Welcome back to another edition of Crease to Crease! This is a weekly series that Chuckie Maggio and Eddie McDonald collaborate on to provide their analysis of the past week in the National Hockey League. They talk about teams, players, moments of the week as well as what to look for in the week coming up.
Team of the Week
Eddie McDonald: San Jose Sharks
The Sharks finished the week 3-1 and suffered its first loss in regulation of the season at the hands of the Boston Bruins. The more impressive thing about this week for San Jose was the fact that they were on the road for all four games. Despite the loss, this team showed why it is currently the best in the West and NHL.
Chuckie Maggio: Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning stormed to the top of the Eastern Conference with a 3-0 week in which they beat the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime. Tampa has the best offense in the East right now, led by Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis. Don’t look now, but the Bolts have a decent shot of unseating Pittsburgh in the East.
Player of the Week
EM: Steven Stamkos – Tampa Bay Lightning
Last week I said I was looking forward to seeing the matchup between the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning. It certainly lived up to the expectations I had. Tampa Bay won the game 6-5 in overtime. Steven Stamkos had a big role in that, scoring two goals and tallying two assists. He finished the week with three goals and four assists and his team won all three games it played. Tampa Bay currently sits atop the Atlantic Division with 16 points.
CM: Alexander Steen – St. Louis Blues
Who’s tied with Alex Ovechkin atop the goals leader board? Alexander Steen. Don’t know who he is? You should get acquainted, because Steen is killing it for the Blues. In two games this week, he had 3 goals and an assist to add to his total of 10 goals and 5 assists. St. Louis needs him in order to compete in the Wild West.
Moment of the Week
EM: Phil Kessel Gives Back
Toronto Maple Leafs’ forward Phil Kessel will be a seven-year cancer survivor in December. The Toronto organization teams up with Childhood Cancer Canada, where the one member of the team donates a luxury box to kids who are battling cancer and are survivors of cancer. Last Tuesday, 24 children and their families got to watch the Leafs take on the Anaheim Ducks from the luxury box due to Kessel. To make the night even more special for those young children, Kessel recorded a hat trick in the Leafs’ 4-2 victory.
CM: Sabres and Islanders Make a Trade
The Sabres traded Thomas Vanek to New York for Matt Moulson, a first round pick in 2014 and a second round pick in 2015. My opinion? The Islanders got fleeced in this trade. This was one of those trades where in fantasy hockey; a league manager would veto the deal because of a clear robbery for one side. Matt Moulson is a young star that was key to the Islanders’ playoff berth last season, while Thomas Vanek, though the same age as Moulson, has not shown that he’s an indispensable NHL player. And the one factor people are possibly overlooking is the John Tavares factor. Moulson and Tavares are best buds and have been line mates since Tavares entered the league. What effect will this have on team chemistry and Tavares’s overall production? All in all, a win for the Sabres and a big loss for New York.
What We’re Looking Forward to This Week
EM: There are a pair of games on the NHL docket I am looking forward to this week and they are both on Wednesday night. In the first game, the Boston Bruins travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins in what could be a preview of the Eastern Conference finals, just like a season ago. The other matchup is a potential Western Conference finals preview as the Los Angeles Kings host the San Jose Sharks. Both of these matchups should be exciting.
CM: Bruins-Penguins on Wednesday night. Many storylines in this one. The Bruins swept the Pens in the Eastern Conference Finals, and Jarome Iginla returns to Pittsburgh after he spent the second half of last season with them. How will the crowd at Consol Energy Center react? Who will win this game of Eastern Conference heavyweights? All on the next episode of “Wednesday Night Rivalry.”