Ritter’s Rant: News And Notes From Around The NHL
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 of Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick who has posted a 8-1-0 record to go along with his .942 save percentage and 1.64 GAA.
Honorable mention goes to Philadelphia Flyers rookie sensation Sergei Bobrovsky, who, in the face of adversity, has stepped into the starters role and helped to provide the Flyers with one of their hottest starts in recent memory.
With a record of 7-2-0, a 2.23 GAA and a .921 save percentage, Bobrovsky looks like the real deal, which is making everyone forget about last season’s regular season hero, Michael Leighton.
***If Vancouver Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider had played more than three games he’d be here too (3-0-0, .969 save percentage, 0.90 GAA)—nervous yet Roberto?
In a recent game Toronto Maple Leafs fans had the audacity to boo newly appointed captain Dion Phaneuf for what they felt was a subpar game. While I would agree that Phaneuf is yet to play his best hockey this season, booing him just ten games into the season seems a little premature.
Now that Phaneuf looks to be out of the lineup for up to six weeks with a laceration on his leg it looks as if Toronto fans are looking for a whipping boy. Well Leafs Nation, look no further than Mikhail Grabovski who, through 12 games has a decent amount of assists with six, but is yet to score a goal, which is killing the Leafs offensively.
Simply put, no goals from your second line centre just isn’t good enough—Grabovski needs to pick it up.
It’s not often you look at the leader board and not find Pittsburgh Penguins super star Sidney Crosby and Washington Capitals super-sniper Alex Ovechkin off the list.
To date the top five scorers have been Steven Stamkos (10), Patrick Sharp (10), Cam Stewart (9), Daniel Sedin (8) and Brandon Dubinsky, while Stankos (20), Sharp (16), Cam Stewart (16), Ryan Getzlaf and Daniel Sedin lead the NHL in points.
While I think it’s safe to say both Crosby and Ovechkin will be there when everything is said and done, it’s still a little strange not to see them on top.
Given how well he played in last years Stanley Cup playoffs we all know that former Chicago Blackhawks forward, now Atlanta Thrashers defenseman can put the puck in the net when given the opportunity.
Now, through 13 games Byfulglien is averaging a point of game (five goals, seven assists), which makes him the highest scoring defenseman in the NHL.
Never seen an NHL player have a quicker decent from hero to goat than Buffalo Sabres sophomore defenseman Tyler Myers.
Myers, who finished the 2009-10 season with 11 goals, 48 points and a plus thirteen rating, currently sits dead last in plus/minus with a minus twelve rating and a paltry four points in 13 games.
Admittedly the entire Sabres team looks out of whack, but man, Myers looks like a completely different player than the one that won the Calder Trophy this summer as the NHL”s rookie of the year.
Until next time,