Every Sunday I will take a look back at the week that was in the NHL, and pick out some specific winners and losers. Of course if you think I missed someone add your own comment on the bottom.
The first few games of the NHL season are under our belt, and almost every team has had a chance to show how they look this year. Of course no one should jump to conclusions this early about a team, but here are this week’s winners and losers.
State of Pennsylvania- Both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers are 2-0 to start off the young season. Sidney Crosby still is not back for the Penguins but that hasn’t stopped them from taking down two of the better Western Conference teams. The return of Jaromir Jagr to the NHL has given the Flyers a nice boost, and Ilya Bryzgalov has already earned his first shutout.
Buffalo Sabres- The Sabres made their trip to Europe look easy, with convincing wins over the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings. Thomas Vanek is off to a hot start with five points already, and the newly acquired Ville Leino already has a game-winning goal.
Florida Panthers- The worst team in the Eastern Conference last season has already started off on the right foot, shutting down the New York Islanders in a 2-0 win. The Panthers added a lot of big parts over the offseason, and it is a new culture down in Sunrise, Florida.
Detroit Red Wings- The Red Wings are tied with Buffalo for the best goal differential in the NHL so far (+5), and it could have been even more if they didn’t give up three late goals to the Ottawa Senators. The Red Wings have played two weaker teams in the league though, so their next game against Vancouver will be a true test.
Phil Kessel- Kessel scored the first hat trick of the NHL season in a 6-5 win over the Senators Saturday night. Everyone has heard the great story of Kessel fighting through cancer, and he is now one of the top players on the Toronto Maple Leafs.
New York Islanders- The Islanders had a lot of momentum coming into this season, with a successful second half of last year. Unfortunately they didn’t carry that into their season opener against the Panthers, where they couldn’t manage a goal in front of a fired up crowd.
Columbus Blue Jackets- The Blue Jackets are off to a slow start, losing their first two games. The Blue Jackets spent a lot of money on defenseman James Wisniewski, but so far he hasn’t touched the ice as he serves a suspension for a preseason hit.
Craig Anderson- Anderson joined the Ottawa Senators at the end of last season, and so far this season he has been anything but solid in net. Anderson has already given up nine goals in less than 100 minutes, giving him a goals against average of 5.4. It is hard to even blame his defense as his save percentage is a measly .857%.
Chris has written for various blogs about various teams, including the New York Jets and New York Islanders. He is currently a junior at the University of Maryland, where he is studying the dying field of print journalism.