While some dynamic duos of players have gotten off to stellar starts and have zoomed to the top of the scoring list, many star players have been totally stymied so far.
Fast starts: Twenty players have had a point in each game they have played in thus far and one – Nicklas Backstrom of Minsk – has a goal in each game. He has 9 points in 4 games to lead everyone in scoring and he has combined with his linemates Zach Parise and Jakub Voracek for 9 goals already. In the Hussars’ home opener, Backstrom had three points and was the game’s first star as Minsk outshot St. Petersburg 40-20 in a 6-4 triumph. The next game, a 5-3 win over Zurich, Backstrom scored two goals and was again named the first star. Athens’ David Backes and Scotty Hartnell and Edinburgh’s John Tavares and Jamie Benn all have 8 points. Among the league’s top 5 in shots on goal are four Madrid Royals behind the leader Backes, who has ripped 26 shots at opposition goalies already. That’s an incredible 6.5 shots per game. He fired off 17 shots in a 26-hour period in back-to-back wins over Edinburgh and Geneva. Madrid’s Joe Pavelski, Alex Tanguay, Gabriel Landeskog and R.J. Umberger all have 19 or more shots for Dan Bylsma’s full-throttle offense. Pavelski also has 10 takeaways versus just one giveaway. Paris’ Corey Perry and Evgeny Malkin have been good at both ends of the rink. They are both plus six, tying them for the league lead in that category with Berlin’s Ladislav Smid, and the Cup champion forwards have combined for 13 points.
Slow starts: Sidney Crosby seems to be missing his old right wing Rick Nash, even though the two probably didn’t meet the high expectations people in Belfast had for them. The former Penguin center will be looking to record his first point of the season tonight when the Giants visit Copenhagen. But Sid the Kid is not alone in the Bad Start Club. Teammate Nazem Kadri is 58 points behind the 58 points he put up in his rookie season. And Nash, who is now in Stockholm, isn’t doing much better with only one assist to show for 4 games with his new linemates – Mike Richards and Dustin Brown. He has had his scoring chances and taken 14 shots on goal, but still has a goose egg in the goals column. An injury to Eric Staal gives him somewhat of an excuse for getting shut out so far, but he and Gothenburg teammates Martin St. Louis and Milan Lucic have played a total of 10 man games, taken a combined 26 shots and have yet to record a point between them. Big Zdeno Chara, captain of the Bratislav Eagles, is pointless in 4 games and has only taken 3 shots so far even though he is working the point on the team’s top powerplay unit. He’s not the only team captain off to a poor start. Shane Doan of Stockholm has no point to show for his 14 minutes per game of ice time and Andrew Ladd of Moscow has no points even though his regular linemates Anze Kopitar and Aleksey Morozov have 7 and 4 points, respectively. Luckily for Ladd, first-year defenseman Andrei Markov has picked up the slack and has 7 points to lead all blueliners in scoring.