Early encouraging, discouraging signs

BY foxsports • October 10, 2009

With just more than one week of play in the books, here's a compendium of six things that have been encouraging and six things that have been discouraging so far this season:

1. Encouraging: Without accounting for shootout goals, the NHL is averaging 6.3 goals per game this season going into Friday night's games. That's well ahead of the 5.7 goals per game it averaged last season. Scoring tends to be higher at the beginning of the season, but the gaudy stats for some of the league's top players are great to see.

Discouraging: The Buffalo Sabres have three goals in two games and the Minnesota Wild has eight in three. The defected Marian Gaborik already has half that many by himself with the New York Rangers.

2. Encouraging: The Phoenix Coyotes, winners of two of their first three games, have already sold out their home-opener, which is scheduled for Saturday night.