“I Might Just Be A Hockey Fan In California” is a feature that will be posted every Saturday during the hockey season here at the View From My Seats. There are plenty of things going on in the hockey world (and even the sports world); and you know everyone has an opinion. This is a place for some quick hits of the week that was.
I might just be a hockey fan in California, but:
- How long before Columbus Blue Jackets’ GM Scott Howson starts looking at goaltenders for his team? The organization dropped a ton of money in the offseason in an effort to win-now, but Steve Mason doesn’t look like’s going to regain the form he had when he won the Calder Trophy in 2009. I hear the Blackhawks and Islanders have plenty of goaltending to go around.
- Quick note to the Texas Rangers: Stop making it to the ALCS. You’re really screwing up the Dallas Stars attendance numbers.
- Darren Pang brought up a great point during a Blues game this week that deserves repeating. Jaroslav Halak was a very good goaltender when he was facing a ton of shots in Montreal, but it’s a different mental game when a netminder faces fewer shots per game. He’ll need to make the mental adjustment if the Blues are going to succeed this season.
- Al Montoya got the first three starts of the season over Rick DiPietro and Evgeni Nabokov. Let that sink in for a second: the guy who was claimed on waivers from the Phoenix Coyotes is getting the nod over the guy who is signed for the next decade (literally) and another who was in the middle of a very public controversy about coming to the Island last year. As if that’s not good enough—you could make the argument that Montoya has been the best player on the Isles through three games. Oh, to be a fly on the wall in Garth Snow’s office at the trade deadline.
- Mike Ribiero might come off as a complete punk and “faker,” but I’d totally shell money out to watch that guy practice his shootout moves.
- The Ottawa Senators are awful. We’re only a week into the season and I can confidently say that I’ll be shocked if they don’t end up with the worst record in the league.
- Jonathan Huberdeau signing in Florida is great for the team—but completely expected. He’s going to be a very good/great player for the Panthers when he eventually makes it to the big club. But this isn’t the year. He’s listed at 173 lbs and the Panthers are likely to struggle this season. With all of the buzz of the offseason acquisitions, there’s no need to bring him in to try to sell tickets. The Panthers are doing the right thing to let him marinate for another season in the Q while he puts on some weight. Oh, and preserving another year of his entry level contract isn’t such a bad side effect either.
- Is there any goaltender in the league who has to work harder for his wins than Kari Lehtonen. We said it last year and it’s only be reinforced this year: simple stats don’t fully explain what Lehtonen means to the Stars. He’s asked to make extremely difficult saves all game to bail out his team—just like last year.
- It caught a lot of people’s attention when former Sabres’ captain signed an ECHL contract earlier this week. You know… if the man is willing to play in the ECHL for the chance to play in the AHL, there’s no other reason for the love of the game. More power to him; here’s to hoping he catches on somewhere for one last shot in the NHL.
- Lightning GM Guy Boucher had an interesting take on his team’s early season struggles this season. What seems like a playoff hangover, he called suffering from “sophomore psychology.” Basically, the team forgot about all of the work and desire it took to make the team successful last season. I’ve heard the concept applied repeatedly to individual players, but never heard it in these exact terms for an entire team. And you know what, his observations are right on point.
- Fans are quick to jump all over Gary Bettman at every opportunity—especially north of the 49th parallel. But people should take note of the work he’s doing surrounding the arena deal in Edmonton. This week, he brought the mayor of Edmonton and the Oilers’ owner together in New York to help the two sides come together on a new arena. Not bad for a guy who clearly hates all things Canadian.
- Want a feel good story? How about taking a look at Matthew Lombardi scoring a goal in his first game back after missing almost an entire calendar year with post-concussion syndrome. Even Predators fans are happy for the guy and they traded him away for nothing because they weren’t sure if he’d be able to come back.
- Every time I catch a St. Louis Blues game, I’m inevitably hit over the head with the same thought every single time: Alex Pietrangelo is going to be great. Not good. Great.
- You know how
Dan Ellis NHL players hate the escrow system? How do you think they feel now that the escrow checks they’re supposed to get back are being delayed because the league and the Players Association can’t agree on the numbers? Yeah, like that won’t be on the top of the list for the players in the upcoming CBA negotiations.
- Sergei Gonchar: Please just retire. You’re embarrassing yourself with your lazy effort and pissing off fans in Ottawa who already have plenty of reasons to be pissed off.
- The Canucks have already had to play the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, and Detroit Red Wings this season? They aren’t suffering from a Cup Final hangover, they’re suffering from a nightmare October schedule.
- Much respect goes out to Wayne Simmonds. In the offseason deal that centered around Mike Richards and Brayden Schenn, Simmonds has gone to Philly and been one of their most impressive players of the early season. It’s not always easy to thrive in a new situation– but Simmonds is making the most of his early days with the Flyers.
- How is this for interesting? The Dallas Stars had to deal with some salary cap problems this week when Adam Pardy came off of IR and forced the team to remove someone from the roster. By sending the player down; they’d be UNDER the salary cap floor. I guess those fans who thought the Islanders could have problems making it to the cap floor weren’t so crazy after all. They just had the wrong team.
- Can Terry Pegula do anything wrong? Even the new locker room is kick-ass.
- Don Cherry is going after some ex-fighters now? He’s a dog person–he should know better than to bite the hand that feeds him.
- Earlier this week, Caps coach Bruce Boudreau called out captain Alexander Ovechkin in the media and said he could be better in the early going. Ovechkin replied in the media saying, “everyone can be better.” If the head coach and captain are already communicating through the media in mid-October, what’s going to happen if they hit some serious speed bumps in March and April? Chances for meltdown: 108%.
- Gary Bettman is a pompous little person that needs to be fired for the good of the game.
Click here for our archive of past editions of our “I Might Just Be A Hockey Fan In California” feature.