Only one team, Detroit, has played fewer than 20 games. Here are some thoughts on the season so far:
There's plenty to be thankful for, both in hockey and in life. I am thankful:
- Some growing pains should have been expected, but a season as bad as this one is a total shock. The Devils haven't won three games in a row in almost a year and are looking less and less like the team that frustrated me and every other Flyers fans for years. Does anybody else think Martin Brodeur should go back to his old style mask? For years, the Devils were all about the team, now it seems they are thinking more on individual terms. A player like Ilya Kovalchuk would never have been signed by the Devils a decade ago and for the past three years it seems their main focus has been getting Martin Brodeur his records. If there's one thing that shows this transition, its Marty's mask. It used to feature half the logo because he wasn't sure if he was good enough to make the team when he was younger. Now it says MB 30, like he just wants to promote himself, again, something that would not have happened a decade ago.
- Henrik and Daniel Sedin lead the Canucks with an identical 26 points in 21 games. Three other Canucks are tied with 14 points. The difference between the two brothers is that Daniel has 13 goals while Henrik, last season's Hart Trophy winner, has two. For those too lazy to do the math, that is a pace of eight over an entire season. That's right, stylistically, I am not allowed to write the projected goal totals of last season's Hart Trophy winner numerically, I must write it out. Does that seem wrong to anyone else?
- The Buffalo Sabres are in 12th place in the East and the Devils sit in 14th while the Rangers and Thrashers occupy the 7th and 8th spots. In the West, the Blue Jackets are in 4th, the Blackhawks are in 7th, and San Jose sits in 9th place and out of playoff position. I know its early, but if you thought any of those teams would be where they are (not counting fans of those teams), maybe you should be interning for The Hockey News instead of me (but not really).
- for Danny Briere's fist pump on one knee after each goal.
- for Ryan Miller's spectacular performance during the Olympics that had many non-hockey fans coming up to me and talking about hockey in the weeks after the Games.
- I get to watch the Ovechkin/Crosby rivalry from start to finish, whenever that may be.
- for Jeremy Roenick and the three years he spent in Philadelphia. Few are as passionate about hockey as he is and unlike many players, he is never afraid to show a little emotion. We need more of that in today's game.
- for being able to witness history twice last year: the Flyers completing the greatest comeback in sports history after being down 3-0 (twice) and the Blackhawks winning their first Cup since Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull were a couple of young guns in 1961.
- Ray Bourque's Avalanche beat the Devils in 2001 in a series that marked my official beginning as a hockey fanatic.
- for Eric Lindros, John LeClair, Eric Desjardins, Keith Primeau, Mark Recchi, Rod Brind'Amour, Brian Boucher, Simon Gagne and all the other Flyers I watched when I was younger.
- for playoffs beards and those who can't really grow them but try anyway.
- for my Mom winning a trip to the Olympics which led to my chance meeting with Ken Campbell in what what was beyond the greatest trip I could have ever dreamed.
- I live in a place where I will be able to spend my life talking about a game I have loved since I was six.
- for my parents loving hockey as much as I do and taking me to all of those games.
- my Mom did everything in her power to make my high school somewhat tolerable and got it a hockey team.
- for my Dad's willingness to drive for several days to watch a hockey game that means nothing to us as Flyers fans but everything to us as hockey fans.
- my brother loves sports in a fashion other than 'my team rules and your team sucks because I say so' and that it rubbed off on me (eventually).
- my sister makes an effort to like sports and even when she doesn't for the uncanny ability to make me laugh.