Slovenia has but one representative in the league and he happens to be a rising superstar. Anze Kopitar continues to place his country on the hockey map with an incredible scoring pace to begin the year. Kopitar has set the bar high with 21 points in 12 games putting himself atop of the competition. Can you believe clubs passed on him in the 2005 Entry Draft because of his nationality?
Numbers: four games played, six goals, three assists, nine points, plus-3 rating.
The rather large frame of Patrick Marleau sweeps across rinks with an allure that conceals the threat he carries up the ice. One second you’ve got him within reach, the next he’s celebrating with his teammates when you turn around. Six Eastern Conference sides got a glimpse of his speed during San Jose’s road trip and they didn’t like the end result.
Numbers: four games played, three goals, six assists, nine points, plus-2 rating.
Things looked bleak for Ales Hemsky seven days ago when he was denied an empty netter by the Vancouver Canucks. But the Czech maestro had three more games to respond and he required only two of them. Three days later, Hemsky sparked a comeback from 4-1 down with a five-point night before presenting two assists in a losing cause to Calgary Saturday night.
Numbers: four games played, one goal, six assists, seven points, plus-2 rating.
Ten games in Derek Morris is looking like a decent pick-up for the Bruins. They’re hoping he can be the 30 to 40-point player he was in the first seven years of his career. On a weekend tilt in Ottawa, Boston were heading for defeat behind by two goals with just under a minute and a half to go when Morris let go a shot from the point that Mark Recchi tipped. He then unleashed a perfect slap-pass to David Krejci for an even score and Boston would steal the bonus point courtesy of the shoot-out.
Numbers: three games played, one goal, four assists, five points, plus-2 rating.
Drew Doughty found it hard to include himself in last season’s Calder Trophy debate despite his stellar play and substantial ice time each evening. Now we’re finding it difficult to ignore the former Guelph product’s composure. Doughty is 19-years-old yet competes with the instincts of a smooth veteran supplying his teammates with slide-rule passes.
Numbers: four games played, five assists, five points, plus-3 rating.
Forget the week, what a month it’s been for the Los Angeles Kings. Winners in eight of 12 contests, the offense and defense are finally standing out together with Jonathan Quick standing tall when he’s been asked to. While it was a busy week for them, Quick was a cool customer in each game and pretty much shrugged off Rick Nash’s penalty shot yesterday.
Numbers: four games played, four wins, .909 save percentage, 2.50 GAA.
Team of the Week
Center: Anze Kopitar
Left Winger: Patrick Marleau
Right Winger: Ales Hemsky
Defenseman: Derek Morris
Defenseman: Drew Doughty
Goaltender: Jonathan Quick
Scratching Alexander Frolov may be the most questionable and at the same time wisest benching coach Terry Murray ever made. We all know what the Russian is capable of and he’s awoken with six points in three games following his return including this one-on-one domination of Anton Stralman. Way to assure yourself of no more healthy scratches anytime soon Alex.
Not particularly fond of Tim Thomas’ style for stopping pucks? Who cares, he’s a Vezina Trophy winner and you’re not. Never out of the play, he denied Daniel Alfredsson of what appeared to be a definite goal. If Dominik Hasek didn’t have a protégé before, he’s not going to find a better suitor than Thomas.
Poor Ondrej Pavelec. You’re supposed to expect the unexpected but common. Jeff Schultz had six career goals prior to that clearance that took a last-minute bounce directly in front of the Atlanta keeper. At least Vesa Toskala has someone he can relate to.
A chance knocked and Michael Grabner answered the door. The Austrian didn’t have a good preseason but has been spectacular in the second call-up he’s received. A definite sniper in the making, Grabner’s five points in six contests places him seventh among rookies in terms of points per game.