Wednesday NHL Roundup!

  1. The axe is falling again as the St. Louis Blues let Mike Yeo go and the Edmonton Oilers replaced Todd McLellan with Ken Hitchcock. I don’t know much about the St. Louis situation other than they have a wealth of veteran talent and are not getting it done on the scoreboard. In recent years Chicago has had to let go enough players due to salary cap constraints that you culd build a playoff calibre team solely from their castoffs. I feel like St. Louis has had a similar problem with less fanfare as a few quieter glue guys have left either due to greener ($) pastures elsewhere or aging out. Still, anyone with Vladimir Tarasenko in their pool knows there’s some underachieving going on there. I thought Edmonton was on the right track switching from McLellan to Hitchcock, but my research showed many Edmonton fans and a few pundits are unhappy with the move. The “for” argument is that Edmonton has porous defence and underdeveloped talent. Hitchcock is known for teaching and preaching crusty defence and getting the most out of players. The “against” argument is that Hitchcock was known to lead slower defensive teams and would waste the speedy talents of McDavid and Draisatl. Also, Edmonton’s offence isn’t where it should be and having McDavid block a bunch of shots is going to exacerbate that particular problem. I don’t buy it though, I feel Hitch will at least show some Oiler improvement in the standings.

 

  1. How much of a dick was Keith Tkachuk? I’m asking, I don’t really know. I had regarded him as a prototypical power forward type rather than a pest.  Having said that his kids are all proving themselves to be a world class pain in the neck. An old school Battle of Alberta this week had Matt Tkachuk up to his old antics. Calgary won in the end though. Tkachuk was criticized for not answering the bell when Zack Kassian wanted to fight. Kassian’s a dirty player though, so I don’t blame him for that. He followed it up with a 4 point night against the suddenly hapless Golden Knights. Brady Tkachuk has exploded on the scene with 8 points in his first 8 games and his first fight as an 18 year old against Detroit on the weekend. Having missed the start of the season with a leg injury his presence is welcome in Ottawa team. The Sens have been mired in misfortune for what seems like years now. Mike Hoffman, we hardly knew ye….

 

  1. How cool was the end of Washington Vs. Montreal the other night? Alex Ovechkin Vs. Carey Price on a breakaway to deny #8 a hat trick with time running out just in time for the dramatic finale. Both men were all smiles afterwards, really enjoying a moment of top class Hockey. I’ve always loved Ovechkin’s enthusiasm for the game. He also got the last laugh when the Caps won the game in OT.

 

  1. The Toronto Maple Leafs have won 4 in a row including 7 of their last 8 and a sweep of a Western Conference road trip. They’re first in the Atlantic, first in the East and second in the NHL, all without Auston Matthews. However, the Buffalo Sabres have very quietly won 6 in a row and have the Leafs in their sights. I forgot Jeff Skinner ended up there and he’s got 14 goals. It’s funny how Skinner left Carolina and suddenly lit up the league, while Carolina got real good in his absence as well. Maybe he just wasn’t the right fit there. Rumour has it that his goals have gone straight to his head and resulted in exorbitant contract demands.