Sports Hockey

Rousing start to NHL season across Canada

By Torben Rolfsen

Goalie Jacob Markstrom of the Vancouver Canucks reaches to make a glove save against the Edmonton Oilers in NHL action on October, 7, 2017 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. (Rich Lam/Getty Images)

Goalie Jacob Markstrom of the Vancouver Canucks reaches to make a glove save against the Edmonton Oilers in NHL action on October, 7, 2017 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. (Rich Lam/Getty Images)

The 2017-18 National Hockey League season got off to a rousing opening over the past several days, with a number of players registering red-hot starts.

Goal-scoring is up early. In fact, four players – Connor McDavid, Wayne Simmonds, Brandon Saad and Alex Ovechkin (first star of the week) – scored hat tricks in their team’s first game, something that hadn’t happened in a hundred years.

It’s a small sample size to be sure, but if offence is indeed up, the impact will be felt by some of the Canadian teams as they try to keep pace.

From east to west, here’s a quick look at the first-week fallout across the Great White North:

MONTREAL

Three goals in three games has the old worrY about scoring rearing its ugly head again.

Jonathan Drouin is a potential star, but the natives are restless, so look for GM Marc Bergevin to try to make a move sooner rather than later.

OTTAWA

Has a city ever needed a hero to return more than the Senators need Erik Karlsson? (I mean, since Carey Price was out two years ago.)

The Sens have lost both games on shootouts, and are exhibiting power-play problems.

Ottawa has called up top D prospect Thomas Chabot, but the nation’s capital awaits Karlsson as his left foot nears 100%.

TORONTO

So far, so good.

Sky-high expectations have been met, the goals are coming in bunches, and the “plan the parade route” jokes have begun.

As you were, Leafs fans.

WINNIPEG

The Jets have lost to the Maple Leafs and Flames, giving up a ton of goals through defensive breakdowns and mental errors.

Not sure if they could beat the Travelling Jagrs right now.

EDMONTON

As expected here, McDavid will lead the highlight package most nights.

Some Discovery Channel executive is probably trying to figure out how Connor could skate against a cheetah.

CALGARY

They lost in Edmonton and then blasted the Jets at home; trading wins and losses with rivals all year is probably how their season will go.

Jaromir Jagr is about to make his debut in what we can assume will be his farewell tour.

VANCOUVER

When the Canucks, who scored the second-fewest goals in the league last year, announced veteran fourth-line agitator Derek Dorsett would play in the opener over star prospect Brock Boeser, their fanbase understandably went ballistic.

But rookie head coach Travis Green’s gamble paid off big time, as Dorsett (along with Bo Horvat and Jacob Markstrom) was one of the keys to containing the high-flying Oilers in the Canucks opening win.

Expect to see a lot of Boeser going forward, as he projects to being one of Vancouver’s top offensive threats.