My blogging competition kicks off this weekend – more info on it right here. Thanks for the support and votes, I’d really appreciate your help along the way! I’ll have my first piece posted for them this weekend.
Nik Khabibulin continues his amazing play, stealing the game against Washington last night. If you predicited his early season resurgence, kudos.
Adam Henrique had an assist in 17 minutes of ice time. With Zajac and Josefson out, he'll likely see second line minutes for the forseeable future.
Parise centered Kovalchuk and Palmieri last night, but he was only two out of 11 in the faceoff circle.
Even with Doughty coming back soon, can the Kings justify sending Slava Voynov back to the AHL? He had two goals last night and looks like he belongs (to say the least). Voynov also had a helper and five shots on goal.
I wrote yesterday how the Kings need more from Mike Richards. Maybe he read the ramblings? Three helpers for the former Flyer last night.
Tons of games last night. As usual, I welcome thoughts and news that I missed. I don’t get to watch all of the games. If I miss commenting on a player, team, goal, save, or something else, it likely isn’t personal.
I wrote a piece yesterday on Joseph LaBate, a potential power forward in the Vancouver system. Read it over at the Canucks Army here.
Nabokov stopped 30 of 32 shots last night, but the Isles opted to put Rick DiPietro in for the shootout. Why, exactly? DiPietro stopped two of the three shots he faced, so I guess you could argue it was the right decision. A curious one nonetheless.
Another game, another James Neal goal. Seems to be like clockwork for this guy in 2011-12.
Malkin had an assist and played over 26 minutes without his knee spontaneously combusting. I’d consider that a success.
Habs prospect Loui Leblanc had three points in Hamilton last night.
A rare bad start for Lundqvist against the Leafs last night – he let in a few soft goals and looked pretty shaky overall.
Richards and Gaborik haven’t been horrible this season, but they need to pick it up offensively. The Rangers have a solid team from top to bottom (when healthy), but at the end of the day you are only as good as your big guns are.
Tomas Plekanec scored twice last night – once on Tim Thomas, and once on Carey Price. Video evidence below.
I tend to write a lot about ice time, as I think it is the single-most important indicating factor for poolies. Montreal had only one player above 20 minutes of ice time (Gorges). Gill, Diaz, Weber, and Subban all played between 17 and 20 minutes. Great job by the coaching staff by splitting up ice time among a very inexperienced group.
Stanley Cup hangover, much? The Canucks are 4-5-1, and Boston is last place in the Eastern Conference.
Jhonas Enroth got the start for the Sabres and stopped 41 shots last night. He’s a really small goalie but he plays aggressive and is incredibly athletic.
Thomas Vanek continues his great start with three helpers – he looks a lot stronger and harder on the puck this season. Consistency has been an issue with him before, but sometimes players don’t find that magic combination until the mid or late 20’s.
As quickly as he was sent down, David Savard was called back up by the Blue Jackets.
Antoine Vermette took 38 faceoffs last night, almost double any other Columbus forward. Wisniewski, Vermette, Nash, and Tyutin all had five shots on goal, as well.
Brad Boyes made the most of his 12 minutes with a goal and an assist last night. He’s buried a bit in Buffalo, but he could slide up if injuries occur or if he gets on a hot streak. Buffalo has some talent on the right side, as Pominville had three points last night as well.
Marc-Andre Bergeron continues his strong offensive start with two more points.
Stamkos had a great game – two goals, and eight shots on goal. The Lightning didn’t get much from Lecavalier (no points), though.
Nashville has a lot of comparable forwards. Last night, they seemed to favour Fisher, Craig Smith, David Legwand, and Colin Wilson on the PP. Niclas Bergfors saw almost a quarter of his eight minutes of ice time with the man advantage.
Smith had two helpers and is looking great. Kudos to Dobber for recognizing his talent early on in the preseason.
Tampa’s goaltending struggles continue. Roloson was pulled a few games ago, and the team gave Garon a chance to run with it for a bit. He let in five goals on 17 shots last night.
Jason Garrison has quietly developed into arguably Florida’s best defenseman. He had a goal last night and saw over three minutes of power play time. A solid overall player who could put up some points given the opportunity.
Versteeg and Weiss are really clicking – four points combined from them.
Kulikov looks to be one of the most improved players – perhaps he is benefitting from another year of development? He played almost five minutes on the PP, 24 minutes overall, and finished with two helpers and three shots on goal.
Brian Campbell recently compared the 20-year-old Kulikov to Sergei Gonchar (an apt comparison). From Campbell:
“I never think of Kuli being 20, sometimes I tend to forget that and I’m like, ‘Come on, come on,’ and he’s still learning a lot,” Campbell said. “But he’s a good player. I got here at camp and saw him skating on the ice and I thought he reminded me of Gonchar a lot, the way he moves and kind of has the same shorter kind of stick like Gonchar. He’s very good. I definitely wasn’t in his category at 20 years old so we’re in good health in the back end, that’s for sure.”
The ageless Daniel Alfredsson had two points last night. David Rundblad had a helper as well, even though he saw no power play time.
Stephane Da Costa had a goal as well for the Sens, and he also chipped in with three shots on goal. He’ll get his chances to produce this season, especially with Zibanejad now back in Sweden.
Jared Spurgeon, an undersized defenseman with a lot of hockey smarts, scored his first of the season last night for the Wild.
The Ducks got scoring from the expected players – Perry, Getzlaf, and Ryan each had a goal, and Teemu Selanne (who looks like could play until he’s 50) added three assists.
Cal Clutterbuck saw almost as much power play time as Mikko Koivu last night – both played over five minutes. Interesting development for those of you looking for a solid roto player – Clutterbuck covers the board with PIM and hits, but he’s a pretty good offensive player as well.
I could probably write an entire ramblings around the Jets/Flyers 9-8 debacle last night.
Bryzgalov was awful. Pavelec was awful. Bobrovsky was awful. Not really much else to note about the goaltenders. The Flyers would have been better off with a present day Roman Cechmanek in goal last night.
Kimmo Timonen had four helpers, and Briere had four points. I wish I had caught this game live, as the highlights didn’t really do it justice.
I hate checking box scores of really high scoring games and getting disappointed. Those who own Bogosian (no points), Byfuglien (no points), and Ladd (one goal) will likely be frustrated.
On the Philadelphia side, Simmonds was pointless, and Giroux, Jagr, and Voracek all had only one point, each.
Matt Read continues to impress with his size and speed. He scored a goal, as well.
The Flyers are using Sean Couturier as a PK specialist, as I alluded to yesterday. Less than 12 minutes of total ice time, with four of it coming on the PK.
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Louis Leblanc had two goals last night, including the OT winner for the Hamilton Bulldogs. He’ll be up in Montreal next season.
I’ll try and do a weekly AHL update each Friday. Some interesting stats to note:
Joe Colborne is leading the league in scoring with 15 points in seven games.
Carter Ashton has seven goals in eight games – a very impressive start for him in professional hockey. I saw a bit of him in the WHL – a bit like Bertuzzi. Not as much of a mean streak, but a big player with amazing hands who seems to float and become disinterested at times.
One of Plekanec’s two goals: