It really must suck to be the Chicago Blackhawks right now. They get off to a blistering start, and in one fell swoop during the weekend, fate rears its ugly head. Martin Havlat, who was leading the team with seven goals and 13 points, is out at least two weeks with a sprained knee; Nikolai Khabibulin, who was in a bounce back season, is out at least two weeks with a broken finger; and Michael Handzus, who had three goals and five assists on the top line, is done for the year with a torn MCL and ACL.
You almost had to suspect something was going to go wrong, especially when things for the Blackhawks were doing so well. Havlat's injury history is coming back to haunt him and I suspect that it'll happen again sometime during the season. Should be interesting how the Hawks actually handle this with their stars out; so we'll see what they are truly made of.
Was it any surprise about how quick the clean-out in Philly happened?? First, the firing of Ken Hitchcock and then the resignation of Bobby Clarke almost came as a surprise to some, but plenty in Philly were waiting for someone to get canned. Of course, the thought process was that Clarke would get the hook before Hitchcock, but they both went out at the same time. Now, Paul Holmgren is the interim GM and John Stevens is interim head coach.
Since Ron Hextall left, the big problem for the Flyers was the goaltending. They could never find a solid #1 starter to carry the team throughout the season and in the playoffs. Once that issue is addressed, as well as more mobile defenseman in the line-up, then things should fall into place for the Flyers.
News Flash: The Buffalo Sabres are good. They are on the verge of matching the record of the 1992-93 Toronto Maple Leafs by starting 10-0-0. Not even a Janne Niinimaa promise for the Habs to win can stop the Sabres. But is this a much different team than what we saw last season??
The answer, yes-- yes it is. While the main cogs remain, they are better. The scoring of the Sabres is coming in bunches and they are making the most of their speed, grit, and all-around play, and it's taking them to the top. Ryan Miller is having a Vezina-esque season; and yes I realize we're nine games into the season, but that's how I roll.
In some more injury news, Marian Gaborik is out with a groin injury......again. The Wild will keep Gaborik out for 10-14 days, as not to injure it more-so. With Gaborik's history of a wonky groin, it's better to keep him out and not try to push the injury to much, so they loss him for an extended period of time.
Ethan Moreau could have the worst luck. At the end of the Oilers/Red Wings game, Moreau hit Danny Markov and it looked like they were going to duel, but Moreau pulled up lame when the gloves were dropped. Upon review, when Moreau slapped Markov's helmet; he dislocated his shoulder. Big issue is that it could require surgery and Moreau could miss out on the rest of the regular season. What a way to lose a year.
One of the St. Louis Blues big free agent signings, Jay McKee, will be out up to six weeks after he had surgery on his hand. McKee got hurt, ironically enough, doing what he does best, blocking shots.
That's time for now, but make sure to check out Face Off Hockey Show this Wednesday at 9 PM ET or always on the Podcast. Plus, if you have something to say, say it on our Message Board powered by FantasyHockey.com.