YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Rookies are busting out all over in the NHL

A week into the season, first-year players are making a difference for several teams. But the Ducks appear to be beyond help right now.

October 11, 2010|Helene Elliott

The good, the bad and the ugly of the NHL's first week:

The good: Rookies are making an impact everywhere. Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall are giving fans in Edmonton reason to hope better days are coming, New York Rangers center Derek Stepan recorded a hat trick in his NHL debut, 19-year-old defenseman Nick Leddy stepped into the Chicago Blackhawks' lineup and scored his first NHL goal Monday, and Flyers rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky won his first two starts.

The bad: The New Jersey Devils are 0-2-1, their worst start since the 2001-02 season. They're so badly squeezed by the salary cap that they began the season with a 20-man roster instead of the permitted 23. With two players injured, one suspended and no cap space to replace them, they had only 15 skaters and two goalies in uniform Monday in a 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh. Dishonorable mention: Ottawa (0-2-1) has given up 10 goals, scored four and is already juggling its lineup.

The ugly: The Ducks have this category to themselves.

Scott Niedermayer's retirement guaranteed they'd struggle on defense but they figured to score enough to be competitive. In three losses they've been outscored, 13-2, and outshot, 145-72. Saku Koivu has both goals. New captain Ryan Getzlaf has no points and a minus-five defensive rating. Corey Perry has no points and is minus-three. Bobby Ryan has no points and is minus-four.

Coach Randy Carlyle tried to be philosophical Monday after his team was outshot, 53-14, in a 5-1 loss to the Blues.

"Obviously, the sun is going to come up tomorrow — we hope," he told reporters in St. Louis. "What you have to do is take a self-analysis of what we can do better. There's lots of areas for us to improve in as a team."

There's an understatement.

Carlyle's job appears safe for now. "He's not the one turning the puck over all night," General Manager Bob Murray said Monday.

But if Carlyle can't reverse course dramatically — and soon — the shock value of a coaching change might be Murray's only available option.

Outlook good for Atlanta goalie

Ondrej Pavelec's frightening collapse Friday was due to a neurocardiogenic syncope episode, a type of fainting spell, the team said in a statement.

Pavelec, who suffered a concussion when he fell and struck his head on the ice, was released from an Atlanta hospital Sunday. He will undergo genetic testing as well as tests on his heart and blood. If no problems turn up he can return as soon as his concussion symptoms vanish.

Pavelec, who played for the Czech Republic at the Vancouver Olympics, was unconscious for about 10 minutes after the incident. He released a statement thanking medical personnel, his teammates and the many fans who offered him get-well wishes. "I hope to be back in action as soon as possible," he said.

Slap Shots

The Penguins inaugurated the new Consol Energy Center with owner Mario Lemieux pouring a vial of water from the ice at the Igloo onto the new rink, a symbolic joining of the waters. The arena has 66 suites in tribute to Lemieux's number and 18,087 seats, with the last two digits a tribute to Sidney Crosby's number.

The Red Wings were wise to give Coach Mike Babcock a four-year contract extension before he could hit the market. He's under contract through 2014-15, as are General Manager Ken Holland and assistant GM Jim Nill. Babcock will earn about $2 million a year, the most of any NHL coach.

Former Ducks defenseman James Wisniewski, now with the New York Islanders, might be suspended for making an obscene gesture at Rangers pest Sean Avery on Monday. . . . Defenseman Chris Pronger, who missed the Philadelphia Flyers' first two games while recovering from knee surgery, returned Monday to play 18 minutes 7 seconds in a 4-2 victory over Colorado. Reporters in search of good quotes rejoiced.

Los Angeles Times Articles