NHL – Observations From Planet Hockey

Canadiens defender PK Subban. (2014 NHL Media)

Canadiens defender PK Subban. (2014 NHL Media)

Despite what ESPN is trying to tell you hockey does exist and it’s been an interesting start to the 2015-16 season. For starters the Canadiens are for real. Like, for real for real. But the Canadiens aren’t the only “for real” team to emerge in the early goings of 2015. Let’s make some Observations From Planet Hockey.

The Canadiens are FOR REAL

Yep. 7-0. They’re outscoring opponents by a disgusting 3.2 to 1 ratio, and have allowed just two penalty kill goals this year. TWO in 24 penalty kill opportunities. Their defense looks like a damn wall, their depth is never-ending, and last year’s Hart Trophy Winner, Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, is boasting a damn-near perfect 1.00 Goals Against Average and a 96.6 save percentage.

Oh, and as if you didn’t need any more convincing that Montreal is for real – four of their first seven games have been played on the road. If theres any consolation for you Habs haters – they play a better Sabres team on the road, a hobbled Toronto at home, followed by a Canadian road trip to Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary before returning home to face Winnipeg next week. There’s gotta be a loss in there somewhere, right?

Dallas Can SCORE

Dallas’ first line – Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Patrick Sharp – have put up 8 goals and 10 assists through the first six games of the season. Their second line – Vernon Fiddler, Jason Spezza, and Ales Hemsky – have put up 5 goals and 8 assists. That’s 13 goals and 18 assists from the first two lines. Jesus.

The scary thing is newcomer and former Blackhawks star Sharp hasn’t found the twine yet in 2015. He’s a double-digit goal scorer in eight of the last nine seasons including three 30+ goal scoring seasons. Wait until he gets going. This team is going to be scary for opposing netminders.

Columbus is the NHL’s biggest disappointment

Two years ago the Blue Jackets put up 93 points, snagged the 7th spot in the playoffs, and took the Penguins to Game 6 before falling in the first round of the playoffs. They were the sexy pick to make a big playoff push last year but regressed tremendously and missed the playoffs by three spots. This season they got off to a horrendous 0-7 start and fired head coach Todd Richards this morning and replaced him with … get ready …

He’s baaack … 

John Tortorella

JOHN TORTO-FREAKING-RELLA!!!!

He’s my favorite. No Stanley Cup winning coach has been fired more than Tortorella. Here’s a refresher course on Torts:

– Hired as the interim head coach of the New York Rangers for the final four games of the 1999-2000 season.

– Lightning coach from 2000 to 2008 where he won the 2004 Stanley Cup.

– Fired from Tampa after four straight years of playoff misses and first-round exits.

– Hired as the Rangers interim head coach again – this time for the final 21 games – where the Rangers went 12-7-2 down the stretch, earning a playoff spot before they were demolished by the Capitals.

– Remained the Rangers coach for the next four seasons where his teams underachieved – going only as far as the Conference Finals – until he was fired midway through the 2012-13 season.

– Named head coach of the Vancouver Canucks midway through the 2013-14 season. The Canucks mustered an underwhelming 34-win season, missing the playoffs. Torts was fired again.

– Oct. 21, 2015 – named the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets after an 0-7 start.

This isn’t going to end badly.

 

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