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Renovation Watch: First impressions

Oct 9, 2011, 12:34 AM EDT

Thomas Vanek AP

Every now and then, PHT will glance at the teams who changed the most during the 2011 off-season in Renovation Watch.

With the NHL’s first huge night of games almost over, the hockey world received introductory glances at some radically altered teams. Naturally, first impressions aren’t everything, but here’s a rundown of how remodeled rosters are shaking out through a game or two.

Sabres dominate in both of their games

So far, the Buffalo Sabres are justifying their substantial hype. They dismantled the Anaheim Ducks 4-1 on Friday and then handled a more balanced Los Angeles Kings team 4-2. The Northeast Division title bout could be a real slug fest.

Breezy allows one goal in two contests

The Philadelphia Flyers underwent dramatic roster surgery in the summer and the early results are promising. Ilya Bryzgalov earned a 3-0 shutout against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday and helped the Flyers ruin the Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup party 2-1. Newcomers Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek and Jaromir Jagr have already registered a point, but holdover Claude Giroux is embracing his push to the headliner role; he already hast two goals.

Panthers blank Islanders in sleepy match between big dreamers

Depending upon who you ask, the Florida Panthers or New York Islanders could be the “sleepers” of the East. The two teams played a yawner tonight, as Jose Theodore helped the Panthers blank the Isles 2-0. Florida is clearly going to get as much value out of Brian Campbell‘s whale-like contract as they can – he assisted on both goals and played a whopping 30 minutes tonight.

Heatley and Setoguchi score in their Wild debuts

The Minnesota Wild beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 in a fight between two renovated teams. The Wild’s off-season additions had a nice debut, as Dany Heatley scored and then assisted on Devin Setoguchi‘s goal. Maybe it’s a bit unfair to truly critique Columbus since they’ll play six more games without James Wisniewski, but they’re 0-2-0 so far. The biggest move might be the one they didn’t make; Steve Mason didn’t even make it through the entire game after allowing all four Wild goals in the first two periods.

Renovated Records:

Philadelphia: 2-0-0 (four points)
Buffalo: 2-0-0 (four pts.)
Florida: 1-0-0 (two pts.)
Minnesota: 1-0-0 (two pts.)
Columbus: 0-2-0 (zero pts.)

  1. trbowman - Oct 9, 2011 at 1:00 AM

    Sabres look legit.

    Flyers look great so far. But, the question with Ilya is will he bring it in the playoffs?

    Mason just isn’t a number one goaltender.

  2. bowens3181 - Oct 9, 2011 at 1:09 AM

    Bryzgalov has a bad playoff rep because of the crappy teams he played on. When you start playing teams like Detroit in the playoffs, the goalie is going to need some help no matter who he is and it just wasn’t there for Bryz. With the roster that’s around him now I could see Philly going far this year. It just seems like they’re built for the playoffs; great goalie, big intimidating defense, and big skilled forwards. Playing a seven game series against a healthy flyers team is going to b tough this year

    • James O'Brien - Oct 9, 2011 at 1:21 AM

      Echoing bowens3181’s point, Ilya Bryzgalov was excellent in his limited playoff work with the Anaheim Ducks (he took over the first round for J.S. Giguere on two occasions). So he’s been great with a good team and bad with a weak team.

  3. sillysporty - Oct 9, 2011 at 10:05 AM

    Sabres will be in the finals and take their firt cup

  4. dcent87 - Oct 9, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    Sillysporty it’s spelled “first” and no the sabers won’t

    • screecwe - Oct 9, 2011 at 2:53 PM

      It’s spelled “Sabres”. Glass houses and such.

    • skoobyfl - Oct 10, 2011 at 3:21 PM

      Sabres + Billionaire owner = 1st Cup.

  5. sillysporty - Oct 10, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    yes d I know how to spell and sabres will flyers will shit the bed as usual

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