Nightly Scrap: Fun in Finland as underrated shine

Updated: October 8, 2010 at 1:01 am by Alexander Monaghan

The 2010-2011 NHL season began at exactly 12 PM EST as the Minnesota Wild met the Carolina Hurricanes in Helsinki, Finland; something that could have been a boring game.

Former Montreal Canadiens’ forward Guillaume Latendresse opened the scoring after only a few minutes, continuing his scoring ways of last season– which seemed to be a trend.  Latendresse scored 25 goals in 55 games with the Wild last year and could pass 30 goals.

Jussi Jokinen, a 30 goal scorer of last season, made a splash once again with a goal and an assist.  Both of these players went probably undrafted in most standard leagues despite their torrid production.  Neither has shown any sign of slowing down thus far, which should be a good sign for the future.

The same can be said of second line center Brandon Sutter.  Playing only six seconds less than captain Eric Staal, the 21-year-old alternate captain tallied two goals.  Sutter should be out to make a statement that his 21 goals last season were no fluke.

Nevertheless, every Fin from Mikko Koivu to Niklas Backstrom to Joni Pitkanen shined in their home country and get the chance to do it again.

Lets take a look at the rest of the League, bullet style:

  • Jean-Sebastien Giguere looked sharp, turning aside more shots than the flu-plagued Carey Price.  The Maple Leafs need to be on top of their game for the veteran to maintain his value and get more offense from their team than just Phil Kessel, who coincidentally scored in the contest.  The other two goals came from fourth liner Tim Brent and second line newcomer Clarke MacArthur while only Dustin Boyd and Jeff Halpern tallied for the Habs.
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins opened the door to their new arena by losing to their rival Philadelphia Flyers 3-2.  To their credit they fired shot after shot at young goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who delivered as advertised.  As the current starter, Bob could be as valuable as Semyon Varlamov by the time the season ends. Nobody between the two teams scored more than a point, with notable markers going to Mike Richards, Daniel Briere, Alex Goligoski and Claude Giroux.
  • Rookie “center” Jordan Eberle scored two and led the Edmonton Oilers to an impressive victory in the Battle of Alberta.  Miikka Kiprusoff played well turning aside 18 of 19 shots in the first period, but ultimately could not outlast the attack from the young Oilers.  His counterpart, Nikolai Khabibulin, leads the League in Sv%, GAA and shutouts which is something I do not intend to repeat, ever again.
  • The Avs spoiled the Chicago Blackhawks’ season debut. Patrick Sharp scored the game tying goal in the third before Paul Stastny sealed the deal in overtime with his second notch of the game.  Not known for his scoring prowess, if Stastny can improve his totals he could become an elite center.  The Hawks had different lines at both even strength and on the powerplay but overall looked to be pretty good.  Their offense should be good but with a 4-3 loss, Marty Turco still looks like that same Dallas Stars player who posted a 2.72 and 2.81 the past two years.

Just some tidbits from around the League.  Stay tuned for some great updates to the site including but not limited to our starting goalies, injury updates and line combinations and follow us @DailyFaceoff

Carolina Hurricanes, Guillaume Latendresse, Jussi Jokinen, Minnesota Wild, Niklas Backstrom