As the first week of the NHL season comes to a close we will take a look at some of the highlights of Week One. While teams have only played between 2 and 4 games so far, its not too early to talk about rumors, early surprises.
While many, including myself, didn’t think the Bruins were a playoff team, they have looked down right awful through 3 games. In most fan bases 3 games wouldn't garner outcries like we’ve seen, but Bruins fans have become accustomed to winning and if they don’t come back from a short two-game road trip with a win then changes are coming. The Defense is abysmal, and Marchand, Chara and Rask’s names have all come up in trade rumors. Personally, I think the Bruins need to change some things and I haven’t been a fan of some of Sweeney’s moves so far so we will see what comes of the B’s.
Two pacific division teams that didn’t make the playoffs last season have impressed so far. Both the Sharks and the Coyotes have been led by impressive goaltending from Martin Jones and Mike Smith so far. I was a big fan of Pete Deboer while in New Jersey and think he has a good mix of Veteran and Youngsters on the team. The Sharks are balanced up front and have a decent defense. Arizona has also impressed in wins over Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, both of whom rank as my biggest disappointments so far in the season. The Domi-Vermette- Boedker line has looked fantastic and Mike Smith has looked like his 2011 self in goal. Even before the season started I thought this team was better then most people did. Adding another D-man and bolstering this teams bottom six with some more goal scoring potential would greatly help them out of the cellar.
The L.A. kings have been blown away in every game played so far this year and are averaging less then a goal a game. The offense hasn’t been able to find any type of spark even with line changes, and the defensive poor play has been led by Christian Ehrhoff (-5 plus/minus) and Jake Muzzin (-6 plus/minus). The Penguins have been equally as bad and, again, the offensive production has not been there the first two games. The game against Montreal showed, some positive signs but Montreal eked out a 3-2 win. The Pens defense is much weaker than last year and are another team to keep an eye on for potential changes should the losing continue.
The Metro Division has half of its division pointless so far and another (Philadelphia) with only 1 point. For New Jersey and Carolina, the season is going to be very long, and others in the division should be salivating on playing these teams as often as they do. Columbus has not carried over the confidence they were showing at the end of last season. Pittsburgh will get things going soon, one would think. Philadelphia is an interesting team because they have two elite forwards (Giroux and Voracek) and very little outside of those two as far as secondary scoring options. If those two don’t have great years it will again be a long season in the City of Brotherly Love.