Hey guys! Lots to talk about this week in hockey. Each division brings a different story, as you’ll see, and also, we’ll finish the post with our top and bottom 5 of the week.
This past week, we’ve seen quite an eventful few days in the Metro division. The Penguins kept winning, as per usual, with Sidney Crosby scoring in each game so far. The rest of the division has been pedestrian at best, with the Devils finally getting that elusive win #1 over the Rangers (who’ve been struggling in their own right), and a 3rd place team in the Islanders who would be bottom 3 in every other division. Carolina continues to surprise us, but then again, Cam Ward is their goalie (until he gets hurt again). This coming week has some good tests, as the Pens take the Avs, the Devils look to put some wins together against the Jackets and Canucks, and the Flyers and Rangers look for some direction.
This division has had the most parity so far this season. The top 5 teams are all separated by 2 points, and each division game has been unpredictable. If this trend keeps up, those same 5 teams will make things really tough on the already behind Metro division. Florida and poor ol’ Buffalo seem to be the punching bags for the rest of the division, and it doesn’t look good for them.
The Avalanche under Coach Patrick Roy have been leaving their footprint (logo joke aside) on the league, winning 7 of 8 to start the year. Their young core of Gabriel Landeskog, Nate Mackinnon, and crew, have been dominating left and right. They are leaving everyone in their wake, but the Blackhawks and Blues have been keeping up, each with only one regulation loss. Nashville and Minnesota haven’t been terrible, but they will have lots of trouble keeping pace with the top 3 here. Same goes for Winnipeg and Dallas, though they started even slower, and things look bleak early.
Easily the toughest division so far, the Californian trio and Vancouver (and somehow Phoenix) have been neck and neck and neck….etc….so far. The Sharks and [Mighty] Ducks have been tremendous so far, with potent offenses in front of solid goaltending. The Coyotes will continue to go as far as Mike Smith carries them (they shouldn’t rely on his offense though, despite him having more goals than most of the Rangers and Flyers), though who can predict those guys? The Kings are always pesky, as are Vancouver, both with defense first coaches and premiere goaltending. Calgary started strong, but we all know that it wasn’t meant to be. Edmonton has been the disappointment of the year so far, for as much as we thought they’d improve, they remained stagnant.
1) San Jose Sharks: Seems like you can’t go wrong with who you want to siphon the offense through in the Tank. Be it Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, the other usual suspects, or even Tomas “Teenage Mutant Ninja” Hertl. It takes a great offense to put 6 behind the Blues.
2) Anaheim [Mighty] Ducks. They have currently the longest winning streak in the league, and their team’s history. They are making the Ponda very tough to play in, and Teemu Selanne is putting up a great swan song.
3) Colorado Avalanche. Tough loss against the Red Wings Thursday night, but Patrick Roy has his boys (I really mean boys) playing fun to watch hockey. Their upcoming game against Pittsburgh has game of the week potential.
4) Pittsburgh Penguins. Crosby’s got points in every game so far. When you have that going, who needs goaltending?
5) Detroit Red Wings. Despite a tough loss to Phoenix, and giving up a goalie goal, they had tough wins vs. Boston and Colorado. Look for that tough schedule to continue into next week, starting with San Jose.
In the box this week:
The Philadelphia Flyers. Claude Girioux is their captain and top scorer, yet is being outscored by a goaltender this season (can’t stress that enough). Two home losses this week, with plenty of rest to catch their breath, and a vote of confidence from ownership to GM Paul Holmgren, who seems to know what he’s doing, right? Right?
Come back next week for some more hockey, because baseball’s got no underdog to root for anymore.