Well, the first week of the 2010-11 hockey season is now complete and there was plenty to talk about. From the Devils supporting only 15 skaters to the last two Stanley Cup champions struggling out of the gate to the opening games in Europe and everything in between, there was certainly a lot to talk about.
That being said, lets take a look back…
Let the discipline begin
It didn’t take long for the Colin Campbell wheel of justice to start spinning did it? On Monday, James Wisnewski got suspended for two games for making an obscene gesture to Mr. Sloppy Seconds himself, Sean Avery. That same day, Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson got a two game suspension for his hit on Sabres forward Jason Pominville. And perhaps there might be more discipline coming after Maxim Lapierre’s cheap shot on Steve Downie Wednesday night in the Lightning-Canadiens matchup.
While one of those suspensions came in the way of spoken word, and was deserving of a two-game suspension if you ask me (but nothing more), perhaps Ryan Miller and the Tampa Bay Lightning made the biggest noise. Miller made his opinions known in the postgame press conference, while the Lightning made their presence known on the ice after Lapierre’s hit when Nate Thompson stood up for his teammate in retaliation.
“I think he reacted to it well in the sense that everyone was in it,” Bolts coach Guy Boucher told the St. Petersburg Times. “People ask me if we’re going to have a tough guy. We have 23 and that’s what we saw…”
For more on Lapierre’s hit, read Kamal Panesar’s article from the Habs-Bolts game.
As for Hjalmarsson’s hit on Pominville, here’s what Miller had to say…
“You can’t have a hit like that, it’s dangerous,” the reigning Vezina Trophy winner said to the media after the Sabres 3-2 win over the ‘Hawks Monday. “I’m glad he admitted that he didn’t mean to do it, but you got to change the the culture some time and I hope the league wakes up and sets a precedent for the year.”
Here’s a clip of Hjalmarsson’s hit:
Hjalmarsson did regret the hit a few days later when the verdict came out. While his hit certainly deserved a suspension, Hjalmarsson probably should have gotten a few more games.
One would think that there would be stricter punishment towards Lapierre’s and Hjalmarsson’s hit. However, it seems Campbell and company have done very little to send a message, as we saw with Matt Cooke’s head shot on Marc Savard last year. Expect this trend of the lack of discipline to continue throughout the season.
Quick Fantasy Hit of the Week
Sure, these standings might not mean much now in the first week of the season. Nor have most leagues completed their first week of action. But alas, Fantasy Hockey is back, and there have already been a few impact players, and a few duds too.
Throughout the season our fine staff of fantasy writers and yours truly will chime in with their insight on the fantasy hockey landscape. We will also have updates on the IHFDL.
Starting next week, yours truly be rewarding my rebound players of the week. But for now, here are a trio of youngsters that fantasy owners should consider:
John Carlson – The hero from the World Junior Championships has made a big impact so far in Washington tallying a goal and four assists through the first four games. The Calder Trophy candidate won’t put up Mike Green like numbers, but a year similar to Tyler Myers’ 2009-10 Calder season is certainly a possibility. Stick tap to Chris Wassel, for suggesting that I take him in the IHFDL prospect draft.
Brandon Sutter – After a 21 goal year last year, Sutter will be relied on to help boost the ‘Canes offense this year. So far he has done just that when he had two goals in the ‘Canes first game of the year against the Wild. A 25-30 goal season for Sutter is by no means a reach for Sutter, and he could even surpass that too.
Jonathan Bernier – This might not be a move a fantasy owner would consider at this moment, but Bernier is the future of the Kings franchise and he could even surpass Jonathan Quick as LA’s starter during the year.
See you next week…