Josh Bailey, New York Islanders: With the Islanders reeling from injuries to top players Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo and more recently top center John Tavares, the 21-year-old Bailey has stepped up nicely for the beleaguered Islanders. Already in his third NHL season, Bailey played in the top center role in recent days (playing mostly with Blake Comeau and P.A. Parenteau) and collected a goal and three assists in the Isles' first two games. The Isles have soldiered on despite the injuries and started the season with a respectable 1-0-1 record.
Jaroslav Halak, St. Louis Blues: Just in case you were wondering whether last spring was a fluke (apparently that was the theory the Montreal Canadiens were operating under when they dealt the unflappable netminder to the Blues in the offseason), Jaroslav Halak's work in St. Louis so far suggests the answer is an emphatic "no." The Blues, desperate to get off on the right foot after bumbling out of the gate the past two seasons, are 2-0-0 and Halak has stopped 42 of 44 shots, which puts him pretty much at the same level of play that saw him lead the Habs past Washington and Pittsburgh in the postseason last spring.
Anaheim Ducks: We figured the Ducks would have trouble keeping the puck out of their own net this season, but who thought they'd be winless in three games, and outscored 13-2 and outshot 145-72 over that span? Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, he of the new contract, and new captain Ryan Getzlaf have combined for zero points and a minus-12. In short, the penalty-prone Ducks are the early draft-lottery race leaders by a country mile.
Mike Ribeiro, Dallas Stars: Talk about character being destiny. The Dallas Stars got off to an impressive 2-0-0 start with road wins in New Jersey and Long Island and were preparing for their own home-opener against Mike Modano and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday when center Mike Ribeiro allegedly found himself in the middle of a drunken dust-up in a suburban Dallas restaurant.
We all know how these things go. He said, she said. Where is the truth of what really happened? Bottom line is, team leaders rarely put themselves in these situations where they end up charged with public intoxication, as was the case with Ribeiro. This is exactly the kind of situation teams such as Dallas can ill-afford to have; the team has struggled to remain relevant in its marketplace after a couple of so-so seasons on the ice and its ownership is in a state of flux. Thanks, Mike.
Hands up for anyone who was shocked when reading the headline? We bet not one hand is up in Montreal, where Ribeiro played before being run out on a rail. Enough said.