“Quoth The Maven” is a weekly column where Stan Fischler touches on the three local teams plus other hot NHL items.
1. The best Devils surprise of the season has to be Scotty Gomez. Actually, he showed that he had the goods way back in the fall during the Devils-Islanders exhibition game at Barclays Center. Too bad he didn’t make the varsity from Game One.
2. If I’m Glen Sather, I’d bring Mats Zuccarello back next season. The little guy’s grit, willingness to take on any size foe and scoring touch should guarantee a return to 7th Avenue.
3. Speaking of bringing players back, I’d bring back Jordin Tootoo to Newark. Not only does he provide toughness and is willing to drop the gloves to change the momentum, he has illuminated the goal light as well with his added ice time.
4. From here to Game 82, we’ll be guessing whether the Islanders are overachievers or really that good.
5. Actually, the answer won’t come until after the first playoff round. If Jack Capuano’s skaters make it to Round Two, we will be able to say they are that good.
6. The most underrated hockey people who nobody ever talks about are the Red Wings’ scouts who have come up with more gems out of the blue than any collection of NHL bird dogs.
7. Adam Larsson’s play has taken on new life under Scott Stevens. The young Swede has taken advantage of his newfound role and is primed to prosper.
8. Whoever found Kevin Hayes deserves a medal. Between Hayes and Chris Kreider, the Rangers have one of the best one-two punches who can outskate most foes.
9. Speaking of speed, name one team out of 29 that is faster than the Blueshirts. Sorry, there is none.
11. I guess Cam Talbot and Mackenzie Skapski have answered the Rangers goaltending question: No need for a deal before the deadline.
12. Carey Price vs. Rick Nash vs. John Tavares! How about a dead heat for the Hart Trophy!!!
13. Since the NHL has an award for almost everything but breathing why not, “The Most Underrated Player of the Year?”
14. Jack Capuano insists that the Canucks are not dirty — Just “gritty.”
15. That takes Derek Dorsett off the hook, doesn’t it? Answer: Not quite!
16. My buddy, Tommy Murray, insists that the Penguins are the whining kings of the NHL. Any objections — outside Pittsburgh?
17. I wouldn’t mind seeing John Tortorella behind an NHL bench. Ditto Mike Keenan.
18. Due to the recent renaissance of Steve Bernier, the Devils find themselves in the position of possibly shipping him out for draft picks and future considerations.
19. Johnny Boychuk doesn’t like my nickname for him, “The Edmonton Rifle.”
20. Jordin Tootoo and Scott Gomez have a good case for winning the Masterton Trophy.
21. Nick Leddy‘s breakouts may not be breathtaking, but they sure are therapeutic for the Islanders defense.
22. Recommended Book! Black Ice: The Val James Story by Valmore James and John Gallagher.
WATCH: The Maven Sits Down With Val James
23. No question that Lou Lamoriello‘s decision to go behind the Devils bench was a lot wiser than any critics believed. Which brought the question – What do critics know anyhow?
24. Don’t look now but the anti-shootout bloc is gaining more influence. Don’t be surprised if you see three-on-three overtime with a modified shootout next season.
25. Bob Hartley won’t win the Adams Award a coach of the year, but the splendid job he’s done in Calgary sure should get him Almost Coach of the Year.
26. Just saying, I miss Zenon Konopka big-time. Loved his humor when he skated for the Islanders.