The Anaheim Ducks have been as good as advertised this season. However, a night after setting the record for most games without a regulation loss, a 6-0 thumping of Vancouver, the Ducks got shutout by Calgary 3-0.
We all knew this couldn't last (unless it was NHL94 against the computer with the offsides off), but the Ducks are showing the league they can be "mighty" without it being in their name. J-S Giguere has gotten back to his '02-'03 form, the pair of Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer is just completely dominant, and the diversity of forwards scoring is pretty amazing. It looks like the Ducks ditched Disney just in time.
Speaking of the Flames, they seem to have hit their stride. Tony Amonte is finally earning his contract, Jarome Iginla is looking like a man on a serious mission, while Miikka Kiprusoff has been solid night-in and night-out...like always. It seems that after October, the Flames flip a switch and they get back on the right track again.
Amazingly enough, about 10 games in; people in Calgary were writing the team off. One Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun even went so far as saying the Flames wouldn't make the playoffs, regardless the fact that there were 72 games to play. They aren't back at .500 and it may be too early to jump back on the bandwagon for some; but you can't write off a team with this much talent on it and with such high expectations.
What has happened to the Buffalo Sabres?? They have been winning games, but the fact that they have given up at least four goals in the last five games could be cause for concern. Are they crashing down to Earth after the quick high?? Have teams just figured them out and what weaknesses they have?? I don't have the answer, but for a team to get a great start out of the gate and then start stumbling is scary.
The Sabres are good, I'm not saying otherwise; but something has to be done. Whether it's getting on the defense or goaltending that's the answer; then something needs to be done. The tandem of Martin Biron and Ryan Miller could be, on paper, the best tandem in the league; but they sure as hell aren't showing it lately.
Are the Ottawa Senators going to be the bi-polar team of this year?? Here's another team, like the Flames, who shouldn't be this bad with the team they have. The one thing I have seen out of them is that they are missing something. I can't pinpoint it, but there's something in their game that is stiffling the confidence of the team and is why they have blown so many leads this year.
Frankly, the combination of Zdeno Chara leaving, Martin Gerber flopping, and overconfidence is what is hassling the team. If you put all three of those together, you have a recipie for disaster in Canada's capital. Is it too late to turn it around?? No, but if something doesn't happen soon, you can bet that there will be some movement one way or the other.
The Phoenix Coyotes can't catch a break. First, they lose their leading scorer, Mike Comrie, to foot surgery; today, they announced that Shane Doan and Nick Boynton will be out a while.
Right now, they can only hope that Wayne Gretzky straps up the skates again and plays the Reggie Dunlop role on the team; because (to be brutally honest) that's the only way this team will be relevant this season.
The NHL leaked out the players on the NHL All-Star Ballot for this January. There's really not many surprises on here with all your favorites out there.
However, this has been brought up on the show many times; fan voting is idiotic. That's not a knock on any of you reading this, but it's the truth. People are going to pick their favorite player regardless of how good a year they are having.
You know-- listen into the show or replay Podcast for November 8th, because I have a hairbrain scheme that just could work to straighten this all out.
That's all for now, but as always; check out Face Off Hockey Show every Wednesday at 9 PM ET for all the fun; especially this coming Wednesday. Can't make the show?? Then check out the FOHS Podcast for all you missed and go by the FOHS Message Boards to post about the show and all the fun stuff happening.