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Of the first 10 games that finished last night, 20 teams played (obviously) and 35 goals were scored. Or a 1.75 GAA (give or take, not calculating the five minute OTs). Coaching and goaltending really are at all time peak, and as much as a good 2-1 game can be entertaining, I long for the 4-3 and 5-4 games and I hope that the NHL adapts again with another rule tweak or two.
Did you see Coach's Corner Saturday? Don Cherry was anti-touch icing (again) and pro-bringing back the red line. The icing I'm on board with, of course. Skaters racing for the puck doesn't add any excitement for me – at most I would enjoy it once every 50 games. If it's tight and saving that icing really meant a lot. But what would make the game even more exciting is shaving off a second or two each icing because it's blown dead when the puck crosses the line. Get to the faceoff dot sooner, get back at it sooner, etc. Anyway, I digress. That suggestion of bringing back the two-line offside is a poor one. When Cherry was showing highlights of stretch passes and sarcastically saying "real exciting" and "ooh so exciting"…I actually was excited. I loved those passes. Please don't take them from me. That is all.
Vrbata alert. Late with this one, should have noted it yesterday. But he has a five-game points streak now and we all know how he works. Before this he was pointless in three and before that he had a five-game points streak. Prior to that it was points in two out of eight. And so on, you know how he does things. So while this could be the tail end of another quick hot run, it could also run a little longer. He has 25 goals already, just two off his career high.
Mike Smith has tied his career high for games played with 42. He's already buried his career high in wins (21).
Sergei Kostitsyn had 11 points in the first 14 games, then four in 18. And now 15 in his last 16. Mike Fisher has 17 in those 16 games.
Craig Smith is still seeing low ice time, conserving him for the long schedule, but he's seeing a lot of power-play time. That's at the expense of Kostitsyn, who saw just 34 seconds last night.
The twins were split up last night. For the most part. Daniel played with Kesler and Burrows while Henrik played with Raymond and Bitz. That's Byron Bitz. And Bitz actually saw a bit of time with both brothers at once. In two games this season, he has two points (both last night), is plus-2 with five PIM. At this point I would only pick him up if you're extremely desperate for a very short-term solution or if you have tons of transactions you can do and space for him on your bench. He holds zero long-term fantasy value, but there might be something there for three or four games. But he's playing with the right people right now.
Marc-Andre Bergeron was back in the TB lineup last night but only played about 13 minutes. He was a minus-2. Remember when he had 15 points in the first 13 games? Some quick math here… yep, nine points in 30 games since.
Erik Karlsson played 32:44 last night. I think that's the highest I've seen out of anybody all season.
Every once in awhile, Patrik Berglund pokes his head up on the scoresheet to say "hi". Very nice of him.