- Fighting in hockey isn't going anywhere because too many people who are part of the legislative process of the game want fighting to stay. The question of whether or not it is an integral part of the game is a tough one to answer because as long as it's allowed, it's a part of the game. I would offer that if it was removed from the game, the biggest losers would be players that specialize in it and fans who like it...but the game itself would not suffer if the rules were changed to make fighting an offense that results in an ejection (like the other major sports). That said...I'm OK with it still being part of the game. The players understand it's current role and it is still used to motivate teams.
- I hope Crosby plays this Friday and I hope it's a return for good. I am tired of all the speculation surrounding his return...but realize it's all part of the media machine that runs with him. I have learned over the years that in situations like this, EVERY SINGLE WORD he says is over analyzed...in an attempt to shed light or make news, even when there really isn't any news. Personally, I'll be glad when it's over and done with and I'm guessing Crosby will be too.
- Speaking of Sid...If I read one more hammerhead comment about how Sid should have had his head up on the Steckel hit, I am going to...POST A HATE VIDEO ON YOUTUBE!!...Ok...I kid...BUT SERIOUSLY...Sid did get hit, or create the collision (which is more like it) because he wasn't looking at where he was skating...this is 100% true. But any moron can see, he NEVER touched the puck on the play/hit and he was watching the puck essentially the entire time. He wasn't expecting a hit because none should have been forthcoming. It's not as if he was skating with the puck and his head down and got creamed like Lindros did years back. It was, in my opinion, an accident that Sid was partially responsible for because he wasn't looking in the direction he was skating. I also believe that Steckel really didn't try to hit Crosby, and even tried to avoid him to some extent, but it just turned out badly.
- The Blue Jackets season to date is about as much of a 180 from what I expected as I can imagine. They are in a world of hurt right now and there's really nothing they can fall back on for support. Their team defensive play is suspect, their starting goalie has been horrendous, they aren't scoring any goals and their coach has to feel like each day is his last. To say it can't get any worse would seem like an understatement...or maybe tempting fate with the way things have gone thus far.
- The Edmonton Oilers continue to win games, even as the scoring for their New Kids On The Block line (Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins) has taken a plunge. The Geezers (Horcoff, Smyth and now Hemsky) along with stellar play from Old Man Winter (Khabibulin) have carried this team in recent weeks and they now sit at 9-3-2 on the season. I'm sure this team will hit a 'reality check' at some point, the question is, will they have gained enough confidence and wins before that happens to keep them in the hunt for the playoffs by the time March/April rolls around?
- Speaking of a 'reality check'...the Toronto Maple Leafs have hit a bump in the road, losing two straight by a combined score of 12-1. The question is, is it a speed bump or something larger? Losing to a rival and defending champion Bruins team 7-0 is one thing ...and maybe just an isolated incident...but losing the next game 5-1 to a Panthers team that nobody would mistake for a cup contender (at least not at this stage) is another. Teams go through these kind of things during a season and good teams...playoff teams...usually find a way to rebound in a short time. Thursday's meeting with the Blues, who have a new coach and just shutout the Blackhawks 3-0 last night, should be a good test to see what the Leafs are made of.
- Alex Ovechkin is at a crossroads. He seemed to do everything asked of him last year...not worrying about being the highest scoring player in the league and buying into the team first approach...but it only amounted in another early playoff exit. This year, the Caps have started off well (minus a bad game or two recently) but Ovie is not quite lighting up the scoreboard with 13 points in 13 games and a minus 1 (6 goals). Those aren't bad numbers, but as witnessed by his not being on the ice when his team needed a tying goal a few nights back, Ovechkin's game is not where he or his coach would probably like it to be right now. As hard as that might be for some (including Ovie) to accept, in the long run it might be better for his team...and for him. During last year's playoffs, Ovie seemed to do all he could, but other key guys from that team...not so much. Having the rest of that team understand that Ovechkin can't always bail them out is probably a lesson that they need to learn...and one Ovechkin himself has to see too. Both he and his team should eventually be stronger from this.
- Who thinks the Dallas Stars are for real? I keep looking at the scores each night expecting to see that the wheels have come off in Texas...and now they are 11-3-0. Jamie Benn and Kari Lehtonen sure seem like the real deals (along with Erriksson and a few others)...and last night's 5-2 win over the Caps can only improve opinions. If they go into Pittsburgh and beat the Pens Friday...especially if Crosby plays...then it will be time to start taking the Stars a lot more seriously than most of us probably have so far.
- How good is Claude Giroux...and is Jaromir Jagr really a point a game player in the NHL? I offer these answers...REALLY GOOD and YES
- Where's Cody Franson? He's played 4 games and is a MINUS 5. The trade to Leafs is not turning out as I thought it would. Instead of making Franson more of a well known name in fantasy circles, it's made him a name that frequents the healthy scratch list. Something has got to give in that situation...Franson's name has been mentioned in trade rumors...maybe his stay in Toronto was just for...as they say..."a cup of coffee"...
Thanks for reading!