Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ramping Up

Do you feel it? Highlight reel goals, suspensions, hot starts, and struggles - the NHL regular season has all but washed away the yucky mundane feeling that there was ever an off-season. At least for me, anyway.

At almost one week into the start, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers have had impressive outings in each of their first two games. Now, it's way too early to even speculate if either of these teams will make the playoffs but here's what I like about these teams: The Oilers' youth movement and Leafs' defense.

Jordan Eberle's spectacular goal in his NHL debut has set the bar high for others to contend with any Goal of the Year honors and his team is having fun with it. The test for these kids will come when the regular season grind starts to set in but the future in Edmonton is bright.

Is there a deeper defense in the league than that of the Maple Leafs? With Dion Phaneuf at the helm, Tomas Kaberle the trigger man on the PP, and punishers Francois Beauchemin, Mike Komisarek, and Luke Schenn the Leafs are going to be a tough team to play against all season. Jean-Sebastien Giguere has the framework to regain his dominance and the only area of concern - albeit a big one - will be their ability to score goals. Phil Kessel cannot score every one of them so guys like Kris Versteeg and Mikhail Grabovski will need to be consistent. Oh, and I'm placing Clarke MacArthur on my watchlist for a breakout year.

A two game and near $80,000 charade by Islanders' denfenseman James Wisniewski gave Sean Avery his first of, what I'm sure will be many, incidents where the focus turns to gabbing and suspensions rather than hockey ability. Not to say that anything less was to be expected.

And finally, for now, the awful start for the Anaheim Ducks who are 0-3 and have been outscored, outshot, and outclassed in every outing thus far. It's good that the team has more than $15 million committed to Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry, and Ryan Getzlaf - should they ever be able to get out of their own zone, they might score some goals.

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1 comment:

  1. Right after posting this, Clarke MacArthur has scored 2 goals against Pittsburgh and is tied for the league lead with Ovechkin.