Phil Kessel


Anaheim 2
Toronto 4 (Recap)

Vancouver 5
NY Islanders 4 (OT) (Recap)

New Jersey 1
Columbus 4 (Recap)

Chicago 3
Florida 2 (SO) (Recap)

Edmonton 4
Montreal 3 (Recap)

Nashville 0
Minnesota 2 (Recap)

Washington 5
Winnipeg 4 (SO) (Recap)

Calgary 2
Phoenix 4 (Recap)


Notable Numbers

* Y’know sometimes a guy gets a hat-trick, and you see the highlights, and he had like two tip-ins and an empty-netter? That was not Phil Kessel‘s hatty. His three goals came on a back-door play, a 2-on-1 where he kept and went short-side bar-down, and a 2-on-1 where he one-timed a cross-crease pass top corner. Wouldja like to see for yourself?

* Mike RiBiero is starting to tip-toe around a point-per-game after scoring twice last night (nine points in 10 games), while Alex Ovechkin’s two goals put the point-per-game figure farther in the rearview (12 in nine). Might as well check those out too:

* The Leafs came back from down 2-0, which was impressive considering 25 minutes into the game they’d mustered all of two shots on goal. They then scored three times in 8:25.

* John Tavares extended his point streak to eight games, one back of Jiri Hudler‘s league-best nine, which was also extended last night.

* Josh Harding’s 16-save shutout (don’t ask, just know it was against the Predators) pushed his record on the season to 4-2-1, and his save percentage to .953. For those who aren’t statistically inclined, those stats are what we call “good.”


What Happened

Lars Eller said a thing, then Dallas Eakins did, then some fans did. LOUD NOISES

The Montreal Canadiens jumped out to a 2-0 lead at home over the Edmonton Oilers, but managed to piss that away and lose 4-3. But no-no friends, that’s not the story:

Before the game Lars Eller was asked what he expected from the Oilers, and he basically said “I have no idea what to expect, because they take chances, so it’s tough to game plan for what they’re going to bring.” Sorry, that’s what he should have said, because that was the point he was trying to make.

What he actually said:

“It can be anything, you know? They play a little bit like a junior team, I think, sometimes. They take a lot risks, a lot of chances. They’re a little all over the place. There’s not a lot of structure always in their game. It can really be anything. You don’t know. I prefer a little more structured game. Then again, I don’t mind high-scoring games, too. Obviously, we’re going to try with their skilled players to limit their chances.”

The headline, of course, is “Eller calls Oilers a junior team.” He certainly wasn’t complementary of the Oilers in any regard, so it’s natural that they wouldn’t like the remarks. And oh-ho-ho did Mr. Eakins ever not. Here he is talking about the comments in the post-game, saying “It’s games like that you don’t even need to go play,” because y’know, they group was so upset over the comments ‘n’ stuff that a win was guaranteed.

Bulletin board material exists as a motivator occasionally, but I tend to think comments need to be a bit more direct than that to make players actually work to find the “f*** this guy” gear. I could be wrong there though, the Oil are likely a little defensive about their start compared to expectations.

Regardless, Habs fans were none-too-pleased after hearing Eakins’ post-game comments. Consensus was “bush league.”

Oh, one more thing from that game: this Brendan Gallagher snipe was nasty:


Jonas Brodin took a puck to the jaw

I’ve been meaning to write about how more and more players are going to be taking pucks to the face in the near future, so for now here’s the summary: all goalies go down as their first reaction now meaning the upper portion of the net provides your best chance for scoring, including on slapshots from the point. With the trampoline effect of today’s stick blades it’s real easy to raise the puck, sometimes even unintentionally. Combine those facts with the reality that icing the puck on penalty kills is more successful when you shoot it hard and high, and dump-ins are knocked down less when you do the same, and a lot of faces are in jeopardy.

Minnesota Wild sophomore d-man Jonas Brodin is off to a killer start this year. He’s playing huge minutes and has three and three for six in nine games. Annnd now he might be looking at a wired-shut jaw off an attempted Gabriel Bourque dump-in:


James Wisniewski may or may not have lost his lunch on the ice

The Wiz was feeling awful yesterday. All he was able to get down was a bowl of cereal (and an energy drink or seven) before the game. He ended up scoring once and adding two assists in some 19 minutes of ice time in spite of that, helping lead the Blue Jackets to a 4-1 win over the Devils. He may have also tossed his cookies on the ice.

From The Columbus Dispatch:

Wisniewski had one goal and two assists in the 4-1 victory in front of 14,357 at Nationwide Arena. He also vomited twice.

“It was … the energy drinks I’d been putting down all day,” Wisniewski said. “I got hit hard right at the end of the game, too, and I felt my stomach lurch again. I was like, ‘Oh, no,’ and then I heard the final buzzer sound.”

Way to leave it all out on the ice, big guy.


Tim Thomas got hurt again

Earlier in the season Tim Thomas got hurt making a quick, long reach with his pad on the ice against Philly. Well, the exact same thing happened to him last night, only with the play on the opposite side of the ice:

Jakob Markstrom had to come in and play the final couple minutes of regulation and OT, before the Blackhawks took the Panthers down in the shootout 3-2.

Are Thomas’s injuries related to his year off? To his age? To bad luck? I have no idea. But it’s certainly not stopping people from speculating.


An Opinion

John Tortorella’s desire to prove he’s willing to break from the status quo kind of stinks of over-coaching. We get it, John. He’s like the cop gone rogue that ends up getting his whole unit killed by going against protocol.

Last night he decided not to dress David Booth in favour of a bushel of defensemen.

He’s tried splitting up the Sedins, he’s shuffled the lines until they’re so unidentifiable you need to check dental records to figure out who’s what, he’s tried everything. He’s at game 10 of his five-year contract. The Canucks did beat the Islanders in OT, but my thinking is that you only have so many buttons to push in the coaching arsenal to jumpstart things, and you may not want to wear them out too early in the season.

You can bench guys, scratch them, yell at them, give them a pat on the bum, shuffle the lines…I dunno, skate them? The point is, you don’t have a ton of tools at your disposal, so to see Tortorella plowing through the bag of tricks 10% into the year just reminds me why every time he leaves somewhere it feels like he’s fully exhausted his resources there. You may like that, you may hate that, but it certainly seems to be His Thing.


Other News

* The Bertuzzi/Moore civil suit is due to get under way September of 2014.

* Chicago’s got a bad habit of getting up early and letting it slip away. From Pro Hockey Talk:

Today: Chicago went up 2-0 in the second period, gave up two goals in the third period.
Saturday: run-of-the-mill 3-1 win against Toronto.
Oct. 17: Gave up 1-0 and 2-1 leads against St. Louis, lost 3-2 in a shootout.
Oct. 15: Built 2-0 lead midway through first period vs. Carolina, gave up two third period goals, won 3-2 via a shootout.
Oct. 12: Won 2-1 against Buffalo after going up 2-0.
Oct. 11: Built 2-0 lead, allowed Islanders two goals in the last minute of the first period, eventually won 3-2 after a second period goal.

PHT also notes that if your “bad habit” involves getting points every night, it’s probably not all that bad.

* Taylor Hall is going to miss the next four weeks with a knee injury. Total bummer for him and his team.

* But most importantly, check out this awesome suit Evander Kane wore to the game last night on Breast Cancer Awareness night: