For the first time ever...weekly hockey reviews! Truly a sign that the NHL is returning to relevance. I actually thought Week 1 went until the 19th because of the opening week schedule. If only Yahoo! put something like...like...Week 1: Sep 29-Oct 12 right over the scoreboard.
Dynamo Mockba def. One Day With The Cup - 8-4-1
There was talk of shrinking the goalie equipment this offseason and judging from this matchup, they banned all goalie gear entirely. Kari Lehtonen's 3.50 GAA and .914 save percentage was by far the best of the five netminders. Peter Budaj had a save percentage of .795. Great batting average, horrible save percentage.
Actually, from the games I watched this weekend, eliminating the flap pad between the legs made a big difference, because I saw a ton of pucks going five hole. Especially on Jose Theodore. Expect some hockey pundit to write an article on this three weeks after I first mentioned it here.
The defending champs might just go with firewagon hockey, because they have a ton of offense. Surprise second-round pick Olli Jokinen had 3 points in 2 games, Andy McDonald is on pace for 0 goals and 164 assists, and in the brief period from Thursday to Sunday, ODWTC notched 15 assists and 12 PPP. And that's with Iginla going 0-0-0 in two games.
Sean Avery picked up two game misconducts Saturday night and this woman, a lifelong ODWTC fan, chided him for having no class. Between Avery's 27 PIMs, Ryan Malone's feisty 11 and less than total incompetence in net, Dynamo cruised to an easy opening win.
IC Pounders on Ice def. Medicine Hat - 8-2-3
Eric Staal, Parise, Redden and Penner each kicked in 2 goals to an 11-goal pot, a stunning amount for a short week. At the other end of the rink, Henrik Lundqvist went 3-0 with a 1.33 GAA and .944 save percentage. In fact, looking at these numbers...8-2-3 is a pretty close score for this one. Pavel Kubina, you couldn't hook somebody just once to give the Pounders the PIM win? Jerk.
Starting off the year 2-8-3 and seeing that Daniel Alfredsson is out two weeks after knee surgery is not how you want to start your season. Having four different guys each go -2 is not how you want to start off your season. Putting Ruslan Fedotenko on your team is not how you want to start your season.
Kitchener Ks def. White Chapel Rippers - 6-4-3
The tightest matchup of the opening week also featured the most excellence. White Chapel's 10 goals and 13 assists were just a smidge better than Kitchener's 10-12, but Kitchener countered with a stunning 3-0, 1.30, .937 mark in net. Martin Brodeur had many wins as he did goals allowed. And Brodeur's 0.97 and .951 were bested by Carey Price's 0.93 and .972. My God. This game was the Oilers/Islanders in 1983.
All that hand wringing from White Chapel about picking Heatley fourth and Larry is rewarded with 3 power play goals, 1 power play assist, 1 game-winner and 4 PIMs. Real shaky pick there. Of course, Heatley's -3 has White Chapel scouting potential trades. They want to get a guy who knows how to be on the bench when the other team scores, dammit!
One more GWG and two more wins was the difference in this one, but if both teams aren't pleased with how they got out of the gate, then they are incredible martinets.
Keystone Winterhawks def. Camelsfoot Range - 9-3-1
Keystone asked for anybody but Caulen to win in '08-'09 and then went out and backed it up with a total thumping. Caulen was so angry that he put the Range through a 6am bag skate on Monday. He vowed that the team would skate until Kyle Okposo, who didn't register a single statistic in Week 1, puked. Okposo sent his morning milk backwards at 6:03.
Not at all uncomfortable with being called Rod the Bod by his GM, Rod Brind'Amour led the Range with 2g, 1a, but too many other guys only had zero or one point. And while it's admirable that Camelsfoot is playing smart hockey and avoiding bad penalties, when a single Winterhawk, Chris Kunitz, has more PIMs than the entire Camelsfoot team, well, Caulen will lose that category.
Marc Savard and J.P. Dumont both led the team with four points, but the story in the crease is crazier than Sylvia. Bryzgalov's GAA was 1.50 and Biron's was 14.80. That's the kind of consistent netminding champions are built upon.
Dublin Donkey Punch def. Abominable Snowmen - 10-2-1
The rout of the week. Or so it seems. In simply looking at the scoreboard, I get a total of 9-2-2, as both teams posted a 0 in the SHG and SO categories. For some reason, Yahoo! gave Dublin a win in one of these categories, a situation that will probably be resolved some time this week.
As for the points that were correctly scored, Daniel Sedin scored two for the Snowmen, but everybody else was, well, abominable. Zero goals from the rest of the lineup. In comparison, the paltry 9 assists don't look so bad. In fact, Daniel Sedin's 5 points were almost half of the entire Snowmen output.
But with Henrik Sedin scoring 4 points for Dublin, it was kind of balanced out. 2 and 2 from Hejduk was like old times, and Filip Kuba spot on the Ottawa power play seems pretty secure with 3 PPP.
By the way, is it condescending that I just went ahead and corrected the spelling of Abominable? Yeah, probably. I have a Masters in condescension. You probably don't even know what that mean. I should've just put Abomidable (sic) Snowmen.
obamanators def. The Awful Stench - 2-9-2
The most obvious reference is that this matchup was like the actual Obama/McCain race. One guy having a great week, the other floundering and sputtering. But that's too obvious, like an oversalted steak. Let's just say it was a blowout.
The only two guys that didn't have a point for the obamanator, Bieksa and Boucher, were both hurt. 18 points and +7 is a lot of offense, while a 4-0 record and a 1.48 GAA is a lot of defense. Looks like autodrafting Nabokov and Luongo in the 2nd and 3rd rounds paid off.
As for the Stench...well, at least they still have Crosby.