Stan's Java Jive 1/14/21
Stan's Maple Leafs Outlook; Bullish View of the Canucks; Quality of Games in the Regular Season; Vegas Names Their First "C"
HEADLINE: LEAFS BEAT HABS IN OT.
THE JIVE: Normally opening game wins mean nothing in terms of a regular season marathon. But this just isn't a regular season. Since everybody and his Uncle Dudley has picked Toronto to dominate the Canadian Division, this opening win negates the norm.
Granted it was only an overtime victory and the Habs are not exactly a Cup contender. But something tells me this -- really -- will be the Leafs year. (Translated: They'll make the playoffs, win the first round and then: OUT!)
HEADLINE: FLYERS ROUT PENGUINS.
THE JIVE: Make no mistake, Mike Sullivan will have his coaching hands full this season. Tristan Jarry will not hold up in goal and I see rust on the wheels of Sidney Crosby and Ev Malkin. On the Flyers side, Alain Vigneault has to be laughing now that prize Draft pick of yesteryear, Nolan Patrick, came through and, hopefully, is over the dizzy -- and very scary -- ailment that sidelined him last season. Mark Patrick down as Philly's secret weapon. (That past remark makes him no longer a "secret.")
HEADLINE: CANUCKS SIGN TRAVIS HAMONIC -- AND WIN
THE JIVE: When Hamonic's head was on straight as an Islander he was one of the most dependable blue liners in the NHL. Not very far from "Elite" status. But lots of events have changed things for Travis since then. No doubt the best of all is that he's playing for the best young NHL coach, Travis Green. This hockey marriage of two Travis-es in Vancouver will be a huge boost for B.C. hockey fans. A Hamonic-Quinn Hughes pair will be an asset all around.
HEADLINE: THIS SEASON WILL BE LIKE 56 PLAYOFF GAMES
THE JIVE: That headline appeared in the Washington Times with Stephen Whyno's byline. And Whyno is right! Every single game for every single team, starting now, will be like a playoff game. Kudos to the Washington Times for Best Headline To Open The Season.
HEADLINE: VEGAS NAMES ITS FIRST CAPTAIN
THE JIVE: The Knights have given the "C" to Mark Stone; and why not? He deserves it. Not Alex Pietrangelo and not Reilly Smith.
The 28-year-old Stone is an inspirational leader and the kind of captain who can fire up a team. I happen to like Stone's un-stony comment when he got the captaincy: "I'm speechless and humbled." Good quote from a good guy!
HEADLINE: ILYA SOROKIN HAS FIRST PRESS CONFERENCE
THE JIVE: The Islanders new 25-year-old goalie says his "first idol" was Evgeni (Nabby) Nabokov. Well, I can tell you from personal experience that Nabby was the best -- and most fun -- goalie interview I ever had. Over and over again. Sorokin looks like a chip off the old Nabby block. The media loves him and the vice is versa. Ilya's English isn't perfect yet but it was just fine saying how pleased he is to be in the NHL. "Why not? It's the best league in the world. All the guys in Europe dream of playing here."
HEADLINE: CANES GOING WITH PETR MRAZEK AND JAMES REIMER IN GOAL
THE JIVE: It's a good thing that Carolina boasts the best defense in the NHL.
HEADLINE: WINGS GIVE CAPTAINCY TO DYLAN LARKIN
THE JIVE: I like what his boss, Stevie Yzerman told Larkin: "Don't change who you are!" What I like better than that is that Detroit gave my pal Frans Nielsen one of the two alternate "C's" and the other to Luke Glendening.
HEADLINE: NO EXHIBITION GAMES THIS YEAR.
THE JIVE: Columnist Eric Duhatschek noted that great non-event, suggesting that exhibitions weren't not so hot to watch anyhow. For the year 2021, he's right!