The Colorado Avalanche stunned the Stanley Cup champs in the Avs NHL season opener. Predicted to finish low in the Western Conference standings, the Avalanche took it to the Hawks with a win on the first day of the 2010-11 NHL season.
Winger Chris Stewart scored first for the Avs with an unassisted goal, after an opening power-play goal by Bryan Bickell. Goals by Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny put Colorado up approaching the third intermission. Patrick Sharp rallied for the Hawks making the game even. Forced to go into overtime, Paul Stastny scored the game-winning goal in the Avs season opener at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Continuing the celebration in the West, the Edmonton Oilers debuted their new look and new rookies. Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi took the ice in the season opener in Edmonton. The Oilers are counting on rebuilding their team and fan base by highlighting an exciting list of young players expected to make an impact in the NHL. Eberle scored a short-handed goal in the third period to claim his first NHL goal and Edmonton’s first rookie goal. Hall and Paajarvi did not score, but logged significant ice time for fans to view their future stars. The battle of Alberta wasn’t even close with a shutout by the Oilers over the Calgary Flames.
In the East, some gains and pains. Pittsburgh opened their new season in a new arena, but lost to the Philadelphia Flyers by a goal. Crosby failed to score. Minnesota’s Guillaume Latendresse scored the first NHL goal of the season, but the Minnesota Wild could not win over the Carolina Hurricanes. The success of the Hurricanes continued winning their second game over the Wild. Toronto passes a huge roadblock by winning over the Montreal Canadiens at home. New captain Dion Phaneuf assisted on the opening goal.
It was an exciting opening night and many teams have taken the first step on their road to success, others fell short.
Posted in Teams
Tagged Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dion Phaneuf, Eberle, Edmonton Oilers, Flyers, Hall, Latendresse, Montreal Canadiens, NHL, Pittsburgh Penguins, season opener, Sidney Crosby, Stastny, Stewart, Toronto Maple Leafs
Thursday night, the NHL season kicks off with an afternoon game- so consider calling in sick if you are fans of Minnesota or Carolina. The Hurricanes must gain ground this year after a let down last season. Carolina cannot look bad hosting the NHL All-Star game, either. Minnesota has had some buzz. At the Colorado Avalanche training camp, I overheard a conversation suggesting that the Wild looked good this year. As I turned around to see who would make such a statement, I found myself talking with Brian Engblom. Maybe, you want to take a look at the Wild this year, just in case.
If you have to make it to work,then rush home to check in on the Penguins home opener at their new digs against in-state rival, the Flyers. With that talent on both sides, this should be the kick-off game to your season, especially if your fantasy team conists of Sidney Crosby.
Then the Candians let loose: Montreal fights to keep their powerhouse positioned for the playoffs and Toronto recharges with captain Bling. The idea of having Dion Phaneuf as the masthead of the Leafs brings pure in-your-face hockey back to Toronot. But I’ll be watching Edmonton’s Taylor Hall. Colorado did it with Duchene, and the Islanders did it with Tavares, and so shall the Oilers. This kid is nothing to sneeze at. Hall will make watching Oilers games fun and interesting.
To close out the evening, the Stanley Cup champs come to Denver to face last year’s pleasant surprise. The BlackHawks are down a few players, but the base is still strong. Colorado hopes to climb higher than last year and regain more praise from the pundits. Chris Stewart was the star of the Avs training camp and everyone knew it. Look for a competitive game to round out the evening.
One of my New York Rangers fan groups has this ongoing discussion, for over a week, about Chris Drury’s leadership. The call was to offer Drury for someone better. That’s not a bad idea. But recently rumors of trades have not involved the captain, rather performers Ryan Callahan and Ales Kotalik. Really? Allegedly. And what the Rangers will get in return is putting a big pile of mess on the ice at the Garden.
Talks with the Calgary Flames turned heads in New York as fans were hoping to get the call for Dion Phaneuf. Suggestions were Drury and Donald Brashear for Phaneuf. Is that even an equivalent assessment? I had to remind some of my fellow Rangers fans of the “sloppy seconds” debauchle involving Dion and Sean. Phaneuf has been dealt out of Calgary, so the two bad boys will eventually have more battle time on the ice when Phaneuf plays the Rangers on March 27th. Early blogs raised the question of the Ranger’s spark and was it possible to revive with a trade. Maybe the wrong guy is being traded. A captain’s job is to ignite the team into the best team they can be. Drury seems like a nice guy, but a pushover. Maybe he needs to go to Calgary.
His skills were apparent with his peak in Colorado, when the Avalanche had their dream team. He played against his former team Sunday night with a 3-1 win. Drury has landed his dream job, being a Connecticut native his aspirations as a kid was to play with the Rangers. Could this mean that even a superstar such as Chris Drury suffers from complacency on the job? What’s worse is his under par 19 points, then throw in his –11. Go back two years previous when Drury posted 58 points. If Drury can’t lead the troops into battle, then someone needs to suggest that another commander lead the call.
So if the Rangers bring in the big prize, Olli Jokinen, who has slumped lately can he become a team leader? Good player at the start of the season as Calgary was displaying, but it went up in flames. Trade options for the Rangers are limited: Brashear’s a bust; the blue line is badly drawn, and seems to be invisible. Sean Avery is battling back but frustrations are showing. Acquiring a Center puts some pressure on Olli to come in, take the lead and prove he’s worthy. It could happen if the trade happens, but some wheeling and dealing is happening to benefit both sides. Fans are buzzing over the flurry.
The only saving grace of the Rangers, like last year, is King Henry. The Swedes are all over the ice in domination, so let’s put goaltender extraordinaire Henrik Lundqvist in as team captain. Honestly, look at what Roberto Luongo has done in Vancouver. The goalie seems a natural captain. The team puts the knuckles in the faces of those who greet Lundqvist brutally. He’s the reason we were in the playoffs last year, he’s the reason the Rangers still sport some respectability.
Stay tuned for more drama from the New York Rangers.