Crashing the Net: Hossa's hot, Gagne's not, early observations
Back to full health, Hossa has been a dynamo in the early going with five goals and nine points in six games this season, and he has recorded at least one point in each game. From 2002-08 he averaged 82 points a season, and in the 63 games since he joined the Blackhawks last year he has 60 points, so you can expect the scoring to continue at a high clip.
Drafted in the third round in 2003, this winger has bounced around over the past year, going from the Sabres to the Thrashers, and now to the Maple Leafs. Often a third liner, MacArthur has been working on the second line with
Richards is an underrated scoring star who posted 91 points last season. However, Richards was overlooked in many drafts this season because he has always been a poor plus/minus contributor (-66 for his career) and because the Stars aren't exactly big on the national scene. Those who took a chance on the talented centerman have been rewarded with a tremendous nine points in four games (he's recorded at least two points in every game he has appeared). Oh, and that plus/minus? It's currently +7.
In Boyle's first year in San Jose he had 16 goals and 57 points. In his second year in San Jose he had 15 goals and 58 points. This season he has no goals through three games and has generated only six shots on net. He is also a (-3) in the early going. Still show some patience with Boyle, one of the most offensively gifted men to patrol the blue line in the NHL. By the time the season is over his production should mirror what he has done the past two season with the Sharks -- count on it.
This clearly isn't the start that Gagne was hoping for in his new home. The good news is that he is healthy, and that is always the major concern. Still, Gagne is paid to light the lamp, something he hasn't done this season as he has not produced a point in four games. Gagne has also been saddled with a (-5) rating, and given that he is also without a penalty minute, well, you would have been better off leaving your left wing spot vacant. Gagne will score goals, there is no doubt about that -- he has averaged 0.46 goals a game since the start of the 2003 season -- so remain patient with the Quebec-born native.
The game just isn't that easy, despite the fact that this towering youngster made it look that way last season as he won the Calder Trophy. However, he has a (-7) plus/minus mark in the early going this year after posting a +13 as a rookie. He also has one assist in six games. Playing the blue line in the NHL might be the hardest gig to get down pat, so a slump isn't out of the ordinary for a young skater. Keep the faith with Myers if you own him. If you don't, try to convince his current owner that last year was a fluke and pick up the 6-foot-8 behemoth.
The Devils opened the year with
What were the Flames thinking?
The Rangers are beat up, and the most devastating loss in the early going is the shoulder injury suffered by
• Six teams play four games this week: Calgary, Chicago, Nashville, NY Rangers, San Jose and Tampa Bay.
• Six teams play only two games this week: Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, Montreal, Philadelphia and Phoenix.