Welcome to the newest blog here on LTP that will be posted every Monday morning at 9am that I am calling Hockey & Coffee. So, what exactly is Hockey & Coffee going to be? I will highlight three of the biggest news stories, games, and even trades throughout the ENTIRE NHL, not just the Penguins. I’m going to throw in some different stuff each week with predictions and what to watch out for etc. This gives us writers a chance to write non Penguins articles, and for our readers to get some league wide coverage from us. Now that you know what you are getting yourself into, let’s jump into some headlines…
The Great 8
The Washington Capitals are off to a good start to the 2017-18 season. In their first six games played they have a record of 3-2-1 and sit in a wildcard spot in the East. Much of the Capitals success comes in part of Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin has 9 goals in six games, including two hat tricks in just 13 minutes of ice time. Needless to say, Ovi and the Capitals are off to a red hot start to the season. For me personally, I am not fully convinced by the Capitals just yet. They appear to have some depth issues and clearly their defense is not nearly what is was last season, especially with Matt Niskanen going onto LTIR. However, it is hard to ever bet against Ovi and the Caps; well unless it’s the second round of the playoffs.
Bad Teams, Good Starts
The Colorado Avalanche and the New Jersey Devils, who finished 30th & 27th respectively last year, are both off to a surprisingly good start this year. The Avalanche in my eyes are not as bad as last year showed. They unfortunately had their starting goalie go down early into the season and were forced to play an unproven Calvin Pickard for the majority of the season. As shown already this year with a healthy goalie, this team has some potential to be a middle of the pack team. With the likes of Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, and newly acquired Nail Yakapov all playing well, they might be able to make a run for a wild card spot if they can hold their own throughout an 82 game season. As far as the Devils are concerned, they have a very very good goaltender who is capable in stealing a game on any given night and have a plethora of young skaters coming up. Will Butcher, Jesper Bratt, and Nico Hischier are leading the way as far as young guns go in NJ, but some forget about the “veterans” the Devils have. Taylor Hall is still a very good pure goal scorer, and maybe this year he has a breakout year scoring wise when playing with more depth behind him.
MAF Goes on IR
Marc-Andre Fleury was placed on IR Sunday morning after suffering a concussion Friday vs the Red Wings. Fleury was off to a good start with a 3-1-0 record in Vegas. This could have been the worst possible situation for the Golden Knights, the back bone of the team goes down early in the season. It appears newly acquired goaltender Malcolm Subban will start between the pipes during Fleury’s absence. Subban recorded his first victory of the season Sunday night in a 3-1 win vs his old squad, the Boston Bruins. Vegas fans, I would not hit the panic button yet, but boy would my hand be real close to it. Hopefully we hear some good news regarding Fleury’s status in the near future.
A Look Ahead:
- Games to watch out for: Leafs vs Capitals (Tuesday 10/17), Oilers vs Blackhawks (Thursday 10/19)
- Expect a big week from Auston Matthews, (5 points in 3 games)
- I’m predicting a Patrik Laine hat trick Tuesday vs CBJ