Top Shelf Thursday: Week 3 NHL notebook
By DAVE TURNER
1. The Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers played a crazy game on Monday. The Rangers took two game misconduct penalties on hits by Chris Kreider and John Moore, yet the Wild were unable to score on the ensuing 10 minutes of power play time, 9:44 of which was served in the second period.Despite not being able to score on the power play, the Wild raced out to a 3-0 lead. I guess when you're leading by that margin, failing to score on that type of power play isn't as bad. Then comes the third period. The Rangers scored two goals in the first five minutes as Kevin Klein and Rick Nash both potted goals. Then, a comeback seemed like a real possibility. Not even a minute later, Jason Zucker made it 4-2 Wild. Okay, game over, right? Not quite. Derrick Brassard, Anthony DuClair and Mats Zuccarello all scored for the Blueshirts, giving them an improbable come-from-behind win.
Not to be lost in the fury of the game were the two dirty hits. That's the kind of stuff the NHL is trying to get rid of and the suspension to Moore for five games is correct.
2. It's almost time to panic in Boston. With the latest injury to Torey Krug, there is real reason for concern in Boston. Something just doesn't look right with this team. The loss of Zdeno Chara is going to be tough, but with Krug out, there is a definite void on the back end. At 5-6 going into Thursday's games, the Bruins are sitting in fifth place in the Atlantic Division. Yes, it's a long season, plenty of time, yada yada, but at some point, the Bruins will have to turn it around. Whether it'll come once Krug and Chara are both back, or maybe it starts this week, for a team that came into the season with championship aspirations, six regulation losses in eleven contests wont get it done. Despite the loss of those two, I think the loss of Johnny Boychuk hurts them more than anything. With the Canadiens, Lightning, Red Wings and Senators all playing well, it won't be an easy ride to a playoff spot for Boston unless they can be markedly better.
3. The Calder Trophy looks like Tanner Pearson's hardware out of the gate. It's hard to believe that Tanner Pearson is a rookie, but he is. Despite playing in the cup finals, his eligibility states that he is still a rookie, so he's eligible for the award. Pearson has tallied seven goals and two assists in nine games so far, playing on a line with Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Carter. A few others who have stood out are New Jersey defenseman Damon Severson (4g, 3a, plus-6), Nashville forward Filip Forsberg (1g, 6a, plus-10) and of course Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin who in five games has a goal and two assists.
4. John Tavares isn't the only center turning heads on Long Island. We all know what John Tavares can do, but it's the play of Brock Nelson that has been one of the biggest surprises of the season. The 23-year-old center had just 26 points (14g, 12a) last year, in his rookie campaign. Fast forward to 2014 and Nelson's six goals and six assists have him at just about half of his total points for last year... in just nine games. So much is being made about the improved defense with Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy and even the goaltending with Jaroslav Halak, but Nelson deserves the credit as well, as he's been excellent.
5. Patric Hornqvist is the Emmanuel Sanders of the NHL. For those of you not familiar with either, Sanders is a Denver Broncos wide receiver who came over from the Steelers to play with Peyton Manning and the Broncos. He's have an unbelievable season as a result. Patric Hornqvist played his last few seasons in Nashville before coming over in a trade to the Penguins in the offseason. Hornqvist had the talent, but never seemed to fit in with the defensive-minded system in Nashville. Now, playing with a player like Sidney Crosby, (Peyton Manning in more ways than we'll get into.) he has flourished. The Swedish-born winger has five goals and six assists in just nine games. When you put a good player in a great system, sometimes things work out very well. Hornqvist was the kind of player that needed that offense-first system to show his true potential.
Stat of the week: There's a stark difference between the power play and penalty kill for the New Jersey Devils. Their power play ranks third in the league, at 25.8% and their penalty kill ranks dead last, at an abysmal 66.7%.
1. Dressing up as hockey players for Halloween is always fun, but when hockey players dress up for Halloween, it's even better. The Boston Bruins recently visited a hospital dressed as various characters. Dougie Hamilton dressed as Elsa from Frozen is something that simply cannot be unseen. Great work though, bringing joy to kids during a fun day.
2. Connor McDavid actually shattered a puck off of the cross-bar in practice. If that isn't making the Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, or anyone else for that matter salivate over the presumed number one pick in the draft, I don't know what will. The kid can flat out shoot. Can't wait to see him lace up the skates in the NHL next season.
3. Hate to say it, but the Hurricanes should trade Eric Staal. They're going nowhere and Staal has value. Considering that this team is in the running for the first overall pick, stockpiling draft picks and beginning the rebuild is a smart thing to do. Never easy to trade the face of your franchise, but for the future of this team, it would be the right call.
4. Beer of the week: Oatmeal Stout, Wolaver Brewing, Vermont- Had this stout on tap the other day and it's really great stuff. If you like a Stout that's not a nitro and isn't as heavy as an imperial, you'd do well with this one. Also, it's organic. Not really sure how many people try to seek out organic beer, but it can't hurt to know that the beer was produced with that sentiment in mind, right?
5. Recipe of the week: Pork and Apple stuffing. My lovely girlfriend decided to make a loin of pork with an apple, sausage stuffing this week and it was great. Though she did her own thing when it came to the recipe itself, the one above is close. Basically, you come away with a sweet, savory stuffing that has the saltiness of the pork (we used sausage, not ground pork) and the great array of flavors from all of the spices. If you're looking for a nice Autumn type of meal, this is a great way to go.