No, it’s not a 1960s version of Batman. It’s four-time Stanley Cup champion Patrick Roy making sure Bruce Boudreau and his Anaheim Ducks – along with the rest of the NHL – will not take cheap shots at his Colorado Avalanche.
It was only Roy’s first game as an NHL boss yet well worth the $10,000 fine levied on Roy following his post-game outburst, which left the stanchion between the benches broken with the glass nearly smacking Boudreau in the grill. Nice.
Roy was anything but pleased with the Ducks’ Ben Lovejoy following a last minute, knee-on-knee hit with prized rookie forward Nathan MacKinnon. Obviously, Roy believed the contact was anything but accidental.
Take that, George Parros, Montreal’s enforcer, who was carried off on a stretcher after planting his face into the ice during a fight in the very first game of the 2013-14 campaign. His bout with Toronto’s Colton Orr was staged, as the new division realignment brings new rivals together.
At least Roy’s action was not premeditated, just open and honest. How refreshing.
Watching the improving Avalanche is one reason we fans (and bettors) welcome the return of hockey.
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Anaheim Ducks: Injuries from the preseason have carried over, forcing the Ducks to place Sami Vatanen or Patrick Maroon on the first line with C Ryan Getzlaf and RW Corey Perry. The team announced Teemu Selanne will see less ice time, so they acquired Mathieu Perreault to fill the gap. He played for Boudreau in Washington. Former Kings C Dustin Penner will help balance the offense when healthy.
Boston Bruins: The defending Eastern Conference champions should hold a slight edge over Detroit in the new Atlantic Division.
About the only thing missing for the B’s is consistent third-line scoring, but when you have standouts line-up like Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic and David Krejci, fueled by the addition of Jarome Iginla, this is a team that can contend. Goalie Tuukka Rask makes Boston an easy side to bet on, but don’t lay too much. The opening night signing of defenseman Dennis Seidenberg ensures the club’s future.
Buffalo Sabres: Injuries already plague the Sabres, including goalie Ryan Miller, which means another season out of the playoffs in Buffalo.
A pair of 2012 draft picks – Mikhail Grigorenko (selected No. 12) and Zemgus Girgensons (No. 14) are slated to skate on third-line defense, the blueprint for a long season.
Calgary Flames: The poorest management in the NHL has been replaced with president of hockey operations Brian Burke, who won a cup in Anaheim, but only has limited success trying to turn around Toronto – and general manager Jay Feaster. Teenage forward Sean Monahan, the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft, will start his season with the Flames, while Karri Ramo of Finland is the goalie.
Carolina Hurricanes: Last week the Canes announced the signing of former Anaheim (and Las Vegas Wranglers) D Radek Dvorak, 36, to a two-way contract. In other words, Carolina is in trouble.
Chicago Blackhawks: The first team with two Cups in the Salary Cap Era. Everyone again points to the net for any weakness in the Hawks. Corey Crawford still gives up soft goals, and new backup Nikolai Khabibulin is on the down-side of a nice career. But with forward lines featuring Bryan Bickell-Jonathan Toews-Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa-Michal Handzus-Patrick Sharp, another run to the finals is highly probable.
Colorado Avalanche: Roy and Joe Sakic, the new director of hockey ops, acquired Alex Tanguay and Cory Sarich from the house-cleaning in Calgary, The Avs are young, yet developing quickly, thanks to forward Nathan MacKinnon, the first overall pick of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, who joins former high draft selections like Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan O’Reilly. With continued growth, this is a side to look at in plus-money situations.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Former Rangers forwards Brandon Dubinsky and Marian Gaborik are reunited, but young defensemen Boone Jenner and Bryan Murray could be the key to the Jackets’ future. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is considered one of the league’s best along with L.A.’s Jonathan Quick, making UNDER an always look to bet.
Dallas Stars: Erik Cole, Ray Whitney and Stephane Robidas on their final skating legs. Outside of the hiring of former Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff, the biggest move was the acquisition of talented but controversial forward Tyler Seguin, which allows Jamie Benn to move to his natural position on the left wing. The Stars finished last in the Pacific in three of the past four seasons. A move to the Central Division won’t help.
Detroit Red Wings: Former Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson joins a bunch of Swedes with the Wings, which move to the weaker Eastern Conference. They also added former Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss through free agency. Goalie Jimmy Howard (21-13-7, 2.13 GAA) remains solid.
Contact Nick at [email protected].