So our “Hot or Not” feature has been on hiatus for a while, since during the off-season, not many are hot (or not for that matter), but the season is back in full swing. I’m sure most of the people reading this blog are as excited as we are here at Too Many Men on the Site for the beginning of the season, the time when every team can dream big and fans can convince themselves that a Cup is in their future (sorry Ducks fans… no luck for you this season). That said, there are some teams and players who have come out strong and are making great cases for an excellent season. Who are these folks? Well let’s start with the “Hot” list:
- Jonathan Quick – Am I biased? Maybe, I am a Kings fan. That said, if there is a “hot list” somewhere that doesn’t have room on it for a starting keeper who is undefeated, has a .96 GAA and a .964 Save Percentage… well I don’t know what’s going on with that list. Quick has been spectacular this season, effectively shutting down the Vancouver Canucks and the Atlanta Thrashers. Almost single-handedly, Quick is the reason the Kings are off to a strong 2-1 start, and while his red-hot opening to the season can’t possibly hold up, if he can maintain a high standard of play this season, Kings fans will have a lot to cheer about come spring.
- Brad Richards – People were predicting (myself included) that the Dallas Stars would struggle this season. They may still, but Brad Richards has helped launch them into a very impressive 3-0 beginning to their season, particularly impressive considering they knocked off the Devils and Red Wings in the process, not too shabby. Richards himself has been an engine of the offense, participating in over half of his teams goals, with 2 goals and 5 assists. Richards is one of those guys people claim is overpaid, and he might be. But not by nearly as much as some seem to think.
- Underdogs – Alright fine, not all the teams that were predicted to struggle are having bang up seasons (Anaheim is as bad as everyone thought), but check out the list of undefeated teams so far: Nashville (not terribly shocking), Toronto (wtf?), Dallas (huh?), Tampa Bay (???). Sure everyone thought Tampa was going to be improved, and likely Toronto and Dallas got dumped on more than was strictly necessary, but they aren’t strong teams. Yet for the first week of the season, they’ve yet to lose a point. Well done teams, now watch out fans, because for at least two of those teams, a quick crash to earth is looming.
On to the “Not” list:
- Sidney Crosby – The Penguins are at the bottom of their division, and Sidney Crosby’s utter lack of offensive production is a primary reason why. Everyone knew the Penguins were going to struggle with secondary scoring. Behind Malkin and Crosby, there’s just not much offensive firepower, and when one of them fails to produce, well… you’ve got a 1-3 streak that puts you at the bottom of your division. That’s where the Pens are, and Crosby has netted 1 goal and 1 assist in 4 games for his team. You do the math.
- Henrik Lundqvist – Maybe it’s harsh, since it’s only been two games. Then again, this is the first season edition of “Hot or Not,” so it’s all pretty harsh. Screw it, Lundqvist has been pretty terrible this season. It’s good news for other members of the division, but not Rangers fans. In two games, Lundqvist has posted a 4.03 GAA and .881 Save Percentage. That’s not the kind of numbers the Rangers are going to need if they want to make noise. They’ve got some offense, but they can’t possibly score more than 4 goals every game. He’ll likely get his game back, but for now. He’s definitely not hot.
- Zach Parise – Maybe it’s worth noting that some of the guys (Parise, Crosby…) on the “not” list are mostly here because their production doesn’t match what their team relies on. Obviously there are many players with less than the 1 goal Parise has netted, but c’mon. The Devils offense is supposed to be downright awesome this season. Parise has scored 1 goal, and no assists in 4 games. That comes out to about 20 points all season. Obviously he’ll snap out of it, at least somewhat, but that is a cold streak if I’ve ever seen one. He’ll need to get his game going, and quick if the Devils don’t want to have to rely on Brodeur to pull a Ryan Miller and drag the Devils into the playoffs.