Archive for November, 2010

Ritter’s Rant: News And Notes From Around The NHL

November 5th, 2010 No Comments

Net Gains: With about a dozen games in the book in the 2010-11 NHL season there are a ton of surprises out there, none more prevalent than the number of goaltenders that are succeeding early on. Boston Bruins netminder Tim Thomas (one season after losing his starter’s role) is putting up some pretty unbelievable numbers, going an incredible 7-0-0 to start the season to go along with his mind blowing .977 save percentage and minuscule 0.72 goals against average. As good as Thomas has been, there are a number of goalies out there that have been lights out. St. Louis Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak is putting to rest any debate over which goaltender (Carey Price or Halak) is the better goalie, posting a 7-1-1 record, 1.53 GAA, .940 save percentage and three shutouts. The biggest surprise would be the play

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Ten Most Surprising NHL Teams Thus Far

November 2nd, 2010 2 Comments

While it is still very early in the 2010-11 NHL season there are already more than a few surprises in the overall standings. Teams that were supposed to be world beaters are sitting in the basement, while other teams that were supposed to struggle have come out flying right out of the gate and sit amongst the NHL’s best. Let’s take a look at the Ten Most Surprising NHL Teams Thus Far, for better, or for worse. New Jersey Devils: Ok, so not everybody thought the New Jersey Devils would be world beaters this season, but there sure were a fair amount of experts out there that were suggesting the Devils would be a contender for the Atlantic Division title and/or the Eastern Conference’s top team. Through 13 games the Devils sit dead last in the NHL standings with a

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NHL Division-By-Division Power Rankings: Southeast Division Weak No More

November 2nd, 2010 No Comments

Three weeks and one calender month into the 2010-2011 NHL season, we’ve already begun to be able to pick out the surprises and disappointments of the year. Teams like Buffalo and New Jersey, two top-ranked teams from the Eastern Conference last season, have both struggled to get going and posted a combined 0-8-2 home record, while franchises such as Montreal, Boston, and Tampa Bay have burst onto the stage with a combined 20-7-2 record. Meanwhile, in the West, Nashville, Edmonton, and Dallas started out strongly but have faltered lately, while, on the other hand, youthful squads such as St. Louis, Colorado, and Los Angeles have already begun to prove their legitimacy. But how does the NHL look from a divisional standpoint? Which five-team groups have been the toughest to play in so far, while which divisions have struggled despite their

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Ron Wilson Shakes Up Maple Leafs Top Line: Luca Caputi In, Nikolai Kulemin Out

November 2nd, 2010 No Comments

With his team being shut out in back-to-back games Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson has decided to shake up his first line by penciling in Luca Caputi to play alongside Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel, while dropping Nikolai Kulemin back to the second unit. Moving Caputi up to the first line would seem like a desperate move, but with the team currently in a funk and with Kulemin adding little in his short stint on the first line Wilson has little choice but to shake things up. That said, is Luca Caputi really the answer? Through 30 career NHL games Caputi has amassed a total of three goals, nine points and a minus two rating—not exactly first line numbers, am I right? At the AHL level Caputi has shown signs that he could evolve into a solid NHL

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Mike Zigomanis Sent Down To AHL By Toronto Maple Leafs

November 1st, 2010 No Comments

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has announced that Mike Zigomanis has been sent down to the American Hockey League to play with the Maple Leafs AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies. Through eight games Zigomanis has played a limited role on the Maple Leafs fourth line, averaging 6:58 minutes of ice time per game. Zigomanis garnered one assist and owed a plus one rating to go along with four penalty minutes. Clearly, while the Leafs will not miss him offensively, his 52.5% success rate in the face off circle may be missed, which begs the question, who will replace him on the fourth line? While nothing is written in stone, it appears as if John Mitchell and Christian Hanson will compete for Zigomanis’ minutes. Through two games Mitchell has no points, is even in the plus/minus department and owns a

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