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Stan's Java Jive: 2/3/21
What did Patrik Laine do in his debut?; Can Tony DeAngelo play in Europe?; See Tyler Toffoli's beauty!
HEADLINE: LAINE MAKES HIS DEBUT WITH JETS -- A BIG ZERO!
THE JIVE: One game has relatively little significance in the broader picture of a player's career, but it does command attention. Which is why Patrik Laine's world premiere with the Blue Jackets last night in Columbus became the story of the evening. And the flop as well. Laine went oh-for-one on all counts as his Blue Jackets lost 6-3 to the Stars. "We need goals," says John Tortorella, "and this guy can score some goals." (We shall see; we shall see.)
HEADLINE: SHEA WEBER REACHES 1,000-GAME PLATEAU
THE JIVE: Here's how good Weber happens to be among Canadiens defensemen. Shea can be favorably compared with two Habs' Hall of Famers. 1. Doug Harvey, who starred for the five-Cup Montreal sextet of the late 1950s. 2. Larry Robinson, the Habs four-Cup maestro is the other. Weber established himself first in Nashville and now Montreal as a strong, dependable backliner in the tradition of Habtown excellence. The difference, of course, is that Shea has not sipped championship champagne; at least not yet.That said, the Habs 5-3 win last night over Vancouver in Weber's landmark game suggests that Montreal looks very much like a solid Stanley Cup challenger. (And if you don't believe me, check out the sizzling Suzuki-Drouin-Anderson line!)
HEADLINE: WHAT NEXT FOR SAM BENNETT?
THE JIVE: When a player -- or more likely his agent --requests a trade, the
where-there's-smoke-there's-fire equation kicks into play. No question, Bennett has value, but certainly not for Calgary, based on his recent efforts. At age 24, he's in mint condition and could be a useful forward elsewhere. When the original "Trade him" report recently surfaced, g.m. Brad Treleving had to be getting calls. Wonder if any came from the Rangers who gladly would dispose of Tony DeAngelo to just about anyone, including the Flames
HEADLINE: BURKE ON SIGNS THAT A COACH IS 'LOSING THE ROOM'
THE JIVE: One of the beauty parts of Brian Burke's new book "Burke's Law" is that he provides inside stuff by the ton. One tidbit has to do with signs that a coach is "losing the room." Burke puts it this way: "There are telltale signs that let a general manager know when a coach has lost his team. First the agents start to call you and say, 'My guy's had enough.' The first time that happens, you tell the agent to bug off. But when it happens two or three times, you have a problem."
HEADLINE: CAN TONY DEANGELO FIND SOLACE IN EUROPE?
THE JIVE: Judging by reactions from the Rangers general staff, the Blueshirts would like Tony DeAngelo as far away from the franchise as possible. Assuming that a destination within the league is impossible -- the waiver wire proved that, didn't it? -- what better faraway place than Europe? That's where the Islanders dispatched Josh Ho-Sang, isn't it? A nice cozy team in Sweden might be arranged with the help of the Blueshirts most popular Swede ever, King Henrik Lundqvist. Of course, this is all conjecture but, then again, the DeAngelo soap opera inspires conjecture all over the place. That said, he has supporters. One writes, "Who hasn't slammed a penalty box door? Who hasn't had a fight with a teammate?" Then again, we haven't heard from the oft-voluble Tony to hear his side of the story, have we? (Wouldn't that be interesting.)
HEADLINE: HOCKEY NEWS PICKS CROSBY OVER OVECHKIN
THE JIVE: The Hockey News' Annual's lead story is a "Who's Better, Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin?" Author Tom Thompson does a thorough X-Ray of both superstars and gives the ultimate nod to Crosby. While conceding that Ovie is a "generational player," Thompson points out that Alex has a "combination of skill, power and durability only matched by Gordie Howe." But Tom then counters that Sidney "has been a better player, is more productive offensively, better defensively and has had a greater impact on winning championships." That leaves Number 8 behind Howe, Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky and, now, Crosby." (Me? I prefer Ovie for his toughness, shot and electric personality.)
HEADLINE: GOALTENDING PRESSURE IN CAROLINA
THE JIVE: With Petr Mrazek out for an undetermined number of weeks, the Canes are relying on James Reimer who, so far, has been rock solid. But, as my Carolina correspondent, Joel Cohen, aptly notes, a big test is coming up for current back-up Alex (Ned) Nedeljkovic. "Ned needs to prove that he's more than a back-up. Now's his chance." Meanwhile, Reimer remains at the top of his game. (The Backup's Backup now is 4-0-0 thanks to the Canes 4-3 Shootout win last night over Chicago.)
HEADLINE: PAVELSKI REFUSES TO GET OLD
THE JIVE: Hard-working players like Joe Pavelski usually wear out their tires when they become NHL senior citizens. but not this Joltin' Joe. Starring with two goals and four points in last night's 6-3 win over Columbus, Pav has upped his arithmetic to 7-7-for-a-lucky-14-in-7 games. Accidents will happen but this is no accident. "Joe is a very intelligent player," explains very intelligent coach Rick Bowness."His hockey sense allows him to play longer and produce longer. Plus, he has a tremendous 'feel' for the game. Despite his age, he hasn't lost his legs nor his hands." (Then, a pause: "And, brother, without Tyler Seguin, we need his offense.")
HEADLINE: CONCERN OVER SENATORS IN OTTAWA
THE JIVE: The natives are getting restless in the capital of Canada. Yet another loss -- 4-2 last night in Edmonton -- has plunged the Sens to the NHL's subterranean depths. "Patience is wearing thin," comments Wayne Scanlon of Sportsnet. "The players still care and are angry. There is promise ahead with the young talent." But if the losing keeps up, something's gotta give. Owner Eugene Melnyk was thrilled with the off-season changes made by g.m. Pierre Dorion. Coach D.J. Smith knew he was getting in on the ground floor when he took over the bench. Now, one has to wonder how long Smitty can hold on to his job. Translated: He'd better win, quick. (Uh-Oh, Sens have Habs tomorrow. Or, as the song goes, "Ottawa's Got It Bad And That Ain't Good.")
HEADLINE: THE NEW MODEL VINCENT TROCHECK LIKE THE OLDIE
THE JIVE: My Florida expert, Alan Greenberg, remembers when Vinnie had a 31-goal year for the Panthers. "But," Al recalls, "since then injuries have limited his output. Now he's a candidate for 'Comeback Of The Year.' With the Canes win last night, beating Chicago in the Shootout, Vin got his fifth goal of the year in the Canes' seventh game. He's obviously has his confidence back."
YAY TO THE HABS TYLER TOFFOLI, who scored twice against Vancouver last night. Double T has now taken the NHL goal lead with nine. (Tyler's genius backhand red-lighter was out of the McDavid play book.)
DALLAS AT COLUMBUS: 6-3 for the Stars as Rick Bowness' club reiterates its march to the 2020 Final was no accident.
VANCOUVER AT MONTREAL: 5-3 Habs as the previously streaking Canucks took a second in a row on the chin from Claude Julien's aces.
CAROLINA AT CHICAGO: 4-3 Shootout win for Rod Brind'Amour's Canes.
But, gotta give credit to the Blackhawks for recovering from season's bad start.
ARIZONA AT ST.LOUIS: 4-3 for the Blues, giving them four wins in a row minus the vagabond Alex Pietrangelo.
CALGARY AT WINNIPEG: 3-2 for Paul Maurice's Jets who are in the right lane without Laine. Nifty Nik Ehlers got the game-winner. (Nik's the Peg MVP right now.)
MINNESOTA AT COLORADO: 2-1 for the Avs who have to win without the winner, MacKinnon who's out for a while. (They did and will!)
ANAHEIM AT KINGS; 3-1 for the Ducks as David Backes -- back from the back-burner -- scores his first goal of the season -- and the winner.
OTTAWA AT EDMONTON. 4-2 for the Oilers. For a change, Jesse Puljujarvi got a pair as the Sens bleeding continues.
BUFFALO AT ISLANDERS. (POSTPONED)
DEPARTMENT OF DIDJA KNOW? Seattle's Kraken already has signed an ex-Vegas insider for its staff, prepping for the debut season. Johnny Greco is the man and he'll be Senior V.P. of Game Presentation. He got his experience in Vegas working for the Golden Knights.
GREAT QUOTES FROM THE PAST: BOBBY ORR ABOUT PHIL ESPOSITO, who liked to camp just outside the crease awaiting Orr's pass: "Phil rents the slot from Boston Garden!"