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25 Takeaways From First 2 Weeks Of 2013 NHL Season

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25 Takeaways From The First Two Weeks Of The 2013 NHL Season

2013 Season
Rob Grabowski USA TODAY Sports

The NHL season is officially back and in full swing. All teams have played at least three games and things are starting to heat up.

The Chicago Blackhawks are looking to defend their Stanley Cup Title for the second time in three years. There were a lot of big-name free agents that switched teams over the summer as well. Also, the coaching carousel continued as many teams fired their coaches.

This is the year after a long lockout that flushed away half the season last year. Some very good teams missed the playoffs last year after getting off to slow starts and not being able to regroup in time for the playoff push. We also saw one of the best Stanley Cup Finals in recent memory and it was the most watched finals in NHL history.

This season is going to be just as much fun to watch as a fan of the game. There were so many question marks going into this season and some of them have already been answered. One thing is for sure that there will be plenty of surprises as always. There will be players and teams who disappoint. Likewise, there will also be numerous surprises for both players and teams. Both conferences have an abundance of good teams and the playoffs should be great once again.

Like I said, I could not be happier that the NHL is back and I can’t wait to see how this season plays out. Here are 25 takeaways so far from the first two weeks of the 2013-14 NHL season.

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Realignment Making New Rivalries

Realignment
Tim Fuller USA TODAY Sports

The NHL has moved shuffled some teams between the Eastern and Western Conference. The Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets headed east while the Winnipeg Jets headed to the west. These changes will create new rivalries in the league. The Jets could become rivals with other Canadian teams and the Red Wings will now face teams much closer to them geographically.

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More Suspensions Than Ever

Suspensions
Joe Camporeale USA TODAY Sports

Well the NHL is cracking down harder than ever. This two-week span has seen some of the most suspensions the league has ever seen. Brendan Shanahan and the league are doing the right thing in protecting the players.

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Another Long Season In Store For The Edmonton Oilers

Oilers
Perry Nelson USA TODAY Sports

Every season it seems as if the Edmonton Oilers are ready to finally make a push for the playoffs. With so many high draft picks finally developing, a lot of people thought this would be that year. Well, it seems they were mistaken and that the Oilers are going to be in for another long year.

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Philadelphia Flyers Are In Deep Trouble

Flyers
Eric Hartline USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Flyers are crumbling before our eyes. They fired Peter Laviolette after an 0-3 start and had assistant coach Craig Berube take over for him. The Flyers were expected to bounce back this year and be a contender, but once again, it seems as if they are looking at a disastrous season.

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Anaheim Ducks Have Tons Of Firepower

Ducks
Kelvin Kuo USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks traded away Bobby Ryan and might have gotten better. They can score at will and seem to have one of the best tandems in hockey in Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Their defense is concerning, but boy can they score.

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Jonathan Quick Back In MVP Form

Quick
Kelvin Kuo USA TODAY Sports

Last year was a down year for Jonathan Quick after coming off of surgery. Take one very embarrassing blooper away and Quick is back to his MVP level. The Los Angeles Kings are a hot pick to win the West and Quick will need to continue his great play for that to happen.

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Hockey Is Back In Toronto

Maple Leafs
Don McPeak USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs suffered a heart breaking loss in the playoffs last year and a lot of people thought their play in the early season would suffer. But the Maple Leafs are off to a great start. They finally have a goaltender in Jonathan Bernier and have a boatload of offensive talent.

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Sergei Bobrovsky No Fluke

Bobrovsky
Anthony Gruppuso USA TODAY Sports

A lot of people credited Sergei Bobrovsky's Vezina trophy season due to the fact that the season was shortened due to a lockout. But Bobrovsky is proving that he is no fluke and that he belongs in the NHL. He is off to a phenomenal start and is looking like an elite goalie.

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The Buffalo Sabres Are That Bad

Sabres
Kevin Hoffman USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Sabres have played five games. They have lost all five and have only recorded one point in those five games. It is still early in the season, but the Sabres should just start looking at prospects for the No. 1 pick next year in the draft.

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Seth Jones Playing With A Chip On His Shoulder

Seth Jones
Ron Chenoy USA TODAY Sports

Seth Jones was supposed to be the No. 1 pick in the draft, but fell to the fourth. Well, he is playing like he should have been the No. 1 pick. The 18-year-old is looking like a stud on the ice with his great skating ability and off the charts hockey IQ.

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Nathan MacKinnon Proving He Belongs

Nathan MacKinnon
John E. Sokolowski USA TODAY Sports

There were a lot of skeptics after the Colorado Avalanche took Nathan MacKinnon over Seth Jones with the No. 1 pick in the draft last year. But MacKinnon proved right off the bat that he is a worthy that pick. In his first game, he recorded two assists.

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Vancouver Canucks Are Much Grittier

Canucks
Anne-Marie Sorvin USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Canucks brought in John Tortorella to change the culture of their team. Now they are tougher team to play against and have bought into Tortorella's defense-first system. You have probably seen more Canucks block shots in the first two weeks than they have in the past two years.

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New York Islanders Are No One Hit Wonder

Islanders
Dennis Wierzbicki USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders were a surprise team that made the playoffs last year. A lot of people were making it seem like they were a one-hit-wonder, but they are not. The Islanders are the real deal and have some of the best talent in the NHL.

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New York Rangers Look Like A Bottom 10 Team

Rangers
Kelvin Kuo USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers have started the season playing absolutely terrible. They have completely lost their identity. They have given up five goals in four of their five games. At this point, the Rangers don't even look like they will be able to compete for a playoff spot.

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Marc-Andre Fleury Playing Elite Goalie Again

Fleury
Don McPeak USA TODAY Sports

Marc-Andre Fleury has struggled mightily over the past two playoffs. He was supposed to start this season as the backup, but an injury to Tomas Vokoun forced Fleury back into the lineup. He has responded by playing some of the best hockey of his career. Everyone will be anxiously awaiting to see how Fleury plays this postseason.

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St. Louis Blues Are Taking The Next Step

Blues
Jason Vinlove USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Blues are one of the best teams in the league. Each of the past two seasons they have taken steps in the right direction, but this year just feels different. The Blues are playing on a different level and are taking the step towards being an elite contender for the Stanley Cup.

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Brad Richards Resurgent Play

Brad Richards
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest question marks this offseason was whether or not the Rangers were going to buyout Brad Richards. They decided not too and Richards has responded. He has put up four goals and one assist through five games and has been the Rangers' best forward so far.

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John Tavares Proving He's An Elite Player

John Tavares
Brad Penner USA TODAY Sports

Alone with his Islanders, John Tavares shocked the league by propelling himself into the category of elite NHL players last season. He has responded by continuing his play as one of the leagues top players. He is someone to watch out for as an MVP candidate for the second-straight year.

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Calgary Flames Are Young But Good

Flames
Candice Ward USA TODAY Sports

Many experts predicted the Calgary Flames to be the worst team in the NHL this season. What they didn't take into account was the heart of a team. The Flames are currently tied for first place in their division. Sometimes being so young is good because the team will just keep playing and having fun and not realize what is at stake.

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Colorado Avalanche Shocking Everyone

Avalanche
John E. Sokolowski USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Roy took over as the head coach of the Avalanche and immediately brought an attitude change to the team. The Avalanche are playing with the same fire and passion that their coach gave when he played. The Avalanche were the worst team in the West last year, but are in first place now and have yet to lose.

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Alexander Ovechkin Is Back

Alexander Ovechkin
Geoff Burke USA TODAY Sports

After finishing last season absolutely on fire, Alexander Ovechkin has picked up right where he left off. After a year or two where people began to question Ovechkin's elite status, he has responded by lighting the lamp at a torrid pace for this season.

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Tomas Hertl Taking The League By Storm

Tomas Hertl
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

It is very rarely a rookie takes the NHL by storm, but Tomas Hertl has done that for the San Jose Sharks. The rookie leads the NHL in goals including a goal where he put the puck between the legs and roofed it top shelf. The kid is just beginning to show his talent and will be an elite player for years to come.

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San Jose Sharks Hot Start

Sharks
Anne-Marie Sorvin USA TODAY Sports
Much like Hertl, the Sharks are on fire. They look the best they have in years. The team is much quicker and is playing with more confidence than ever. If anyone is going to give the Blackhawks a run for the money in the West, it might be the Sharks.
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The Chicago Blackhawks Poised To Repeat

Blackhawks
Dennis Wierzbicki USA TODAY Sports

The Blackhawks have arguably the most fire power in the NHL. They have brought up some young players to make their third and fourth line even more dangerous. They are the favorites to win the Stanley Cup again and rightfully so.

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Sidney Crosby Is Back And Better Than Ever

Sidney Crosby
Robert Mayer USA TODAY Sports

Love him or hate him, Sidney Crosby is the most exciting player in hockey. The fact that he is healthy this year and should get a full season under him is the best thing that has happened to the league in a while. He is easily the best player in the world and should easily win the MVP and scoring trophies this year.