I’ll hold back on making any comments on last night’s Ruutu/Tucker and Richards/Booth hits, but it certainly was another destructive week in the NHL, with another host of injuries hitting the wires. Besides that, relatively quiet, as things have stayed basically the same: Colorado’s doing well, the Leafs are atrocious, and Chris Chelios is back on the ice. May as well be 1997.
Tavares Is Actually Decent
With the amount of hype Steve Stamkos had shoved on him before last season as the face of the Lightning, and how unsettled a first half of last year he looked (though he’s pretty rockin’ now), I was thinking that John “Face of the Islanders” Tavares might have the same start to his NHL career, seeing how hyped he’s been for ages now. Turns out, not so much! With 7 points in 9 games, he’s off to a decent start on a hapless team, and it sounds like he’s doing everything in his power to learn the game, especially from a player like Doug Weight. Keep pluggin, John. Story link.
The Dominator Is Actually Not Retired
Say what? Dominik Hasek is making an attempted comeback for the winter olympics with the Czech Republic? As surprising as it sounds for a 44-year old twice-retired goaltender to make a pro-level comeback, even one of Hasek’s insane natural ability, if he makes the roster it will make sense. The Czech’s have Vokoun and….Hasek. Besides that? Ondrej Pavelec of the Thrashers, and all-World talent Milan Hnlicka. That country needs some goalies. Stat. Story link.
Update: Just saw this goal scored against Pavelec. Watch it, and you’ll understand why Hasek isn’t a bad choice after all. Link.
Kostitsyn is Actually A Girl
Taking a page out of the Brandon Marshall (failed) playbook to force your way out of town, Sergei Kostitsyn has apparently deserted the Hamilton Bulldogs and been suspended. Again. He agreed to come back from his first suspension if the team tried to trade him; several weeks later he’s still in Hamilton. Option number one could be because Bob Gainey lied to his face and decided to keep him as some kind of punishment. Option number two is that nobody wants a marginal NHL player with an attitude problem. Keep trying, Sergei, there’s a home for you in the KHL somewhere. Story link.
A Good Read from Jim Kelley
There was a good article on SI.com last week from Jim Kelley about the increased hits and shots taken at goaltenders in the NHL. While goaltender injuries aren’t too too common (unless you’re DiPietro or play for the Maple Leafs), there’s certainly enough stoppages in play due to goalies getting run over by players making a beeline for the net. Kelley brings up a good point, suggesting that the down-low ref keep an eye on the puck while a trailing referee watches for goaltender infractions, but knowing the NHL’s penchant for talking a tough game and then failing to enforce it, I can’t see something so subjective working very well. Worth a read. Story link.