. He was also the first goaltender to score a power play goal in 2002. In 2008 he won gold with Russia in the IIHF World Championships and was named the best goalkeeper of the tournament.
Nabokov and the Sharks would like to add a Stanley Cup to their resumes, which has proven to be quite hard the past few years. Nabokov numbers in the playoffs have been fairly consistent with his regular season numbers. If anything it has been the Sharks offense that has sputtered come playoff time. Particularly heartbreaking for the Sharks was losing 3 of 4 overtime games to the Stars in the second round of the 2008 playoffs. Including the 4OT thriller I mentioned above. Nabokov is off to another fine start this year, as are the Sharks. Hopefully it will translate into a better postseason success this time around in an extremely tough western conference.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Craig Rivet vs. Daniel Carcillo
This fight is nominated because these two fought about 8 minutes earlier and they wanted to fight some more even before the face-off and the refs moved them away from each other. After the puck was dropped they went straight for each other. Bonus points for the enthusiastic announcing.
Cam Janssen vs. Krys Barch
This fight is made better by the soundtrack. Seriously who picked the PA music for the fight?
Goat of the Week
Keith Ballard, see up top. He can win Goat of the Year.
Things I like
1. Teemu Selanne on the power play is gold. Teemu had 2 more goals on the power play against the Blackhawks. He now needs just 2 more to tie Joe Nieuwendyk for 10th place on the all-time list.
2. Zach Parise continues to provide solid results, yet stay relatively under the radar. The 5th leading scorer last year Parise continues to lead the Devils in points and goals this year. He also has a +19 for the year, tops in the league. He could work on his shooting percentage though.
3. Cristobal Huet (Goalie Spotlight in Week 3) had won 7 straight games for the Blackhawks until his streak was snapped by the Ducks. It’s a nice turnaround for the always under pressure Huet who lost his starting job last year and didn’t play all that well at the beginning of the year. He and Antti Niemi have formed a nice tandem for the rising Blackhawks.
4. Marian Hossa, or Maid Marian as he likes to be called, scored two goals (one shorthanded) in his debut against the Sharks. Not a bad way to work off the ring rust. I’m betting the Blackhawks hope he doesn’t bring his Stanley Cup curse with him.
Things I don’t
1. Is it me or is it cold in here? No wait that’s just Anze Kopitar. The former NHL leading scorer has only 3 assists in the past 9 games. “Kope” also has an appalling -6 in that span. Losing Ryan Smyth obviously didn’t help but superstars find a way to raise their game. In a related note your off my fantasy team “Kope”.
2. Craig Anderson has really begun to cool, after his hot start helped propel the Colorado Avalanche. Anderson has only won 2 out of his last 9 starts. His GAA is 3.75 and his SV% is about .879 during that span. As he goes so do the Avalanche as Peter Budaj is not considered much of an option. The Avalanche might want to give him a breather though as he has played the most games of any goalie in the league. Even Martin Brodeur has had more nights off. Of course Anderson shut me up with his shutout against the Lightning on Monday night.
3. Ales Hemsky is gone for the year, a really tough break for an already slumping Edmonton Oilers team.
4. Phoenix is still dead last in attendance by a mile. I realize the future of the team is hazy but, regardless if they go elsewhere at the end of the year, management can’t take away the enjoyment you had when you went to the game.
Did You Know?
I’ll try something new this week and see how long it lasts. Hopefully this will last longer than tweet of the week did.
Bobby Orr has the single season record for +/- at +124. He is however second on the all time +/- career list to Larry Robinson who had +730 to his +597. Nicklas Lidstrom is the only active player in the top 70. His mark sits at +414 as of this writing.
Double did you know if you read this week in hockey history. You will find out Mario Lemieux has a brother, I sure didn’t know that.
Stat Line of the Week
Another new one
11/28/09 Penguins 8 vs. Rangers 3
Nice line for Sidney Crosby who recorded his 4th career hat trick. Not sure why the Rangers left Stephen Valiquette in for all 8 goals. I know they wanted to give Henrik Lundqvist the night off, but it seems a bit much.
19 – Corey Perry’s current point streak, an Anaheim Ducks franchise record.
28 – The number of chances the Carolina Hurricanes have left to get their first road win.
2 – Number of game Alex Ovechkin was suspended for his knee hit
5 – Number of game Georges Laraque was suspended for his knee hit
0 – Number of games Keith Ballard was suspended for whacking his own goalie and sending him to the hospital
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
November 26, 1983 Edmonton’s Wayne Gretzky began an NHL-record 17 consecutive game assist streak, at St. Louis. It came in the midst of his NHL record 51-game point scoring streak (during which he scored 153 points). Oilers lost 8-6 to Blues.
November 26, 1999 Jaromir Jagr scored a natural hat trick (the 5th of his career) in a 7:01 span of the first period and added an assist for his 900th career point, and Tom Barrasso recorded his 35th career shutout in the Penguins 5-0 win against visiting Ottawa.
November 27, 1943 Montreal beat the visiting NY Rangers 6-3 to extend the Rangers losing streak to 11 games since the start of the 1943-44 season, the worst start to an NHL season by any team in league history. Rangers ended the streak with a tie the next night.
November 27, 1997 Michel Petit became the first player in NHL history to play for 10 different teams, when he made his first appearance with the Phoenix Coyotes in a 4-1 loss to Dallas.
November 27, 1984 Alain Lemieux (Mario’s brother) scored his first career hat trick to lead the Blues to a 6-1 win at Vancouver. Lemieux played 119 NHL games with the Blues, Quebec Nordiques & Penguins, and scored 28 goals and 44 assists.
November 27, 1969 Detroit’s Gordie Howe became the first player in NHL history to score 1,700 career points, when he picked up two assists in a 5-1 win against Los Angeles. Howe reached 1,700 points in 1,567 NHL games.
November 28, 1982 Ron Sutter made NHL history when he played in his first game, with the Flyers. It was the first time in league history that five brothers from the same family all played in the NHL. The Flyers tied the Canucks, 5-5 at Vancouver.
November 29, 2003 Chris Chelios became the 11th NHL defenseman to score 900 career points, when he picked up an assist as the Red Wings beat the Blues, 2-1 in St. Louis.
November 30, 1977 Phil Esposito scored a hat trick and Wayne Thomas had his 7th career shutout, as the Rangers won 4-0 at St. Louis. The three goals gave Esposito 605 in his career, one more than Bobby Hull, and second most in NHL history (behind Gordie Howe).
December 01, 1997 Montreal Canadiens became the first team in history to play 5,000 NHL games, when they took on the Pittsburgh Penguins, in a 1-0 loss, in Montreal. The loss gave the Canadiens a record of 2,625 wins, 1,603 losses and 772 ties since 1917.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
4. New Jersey
29. NY Rangers
Anaheim Ducks Watch
The Ducks played the Hurricanes on 11/25.They were able to beat them in regulation, though they sure found a way to make it suspenseful. After Teemu Selanne scored with about 90 seconds left to make it a 3-1 game you figured it was basically over. But then Carolina scores with 60 seconds left. You could hear the crowd deflate in Anaheim after that. But the Ducks hung on to win. Next was a tough game against the Chicago Blackhawks who just soundly gave the Sharks a thumping. But much to everyone’s surprise, the Ducks shut out the Blackhawks and their loaded top lines with a 3-0 win. Giguere was great in getting his first shutout of the season.
Next up was Phoenix who the Ducks seem to have problems with. Regulation was not enough to decide a winner and neither was OT so the game went into a shootout. The Ducks lost the shootout and have now lost 3 shootouts in a row to Phoenix. Including the shootout last year where if they would have won, they would have been the 6th seed instead they dropped to the 8th seed.
Next up was round 1 of the freeway series against the cross town rival Los Angeles Kings. I have to say that Evgeny Artyukhin takes some of the dumbest penalties around. In this game he took three offensive zone penalties. This is also not his first game taking bad penalties. I have no idea why Teemu Selanne requested him on his line. The Ducks lost the game 4-3 when the Kings scored the game winner in the final 2 minutes. A really tough game to lose for the Ducks, as they played really well for the most part. I also have to say this was one of the most exciting games so far, the scoring chances on both sides were quite exciting. Corey Perry kept his streak alive with a goal and an assist.
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.