The Cover 4.com presents you with NHL Week One:The Good,Bad, & Ugly! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @thecover4 or facebook at theCo VerFour
NHL Week One:The Good,Bad, & Ugly
Hello hockey fans, and welcome back. The NHL season is FINALLY underway, and there are a bunch of storylines taking place right now. How has the New York-Vancouver coaching swap worked out for both teams? Can the Blackhawks repeat? Can the Sharks get over the hump? Can the Penguins recover from an embarrassing playoff ouster? How will Tim Thomas fare in his comeback? We are about a week and a half into this new season, and we have seen some great hockey so far. Each week this season, The Cover 4 crew will give you a quick rundown of the weeks happenings in “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” Buckle up for the first installment.
-Alex Ovechkin has come out with guns blazing in this young season. Through three games, Ovi has 4 goals and 2 assists, and has looked like the MVP Ovechkin from the second half of last season. His release is still the most lethal in the game (sorry Steven Stamkos) and he is still finding acres of open ice on the power play. If he can keep up the pace, look for him to be in the mix again for MVP.
-The Colorado Avalanche are off to a 3-0 start this season. They have a top-10 offense, guiding them to their third win over a previously unbeaten Maple Leafs team. Rookie forward and 2013 No. 1 overall pick Nathan MacKinnon has been very impressive thus far, and new head coach Patrick Roy has brought a new fire to the team.
-Without a doubt, the biggest story of the early season is young Czech Tomas Hertl of the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks are off to a 3-0 start as well, and Hertl has been a big part of that. In his three career games, Hertl has two multi-goal games, the most recent of which, a 4-goal game against the Rangers, capped by a must-see stick-between-the-legs move. Just sensational. Despite the flash, the kid is showing he knows where to go to score goals, potting a few from the low slot, high crease area, which is right where you want to go if you want to have a long and productive NHL career.
-Cory Schneider opened the season in net for the Devils when they visited Pittsburgh last Thursday, leaving Martin Brodeur to ride the pine on opening night for the first time in two decades. While Schneider is deserving of that honor, and the Devils opened with a back-to-back (so Brodeur could start at home), it is just yet another sign that one of the best goalies of all time is on his way out. My guess would be that this is Brodeur’s last season in the league, and with the Devils’ roster, it could be a long one.
-Despite the hot start from captain Alex Ovechkin (6 points through 3 games) the Caps have been less than intimidating. Already, they are the third worst team in the league in goals against, and they have played the horrible Calgary Flames, the mediocre-at-best Dallas Stars, and the defending Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. Through those first three games, the Caps managed just one win, and that was a comeback game against the Flames. The Caps still look to be a one-man show, despite Mikhail Grabovski putting up some numbers early. Luckily for Caps fans, it is still only three games into this young, 82-game season.
-The Philadelphia Flyers have stumbled out of the gates to say the least. Their newly appointed captain Claude Giroux was set back over the offseason by a freak golfing accident (something you thought a Philadelphia Flyer would have mastered by now), but he was ready for the season opener. After a less than impressive preseason and starting 0-3, the Flyers fired head coach Peter Laviolette, making him the first coaching casualty of the season, and promoted assistant coach Craig Berube to head coach. Berube got the Flyers’ their first win of the season to move them to 1-3 on the year, but if the Flyers don’t solve their goaltending issue (change the record on that one), they may be in for another long year in the competitive Metropolitan Division.
-Well it didn’t take Patrick Roy long to re-endear himself to the Avalanche faithful. At the end of his first game as bench boss in Colorado, tempers flared as Anaheim Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy appeared to hit Avs rookie Nathan MacKinnon knee-on-knee. MacKinnon was ok, but a fiery Roy got into a verbal altercation with Ducks agitator-extraordinaire Corey Perry, which led to Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau and Roy screaming at each other from the benches. Roy wound up shoving the dividing partition of glass between the benches, breaking it, and nearly pancaking Boudreau with it. “It going to be a long first year for Patrick if that is how he reacts to everything,” Boudreau said after the game.
-It happens to every goalie in their careers, and this week it happened to Jonathan Quick. A disastrous gaffe in the Kings game against the Rangers will keep Quick on hockey blooper reels for some time. After winning a defensive zone faceoff while killing a penalty, the Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh cleared the puck off the glass and down the rink. As the puck headed towards the no-play trapezoid, Quick came out to stop the puck, and then move it back up to his teammates on the power play, a very routine move in the game. About two strides out from his net as he was bending down to get the thick part of his stick on the ice, Quick lost control of his stick right before the puck got to him, and the puck bounced right off of his blocker and went into his net. The shock and disbelief immediately befell Quick as reality set it. Luckily for Quick, he’s arguably the game’s best netminder, and this gaffe will quickly be forgotten.
-On opening night, an incident happened between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens that reignited the fighting debate. During their second fight of the game, Montreal’s George Parros and Toronto’s Colton Orr were squaring off, and being that they are both enforcers for their respective teams, they are no strangers to each other. At one point, Orr lost his balance, and as he was falling, pulled Parros down with him, who ultimately hit his face on the ice, knocking him unconscious and forcing him to be taken off of the ice on a stretcher. With both players involved having limited talent and one clear role on their teams (to be the fighters), the debate was kicked off again as to whether it is time to ban fighting in the game. We won’t have an answer to that question for a while, but it is moments like this that spark the debate.
Thank you for joining us for our first installment of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Stop back next week for more.
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Guest Sports Activist for The Cover 4