Afternoon Banterng Points: Random Thoughts on Opening Week

The NHL got their regular season underway this week and I have some thoughts and opinions on it

Man it is so good to have regular season hockey back in October. No more worrying about what the NHL or the NHLPA said, or trying to figure out what the Cap Recapture Clause is, it's just time to worry about the on ice product. There really isn't much to say about the Rangers since they've only played one (as of Sunday night) game and most of the NHL has barely one or two games under its belt and that's not really much to draw conclusions from. Instead, I'd thought I'd talk about some observations and general thoughts I've noticed from the first week of the season in that bullet point style you guys all know and love.

So, let's begin shall we?

  • It always takes me a while to get used to seeing new jerseys for teams for the first time. If you missed it Carolina stole team Canada's jerseys for their new home and away look, Dallas got rid of all things gold and added a couple of sharp new uniforms, and Minnesota has some spiffy new road threads.
  • ...The less said about the Sabres abomination of a 3rd jersey the better.
  • Anyone else thinking that the shallower nets are gonna lead to a lot more offense? I think that there are gonna be a lot of really good players utilizing that extra space that the shallower nets allow and maybe I've been specifically looking for it, but I've noticed a difference already.
  • There has been a lot of talk about the new size of the goaltender's pads and one thing I've seen a lot of this past week is a lot of goalies closing their legs on the puck and still checking behind them. There's gonna be a learning curve with that extra 2" of knee pad gone for these goalies and it should be interesting to watch who adjusts.
  • Speaking of adjusting, I noticed a lot of shooters going five hole a lot this week. They know that the goalies don't have that extra help anymore and they're gonna exploit any kind of weakness they can.
  • Seeing hybrid icing put to use in actual games and I'll be honest...I don't think it's had as big of an effect on the game as many thought it would. I think it's gone pretty smoothly.
  • Maybe this is usual early regular season anomalies but I have this feeling that there are being a lot more penalties called early on this year than in the last couple of years. Maybe the NHL told their refs to tighten things up.
  • That being said, everyone's power plays are terrible
  • A couple of predictions I have for this season: 1) Both Ryan Miller and James Reimer will be on the trading block at the trade deadline, one of them will end up in Pittsburgh (most likely Reimer)
  • 2) Thomas Vanek will be traded to Los Angeles and will give the Kings yet another offensive weapon and will help Anze Kopitar finish the year 3rd in scoring behind Tavares and Crosby

So, what are your thought's on the first week of hockey? Good, bad, only the Rangers matter? Let me know