* In his first NHL start of the season, Richard Bachman dragged the Edmonton Oilers all the way to a shootout against the Los Angeles Kings before losing. He stopped 47 of 48 shots for a .979 save percentage.
* Steven Stamkos scored and added an assist, then scored the winner in the shootout for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are suddenly tied for first in the Atlantic Division with a game in hand on the Leafs. With Boston, Montreal, Detroit and Ottawa lurking behind those two, it’s safe to say that division is going to be a dogfight.
Here’s the Stamkos goal. You cannot contain this guy.
* Alex Stalock started his first career game (despite already having an NHL win under his belt, as odd as that sounds), and stopped 38 of 40 shots in a Sharks win over the Senators.
* Corey Perry scored a late goal to go with his assist to push the Ducks past the Jets, and…holy hell.
Ladies and gentleman, we have a trade to announce
Normally I save the off-ice info for the “other news” section, but this one is too big to wait on: The Buffalo Sabres have traded Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders for Matt Moulson, a first round pick in 2014, and a second in 2015.
I wrote this reaction on the deal last night:
The New York Islanders of Monday, October 28th, 2013 are a better team than the group who lost to the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2 on Saturday, October 26th. You’re welcome to debate how much, but if you don’t think Thomas Vanek is an upgrade on Matt Moulson you’re a crazy person. So there’s that.
Along with Moulson went first and second round draft picks, which obviously isn’t chump change, but the Islanders are in a place where their system is already full of young talent, their division is struggling, and the rare chance to add that coveted difference-making skill presented itself. They gave up a little more than some might expect (I’m sure Sabres fans aren’t too bummed), but I think it’s at least a justifiable trade on Garth Snow’s part. And hey, from an Isles fan perspective, it’s always fun to receive the best player in a deal.
Matt Moulson has been nothing short of amazing for the Islanders in his time there. He’s been a key part of a group that’s gone from the basement to playoffs, he’s put up a number of 30-plus goal seasons, and he’s been a class act all the way. It’s a shame that he had to leave Long Island (a little piece of me sees his contract expiring this summer and wonders if he won’t end up back in the blue and orange).
But as they say, hockey’s a business, and if you have the chance to make your team better, you can’t fault the GM of a fringe team for trying. It’s still unknown whether the Isles will be able to extend Vanek or not, but a few months in Long Island playing for a better team on a line with John Tavares should go a ways towards helping.
The hope for the Islanders is that adding Vanek bumps them up the standings high enough to where that first-rounder is closer to pick #30 than pick #1, and they can get the big Austrian re-signed. If you’re Buffalo, the guy wasn’t re-signing there anyway, and the return is pretty darn good.
You can read the full progression of the trade, from it breaking to the ensuing reaction here, in one of our new “story stacks.” They’re a great way to dig into what you’ve missed.
Brandon Dubinsky got ejected for…interference, I guess
There was some online rumbling after Brandon Dubinsky hit Saku Koivu yesterday about a suspension – as in, was this a head shot, was it bad, should he get one?
My take is that it’s really not that bad of a hit. Koivu’s own stick seems to hit him in the face, so there was definitely contact to the head, but I don’t think it was the principle point, I don’t think the intent was malicious, and I think the five minute major was more than sufficient punishment (if not too much).
Radko Gudas had a mini meltdown
Radko Gudas, he of the the amazing playoff beard, had a funny incident against the Panthers. He ended up on his backside in front of the Panthers bench, where Scottie Upshall apparently decided to cash in on the situation, and spray him with water. Gudas got up and slashed the bench, as you can see below:
Easy there, big fella.
Du-ing it, Du-ing it, Du-ing it well
NHL.com, where you at? I’d like a little love for that LL Cool J headline.
Anyway, Matt Duchene scored again, in a game that saw the Avalanche scored twice in the third period to come from behind and beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-2. They’re now 10-1 in 11 games, which is only behind the 10-1-1 Sharks by a point.
Duchene could not have put back this Steve Downie rebound in the first period with any more confidence. Dude barely even celebrates it, aside from a little attitude. He now has 13 points in 11 games, and his nine goals are second in the league behind Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Steen, who have 10.
Francois Beauchemin trucked Artem Anisimov
Heads up, son.
* Pekka Rinne has a rather scary hip infection, and will be out for quite awhile.
* Lindy Ruff returns to Buffalo tonight as the head coach of the Dallas Stars. He was there for 16 years, so I have no doubt he’ll be warmly received.
* The New York Rangers will finally play their first home game tonight. The schedule makers had them on the road to start the year so the renovations of Madison Square Garden could get finished up. Nine games in, they’re off to a rocky 3-6 start under new coach Alain Vigneault.
* The Calgary Flames revealed their new third jerseys. They’re relatively inoffensive, but a little beer-leaguey for my taste.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) October 27, 2013
I just can’t see any way Matt Moulson benefits from the trade to Buffalo, probably because he doesn’t. He’s moving to a worse team in a place with a worse winter. He’s a pending UFA, and suddenly his centerman’s name isn’t John Tavares. He has a 14-month old, and his wife just had another baby. There’s a realistic chance the Sabres could trade him again before the deadline for more draft picks, because hey, why not.
I’m not saying Moulson’s life is terrible or anything, I’m saying there’s zero benefit here for him, and that phone call must have been a tough one to receive. Even the whole “closer to home” thing is pretty meaningless if it isn’t actually home. As someone who’s moved around a ton playing hockey, I know that living two hours from home is basically the same as living 12 with the lifestyle you live.
The man will be fine, yesterday was just a bummer day for him.