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NHL: Pluses and minuses around the league

Patrick Marleau of the Sharks is off to a blazing start, and so are the Chicago Blackhawks. It's more bad news for the Maple Leafs' Joffrey Lupul and some bad judgment by the New York Rangers.

January 27, 2013|By Helene Elliott
  • San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau (12) opened the season with four consecutive two-goal games.
San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau (12) opened the season with four… (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated…)

+San Jose forward Patrick Marleau opened the season with four consecutive two-goal games as the Sharks went 4-0. That doesn't make up for his disappearing act during their playoff loss to St. Louis last spring, but it's commendable for him and for an aging team whose window of opportunity may soon close.

+Edmonton rookie Nail Yakupov's celebration of his score-tying goal against the Kings on Thursday had a lot of hot dog to it, but it instantly grabbed attention. He slid on his knees from the offensive blue line almost to his own net as the crowd roared, touching off a debate over whether it was over the top. It seemed spontaneous, so let the kid express himself — but he should know opponents won't react kindly to repeats of that display.

+The Chicago Blackhawks' 5-0-0 start tied a franchise record set by their 1971-72 team. A concussion-free Marian Hossa, who had five goals in the first give games, and rejuvenated Patrick Kane, who had nine points, have led an ensemble effort that's deep in skill and fun to watch.

-Misfortune continues to dog Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul. He overcame a ghastly blood infection after back surgery and got his career back on track but suffered a fractured forearm when a shot by teammate Dion Phaneuf hit him last week. He's expected to be out six weeks. It happened three days after Lupul signed a five-year, $26.25-million contract extension.

-The Washington Capitals needed five tries before they finally won a game, becoming the last NHL team to earn a W this season. Alexander Ovechkin got his first goal of the season in the 3-2 victory over Buffalo on Sunday, a sign of progress for a team that had been a mess at both ends of the ice.

-Boo to the New York Rangers for posting a condescending and sexist "Girl's Guide to Watching the Rangers" on their website Friday. It was pulled after outraged fans — male and female — complained about its tone and inane content. Women are a sizable portion of NHL audiences and don't need to be talked down to.

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