Snipe City is a weekly hockey column by 36 Crazyfists vocalist Brock Lindow and PUCKHCKY founder Matt Marini.
Well I made it to what I’d call heaven on earth, the islands of Hawaii for a lil father/daughter Thanksgiving trip in Honolulu. Now this place is also the place I went to in 1993 with my three best friends for our high school senior trip and boy was that trip a lot different than the trip I’m on with my 6 year old now and to be honest it’s much more welcomed these days!!!
Let’s talk a little Flyer hockey for a sec shall we? Ok, why in the holy F can Voracek not bury the puck? But it’s not just Jake, the whole offense is looking about as threatening as a Peewee coed team. We have managed to grab some points in a few OT’s & shootout losses but overall the offense has to step it up and help out Mason and Neuvirth who have to their credit, been playing pretty solid. C’mon Philly!!!
The winter classic this year should be pretty great at Foxborough with Boston and Montreal. The long standing hate these two teams have for each other always makes for great games and Montreal is pretty damn nasty this year which should get Boston firing on all cylinders for pride at home! Not enough fights goin on in the game these days but the tilt between Wayne Simmonds and Mark Boroweicki was a beauty and not being a homer at all but Simmer was landing some haymakers and easily won the battle.
OK…since its the quarter point of the season already, we thought lets do some observations on what sticks out to each of us thus far…. For this installment of Snipe City, we are going to look back on it and provide some interesting observations for you.
In terms of teams off to hot starts, I have been extremely impressed with the Dallas Stars, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues…and yes the Arizona Coyotes. I know the Montreal Canadiens are off to a very hot start too, but this was totally expected. They are definitely living up to their advance billing as a serious contender to capture the Cup this year. So lets take a deeper look at these other teams:
First the Arizona Coyotes. While they’re not actually in playoff contention right now, the level of improvement this team is showing is nothing short of remarkable! They are being led by both veteran players (Martin Hanzal, Mikkel Boedker & Oliver Ekman-Larsson) and some youngsters (Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Tobias Rieder & Connor Murphy) to be a highly competitive team each and every game. Ill fully admit, when I used to see the Coyotes on the schedule I’d give out a hearty yawn…not so this season!!! They are a very fun team to watch and have the ability to win on any given night, against any given team.
The Blues are playing at a high level despite some serious injuries to their core forward group. Jake Allen is providing super-solid goaltending, while Vlady Tarasenko is showing why he is considered one of the top forwards in the entire league. Every time “Senko” touches the puck in the offensive zone, he is a legit scoring threat. And what a wrist shot this guy possesses!
Moving on to the Rangers, this team has serious depth at every position. I did not think that Mats Zuccarello would be leading the team in scoring, but with 21 points in 20 games he is doing just that. The top 9 forwards that the Rangers have, along with ALL of their top 6 defensemen have to be intimidating to opposing teams in terms of trying to match-up against them. King Henrik is also having a stellar start to the season in goal, naturally.
Next stop, the Stars. The management in Dallas has done a masterful job at amassing an amazing collection of offensive talent, as well as having some solid defensive depth too. Tyler Seguin & Jamie Benn are lighting it up on a nightly basis, while up-and-comer John Klingberg is providing scoring from the back-end. This team is fast and dangerous, and can score, score and score. Even the goaltending has been good. which is something I wasn’t too sure of at the start. Did I mention they can score?
Next lets take a look at some individual players to give props to. First off, you have to be impressed with Patrick Kane of the Black Hawks. Despite dealing with some serious legal allegations (which are now dropped), Kane is playing at an all-star level with 32 points in just 21 games. He is absolutely a blast to watch. Another impressive Hawk (as if they needed another!) has been Artemi Panarin. With 21 points in 21 games, he also is a blast to watch. I also do not blame anyone for thinking Panera Bread every time his name is said! In Boston, David Krejci is performing wonderfully on a nightly basis showing some top notch offensive skills, while not ignoring the defensive side. The Oilers also have a couple guys that demand your attention – that aren’t named McDavid. Taylor Hall is playing a fantastic overall game and has 24 points in just 20 games. But more impressive has been the play of Leon Draisaitl! “Big Leon” has only played in 10 games thus far (how did he NOT make the team out of training camp?) but has 17 points in those games! Averaging 1.7 points per game is amazing. Lets see if he keeps it up. I could go on and on here, so Ill just list a bunch of guys you should be paying attention to: Mike Cammalleri (New Jersey), Evgeny Kuznetsov (Washington), Tyler Toffoli (Los Angeles), Brent Burns (San Jose), Dylan Larkin (Detroit), Blake Wheeler & Bryan Little (Winnipeg), Martin Jones (San Jose), Braden Holtby (Washington), James Reimer (Toronto), Petr Mrazek (Detroit), Colton Parayko (St. Louis), Justin Faulk (Carolina) and Aaron Ekblad (Florida). All of these guys are off to tremendous starts for various reasons and are totally deserving of your valuable attention!!
In keeping with the old adage “You gotta take the bad with the good,” here are some of the biggest disappointments thus far this season: To start, the entire group of Anaheim Duck forwards. To say they have been brutal is an understatement. This team is supposed to challenge for the Cup this year, but the real challenge for them has been to score a whopping 38 goals in 21 games while being shutout 5 times already. The defense and goaltending has been solid, but WOW has the offense let the team down. While on the terrible offense theme (SORRY BROCK), the Philly Flyers are in pretty much the same position as Anaheim. Sporting just 35 goals in 20 games, the Flyers need some serious adjustments up front…and soon. Two other teams stick out as major disappointments: Calgary and Columbus. Both teams were on a serious uptick after having great seasons last year, but are now on serious downward trends. Perhaps they can turn it around, but the playoffs seem like a fantasy for both this year. Saving the biggest disappointment for last, what is up with Sidney Crosby??? He is on pace to have a 40-point season, which is unheard of for him. He normally racks up 40 points in about 25-30 games, not over an 82 game season. Lots of theories floating around about Sid and his level of play…what do you think?
36 CF start our last tour of the year on Dec 2 in Seattle and rip up the west coast, Mexico and ending in South America before ol Saint Nick shows up . Thanks to all of you who came and rocked with us this year. It was a blast. Happy Holidays to all of you.
OK everyone, we are dropping the next collection of our sweet 36 Crazyfists x PUCK HCKY designs this week, so be lookout! We have added some new products (poster, stickers and new garments) as requested. Here is a preview! Go to www.puckhcky.com now !!