Crashing the Net: Richards, Heatley on fire
Right off the top, this call has a lot to do with some advantageous bounces of the old puck. In addition, it's not like Nicklas has done much offensively as he hasn't posted a point in four games, has taken only three shots on goal in that time, and has a mere two penalty minutes on his ledger. So how in the heck is Grossman hot? Have you seen his plus/minus rating? Through four games the young blue liner is a +8 to lead the NHL, a total that was boosted quite nicely by his +5 mark in the third game of the season when the Stars took on the Flames. Plus/minus is very hard to get an accurate handle on since there is more to it than a mere player's performance, but so far so good with this skater. Keep in mind that in 151 games entering this season that Nicklas was a +1.
Someone likes skating on a line with Mr.
So much for those dual shoulder operations slowing him down. Richards, the Flyers' captain, leads the NHL with six goals in the early going. He has already recorded a hat-trick, has scored a goal in four of five games, and has potted four of his markers with the man-advantage including one that went for a game winner. A year after recording career bests in goals (30) and assists (50), it appears that Richards is well on his way to boosting those totals in his fifth year in the NHL. What's the name of his doctor by the way? That guy obviously did a bang up job fixing both of Richards' wings.
Smyth has always been able to score. The problem is injuries have dogged him almost every season of his career. Perhaps a move to California where it's always sunny will help. It certainly hasn't hurt so far. Smyth has played four games with his new club in Los Angeles and in those four games he has scored four times while dishing out three helpers. Besides the obvious benefits of scoring seven points in four games, it should also be pointed out that Smyth has recorded five of those points (3g, 2a) with the man-advantage making his strong start even more impressive from a fantasy angle. He hasn't scored 30-goals since 2006, but as long as he stays healthy he should be able to challenge that mark for the Kings.
Booth isn't a major scoring star, but the guy did have 31 goals and 60 points in his third NHL season last year. He has not been able to keep the momentum going this year as he has lit the lamp once in four games for his only point on the year. He has also taken just seven shots on goal, and when you combine that with a poor (-3) rating, it just hasn't been a good start for a guy who must produce offensively to be effective considering he has all of 78 PIMs in 197 games in his career.
From 2002-2007, Jokinen scored at least 34 goals four times in five years (his one "failure" was a 26 goal effort in 2003). Last season, split between Phoenix and Calgary, he scored 29 times though he failed to record a marker the last 13 times he took the ice to end the regular season. Flash forward to this season and Olli has gone five games without a goal (he has two helpers). For a 30+ goal scorer, a stretch of 18 games without a goal is awful. Almost as bad, Jokinen has taken just five shots one net, one per game, in the early going. For a guy who is second in the NHL in shots since the start of the 2005 season that's simply pathetic. All of that said, Olli is simply too good to continue to struggle like this, so now is the perfect to pounce if his current owner is frustrated.
Last season Kunitz scored two goals in his first 20 games with the Ducks. Eventually he got going and recorded 16 goals and 35 points in 62 games with Anaheim before he was moved to the Penguins. Once united with
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Long thought of as a bit of an underachiever in San Jose, Michalek was set to get a new lease on life with his move to the Senators in the
In case you have been under a rock,
The Wings have had to juggle their lines do to health concerns, mainly the loss of Johan Franzen for something like four months with a torn ACL, and that means old names in new places. The biggest gainer of the group looks like it just might be Holmstrom who will now skate on the top line alongside
"Both goaltenders are playing extremely well," Nashville coach
This was supposed to be the young ones battle to lose, but Varlamov has underperformed in the early going looking putrid in his two trips to the ice (5.11 GAA, .857 save percentage). As a result, is it possible that Theodore will be given the reigns and allowed to run with them? Jose will make his third straight appearance on Monday, and though his numbers also haven't been great (1-2-1, 2.90 GAA, .902 save percentage), he clearly has played better than Semyon. This situation bares a close eye because it is unlikely that either keeper will run away with the starts. However, those of you that chose Theodore late on draft day might have picked yourself up quite the bargain if things continue down the tracks the way they have started.
• Five teams play four games this week: Chicago, Colorado, Los Angeles, Nashville and Pittsburgh.
• Seven teams play only two games this week: Anaheim, Atlanta, Columbus, Florida, Montreal, St. Louis and Vancouver.
• Philadelphia plays only one game this week.