Weekly ramblings, musings, and thoughts to ponder about every team in the league. In case you missed last weeks you can check it here.
Anaheim Ducks – The Ducks are still rolling strong in the Pacific carrying a 3 game win streak into Pittsburgh tonight. This marks the return of Daniel Sprong after the trade from the Pens and he’s coming in hot fresh off a 2 goal performance against Columbus, including this dirty dog OT winning snipe.
Arizona Coyotes – Mixed bag for the Coyotes over the weekend. First a monster rally down 3-1 for a big win in the Garden and special moment for Derek Stepan against his former team, then they follow that up with a dud getting shutout in Carolina. This was the first time the Coyotes beat the Rangers in their past 10 meetings.
Boston Bruins – Word is circulating that Patrice Bergeron will make his return to practice this week, he’s been out since mid November. After dropping two games over the weekend, the team needs him back desperately because of his elite impact at both ends of the ice. Always known for his defense but he was lighting it up offensively this year with 26 points in 19 games. More importantly my fantasy team desperately needs him back.
Buffalo Sabres – Jack Eichel is ready to be THE guy this year and he put on a show for the hometown Boston folks (He’s from Lynnfield Mass) with a 4 point freakin’ night against the Bruins. That’s a 6 game point streak for Jack (9g, 4a) as well as for his Jeff Skinner who keeps filling the net at a ridiculous rate (4g, 3a) over his last 6. Here’s Skinner’s second of the night, the GWG, off a sick dish from Eichel:
Also this save is not getting nearly enough love:
Calgary Flames – Something has clicked in Calgary. They pounded the lowly Blues 7-2 and not too long ago piled up 9 on Columbus. This obviously stood out to me so I took a look and the Flames finished last season in 27th in Goals per game. This year? Currently sitting at 5th! When you think of Calgary the past few years their identity has been a strong defensive corps but the guys up front are racking up goals this year that has to make that cold Canadian winter up there a bit more enjoyable.
Carolina Hurricanes – No better time for the first shutout of the year than to end a losing streak. Peter Mrazek turned away 23 shots to stop the bleeding after 3 straight losses. They need more Brian Burke talking shit to ignite them.
Chicago Blackhawks – The Good – The Hawks end their 8 game losing streak against Pittsburgh and Alex DeBrincat went bar down.
The Bad – Hawks dropped their next 2 games and now Corey Crawford who just recently returned from a long layoff with concussion symptoms. Have to feel for the guy.
The Ugly – The Hawks mascot losing his damn mind and scrapping with some drunk jabroni in the arena. What the hell? Awesome belly to belly suplex though, CM Punk would be proud.
Columbus Blue Jackets – The Blue Jackets at an average of 25 years, 11 months, 6 days are the second-youngest team in the NHL to the Winnipeg Jets. Woooowwww. They’re also scoring at an impressive rate ranking 7th in the league in goals per game. Still though, doesn’t it seem like they’re one game breaker away from making a legitimate playoff run? Maybe it’s because of all the Star Power in the metro division and the Jackets are more balanced, but Columbus has the youth and cap space to add an impact player at the deadline if one becomes available.
Dallas Stars – If you haven’t caught on yet it’s time to get on board the Miro Heiskanen train. The third overall pick in 2017 is silky smooth, piling up 17 points so far as rookie, and logging heavy minutes. Dahlin in Buffalo is the rookie D man getting all the attention this year and rightfully so, but the Miro hype is real.
Detroit Red Wings – It’s no secret Jimmy Howard is on the trade block but the reported ask is a 1st round pick… Although he’s been playing well that seems a lot to ask for with a 34 year old free agent to be. I think they’ll have a hard time getting that unless a playoff team faces injuries in net. A 2nd or 3rd with a prospect seems much more reasonable no?
Edmonton Oilers – The Edmonton McDavid’s have now won six straight games at home, gone 8-1-1 in their last 10 and 5-0-1 in the last six, scratching and clawing their way back into a playoff spot. Edmonton, Peter Chiarelli, and the NHL NEED McDavid in the playoffs.
The irony of Ken Hitchcock talking about players clutching and grabbing here is L-O-L-ish.
Florida Panthers – I talked about Scheifele being underrated in Winnipeg before this is another guy who is due for some love, Aleksander (Sasha) Barkov. He’s putting up a point a game but he’s also dominating without the puck, check this out:
Los Angeles Kings – Combined Points – Landeskog/MacKinnon/Rantanen: 148
All Kingsforwards: 142
BLOW IT THE FUCK UP.
Minnesota Wild – Bad news – Dumba is out this week with an upper body injury.
Good news – Jason Zucker and Koivu are coming back Tuesday.
Suter with a nice right hook here too, pretty damn good for his first fight in 10 years.
Montreal Canadiens – This is just odd
The Habs continue to feast on the Sens.
Nashville Predators – Gorms is the new guy in the office here. A few days ago he showed me this video from his old gig talking to some of the Preds. How this guy got credentialed to be anywhere near this team is concerning to say the least.
New Jersey Devils – Last week I said the Devils need Cory Schneider to get back to his old form. This week he’s being placed on IR. Not great. Taylor Hall has missed the last 2 games and the team doesn’t have an update yet on his status. One small positive is they’re no longer in last place!
New York Islanders – Nasty goal for Barzal in the shootout as they beat the Red Wings for the second time in a week.
The Isles dropped out of a playoff spot, do they have enough to climb back in by the end of the year? I’m not so sure.
New York Rangers – Two unreal saves from the King against Vegas here… The old man still has it, but does the team in front of him have enough to give?
Ottawa Senators – Very interested to see how the contract situation with Matt Duchene and Mark Stone plays out. Both guys need new deals and Ottawa would be basically starting from scratch again if they decide to move both. Then again neither is the guy to build around they’re both better off as complimentary pieces. The waiting game continues…
Philadelphia Flyers – What the hell is going on in Philadelphia and who is making the decisions? They are now dead last in the east. They made a game day change on goalie starters just before puck drop against Vancouver, so sudden the team had to delete a tweet even. Then there were reports over the weekend that they hired Coach Q and fired Hakstol, but nothing official…
No word on Coach Q yet but I would expect him to be behind that bench by the end of the week.
Pittsburgh Penguins – Matt Murray has returned and while he looked a little rusty as expected, he made some big saves to get the team a much needed OT win. The Penguins have fought their way up to 3rd in the Metro and back in playoff posish and I thought this was a bit staggering and hopefully calming to Pens fans:
The sky is not falling, it’s always easy to forget early season struggles and how dire they seem when looking back as long as the team finishes in the top 8 at the end of the year.
San Jose Sharks – The Sharks are loaded from top to bottom and continue to roll, but Martin Jones hasn’t been himself this season. Jones has been far from elite, posting .897 sv% which is good for 46th in the league. As good as they are if they want the Cup, Jones needs to find his game.
St. Louis Blues – Sounds like anyone is available for the right price. Trade rumors are picking up around Vladdy Tarasenko and Alex Pietrangelo. I think Colton Parayko is much more likely to be moved than either of those too. He’s a top 4 man making an affordable 5.5 Mil a year.
Tampa Bay Lightning – They get their #1 goalie back and he did not disappoint. Scary to think that this team just got better.
Toronto Maple Leafs – The Leafs aren’t running away with their division or lighting up as many thought they would lately so naturally now their toughness is being questioned. I understand Canada loves old timey tough hockey but if you look at the past Cup winners none of them were overly ‘Tough.’ The Leafs may need another D man and I’m not sure Freddy Andersen is the guy to take them all the way but they need to keep the focus on speed and skill.
Vancouver Canucks – From here on out this section will just be Elias Pettersson highlights. He’s 20 years old, looks like he’s 12, and scores goals like this against grown ass men.
Vegas Golden Knights – Paul Stastny the Knights big Free Agent signing finally scored his first goal for Vegas since coming over from Winnipeg. 26 hasn’t played since the third game of the season missing time with the dreaded lower body injury.
Washington Capitals – Alex Ovechkin is not of this earth. For years people have knocked him for not training in the offseason, turns out they were half right. He just needed to go full speed in the other direction and not work out at all, drinking and parading Lord Stanley around all summer has him DOMINATING the league. He is literally just teeing up anything and letting it fly. 9 goals in his past 5 games, including back to back hat tricks has him off to a career best. He’s got 29 goals in 32 games, better pace than the year he scored 65. It’s starting to not seem so crazy that he could give Gretz a run for his money on that all time goal list.
Bucci has been all over this for years:
Winnipeg Jets – 9-1 and a 5 game win streak have the Jets flying high. They have all the pieces they just need to stay healthy. Their PP is converting at 30%!!! As good as Ovechkin has been Scheifele has been on a vintage Crosby like tear with a 5 game multi point streak with 3 points in each of his last 3 games. I’m not sold on Calgary and everything we’ve seen so far leads me to think the West comes down to Winnipeg and Nashville this year.
Until next week…