1) Both head coach Jeff Daniels and Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Derek Wilkinson were really impressed with Zach Boychuk this weekend. He scored a great goal on Saturday night and has quietly put up a point-per-game in the first four of the season (2g, 2a).
2) Sidney Crosby is cleared for contact in practice. Now, the question is whether he will be as dominant when he returns to the game. The answer is yes. But, I hope no one takes it easy on him and I don’t suspect other teams will…but the league, and the Penguins, are better off with a healthy Crosby.
3) After Arron Asham knocked out Jay Beagle, he made two stupid gestures on his way to the penalty box. What makes Asham different from others who’ve done similar things is that Asham called his actions “uncalled for” and “classless” during the post-game interviews. People will always makes mistakes, but to have the wherewithal to make a public apology without external pressure from the league is the sign of a good guy. Too many hockey players are incapable of self-critique or self-criticism.
4) Brooks Laich, the captain of the Washington Capitals, had the quote of the week: “To be honest, I’m sick of hearing all this talk about concussions and about the quiet room. This is what we love to do. Guys love to play, they love to compete, they want to be on the ice. How do you take that away from someone? We accept that there’s going to be dangers when we play this game. We know that every time we get dressed.” One day, we will live in a world that lets grown men and women make their own choices without the nanny-state dictating things from on-high.
5) Daniels said this weekend that one of his biggest challenges early in the season is to try and get players to stop focusing on doing things individually and work as a team. The first two games of the season resulted in losses when too many guys tried to do it themselves. This weekend was a better example of the team working together. The difference between gaining one point or four points in two games.
6) Congrats to the relatively unknown band Quatron. Their cover of Deep Purple’s “When a Blind Man Cries” has gone viral (1,500 views in well over a year) This is certainly because of the lead guitars on the track. You can hear it here
7) Saturday’s game went to a shootout. The shooters: Matsumoto, Terry, Bowman, Boychuk, McNicoll, Nash, Pistilli. The problem: no defensemen! I tried to start a, “We want Sanguinetti!” chant, but by then the Checkers already won.
8) Speaking of Matsumoto, he leads the AHL with 9 points in 4 games (3g, 6a). I loved the fact he wasn’t afraid to let it rip on the team’s second goal on Sunday afternoon. Same with Nash on the first goal of the night.
9) Let’s hope Zac Dalpe is healthy and back to hockey again soon. Good Paris, Ontario, boy right there.
10) Radio this weekend as follows: Friday and Saturday on 610 AM and Sunday on 1660 AM. All games streamed on AHLLIVE.com.
BONUS THOUGHTS FOR FREE
11) How about the talk of moving draft eligibility to 19 years of age? The reason is that 6 percent of 18 year olds drafted played in the NHL. An additional 6 percent played in the league by the age of 19, while the remaining 88 percent did not reach the NHL before the age of 20. Since only 50 percent of drafted players ever play in the NHL, the theory is that you give them one more year to show off their skill before you make a draft choice, thus increasing the likelihood that drafted players will actually play in the league. Hockey Canada, USA Hockey, the NCAA, general managers and the NHL would love this, but the NHLPA would absolutely not want this implemented.
12) I was right: Roberto Luongo is still the most overrated goalie in the world.