What We Learned This Week In The NHL – Week 8
Connor McDavid has a career night plus the latest on T.J. Brodie, Sidney Crosby, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Connor McDavid collected a career-high six points in one game to lead the Edmonton Oilers over the Colorado Avalanche 6-2. McDavid also tallied his second hat trick in three games while linemate Leon Draisaitl had five assists. It was the Oilers’ third win in their last four games. The Avalanche received some good news earlier in the day, as defenseman Nikita Zadorov (broken jaw) will rejoin them in Vancouver for Saturday’s game against the Canucks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers’ dynamic duo feasted on the Avalanche’s inexperienced goaltending, chasing Adam Werner after he gave up five goals on 18 shots. That doesn’t detract from their remarkable performance in this game. McDavid and Draisaitl are the best one-two offensive punch in the NHL today. Draisaitl sits atop the league scoring race with 41 points while McDavid is second with 37. Draisaitl is on pace for 160 points, McDavid 145.
Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov scored a goal and added three assists in a 9-3 thumping of the New York Rangers. Five of the Lightning’s goals came on the power play. Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, and Alex Killorn each had three-point performances. Rangers rookie Kaapo Kakko missed the game with the flu.
The Carolina Hurricanes blew 3-1 and 4-3 leads before downing the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 on an overtime goal by Dougie Hamilton. Hurricanes wingers Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen each had a goal and two assists. The Sabres are winless in six games (0-4-2). Earlier in the day, they learned winger Marcus Johansson will miss three games with an upper-body injury,.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres’ recent performance is drawing comparisons to the same time last season when they started strong in October and faltered in November. They would eventually collapse and tumble out of playoff contention. Avoiding a repeat will be Ralph Krueger’s first big test since taking over as Sabres’ head coach earlier this year.
The Dallas Stars extended their points streak to seven by doubling up the Vancouver Canucks 4-2. Tyler Seguin, Joe Pavelski, and Miro Heiskanen led the way with two points each. The Canucks have dropped five of their last six games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Sabres, the Canucks also face trying to avoid a repeat of last November’s season-killing slump following a hot October.
Tomas Hertl’s two-goal performance in the San Jose Sharks 5-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks was overshadowed by his departure in the third period with a suspected leg injury. The Sharks extended their win streak to a season-high five games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing Hertl for a significant period would be a big loss for the Sharks’ offense. He’s their leading scorer with 21 points in 20 games.
Mark Scheifee and Patrik Laine each had three points as the Winnipeg Jets edged the Florida Panthers 4-3. Vincent Trocheck scored twice for the Panthers.
Minnesota Wild winger Jordan Greenway snapped a 2-2 third-period tie to give his club a 3-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Zach Parise had a goal and an assist for the Wild.
Alex Iafallo’s overtime goal lifted the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Tyler Bertuzzi scored both Wings’ goals.
CALGARY SUN: Flames defenseman TJ Brodie was discharged from hospital last night after being stretched off the ice from practice earlier in the day. Brodie suddenly collapsed and went into convulsions during a routine drill. He was immediately treated by the team medical staff and rushed to a hospital, where he was described as alert and responsive. The club will provide a further update later today.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping this wasn’t anything serious and he makes a full recovery.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is sidelined for six weeks following successful sports-hernia surgery. Alternate captain Evgeni Malkin acknowledged his readiness to step up in Crosby’s absence.
TORONTO SUN: The charge of disorderly conduct against Auston Matthews was dismissed after the Maple Leafs center settled with the female security guard who filed a complaint against him in Arizona.
VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks won’t receive salary-cap recapture relief with Roberto Luongo joing the Florida Panthers as a special advisor. Luongo retired this summer, leaving the Canucks carrying over $3 million annually in cap recapture penalties through 2021-22.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s nothing in the current collective bargaining agreement to address this issue. Don’t be surprised if it becomes a topic of interest in the ongoing CBA talks.
NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders placed winger Andrew Ladd on waivers to assign him to their AHL affiliate. If he clears as expected on Friday, Ladd will be re-assigned to the AHL affiliate and remain on LTIR following a voluntary five-game conditioning stint. The club feels he needs more time strengthening his surgically repaired knee in the minors before he’s NHL-ready.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bobby Orr came to the defense of friend and former coach Don Cherry, calling his firing from Hockey Night in Canada disgraceful. “I have known him a long time and I know he is not a bigot or a racist. He is the most honest and generous guy there is. He’s very good to the veterans, the police, the firefighters, minor hockey players, and fans.”
Sportsnet parts ways with Don Cherry, Jesse Puljujarvi to remain in Finland this season, the Coyotes extend GM John Chayka’s contract, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes blew a three-goal lead but went on to edge the Washington Capitals 4-3 on shootout goals by Nick Schmaltz and Conor Garland. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored twice for the Capitals. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes announced general manager John Chayka signed a contract extension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Only 26 when hired as GM in 2016, Chayka’s made significant changes to the Coyotes roster. He re-signed Oliver Ekman-Larsson to an eight-year extension, acquired Schmaltz, Phil Kessel, Darcy Kuemper, Derek Stepan, Antti Raanta, Jason Demers, and Niklas Hjalmarsson, and drafted Clayton Keller and Jakob Chychrun. His moves appear to be paying off. The Coyotes look like a playoff contender this season.
Sebastian Aho scored twice and Joel Edmundson enjoyed a three-point performance as the Carolina Hurricanes thumped the Ottawa Senators 8-2. Andrei Svechnikov, Brett Pesce, Ryan Dzingel, Warren Foegele, and Martin Necas each collected two points.
SPORTSNET: announced yesterday Don Cherry was immediately stepping down from his role on Hockey Night in Canada. The move came after Cherry singled out new Canadian immigrants during Saturday’s Coach’s Corner segment for not wearing poppies to honor the country’s veterans and troops leading up to Remembrance Day. Cherry’s comments sparked considerable outrage in the press and social media, sparking apologies by Cherry’s co-host Ron MacLean, the network, and the NHL.
In an interview with the Toronto Sun, Cherry refused to walk back his comments, insisting his remarks weren’t racial or bigoted but made out of respect for Canada’s troops. He also said he felt betrayed over the firing, adding he wasn’t going to be turned into a “tamed robot” to keep his job.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Regardless of what you think of Cherry, his departure from Hockey Night in Canada creates a void it could struggle to replace. He’d been on the show since 1981 and had his Coach’s Corner segment for over 35 years. Former NHL executive Brian Burke is rumored as a potential substitute.
Cherry’s dismissal drew considerable reaction among hockey fans and pundits. Some supported him while others are glad to see him go. He’s had a long history of making controversial statements on topics that had little or nothing to do with hockey. The latest proved to be a bridge too far, sparking an intense backlash the network and the league couldn’t ignore or gloss over with apologies.
TSN: Jesse Puljujarvi intends to spend the rest of this season playing in Finland. The 21-year-old restricted free agent opted to return to his home country to await a trade by the Oilers. The club still retains his NHL rights.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more on Puljujarvi in the Rumors section.
Ottawa Senators goaltender Anders Nilsson, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov.10, 2019.
SPORTSNET: Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno received a three-game suspension by the league’s department of player safety for elbowing Colorado Avalanche forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on Saturday.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will miss at least one game with an undisclosed ailment. He didn’t join the team on its five-day trip to the New York area.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins defenseman Torey Krug is sidelined with an upper-body injury. The club called up Uhro Vaakanainen on Monday.
WASHINGTON POST: Winger Richard Panik has returned to the Capitals after missing 10 games on long-term injury reserve.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings winger Justin Abdelkader is sidelined for three weeks with a mid-body injury.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings placed Trevor Lewis on injured reserve.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs placed goaltender Michael Hutchinson on waivers and called up netminder Kasimir Kaskisuo.
STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues signed free agent forwards Troy Brouwer and Jamie McGinn to professional tryout offers.