Top Shelf Thursday: Weekly NHL notebook
1. There were some special moments in the NHL this week, once again proving just how great the product is, both on and off the ice. In Toronto, the Star Spangled Banner was being sung, when the singer's mic cut out. The Maple Leafs fans responded by singing the last few lines of the song. That's a impressive rendition by our neighbors to the north.
Then, when Sharks goaltender Troy Grosenick got his first shutout, in his first EVER game in the NHL, his father was overcome with emotions. Hats off to the former Union College goaltender for an excellent performance.
That is what makes hockey special. It's not just about goals and wins, but about the impact that it has on families and fans alike.
2. The New York Islanders are for real. Yes, it's still very early, but this team has the right recipe for success. Firstly, they play in a division that has been extremely underwhelming, thus far. I'm a firm believer in the idea that you build from the net out and they finally have a legitimate goaltender in Jaroslav Halak. Halak's numbers (2.54 gaa and .914 save percentage) haven't been other-worldly, but he has been a consistent performer between the pipes. The additions of Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy gave the Isles both defense and an offensive boost out of the back end and they're as strong as anyone in the league at center. Those three ingredients mean that the Islanders should stay relevant in the sub-par Metropolitan Division. By defeating the Lightning 5-2 on Tuesday, it was another strong step for this club. The 2014-2015 Islanders are much more than just John Tavares and it's not out of the question for them to finish in second and have home ice in the first round.
3. The Martin Brodeur saga has gone on far too long. Watching weeks and weeks of Martin Brodeur rumors turn into nothing is a sad state for the most decorated goaltender in NHL history. At this point, barring a major injury to a contender, or a panic move by the Devils, it might be hard for No.30 to find a job in the NHL again. I get it, he wants to play. NHL hockey has been a part of his life since he was a teenager and the thought of moving on must be a challenging one for the four-time Vezina Trophy winner. Do the right thing Marty, hang up the skates for good. Even if he does get a shot somewhere, without camp and a month or two of the regular season, how good can he possibly be? His skills have eroded and the prospect of him coming in cold to play somewhere to play could be disastrous. The only thing worse than watching Brodeur wait around for a call would be for him to finally catch on somewhere and embarrass himself with his play.
4. The Nashville Predators have found a future star in Filip Forsberg. The 20-year-old Swede is coming into his own on a rebuilt first line in the Music City. Playing alongside Mike Ribiero and James Neal, Forsberg has gotten off to a sensational start, with 22 points (9g, 13a) in just 18 games. His plus-20 rating is the best mark in the league, five better than Vlad Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues. Nashville has been paced by their rebuilt first line and it has paid major dividends. At 12-4-2, the Preds are in first place in the Central Division and are tied with Chicago for the best goal differential in the Western Conference at plus-15. For Forsberg, it's been a coming of age. He spent the majority of the last two years in the minors, before winning a job out of camp this season. the Swedish forward has nine points in his last five games. If he's able to pace this club with a 70-plus point season, the Predators should be right in the mix in the Central.
Stat of the week: The Predators get the nod here, as well. Their 1.95 goals for/against at 5-on-5 play is a great indication about their play. If you win the 5-on-5 play, chances are you'll win the game.
1. Thoughts are with Pascal Dupuis after his injury. Blood clots in his legs will have him sidelined for 6 months. Any time you're dealing with something as serious as that, it's not just about getting back on the ice, but about getting healthy first. Here's to a speedy recovery, Pascal.
2. The Tampa Bay Lightning just can't seem to get the whole jersey thing down. They wore a new black third uniform last week and all I can think of is. Kings? As if their current home and road uniforms don't look enough like the Toronto Maple Leaf Gatorades, their "new" black threads look very similar to the home uniforms of the defending Stanley Cup Champions. What happened to originality?
3. Josh Harding deserves a chance. The young netminder has played since being diagnosed with MS, which is a feat within itself. Injuries have caused him to miss time and he was sent down to the minors by the Wild. I can't fathom that there isn't a team that could use him. Sure, he has been injury prone, but he'd make one hell of a backup when healthy.
4. Beer of the week: Rare Vos – Ommegang Brewery - This beer is considered an "amber ale" but it's much, much more than that. It has a cornucopia of flavors, including citrus and a flowery feel to it as well. It's just an absolutely fantastic offering from Ommegang, which is located in Cooperstown, NY.
5. Recipe of the week: Raspberry, white chocolate cheesecake - Decadent, delicious and relatively easy to make, the hardest part of creating this cheesecake is straining the seeds from the raspberries. You'll need a strainer to do so. I've made this for family gatherings in the past and it was a hit each time.
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