October 11, 2010
Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.
Last year these guys combined for 114 goals and 297 points. According to hockeyfights.com, they also combined for four fighting majors, only one of which wasn't Perry's.
And this is awesome for several reasons.
First of all, it's always funny to watch grown hockey players throw punches that look worse than the ones tossed by NBA point guards. Remember that Alex Semin fight against Marc Staal(notes) last year? Who didn't enjoy that?
These are guys who have made a living with their copious hockey skill, but became so hot under the collar that they just had to punch someone over it. And because these fights are typically taking place between two superstars (rather than someone like Nash droppin' 'em with the Eric Godards of the world) they tend to be relatively even and harmless, if a little embarrassing.
Not that I expect this to become a common occurrence, where Anze Kopitar(notes) and Phil Kessel(notes) are squaring off with someone six or seven times a year, but if everyday players -- not just superstars -- keep exhibiting this desire to fight, and more importantly to police things themselves, then it might eventually marginalize the role of goons. That'd be a good thing for everyone but goons.
(Coming Up: Kyle Brodziak's(notes) naked-man fantasy; Brian Boyle(notes) and Michael Del Zotto(notes) sing the Power Rangers theme; Pekka Rinne(notes) injured; the good and bad of Derek Stepan's(notes) Rangers debut; why Roenick may have been right about Byfuglien; the Ducks' stars refuse to shine; the Flames are a donut; rough day for Robidas; tough love for Erik Karlsson(notes); why Paul Holmgren is an idiot; Cam Janssen(notes) takes out a teammate; and will Sidney Crosby(notes) "pull a LeBron"?)
Teams would be able to address areas of need in their lineup without saying, "What talentless thug do we have to insert into our lineup to get five minutes a night so no one runs our top guys?"
That would, in theory, make the hockey better without getting rid of all the fighting that really does need to remain in the game.
We often hear about how guys like Ovechkin and Crosby take cheap shots at other players because they know they can do it with relative impunity. They're not going to fight with guys like Paul Bissonnette(notes) or Colton Orr(notes) no matter what they do. But if other stars can police things a bit, then that keeps everyone more honest and might cut down on injuries. Think Mike Cammalleri would've taken that whack at Nino Niederreiter(notes) if he'd known there was a very distinct possibility that he'd have to fight someone afterwards?
Making players more accountable is never a bad thing.
Plus there's the excitement of it. Like you don't want to see what happens in a fight between Henrik Zetterberg(notes) and Marian Gaborik(notes)? Please. The league could sell that. Star players used to fight all the time, and it ruled. Remember Bobby Orr calling out an entire bench? Awesome.
They call them Gordie Howe hat tricks for a reason, don't they?
And yeah, sure, there are negatives. The Canucks don't want one of the Sedins breaking his hand in a fight or picking up a concussion getting dropped to the ice, and they don't want them missing five-plus minutes of any game. That makes perfect sense.
But the positives in this situation might outweigh the possible negatives, even in terms of keeping star players safe.
What We Learned
Anaheim Ducks: It's two games into the season and the top line of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf(notes) and Bobby Ryan(notes) has yet to score a point. Randy Carlyle is being particularly hard on them: "They're not simplifying their game. And you see they stand around and try to make plays and beat people one-on-one." Still, maybe you keep ‘em on your fantasy team and see if they can turn it around.
Buffalo Sabres: Lindy Ruff wants the Sabres to go from the 235 goals they scored last year to 255, which would have made them sixth in the league last season. Their output through two games? Five. This team has a long way to go.
Calgary Flames: Matt Stajan(notes) is still trying to come back from his separated shoulder but worked out with the team's main group. When he comes back, they'll only need two other centers to get back to full strength down the middle. What a way to start the season.
Colorado Avalanche: The Avs started last season 10-1-2, and if they're going to make the playoffs this year, they need to put together something close to that level of performance in a five-game road trip that starts Monday night. Won't be easy though: games at Philly, Detroit, New Jersey and both New York teams in eight days.
Detroit Red Wings: Mike Babcock on the Stanley Cup: "It's impossible to win." I think history will show that this isn't the case. (UPDATE: CBC's Jeff Marek reports that Mike Babcock has inked a four-year extension with the Wings.)
Edmonton Oilers: Jim Vandermeer(notes) has taken Theo Peckham(notes) under his wing and is teaching him how to be a tough hombre whom people don't want to play against. Meanwhile, the veteran (who threaded the perfect breakout pass up the boards for Jordan Eberle's(notes) highlight-reel goal) just wants to stick in one city for a while.
Minnesota Wild: Kyle Brodziak's taking a bit of ribbing about what he said on the Wild's trip to Sauna Island in Finland. Explains Nick Schultz(notes): "He said this was his 'fantasy island, a bunch of naked guys hanging out and sweating in a sauna.'" Yeah, no way to live that one down.
New Jersey Devils: The Devs might have to dress just 18 guys Monday night, if Anton Volchenkov(notes) and Brian Rolston(notes) are still injured, and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond(notes) gets suspended. If anyone watched those Calgary games a few years ago, you'd know that these things are typically unwatchable.
New York Islanders: It's too bad about that John Tavares concussion. But seriously, how can this many star players on one team get a serious injury in such a brief period of time? Gypsy curse? Indian burial ground? Monkey's paw wish?
New York Rangers: Brian Boyle and Michael Del Zotto sing the Power Rangers theme song. If we're casting a Power Rangers movie using nothing but guys from the team, Boyle would be the Blue Ranger because there's not one person alive who picks him as their favorite.
Ottawa Senators: Erik Karlsson, you suck. I don't care if you are playing in just your second pro regular season ever, you're garbage and you always will be. Take a hike, you dumb, ugly moron. Get out of my face, you 20-year-old loser. You make me sick.
Philadelphia Flyers: Here's a real thing I just read: "Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren, though not happy that goalie Michael Leighton(notes) did not tell him about his back problems before signing a two-year, $3.1 million deal in the summer..." So the real issue, I guess, is how much of an idiot Paul Holmgren is. Isn't that something you look into? Hey Homer, I'm an NHL-quality goaltender please give me millions of dollars. No, no, you don't need to ask about my complete lack of experience at a reasonably competitive level. I can assure you I'm great. Trust me. Where do I sign?
Phoenix Coyotes: Something I'd be concerned about if I were a Coyotes fan -- Despite the Boston offense not being particularly impressive for most of the two games in Prague, they conceded 79 shots, the second-highest total in the league. For a defense-first team, that is probably not good.
San Jose Sharks: Todd McLellan on pulling a win and an OT loss in the first two games over in Stockholm: "It's been a long trip. To come over and play the two games, we've been on the road for 10 days and, it really seems like it's two weeks -- a long time to be on the road for three or four points."
St. Louis Blues: Cam Janssen got cleaned out by his own guy against the Flyers. That's no good.
Vancouver Canucks: Henrik Sedin(notes) was named captain of the Canucks, of course, and one of the guys he picked to be an associate was Kevin Bieksa(notes). That sound you heard was everyone in Vancouver rolling their eyes at the same time.
Gold Star Award
Derek Stepan had a hat trick in his NHL debut, but after he netted his third, he got the grandest prize of all: true love.
I love the Internet.
Minus of the Weekend
Every idiot who makes the same stupid joke at the beginning of the season whenever someone has a multi-goal game.
"DEREK STEPAN IS ON PACE FOR 246 GOALS I BET THAT'D BE A RECORD!!!!"
Shut up. It's not funny.
Play of the Weekend
Perfect HFBoards trade proposal of the week
User DelZottoFutureNorris has his head on straight:
We're off to a flying start this year.
With $10,000 we'd be millionaires! We could buy all kinds of useful things like...love!