NHL Weekly Re-wind – For Week Ending 10/31/15


Eastern Conference Review
NHL_Eastern_Conference.svgThis week’s Eastern Conference round up has news coming out of Detroit, Buffalo, and Columbus, and Montreal.

The Detroit Red Wings’s season has taken another hit, literally.  Former Caps defenseman Mike Green is on the shelf for at least 2-3 weeks.  Green suffered what was apparently a shoulder injury when playing against the Calgary Flames on a break out play.  When Wings GM Ken Holland was asked to confirm the injury sustained by Green, Holland only stated that “He’ll (Green) need two or three weeks to heal.”  Meanwhile, Pavel Datsuk is making strides in recovering from ruptured tendons in his ankle that he sustained last season.  While he is not ready to come back as of yet, he is feeling better and seems to still be on track to return by mid November.

Another player who may be on the shelf until mid November or later is the Sabres’ Evander Kane.  Kane, who was dealt to Buffalo in the off-season to bolster their offense, suffered a blow when Kane went into the boards going after the puck in a game against the Devils.  It appeared that Kane had his leg pinned, and could not move quickly enough away from the hit that was being placed on him.  The sprain in his MCL will have him out at least 4-6 weeks and is the second significant injury Kane has sustained in the last two seasons.  Last year, he underwent shoulder surgery and was out for most of the season recovering from it.  Kane is hopeful that he can return quickly and make a good impression for his new teammates in Buffalo and help guide them to a more respectable record this year.

A more respectable record is what the Columbus Blue Jackets are now aiming for this under new head coach John TortorellaColumbus got their first win of the season against the Colorado Avalanche.  Brandon Dubinsky on their first win: “We believed in ourselves going out there for the third period.  We played our (butts) off and we got the win.” If that wasn’t enough for the Blue Jackets, three nights later, they went on to beat the Devils for their second win on the season.  While they stumbled against the Caps, it’s safe to say with Tortorella, the Jackets may have their season back on track and will be getting more markers in the W column.

While Columbus is attempting to build a winning record, the Montreal Canadiens saw their winning streak snapped by the Vancouver Canucks.  Montreal went into Vancouver with a 9-0-0 record which tied the 1993-1994 Toronto Maple Leafs and 2006-2007 Buffalo Sabres for the best record to start a season.  Even with this loss, Montreal is looking more like that ‘beast in the East’, and could be very good as the season progresses.

Very good is an understatement when it comes to only three weeks into this season.  The action from around the league has been non-stop and exciting to watch.  What will the next week bring us?  Who knows, but stay with us, the best is sure to come this season.

Western Conference Review
NHL-Western-ConferenceWell, let’s begin the Western Conference news in Southern California.  The Anaheim Ducks currently sit with a 1-7-2 record in their first 10 games of the season, and they are ranked dead last in the NHL.  Ducks GM Bob Murray has come out and said that there will be no “rash changes” to the Ducks, and that Head Coach Bruce Boudreau is safe (for now).  The good news for the Ducks is that they begin a three-game homestand on Sunday.  In this upcoming homestand, they will face Nashville, Florida, and Columbus.  After a quick stop in the Shark Tank next Saturday, they will come back home for another three-game homestand.  It will be interesting to see if the Ducks can get themselves out of their hole within the next couple of weeks while they are at home.  There are some winnable games on their schedule, so there is still time for the Ducks to rebound and get back into the playoff mix.

Across town in Southern California, the LA Kings have really hit their groove.  They have won six straight games and are in the playoff picture right now.  Tyler Toffoli has really lit the lamp for the Kings as he has scored 7 goals in 9 games to begin this season.  Toffoli’s linemate Jeff Carter leads all Kings players with 9 points.

Some injury news out of Calgary: goaltender Jonas Hiller was injured Wednesday night when Senators forward Bobby Ryan collided with him.  Goaltender Karri Ramo, who was waived and sent to the AHL last week, was recalled.  Hiller will miss the next week of action.

The Vancouver Canucks have also sustained a couple of injuries.  Defenseman Dan Hamhuis has a lower-body injury and missed their last three games.  Brandon Prust sustained an ankle injury on Tuesday night against the Montreal Canadiens.  He will miss the next 4-6 weeks of action.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is inching closer to his return.  He has been out of action with a lower-body injury since October 13.  While Shattenkirk has been out with injury, the Blues have a young blueliner who has made an impact in their games.  22-year old Alberta native Colton Parayko has been lighting the lamp in his rookie campaign for the Blues.  He has recorded 4 goals and 7 points in his first 10 games.

The Minnesota Wild are off to a good start in their 2015-16 campaign.  Coming into October 30, the Wild are 4-0 at home, and goaltender Devan Dubnyk has played in all 6 of their wins this season.  Zach Parise leads all Wild Skaters with 7 goals and 9 points.

Are you impressed by 2015 1st overall pick Connor McDavid yet?  McDavid has heated up, as he has recorded 12 points in 11 games for the Oilers in his rookie campaign.  He has also formed some good chemistry with 2012 1st overall pick Nail Yakupov, who has 10 points in 11 games.  Is it possible that McDavid could be in the NHL scoring race near the end of the 2015-16 campaign?  I would not put it past him at this point.

The Oilers look improved as a team under new Head Coach Todd McLellan.  They look more disciplined, and more responsible in their own zone.  I do not think the Oilers blueline is quite there yet, but they are slowly but surely improving as a club.  The Oilers still need to fix their defense core.  Could Jordan Eberle become trade bait for the Oilers in the near future?

By Andrea Sobolik and George Foussekis

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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