The NHL season is a week old today. It’s too early to assume that we’ve genuinely learned anything, even if some teams are putting some tantalizing appetizers on the table.
To give you a sense of the parity in the league – and the prevalence of the “charity point” – there are only two teams who haven’t earned a single standings point yet: the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets. Before you snicker too much at those Canadian clubs, it’s important to note that the Flames have played in just two games and the Jets’ only game of the season was that fun-killing loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
Meanwhile, four NHL teams have already played in four contests, including the league-leading Pittsburgh Penguins (3-0-1 for seven points).
Even with those very reasonable excuses in mind, the fun and unfair question is: will the Flames or Jets be the NHL’s final team stuck at zero points? Before you decide, you might want to take a look at their near-future schedules.
Jets’ next three games
Oct. 13 at Chicago (8:30 pm ET)
Oct. 15 at Phoenix (7 pm ET)
Oct. 17 vs. Pittsburgh at home (8:30 pm ET)
Flames’ next three games
Oct. 13 at Montreal (7:30 pm ET)
Oct. 15 at Toronto (7 pm ET)
Oct. 18 vs. Edmonton at home (9:30 pm ET)
Looking at their near-future schedules, the Flames have it easier than the Jets and they also start earlier today. If you think the two teams will manage the unlikely feat of losing during regulation of all three of their respective contests, Calgary will have five more home games in a row after that Oilers game while the majority of the Jets’ games are on the road.
If you ask me, the Flames should probably earn a point first. What do you think, though? Vote in the poll to let us know which team will avoid (a largely unfair) title as the last pointless team in the NHL.
Video: Canucks escape Arizona with another win for the moms
With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.
Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.
Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut
“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”
Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.
Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.
DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.
Blashill says DeKeyser has a bruise, not a break. Will know more tomorrow, but probably day-to-day
The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.
But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.
“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.
“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”
7 hours of back and forth legal speak…otherwise known as the Wideman appeal has concluded in NYC.