Hockey is a sport that involves a great deal of skill and talent. Early in the season there are some winners, a few that look like losers and as always, several surprises.

The top hockey teams early on this season in the NHL are Anaheim, San Jose, and Buffalo. All three of these teams seem to be on fire and no one has really been too surprised by this.

Anaheim is blessed with a great coach, Randy Carlyle, as well as the super-combo of Pronger and Niedermayer. When a turnover takes place the aggressive transition game turns at full speed.

The San Jose Sharks have so many interchangeable parts on defense, up front and in goal that if they have one player who is not playing as well as expected another simply takes his place.

Buffalo is enjoying a balanced attack across all three lines and has been able to combine that with impressive goaltending. They may have the best team in the league.

The Phoenix Coyotes are certainly having their problems. Scoring is lousy matched only by a defense without much chemistry and goaltending that is equally awful.

The Maple Leafs have been suffering from a lack of consistency even though Mats Sundin has been playing well. The Calgary Flames are not faring much better even though they added Alex Tanguay.

The Minnesota Wild is a bit of surprise with their successful attacking team and they are doing well with transitional hockey and leaving trap hockey behind.

The Philadelphia Flyers have totally fallen apart. Their defense is looking atrocious and their goaltending and a lack of speed in the forward position falls into the same category. This is an unfortunate turn of events and a humiliating one for this once truly amazing hockey team.

There you have it, a few winners, a few losers and a few surprises in the early season of hockey.

Sports Pundit staff writer
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