The St. Louis Blues just keep on winning (11 straight, to be exact). Can they win it all? The Tampa Bay Lightning are not Stanley Cup favorites according to Nick– nobody is! Did the Edmonton Oilers win a trade? Cory Schneider won a game! and other milestones from the last week, as well as whatever happened in the Boston Bruins vs San Jose Sharks game on Monday.
Nick and Connor talk the latest trades, Torts drama (and latest record), Casey DeSmith’s extension with the Pittsburgh Penguins, as well as a tribute to the careers of Rick Nash and Josh Gorges who both announced their retirement this week.
Additionally, what’s up with the Edmonton Oilers and St. Louis Blues this season and why can’t they just pick a side? Plus, it’s time to hand out awards for being slightly more than halfway through the 2018-19 regular season. #FlamingNotToFlamingHot
Nick and Connor recap and react to the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship so far, review the latest suspensions and injuries, look to the future of the NHL in 2019 and beyond, discuss 2019 All-Star Game captains, Jake Guentzel’s new extension and Jim Lites’ quotes on Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn.
Nick and Connor review the Vegas Golden Knights draft history, praise Carter Hart’s NHL debut, talk about Scott Gordon’s introduction as interim head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, as well as the Patrik Berglund situation, Whalers Night and a teaser 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship preview.
*Editor’s note: Paris is hosting the 2024 Summer Games and Los Angeles is hosting the 2028 Summer Games. The 2026 and 2030 Winter Games host cities have yet to be selected.
Brad Marchand tied the game on the power play in the second period and Ryan Donato had the only goal in the shootout to secure the 2-1 victory for the Boston Bruins on Thursday at TD Garden against the New York Islanders.
Tuukka Rask (6-4-2, 2.54 goals against average, .917 save percentage in 12 games played) turned aside 28 out of 29 shots against (.966 SV%) in regulation and all four shots he faced in the shootout in the win for the Bruins.
Meanwhile, Robin Lehner (4-6-1, 2.79 GAA, .918 SV% in 12 GP) made 35 saves on 36 shots against in regulation (.972 SV%) and went three-for-four on shots against in the shootout in New York’s loss.
Prior to Thursday night’s matchup, Boston retired Rick Middleton‘s No. 16 and raised his jersey banner to the rafters in a ceremony that pushed back puck drop about an hour later than usual.
Middleton is the 11th player to have his jersey number retired by the Bruins, joining Nos. 2 (Eddie Shore), 3 (Lionel Hitchman), 4 (Bobby Orr), 5 (“Dit” Clapper), 7 (Phil Esposito), 8 (Cam Neely), 9 (Johnny Bucyk), 15 (Milt Schmidt), 24 (Terry O’Reilly) and 77 (Ray Bourque) in the rafters at TD Garden.
He ranks 3rd all-time in franchise history in goals (402) and 4th all-time in assists (898) with the Bruins, while leading the club record in shorthanded goals with 25 (Derek Sanderson had 24, Brad Marchand has 23) and spent 12 seasons with Boston from 1976-88 after being acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers.
One of the many highlights of the ceremony was when Middleton quipped in his speech about not inviting a lot of former teammates to his special night because he didn’t want to have too many men on the ice again (Middleton then gave a glance over to former Bruins head coach, Don Cherry, who was in attendance).
B’s fans alive during the 1979 Stanley Cup Playoffs will remember. Keep reading on if you don’t and/or weren’t alive then.
With Thursday night’s shootout victory, the Bruins improved to a 14-7-4 record (32 points) on the season. The Islanders fell to 12-9-3 (27 points) on the year.
Prior to the matchup, Ryan Donato was recalled from a stint with the Providence Bruins (AHL), while Anders Bjork was assigned to Boston’s AHL affiliate after his less than stellar play just over a quarter of the way through the regular season.
Kevan Miller will be reevaluated after five weeks, having sustained a cartilage injury to the larynx, per Bruce Cassidy earlier in the week and Brandon Carlo may rejoin the Bruins blue line on Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings.
Charlie McAvoy remains out with a concussion, but participated in Thursday’s morning skate in a red non-contact sweater.
On defense, however, Torey Krug was paired with Connor Clifton on the first pairing, John Moore played alongside Steven Kampfer and Jeremy Lauzon was matched with Matt Grzelcyk on the bottom defensive pair.
Anders Lee (8) kicked off the game’s scoring past the midpoint of the first period, giving the Islanders a, 1-0, lead on a garbage goal in stereotypical fashion from Lee after an odd carom off the end boards went his way into the low slot.
Entering the first intermission, the Bruins were outshooting New York, 13-7, and held an advantage in blocked shots (8-7), hits (15-13) and face-off win percentage (56-44). The Islanders led in takeaways (6-5) and both teams had three giveaways each.
Almost midway through the second period, Acciari tripped up Islanders forward, Anthony Beauvillier, and gave New York their first and only power play of the night at 8:05 of the second period. It was not successful.
Moments later, Nick Leddy, caught David Backes with a stick up high and received a minor infraction for high-sticking at 11:43. Boston converted on the ensuing power play thanks to the quick work of Krug to David Pastrnak and a cross-ice pass to Brad Marchand (7) for the one-timer past Lehner at 12:09 of the second period.
Marchand’s power play goal ended a seven-game goalless drought for No. 63 in black-and-gold and tied the game, 1-1. Pastrnak (10) and Krug (11) were credited with the assists and the score remained tied throughout the remainder of the period.
Heading into the dressing room for the second intermission, the score was tied, 1-1, and the Bruins led in shots on goal (25-16), as well as face-off win% (61-39). The Islanders had the advantage in takeaways (14-8), giveaways (9-7) and hits (26-22), while both teams had 11 blocked shots apiece.
New York went 0/1 on the power play on the night, while the B’s went 1/1.
Neither team could breakthrough on the scoreboard in the third period– or in overtime, for that matter– so here’s a quick glance at the stats from the back-and-forth battle over the final 20 minutes of regulation, plus five minutes of 3-on-3 overtime.
After Three: Shots on Goal, 34-27 BOS (9-7 in the 3rd period alone for BOS), Blocked Shots, 16-16, Takeaways, 23-12 NYI, Giveaways 11-8, NYI, Hits 35-30 NYI, Face-off Win% 61-39 BOS
After Overtime: SOG (36-29 BOS, 6-2 in OT for NYI), BS 16-16, Takeaways (27-12 NYI), Giveaways (11-8 NYI), Hits (35-32 NYI), Face-off Win% (62-39 BOS)
In the shootout Barzal shot first for the Islanders and was denied by Rask. Jake DeBrusk had the first attempt for Boston and was denied by Lehner. The remaining rounds went as such:
Round 2: NYI, Brock Nelson (saved), BOS, Pastrnak (hit post)– (0-0 after two rounds of the shootout)
Round 3: NYI, Valtteri Filppula (saved), BOS, Marchand (saved)– (0-0 after three rounds)
Round 4: NYI, Josh Bailey (saved), BOS, Donato (goal)– (1-0 BOS after four rounds)– Bruins win shootout, 1-0, and the game, 2-1
The shootout victory was Boston’s first shootout win of the season in their first shootout appearance of the regular season– in just their 25th game on the schedule.
Boston takes on the Red Wings on home ice this Saturday before traveling to Sunrise, Florida for the start of a quick, two-game, road trip against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday (Dec. 4th) and heading up to Tampa, Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning next Thursday (Dec. 6th).
The Original Trio reunites to talk recent trades, recent coaching changes, the Buffalo Sabres current winning streak, a haphazard review of the Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers, as well as a look at the division standings as of American Thanksgiving.
Craig Berube is now in charge behind the bench of the St. Louis Blues and Ken Hitchcock is back from retirement to coach the Oilers after Mike Yeo and Todd McLellan were both fired respectively from their clubs.
Rasmus Dahlin continues to emerge as a star in Buffalo as the team rises in the standings– can the Sabres keep this up? Will Dahlin get some votes for the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year and does Phil Housley deserve credit for the team’s turnaround?
Nick and Connor rant about retired numbers, anniversary patches, showing emotion in hockey, the Toronto Maple Leafs and William Nylander, coaches that might get fired, “the code” and Mike Matheson’s antics.
Something, something non-hockey sports reference. Who cares? There’s hockey on!
Well, we have to take that with a grain of salt. While it is true there’s hockey being played today, we only have three games on the schedule. The shotgun gets underway at noon with Los Angeles at Washington (NBC), followed an hour later by Edmonton at Montréal (RDS/SN). Finally, Calgary at the New York Rangers (SN360) clean things up at 2 p.m. All times eastern.
Three really good games today. The entire trio is being contested between teams currently qualifying for the playoffs. That being said, one still stands out above the rest.
Nothing says Super Bowl Sunday like the only game of the day between two Canadian teams.
The Oilers makes their lone trip of the season to Montréal with a 28-18-8 record, good enough for third place in the Pacific Division even though they’re currently on a three-game losing skid. The reason they’ve usually been able to find that success? It’s been their knockout offense, which has already buried 152 goals – the ninth-most in the NHL.
For those that haven’t heard: Captain Connor McDavid is a good hockey player. To prove that, we need only to look at his
team- league-leading 60 points, 13 more than Leon Draisaitl‘s. Opposing gaoltenders (in today’s case, Carey Price) shouldn’t look past Draisaitl though, as he has the team-lead with 20 tallies.
Playing host this evening are the 30-16-7 Canadiens, the best team in the Atlantic Division by a decent margin even though they’re riding a two-game losing skid. What’s really been impressive about the Habs so far this season has been their strong offense. It’s accounted for 157 tallies so far this season, the seventh-most in the NHL.
He’s not quite the scoring monster McDavid is, but Max Pacioretty is still pretty darn good. His 44 points are most on the team, as are his 25 goals.
Where the Habs have been truly deadly has been their power play. They find success on 22.8% of attempts, the third-best rate in the league. Pacioretty handles the even-strength work, but Shea Weber takes control command of the man-advantage. His 18 power play points are tops on the team and tied for ninth-most in the league. Even more impressive, especially for a blueliner, is the fact that 10 of those points have been goals, and that is once again the benchmark in Montréal – and tied for third in the league.
The glaring deficiency for the Canadiens continues to be their Swiss cheese-impersonating penalty kill. They’ve stopped only 79.1% of opposing power plays, the ninth-worst rate in the league. Montréalais looking to cast blame should not include Alexei Emelin or Weber in their scolding, as both share the clubhouse lead in shorthanded shot blocks with 27 apiece – tying for fourth in the league in the statistic.
Some players to keep an eye on this afternoon include Edmonton‘s McDavid (60 points on 42 assists [both lead the league]) and Cam Talbot (26 wins [tied for fourth-most in the NHL], including four shutouts [tied for fifth-most in the league) & Montréal‘s Pacioretty (25 goals [tied for third-most in the NHL]) and Price (23 wins [eighth-most in the league]).
If you like offense, you’ll enjoy this game. That being said, I pick Montréal to win today not just because they have home ice, but also because I trust Price more than Talbot to keep pucks out of the twine.
- Don Cherry (1934-) – More known for his coaching and announcing careers, Cherry did play defenseman for exactly one game in the NHL: a playoff game for Boston, the team he would also coach with much success for five seasons.
- Larry Hillman (1937-) – This blueliner was a longtime Maple Leaf, playing eight of his 19 NHL seasons in Toronto. By the time his career in the greatest hockey league in the world was through, he’d been named to five All-Star games and won four Stanley Cups.
- Richard Matvichuk (1973-) – 14 seasons the eighth-overall pick in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by the North Stars played, spending most of his time in Dallas. Sticking with the club certainly payed off, as he was a member of the 1999 Stanley Cup-winning team.
- Tomas Kopecky (1982-) – This center was the 38th-overall pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by Detroit, but he spent most of his NHL career in Florida. He’s only played for one other club in the league, and that’s where he hoisted his lone Stanley Cup: Chicago.
- Linus Omark (1987-) – Edmonton picked this left wing in the fourth round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, and that’s where he’s earned his most playing time in the senior league. Nowadays, he’s skating for Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the KHL.
- Ty Rattie (1993-) – The 32nd-overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by St. Louis, this right wing could never bust into the Blues lineup. He was claimed off waivers during this season by Carolina, his current club.
For those that love high-scoring affairs, yesterday’s DtFR Game of the Day was for you. 11 goals were scored between the Maple Leafs and Bruins, with Toronto coming out on top 6-5 courtesy of Third Star of the Game James van Riemsdyk‘s late tally.
Everything got started with Second Star David Pastrnak‘s (Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara) wrister only 2:17 into the game to give the Bruins an early lead. It lasted until 8:45 remained in the frame when First Star William Nylander (Nazem Kadri and Auston Matthews) leveled the game at one-all, the score that held at the end of the period.
The second frame was absolutely nuts. Van Riemsdyk (Mitch Marner) buried his first goal of the night at the 8:31 mark, followed 38 seconds later by Goal #2 for Nylander. The rookie completed his hat trick (Connor Brown and Matthews) on the power play with 9:43 remaining in the second, setting the score at 4-1. The comeback was on for Boston, starting with Pastrnak’s (Bergeron and Chara) second tally of the night only 38 seconds after Nylander’s third, and Torey Krug (Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner) burying a power play goal with 4:07 remaining before intermission. Once the dust had settled and both teams were in their dressing rooms, the score read 4-3 in favor of the Leafs.
The comeback was completed with 9:54 remaining in regulation by Spooner’s (Chara and Dominic Moore) eighth tally of the season, but Brown (Zach Hyman and Matthews) gave the Maple Leafs a 5-4 lead only 5:09 later. The Bruins were able to find another equalizer with 2:54 remaining in regulation from Bergeron (Krug and Brad Marchand), but van Riemsdyk (Tyler Bozak and Marner) was undeterred. He buried his winning wrister with 96 seconds remaining on the clock to secure the Leafs‘ victory.
Frederik Andersen earns the victory even though he saved only 36-of-41 (87.8%), leaving the loss to Zane McIntyre, who saved 10-of-12 (83.3%). He replaced starter Tuukka Rask in the second period following Toronto‘s fourth goal (aka Nylander’s third) after Rask had saved only 10-of-14 (71.4%).
Coincidentally, the last two road teams to win when featured in the DtFR Game of the Day are Toronto and… Toronto. The Leafs snapped a five-game winning streak by the home teams in the series, pulling them within 10 points of the 59-36-16 hosts.
By: Nick Lanciani
It’s been a busy offseason around the NHL- and by that I mean it’s been a rather unusual offseason around the NHL.
The Ryan O’Reilly saga finally ended in Colorado and began in Buffalo, but took a side trip into the side of a Tim Horton’s somewhere in Ontario. While the Sabres could use his offense, they could do without his legal offenses (moral of the story, everyone, don’t drink and drive- have a designated driver, be responsible- use common sense).
Mikhail Grigorenko’s been reunited with Patrick Roy in Colorado, although sadly the rest of the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 Quebec Remparts will not be joining the party in Denver.
T.J. Oshie, Brandon Saad, Milan Lucic, Dougie Hamilton, Patrick Sharp, Cam Talbot, Phil Kessel, and others have all been on the move as the result of blockbuster trades.
Don Sweeney’s been on a rampage (more on that later), Peter Chiarelli’s turned around the Edmonton Oilers in one offseason (at least on paper), and the Toronto Maple Leafs front office might be the smartest guys in the game for the first time in a longtime. Wait, what did I just say?
That’s right, on Thursday, 72-year-old hockey front office legend, Lou Lamoriello, resigned as president of the New Jersey Devils only to join the Toronto Maple Leafs (announced on Twitter a mere two minutes apart) as their 16th general manager in franchise history.
Fun fact: Back in 1987, Lamoriello drafted now fellow colleague, Brendan Shanahan, 2nd overall in his first season as the president and general manager of the Devils.
Now, Lamoriello joins Shanahan in Toronto’s front office. Things certainly are weird right now in New Jersey, in the meantime, by the way- where Ray Shero is currently their GM and Marty Brodeur is, well, among the front office of the St. Louis Blues. Yep, it’s safe to say nobody would have predicted that both Brodeur and Lamoriello would move on from the Devils.
In 2009, Lamoriello praised Shanahan after Shanahan attempted one final go in the NHL, with the Devils, only to decide he would not continue his career and thus stepped aside from playing, retiring before the 2009-2010 season. Lamoriello expressed so much praise, in fact, that he blatantly stated that should Shanahan want a job in the Devils front office, Lamoriello would go out of his way to make it happen.
But here we are in 2015, where Shanahan recently transitioned to the helm of the Maple Leafs front office and instead of going to his former boss for a position, he brought in his former boss.
Lamoriello spent 28 years with the New Jersey Devils organization, but now he’s about to embark on his first season with a different organization- just his second as a general manager- the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Maple Leafs, if you recall, hired Mike Babcock this offseason as their latest head coach, by the way. Babcock too, left an organization he spent a lot of time with for the Maple Leafs this summer. Babcock spent the last 10 years with the Detroit Red Wings before joining Toronto.
Both Lamoriello and Babcock have something in common, they both left teams that used red as a primary color for a team that wears a blue maple leaf proudly displayed prominently on their jersey (it’s a bit slow right now in the offseason, cut me some slack).
In other news, the National Hockey League began the formal expansion process this summer, having accepted expansion applications up until Monday.
Two cities formally submitted a bid before the deadline- Las Vegas, Nevada and Quebec City, Quebec.
Las Vegas billionaire, Bill Foley, continues to headman the construction of an arena in Las Vegas as well as a drive for season tickets while aiming to land an expansion team. Meanwhile, Montreal-based media conglomerate, Quebecor, aims to bring the NHL back to Quebec City.
One of Canada’s hockey gods, Don Cherry, has already provided his blessing for a return to Quebec City.
This is the first time the league has formally gone through the expansion process since the late 1990s when the league quickly grew in size adding the Nashville Predators, the Atlanta Thrashers, the Minnesota Wild, and the Columbus Blue Jackets between 1998 and 2000 to become the 30 team league that we all know and love today (with the minor relocation of the Thrashers to Winnipeg having occurred prior to the 2011-2012 season, of course).
Since the Thrashers relocation to Winnipeg, the NHL has continued to take a firm stance against having to move another team for a while. Prior to the formal announcement of the expansion process being officially explored, the Arizona Coyotes and the City of Glendale, Arizona were at odds with one another.
Despite IceArizona’s firm commitment to the State of Arizona, many thought the Coyotes would be on their way out of Glendale this offseason. Given how a short move back to Phoenix in such a short period of time would not be feasible, speculation led to the Coyotes packing their bags and moving to an NHL ready arena.
Downtown Phoenix does not have an appropriate sporting arena for hockey currently, thereby handing the Coyotes a double whammy when their Gila River Arena lease agreement with Glendale was pulled out from under them by the city.
After threatening substantial legal action, IceArizona and the City of Glendale came to terms on amending their agreement- eliminating an outclause from its initial version and adjusting some revenue sharing between the hockey club and the city (the team will now get a larger share, with the city footing less of the bill).
Again, the Coyotes are staying put. No escape route to Seattle, no move from one desert to another desert (Las Vegas), and no move to Quebec City that would further imbalance the conferences in the league.
But then again, the amended lease agreement is only for two years, so the Coyotes aren’t fully out of the woods yet.
There remains so much yet to be seen concerning the Arizona Coyotes and their strained relations with the City of Glendale. While a short-term deal is necessary for their immediate survival in the market, their ultimate situation is not comforting. Things still could get quite ugly in a couple of years, yet the two sides have something to work with right now and can always chip away at improving viability of the franchise in Glendale.
If not, perhaps the next two years is all the time the Coyotes need to convince Phoenix, Arizona and the NBA’s Phoenix Suns to construct a new- joint- arena that would be suitable for hockey in the desert and a return to downtown Phoenix for the Coyotes franchise. Otherwise, it could be enough for Seattle to scrap together some plans for a NHL-ready arena and sway the Coyotes into relocation.
Or there’s always Quebec City or Las Vegas, that, should either location not see the expansion process include them in the more immediate future of the league, could always have a stronger say in relocation. Both cities have strong interest from potential ownership groups and physical arena’s that are state of the art and nearing completion.
Speaking of Quebec City and Las Vegas, now is the perfect time to reach into these markets. A return of the Nordiques to the hockey crazed Ville de Québec would be a golden opportunity for the league to return the game to where it belongs and can further drive marketability.
For those that are opposed to adding another team in the Eastern Conference, kindly show yourself to the door. Realignment is never a fun topic, but I think we can all agree that sending the Detroit Red Wings and the Columbus Blue Jackets back to the Western Conference would be a good thing. As fans, we’d see a return of more Detroit and Chicago matchups, providing more fuel to the fire- built into the regular season schedule- when it comes to that longstanding rivalry.
And with the addition of a team in Las Vegas, well, it’s the same old, same old. It’s a never before seen market in all of professional sports and it would balance the conferences under the aforementioned scenario.
So at the end of the day, why disappoint the good people of Quebec City once again, NHL?
Then again, balanced conferences are overrated, aren’t they?
Come to think of it, the European model for professional sports isn’t too bad when it comes to league structure. Yet, the North American model of conferences, divisions, and such makes for a much more exciting game. We’ll never see the NHL switch to a relegation model based upon Premier League association football, but maybe we’ll see the NHL become more at ease with unbalanced conferences.
Hey if the game works in a market, why ruin it by taking it away from that market just to satisfy conference structure? If the owners are going to squabble over that then they really aren’t looking out for the best interest of the league are they? Management’s number one goal is to profit from growing the game.
Without an interest, there aren’t any fans. Without any fans, there aren’t any marketing opportunities from potential sponsors looking to reach fans. Without any cash flow, there is no game. If there’s an economically viable market or situation, go for it.
Last, but not least, the Boston Bruins have been a busy team this offseason. One can only think that the B’s will make another move or two before training camp in September. Don Sweeney and the Big Bad Bruins front office are in on trying to sign defensemen, Cody Franson, or Christian Ehrhoff.
The Boston fanbase continues to grumble and gripe about the presence of Chris Kelly and Dennis Seidenberg on the Bruins roster. One of the two could be moved before the puck drops in October.
And while we’re still at it, the Bruins still need a backup goaltender. While Peter Budaj or Jonas Gustavsson may not be the first names that come to mind when it comes to free agent backup goalies that are still available and could be dispensable for the Bruins, well, one of them might be all that the Bruins need.
Of course, Ray Emery and Ron Zepp are always still out there, granted Emery is a proven goaltender in the league (well mostly- he could be a backup for Tuukka Rask, but he’s past his number of chances of ever being a number one goalie in the NHL) and Zepp parallels Tim Thomas thus far in his career (minus the two Vezina Trophies, a Conn Smythe, and a Stanley Cup championship).
I’ll go more into detail about the Boston Bruins offseason conundrum in another post prior to the season. Quite frankly, I’m still trying to piece together what their plan might be. For now it looks as though Patrice Bergeron could be set with (a recently spotted dancing in Montreal) Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, with Matt Beleskey-David Krejci-Jimmy Hayes, Loui Eriksson-Ryan Spooner-Brett Connolly, Zac Rinaldo-Chris Kelly-Max Talbot filling out the forward lines.
Their blue line still needs work, but can be corrected within a few seasons. What’s more important right now is that the Bruins sign a top four defenseman and obtain a backup goaltender (or at least, implement a plan for a successful backup goaltender). While not necessarily a problem with an elite starting goaltender of Rask’s quality, the revolving door of backup goalies the Bruins have had the last few seasons is something they must work on for the remainder of Rask’s dominance in net.
Anyway, this ends my stream of consciousness. I’ll go back to waiting for Cody Franson to make up his mind and sign somewhere now.