It’s probably foolish to try to read anything into two days’ worth of games, especially when half the players in the NHL are still trying to get back to pre-lockout form. But that’s no reason not to try, so here are 10 random observations from the NHL’s opening weekend:
The Blues made a statement
The St. Louis Blues entered the season as a trendy pick to win the Western Conference. They looked the part Saturday, pummeling the Detroit Red Wings, 6-0, and outshooting them, 17-2, in a first-period display that played out as a near-perfect depiction of Ken Hitchcock hockey.
The game also featured the breakout performance of opening weekend, with Blues rookie Vladimir Tarasenko scoring a pair of goals, including a filthy individual effort in his NHL debut. The 21-year-old 2010 first-round pick has spent the last few seasons in the KHL, and could make a major impact if he can bring consistent production to a Blues offense that wasn’t exactly intimidating last year.
But while Tarasenko could be the league’s next big star, let’s hold off on the hype until we see him do it against an NHL-caliber defense.
If the Twittersphere has taught us one thing, it's that athletes can be completely absurd individuals. The NBA lockout was a prime opportunity to observe how millionaires spend their non-basketball time, and while every day of these NBA playoffs is thrilling, once this seemingly endless process of crowning a champion is complete, it will, once again, be "recess" for the majority of the NBA players. While some potential offseason recess legends are still playing (James Harden, Evan Turner), the rest of the league is already gearing up for a summer that one can only hope is full of shenanigans.
Jamie Moyer, 49 years young, just became the oldest dude in the history of old dudes to get a win in Major League Baseball. He threw 87 pitches in seven innings, allowing six hits and two runs (none of them earned) in a 5-3 Rockies win over San Diego. You can watch the highlights here, which are remarkable for the fact that they include a lot of double-play balls and other grounders, but only one strikeout. In fact, Moyer managed to break the 80-miles-per-hour barrier exactly zero times over the course of his historic start. That means his fastest fastball had less velocity than almost every other pitcher's slowest changeup.
Moyer has never been a strikeout pitcher (his highest single-season K/9 rate came in 1987 with the Cubs, a year in which Nolan Ryan led the league), and now well, now he's the oldest guy to ever win a major league baseball game. So we shouldn't expect a lot of punch-outs. We also shouldn't expect him to leave an inning without giving up roughly 15 runs, but somehow he has the craftiness and guile to leave major league hitters waving at air. It's counterintuitive and absurd, but he's been old for a long time now, and it's still happening.