Hot on the Ice: Avalanche of Wins; Sharks Feeding Frenzy
After one week of action on the ice, there are trends emerging, patterns developing, and octopi being slaughtered for barbaric rituals.
Yes, it’s that time of year for hockey players to lace up the skates and give us that toothless smile we’ve come to adore over the years.
Don’t look now, but the Colorado Avalanche and San José Sharks are both 4-0 and sit atop their respective divisions.
Ya’ll knew the NHL realigned into just four divisions, right? Can you name the eight teams in the Metropolitan Division? Is the NHL going to need to change that name when Seattle is awarded an expansion franchise? Remember, they won the Stanley cup in 1917 playing as the Metropolitans in the Pacific Coast Hockey League!
The Avalanche marched into Beantown last night and promptly shut out the Bruins 2-0 behind 39 saves from Jean-Sebastian Giguere. I guess new Av’s coach and former superstar Patrick Roy thought, “What the hell, we’re playing Boston on their home ice. Let’s put in the washed up, veteran goalie." That would be Semyon Varlamov.
Roy showed the Avalanche and the hockey world just what type of coach he’s going to be in Game 1 of the season, as he completely freaked out on Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau in a game the ‘Lanche won, 6-1. It appeared that a plexiglass partition was barely strong enough to hold back the wrath of Roy. Just think, he made a living keeping people out of his personal bubble!
Colorado has beaten some pretty good teams, too, so don’t think they’re devouring the cupcakes of the league. Winning in Boston and Toronto is impressive enough, but to beat the Ducks 6-1 in the home opener and then follow it up two days later by beating Nashville at home isn’t an easy feat. The Avalanche have a fairly easy schedule over the next week, so this is a great opportunity to create a big lead on some of the other Central Division teams.
In the Pacific Division, the San José Sharks also find themselves at 4-0 after beating the Canucks in Vancouver, 4-1, on Thursday night. This marks the second time the Sharks have beaten the 'Nux already this season, and they hammered the Rangers at HP Pavilion, 9-2, on Tuesday. After that goal explosion, if you look at the leaderboards, you’ll find lots of Sharks -- seven to be exact -- ranked highly in the plus-minus department, and netminder Antti Niemi is already 4-0.
Calgary is hot on their heels -- no pun intended! (They're the Flames) -- as they also have eight points already.
So, in a young NHL season that has already seen the Flyers fire their coach, the Detroit Red Wings use the waiver wire and send a goalie to Grand Rapids of the AHL, Sharks D Brad Stuart suspended three games for a hit to the head on the Rangers' Rick Nash, and a lawsuit by the NHL thrown out against former Phoenix Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes, the story lines are already mounting!
Then there's expansion talk. Even though the Coyotes are now settled in Phoenix, Seattle remains front-burnered. It hosts a passionate hockey fan base awaiting a professional team. Word is the NHL is keeping close tabs on the arena situation, not only in Seattle, but also in Portland if Paul Allen -- owner of the NBA Trail Blazers and the Moda Arena (again) -- would ever send a positive signal.
Whatever the case, hurry up, will ya? Before I have to sit through another Seattle Mariners season?