NHL 2019-20 Recap Week 10 – Coaching firings continue, Arizona Coyotes continue to defy, Eichel, Jarry and Francouz remain hot
The firing of NHL coaches continued this week. Peter DeBoer and Jim Montgomery joined Bill Peters and Mike Babcock in the fired club this season. Both of these firings were a little surprising however. The San Jose Sharks have crappy goaltending, they lost their best player (Joe Pavelski) when they didn’t resign him and Joe Thornton is a year older. I’m not sure what they were expecting. Where they are now is about where they should be. The Jim Montgomery firing was just bizarre. The Dallas Stars refused to comment on it. All they said was it wasn’t related to hockey performance but it also wasn’t related to power abuse. Which begs the question, what the hell did he do? Drugs? Blackmail? Spousal abuse? Them not saying what it is just makes me want to know even more. They said one day Montgomery will have his say. I can’t wait. I’m sure it’s nowhere near as juicy as we all think it is.
I was never a fan of in season coaching changes but it worked for the Pittsburgh Penguins (they won the Stanley Cup in 2015-16) and then it worked for the St Louis Blues (won it all last season). If you really think your team can do better, I guess it’s worth a shot. The Stars and Maple Leafs could very well win it all this year. There’s a pretty good chance someone else is getting fired soon too.
Things I like
1. The Arizona Coyotes are still surprisingly at the top of the Pacific Division. Usually teams that end the season hot but don’t make the playoffs start the following season strong. But even this was hard to imagine. The Coyotes still aren’t scoring much but they are a very balanced team. Darcy Kuemper has really made the most of his starting role. He’s always been the guy stuck behind a better goalie like in Los Angeles (Jonathan Quick) and Minnesota (Devan Dubnyk). But now he is the guy. The Coyotes remind me of a spare parts team. A bunch of guys that have bounced around and then all came together here. Leading scorer Nick Schmaltz is from the Chicago Blackhawks. Carl Soderberg, Phil Kessel and Alex Goligoski are on their third, fourth and third teams respectively. They are also fourth, fifth and sixth on the team in scoring. This has been done once before in Florida. The Panthers won their division with a bunch of cast-offs who played well and then lost in the first round and they didn’t made the playoffs again for awhile. I’m not saying that will happen again here but I can definitely see the Coyotes losing in the first round.
2. A bunch of players have been heating up lately. Some of them have already been hot. Jack Eichel continues his strong play. His point streak is now at 16 and he had a game winning goal and a game tying goal to force overtime this week. Tristan Jarry picked up two more wins this week. One was another shutout and one was a 38 save effort on 42 shots. Jake Guentzel is also hot with nine points in his last five games. Pavel Francouz has been heating up which is everyone’s worst nightmare. He was stellar in net against the New Jersey Devils. I said a few weeks ago if he can play this way all season, the Colorado Avalanche will win the Stanley Cup. I stand by that remark. The Calgary Flames have been red hot with their new coach, until they were thumped by the Carolina Hurricanes. They racked up 28 goals during their seven game win streak. Sean Monahan had an eight game point streak and Johnny Gaudreau is scoring goals again. The Flames now find themselves in a playoff spot again.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Kurtis MacDermid vs Nicolas Deslauriers
A great fight from a couple of big boys. MacDermid gets a little wild at the end and then the refs break it up.
Darnell Nurse vs Jordan Greenway
Greenway had the advantage early before Nurse just demolished him. Greenway tackles him to end it. I didn’t think Nurse had that in him.
Goats of the Week
Too many to mention – Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs find themselves back in this section again. They took a 2-1 lead into the third period in Calgary and then they quickly unraveled. First up, Frederik Andersen passes the puck right to the Flames along the boards. It’s not that bad of a play because it’s far away but it doesn’t really give him enough time to set, especially for a shot he wasn’t expecting.
A mere minute and 40 seconds later, the Maple Leafs turn it over at center ice with some sloppy passing, leading to a break away for the Flames.
Fifty seconds after that the Flames scored again.
Jujhar Khaira – Edmonton Oilers
Khaira didn’t have many options pinned against the boards with two other Wild players closing in on him. But the choice he did make was probably the worst one. The Wild took it the other way for a break away goal scored by Jason Zucker. The Oilers lost by one.
Stat Line of the Week
12/14/19 Ottawa 4 vs Columbus 3
The Ottawa Senators weren’t expected to do anything this season and they aren’t. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have some great players. Anthony Duclair has played for six teams in his NHL career. One of them was the opponent on this night and he made them pay. Duclair scored two in the first period and then the overtime winner on the power-play, two of his goals were by slapshot and his is a killer. Giving him a hat trick on this night and 18 goals for the season. Duclair had 19 goals last season and has never scored more than 20 goals in a season. But he will this season.
100 – Career NHL points for Elias Pettersson in 102 games. His 100th point was an overtime goal off a stick.
4 – Goals scored by the Winnipeg Jets in a span of 4:17 against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday
8 – Winning teams on Saturday night scored exactly four goals. Additionally, one scored four with the aid of the shootout and two winning teams scored five.
6 – Game winning goals by David Pastrnak, first in the NHL and already tying his career season high.
1 – Regulation home loss for the Boston Bruins. Their first loss was at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
December 09, 1998 Ottawa rookie Marian Hossa scored his first career NHL goal and picked up two assists in the Senators’ 6-5 loss at Florida.
December 10, 1985 Mark Howe scored his 400th career NHL point with a pair of goals and an assist as the Flyers defeated the Boston Bruins 7-4, at the Spectrum.
December 11, 1943 Herb Cain and Art Jackson each scored 2 goals and 2 assists, and Bill Cowley scored a goal and 3 assists to lead the Bruins to a 9-6 win over the NY Rangers. The loss gave the Rangers an 0-14-1 record, the worst start by any team in NHL history.
December 12, 1974 Philadelphia’s Bernie Parent recorded his 31st career shutout, a 6-0 win over the visiting Minnesota North Stars. Reggie Leach picked up his 4th career hat trick for the Flyers, and Bobby Clarke added three assists
December 13, 1983 Islanders’ Bryan Trottier had a goal and an assist to give him 900 NHL points as New York won 8-5 over the visiting Oilers.
December 14, 1980 Mike Bossy scored three goals in the Islanders’ 5-4 win against the Jets, at Winnipeg. It was the 13th hat trick of Bossy’s NHL career.
December 15, 1967 Cesare Maniago was in goal as the Minnesota North Stars won 3-0 at Los Angeles to become the first modern expansion team to get back-to-back shutouts. Two days earlier Maniago had defeated the Kings 4-0 in Minnesota.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
29. New Jersey