Week In Review after games played on Saturday, October 7, 1989
This was a short week of games. NHL action started Thursday, and a busy schedule took us through tonight with most teams having played 2 games in 3 nights.
Big topics creating buzz throughout the league include the Soviet players coming into the NHL. Larionov, Krutov, Fetisov, Mogilny, and Makarov seem to be playing well early, but a bit rough around the edges outside the Soviet program. Viacheslav Fetisov is off to a fast start in New Jersey, registering 5 assists in 2 games from the blueline.
Reigning Hart Trophy winner Wayne Gretzky off to a slow start by his standards with a goal and 2 assists in 2 games. He now sits at 10 points short of tying Gordie Howe for the NHL All-Time record. The Los Angeles Kings look really strong in a crowded Smythe Division, winning their first 2 games.
The New York Islanders are the biggest surprise in the first week of the season, topping the league at a +4 Replay vs Actual rating, winning 2 straight games on the road, the latest being a convincing 3-0 win in the Olympic Saddledome over Calgary, who comes in as the most disappointing team at -4 Replay vs Actual at 0-2-0 (0). The Flames are looking to turn things around quickly to keep pace in what looks to be the NHL’s toughest Division.
Dean Morton, defenseman for the Detroit Red Wings, played in his only NHL game opening night vs. Calgary and registered a goal, joining Rolly Huard as the only two players to do so.
Montreal, New Jersey, and St. Louis have also come out of the gate with 2 wins to open up the season. Hartford, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Toronto round out the league’s 0-2-0 clubs.
There have only been 20 games played, so we don’t see much separation with league leaders. Currently, Joe Sakic leads the league with his hot start of 5 goals in 2 games. Sakic, Brendan Shanahan, Adam Oates, and Steve Yzerman all share the league lead of 6 points. Troy Mallette of the Rangers has spent the most time in the penalty in the box with 26 PIM in just one game. Having played one game and recording the league’s only shutout, Mark Fitzpatrick of the Islanders leads most goaltending categories.
Game of the Week: on October 7th, Edmonton visited Los Angeles to renew their rivalry after the Kings defeated the Oilers last season, and on the heels of the Wayne Gretzky trade. The game had 4 lead changes and saw Los Angeles battle back from a 3rd period deficit. Steve Kasper scored with 11:56 left, and Jim Fox scored his second game winning goal in 2 games with 5:29 on the clock to life the Kings to a 5-4 victory and a 2-0-0 start, continuing the buzz in Southern California.
Fight of the week: In a Patrick Division clash between the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers, Rick Tochett and Alan May squared away in a heavyweight battle
The Molson 3 Stars Award is jumbled as of right now. Brett Hull of the Blues leads the way at 6 3-Star Points, earning the first star and second star in each of the Blues’ games.
3 Stars of the Week:
1. Brett Hull – St. Louis
2. Brendan Shanahan – New Jersey
3. Joe Sakic – Quebec