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Week 1 by the Numbers: Pacific Division

The first week of the NHL's regular season has provided plenty of "buzz" fodder, be it good, bad, or otherwise.  But in the interest of objectivity, let's let the numbers do the talking.  Here are the cold, hard stats behind week 1 in the Pacific Division:

11 - teams in the NHL with as many or fewer goals than San Jose's Tomas Hertl

46.2 - Hertl's shooting percantage, with 6 goals on 13 shots

15/20 - players on San Jose who have tallied points through the first three games

2 - point total of Los Angeles Kings' leading scorers Jeff Carter, Jake Muzzin, Matt Frattin, and Anze Kopitar

28 - teams with fewer goals against than the Edmonton Oilers

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, calgary+flames, edmonton+oilers, los+angeles+kings, pacific+division, phoenix+coyotes, san+jose+sharks

Seven storylines in the bigger, better new Pacific Division

For its 20th birthday, the Pacific Division got a few new playmates as the NHL's geographic realignment meant out with the East and in with the new.  After jettisoning the Dallas Stars, the Pacific added former Northwest Divisioners Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton to its existing tenants: Phoenix, Los Angeles, Anaheim, and San Jose.  As the season gets under way, here are a few storylines worth following among the NHL's West-coast contingent.  

1) Will Jonas Hiller stay a Duck?

This is sort of an aside to the more obvious storyline in Anaheim: Teemu's "last season."  Hiller has never known any other home since the Ducks signed him as a free agent in 2007, but there are plenty of places that would welcome him with open arms.  With Victor Fasth proving to be a more than capable 1A goaltender and white-hot prospect John Gibson waiting in the wings, one has to wonder if Hiller wouldn't be the perfect expendable asset to help GM Bob Murray fill some gaps in the reigning Pacific Division Champs.  Hiller's stock isn't quite where it was before his bizarre, vertigo-shortened 2010-11 campaign, but he has still proven he can be a dependable backstop and could probably challenge for a starting job with any number of organizations.  There’s no immediate pressure for Murray to make a move, nor is there any guarantee he will, but Hiller represents a very playable chip if the Ducks need some pieces later in the season. 

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, calgary+flames, edmonton+oilers, los+angeles+kings, pacific+division, phoenix+coyotes, san+jose+sharks, vancouver+canucks

New York Rangers interested in Edmonton Oilers’ Sheldon Souray

According to Pierre Lebrun of ESPN, the New York Rangers are very interested in the Edmonton defenseman, who would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to help the Oilers and play in New York.

But to make it happen, as Lebrun said, the Rangers would need to create cap room by shedding the contracts of either Michal Rozsival ($5 million cap hit; will earn $4 million next season and $3 million in last year in 2011-12) or Wade Redden ($6.5 million cap hit; four more years left after this season at $6.5 million for 2010-11 and 2011-12 and $5 million per year in 2012-13 and 2013-14). The only real option on Redden is to send him to the AHL and eat his contract. A buyout next summer doesn’t solve anything because the Rangers would still carry a $2 million cap hit from him for the next eight years.

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Sheldon Souray (Getty Images)

 

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  Tags: edmonton+oilers, michal+rozsival, new+york+rangers, sheldon+souray, wade+redden

Georges Laraque’s demise as an NHL enforcer

Once upon a time Georges Laraque was one of the most feared enforcers in the NHL. He was even unanimously awarded the ‘Best Fighter’ award from The Hockey News in 2003. In 2008, Sports Illustrated named him the number one enforcer in the league. During his days an an Oiler, Laraque racked up the penalty minutes, 826 in 490 games, while scoring the occasional goal here and there. Also known as “Big Georges” or simply “BGL”, Laraque even scored 13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points in 2001-01 with Edmonton.

BGL’s good old days:

Georges Laraque’s fight compilation

After short stints with the Phoenix Coyotes and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Bob Gainey signed BGL to a 3-year $4.5M contract on July 3rd, 2008. Gainey needed to add toughness to a small corps of forwards as his team had been outplayed physically in the 2008 playoffs against the Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins.

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  Tags: bob+gainey, edmonton+oilers, georges+laraque, jacques+martin, montreal+canadiens

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