The NHL wasn’t super busy Wednesday night, but it was interesting. Here is what we learned:
Patrick Roy is ready rumble as a rookie NHL coach. He is jacked up and good to go. He goaded the Avalanche into a 6-1 demolition of the Ducks and then got into it with Anaheim forward Corey Perry. Then he got into it with Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau.
Colorado will have lots of fun with hockey this season. So will the players. “I'm giddy right now,” center Matt Duchesne said. “I haven't felt like this in four years.”
Oh, and top NHL pick Nathan MacKinnon did not look out of place playing with the big boys.
As for the Not So Mighty Ducks . . . yikes.
Jonas Hiller got the Ducks call during the playoffs last spring. But it was Viktor Fasth got the Game 1 start for Anaheim. That turned out to be a big, big mistake. Hiller was only too glad to sit out that fiasco.
The Red Wings are still the Red Wings. Forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg haven’t lost a step. They still skate around foes like so many pylons. Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson look comfy in that highly-skilled lineup. Look out, Eastern Conference.
The Sabres are not great. My God, what happened to super-sized D-man Tyler Myers? And for all that money Christian Ehrhoff got, he can’t run a power play? Geesh. Buffalo had the man advantage for what seemed like two periods and got nothing done. They did pick up their play at even strength in the third period, so all hope is not lost.
The Maple Leafs have strength in numbers in goal. They won with James Reimer, then they won with Jonathan Bernier. The Toronto media sees this as a controversy but the Leaf hockey operation is most pleased.
Steve Mason got the first crack in goal for the Flyers. That was surprising, given the fact he sucked during preseason play. Also, his career cratered in Columbus. But he showed well late last season and poor Ray Emery is stuck with the back-up tag late in his career.
Dustin Penner remains inert. He crossed over from the Kings to the Ducks but he didn’t pick up his pace. He opened the season in the press box. Penner has been there, done that in his career.
FROM THE TWITTERVERSE
Here is what the pundits were writing on Day 2 of the NHL season:
Marc Crawford, former NHL coach: “What is it about being behind the Colorado Avalanche bench that makes coaches occasionally lose their mind?”
Pierre LeBrun, ESPN.com: “Roy has reason to be upset with that hit on MacKinnon, but he's going to have to learn to keep his temper controlled . . . Still, got to admit having Roy back in the NHL is going to be a fun ride. Great fodder. And his team looked mighty good tonight.”
Tyson Nash, former Blues and Coyotes agitator: “Every player would love to see that fire out of their coach. It can only filter down. Now that's a debut. MacKinnon wasn't bad either.”
Jeff Marek, Sportsnet: “Curious, what if Joe Sacco acted like that tonight?”
Pete Jensen, The Hockey News: “Ryan O'Reilly had late start & Steve Downie missed 46 of 48 games due to injury last season. With both on ice together, #Avs look energized.”
Helene Elliott, Los Angeles Times: “When Colorado rookie Nathan MacKinnon was born, Ducks' Teemu Selanne was preparing for his fourth NHL season.”
James Mirtle, Globe and Mail: “Bernier has definitely come to play. No issues with Leafs goaltending so far this season.”
Hockey Buzz Eklund: “Bernier has been extremely sharp and exceptionally quick. Looks like a guy going out and taking what is his . . . the #1 spot.”
Mike Brophy, CBC.ca: “Based on Cody Franson's play early on, I think more players should parachute into training camp for the last couple of days.”
Adam Proteau, The Hockey News: “Sometimes you're the windowshield, and sometimes you're the bug. Paul Ranger is not the windowshield tonight.”
James Mirtle, Globe and Mail: “Flyers have such an odd roster. A lot of good, young forwards. Aging defence. Huge questions in goal. Who knows what they do.”
DJ Gallo, ESPN.com: “Flyers' goalie Steve Mason has a shutout through 1 period of 1 game. Expect Paul Holmgren to offer a 10yr, $95mil deal during intermission.”
John Buccigross, ESPN: “The Premier of Danglestan has proclaimed a backhand decree. Datsyuk: Russian for filth.”
Pete Jensen, NHL.com: “That goal was Pavel Datsyuk's way of welcoming everyone to the new Eastern Conference.”
Dan Rosen, NHL.com: “I'm not sure Alfredsson in a Red Wings uniform will ever look right.”
Corey Pronman, Hockey Prospectus: “The race to the bottom for Buffalo is well underway.”