By Brian Monzo
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Starting this week — and with every subsequent Friday — we will look at five hot subjects throughout the NHL.
A lot of great things happened, so it was tough to choose. It could have been the Friday Fifty. But here goes:
1. Sidney Crosby – I mean, there aren’t enough good things to say about the return of Sid the Kid. We discussed last week how a team should not be defined by a player, but Crosby has had an impact on not only the Penguins, but the entire league. Every time he has the puck, there is a chance something magical will happen. He was named the 1st star of the week. The Pens are now the favorites to win the East, and Crosby has 11 points in six games. Let’s face it — if he stays healthy the rest of the season, he will likely lead the league in scoring.
2. Bye Bruce, Hi Bruce – On Monday the Capitals fired head coach Bruce Boudreau. Boudreau had a great few seasons with the Capitals (going 201-88-40), but they couldn’t quite get where everyone expected them to. After a 7-0-0 start, it looked like they may have put it all together. Not so much. After a brutal run, and ‘losing the team,’ the coach was let go. Three days later the struggling Ducks let go of their coach, Randy Carlyle, and hired Boudreau. Boudreau will be able to go back to the offensive style of game that lead to his success in Washington. It will be interesting to see how he uses players like Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and that Teemu fellow after several seasons with Alex Ovechkin.
3. Kirk Muller – The former Devils captain spent several years waiting for his chance to coach an NHL team. After the Carolina Hurricanes got off to just a dreadful start, they relieved Paul Maurice of his duties Monday and gave Muller his first chance to coach in the NHL. Muller is off to an 0-2-0 start, but you would think with players like Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner, Muller should get them back on track. They may not be poised to make a playoff run this season, but Muller would love to bring them back to respectability.
4. Tim Thomas – This guy is sick. Thomas was named the top star of November, going 9-0-0, with two shutouts for the Bruins. They started the season with what looked like a Stanley Cup hangover. But have simply been amazing since the start of November, and now are tops in the Northeast Division. Thomas was basically the reason the Bruins lifted the Cup last season, and now with a record of 12-4-0, and GAA under 2.00, he is putting them in position to make another run. Always unorthodox, but fun to watch, Thomas could be on his way to this third Vezina Trophy, and I don’t think anyone would be shocked if that was the case.
5. New York Rangers – The team we talk about the most. The Blueshirts may not be getting the love the deserve from the rest of the league, but now after winning 11 of 13 games, the Rangers are looking like an elite team. They are getting solid goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist and Marty Biron, spread out goal scoring, and contributions of some kind from every player. This week’s star? Rookie forward Carl Hagelin. He has four points in his first four NHL games (the first Rangers rookie to do so since Steven King nearly 20 years ago) and has tremendous speed. Marian Gaborik is healthy and playing at a high level and Brad Richards is doing everything he has been expected to since signing a monster contract in July.
Your thoughts on the Friday Five? Tweet me: BMonzoWFAN