The 2010-2011 National Hockey League season is one week old and the first week brought some surprises. A few of the occurances that raised eyebrows were the unexpected fast start of the Toronto Maple Leafs with a record of three wins and zero losses, they lead the NHL with the league’s best record. New York Ranger rookie, Derek Stepan’s hat trick in his first NHL game. The New Jersey Devils dressed just three lines and six defensemen for a game and the one happening that made people take notice all over the world was the fight between Anaheim Duck star winger, Corey Perry and Detroit superstar, Pavel Datsyuk. It was the first fight of Datsyuk’s career and the diminutive scoring sensation was not about to lose.
Your Boston Bruins gave us a couple of things that made us sit up and take notice. The signing of captain Zdeno Chara to a seven year contract extension at an average of $6.5 million per year made fans wonder if this was money well spent and whether the seven years was too long. The organization also extended the contract of alternate captain Patrice Bergeron for three years at a total of $15 million. The public is scratching it’s collective head asking why would the team give the 33 year old Chara seven years but only three years to the 25 year old Bergeron? The argument being that, certainly, Bergeron has more years left in his career and is the heir apparent to wear the captain’s “C” on his jersey after Chara departs the team.
On the ice, The Bruins surprised their fans by putting out a lackluster effort in the first game of the season versus the Phoenix Coyotes in Prague, Czech Republic. The Coyotes came out with a sense of purpose and thoroughly outplayed the B’s in every facet of the game and came away with a 5-2 win. Game two was much different as the black and gold came out with a vengeance and dominated the Coyotes for all three periods and departed Europe with a 3-0 victory. The highlight of that game was rookie Tyler Seguin’s first NHL goal which can be seen here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oe-U4i3SiMY.
Perhaps the best surprise of the team’s European experience was the play of newcomer, Nathan Horton. Horton scored a total of three goals and assisted on one other to assume the team scoring lead with four points. The former Florida Panther used his speed, size, and strength, to create scoring chances and was a threat each time he stepped on the ice.
And who expected goaltender Tim Thomas to earn a shutout in his first start of the season? No, you didn’t…Thomas, who had hip surgery during the off season, displayed his 2009 Vezina trophy winning form by being positionally sound, controlling rebounds, and challenging shooters. After week one of the season, the former University of Vermont Catamount leads the NHL in save percentage and goals against average.
Hopefully, the club can feed off of the win over Phoenix and continue to dominate the NHL’s other twenty-eight teams. Coach Claude Julien’s crew returns to game action Saturday October 16, 2010 against the New Jersey Devils. As of this writing , the Devils are off to an unsually slow start having just one win in their first four games. The most shocking statistic for New Jersey is that of goal scoring. They have scored just seven goals in those four games but have allowed fourteen goals. The Devils have been known for their defensive stinginess for many years and are not accustomed to being on the negative side of the goal scoring ledger. The B’s have the potential to score goals in bunches and should be able to take advantage of the Devils lack of defensive awareness.
Week one is in the books. The second week is about to begin and with the Bruins and the other five teams, that opened the season over seas, returning home, the season should be that much more exciting. Let’s go National Hockey League, we cannot wait to see what you have in store for us this week.
Topics: Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Catamount, Claude Julien, Corey Perry, Czech Republic, Derek Stepan, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Hockey Fight, Nathan Horton, National Hockey League, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, NHL, Patrice Bergeron, Pavel Datsyuk, Phoenix Coyotes, Prague, Tim Thomas, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tyler Seguin, University Of Vermont, Vezina Trophy, Zdeno Chara