Ten thoughts on NHL after 10 games

Ten thoughts on NHL after 10 games
October 26, 2013, 10:00 am

Ten thoughts as most of the NHL’s 30 teams hit the 10-game mark:

Rocky Mountain High: Did anyone other than Patrick Roy think the Colorado Avalanche would have the best record in the NHL at 9-1-0?  I mean, these guys finished 29th in the NHL last season and didn’t get to nine wins until game No. 23. "I've said before, going from where we've been last year and the year before and the year before that, it feels great right now,” said Matt Duchene, who is second in the NHL with eight goals. ”But you can't be satisfied. We know how fast it can turn.”

Where’s the brotherly love?: The Flyers [2-7-0] are off to the worst start in their history and have been only marginally better under Craig Berube [2-4-0] as they were under Peter Laviolette [0-3-0]. In fact if the Flyers don't score at least three goals tonight they will become the first NHL team to start a season with 10 straight games with under three goals since the 1940-41 New York Americans.

Torts factor: The Vancouver Canucks have played five more games than the Rangers so this may be a little skewed, but the Canucks are 8-4-1 and one point out of the Western Conference lead while his former employers are off to a 2-6-0 start under his replacement, Alain Vigneault.

Speaking of which: The $1 billion renovation of Madison Square Garden has been nothing short of spectacular, but does it really need to take three years and force the Rangers to play their first nine games on the road? The Rangers [2-6-0] finally play their first game at MSG on Monday night against Montreal.

Where’s Claude?: Following his rookie season in Philadelphia, Flyers owner Ed Sndier said Claude Giroux reminded him of Bobby Clarke. Two seasons ago, comparisons to Sidney Crosby were thrown around. Through nine games this season, Giroux has zero goals and three assists. In fact, some guy named Tye McGinn leads the Flyers with three goals.

Giving Sid his due: OK, let’s just say it. Sidney Crosby is the best player in hockey … again. The Penguins’ 26-year-old captain leads the NHL with 18 points in his first 10 games and ranks second in goals [eight] and assists [10]. But unlike last season, when he nearly ran away with the scoring title before getting injured, Crosby is just two points ahead of Henrik Sedin and three ahead of Alex Ovechkin.

Welcome back, Ovi: How can we fail to mention the brilliance of Alex Ovechkin in the first 10 games? The Caps’ 28-year-old captain has 30 goals in his last 30 regular season games, a feat that has not been accomplished since Pavel Bure. Here’s a guarantee: If Ovechkin scores a goal a game in the playoffs, the Caps win the Cup.

Old Guys Rule: Is it just me or did anyone else think J-S Giguere retired years ago? I mean, this guy is so old [36] that he played for the Hartford Stinking Whalers. Oh, yes, and he’s leading the NHL with an .067 GAA and a .981 save percentage.

What a way to go: Speaking of old goalies, could 36-year-old Marty Biron have picked a worse way to retire than to be embarrassed by Tomas Hertl’s between-the-legs shot heard round the world? Knowing Biron’s sense of humor, I can just picture him showing his grandchildren videos of that goal, saying he went out with a bang.

Mediocre East: If the first three weeks of the season are any indication, the Western Conference is waaaaay better than the East. As of Saturday morning, the 14 teams in the Western Conference teams have combined for 184 points, while the 16 teams in the East have just 157 points. Which means, if the Eastern Conference playoffs started today, the Bruins, Maple Leafs and Maple Leafs would represent the Atlantic Division; the Penguins, Islanders and Hurricanes would represent the Metro Division; and the Lightning and Canadiens would be the wild cards. And in the West, the Avalanche, Blackhawks and Predators would represent the Central; the Sharks, Canucks and Ducks would represent the Pacific; and the Coyotes and Kings would be the wild cards. Which could mean teams in the East will need to simply finish with a record over .500 to get into the playoffs, while teams in the West will need to be three games over .500 to get in.