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NHL Season Opener 2012: The 3 Stars of Opening Weekend

Tom Urtz Jr.Contributor IOctober 10, 2011

NHL Season Opener 2012: The 3 Stars of Opening Weekend

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    The NHL is back and better than ever. This weekend the NHL opened up its doors for another great season of hockey. This weekend saw the debuts of old faces in new places, rookies, and coaches.

    Some stood out more than others and for that reason they have earned one of my stars of the week. Each week I will post an article where I give out my three stars of the week.

    Do not fret if your favorite player didn't earn one of my stars as I will continue to say, there is always next week.

    Please note this an opinion article and not 100% fact. The individuals I selected stood out to me especially. If you have a legitimate gripe leave a comment and I will address it as soon as possible.

3rd Star: Thomas Vanek

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    Thomas Vanek and the Buffalo Sabres opened up their regular season overseas as the participated in the NHL Premiere opener in Europe.

    In his first two games, Vanek has two goals, three assists, for five points. Vanek was a plus two in the first two games.

    Vanek and the Sabres are off to a great start and currently sit third overall in the Eastern Conference with a 2-0-0 record.

    Vanek has really impressed me so far and has made me a very happy fantasy owner.

2nd Star: Ilya Byrzgalov

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    Ilya Bryzgalov and the Philadelphia Flyers have really shut up their critics so far. In his first two games as the Flyers starter, Bryzgalov has been virtually lights out.

    Bryzgalov is 2-0 with a 0.50 G.A.A and a .977 SV% and has one shutout.

    The Flyers have been very impressive so far despite all the criticism they received after blowing up their roster this summer.

    If Bryzgalov and the Flyers can keep this up there is no reason why they can't have a deep playoff run.

1st Star(s) Phil Kessel and James Reimer

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    When weighing all the options, it was hard not to award a tie for teammates Phil Kessell and James Reimer. For many fans and critics, it is hard to believe that the Toronto Maple Leafs are 2-0-0. 

    When you look at the Leafs' roster they are missing key players in Tim Connolly, Nazem Kadri, Clarke MacArthur, and Cody Franson.

    The Leafs made their offseason moves to ice a better team in hopes of making the playoffs.

    Phil Kessel, who seems to always draw the ire of criticism, is off the a good start. Kessel currently leads the league in goals (three) and points (five). Kessel has played solid hockey and is averaging around 20 minutes per game thus far. One can only imagine what Kessel will do once the Leafs have there stars back.

    James Reimer, known as Optimus Reim, has had a major transformation of his own. Reimer stepped into this season as the Leafs true No.1 net minder. He is young, athletic, and a fan favorite.

    So far Reimer has posted a 2-0-0 record with a 2.50 GAA, a .922 SV% and one shutout. His numbers may be a bit higher than Bryzgalov's but given the circumstances, Reimer's opening weekend was more impressive.

    Everyone is entitled to a bad period but at the end of the day getting the "W" is what matters. Reimer is a goalie who has the potential to carry the Leafs into the playoffs.

Honorable Mentions ?

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    Do you feel I snubbed a player in particular? Is there someone you would have added? Leave a comment in the section below to get the conversation going.

    The NHL season has just started so check back next week for my three star's of the week.

     

    Tom Urtz is an NHL Featured Columnist. For more NHL free agent news, updates and alerts about players:

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