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What’s true and false from the ‘bizarro start’ to the NHL season

Dropping DC comic and Seinfeld references.

New York Islanders Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images

For any Superman (or Seinfeld) fans out there do you remember Bizarro? He was introduced in the 1950’s and he was essentially a Frankenstein version of Superman who is inadvertently the opposite of superman in many ways. The character’s originations came with General Dru-Zod making clones of himself to take over Krypton and was later replicated by both Superboy and Lex Luthor who creates Bizarro in attempt to defeat Superman. Bizarro instead arrests Lex Luthor and then creates havoc on the city in a failed attempts to mimic Superman’s actions.

Later we would see this in Seinfeld in 1996 with an episode called ‘Bizarro Jerry’ where newly introduced characters Kevin, Feldman, Gene and Vargus respectively became Bizarro versions of Jerry, Kramer, George and Newman. They were similar physically and in their group camaraderie to Jerry and crew but many things are opposite in character traits, apartment furnishings and career paths.

Fast forward to the 2019-2020 NHL season, where we are just one week into what I’m dubbing a ‘Bizarro start’.

Bizarro Patrik Laine

Last year he finished with a career low 50 points. The split out of those 50 points was 30 goals and 20 assists. This marked a third consecutive season where he has scored more goals than assists, quite rare for an NHL player. In 2019-2020 season, five games in, he has three goals and seven assists as he has now been bumped onto the top line alongside Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele who are equally as lethal in goal scoring capabilities.

Outlook: True. I could see this trend continuing.

Bizarro Jack Hughes

Just four games into this season, Jack Hughes has 0 goals and 0 assists for a grand total of…(pulls out abacus) 0 points. This isn’t Earth shattering but with his speed, with his read of the game, and with his hands, one would think he would have stumbled upon a point in one of the first few games. Last night, his minutes were shaved down as he moved to the third line under instruction from head coach John Hynes that he needed to rework his game when he is not holding the puck. If you see below it might not be absurdly bizarro though:

  • 2015 #1 overall pick Connor McDavid’s rookie season: 4 GP 1 goal, 0 assists, 1 point.
  • 2016 #1 overall pick Auston Matthews’ rookie season: 4 GP; 5 goals, 1 assists, 6 points.
  • 2017 #1 overall pick: Nico Hischier’s rookie season: 4 GP; 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point.
  • 2018 #1 overall pick: Rasmus Dahlin’s rookie season: 0 goal, 1 assist, 1 point.

Outlook: True. As you see it’s common to see slow production early on but with Jack, he might be a slower starter than predecessors.

Bizarro Florida Panthers

The biggest beneficiaries in offseason moves (cornerstone pieces: Sergei Bobrovsky and head coach Joel Quenneville) the Panthers are started their season with a very lackluster 1 win and 2 loses boasting 9 goals for and 14 goals against (or over 3 GAA per game). Sergei Bobrovsky is currently sitting WELL outside the top 20 goals and has an .859 SV%. I’m accepting of this largely because their first three games were against last seasons Presidents Cup winning Tampa Bay Lightning and the Eastern Conference finalist Carolina Hurricanes. That said, definitely not a good start to the season for a team I’m expecting a lot out of.

Outlook: False. Just a blip in the radar, they are adjusting to a new system with a new goaltender and they go on a tear at some point.

Bizarro Sammy Blais

The 176th overall pick in 2014 out of the QMJHL Victoriaville Tigres played a handful of games in 2017-2018 and the 2018-2019 seasons scoring a low amount of points. During their Stanley Cup last year, he earned additional 3 points in their playoff run but again, the pace was uninspiring. Enter this year and he has been promoted to the 2nd line alongside Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron and has rewarded generously with 2 goals, 2 assist and a +4 through four games so far. What I find most impressive, he scores points against Washington, Dallas and Toronto but not Ottawa..very bizarro.

  • 2017-2018 Regular Season: 11 GP; 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points
  • 2018-2019 Regular Season: 32 GP; 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points
  • 2019-2020 Regular Season: 4 GP, 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points

Outlook: False. Pace is unsustainable but he could be a sneaky 55-60point player.

NHL: Preseason-Minnesota Wild at St. Louis Blues Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Bizarro Jonathan Quick

The 33 year old Conn Smythe winning, two time Stanley Cup champion Silver medalist didn’t have his best year last season with a 3.38 GAA and an .888 SV%. I was not so naïve to think he would rebound to his 1.95 GAA and .929 SV% highlights but I did think his numbers could improve this season. Two games into this season he now holds an unfathomable 7.17 GAA and a .750 SV% with 0 wins. Even worse, his two games were against the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers, hardly the Tampa Bay Lightning or Carolina Hurricanes. What’s even worse, it’s not like he is getting barraged with shots, LA has 28.3 shots against, the 3rd fewest in the league.

Outlook: False, but also true. He won’t finish the season anywhere near those numbers but I’m VERY concerned.

Honorable Mentions

Buffalo and Edmonton are undefeated, San Jose and Winnipeg have just 1 win.

Outlook: The season is young but Buffalo is looking real good and San Jose is looking real bad a few games in.