Times columnist Helene Elliott rates the pluses and minuses in the NHL from the previous week:
+ Patrick Roy, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as a rookie goaltender after the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup in 1986, has so far been successful as a rookie NHL coach. Under him, the Colorado Avalanche has won four straight games and is 10-1-0, including 5-0-0 on the road.
+ One reason the San Jose Sharks (10-1-1) are thriving is because they've upped their tempo dramatically. They're averaging a league-leading 3.92 goals per game while limiting opponents to 1.58 goals, which ranked second through Sunday's games. This is balance: Six players have produced their last seven goals.
+ Alexander Steen scored twice Saturday in the St. Louis Blues' 6-1 rout of Nashville and earned a share of the NHL goal-scoring lead. Through Sunday's games Steen and Washington's Alexander Ovechkin each had 10 goals. But Steen doesn't put himself on Ovechkin's level. "He's been doing it for years. I've been doing it for nine games," Steen told nhl.com.
— Things keep getting worse for the New Jersey Devils (2-5-4). Just after goaltender Cory Schneider had seized the starting job from Martin Brodeur, Schneider sustained a lower-body injury that put him out of the lineup indefinitely. With Brodeur in net the Devils scored four power-play goals in a comeback win at Boston on Saturday, but they have a long battle ahead.
— Winnipeg Jets Coach Claude Noel has endured some criticism during his team's 5-6-2 start, but it's unlikely that his job is in danger at this point. The Jets are about where their talent suggests they should be. They've lost a pair of one-goal games and won a one-goal game on their current trip, which ends Tuesday at St. Louis.
— Interesting item in the text of Commissioner Gary Bettman's rejection of the Sabres' appeal of Patrick Kaleta's 10-game suspension for a hit to the head of Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson. The Sabres contended Kaleta was playing Buffalo's system and that he's relied on "for his 'energy' and 'grittiness' and ability to make 'hits.'" That doesn't account for other players who do the same without taking illegal head shots. Bettman properly dismissed that and upheld the suspension.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun