NHL 2014-15 Recap Week 3 – Is the NHL doing enough for hits to the head?, Hurricanes won!, Red Wings are humming along, the Blue Jackets are not
We started out the season without having any suspensions, in almost a month of play, only to end up with three in the past week. One for leaving the bench and starting a fight (John Scott) and the other two for hits to the head (Alex Burrows, John Moore). In this era of concussions and their know side effects one would think the NHL should take a harsher stance on hits to the heads. Suspending players for three and five games in an 82 game season isn’t really going to do anything. Even a $50,000 fine doesn’t have much an impact either. I mean these guys make millions of dollars in a season.
Personally, I think all deliberate hits to the head should carry a ten game minimum suspension. It’s quite clear, in both the cases, that Burrows and Moore both had ample time to avoid hitting the respective player’s head. As for one John Scott did, you shouldn’t be allowed to leave the bench for any reason. That should have a minimum of five games as well. I’m all for fighting and the on ice hijinks of hockey. That’s what makes the game so unique and fun. But safety should always be first. Hits to the head and leaving the bench aren’t safe for anyone.
In a related note, love those NHL player safety decision videos by the NHL. Incredibly boring but, given the circumstances, it’s obvious why. However, I think the “As the video shows” could really take off.
Things I like
1. Nobody knows how they do it, actually we do its Coach Mike Babcock, but the Detroit Red Wings are always in the the thick of things. I thought this would be the year they would miss the playoffs but nope. Probably not going to happen. Babcock knows how to tinker his lines and blend the old with the new. Jimmy Howard and even Jonas Gustavsson are playing exceptionally well. Even more remarkable is that Henrik Zetterberg, at 34, is on pace to have his best season statistically since 2007-08. Here’s to playoff season number 24 in a row I guess.
2. The Hurricanes win! The Hurricanes win! The Hurricanes got their first win of the season buy blanking Arizona at home and then followed it up with another hard fought win at home against the defending Stanley Cup champions. After a real shaky start to the season, Cam Ward played great in both wins. Especially at the end against the Kings when they had a powerplay and the goalie pulled to finish the game. Don’t expect the Hurricanes to turn it around and make the playoffs but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
3. Seth Griffith has had a couple of good games for the Boston Bruins in his rookie season and an acrobatic goal reminiscent of Bobby Orr. Even though he’s a fifth round pick, he seems to have the tools to be a great player. I’m curious to see how he will develop, since Tyler Seguin didn’t really work out with the Bruins but is flourishing with the Dallas Stars. He’s getting the playing time on the top lines which is something Seguin didn’t get.
Things I don’t
1. Alex Ovechkin had no points in five games. Which is the only time in his ten year career that has happened. Although it’s a negative thing, it’s pretty remarkable it has taken this long to happen. But I worry about his gameplay. He causes turnovers on the ice, he’s unable to control his emotions on the ice, which sometimes lead to penalties and his defensive weaknesses are well known. After giving up five straight goals to the Coyotes Barry Trotz ripped into the team. Honestly, this team just needs to be blown up and Ovechkin could really use a change of scenery. He needs to go to to a team with a defensively skilled center who also dishes the puck well. He’s played the same way he has for far to long to change his game at this point.
2. The Columbus Blue Jackets were put in a tricky spot to start the season. They overachieved by making the playoffs last season and then compounded the problem by almost knocking off the Penguins in the first round. Because of that, the season started with higher expectations and the well documented Ryan Johansen contract dispute. During the season the Blue Jackets have been hit by a major injury bug. With seven players currently on injured reserve including: Nathan Horton, Sergei Bobrovsky, Brandon Dubinsky, Mark Letestu and James Wisniewski. Hard to be competitive with that many injuries. To top it off they are on a five game losing streak. I figured they would either build on last year or just go in the other direction. Looks like they’ll be going in the other direction, although a lot of it is beyond their control.
3. Taylor Hall just sprained his MCL and will now miss almost a month of action. He has now missed games due to injury in every season he has played. It stands to reason this will happen for the remainder of his career. It’s a shame really but it’s just the way it’s going to be. The Oilers will miss him and likely won’t win much without him.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Milan Lucic vs Chris Stewart
If you like long fights, like I do, you’ll like this one. A pretty even fight too.
Chris Neil vs Jared Boll
A fairly decent fight with some face washing at the end.
Goats of the Week
Brent Seabrook – Chicago Blackhawks
Not really sure what Seabrook was doing initially and then he lost an edge trying to recover and then the Ducks went the other way for the shorthanded game winner, and the only goal of the game.
John Carlson – Washington Capitals
A pretty careless cross ice pass by Carlson that ended up setting up the game winner for the Red Wings.
Stat Line of the Week
10/28/14 Tampa Bay 7 vs. Arizona 3
Nikita Kucherov recorded his first career hat trick in his second season in the NHL. He has almost as many points through 12 games (11) as he did in 52 games (18) last season. He’s part of the reason the Lightning are humming along. So far, Tampa Bay and Montreal are just as tight in the standings as they were last year. Although this time they are playing for first in the division.
1 – Shot on goal for the Dallas Stars against the Anaheim Ducks in the 2nd period
1000 – Career points for Marian Hossa
41.9 – Powerplay percentage for the Pittsburgh Penguins tops in the NHL
3 – Shorthanded goals for the Los Angeles Kings tops in the NHL
45 – Age of Ducks emergency backup goalie Dwayne Roloson
12 – Players with a point on the Penguins against the Devils
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
October 27, 1991 Buffalo’s Pat LaFontaine scored a goal and added two assists in his first game as a Sabre, and Dale Hawerchuk had a goal and three assists to lead the Sabres to a 5-1 win over the visiting Hartford Whalers.
October 28, 1971 Rookie Gilles Meloche, playing in just his third career NHL game, made 34 saves in a 2-0 Oakland Seals’ win over Boston.
October 29, 1947 Detroit’s Gordie Howe wore uniform #9 for the first time in his NHL career. It came during a 5-2 Red Wings’ win at Chicago.
October 30, 1937 New York Americans and the New York Rangers played two exhibition games in one day (2 p.m. and 9 p.m.) in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to commemorate the opening of a new arena.
October 31, 1992 Montreal’s Patrick Roy became the 4th goaltender in franchise history to record 200 victories as a member of the Canadiens. The milestone came in a 4-3 win over the visiting NY Rangers. Roy became the 37th NHL goaltender to get 200 wins.
November 01, 1995 Mario Lemieux had a goal and six assists, & Ken Wregget recorded his 4th career shutout as the Penguins won 10-0 over the visiting Lightning. It was Lemieux’s fourth career six assist game.
November 02, 1989 Larry Robinson’s first goal as a member of the L.A. Kings came at Boston and gave him career point #896, tying Brad Park for the number three spot on the all time scoring list for defenseman. Kings lost 5-4 to the Bruins.
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.