Taking A Look At The Rest of The NHL

With the Sabres being off until Wednesday, I thought it would be a good time to see what’s happening with the rest of the league.

-It’s definitely the year of the guillotine in the NHL for head coaches. Paul Maurice (Canes), Bruce Boudreau (Capitals), Davis Payne (Blues), Carlyle (Ducks) have all gotten their proverbial heads severed. Other coaches who have to be on the hot seat are Joe Sacco (Avs), Scott Arniel (Blue Jackets), Jacques Martin (Habs), and Jack Capuano (Islanders). I think Capuano will survive, but I think you’ll see the other three guys meet the same fate at as those other guys at some point this season, which would make SEVEN head coaches fired in one season. That’s 23% of the league folks. It’s crazy that Lindy’s still coaching the Sabres when you look at all of this turnover that goes on.

-The question now is how are these teams doing with their new coaches? Well, it’s a mixed bag. The Canes are still just as terrible as ever with Kirk Muller at the helm while the Blues are surprisingly flourishing under notorious hard-ass, Ken Hitchcock. Over in Ovechkin-land, things look to be the same with Dale Hunter as the head coach. The Caps look just as flat and uninspired as they did before. It’s still very, very early into Necro-Boudreau’s tenure as the Ducks new coach, but they seem to be playing better hockey.

-Speaking of Boudreau, I bet every person who has ever been fired/laid-off/had to resign wishes they could have landed on their feet and found a new job in three days.

-With Boudreau’s hire, I think GM, Bob Murray has probably put the kibosh on any trades involving Bobby Ryan for now. I would imagine that he would want to see how his elite power forward will perform with a new coach and a new system.

-I don’t care if it’s only December 4th. Barring major injuries, the Pens and Bruins seem to be destined to play each other to go the Stanley Cup Finals. Boston finished up November with an obscene 12-0-1 record and look better than they did last season while the Pens are looking flat-out dominant with Sidney Crosby back in the saddle.

-If there’s another team in the East that might be able to step into the ring with those two teams right now, it’s probably the Rangers. They’re a strong defensive team who’s getting timely scoring led by Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, and Ryan Callahan.

-It was nice to see David Perron score a goal in his first game back with the Blues after a 13 month hiatus from NHL game action, thanks to a concussion.

-How about 2nd year defenseman, Erik Karlsson being tied for 1st in the league in assists? I hate to say it, but the Sens have a stud that will roam their blueline for the next 10+ years. The defense is still shaky, but he’s constantly improving.

-Thank god the Blackhawks are the highest scoring team in the NHL because they sure as heck aren’t doing a great job keeping other teams off the scoreboard. Chicago also sports the 5th worst goals against in the league.

-Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is something else. The 18-year old rookie is tied for 3rd in the NHL┬áin scoring with 29 points. Safe to say that he’s the runaway Calder favorite at this point. The Oilers have a superstar in the making.

-Raise your hands if you thought the Wild would be the #1 seed in the West if the season ended today. Yeah, that’s what I thought. I’m not sold on their offense, but they’re good enough defensively and in goal to be a playoff team. Hey, it works for Nashville every year, why can’t it work for them too?

-Similarly, the Panthers are doing wonders out in the East. I want to wait a little longer before declaring them a top-4 seed in the East, but with how weak the East is this year, they are definitely a playoff team.

-Here’s something a little more familiar. The Red Wings are back to being the team that just crushes a team’s will to live with their skill and speed. Pavel Datsyuk and the mule he rode in on, Johan Franzen are leading the charge up front.

That’s it for this post. Look for new NHL Power Rankings on Monday!