Friday, October 31, 2008

Odd News: Dubie

A big hat tip to Ken over at Okposo Net for the link to this story from the New York Times. It turns out that Alex Ovechkin (superstar) was in attendance in Moscow as the Dynamo faced off against Ak Bars Kazan. After a goal was scored on Kazan goaltender Wade Dubielewicz (Former Islander) with moments remaining in the 1st period to knot the score at 1 some rowdy fans lit off road flares. The flares caused so much smoke that officials actually suspended the game. Of course the explanation was to protect the health of the players and fans but the real problem is that it becomes impossible to play with in those conditions. I guess you could say that if Dubie does not give up that goal this never would have happened but an event like this was bound to unfold if the offending fans took the time to secret in road flares to begin with.

This follows in a recent spat of hockey game hijinks. During a game in Sweden last week fans threw dildos on the ice to mock a player on the opposing team who has a sex tape circulating around the internet. Read more about it here at Yahoo!'s Puck Daddy blog. And of course the NHL has its fair share of such behavior which is now discouraged by home team delay of game penalties but include the famous Detroit octopus and the Florida rat tossing events.

Thursday October 30

With over 40 Former Islanders puttering around the NHL we may or may not live in an FI Golden Age but a waning one since that number declined by dougle digits since last season. Yet while there are 3 and a half dozen FIs playing across the league activity seems to be low. Even stable FIs have not been contributing points-wise and wins. Last night was no exception as FIs made impacts in only 4 of the 12 games around the league. Let us take a look:

Columbus center Michael Peca received a secondary assist on the team's insurance goal as the Blue Jacket's walked away from Colorado with a 4-2 win over the Avalanche. Peca has had 2 points in his last 3 games and now has 2 assists on 5 games this season.

Calgary defenseman Adrian Aucoin received the secondary assist on the team's game winning even strength goal 5:40 in to the 3rd period as the Flames held off the visiting Boston Bruins for a 3-2 victory. Aucoin snapped a 5 game point-less run and now has a meager 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist) on 10 games this season. For some reason, Boston captain and d-man Zdeno Chara was credited with the third star of the game honor. If anybody knows why clue us in.

Phoenix center Olli Jokinen scored for the first time since the opening game to snap a 6 game tally-less drought as the Phoenix Coyotes handed the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins a sad 4-1 defeat. And Sidney Crosby might be injured, again! O-Jok opened the scoring 7:53 in to the 2nd period to net his 2nd goal of the season. Jokinen is on his standard point-per-game pace with 8 points (2 goals, 6 assists) on 8 competitions. The score was Jokinen's first non-powerplay goal since February 10 while still with the Florida Panthers, a span of 31 games in which he netted 6 extra man goals. Winger Miroslav Satan provided the lone goal for the Pens, a powerplay netter, only 37 seconds after the Jokinen score. The goal was his team-leading 5th of the season and it snapped a 3 game point-less drought. Satan now has 7 points (5 goals, 2 assists) on 11 games. Five of his points (4 goals, 1 assist) have come with the extra man. Satan also received a 10 minute game misconduct penalty midway through the final frame after arguing a hooking call against him. Soapbox: These refs are taking these too seriously. Satan complains, that is what he does. They need to stop being bothered by players arguing calls and instead should focus on what is really going on at ice level not what they perceive/expect is going on. A misconduct penalty for a whining Satan is like swatting a fly with a frying pan... a little bit of overkill.

Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo was unbeatable blocking all 28 shots he faced for his 2nd shutout of the season as the Canucks blanked the host Los Angeles Kings 4-0. The goose egg was the 40th of Luongo's career and the Canucks' captain improved his season record to 5-4-0. He has also brought his numbers back to almost normal after surrendering only 1 goal over the last 2 games. Luongo is sporting a much leaner 2.66 goals against average and a respectable .911 save percentage. His play has see-sawed since he opened the season going 3-4-0 in the 7 starts between the blankings. The next game Luongo plays in will by the 500th appearance of his career. Finally finding the net was winger Taylor Pyatt who scored the team's 4th goal. Pyatt has 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist) on 10 games this season. He snapped an 8 game point-less drought and a 10 game goal-less stretch dating back to March 30. T-Py's start can only be described as arctic so we hope he can turn it around soon.

Check back here for more news at FIW.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday October 29

It was a slow hump day around the NHL as a half dozen squads faced off in a meager 3 games. Former Islanders made contributions in 2 of those competitions. Here is a quick look:

It looked to be a tough night for the Minnesota Stars when the host Dallas Stars scored only 13 seconds in to play and it was as the Stars doubled-up on the visitors for a 4-2 victory. A small gem was the goal from defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron exactly 6 minutes after that opening tally. MAB rocketed home a powerplay goal for his second of the season. Bergeron snapped a 4 game point-less streak and now has 2 goals and 1 assist for 3 points on 8 games this season. The goal was MAB's 50th of his career and 31st on the man advantage. Bergeron is a fairly prolific goal-scorer for a d-man with 50 goals on only 275 career games meaning he scores a goal roughly ever 5 and a half games. Compare that to perennial Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings who pops in a goal roughly ever 5.9 games or Boston Bruins' captain Zdeno Chara who averages 8.2 games per goal.

Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood is not off to the hottest start yet his record is reflecting a certain kindness that the starter can take solace in. Ozzie put up a good (not great) effort stopping 29 of 34 shots but only 1 of 2 in OT as the Red Wings fell to the host Anaheim Ducks 5-4. Osgood is now 4-1-2 on the season with a 3.38 goals against average and an .879 save percentage. Ozzie's 3 game winning streak came to an end but he is still unbeaten in regulation in his last 6 starts sporting a 4-0-2 record in the that span.

Check back for more highlights and recaps soon at FIW.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

FI Leaders: The Opening Weeks

Here is a quick recap of the offensive and goaltending leaders among Former Islanders:

Forwards and Defenseman

Goals: Todd Bertuzzi (CGY) - 6 goals (9 games)

Assists: Olli Jokinen (PHX) - 6 assists (7 games)

Points: Jokinen - 7 points & Ryan Smyth (COL) - 7 points (9 games)

+/- Rating: Roman Hamrlik (MTL) - +6 (8 games)

Penalties in Minutes: Eric Godard (PIT) - 37 minutes (10 games)

Average Time On Ice: Zdeno Chara (BOS) - 26:40 ice time (10 games)

Shots On Goal: Jason Blake (TOR) - 33 shots (8 games)

Shooting Percentage: Aaron Johnson (CHI) - 40% (2 for 5)

Powerplay Goals: Bertuzzi - 4 powerplay goals

Powerplay Assists: Jokinen & Chara - 3 powerplay assists

Shorthanded Assists: Hamrlik & Tom Poti (WAS) - 1 shorthanded assist


Most Wins: Roberto Luongo (VAN) - 4 wins (8 starts) & Chris Osgood (DET) - 4 wins (6 starts)

Most Losses: Luongo - 4 losses

Goals Against Average: Valiquette (NYR) - 1.44 (2 starts)

Save Percentage: Valiquette - .939

Shutouts: Luongo & Valiquette - 1 shutout

Shootout Save Percentage: Chris Osgood - 100% (2 for 2)

Tuesday October 28

The torrid pace kept up on Tuesday as 14 more teams faced off in 7 NHL battles. Former Islanders are making strides in the early season and were factors in 3 of those games. Let us look at their (mis)accomplishments:

Capitals' forward Viktor Kozlov, in only his 2nd game back after suffering a leg injury, netted his first goal of the season as Washington eked by the visiting Nashville Predators 4-3 in SO. Kozzer also was stopped on his attempt in Round 1 of the 4 round SO. Kozlov has 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) on 5 games this season. The tally snapped a 14 game goal-less streak dating back to March 29 of last season. Kozlov was goal-less in the 7 game opening round series against the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2008 playoffs.

Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo had one of his best efforts of the season but it was all in vain as the Canucks' lack of offense left him high-and-dry as the visiting Boston Bruins won 1-0. Luongo stopped 29 of 30 shots faced for only his second start surrending 1 or less goals in 8 starts. Luongo improved both his goals against average and save percentage dropping the former to 3.00 and raising the latter to .900. The Canucks' captain is now 4-4-0 on the season and has dropped 3 of his last 4 starts.

After going score-less in his first 7 games as a Penguin winger Ruslan Fedotenko has found the net in 2 of the last 3 games including last night's 2-1 Pittsburgh loss to the host San Jose Sharks. Tank's lone goal, the too-little-too-late tally, came with just over 5 and half minutes remaining in regulation as the Pens continue to struggle in their attempt to find offensive regularity. Fedotenko has 2 goals on 10 games this season and is sporting a +1 rating.

Check in soon for more updates and news.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday October 27

With the hockey returning after a Sunday off day things were picking up again. Saturday night was a madhouse with all 30 teams going at it in 15 games. Monday was full of charged tilts but was relatively quieter with only 6 games. Among those was the first Islanders-Rangers competition of the year with the Blueshirts downing the host Isles 4-2. However, Former Islanders only made contributions in 2 of those half dozen contests. Here is a look at the happenings:

Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara assisted on the team's lone goal as the Bruins edged the host Edmonton Oilers 1-0 in OT. Chara snapped a 5 game point-less drought with the helper and has a meager 3 assists on 9 games this year. He is currently riding a 10 game goal-less streak dating back to Game 5 (April 17) of last season's opening round playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens. Chara is struggling all around, though, with a -3 rating though he does have a surprisingly low 8 penalty minutes. Things should ramp up for the Northeast captain soon.

Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood stopped only 16 of 19 shots but it was the 2 extra ones he saved in the SO that made the difference as the Red Wings skipped by the host Los Angeles Kings 4-3. With the win Ozzie improved to 4-1-1 on the season having won 4 of his last 5 as well as his last 3 starts since dropping the season opener. It is the 7th 3+ game winning streak for Osgood since the start of last season. Osgood's goals against average is a surprisingly high 3.13 and his save percentage is also unusually low at .884 yet the Detroit offense is sticking up for the goalie. Ozzie also recorded the secondary assist on the Wings' 2nd goal. Osgood has 3 assists on 43 appearances last season and is one of the most prolific goalie scorers in the league with 1 goal and 17 assists for 18 points on 670 games meaning he records a point roughly ever 37 games.

Check back soon for more updates and recaps at FIW.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Saturday October 25 - 15 Games!

Every single NHL team was playing on Saturday in a rare night for hockey. The 96 goals scored among the teams was the most since January 23, 1993 when 12 games accounted for 103 goals. With every team in play the atmosphere was high for FI contributions and they did not disappoint. FIs made impacts in 9 games. Let us take a look at those accomplishments:

New Atlanta defenseman Mathieu Schneider scored his first goal and had his first multi-point effort since joining the squad during the preseason. Schneids knocked home a powerplay goal and added a powerplay assist but all was for nought as the Boston Bruins slipped by the visiting Thrashers 5-4. Schneider now has 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists) on 8 games with Atlanta but has since his offensive contributions tempered by his -8 rating. That could be the kind of season Schneider is looking at: 40 points, -30something but we can hope not.

A game after being scratched for his inconsistent effort Toronto winger Jason Blake was back on the boxscore. Blake had a powerplay assist on the opening tally as the Maple Leafs outlasted the Ottawa Senators for a 3-2 victory. Blakey now has 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists) on 7 games and is among team leaders in shots on goal (29) and +/- rating (+1). One could imagine the healthy scratch was a warning and is not going to become a common occurrence for the high-priced Blake.

In only his 2nd game back after his 5 game suspension for assaulting a referee (argued down from 10) Columbus center Michael Peca made an impact offensively. Peca assisted on the lone Blue Jackets' goal as they fell to the host Minnesota Wild 2-1. Having playing in only 3 games so far this season, Peca has 1 helper this year. He has, however, also amassed an impressive 24 penalty minutes.

Also making his first notching his first point of the season was Los Angeles center Derek Armstrong. Army assisted on the too-little-too-late goal as the Kings fell to the host Nashville Predators 5-4 as LA does its tour of the Midwest. With the helper Armstrong snapped a 7 game point-less streak dating back to last season. More shocking than Armstrong not having recorded a point until game 7 of the season is that he has only taken 4 shots in that time.

In his first game back after being sidelined for almost 2 weeks with a leg injury Washington forward Viktor Kozlov started contributing again. Kozlov assisted on the Capitals' 5th goal as they survived a last minute comeback by the host Dallas Stars to pull off a 6-5 OT win. Kozzer has 2 assists on 4 games this season but has yet to net a goal despite having thrown 6 shots on goal.

D-man Aaron Johnson is turning out to be a nice offseason pick up by the Chicago Blackhawks. Johnson dropped in the 'Hawks 2nd goal as they were edged by the visiting Detroit Red Wings 6-5 in SO. Johnson has had goals in back-to-back games and now has 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) on 6 games this season. He is currently tied with marquee d-man Brian Campbell for the team's goal scoring lead among blueliners and is only one assist behind him for blueline scoring. This was the first time Johnson has ever had goals in consecutive games, a major accomplishment considering he has never had more than 3 tallies on a season before. Also getting involved was teammate Brent Sopel who assisted on the team's 4th goal. Sopel has 1 assist on 7 games this season snapping a 6 game point-less drought to start the year and an aggregate 8 game drought dating back to last season.

Ryan Smyth was the hero of the night in Colorado netting the winning goal in the 5th round of the SO as the Avalanche slipped by the visiting Buffalo Sabres for a 2-1 win. With the game in his hands, Smyth knocked home the winning goal. He also stirred up a little controversy after supposedly knocking the knob of Sabres' goaltender Ryan Miller's stick knocking him off balance when the Avs scored their lone goal of regulation with less than 7 minutes to play in regulation. Smyth received the secondary assist on that goal. Smyth has had an impressive start to the season with 7 points (4 goals, 3 assists) on 8 games. He has notched all 7 of those points in the last 6 games despite not having scored a point in the prior tilt. On nights that Smyth has recorded at least one point the Avalanche have a 4-1 record and a are a total of 25-5 including last season!

Calgary winger Todd Bertuzzi woke up from a 2 game slumber to net his team-leading 6th goal (tied with Jarome Iginla) as the Flames steamrolled past the host Phoenix Coyotes 4-1. Bert opened the scoring only 3:25 in to regulation with a powerplay goal, his 4th of the season. He now he has 6 goals on 8 games to start the season. Bert is scoring at a 30% rate having compiled 20 shots. He does, however, have a -5 rating. It took Bertuzzi until game 26 of last season to record his 6th goal.

It was a matchup made for FIW as the Vancouver Canucks hosted the Edmonton Oilers. There was a combined 7 FIs (4 Vancouver, 3 Edmonton) between the two teams. Four of those players made impacts. Canucks' goaltender Roberto Luongo stopped 25 of 28 shots for his fourth win of the season as Vancouver knocked off the Oil 6-3. Luongo stopped a 2 game losing streak and now has a 4-3-0 record with a 3.29 goals against average and an .889 save percentage. If it were not for the fact that the Canucks' offense has been much more potent than expected, Luongo would not even be able to boast of a winning record considering his recent poor play. In only his 2nd game since being called up from the Manitoba Moose, center Jason Krog knocked in a powerplay goal to cap the scoring. Krog has 1 goal on 2 games this season and the tally was his first in the NHL since February 3, 2006 while with the New York Rangers. Take it a step further and the extra man goal was Krog's first since before the lockout on November 21, 2004. At that time Krog was still playing with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. As well, Saturday's powerplay goal came in Krog's 200th career NHL game. Lighting things up for Edmonton was winger Robert Nilsson who torched Luongo for a goal and an assist. Snapping a 3 game point-less run, Nilsson now has 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) on 7 games this season. The multi-point effort was Nilsson's first since March 28. And finally, surprising everyone is Denis Grebeshkov who is 1 point off the team leader and is currently tied for the lead in scoring among Oil defenseman with Sheldon Souray. Greb helped himself again netting his first goal of the year. He now has 5 points (1 goal, 4 assists) on 7 games. Grebeshkov as well snapped a 3 game drought. The goal came on only his 2nd shot of the season.

While things will not be this busy again this season, please check in soon for more updates and highlights at FIW.

Friday October 24

On the night before the busiest day in recognizable NHL history there were a dozen teams facing off in 6 games. Former Islanders, when healthy, are making their contributions. FIs made noise in 2 of those Friday night competitions. Here is a quick look:

Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood stopped 30 of 33 shots faced to backstop the Red Wings to a 5-3 win over the visiting Atlanta Thrashers. Osgood has not lost in regulation in his last 4 starts and is now 3-1-1 on the season. He is sporting a 3.20 goals against average and a .890 save percentage. Ozzie has surrendered 16 goals on the early season in 5 games. Last season it took until game 11 before Osgood surrendered that same amount of goals.

Florida winger Richard Zednik netted his first goal of the season and his first since getting cut on the neck last season by the skate of former teammate Olli Jokinen. Zed snapped an 8 game goal-less drought dating back to last season having last scored a goal on February 9. Zednik also snapped a 4 game point-less streak as the host Panthers eked past the San Jose Sharks for a 4-3 victory. Zed now has 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) on 7 games this season.

Check in soon for more updates and news at FIW.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Extension: John Erskine

According to this story from The Fourth Period, the Washington Capitals have signed defenseman John Erskine to another 2 years at a total hit of $2.5 million. Poised to become a UFA at the end of the season, the 28 year old d-man has spent the last 3 seasons with the Caps.

Erskine started his NHL career during the 2001-02 season with Dallas after being drafted in the 2nd Round, 39th overall in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft by the Stars. Erskine played parts of 4 seasons with the Stars before being traded to the Isles midway through the 2005-06 campaign. Despite having played 6 seasons prior to this year, Erskine has never logged more than 60 games in a season. In 226 games he has 6 goals and 16 assists for 22 points along with 512 penalty minutes, a -41 rating and 1 game winner.

We wish John the best as he is poised to be an FI in the capital city for at least the next few years.

Thursday October 23

It is becoming increasingly harder to report on Former Islander happenings when FIs do not even seem to be playing much anymore. Ron Wilson, coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, scratched Jason Blake last night for not playing up to his expectations. Washington FIs Viktor Kozlov and Tom Poti are both injured and the whole Michael Peca suspension debacle has just ended. Take in to consideration these factors and the sudden disappearance or non-appearance of many of FIs still playing and our reporting is cut to a razor thin amount. Last night was another example when FIs made impacts in only 2 of the 7 contests around the league. Here is a look:

Pittsburgh winger Ruslan Fedotenko came out of hibernation to notch his first goal and point as a Penguin. The goal, the game winner in the Pens' 4-1 win over the visiting Carolina Hurricanes, came in game 8 for the Tank snapping a 7 game point drought to start the season. Fedo scored at thhe 8:47 mark of the 3rd period only 32 seconds after Sidney Crosby had knotted the score at 1.

Phoenix center Olli Jokinen snapped his 1 game point-less "drought" registering an assist on the Coyotes' first goal as they edged the visiting Washington Capitals 2-1. Jokinen has registered at least a point in 5 of his first 6 games with the 'Yotes and now has 7 points (1 goal, 6 assists) to lead the team's offense. However, O-Jok has not scored a goal since opening night.

Check in soon for more updates at FIW.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wednesday October 22

With 5 games on Wednesday night things seemed primed for some major Former Islander contributions. Alas, an FI accomplishment occurred in only 20% of those games or 1 contest for those of you allergic to simple math. Let us take a look:

Chicago defenseman Aaron Johnson netted an insurance goal as the Blackhawks blanked the visiting Edmonton Oilers for a 3-0 win. Johnson received the 3rd star of the game honor and is playing very well on the Chicago blueline racking up 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) on 5 games with all 3 points coming in the last 4 tilts. The goal snapped a 38 game drought dating back to March 29, 2007 while Johnson was still with his original squad, the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Check in soon for more updates at FIW.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Not Quite a Signing: Mark Parrish

In a weird twist of fate the Islanders have extended UFA winger Mark Parrish a 25-game tryout contract with the team's AHL affiliate the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Check out the story here at Newsday's Isles blog.

Parrish spent the majority of his career with the Islanders between 2000 and 2006 before being traded late in the 2005-06 campaign to the Los Angeles Kings. After reaching free agency, Parrish signed with what he believed to be greener pastures inking a 5 year deal with the Minnesota Wild and returning to his home state. Only 2 years in to the 5 year contract the Wild bought out the last 3 years of his deal this summer making him a UFA. Parrish received little tangible interest since he was cut so late (early August) when most teams had pretty much firmed up their lineups. We wish Mark lots of luck and would not be disappointed to see him in the Orange & Blue again since the youth experiment has been mixed at best so far.

Tuesday October 21

There were 5 more games on Tuesday night in the NHL with 3 more Former Islander noteworthies. Here is a quick look:

As the old Swahili saying goes, "Don't climb Kilimanjaro before the start of the NHL season". That adage seems to be holding true for Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara who is struggling to make an offensive impact early this season. He failed in an opportunity in the SO as his Bruins fell 3-2 to the host Buffalo Sabres. Chara came up in the 4th of 5 rounds of SO action with the chance to seal victory for the Bs only to be stuffed by Sabres' goaltender Ryan Miller. The rejection continues a slow start for Chara who only has 2 assists on 6 games and has failed to register a point in his last 3 starts. He currently has a -3 rating and has taken 10 shots to no avail. Things will hopefully turn around for Chara soon.

Roberto Luongo where art thou? Luongo was ineffective yet again on Tuesday as the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the visiting Vancouver Canucks 4-2. Luongo lost for the 2nd straight game and 3rd time in 4 starts to fall to 3-3-0 on the season. After starting the season off with a shutout and back-to-back wins, Luongo has been pretty helpless with a combination of poor play and the trademark lack of Canucks offense. But it is not all about goal scoring since Luongo has an unusually high 3.34 goals against average and an anorexic .889 save percentage. Luongo stopped 29 of 32 shots but has just not looked like the captain with his recent play. After sealing up his 200th win on October 16 against the Detroit Red Wings Luongo seems stalled.

Atlanta d-man Mathieu Schneider is a gentleman and at 39 years old he is also a specimen of hockey days of yore, kind of like a fossil to be examined. The real mystery is how does a player drafted in 1987 keep going like there is no tomorrow? And how does he get consistently downgraded in team quality (Detroit to Anaheim to Atlanta)? Life is unfair but Schneider never gives up. Schneider, making the best of a bad situation, registered an assist on the game tying goal with about 35 seconds left in regulation as the Thrashers eventually fell to the host Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in OT. The Tampa win finally gave new coach Barry "The Mullet" Melrose his first victory with the Lightning. But who cares about Vinny Lecavalier or Steven "Invisible Man" Stamkos or Ilya Kovalchuk, for FIW the main event in Atlanta for the time being will be Mathieu. Schneids has 2 assists on 6 games this season snapping a 2 game point-less streak. Also of note, for the first time this season Schneider did not register any penalty minutes after racking up 12 in the first 5 tilts.

Check back soon for more updates at FIW.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Monday October 20

It was a fairly busy night around the NHL as 8 teams battled for points in 4 games. Former Islanders made noise in 3 of those tilts. Here is a quick recap of those tilts:

Pittsburgh winger Miroslav Satan came up big for the Penguins again scoring the lone team goal of regulation as they edged the host Boston Bruins 2-1 in SO. Satan is riding a 3 game goal scoring streak in which he has posted 4 points (3 goals, 1 assist). He is currently playing at a near point-per-game pace with 6 points (4 goals, 2 assists) on 7 games. The last time Satan had goals in 3 straight games was nearly a year ago between November 3-10, 2007 while still with the Isles. During that streak Satan had the game winner in each of those competitions. On his current streak, Satan has 1 winning tally in the last 3 games. Satan missed on his chance in the 4th round of the 5 round SO.

Montreal defenseman Roman Hamrlik snapped a 2 game pointless run with an assist on the empty netter with 22 seconds remaining in play as the Canadiens beat the visiting Florida Panthers 3-1. There is no denying that Hamrlik is off to a fast start with 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) on 6 games.

The Archdiocese of Denver is on speed dial because Colorado winger Ryan Smyth is playing like a man possessed. Looking to shake off the injury-shortened seasons that have defined his last few years, Smyth is playing healthy and potting goals to boot. Smyth turned on the magic again on Monday as he dropped in 2 even strength goals, including the game winner, to lead the Avalanche to a 4-3 road win over the Los Angeles Kings. Honored as the 1st star of the game, Smyth now has 6 points (4 goals, 2 assists) on 6 games, actually his last 4 games. Last season it took Smyth 10 games to hit 4 goals, a considerable improvement in his willingness to get up front. The surprising part, though, is that despite his contributions, Smyth currently has a 0 +/- rating.

Check back soon for more news and updates at FIW.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sunday October 19

There were only 2 games up for grabs on Sunday. Former Islanders only made the difference in 1 of those competitions. Let us take a quick look at the slow Sunday around the league:

Vancouver goaltender could not do enough to help his team win as the Chicago Blackhawks doubled up on the visiting Canucks for a 4-2 win. Luongo stopped 22 of 26 shots dropping his record to 3-2-0 on the season. He currently has very un-Luongo-like numbers with a bloated 3.40 goals against average and a paltry .886 save percentage. After starting the season off with a shutout things have taken a downturn for the Canucks' captain including surrendering 4+ goals in 3 of his last 4 starts.

Check here soon for more updates and recaps at FIW!

Saturday October 18

Busy, busy, busy. The NHL was buzzing on Saturday with 13 games including 12 nighttime matchups. One week removed from a full 15 game schedule, the competition definitely seems to be heating up. Former Islanders are making their efforts known and continued to make noise in 6 of those rumbles. Here is a recap of their workload:

Colorado winger Ryan Smyth continued to show off what he can do when he is healthy as he notched the Avalanche's 4th goal of the game as they beat the host Dallas Stars 5-4. Smyth popped in a powerplay goal for his 2nd tally of the season. He now has 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) on 5 games with all 4 points coming in the last 3. All 4 of Smyth's points have come on the man advantage.

Washington defenseman John Erskine made his first offensive impact of the year receiving the primary assist on the game tying goal as the Capitals eventually fell 4-3 to the visiting New Jersey Devils in the SO. Erskine now has 1 assist on 4 games this season.

Detroit goalie Chris Osgood improved to above .500 by holding off the pesky New York Rangers for a 5-4 OT win. Ozzie stopped 28 of 32 shots faced to improve to 2-1-1 on the season. He currently has a 3.25 goals against average and an .884 save percentage. Osgood has not dropped a decision in regulation since the season opener going 2-0-1 over his last 3 starts.

Quiz: Who has as many goals as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, combined? Answer: Miroslav Satan. Miro continued his quick start by netting the game winning powerplay goal midway through the 2nd period as the Pittsburgh Penguins knocked off the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1. Satan has 3 goals and 2 assists for 5 points on 6 games. All 3 of Satan's goals and 1 assist have come on the man advantage. Also getting involved in the extra man action was former teammate and current Leaf Jason Blake. Blakey had an assist on the opening goal of the game, a powerplay special courtesy of Nik Antropov. Blake has 1 goal and 2 assists for 3 points on the first 5 games of the year.

Chicago d-man Aaron Johnson assisted on a Brian Campbell goal for the 2nd time is as many games. Johnson now has 2 assists on 3 games with the Blackhawks and helped his new team as Chicago fell 4-3 in SO to the host St. Louis Blues. The last time Johnson had assists in consecutive games was between March 28-31, 2006 while in his sophomore year with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Calgary winger Todd Bertuzzi kept his scoring streak going on Saturday netting his 5th goal in 4 games as he opened the scoring with a powerplay goal only 4:17 in to play as the Flames fell to the host Edmonton Oilers 3-2. Bert has 5 goals on only 5 games to lead the Calgary offense. As well, Bertuzzi is riding a 3 game powerplay goal scoring streak. Considering he has only taken 13 shots, Bertuzzi is doing remarkably currently scoring at a 38.5% rate.

Check in soon for more news and updates.

Friday October 17

There were 7 games up for grabs on Friday night around the NHL. Former Islanders are making major contributions early in this season. FIs were involved in 3 games including a wild one in Calgary where 5 (!) FIs made the scoresheet. Let us look at their accomplishments:

New York Rangers' backup goaltender Stephen Valiquette stopped alll 21 shots he faced and an additional 2 out of 3 in SO as the Blueshirts edged the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs 1-0. It was the 2nd start of the season for Vali who is now 2-0-0. The shutout was the 3rd of his career and Valiquette has started this year off in spectacular fashion with a 1.44 goals against average and a .939 save percentage. Toronto winger Jason Blake was stopped in his attempt in the 3rd frame of the SO. If he had made the shot it would have extended the frame but alas the stars were not aligned for Blakey.

Phoenix center Olli Jokinen kept his point and assist streaking going even as his Coyotes dropped a 6-3 decision to the host Ottawa Senators. Jokinen is on fire to start the season with 1 goal and 5 assists for 6 points on only 4 games. For the first time this season, however, the 2 assists O-Jok recorded did not come on the powerplay. Jokinen also has an assist streak running with 5 helpers in the first 4 games. He has not found the net, though, since the opening game despite putting up 5 shots over the last 3 tilts.

It was an FI battle royale in Calgary as 5 separate FIs found their way on to the boxscore. The hero of the game was Edmonton center Robert Nilsson who scored the powerplay game winner to seal the 4-3 Oilers win over the Flames. The goal was Nilsson's first of the season and was his 2nd point in as many games. Nilsson now has 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist) on 3 competitions. The game winner, only the 2nd of his career, was Nilsson's first since March 21, 2006 while still with the Isles, a span of 91 games without a winning tally. Receiving the primary assist on the goal was d-man Denis Grebeshkov. Greb is off to a hot start with 4 assists on the first 3 games. He is riding a 3 game point streak in which 2 of his 4 helpers have come on the powerplay. The last time Grebeshkov had a 3 game point/assist streak was November 24-28, 2007 while in his first season with the Oil. Also contributing for the Oilers was blueliner Jason Strudwick. He assisted on Edmonton's first goal with only 2:25 remaining in the first period. The helper was Strudwick's first point of the season on 3 games and snapped a 38 point-less streak (including 2 playoff games) dating back to November 21, 2007 while he was still suiting up with the Rangers. Calgary also had a couple of FIs making contributions. D-man Adrian Aucoin kicked the game off with his 1st goal of the season only 6:53 in to play. The goal was also his first point of the season on 4 games. Tearing it up goals-wise for the Flames is Todd Bertuzzi who netted the too-little-too-late powerplay goal 7:23 in to the 3rd period. Bertuzzi has 4 goals on 4 games and is a riding a 3 game goal-scoring streak. For all the questions about Bert's abilities, he is looking real good compared to Calgary captain Jarome Iginla who has managed a meager goal in the team's first 4 competitions.

Check back soon for more highlights and recaps at FIW.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday October 16

There were 7 games on the Thursday NHL schedule meaning 14 teams fought it out for early season points. Former Islanders are steadily making impacts on the scoresheet including contributions in 5 of those matches. Let us take a gander at those works:

It was the battle of top tier FI goaltenders last night in Detroit as captain Roberto Luongo and his Vancouver Canucks faced off against Chris Osgood and the Red Wings. To the winner went the spoils, to the loser... well in this case 1 point. The victor was in fact the superior of the two backstoppers as Luongo and Co. knocked off the hosts 4-3 in OT. Luongo stopped 32 of 35 shots faced to improve to 3-1-0 on the season. Luongo lowered his goals against average to 3.21 and raised his save percentage slightly to .895. Osgood stopped 25 of 29 shots but could not prevent shot number 1 of OT only 27 seconds in to the frame. Ozzie is fairing slightly worse this season with a 1-1-1 record, a 3.01 goals against average and a shockingly low .888 save percentage.

Defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron continues to make inroads with his new team having found his way on the scoresheet for the 2nd time in only 3 games. Bergeron had a powerplay assist on Minnesota's 5th goal as the Wild systematically tore down the host Florida Panthers 6-2. MAB now has 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist) on 3 games with both those points coming with the man advantage. Surprisingly, Bergeron has 10 shots over those 3 games but no penalty minutes. How gentlemanly of you Marc-Andre!

Let people say what they will about Miroslav Satan being an inferior replacement for Marian Hossa on right wing for the Penguins, Satan is playing solid hockey and GASP has more points on the season than Hossa (4 to 3). Satan had a 2 point night Thursday as Pittsburgh blew a 3-0 home lead to the Washington Capitals losing 4-3. Satan notched a goal and an assist each on the powerplay for his first multipoint effort as a Pen. He now has 2 goals and 2 assists for 4 points on 5 games. Three of his 4 points have come on the man advantage including both of his tallies. While Sidney Crosby still seems to be working out his kinks (what is up with Sid and Alex Ovechkin?), Evgeni Malkin and Miro seem to be clicking. This is the first time Satan has had a goal and an assist in the same game since October 20, 2007!

St. Louis d-man Eric Brewer finally managed a point as his teammates around him have been off to a fast start. Brewer netted his first goal of the season, a powerplay tally, to cap the scoring as the Blues thumped the visiting Dallas Stars 6-1. With the goal, Brewer snapped a 75 game goal-less streak. The last time Brewer put one in the net was October 27, 2007 - 5 games in to the 2007-08 season. Brewer shaved a game off that scoring his first of the season in game 4.

Finally, Ryan Smyth may not be playing as well as he did in the preseason but he is still doing okay for himself to start the 2008-09 campaign. Smyth had a powerplay helper on Colorado's final goal as the host Avalanche finally won one against the equally winless Philadelphia Flyers by the final score of 5-2. Smyth has 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) on 4 games with all 3 points coming in the last 2 competitions. He has recorded all of those point on the man advantage.

Check in soon for more updates, news and highlights at FIW.