by Justin Orlewicz (Sports Editor)
It’s been just over a week of NHL hockey and look who is leading the Eastern Division with a 4-0-0-0 record – the Toronto Maple Leafs. Despite of a couple of close games, the Maple Leafs managed to hold a perfect record, which includes a convincing win against Sidney Crosby and the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins.
Now, I know what you are thinking: “this won’t last, and they will be in the league cellar soon,” but maybe not. Remember the Colorado Avalanche did something similar last season; they built up a huge lead at the beginning of the season and slowly fell into that eighth and final playoff spot. The Leafs have a stacked blue line, and with Clark Macarthur and Phil Kessel on pace for a career season, I think that this season’s Maple Leafs could definitely emulate the same pattern the Colorado Avalanche did. They will probably have a first round exit, but I expect them to at least make the playoffs this season.
The Canucks started their 40th season with two losses to the Los Angeles Kings, but I don’t think that Canucks fans have to start acting all Vancouver-like and write the season off. The Canucks had two convincing wins already and are cruising with a .500 record. As well, the Sedin twins have put up points in almost every game and are on pace for a similar season to last year’s. Besides, these Canucks are also known for starting slow and then coming on strong at the end of the season when the playoffs are close and points really matter. So don’t start slicing your wrists yet Canucks faithful, they will probably finish at the top of the Western Division and make a serious run at the Cup.
The Detroit Red Wings look deadly this year. It reminds me of the Detroit team of a couple years back. This could be scary. The Red Wings will most likely finish on top of the West again, alongside the Canucks. Johan Franzen is out with a concussion, but I don’t think it is an injury that will keep him out for long. His return will definitely be a factor in whether or not Detroit will be successful this year.
Despite losing half of their key players in the off season, Chicago still looks impressive. Marian Hossa looks especially impressive. He has an early start in the scoring race and is currently leading the league in goals as well as points. It is still way too early to tell if they can defend their title, though.
Last thing for the first week of NHL hockey, I would like to give a shout out to Brian Gionta. The Montreal Canadiens recently appointed the American their new captain, and like every other Anglophone to ever wear the “C” or coach the Habs, he has decided to take French lessons so that he can address the French media. He also stepped up big time in front of the home crowd and scored a beautiful breakaway to start the game off. Mad props to Brian Gionta!