Into the Boards: Is an Agent’s Big, Fat Mouth Going to Move Jaroslav Halak Out of Brooklyn?


As expected, the NHL season is starting off hot. The past week brought us some big underdog victories, the emergence of young talent, and all kinds of drama on and off the ice. Is the PK trade to blame for the slow start in the music city? Is an agent’s big, fat mouth going to move Halak out of Brooklyn? As always, we bring you the top stories of the week, so let’s get cracking.

Eastern Conference Highlights

Where Brooklyn At?

Seriously though, where the hell are the New York Islanders? My hometown squad has gotten off to a very rocky start as they sit second to last in the Metro with an unimpressive 4-6-0 record. The Isles polished off last season with their first playoff series in 23 years, only to lose to the much stronger Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round. Despite the disappointing end, the Isles appeared to be a team on the rise, even in light of a difficult offseason situation with longtime Islanders Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen, and Matt Martin all set to depart for free agency. Garth Snow put forth his best effort to replace them, but the team has yet to gel and find its footing. To make matters worse, starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak has again voiced his displeasure with the team carrying three goaltenders, and this time it came out in the form of some angry Tweeting by his agent. Shortly after, the Isles brass made it public that Jaro is on the trade block, providing a hell of a distraction in the Barclays Center locker room. Regardless of where you stand on who should mind the Isles’ net, it’s in their best interest to get a deal done as soon as possible to put the situation behind them and get back on track before they slip too far behind their divisional rivals. Keep an eye out for a potential trade that would send Halak to Arizona, who are looking to replace injured netminder Mike Smith and have the cap space to do it.

Ottawa Strong

Despite being a generally “okay” team, the Ottawa Senators have managed to keep pace with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings to cling to the third spot in the division here in the early going. Last week, it was announced that Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson would be taking a leave of absence for an unspecified amount of time, leaving the hockey world scratching their heads. Shortly after, it was finally disclosed that Anderson’s wife Nicholle had been diagnosed with cancer. Against all odds, Craig returned to the team on Sunday for a matchup in Edmonton against the Oilers and posted a shutout in a 2-0 victory. The Edmonton faithful cheered endlessly for the teary-eyed opposing goaltender at the game’s end, and Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot even remained in the tunnel to the dressing room to watch Anderson acknowledge the crowd. It’s hard not to pull for Ottawa to keep up their somewhat uncharacteristically good play after the week they’ve had, so consider us rooting for them as well.

Western Conference Highlights

Wild Wild West

To everyone’s surprise, leading the Central Division is not the Blues or the Blackhawks, but with a record of 6-3-1 it’s the red hot Minnesota Wild. In the offseason the Wild signed veteran forward Eric Staal who made his career as an all star in Carolina. The addition of Staal definitely deepens their roster and brings a skilled scoring touch they have lacked before. With teammates like Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, and Mikko Koivu, it’s hard to imagine the Wild wouldn’t be building on last year’s disappointing season. Goaltender Devan Dubnyk has been outstanding, posting three straight shutouts before finally allowing two goals on 24 shots in Tuesday’s loss to the Buffalo Sabers. While it’s refreshing to see a new team on top of the division, I doubt the Wild will remain there for long. I still think Anaheim will take first place, but only time will tell.

Dissociation in Smashville

“Dissociation:” The disconnection or separation of something from something else, or the state of being disconnected (also the title of the newest and final Dillinger Escape Plan record which I have been raging to all week). Dissociation is the perfect word to describe what is going on in the Nashville Predators’ locker room. Earlier this year, we discussed the trade between the Montreal Canadiens and the Preds that moved superstar defenseman P.K Subban to Nashville. It’s easy to see the Preds are struggling as their record of 3-5-1 puts them dead last in the Central Division. According to 98.5 FM, a radio show based in Montreal, it is reported that Predators Captain Mike Fisher met with the front office staff to “return order in the locker room regarding new chemistry.” We are still early in the season, and surely there is no need to be freaking out if you follow the Predators. P.K and crew should be able to bring it together because there is way too much talent on this team to be sitting at the bottom of the division for much longer. After rolling past the Colorado Avalanche with a 5-1 victory, this could be the launchpad that gives the Preds some much needed momentum. The key to their win over the Avalanche and what will lead to more success is secondary scoring. If those third and fourth line players can continue to contribute offensively, the Preds will be back in the race for the cup.

Player of the Week

Vin: We’re going to Washington to find our guy: with a +6 rating, 5 goals, 2 assists, and 2 power play points, my player of the week is Marcus Johansson. Marcus is on the top PP unit and is leading the second line with Evgeny Kuznetsov, making him a scoring machine. If you’re looking to fill a spot on your fantasy team, this is your man. He’s only 58% owned in Yahoo Fantasy leagues, so there’s a good chance you can scoop him up while he’s hot.

Scott: Craig Anderson and his wife Nicholle. Some things are just bigger than hockey, and this is certainly one of them. Craig’s incredible shutout performance in Edmonton despite the devastating news he and his family received just days prior is simply remarkable. Sending our best to the Anderson family.

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