Every couple of weeks during the 2009-10 season I will roll out my High Five/Low Five. The list is open to teams, players, coaches, and fans – basically anything hockey-related qualifies. The High Five are five things that have impressed me (with an emphasis on recent games), while the Low Five are five things that have me shaking my head.
Ryan Miller – save for his poor start on Saturday (three goals on 16 shots), Miller has been the best player in the Eastern Conference so far this season. He is a lock to start for Team USA if he keeps this level of play up (through Halloween, Miller is 8-1-1 with a 1.86 GAA and a .936 GAA). He has always had the talent to be a top tier goaltender, but often struggled with consistency, something required if one wants to succeed as a workhorse goaltender.
Tomas Kaberle – Kaberle has really taken off over the past week, recording a massive 12 points (including five in one game against the Ducks). His trade value is huge, but the Leafs would just end up needing another defenseman like him. His skating, poise, vision, and instincts are all elite. Look for him to return to his 50-60 point level, even on an offensively starved team. The return of Phil Kessel can only help, as it gives Kaberle a bona fide sniper to pass the puck to. He is on pace for 116 points, so don't expect 12 points every week. However, his proven track record should make you wary of any thoughts of selling high.
Pekka Rinne – Rinne is trying to slow down the goaltending carousel going on in Nashville right now. He has posted three straight wins (including one shutout), along with a miniscule 0.76 GAA. He was fantastic for Nashville down the stretch last season, but had an awful preseason and has struggled to earn back his starting spot. Don't expect things to get any easier in Nashville though – in addition to playing behind a team that has big-time struggles lightning the lamp, their best player (Shea Weber) is now on the shelf for a few weeks. I really like Rinne (the way he uses his size and reflexes reminds me a bit of Luongo), and think he is the long-term guy in Nashville. Even with the early season struggles (as well as some strong play at times by Dan Ellis), he should see the bulk of the starts from here on out.
New York Rangers – this one might be a bit overdue. The praise can be heaped on the game breaking Marian Gaborik, the all-world Henrik Lundqvist, the fiery John Tortorella, or a number of other players. Tortorella has the Rangers playing a high-octane, aggressive offensive game. Gaborik obviously sp