Wednesday NHL Roundup!

 

  1. I was lucky enough to visit 2 NHL venues this week – I was at the Leaf game Monday against the Calgary Flames and at the KeyBank Centre in Buffalo on Saturday to see Metallica. Metallica was a great time, the Leaf game was not. Auston Matthews first absence really knocked the wind out of the Leafs sails. Frederik Andersen played great though. Calgary only played OK and still easily won.
  2. On the topic of Matthews injury, my first thought was to get bloody revenge on the Winnipeg Jets. Then I saw the hit and thought ehhh, no, clean hit. And then I thought if the Leafs wanted revenge on the Jets the Jets would just laugh at us. The Jets ice 6’8” Tyler Myers, 6’5” Blake Wheeler, 6’5” Patrik Laine, 6’3” Mark Scheifele and 6’5” Dustin Byfuglien, who is also the beefiest man in the NHL by volume. You’d think all those gorilla men were goons, but no, that’s their powerplay. It’s funny how they say that the goon is on it’s way out, and this is good for smaller players. It is, but there’s still physical advantages to being the size of Godzilla.
  3. I’m doing my homework for this week’s piece and man does NHL.com suck. I use ESPN for fantasy Hockey, but Yahoo’s fantasy might be a bit better – especially that “Start Active Players” button on the app that’ll carefully set your lineups for the next week. CBS Sports has some great features with their depth charts, and capgeek.com & nhlnumbers.com are the best for an amateur GM seeking financial info.
  4. The Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t actually get off to a slow start, they just had a very light schedule to start the season. Now they’re reflecting their front to back talent and sneering down at the rest of the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile the Ottawa Senators 4 game losing skid has them looking like the team they were predicted to be.
  5. What’s with all these backup goalies? A few key injuries, yeah – but the goaltending categories are all topped by obscure names like David Rittich and Juuse Saros. Mikko Rantanen out of Colorado is still the NHL’s leading scorer, but more traditional names like Evgeni Malkin and Patrick Kane are catching up.
  6. There’s a weird wave of geographic inequality in the Pacific Division. All the California teams are on the bottom, and the Canadian teams are on top – the opposite was the safe projection. Except for San Jose in first, they didn’t get the memo. Las Vegas having a sophomore slump makes sense, but what’s LA’s problem?