The first twelve days of the 2013-14 NHL season have been exciting, controversial, and filled with a whole lot of Patrick Roy. Here is a look at the ten best moments:
10. Grabovski hat trick almost spoils Blackhawks’ banner raiser
Kudos to the Chicago Blackhawks for becoming the first defending champ to win on Banner Night since the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009-10. In typical clutch fashion, the Hawks dodged defeat with a strong 3rd period performance. However, the hometown win almost never was.
Leafs GM Dave Nonis and his brass of esteemed hockey thinkers made the decision to un-Grabovski themselves during the 2013 NHL offseason. His cap hit was high, and he’s kind of a tweener. Not to mention, every NHL team was awarded two (compliance) buyouts to be used during a two week period last summer, and again, next. MLSE are extremely profitable. It’s an advantage they have over many competing clubs. They used their wealth to rid themselves of a player that doesn’t fit the identity they are trying establish.
Grabo started the season with a bang! Prove em wrong Grabo! He has recorded 0 goals in his following three contests. Like 99% of players in the NHL, he’s streaky offensively.
9. Selanne returns to Winnipeg, again
I remember when Teemu Selanne began his career with the Winnipeg Jets back in 1992-93. I was a hockey loving kid back then. When he scored that infamous record breaking third goal (you know the one), then threw his glove in the air and shot at it three times with his makeshift hockey stick machine gun, it was the coolest thing in the world. I wonder if Tomas Hertl has seen that clip…
Selanne holds the record for goals by a rookie, with 76. Seems impossible for a first year player to ever duplicate that goal total in this era, although Alex Chiasson of the Dallas Stars is well on his way.
Winnipeg loves Teemu Selanne. He was there when the team said its farewells in 1995, and luckily, he has lasted long enough to witness the return of the Jets. Teemu received cheers and praise from the loud crowd at MTS Centre, fitting for a legend and future Hall of Famer.
8. Schneider vs Luongo
They’re going to trade Lou, we all thought. But as he said himself, his contract sucks. In a day and age where every NHL team has at least one respectable goaltender, trading away Roberto Luongo’s lengthy salary proved impossible for the Vancouver Canucks, in the end.
Schneider was supposed to be the goalie of the future. Well, he still is, just not in Vancouver. The schedule makers knew what they were doing here, that’s my theory. Only eight days into the 2013-14 NHL journey, Schneider’s new team met his old team, in his old barn, against his former partner in crime, Roberto Luongo.
The Canucks spoiled Schneider’s return with an overtime goal by newcomer, Mike Santorelli.
7. Alex Steen scores late goal to beat the Blackhawks
Alex Steen has come a long way since joining the Blues, a Maple Leafs castaway with an undefined niche in the NHL. Since then, he has gradually become one of the best two-way centremen in the NHL. You heard it here first – Steen up for the Selke this year.
When the Hawks rolled into St. Louis on October 9, the hockey world anticipated an early season classic, and we were rewarded. With only 21 seconds remaining in regulation, son of Jets’ legend Thomas, Alex burst in on Crawford and powered one through the Cup winning keeper. Blues 3 – Hawks 2.
6. Spin O Rama Controversy
On the NHL’s inaugural Saturday night affair, the Battle of Ontario raged at the ACC in Toronto. The Maple Leafs came back after trailing the Ottawa Senators by a couple. Overtime solved nothing, propelling the game into a shootout.
Newly signed Leafs forward Mason Raymond was the first shooter for the Buds, and he gave Anderson the ol’ snow face no chance spin o rama. The goal held up as decisive.
After the game, Sens coach Paul MacLean was his typical self at the press conference, making a funny comment that little did we know would be trumped times 1,000 only a few days later by a California based captain.
MacLean said, “I think it’s a very unfair play for the goaltender for the guy to come in and blow snow on him. [But] I’m only a fisherman from Nova Scotia, so I don’t know nothin’ about nothin.’ ”
According to NHL.com, the spin-o-rama is legal if it meets certain criteria. The spinning shooter must not make physical contact with the goaltender, stop the puck completely, or stop moving entirely, or the goal will be disallowed. Snowing the netminder is fine. NHL senior vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell enlightens here, courtesy of NHL.com.
5. Patrick Roy attacks glass
It’s funny because of the hype surrounding Roy’s temper coming into the season. So far, he seems tactical and strategic more than crazy and wild. His Colorado Avalanche are 4-0-0 to start the season. Regardless, on his first evening, he lost his cool.
Roy got into a shouting match with the Anaheim Ducks’ bench after the final whistle. It didn’t stop at yelling – the 4-time Cup winner pushed at the glass that separates the two benches, tipping it toward a couple Ducks, including Hart trophy winner Corey Perry. Roy was fined $10,000 by the league. Welcome back to the NHL, Patrick Roy.
4. Joe Thornton’s Goal Celebration Comments
My oh my, did Joe Thornton kick down a closed door here. With Vancouver press swarming the San Jose Sharks’ dressing room, captain Joe made a bold statement about what his 4-goal celebration would entail if that day ever comes.
The way it’s written in The Province, it seems as though Thornton’s comments were said as a joke, not meant for publication. While listening in on a conversation between teammate Patrick Marleau and some reporters, Joe claimed that if he ever scores four goals in one NHL game he will celebrate by…. hmmm, maybe better to just quote here. Thornton declared, “I’d have my c@#$ out if I scored four goals. I’d have my c@#$ out stroking it.”
Thornton’s comments were brought on because of backlash faced by rookie teammate, Tomas Hertl, who scored four times in a 9-2 destroying of the New York Rangers. Hertl was criticized for being too flashy on his final goal of the night, the game already well out of reach.
3. Flyers fire head coach Peter Laviolette three games into the season
Peter Laviolette’s reign in Philadelphia came to a close after only three games played this season. The Flyers 0-3 record spawned a decision to act on what may have been already pre-decided by team management – probably wasn’t a spur of the moment thing, although I’m just guessing.
Some thought the firing would have occurred during the summer, but no. I guess Laviolette had a short piece of rope to begin the season with, and you know the cliche.
Former Flyer Craig Berube replaces Laviolette, as the club tries to rectify deficiencies and qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs in a very competitive Metropolitan division.
2. Oilers amazing comeback against the Devils
About to go down 0-3 to kick off 2013-14, the Edmonton Oilers worked their youthful magic in the 3rd period of a home game against the New Jersey Devils. The score was 3-0 New Jersey when the storm began. Key Oilers Andrew Ference, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and David Perron buried in less than eight minutes of 3rd period puck to give the young club the lead, while the arena went mad with cheer. The Oilers won the game in a shootout.
It was the type of win that can define a hockey club’s season. Check out the goals.
1. Tomas Hertl’s 4-goal night
What made Tomas Hertl’s four goal night even more exciting was that for most hockey fans, it was the first time we ever heard of the kid. Nineteen years old, from Czech Republic, drafted 1st round in 2012 by the San Jose Sharks – once again, watch Tomas Hertl score four goals in his 3rd NHL game.