Michigan’s first loss has driven me to write about hockey. We are two weeks into the season and while not a whole lot can happen in a few games there are some early storylines emerging. For those casually following here is what we have so far…
1. Patrick Roy is back and the Avs are relevant again: The former goalie is now back as Colorado’s coach and made quite an entrance his first game back against the Ducks. While those are over the top antics he clearly has his team’s attention as the Avs are 5-0 including a win over the Bruins 2-0. Roy’s has affected goalie Semyon Varlamov who has yet to give up more than 1 goal in each of his four starts. 1st overall pick Nate McKinnon is living up to the hype and leads the Avs with six points. While I never liked Roy as a player he is a good person to have back in the NHL because is so polarizing and can help make hockey relevant in Colorado again. (Just FYI: The Avs host the Red Wings on Thursday and I wouldn’t be surprised if Roy tried to fight Mike Babcock.)
2. The Sharks and Tomas Hertl are on fire: The Sharks are 5-0 and have started hot before so that is not the story, Tomas Hertl is the story. The Czech rookie scored four goals in a game including this absurd between the legs goal. This, of course, got hockey’s old guard up in arms over “disrespecting the game” and more backlash. (DGB has a good roundup here.) Regardless it is good to see a young talent come into the league and also remind idiots like me that the Sharks window has not closed and they will push the Kings in their division.
3. Edmonton is still a trainwreck: Lots of 1st overall picks and a new coach hasn’t changed anything in Edmonton yet. They are last in their division and Nail Yakupov has been a healthy scratch the last 2 games due to “behavioral issues.” Never a good sign when your latest first round pick is already involved in KHL rumors five games in.
4. The Ducks threw a throwback night and it was glorious: Tell me why aren’t these there normal uniforms again?
1. Toronto vs Stat Geeks: DGB has a more in depth breakdown but the Leafs continue to win despite all of the fancy stats saying that they shouldn’t. This will be a fascinating story moving forward as there is a real advance stats following and a strong group opposed to them. (Led by Don Cherry of course.) The best part of all of this is the Leafs gave Phil Kessel an extension as well meaning they have given long term deals to Kessel, Lupol, Clarkson and Bozak. The Leafs are going to be so much fun to watch on 24/7.
2. The Metro-whatever division is horrible: The Pens are 4-1 but the rest of the division is a trainwreck. The Pens have as many wins as the Rangers, Devils, Flyers and Caps combined! (4) The Flyers already fired their coach after three games. The Devils have no wins and can’t score again the Rangers are being outscored by 16 goals five games into the season and the Caps are doing this. It is too early to write all of these teams off but as a Pens fan it makes me happy.
3. Sid is still the best, please stay healthy: After the PSU game I saw Sid scored a hat trick against TB and brought joy back into my life for 5 seconds. He has recorded a point every game this season and leads the league in points as well. Of course this is the part where I have to mention hopefully he stays healthy. He doesn’t think his game is anywhere near sharp enough which is terrifyingly awesome.
4. You need to read this: And everything else Down Goes Brown writes. And I don’t say that because Mario is #1. (Okay, yes that is mainly why)
Things to look for: Thursday night has a good slate of games that includes Pens/Flyers, Hawks/Blues and the aforementioned Wings/Avs game. So nice that it might matter once more.
Enjoy casually following or ignoring hockey everyone.