In today’s medley of notable posts from the NHL blogosphere: Some much-needed perspective for panicking Canadiens fans…A call for the Jets to move Dustin Byfuglien off the blueline…Valtteri Filppula off to a great start…Tracking some former Minnesota Wild players…Decision day coming soon for Oilers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
HABS EYES ON THE PRIZE: Chris Boyle provides perspective for Montreal Canadiens fans freaking out over their team’s 1-4-1 start to this season, by looking back (with a healthy dose of sarcasm) at some previous weak starts, as well as some strong ones, over the past 25 years for Les Canadiens and how those seasons eventually ended. Spoiler alert: The Habs more often than not made the playoffs after a poor start to the season, including marching to the Conference Final in 2010, and winning the Stanley Cup in 1986 and 1993.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The moral of the story, you nervous nellies, is the season isn’t decided in October. As Carey Price told you chuckleheads last September, when you got on his case for a couple of pre-season losses: “Chill out”. No, seriously, chill out.
ARCTIC ICE HOCKEY: A plea for the Winnipeg Jets to take Dustin Byfuglien off the blueline and move him back to forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Byfuglien is off to a poor start, but so too is the rest of the team. He’s coming off a career-best season where he played on the blueline, and the Jets obviously still believe that’s where he’s most effective. Yes, his skating can be an issue, yes, his offense declined in the second half last season, and yes, he tends to rove more when he should be more defensively responsible, but it’s still early enough in the season to rectify those problems without jumping the gun and moving him off defense. Give it another month and see how things go.
RED WINGS FRONT: Valtteri Filppula is off to his best start of his NHL career since being move to wing on the second line and shooting more.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Filppula up to this season had been considered something of a disappointment, resulting in his name occasionally popping up this summer in the trade rumor mill. If he keeps up his current performance, he’ll be on track for a career-best season, and will remain a Red Wing beyond this season.
HOCKEY WILDERNESS: Tracked some recent Minnesota Wild players and found that, expect for Brent Burns, their roles have been adequately filled.
THE CULT OF HOCKEY: The Edmonton Oilers will soon have to decide if they’ll keep Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or send him back to junior thus ensuring the first year of his entry level contract won’t kick in until next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the kid has played well enough to earn his spot this season, but it wouldn’t hurt the Oilers or N-H if he were to spend one more season in Junior.