Hockey Night's Take 5
HNIC's senior online reporter Tim Wharnsby dishes out the latest news, buzz and inside information in the hockey world.
1. Avalanche burying opponents
A tip of the cap to the Colorado Avalanche, which successfully went into Alberta and exited with back-to-back victories against the Oilers and Flames. The Avalanche’s 10-1-2 start has Colorado first overall and this is the best record after 13 games in franchise history. The start bettered the 9-2-2 beginning in 2000-01, when the Avalanche won both the Presidents Trophy and Stanley Cup.
2. A 'break' for Raycroft
With Roberto Luongo given a minimum week off to recover from a hairline left rib fracture, 29-year-old Vancouver backup Andrew Raycroft receives another opportunity as a starter. Since winning the 2003-04 Calder Trophy with Boston because of an impressive 29-18-9 season, .926 save percentage and 2.05 goals against average, Raycroft has gone a disappointing 59-69-16 with a .889 save percentage. When Luongo missed significant time with a groin injury last season, the Canucks went 9-12-3.
3. Moulson fitting in on Long Island
Matt Moulson, who celebrates his 26th birthday on Sunday, is no longer considered a rookie because he played at least six NHL games in the preceding two seasons. But where did this guy come from? The native of Mississauga, Ont., has six goals in 11 games for the Islanders and 12 in his first 40 NHL games. The Penguins initially drafted Moulson in the ninth round in 2003, but after leading Cornell University in scoring in his final three seasons there he chose to sign an entry-level deal as a free agent with Los Angeles three years ago. But he only played in 29 games for the Kings and was cut loose. So he signed with the Islanders last July and has been a nifty contributor playing on a line with rookie John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. Moulson scored a breakaway goal in the first period of a 3-1 win against the Rangers on Wednesday. It was in front of a smaller crowd of 15,213 than usual when the two rivals meet on Long Island because of the World Series opener between the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies.
4. NHLPA update
The four-member committee of Chris Chelios, Nicklas Lidstrom, Rob Blake and Mark Recchi, that will conduct an internal investigation into why and how Paul Kelly was fired as the union’s executive director two months ago, acknowledged in an email to the rest of the membership that they will hire an independent third party to help with the inquiry.
5. King holds court in Columbus
Nice moment when the Coyotes visited Columbus on Wednesday. The Blue Jackets honoured Phoenix assistant coach Dave King with a video scoreboard tribute in the first period. The crowd of 13,184 at Nationwide Arena responded with a standing ovation for King, the Blue Jackets head coach when the team entered the NHL in 2000.