NHL 2015-16 Recap Week 1 – Saviors McDavid and Eichel start, 3 on 3 is working, Canadiens are hot, Kings, Ducks and Blue Jackets are not
A week (okay 10 days but who’s counting?) of the 2015-16 NHL season has gone by and what a week it’s been. Every fan starts out with that glimmer of hope that this will be the year their team kisses Lord Stanley’s Cup. Every team starts out with a clean slate at 0-0-0 so it could happen. I mean, even the Chicago Cubs are favored. But then reality creeps its ugly head and suddenly, for most, that once promising season feels like it will be a season long agony.
So far we’ve had exciting 3 on 3 overtime action, stumbling and struggling playoff hopeful teams, a city waiting for their anointed savior to do something, anything, the other anointed savior dazzling and rumblings of teams already about to be broken up. Let’s get to it.
Things I like
1. Jack Eichel has the luxury of not having as much pressure on him as Connor McDavid but not by much. Eichel scored in his first game and then again in his third game. His 2nd career goal against the Blue Jackets was a thing of beauty. Stealing the puck by using his body, maintaining possession in the zone and then going far side top shelf. McDavid had to wait until his 3rd game to score hist 1st goal and it was a non glamorous tip in goal. To make matters worse, the Oilers started out 0-4 with just five goals in four games. One of which was an own goal credited to them. But not so fast. As in other aspects of life, patience is a virtue. McDavid and the rest of the high 1st round picks of the Oilers started to click against the Flames. McDavid had two goals and an assist in the 5-2 win in the battle of Alberta. The Oilers then won their second in a row against the Canucks. McDavid pitched in with another assist. The two highly touted picks are already paying dividends. Which of course gives teams to tank on purpose.
2. Montreal and Carey Price are picking up right where they left off. Hard to imagine Price has even better numbers than last season and already has one shutout. Offensively though, it’s still the Max Pacioretty and P.K Subban show with some Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Markov sprinkled in. But until they actually have secondary scoring depth and the above mentioned stars all show up in a playoff series, the team won’t be go anywhere in the postseason. But 6-0 is a great way to start any season.
3. For the most part, 3 on 3 overtime is working. It’s faster paced with more opportunities and six of the ten games that went into overtime, were decided in overtime. I still would have like to have seen the AHL format of 4 on 4 for three minutes and then 3 on 3 for four minutes. But having less games decided in a shootout is a good thing.
Things I don’t
1. Leave it Philadelphia to come up with the chant “She Said No” to Patrick Kane. The city of brotherly love (my home city) is always anything but that. I’ve stayed mum on the whole rape issue mostly because I don’t think the verdict will be fair. The whole fake rape kit was ridiculous. I don’t think the Kobe Bryant rape case was fair and, although not as high profile, I don’t think this one will be either. Either way, a verdict hasn’t been reached yet so there’s no reason to chant that. Even if a guilty one had be reached, is that really the most appropriate thing to do? Stay classy Philly.
2. Columbus finished off last season on a tear because they were finally healthy. They hoped the momentum would carry over to this season but boy did that not happen. The Blue Jackets are 0-5 with a -14 goal differential. Sergei Bobrovsky has a cool 5.06 GAA to go along with his scorching .830 SV%. Of course when you give up a combined 13 goals in two games, it’s never good. It’s an especially odd start to the season given that in the last preseason game the Blue Jackets crushed the Predators 7-1.
3. So Cal hockey is off to a cold start despite the abnormally warm temperatures. Also those new Ducks jerseys are beyond hideous. I like the old Ducks logo but it doesn’t go on an orange color that has nothing to do with that logo. Not to mention that shade of orange is an accent color not a primary jersey color. The Ducks had probably the best 3rd jersey so of course they would feel the need to ruin it. But the Kings and Ducks each have only one regulation win a piece. Although the Kings just beat the Avalanche for their second win in a row. But before that they looked tepid and couldn’t get anything going. Still for two teams with Stanley Cup aspirations, this is not the starts they had envisioned. Although Bruce Boudreau should have been fired already, his main specialty was starting the season on a roll. If the Ducks continue to struggle don’t be surprised if he gets axed. Not sure who they would bring in though. Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry have picked up right where they left off in Game 7 against the Blackhawks, doing absolutely nothing.
4. There is already rumblings of a fire sale for the Bruins about to happen soon. It’s only been five games so give the players a break. It takes time for chemistry on new lines. Besides, you’ve already cleaned house enough, including the dumbest trade ever of Tyler Seguin. Plus there’s no Connor McDavid to tank for, he’s already been picked. The Bruins will be an ongoing soap opera the rest of the season. I’m sure the players will love it. Maybe they can get Tom Brady to deflate some footballs to get less attention on them.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Robert Bortuzzo vs Derek Dorsett
A decent back and forth fight with a lot of aggression.
Kevan Miller vs Joe Vitale
Miller lands some great punches in between some good grappling.
Goat of the Week
Alexander Edler – Vancouver Canucks
Edler passes the puck up the middle from his own zone but no other Canucks were looking and Vladimir Tarasenko says thank you very much and leads a pretty 3 on 2 goal for the Blues. The Canucks ended up losing 4-3. I bet Edler wants that one back.
Stat Line of the Week
10/17/15 Dallas 4 vs. Florida 2
Skater TOI G A +/- SOG PIM
T. Seguin 19:42 2 2 2 5 0
Tyler Seguin picks up where he left off last season with two goals and two assists against the Panthers. His running buddy Jamie Benn chipped in two goals and an assist as well. These were four unanswered goals after the Panthers jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Beware of the Stars this season.
9 – points for Henrik Zetterberg and David Krejci, tied for the lead in scoring. What is this 2008?
16 – PIM for John Tavares. Almost half the penalty minutes he would get in a full season in just five games.
0.49 – GAA for Martin Jones, the former Kings backup now leading the Sharks
.982 – SV% for Martin Jones through four games, they both look impressive don’t they?
1 – fractured fibula for Logan Couture who will miss more than a month of action. A tough blow to the sharks who started out strong.
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
The Hockey Hall of Fame site appears to be broken. Without it working, I can’t do this section. Fix your site Hockey Hall of Fame! If it’s down the whole season, I’ll just scrap this section.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
2. San Jose
4. St. Louis