1. Martin Hanzal
Marty's season finally began Friday night in Vancouver, where he recorded a natural hat trick in a 5-0 winning effort over the Canucks. Even captain Shane Doan has called Hanzal the team's "most important player," one who must be playing at the top of his game if the team is to achieve any sort of consistent success.
2. The goalie conversation
There's no denying that Devan Dubnyk has the hot hand, considering two consecutive impressive performances on the road, both of which resulted in wins for the club. Mike Smith's outings haven't all ended in W's recently, but his play has certainly been more trustworthy.
3. David Schlemko's travel agent
Just days after clearing waivers and being sent down to the Coyotes' AHL affiliate in Portland, the 27-year-old defenseman is already headed back to the NHL after Brandon Gormley was placed on IR.
4. The Fantastic Flames
Calgary continues to be one of the year's early surprises, going 2-0-0 last week and sticking with the best teams in the grueling Pacific division. Check out a more in depth look at the Flames' week in yesterday's TWIPD post.
5. Faces of a fight
The NHL better ban fighting for being too...fun. Here's Brandon Prust and Zac Rinaldo after a bout last week:
1. Defensive stability
Yotes fans were highly optimistic after Brandon Gormley scored his first NHL goal during a 2-1 victory in Edmonton, shortly after being brought up from Portland. Hopes were dashed, however, when an injury Gormley suffered landed him on injured reserve. David Schlemko is on his way back up, and pairings will most likely once again need to be juggled.
2. Yotes at home
The Coyotes have made a recent habit of winning on the road, but have struggled to establish Gila River Arena as a tough place to play for visitors. After the upcoming road stint in California, the squad will return home for a few chances to fashion a genuine home-ice advantage.
3. The dry scrape
At a meeting yesterday in Toronto, the league's general managers bailed on this season's new dry scrape before overtime, claiming it took too long and killed the energy in arenas. Crews will once again simply shovel the ice, as is done during TV breaks.
4. Same old Oilers
After a brief streak of brilliance, the Oilers have once again slowed down, dropping below the Coyotes in the Pacific division. Hey, at least it ain't us.
5. Pekka Rinne
The Nashville goaltender suffers a huge hit: