1 Player on Every NHL Team Driving the Fan Base Nuts
Sean Avery is the posterchild for driving fans nuts. Pretty much the entire NHL hates the guy, and he's probably played his last hockey game at the highest level in North America.
But all over the league, there are guys that are making their fans scratch their heads, throw their hats and spill their beer. Some teams have a lot to be unhappy about, while others aren't really able to hate too much because of a good start to the season.
What follows is a list of players that have underwhelmed their teams and caused some level of angst within their fan bases.
The Ducks are off to a good start this year, and the offense has been pretty well spread out on their roster. So really, to say the fans are being angered by a player right now is probably premature.
But, for the sake of discussion, we'll toss Lubomir Visnovsky under the bus. He only has two assists and is minus-four through six games this year. A player that some felt might be a sleeper for Norris candidacy this year, he hasn't come out of the gates firing. Of course, he was injured to end last season, so he should be given some grace for working the rust off.
Dennis Seidenberg hasn't started the year exceptionally well for the defending champs. He's skating the highest ice time average on the team (25:13), but has only put up one assist in eight games. His minus-four rating certainly doesn't help the situation, either. As a leader on the team, expectations are that Seidenberg would bring more to the ice.
While Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville put up big numbers to open the season, the Sabres are still waiting for Tyler Ennis to scratch the book this season. He has zero points in seven games.
Cory Sarich is averaging 13:47 per game through the first seven games Calgary has played this season. In that time, he has given the Flames one point, an assist and 17 penalty minutes while serving up a minus-two rating. Sarich hasn't been good on a team looking for anything right now.
It isn't the same as being the scapegoat in Toronto, but Tomas Kaberle hasn't done as much as the Canes probably hoped he would then they signed him this summer. He's averaging under 19 minutes per game and has only posted two assists in eight games, while he's minus-five. He doesn't have a point at even strength yet this year.
The Blackhawks are still paying John Scott. Why? Great question.
Cody McLeod is the king of stupid penalties in Denver.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Do we throw James Wisniewski under the bus? How about Jeff Carter's fragile feet?
Truth be told, the only person the fanbase shouldn't hate in Columbus is Rick Nash. They're awful in every part of the game.
In first place out of nowhere, it's hard to say the Stars fans (both of them) have much to complain about. But if one player is going to be the target of their laments, it would be backup netminder Andrew Raycroft. He's responsible for both of the Stars' losses, despite a .907 save percentage.
Detroit Red Wings
Backup goalie Ty Conklin is responsible for the touchdown Washington put on the Red Wings on Saturday night, ending Detroit's perfect beginning this season. Again, we're nitpicking here, but the guy that took their only loss gets the hate, too.
Andy Sutton has racked up 22 penalty minutes and zero points in seven games. Not exactly the veteran presence the Oilers were hoping for.
Scottie Upshall got a nice, fat paycheck this summer from the Panthers. What has he given them in return? How about zero points, 19 penalty minutes and a minus-four rating through seven games.
Los Angeles Kings
There's a lot of residual angst in LA being aimed at Dustin Penner already this season, where he has struggled to get his act together. In five games, he has only one point, an assist and 19 penalty minutes. While other pieces they added this summer are playing well, and Jonathan Quick has been ridiculous, Penner hasn't shown much of anything since landing in LA.
Brad Staubitz has only played in five games so far, but he's racked up 15 penalty minutes and zero points. He has only put two shots on net in those five games as well. Basically, he's done nothing to help the Wild start their season.
It appears the Habs brought in a square peg to fill a round hole. Erik Cole was an exciting addition for the Canadiens this summer, but it appears the folks in Montreal are already wondering how to use the elder power forward. He's only registered one assist in seven games and is minus-three so far, but is only skating 14:34 per night. He might be on the trade block before Halloween.
The Preds are desperately seaching for offense, and it's supposed to come from guys like Patric Hornqvist. Well, through seven games, Hornqvist has more missed games (one) than points (zero). He's minus-three and hasn't been a factor at all.
New Jersey Devils
I could have said Martin Brodeur, but that's almost too easy. Eric Boulton has played 22 minutes so far this year, and already accumulated 19 penalty minutes. If he keeps up this pace, he might challenge Snookie for the title of least popular idiot in Jersey.
New York Islanders
Josh Bailey continues to be a zero-impact player for the Islanders this year. He has zero points in six games, and has only taken four shots so far this season.
New York Rangers
After spending a big part of this summer being considered a central part of the young core used to recruit Brad Richards to New York, Brandon Dubinsky has become a penalty machine this year. Three assists and 39 penalty minutes through six games has brought his name into the trade winds already this year.
NOTE: Sean Avery is the true answer here, but because he's in the AHL now I opted for someone who is still in the NHL.
They're awful. Like the Blue Jackets, fans can aim their angst at any of the players in uniform except their captain so far this year.
OMG! He hasn't scored a goal yet!
It would be harsh for me to speak on behalf of the one Coyotes fan. So I called him.
Dan: "I really hate that the NHL put a team here, where we don't care about hockey and the ice is soft by the middle of the second period. But I'll buy a jersey when they're back in Hartford!"
No owner, no elite young players, no chance.
Jeremy Roenick said he's sick of hearing Sidney Crosby updates. Well, Pittsburgh collectively hates JR... again. If his time in Philly wasn't enough, now he's talking negatively about Crosby? How dare he?!?
In reality, the coaching job in Pittsburgh has been incredible and James Neal has been a revelation. Even without Crosby and Malkin, the only person complaining about the Pens so far this year has been Roenick.
San Jose Sharks
I'm not necessarily saying Martin Havlat's personally responsible for fans being up at night in San Jose, but he gets to be the poster boy for injuries that have plagued the Sharks already this year.
Havlat, Jason Demers, Torry Mitchell, Jim Vandermeer, Benn Ferriero, Colin White and Antti Niemi have all missed games already this season. After Doug Wilson made some bold moves to shake up his roster this year, and with LA being so much improved, the Sharks need to get healthy to stay in the mix out west.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues made a major move to bring Jaroslav Halak down from Montreal before last season, and haven't received much on that investment yet. His save percentage is 100 points lower than Brian Elliott, who has kept the Blues in it early this season by winning all three of his starts. Halak is the money man in St. Louis, and needs to start playing like it.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Dwayne Roloson was incredible for the Bolts last year, but he's looked his age to begin the new season. His goals against average is over five, and his save percentage is under .860 so far. Neither of those numbers will keep the Lightning in the mix, and might put them in the market for a netminder soon.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Cody Franson was vocal about his playing time, and hasn't done anything to back up his talking. In an organization loaded with blue line talent, Franson might have put himself in the doghouse and thrown away the key.
Off to a mediocre start, the local media has proposed a Luongo-for-Lecavalier trade recently. It appears the folks in Vancouver are starting to realize the best netminder on their roster might not be the one with 10 years left on his contract.
The Caps haven't lost a game yet, so how are their fans supposed to be mad at someone?
So, we'll do the logical thing: hate Rex Grossman.
We all knew it was going to be an uphill climb in Winnipeg this season, but Ondrej Pavelec hasn't helped the cause much. His goals against average is over 3.50, and his save percentage is under .875 this season. Then again, Jets fans probably don't hate anyone now that they have hockey back.