One Week In To The NHL Season What Have We Learned


Feb 8, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars right wing Valeri Nichushkin (43) takes the ice to face the Phoenix Coyotes at the American Airlines Center. Nichushkin will play for team Russia in the 2014 Olympics. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Thankfully for me I don’t write for a living because then I would have to create a topic that would create some kind of concern. Something so great it would sell lots of papers and create lots of clicks. See the recent bath of Florida Panther attendance articles that covered the hockey blogs over the last week if you need an example. It’s just too early in the season to make any real observations about what we have seen and make any predictions about what is yet to come. Except that Edmonton is going to be awful, again.

So that being said here is a short list of things that we might have learned from the first week of  the new NHL season.

First the new Overtime rules are going to have a definite effect.

They dry scrape after regulation might need to go but making teams switch ends and take the long change is going to produce more overtime wins and less shootouts. The dry scrape of the Zamboni might actually create ice conditions that are worse than not doing anything at all. A dry scrape clears lots of snow but leaves tons of ruts and choppy ice. Why not just run the Zam through the middle like they used to do before the shootout and then roll from there? In the Stars opener the puck looked like a rubber ball during overtime and then in the shootout Ales Hemsky had the puck bounce off his stick when it hit a rut and he never got the shot away. Bigger problem was that he was their final shooter and they were down by a goal.

Mar 1, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) makes a save on a Tampa Bay Lightning shot during the first period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Second Kari is still Kari.

For long stretches of time in his tenure in Dallas he has been the best player on the team night in and night out. The problem with that is those are teams that did not win a lot of games. Those teams did not make the playoffs. Now that Benn and Seguin are the best players on the team Kari doesn’t seem to hold up. It’s not that they somehow make Kari worse it’s that losing in a shootout at home to Chicago when you skate them out of the rink for 40 minutes isn’t okay when your goaltender gives up 2 really soft goals. Losing a game at home to Chicago by a goal when you are expected to finish tenth is a different beast altogether. I hope I am wrong but I don’t see him being a big game goalie and if this trend continues… he might end up somewhere else by the end of the season. I have zero inside information on this I’m just speculating.

Third Jamie and Tyler are really good at hockey.

The way they took over the game in Pittsburgh on Thursday was beyond impressive. The Stars as a whole were just demolished in the first period. They spent vast amounts of time on the penalty kill and that was a direct result of just being out-skated. Chasing causes bad choices and the Pens Power Play is awesome. They cashed in twice on the job in the first and the game looked like a blowout. So glad I didn’t change the channel. The Stars as a whole came out quicker and stronger in the second and the Dynamic Duo finished it off in the third with Tyler scoring the game winner with less than 3 seconds left. Simply fantastic entertainment.

Fourth the tempo the Stars want to play might be unsustainable for 82 games.

In our small sample size when the Stars have been at their best they have been run ‘n gun. Create a turnover and then Go, Go, Go. Followed by a hard forecheck and relentless pressure on the puck carrier no matter where he might be. In the opener the Blackhawks looked lost, slow and confused by the system the Stars threw at them. It didn’t matter what line was on the ice Chicago was chasing. Against Pittsburgh the same team showed up in the latter half of the game. To me the pace they use to dominate just seems like too much energy to sustain over 82 games and then two months of playoffs. Perhaps Lindy Ruff has a plan in mind to conserve his team’s energy and then unleash the fury late in the season but maybe I’m just a guy behind a computer and he’s got this all figured out. I’ll go with the latter choice.

Sep 29, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin (91) and left wing Jamie Benn (14) celebrate Seguins third goal against the Florida Panthers during the third period at the American Airlines Center. Seguin has a hat trick in the game. The Stars defeated the Panthers 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Fifth is my favorite part of the season so for.

Jamie Benn has let his guard down and publicly become the guy. The Dude Perfect video showed a boyhood, playful side of the captain that we have never seen. He’s come a very long way from that nervous kid in the off the rack suit who was almost the last pick in the All-Star draft. Sydney Crosby called him the most underrated player in the league and he’s probably right. He just keeps getting better and better and as he does he makes things look so easy. I’m sure that I can score on an opposite foot snapshot at anytime now just because he makes it look so easy to do. Beyond all of that it has come to light that he calls head coach Lindy Ruff, Ruffles. Ruffles, that is solid gold.

Last here is behind the scenes look at what happens in Edmonton while the camera is off. Apparently if you have hair you need to keep preening. If you don’t have hair then you have to keep messing with your tie. Seriously, how many times can you adjust your tie?