The Dave Lewis era has begun in Detroit, and already the 49-year-old "rookie'' coach is proving he can put his own mark on the Red Wings.
Doug Weight is leading the hottest offensive show in the NHL right now as he has four goals and five assists in the past four games for a Blues team that is averaging 4.00 goals per game this season.
Tommy Salo has a 4.41 GAA and an .855 save percentage in his past three games. That led to him getting pulled against Anaheim and sitting out against Dallas. He's expected to be back in net Friday vs. Buffalo.
THIS WEEK'S SIGN ...
... Paul Kariya needs more special teams time: Five of his seven goals have been scored either on the power play or short-handed. That helps explain his minus-4.
With the defending Stanley Cup champion looking a little bored at times, Lewis decided to take a page from his previous boss, Scotty Bowman, and delegate a little of his authority. Lewis turned a recent practice over to the players, naming Brett Hull and Brendan Shanahan "GMs" and allowing each to pick his own team. When Hull used his first pick to select feisty center Sean Avery, both sides knew the scrimmage would be intense.
Shanahan's team won in a shootout after a 5-5 tie in regulation, but the message was clear that Lewis doesn't mind having a little fun with his team.
"Brett was yelling afterward," Lewis joked with reporters, "he's not happy with his selections."
Of course, Lewis also showed his teeth this week, benching Mathieu Dandenault for the third period of a 3-2 win over the Sharks. But in being tough, the new head coach also took Dandenault aside and explained what he saw in the game -- something Bowman rarely felt the need to do.
And as far as on the ice moves, Lewis' decision to combine Shanahan and Sergei Fedorov with Hull has worked wonderfully. Fedorov has five goals in three games and said he loves playing with new linemate Hull.
"He reads the same picture I do, so it helps to communicate," Fedorov told the Detroit Free Press. "It's like playing with my Russian comrades."
Lewis is using the line to match up against opposing team's top offensive units. It should get a good test this week as the Red Wings play host to Dallas (Sunday), Chicago (Tuesday) and Boston (Thursday).
Too soon to judge?
The Flames and Avalanche meet Saturday in Calgary and fans will get their first chance to view the principles in the Chris Drury-Derek Morris trade. While Morris has brought a skilled presence to Colorado's blueline, he has just three assists so far. Drury, meanwhile, has 12 points (3 goals, 9 assists) while playing the wing for Calgary.
Calgary coach Greg Gilbert is looking to move Drury to center on a line with Rob Niedermayer and rookie Chuck Kobasew -- proving that Drury's versatility can be a boon for the Flames. It also means that Gilbert can get tough with players like Marc Savard. Once the No. 1 center on the Flames, Savard was a healthy scratch Thursday. With Drury and Craig Conroy in the pivot, Gilbert has the choice to shuffle his lines.
And while losing Morris will hurt at times, it's clear that the trade was a definite win-win for the Flames. The Avalanche is hoping, down the road, there will also be a win on its side.
Cloud over the kingdom
Not only have the Kings learned that Jason Allison will miss two to three months with a torn MCL in his right knee, they also are keeping Adam Deadmarsh out of the lineup because of a wrist injury that won't heal. Deadmarsh has taped the wrist heavily, but still can't do the things he needs to.
"I can't shoot the puck and I can't make a pass," Deadmarsh said.
With Aaron Miller (abdominal) still out and Ziggy Palffy hampered by a sore groin, the Kings are pretty much a mess. Still, they're trying to fight through.
"When you lose the league's best player, everybody has to step up," goalie Felix Potvin said.
Pouring salt into the wound was the fact Atlanta's Andy Sutton was not suspended for the knee-to-knee hit which injured Allison.
"I disagree with their decision," Kings GM Dave Taylor said. "Knee-to-knee hits are a foul, and they have no place in the game."
The Minnesota Wild's transformation into a league leader this season has some curious statistical glitches. Like how can the team be averaging a league-worst 23.4 shots per game and be giving up 30.1? That shot differential of minus-6.7 is third worst in the league.
But one of the key stats is the team is 3-0-2 in overtime this season after going 0-9-12 last season. That's critical for a team like the Wild. Minnesota plays close to the vest on most nights, so it naturally plays a good deal of overtime games. Being able to have the confidence to win them is a major step forward.
"I just see a bunch of guys who are excited to play," coach Jacques Lemaire said. "And they believe they can win."
Like so many teams who have separate practice facilities, the Stars have held morning skates in the suburbs since moving to Dallas in 1993. But new coach Dave Tippett changed that this season. Tippett has made an effort to get his team into the one-year-old American Airlines Center as much as possible, and he has decided all morning skates will be held at the rink where the game will be played.
"It gets you in game mode," Tippett said. "You see your opponent, you're focused, you're in your stall, you know what's going to happen. You have a big game atmosphere. It's not as if you're watching the other team. But it's the whole atmosphere that's created around by visiting players and visiting media."
The approach has worked so far as the Stars are 3-0-0-1 at home this season.
This falls under the category of misplaced support. Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz stopped by to say hello to former Chicago and current San Jose coach Darryl Sutter the other day and exclaimed to reporters, "This guy's going to win the Stanley Cup. You heard it from me." Oh yeah, how about your current coach?
Don't look now but that sneaky Joe Sakic has six goals and three assists in his past six games and the Avalanche has only one regulation loss. And they still think they're struggling in Colorado.
Teppo Numminen is a minus-9 in the past seven games for Phoenix. Ouch.
The Blue Jackets saw a 58-game home sellout streak end this season, but at least a few people believe the team will continue to be a hit in Columbus. "The fans are great there and I think they'll be patient," former goalie Ron Tugnutt said. "I think they're building on a normal pace for an expansion team, but because Minnesota is just so way off the charts right now, it looks like Columbus is a little behind."
The Stars outshot Florida 44-13 Wednesday, but still took a 3-2 overtime loss. The Panthers did not register a shot in the third period and actually went 29:59 between shots at one point. Dallas fired off 27 shots in the same span.
Nashville's lone win this season is against Detroit. Lifetime, the Predators are 5-5-2 against the Red Wings. "Somehow, Detroit always brings the best out in us," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said.
The Canucks led the NHL in goal-scoring last season at 3.10 per game, but they have dropped to 20th this year, averaging 2.45.
Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News is a regular contributor to ESPN.com.