The Ice Sheet: Rangers on Top

Every Monday morning The Ice Sheet will take a close look at everything that's happened in the NHL since Friday night at 5:00 p.m. To read them all, click here.

Now that the NHL has gotten through it's first full weekend of the regular season, we still have nine separate squads that we can classify as undefeated, but thanks to their early start in Prague, it's the New York Rangers who sit atop the league with four wins and eight points. Out West, the Sharks have gotten off to a quick start with three wins while only yielding two goals.

Other mild surprises: the Canucks were supposed to be offensively-challenged, yet they still managed to hang 11 goals on the Flames in their home at home series on opening weekend -- including Saturday's come from behind 5-4 OT win in Calgary. Phoenix has a pair of wins, including last night's impressive 4-2 win on enemy ice against Anaheim.

Back East, everyone was talking about how Washington was going to win the Southeast in a walk, but it's Carolina, a team struggling with plenty of injuries, that sits on top of the division with a pair of wins. And while the Rangers might be on top of the East and the Atlantic, the re-tooled Devils notched a pair of wins on opening weekend as well.

What You Might Have Missed ... Our crew kept working over the weekend. Here's what you might have missed since the Friday rush hour:

New HNIC Theme Makes Its Debut: The winner of the contest to determine the new theme to Hockey Night in Canada was announced on Saturday night. The honors went to Alberta school teacher Colin Oberst, composer of "Canadian Gold". Here's the CBC video clip from Saturday that contains all the festivities:

Oberst's win comes with a $100,000 (Cdn.) prize. Second place went to 13-year old Robert Fraser Burke for his composition, "Sticks to the Ice," which netted him some sort of replica guitar signed by Patrick Roy. Somehow, I don't think he's feeling much solace now. Thanks to Alanah from Kukla's Korner for the pointer.

Hey, Look at Me!: I watch plenty of football, but until just a little while ago, I'd never heard of Milt Stegall, who apparently plays football for Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL. Via Bethany's Hockey Rants and Scarlett Ice, I found this TSN clip of Stegall engaging in some hockey bashing:

Fair enough, just as long as Milt knows that Canadian football isn't real football. Heh.

Quote of the Weekend: From our colleague J.P. in response to an assertion from Larry Brooks that the Washington Capitals should have found a way to re-sign Cristobal Huet -- a player who cleary didn't want to be in Washington whose agent simply used the team to pump up his asking price in Chicago:

In other news, the Caps also should have found the way to sign Alex Ovechkin to a 13-year, $13 million deal, to win the Stanley Cup last year and to distill Brooks Laich's sweat into a cure for cancer.

Another note to Larry: Henrik Lundqvist does not look like actor Hugh Laurie, but as one Ducks fan has already noted, Teemu Selanne looks an awful lot like actor Stuart Townsend.

Other Hockey Headlines: Micahel Peca has been suspended indefinitely by the NHL for allegedly hitting a ref with his stick, but Peca disputes the account ... Anze Kopitar has cashed in. See Inside the Kings for more details ... Rick DiPietro is hurting and not playing. How's that lengthy contract looking right now?

Hockey Fight of the Weekend: There were 22 brawls over the season's first full weekend, with a number of real notables. Everyone couldn't help but notice that Colton Orr and Riley Cote dropped the gloves in the presence of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin on Saturday night, a tussle that was followed up by Philly Captain Mike Richards with Alaskan Brandon Dubinsky. Heck, even Calgary's Jarome Iginla got into the act when he went at it with Vancouver's Willie Mitchell.

But the best fight of the weekend as judged by the readers at Hockey had to be the battle between Dallas agitator Krys Barch and Jared Boll of Columbus, a battle that registered 7.6 on the site's scale:

Methinks with Sean Avery in town, Barch, who more than 95% of readers thought won the fight, will be awfully busy this season.

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