I really don't feel like yapping about the new Flames who are on the ice against the Flyers tonight. All four players that the Flames acquired from the Leafs are in the lineup, but I want to bring everyone up-to-date on some other leagues that are out there. The NHL gets a lot of coverage across the Internet, but the other professional leagues don't seem to get the same coverage. In saying that, here are updates from the other leagues across the globe.
- Don't look now, but it's a three dog race over in the KHL for the top spot. SKA Saint Petersburg is currently in first place with 111 points by virtue of having more wins, but Salavat Yulaev Ufa has the same number of points despite having less wins. Hot on their heels is Metallurg Magnitogorsk with 106 points.
- Alexei Yashin, Maxim Sushinsky, and Sergei Mozyakin lead the KHL in scoring with 58 points apiece. Yashin and Sushinsky both play for SKA St. Petersburg while Mozyakin plays for Atlant Mytishchi. It's hard to believe that Yashin is at the top of the scoring list, but there he sits. Sorry to all Islanders and Senators fans.
- Marcel Hossa sits by himself at the top of the goal-scoring list. Hossa has lit the lamp 31 times for Dinamo Riga as they cling to the eighth-place spot in the Western Conference. You wonder if these former NHL players are better for having played in the NHL, or if this is pure talent alone. Personally, the former seems more believable in terms of their "newly-found" talents. Hossa also leads the league in powerplay goals with 13.
- Darcy Verot, the man who was a major player in the Vityaz Chekhov-Avangard Omsk brawl a few weeks ago, leads the KHL in sin bin time. Amazingly, Verot has recorded 345 PIMs in 33 games this season - an average of over 10 minutes in penalties per game! Second-place Evgeny Skachkov of Traktor Chelyabinsk only trails Verot by a mere 208 PIMs! Is there really any need for Verot in the game of hockey at all?
- Robert Esche is the top goaltender in the KHL with a record of 26-8-4 for SKA St. Petersburg. He has one of the top GAAs at 1.94, and his six shutouts is second in the KHL. Not bad for a guy that both Phoenix and Philadelphia were courting this past off-season.
- The Hershey Bears are the top team in the AHL right now with 76 points off a 37-9-0-2 record. The Bears are the best offensive team in the AHL by a wide margin, having scored 211 goals-for thus far this season. The Bears also sit with the second-best goals-against total in the AHL with only 112 GA. The Bears are literally a juggernaut this season.
- Keith Aucoin of the Hershey Bears is your leading scorer in the AHL. Aucoin has 71 points, including a league-best 28 goals thus far this season. What might be more impressive is that Alexandre Giroux of the Bears sits second in league scoring, while Andrew Gordon sits sixth. That's three players in the top-six scorers. Now you see why the Bears are sitting in first-place overall.
- The debate about the top goaltender in the AHL is a little more complicated. Peter Mannino of the Chicago Wolves has the best GAA at 1.76, but has only played 18 games with a record of 13-3-0. Braden Holtby of the Hershey Bears has the best winning percentage as his 16-2-1 record is impeccable. However, Alex Stalock of the Worcester Sharks has the most wins with a 26-11-1 record thus far.
- In continuing the legacy that the Washington Capitals and its affiliates are building, the Bears lead the AHL, and the ECHL is led by the South Carolina Sting Rays. The Rays have a total of 68 points on a record of 30-12-4-4, good for first overall right now in the ECHL. However, the Rays' lead may be short-lived once the schedules begin to even out. The Idaho Steelheads have a record of 30-11-0-2 for 62 points, and have seven games in-hand on the Rays. It appears there may be a race for first-place in the ECHL this season.
- Ryan Kinasewich of the Utah Grizzlies and Justin Donati of the Elmira Jackals lead the ECHL in scoring with 64 points. Justin is one point ahead of teammate and identical twin Tyler Donati who has 63 points for the Jackals this season. These three men have a ten-point cushion on their closest rival. Kinasewich leads the AHL in goals with 31 as well.
- Again, goaltending is a little cloudy as to who is the best netminder. Barry Brust of the Florida Everblades leads the ECHL in GAA with a 2.24 average, but he has only appeared in 16 games. David Shantz of the Victoria Salmon Kings had the best winning percentage as his 18-5-4-0 record was tops in the ECHL before he was recalled by the AHL's Abbotsford Heat. Timo Pielmeier of the Bakersfield Condors has the most wins with 19 thus far.
- The IHL's top team right now is the Muskegon Lumberjacks. Muskegon's 30-10-0-3 record has them sitting with 63 points, four points better than the Port Huron Icehawks who have a record of 28-12-0-3.
- Muskegon has two players who are running away with the scoring lead. Robin Bouchard currently leads the IHL in scoring with 68 points, while teammate Todd Robinson sits with 64 points. Robinson is 15-points better than third-place Mickael Bedard of the Port Huron Icehawks. Bouchard is the top goal-scorer in the IHL with 36, and he has a ten-goal lead on Bedard as well.
- Goaltending stats are always a little more difficult to pinpoint, but Tim Haun of the Fort Wayne Komets leads the IHL with a 2.27 GAA. However, Sebastien Centomo of the Muskegon Lumberjacks leads the IHL in wins with 20, and in winning percentage in posting a 20-7-0-2 record, and would be my pick for the top goaltender in the IHL right now. Centomo is tied for the lead in shutouts with Derek MacIntyre of the Dayton Gems. Both goalies have three shutouts this season.
- The Odessa Jackalopes are the top team in the Central Hockey League right now by a comfortable margin. Odessa has built up a 13-point lead as they jumped out to a 34-6-4 record thus far. They have 72 points, and look to be the class of the league.
- Kevin Ulanski of the Colorado Eagles holds the scoring lead in the CHL right now with 67 points. Ulanski has an eight-point lead over teammate Riley Nelson in the scoring race. Chad Woollard of the Corpus Christi IceRays leads the CHL in goal-scoring with 24. However, there is a tight race for this accolade, so keep your eyes on this one. Woollard also leads the league in powerplay goals with 13.
- Once again, we wade into the murky goaltending stats. Jean-Philippe Lavasseur of the Laredo Bucks leads the CHL with a 2.31 GAA, but has only appeared in 16 games this season. However, the man who appears to be the best goaltender thus far is Odessa's Joel Martin. Martin has put together a season-best winning percentage with his 18-3-2-1 record. The man with the most wins thus far this season is Chris Whitley of the Allen Americans. Whitley has 20 wins to his name this season so far.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!