In light of things like Craig MacTavish chasing goons to the ends of the earth and (especially) George Parros' scary injury in a fight with Colton Orr on opening night, people from across the hockey media are weighing in on fighting's role in the NHL. There's simply too much stuff here to succinctly summarize all the opinions and valid points in a single introductory paragraph. I'll present you with the goods and you can weigh things as you see fit. However, I would like to call particular attention to Canucks Army's Graphic Comments and his point that if the league and players can embrace hybrid icing, a rule that removes an exciting, entrenched element from the game in favour of safety, then perhaps banning fighting is not so inconceivable.
With that stuff out of the way, here are your links for the day.
Montreal Canadiens News and Analysis
- Roster news today is limited to an update on George Parros' health. The extremely large winger has been released from hospital, and while he did not break any bones, he is out indefinitely with a concussion. Presumably, Ryan White will assume Parros' position as the right-handed tough guy on the fourth line.
- Olivier summarizes the scoring chances and provides analysis for the season opener. By his counts, Lars Eller led all forwards with an on-ice scoring chance differential of +4, while P.K. Subban, Josh Gorges, and Andrei Markov each posted a +5 differential.
- Christopher Boucher provides his own set of statistics for the season opener. By Boucher's individual scoring chance counts, Rene Bourque led the team in even-strength chances generated (per minute played) while Jarred Tinordi gave up the most individual chances of any Hab.
- Cam Charron of Leafs Nation has a recap of the opening night match, noting the fantastic special teams play of the Maple Leafs. Toronto allowed a mere four shots on the penalty kill (35.6 shots per 60 minutes of penalty kill time) while generating 16 shots on the power play themselves (58.2 shots per 60 minutes of power play time).
- I probably don't need to tell the history buffs in the audience this, but legendary Hab Jean Beliveau is celebrating 60 years as a member of the Montreal Canadiens today. Dave Stubbs has a wonderful profile, as per usual, of Beliveau's journey that's taken him from the Quebec Aces to the Molson boardroom and beyond.
- Yesterday was We Hate The Habs Day over at Stanley Cup of Chowder. Cornelius Hardenbergh breaks down the worst Habs of all time, the worst Habs on the current roster, and dissects Andrew's picks for the best moments in Habs-Bruins history. We are rubber and you are glue, Hardenbergh.
- EOTP's own Andrew Berkshire previews the Canadiens for Leafs Nation, noting that there's significant reason for optimism with eight forwards and two defensemen pacing for 45 points last season. Andrew feels that we will place second in the division, while bloggers representing Toronto, Tampa, Ottawa, Florida, and Detroit have us fourth. Meanwhile, Boston's and Buffalo's representatives are more favourable, placing us third and second respectively.
- Backhand Shelf's Justin Bourne is crazy about Montreal's scoring depth while being not-so-crazy about their lack of "edge"/bite/team-toughness/whatever.
General News and Analysis
- Scott Burnside has a pretty great profile of Patrick Roy for ESPN.com. From the revelation that Matt Duchene shed tears over a Roy-era Avalanche loss to the new Colorado coach describing how his approach will change when addressing pros, there's a lot of good stuff in here.
- Tyler Dellow presents the New Jersey Devils' phenomenal 2013 possession numbers that saw "two-thirds of the team become elite outshooters last year", and is at a loss as to why the numbers are so great. Even when score effects are accounted for, New Jersey still posted the best 2013 possession stats in the East. It a curious situation that commenter Eggers thinks is linked to goaltending so porous that it prevents multi-shot shifts against. Interesting stuff all around!
- Gary Bettman was caught "resting his eyes" at the Chicago Blackhawks game on Tuesday.
- Alexander Ovechkin was the first Russian to carry the Olympic torch, kicking off a journey that will see the flame travel 65,000 kilometers through all nine of Russia's time zones, to the bottom of Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world, and to outer space.
- Blue Shirt Banter's Mike "Dig Deep" Murphy has a fantastic summary of the rule changes for the 2013-2014 season.
- The opening night game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals drew record numbers for NBC Sports Network. It was the second-most watched NHL regular season game in the network's history and broke the local market ratings record in Chicago.
- Youppi must have been in the drunk tank or something when the boys got together for breakfast earlier in the week.
- Cross Check Raise of St. Louis Game Time pens an open letter to the creators of the "Inverted Blue Note Campaign," a fan organized "visual challenge" to Blues players and management to deliver on St. Louis' championship potential. CCR's not impressed.
- Here's a ref's eye view of a 2013 Phoenix Coyotes scrimmage.