SPNHL, Season 32: Week One Review
By: Dirty-Dietrich.

Alright, let’s see how fast I can fly through this. I spent the past four days writing essays and creating liberal propaganda. Now, I’m making burritos for tomorrow and making spaghetti and sausage for tonight. Skip meatballs, man. It’s a game changer. I’m also watching the Leafs vs. Islanders game and they’re booing the shit outta Tavares again. Avery was right to go off on them. Fuckem. Back to business.

Week one of the thirty-second season of the SPNHL is in the books! In traditional SP fashion, one team has changed over half their roster in a not-so-successful first week. However, there are some bigger storylines than that: one first round pick has already fallen out of the league, a team that started with five straight wins is on a four game losing streak, and many more interesting anecdotes which we will explore.

The first week of the season can be make or break for some teams, and can project the trajectory of their season. With Kozmo and Ransom returning to familiar territory the top of the SPNHL standings, and Vandoos returning to the unfortunately familiar territory of the bottom of the SPNHL standings (and making a series of trades), we begin to see how the next five weeks might go for some teams.

Let’s take a look at the two winners and two losers from week one per conference. We’ll look at their record, their trajectory, and their MVP. It’s a lazy format that I’ve recycled for a season now (maybe we should call this winners and losers?), but it works. Let’s dive in!

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Winner: Washington Capitals.
Record: 7-2-0.
Important Stats: 100% Penalty Kill, 18 Goals Against (1st in the league).
Trajectory: Upward.
MVP: Westside.

Kozmo’s Kapitals (letterplay, let’s go) ascended to the top of the league in the first 9 games, going 7-2-0. As mentioned above they have been a defensive powerhouse, with former Selke winner Ransom and the defensive pairing of Rankin and LeMollz forming a very effective C-D-D combo. Their goaltending has been lights out, with Westside emerging as their MVP with 4 wins in 5 games, saving 88% of shots and possessing a very good 1.4 GAA behind Washington’s stagnant defense.

Winner: Tampa Bay Lightning.
Record: 6-2-1.
Important Stats: 42 Goals For, 36% Powerplay Conversion (both 1st in the league).
Trajectory: Upward.
MVP: Stonerboy.

The Bolts were touted for their offensive prowess prior to the season, and they have not disappointed. Contrary to the Capitals, Uber’s Tampa Bay squad has been offense first, averaging 4.66 goals a game. Ajax is a good puck moving D, and passing to a pair of former first overall picks in Stamkos and their MVP Stoner (putting up 10 goals and 10 assists in 5 games for 4 points a game) make the Lightning incredibly dangerous and a team to watch in the East.

Loser: New York Rangers.
Record: 3-5-1.
Important Stats: 37 Goals Against (2nd last in league).
Trajectory: Upward.
MVP: Deathclown.

The thing about the Rangers is that if they were in the West, they would be in a playoff spot. Scalz is struggling in an ultra competitive Eastern Conference, with his team having good but not great stats across the board with the exception of the goals against category. Canadasbest and Single-G6 have formed a solid top line with Deathclown, as their second overall pick in DC27 paces the Rangers with 10 goals and 6 assists in 5 games, good for a tie for second in the league lead for goals.

Loser: Toronto Maple Leafs.
Record: 4-4-1.
Important Stats: 16.7 Powerplay Conversion (3rd last in the league).
Trajectory: Downward.
MVP: NJsVeryOwn.

Shadow’s Leafs started strong, going 4-2-1 in their first 7 games, but failed to crack the top four in the East after dropping their last two games this week. Once again, they have solid stats across the board, but are competing in a stacked conference. The defensive pairing of GodsPlan and Noto have held their own, while Mr.Bean has played a great support role to NJ, as both are averaging a goal a game with NJ holding the team lead with 9. Maybe the arrival of Serv will help Toronto climb the rankings.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Winner: Los Angeles Kings.
Record: 6-3-0.
Important Stats: 36 Goals For and 20 Goals Against (2nd in the league for both).
Trajectory: Upward.
MVP: Hypey.

Los Angeles had a rough start to the season, but PistolPete and ChadTheBitch turned things around and finished the week with four wins in a row. The Sudzy trade for Yesse and Benn through the week seemed to help this team and Yesse is filling in nicely on a line with Pete and Hypey, the driving forces behind the offensive powerhouse of the West. The latter has 9 goals and 12 assists in 6 games, while holding the best plus-minus in the league with +15.

Winner: Nashville Predators.
Record: 5-2-2.
Important Stats: 30.4% Powerplay Conversion (2nd in the league), 34 goals for (3rd in the league).
Trajectory: Upward.
MVP: Shaggy.

Well these guys certainly proved me wrong. Peacekeeper and the Predators (more rich alliteration content) disproved my theory of them being a bottom utility team and have risen to second in the west. Averaging just under 4 goals for a game, the Predators have a load of offensive talent including Serg, Oriole, Benner, Freeze, and Shaggy. Shaggy has played phenomenal for Nashville and leading the rookie points race with 19 (4 goals and a league leading 15 assists).

Loser:Edmonton Oilers.
Record: 1-6-2.
Important Stats: 17 Goals For, 38 Goals Against (last in league for both).
Trajectory: Downward.
MVP: Beaster.

Oh boy, here we go again. Vandoos and the Oilers have fallen to the bottom of the league again, succumbing to some poor offensive and goaltending performances. Moving Serv for Shayne and Muse may spark the offense for the Oilers, but they need to evaluate their defensive structures. Beaster has contributed at both ends of the ice, averaging 3 points a game at forward and putting in a lot of time at defense (albeit not having the best stats). Will the new arrivals bring life back to Edmonton?
Loser: Winnipeg Jets.
Record: 3-5-1.
Important Stats: 14.3 Powerplay Conversion (Last in the league), 34 Goals Against (3rd last in the league).
Trajectory: Downward.
MVP: Reaper.

Albeit marred with controversy, Winnipeg did not have the best week to start the season. They suffered on the powerplay and also couldn’t buy a save. Losing a first round pick doesn’t help either, but Kid and Reap should be energized by the arrival of LeCupidon, a top talent in the SPNHL. Reap put up 2 points per game this week, averaging a goal and an assist in each game he played. With Eggman and Royal holding down the defensive fort, will the new look Jets be able to get off the ground?

Fuck there was a lot of puns in this article. It doesn’t matter.

What does matter is how teams perform this week. One week isn’t enough to derail your season, unless you and your team completely give up. Don’t do that. Alternatively, don’t get too cocky when you find yourself at the top of the standings. Luck can change at the drop of a puck, so don’t take your success for granted. Keep the pressure up, and get ready for another four weeks of hell. We love SP.

Not sure what is happening this weekend given its WRESTLEMANIA WEEKEND and such. I’ll probably be watching G1 Supercard on Saturday, but keep informed in the chat to find out when Koz, Plisk, Reap and I will be bringing you the next edition of SPNHL: Off the Ice over on www.twitch.tv/thespnhl_media! You can also watch archived episodes and listen to us make asses of ourselves.

Thanks for reading, good luck this week, and we’ll see you on the ice!
-DD.

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