NHL Week 1: Strange Brew
The 2010-2011 season is off to a great start. A great, weird start. If you’ve been paying attention to goings-on around the league, you’ll surely have noticed that the start of this season has been filled with more incidents in its first week than possibly ever before. Here are a few that come to mind.
1. Ondrej Pavelec collapsing like a ton of bricks. At just 2:25 into the opening period against Washington, Pavelec fell unconscious to the ice. Although the Washington Capitals announcers made it seem like there was a dead body on the rink, Pavelec was fine after suffering a fainting spell, and (ironically) sustained a concussion from the fall.
2. James Wisniewski’s cocky suspension. For once in his life, Sean Avery isn’t the instigator…completely. After an exchange of some intelligent banter words in the crease, Wisniewski gave Avery a mouthful. Literally. The league decided that Wisniewski should be suspended for it, and now he’s, ahem, on his knees repenting. He’s scheduled to return on Saturday against the Avalanche.
3. Pavel Datsyuk drops his gloves. Fighting is commonplace in hockey, so normally the news of a fight doesn’t turn many heads. This one, however, is different. Pavel Datsyuk, a 4-time Lady Byng award winer for “most gentelmanly player”, decided to scrap with Anaheim’s Corey Perry. Kiss that Lady Byng goodbye, not-so-gentelmanly Pavel.
4. Nashville’s Amazing Raw Goaltending. The pressure was totally on Nashville as they took on defending Stanley Cup Champions the Chicago Blackhawks. To make matters worse, they were without their number one goaltender Pekka Rinne, who sustained an injury against Anaheim. Their go-to guy was Anders Lindback, who has only 17 minutes of NHL experience. After a shaky first period, Lindback settled into his game. Nashville wins. Go figure.
5. Undefeated Maple Leafs and Oilers? That’s right, folks, the two worst teams of last season are sitting comfortably at the top of their respective conferences. Much of the Leafs success is not really due to recent acquisitions like Phaneuf and Versteeg, like you would expect. Let’s take a look at the Leafs top scorers: Clarke MacArthur? Tim Brent? Who are these guys? While it is nice to see 2nd and 3rd liners working hard, the Leafs need to step it up all around if they want continued success. They can’t ride the coattails of b-list players for too much longer.
As for Edmonton, can we say dynasty in the making?
It’s been a very strange, interesting and exciting start to the year, and if it’s at all indicitave of how the 2010-2011 season will pan out, we have a lot to look forward to. Let’s hope that Mike Ribeiro can stay sober for the rest of it.