Posts Tagged ‘Blackhawks’

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With the season in the books, NFL free agent rumors are all ready swirling in. Team _____ has interest in player _____ will be blowing up websites for weeks to come. With that being said, he are a few upcoming free agents, flying under the radar, that could prove huge dividends.

Andre Brown- Heres a player whose used to being on the free agent market. The 27-year-old running back has been on five teams since joining the league in 2009. Most notable, Brown had a fairly good year this season with New York Giants. After returning from a broken leg in week 10, the NC State product ran for 492 yards and 3 touchdowns. At 6’0 230 lbs, Brown can provide very good value as a change of pace back for teams in desperate need of a bruiser in the backfield. The Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, and Cleveland Browns should all have this big back on their radar.

Dexter McCluster- With high profile names like Eric Decker and Jeremy Maclin up for grabs, many wont even realize that the former Chief playmaker is on the market. Despite this, teams in need of a fast, dynamic, and explosive player like McCluster should covet his value. The 2013 Pro Bowler provides those qualities not only at wide receiver, but also in the backfield and the return game. In addition to Kansas City, the New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, and San Francisco 49ers should all take a look at the playmaker.

Jared Allen- He finally made it out. After years of trade rumors, Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen is free to play where he pleases. Luckily, plenty of teams are in need of pass rushers.  Despite a subpar 2013 season, Allen has notably been an absolute monster on the defensive line. In the 2011 season, Allen recorded 22 sacks, recovered 4 fumbles, and had an overall 46 tackles. Look for the Baltimore Ravens, Atlanta Falcons, and New England Patriots will definitely be taking a look.

These are just some of the tons of sleeper free agents on the market. Who do you guys think is being undervalued? Let us know in the comments!

We looked earlier at what complaints there are to the Stadium Series. However, there are many benefits to these games as well.

First, and most obvious, is money. The NHL is taking big matchups out of their 20,000 seat arenas and placing them in 50,000 seat stadiums. That adds tons of tickets, at higher prices, to the sales for each of the home teams, in this case the Kings, Devils, Islanders and Blackhawks. Along with the ticket sales, each team has more merchandise, such as jerseys, t-shirts, hats, etc. to sell to the fans at the events, and at sports stores all over the country. TV and advertising to the public can be found everywhere, and it brings in sponsorship money that no other sport can do, due to the lack of innovation possible for baseball, basketball, and football, at least in the way outdoor hockey is. The lockout prevented revenue from coming in, so therefore more money this year will help their cause and bottom line.

Besides the obvious financial gain, this opens up opportunity for teams who wouldn’t have hosted a Winter Classic. The Kings and Ducks don’t play in a wintry type of area, and would never land the game. This gives them a chance to host such an event, as well as opens up for other teams in warmer climates to be able to host this event. Also, smaller-market teams like the Islanders and Devils are able to participate in these games, giving them a chance to enter the spotlight, which they don’t normally have. Sure they will have bigger market teams featured as well, but having a bigger market teamed up with a smaller fan base can create some kind of animosity or rivalry, which adds more to the love of the team, and brings the fans in to the arena to see that team play.

The fans are big winners here too, because it gives them more opportunity to see their team, and opens up lots of seats for newcomers to the game, to be able to enjoy hockey’s finest events. Fans of those teams who don’t often get awarded the Winter Classic get a chance to see their teams outdoors for a change. They can all come home from this massive party and say that they’ve been to an outdoor game.

The watering down of the special event is an issue, but there are benefits as to why the NHL decided to bring this in. As much as it may be too much of a good thing, and it was reflected in the fans’ reluctance to sell out the L.A. game and the later N.Y. game, it still brings in tons of new opportunity to a growing league.  

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Coming up this week, we have 3 outdoor games from the NHL. That’s 3 times as much as we’ve seen in any given month in NHL history.

This past off-season, the NHL introduced this idea, of a set of 4 outdoor games, and gave the reason of wanting to spread the love and get more teams playing outdoors. They must have missed the boat a little bit, because 3 of the 7 teams participating have already played outdoors in a Winter Classic. Also, by the time we get to the Wednesday night game in New York, the “special” aspect of the outdoor game will be lost on most hockey fans, especially Rangers fans, who will have seen their boys in 2 outdoor games in a week.

First, we have Los Angeles’ branch of the Series, where Dodger Stadium will host the Kings and Anaheim [Mighty] Ducks. On the field of the Stadium, aside from the NHL rink, there is street hockey, a stage for KISS, and a beach. A beach? Next to ice hockey? Yeah. A beach. This games’ special aspect, is that they are playing outdoors in a warm climate. Game time temperature is said to be in the 60’s or 70’s Fahrenheit. I think it’s neat, but it’s not original. The Kings and Rangers played a preseason game at Caeser’s Palace in Las Vegas before, and it was rather hot that night. It will be neat having people show up in shorts to watch an outdoor game, but we know that the technology is there and will work, so this ends up being gimmicky.

Next, we go to Yankee Stadium in Bronx, NY, for 2 games between the 3 New York teams (one’s New Jersey, but everyone outside the tri-state area calls them together). This series is, I think, just to say they played hockey at the legendary Yankee Stadium. The fact that they have 2 games there is just to get all 3 teams in the area involved. The Devils/Rangers match will have more of a Winter Classic-y feel to it, being an afternoon game in the biting cold, but the Islanders/Rangers match will be less “special” because the Rangers had gone through this experience 3 days earlier, and it’s the second game at the Stadium. Not to downplay the rivalries being present, the Devils’ game will probably be more exciting for the fans, due to it being the first game there, and that rivalry has been more present recently. If the series stopped with just that game, it’d be more fine. Now it just leaves it incomplete, with the Devils and Islanders only getting one game, as opposed to the Rangers, who get 2. I know the Rangers are the big team in the area, and they got there first, in the Original 6, but we should at least even things out and make it less obvious that the NHL has a love affair with Henrik Lundqvist.

Finally, we stop at Soldier Field in Chicago, home of a certain football team known as da Bears. The Chicago Blackhawks will host the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 2nd in the most unnecessary outdoor game ever. Spreading the love would include two teams that have NOT played outside before. These are two teams that have, multiple times in the Penguins’ case. Chicago has hosted before. Sure, they are changing venues. But NBC seems to have every Penguins or Blackhawks game on, when not showing the Flyers or Rangers, at least. There is no novelty here, even if they change venues to Soldier Field. Nothing new, as of now, to make it worth the NHL’s while to try and make this “special”. Fans of any team outside the Blackhawks and Penguins would probably be upset that their team isn’t getting a fair shot. This is just the most obvious case of trying to dig more into two big fan bases for more money.

The Winter Classic, and to some extent the Heritage Classic, are fantastic for the league, and should be continued. That once per season for each the US and Canada puts on a good show for the sport, just look at this year’s Winter Classic. But the Stadium Series is just full of gimmicks that aren’t quite so novel, and waters down the product of outdoor hockey. I hope we never see something like this again, or else it might spell the end for desire of outdoor hockey, and then no one wins.

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The old saying goes, offense puts fans in the seats, defense wins games. But to really get a good team together, they really have to play together in the right style and system.

The New Jersey Devils are a good example to follow here. I know they are in 5th in the Metropolitan, just wait, I’ll explain.

There is a reason that this team, who’s among bottom 5 in goal scoring, has a winning record of 20-18-11. They have a system and mission objective every game, and keep to it.

Their previous 5 games, before last night’s defeat in the shootout (a point I’ll make later on), they went 3-0-2, and had a common theme in each of the 5 games; they dressed 7 defensemen. Not only that, they had perfectly serviceable wingers as healthy scratches, they deliberately dressed 7 D-men. Why? It works with their system. The Devils pride themselves on team flexibility. They often have 2 natural centers on the ice, for example, Travis Zajac and Dainius Zubrus, or Adam Henrique and Patrik Elias. Just like that, 7 defensemen opens up for flexibility, with some guys like Eric Gelinas and Marek Zidlicky, who are power play specialists, to Bryce Salvador and Anton Volchenkov, who are great killing penalties, and Mark Fayne, Andy Greene, Jon Merrill, and whoever else, who can play well anywhere.

Also, the Devils have always been a notoriously stingy defensive team, always defending first, and attacking when they are allowed a chance. It’s why Cory Schneider’s record doesn’t match his other stats, and it’s why the Devils have fewer goals scored. The slam-dunk point to make here, is that in the shootout, what many call a skill competition, the Devils have a grand total of 1 goal in 25 shooters, and have lost all 8 shootouts this year. They are still very much in contention for a playoff spot, and their team chemistry and system are exactly why.

Looking at the opposite end, you can have all the talent in the world, and still look miserable on the ice. The Edmonton Oilers are a prime example of that. They have a sparkling young core of talent, led by a number of high draft picks like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, I could go on for a while. They always seem to have an offense that could potentially outscore their mistakes. Unfortunately for them, that requires a scoring level that rivals the Blackhawks (as of this article, the Oilers actually have let up more goals than the Hawks scored, and the Oil have played one more game). Their defense has been a blaring issue since day 1 of their rebuilding mode after their miracle Cup Finals run in 2006. Their goalies have been an issue, despite just trading for Ben Scrivens in a series of trades. They don’t seem to have a defensive structure, though, and are too offensively minded to be able to win games.

The New York Rangers also had their struggles. Many experts had them rivaling the Penguins in the division, but that hasn’t been the case. They had a coaching change, and brought in Alain Vigneault, who previously coached the dynamic offense in Vancouver. The team was built for the style of John Tortorella (current coach in Vancouver, coincidentally), which was more defensive and systematic. The adjustment period was apparent, and people even started questioning goalie Henrik Lundqvist, and if he’s still got it (he does, ease up Ranger fans). But they have it figured out, seemingly, gotten healthier, and they are now toward the top of the Metropolitan, where many said they belong.

Systems and team chemistry is what brings the Cup home to your city. It doesn’t matter if your team signs the next big superstar winger who can score a million goals, if he doesn’t fit the system in place, and doesn’t mesh with the other team members, as much as a million goals will help as well. Trust me, I grew up watching the Devils in their hay-day, and they still didn’t have an offense back then and won 3 Cups in 8 years, due to the notorious Neutral Zone Trap they employed night in and night out. That system worked, and they won without the big flashy stars.

Your team can too, if the shoe fits.

Jonas Hiller

This week in hockey, goalies get hot, some teams are not, and a coach was fired for the first time in a team’s short history. A-Rod asks for his case to be heard, in this week’s Week in Review

Anaheim [Mighty] Ducks (3-0-0) – Jonas Hiller has now won 14 straight starts. The record, for you curious few, is 17 by Gilles Gilbert of the Boston Bruins in 1975-76. Also, the Ducks are approaching the record for points in consecutive home games to start the year.

Boston Bruins (1-2-0) – This week was the California swing for the B’s, taking just the game against the Sharks, a 1-0 affair. They became the only team this season to keep the Sharks from scoring at the Tank.

Buffalo Sabres (1-0-1) – Mikhail Grigerenko is refusing to go back to his junior team, after being demoted by the Sabres. Buffalo isn’t getting that year back on his entry-level contract, thus making this another thing that went wrong for the Sabres.

Calgary Flames (1-3-0) – They scored 5 goals this week. 4 of them came in one game, against the Avalanche. Guess which game they won.

Carolina Hurricanes (1-1-0) – Skinner-mania is back, to stay. Since December, he’s been more than a point-per-game player. He’s also one of two Canes near point-per-game status. They need secondary scoring bad.

Chicago Blackhawks (1-1-1) – Chalk this up as a pedestrian week for the reigning champs, who are now looking over their shoulder at the Blues, who are right behind them.

Colorado Avalanche (2-1-1) – They seemed to have played to the level of their competition this week, losing to Calgary and the Islanders, but beating the heating-up Senators and Wild. Seems to make sense.

Columbus Blue Jackets (3-0-0) – Don’t count the Jackets out of anything. 7th place in the Metro, but 5 points out of 2nd. That’s gonna get interesting in March.

Dallas Stars (0-4-0) – They laid a goose egg in their New York swing, and just when they thought they had seen enough of those 3, they lose to the Islanders again. So much for that surge…

Detroit Red Wings (1-2-0) – Tomas Tatar scored a goal the day after his father’s passing Saturday night in Los Angeles. I send some love out to him and his family.

Edmonton Oilers (1-2-0) – It’s not for a lack of offense that they aren’t winning. It’s goaltending woes. Right Bryz?

Florida Panthers (1-1-1) – Man, that game in New Jersey had a breakneck pace to it. Very exciting to watch firewagon hockey like that. Now imagine if they had actually spent more to be competitive…

Los Angeles Kings (1-1-1) – All of the sudden, the Kings’ offense isn’t tearing it up anymore. Quick gets back, and now you rely on the poor guy to win every game? Man they are spoiled in Lala-land.

Minnesota Wild (3-1-0) – 3 wins this week takes good advantage of Dallas hating New York teams. Too bad their only loss was to a team they are chasing, in Colorado.

Montreal Canadiens (2-1-0) – The losing team in each Habs game this week scored exactly 1 goal. Can’t win if you don’t score, I suppose.

Nashville Predators (1-2-1) – Busy week for the Preds, and it included hopping over the Jets, leaving them in the Central cellar. No wonder Claude Noel is out of a job.

New Jersey Devils (2-0-2) – The Ryder-Henrique-Clowe line is heating up, just as the Zajac-Jagr-Zubrus line is cooling down. Also, Schneider is stepping up as Brodeur is winding it down. Why can’t everything work at the same time for these guys?

New York Islanders (4-0-0) – Hold the phone. The Islanders are 7 points back from a playoff spot. Talk about playing inspired.

New York Rangers (3-0-0) – This concludes the first week in forever that none of the 3 New York teams recorded 0 regulation losses. No one thought this would happen ever this year.

Ottawa Senators (1-0-1) – They were ahead of the Leafs entering action on Sunday night. Man this race is getting packed with everyone.

Philadelphia Flyers (2-2-0) – Just when you thought they were the team to beat, they put up 2 duds against Tampa and the Rangers. This proves that they too are just as ready for a playoff spot as any team in this wide open race.

Phoenix Coyotes (1-2-0) – So the Avs’ play to the level of competition, the ‘Yotes don’t. They beat up on the Flames and lost to the Wild and Ducks. I guess they are that team that people play as expected against.

Pittsburgh Penguins (2-0-1) – This just in: The Penguins have (pretty much) clinched the Metropolitan division.

San Jose Sharks (1-2-0) – The only team with fewer home regulation losses, happens to be the only team ahead of the Sharks in the Pacific. Coincidence?

St. Louis Blues (2-1-0) – They finally lost a game, 2-1 in Vancouver. They can score with Chicago and be as stingy as Boston. They are a scary team.

Tampa Bay Lightning (2-1-0) – 5 goals on just 17 shots against Flyers goalie Steve Mason. That says something about the Bolts’ offense or the Flyers’ chronic goaltending issues.

Toronto Maple Leafs (1-3-0) – Coach Randy Carlyle was given a vote of confidence by GM Dave Nonis. The countdown begins.

Vancouver Canucks (1-0-1) – A win against the Blues is a big thing these days, because they are hard to come by. Now they can try and catch the Kings again.

Washington Capitals (2-0-1) – They reclaimed their spot in 2nd in the Metro, but that could change at any given moment, given the team we have in it.

Winnipeg Jets (0-2-0) – Paul Maurice is the new head coach in the ‘Peg after Claude Noel had his term as first Jets coach terminated. It may help, but the Jets are likely still a few moves away from looking any better.

Goal of the Week: Fast-forward to the 1:32 mark of this video to see a beauty by [Mighty] Ducks’ Ryan Getzlaf:

 

In the box this week: Bruins’ Dougie Hamilton was actually exiting the box Thursday night in Los Angeles, when he played the puck from inside the penalty box. Take a look:

The ref said, “If you want to play from inside the box, then you can sit there another 2 minutes.” The Kings scored on the ensuing power play.

That is all for this week. Tune in next week for some more hockey. Till then, puck-heads!

winter classic 2014

Greetings, hockey fans! This week, we changed calendars, and witnessed a shining example of hockey’s beauty. More suspension talk and some massive standings shake-ups are included, in this week’s Week in Review.

Anaheim [Mighty] Ducks (3-0-0) – Winners of 9 of their last 10 games, the Ducks are arguably the hottest team in the NHL, and still have yet to be beaten in regulation on the Pond. In case you are wondering the record, it’s 26 games set by the 79-80 Flyers.

Boston Bruins (2-1-0) – A rough loss to the Islanders puts a small mark on this otherwise smooth-sailing week for the B’s.

Buffalo Sabres (1-2-0) – Tyler Myers is getting a hearing from NHL Dept. of Player Safety about his hit on Devils’ Dainius Zubrus, yet it only cost his team a minor penalty. How do you explain that?

Calgary Flames (0-2-0) – They have 1 goal in their last 4 games. That’s bordering on pathetic.

Carolina Hurricanes (4-0-0) – Just when you think you can count them out, they win 4 in a row. That’s the story of the Metropolitan this year.

Chicago Blackhawks (2-0-2) – Patrick Sharp seems to pull hat-tricks out of anywhere. That makes 2 in the last month. Of course he plays for Chicago.

Colorado Avalanche (3-0-0) – 6 points behind the Blues, 7 ahead of the Wild, I think the Avalanche are now safely in third in the Central. But who knows what could happen here on out?

Columbus Blue Jackets (1-2-0) – Nathan Horton returned and scored the first goal of the game in Phoenix, and it was a game-winner. The next game? They lose 6-2 to the Blues.

Dallas Stars (1-2-0) – They may have cooled a bit, thanks to Montreal’s PK Subban, but with 3 games at hand on the streaky Wild, they should feel just fine.

Detroit Red Wings (1-1-1) – The Winter Classic was awesome, yes, but the game itself was crappy and cold. And now they have to travel a ton. Yay for scheduling snafus!

Edmonton Oilers (1-2-1) – I think I might take every Oilers’ post in Week in Reviews from here on out just to make fun of Ilya Bryzgalov. Until they fire sale, at least.

Florida Panthers (1-0-1) – Splitting 2 shootouts this week. Splitting head-aches for upper management this season. Coincidence?

Los Angeles Kings (1-3-0) – They are thanking their lucky celebrity stars that Jonathan Quick is back. First game, lets in just 1 in a win against Vancouver. Them and the USOC.

Minnesota Wild (2-1-0) – 5 goals on 11 shots vs. Washington, including 3 goals on 3 power play shots. Braden Holtby was either in net or somewhere else, we couldn’t tell.

Montreal Canadiens (1-0-2) – A bat made it’s way into the Bell Centre without a ticket. Either it snuck in, or the Habs were trying to scare their opponent. Or they signed Dracula. Or [insert joke here].

Nashville Predators (1-1-2) – Still ways away from seeing Pekka Rinne in net. Also ways away from a chance at the playoffs. Coincidence?

New Jersey Devils (1-2-0) – After an emotional win against the Penguins, they let the Blackhawks be the Blackhawks for about 5 minutes, costing them the game, and had an ugly loss to the Sabres (which New Jersey is blaming on the referees).

New York Islanders (2-1-0) – They managed to beat Chicago. Maybe there is life in this team.

New York Rangers (2-1-0) – They forgot to show up against the Penguins, then blasted the Leafs, and traded for tough guy Dan Carcillo. Why can’t this team make up their minds?

Ottawa Senators (3-0-0) – They are heating up, and now just 2 points back of the Leafs. Sure, why not throw another contender into the Eastern wild-card mess?

Philadelphia Flyers (3-1-0) – They unseeded Washington as the #2 team in the Metropolitan. Remember when they were a joke?

Phoenix Coyotes (1-2-0) – Winning just 2 of their last 10 will not help them in the standings or on their bottom line. That 5th year opt out clause on the ownership contract is looking tasty right now.

Pittsburgh Penguins (2-1-0) – For some reason, they have a very difficult time with winning in the Prudential Center. They don’t play them again this year, and are very thankful for it.

San Jose Sharks (2-2-0) – Alex Stalock looked great in a shootout win in Chicago. That’s a good sign for the future, considering everyone saying their window is closing soon.

St. Louis Blues (3-0-0) – They smacked the Kings 5-0 and the Jackets 6-2. Still have the fewest losses in the league too. Why is no one else lauding their regular season dominance? Oh right, the playoffs count too.

Tampa Bay Lightning (2-1-0) – Who would have thought that their only loss in Western Canada was to Ilya Bryzgalov and the Oilers? Yeah, I joke about Bryz with other teams too.

Toronto Maple Leafs (1-1-0) – After a win on the big stage in the Big House, they triumphantly return home, and gut-checked by the Rangers, 7-1. They might just fall behind Ottawa this week.

Vancouver Canucks (0-2-2) – So much for Roberto Luongo coming back. They can still trade him, right?

Washington Capitals (0-2-1) – They got passed by Philadelphia this week. Ovechkin can’t do it on his own, people. Looking your way, Braden Holtby (see Minnesota Wild).

Winnipeg Jets (1-3-0) – They held the lead in Pittsburgh, which isn’t something many teams can say. But did they win? Hahahaha no.

Goal of the Week: Thomas Tatar of the Detroit Red Wings cut through the Stars like a hot knife through butter:

 

In the box this week: Some dumb Red Wings fan tried to video-bomb a field reporter by the Winter Classic:

Ice – 1. Red Wings fan – 0. Karma – 1,000,000.

Next week, we will have some more fun in the NHL. Happy hockey, puck-heads!

Phoenix Coyotes v Buffalo Sabres

This week in the hockey world, we had a 3 day break with no games, but that doesn’t mean we had a slow week. We still had quite the amount of action to fill you guys in on, so here we go, in this week’s Week in Review.

Anaheim [Mighty] Ducks (2-1-0) – With a couple of key division wins, these guys are now tied for the lead in the President’s Trophy race with the Blackhawks. That was a gorgeous 10-game winning streak that just was halted against Phoenix.

Boston Bruins (2-1-0) – Their two wins this week combined for a score of Bruins 11, Nashville/Ottawa 2. If their offense gets rolling like that, I don’t see anyone stopping them. However, Dennis Seidenberg is now ruled out for the season with a torn ACL/MCL. Ouch.

Buffalo Sabres (2-0-1) – #Buttgoal.

Calgary Flames (1-2-0) – Beating the Blues is no easy task, but neither is getting shut out by the Oilers. It takes skill just to not score on them.

Carolina Hurricanes (0-2-1) – Their slide increases to 5 games without a win, and don’t look now, but the Islanders are right behind them.

Chicago Blackhawks (2-0-1) – Amazing game vs. the Blues, despite taking the SO loss. Crushing the Devils and Avalanche make up for that loss. Can anyone stop them from scoring 5 goals per game? They average just under 4 goals per game, which is unheard of.

Colorado Avalanche (0-1-2) – Tough losses against San Jose and Winnipeg, but everyone will have fresh in their mind that pounding from the Hawks.

Columbus Blue Jackets (2-1-0) – Key divisional wins against New Jersey and Carolina are the kind of thing that will keep them alive in this logjam for 3rd in the Metro.

Dallas Stars (2-0-1) – The Stars became the first team to beat phenom Kings’ goalie Martin Jones, and 5 goals tells me that it wasn’t a fluke loss. Also, they caught the Wild and passed them for 4th in the Central. Tale of two teams trending in opposite directions.

Detroit Red Wings (1-1-0) – Their 3-0 loss to the Islanders is a fine example of how the Wings have been playing lately. In other news, Jimmy Howard has gotten many get well sooner cards.

Edmonton Oilers (2-0-1) – Claude Giroux’s shootout winner against the Oilers Saturday night was funny, because Giroux simply skated up and calmly put it through Ilya Bryzgalov’s 5-hole. As if he knew somehow Bryz’s one weakness…

Florida Panthers (1-2-0) – A new shiny scoreboard will put fans in the seats, right? They have to be able to see it, duh.

Los Angeles Kings (0-2-0) – Martin Jones is human, again. The Kings fell behind the Sharks, again. Coincidence?

Minnesota Wild (0-3-0) – They have successfully blown a double digit point lead. According to sportsclubstats.com, their chances to make the playoffs dipped a bit, from over 80% to now 7.2%. I know it’s early still, but where’s that panic button?

Montreal Canadiens (1-1-0) – They are probably going to be jockeying with the Lightning between 2nd and 3rd in the Atlantic for the rest of the year. Funny part of that is, is that if that’s true, they are first round opponents.

Nashville Predators (1-2-0) – What a win for them against the Kings on Saturday. Giving up the tying goal with 35 seconds left, then scoring to take back the lead just 10 seconds later. Wow.

New Jersey Devils (1-1-1) – Travis Zajac’s game winning goal on the Island was off his face. Way to use your head!…*cricket noises*.

New York Islanders (2-1-0) – Evgeni Nabakov returns, and all of the sudden the Islanders re-learn how to play hockey. They must be related…

New York Rangers (2-1-0) – Captain Ryan Callahan is getting there, but for the Rangers to succeed, they need him on the ice, not in rehab.

Ottawa Senators (2-1-0) – After spanking the Penguins 5-0, they get the favor returned by the Bruins by the same score. Funny how hockey can work.

Philadelphia Flyers (2-0-0) – They are becoming just as pesky as they were before they decided to stink for the first month of the year. Just ask the Oilers.

Phoenix Coyotes (0-0-3) – Ownership apparently isn’t happy with how attendance is going so far this year. Did they know how long it took to find a buyer who would invest in the team?

Pittsburgh Penguins (2-1-0) – Losing Pascal Dupuis to a torn ACL is bad news for the Pens. The injury bug seems to like it in Pittsburgh.

San Jose Sharks (3-0-0) – 3 wins against 3 tough opponents tells us that the Sharks are primed for a good bounce back. They still won’t have their Teenage Mutant Ninja Hertl for the season, though.

St. Louis Blues (2-0-1) – Crazy comeback against the Hawks with 2 goals in the final 4 minutes. Those are the games that make the NHL so much fun to watch. The question is, can they do that without top goal-getter Alex Steen for a while?

Tampa Bay Lightning (1-1-1) – Who would have thought they’d be in second in the division after Stamkos went down a month and a half ago? Their offense seems to be doing just fine, putting up a 6 spot on the Panthers in Sunrise.

Toronto Maple Leafs (2-0-1) – They gave up a goal to John Scott. Really?

Vancouver Canucks (1-0-0) – A very restful week for the Nucks, playing one game in Calgary. They need the rest, because they have 4 games next week.

Washington Capitals (1-1-1) – As long as the Caps tread water, they get whoever wins the race in the Metro among the many teams in it. Not a bad spot, actually.

Winnipeg Jets (2-1-0) – They took their opportunity to beat up on some recently struggling teams, and got 2 much needed wins. They are still 4 points out of that 4th spot in the Central, despite having played 3 more games than Dallas.

Goal of the Week

Corey Tropp of the Columbus Blue Jackets delivers this stunner of a goal against the Penguins;

In the box this week

Rochester Americans’ Frederick Roy. In case you didn’t know, this is the son of Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy, who has had a history of temper problems (goalies are so weird). Frederick was ejected from a game in Switzerland, during the Spangler Cup, and didn’t quite like the call. Here’s what he did (some NSFW language, consider yourself warned):

Well, like father like son. Doesn’t excuse him from doing that though. He later apologized after getting sent to the corner to think about what he did.

That wraps up another active week in the NHL. Tune in next week for the Winter Classic. See you then, puck-heads!