Potential candidates for the Flyers’ captaincy, Logan Couture explains why he’s sticking with the Sharks, five Bruin players with something to prove in 2022-23, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Olivia Reiner recently listed the top contenders (in alphabetical order) to take over the Flyers’ captaincy. Cam Atkinson, Sean Couturier, Kevin Hayes, Scott Laughton and Travis Sanheim are her top five to replace Claude Giroux, who held the role for almost nine years until his trade to the Florida Panthers in March.
Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Couturier would be my choice. He’s their best and most versatile two-way forward. As Reiner pointed out, they struggled to replace him following season-ending back surgery in February. Couturier leads by example and always brings his best effort to every game.
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent interview with Corey Masisak, Logan Couture said he didn’t consider the option of getting traded when asked about it by new San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier.
“No, not at this stage of my life and where I’m at outside hockey,” said Couture. “I love this area. I’m getting married in this area next summer. I love being a Shark. So I didn’t think twice about it.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Couture also said he understood when Brent Burns accepted a trade to the Carolina Hurricanes. He indicated he spent a lot of time talking to him, citing that the 37-year-old defenseman wanted to play for a winner while he still could.
Couture said Grier contacted him to discuss his plans for the club. The Sharks captain informed his new GM that he would do whatever he could to help get them back in the right direction.
Assuming Couture wanted a trade, moving him wouldn’t be easy. Cap Friendly indicates the 33-year-old is signed through 2026-27 with an average annual value of $8 million and a three-team trade list.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Goaltenders Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark are among Nick Goss’ list of five Bruins with something to prove in 2022-23. Forwards Trent Frederic, Craig Smith, and defenseman Mike Reilly round out the list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Swayman and Ullmark have the most to prove. The Bruins need both goalies to be at their best to reach the playoffs in a very tough Atlantic Division this season.
WHL.COM: Former NHL defenseman Brent Seabrook will be joining the Vancouver Giants as a player development coach. Seabrook, 37, spent his entire 15-season NHL tenure with the Chicago Blackhawks from 2005-06 to 2019-20, winning three Stanley Cups before injuries ended his playing career.
VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights reverse retro jersey for the coming season appears to have been leaked.
Could the Calgary Flames pursue Nazem Kadri via free agency? (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Flames have $19.7 million in cap space. It will probably cost them $10 million annually to re-sign Matthew Tkachuk. However, with Sean Monahan (hip surgery, $6.25 million cap hit) likely to go on long-term injury reserve in 2022-23, they should still have room to find a replacement for Gaudreau.
I don’t see Kane waiving his no-movement clause to go to Calgary. Kadri would be their best bet via free agency but he rejected a trade that would’ve sent him from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Flames three years ago. Strome or Niederreiter would be affordable options but won’t replace the offense Gaudreau brought to the club.
Peng considers Karlsson almost untradeable given his expensive contract. He suggested Couture could draw a taker now if the Sharks retained part of his $8 million average annual value.
Hertl recently re-signed a long-term contract with the Sharks but Peng wonders if he’s having second thoughts following the Burns trade. Meier is slated to become a restricted free agent next summer so his future is wide open.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mike Grier is wasting no time charting a different course for the Sharks since taking over as general manager. I don’t see him peddling Karlsson, Couture or Hertl unless they ask to be moved.
Meier, however, could get shopped this summer if he appears reluctant to sign a long-term extension. He’ll draw plenty of attention if Grier starts gauging his value in the trade market.
LATEST ON LAINE, PETRY AND CHYCHRUN
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Brian Hedger reports Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen continues working on re-signing left winger Patrik Laine. Having signed winger Johnny Gaudreau on Wednesday, Kekalainen will have to shed salary to make room for Laine’s presumed $8 million-$9 million annual cap hit on his next contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaudreau and Laine on the same line could give the Blue Jackets a potent scoring punch. With just $3.1 million in cap space, they must dump a contract or two in the trade market to keep Laine in the fold. If not, he could become a trade candidate.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports the Canadiens haven’t found a trade partner to take Jeff Petry and his $6.25 million AAV off their hands. GM Kent Hughes said he won’t move the 34-year-old defenseman unless he finds a deal that advances the Canadiens’ interest. The Habs are pressed against the $82.5 million cap.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montreal Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy cited reports indicating the Canadiens had discussed Petry with the Dallas Stars. However, a deal has yet to materialize and remains unlikely as long as the Habs are reluctant to retain a portion of Petry’s annual cap hit. Murphy speculated the Seattle Kraken could jump into the bidding as they still have sufficient cap space ($15 million) to acquire him.
GOPHNX.COM: Prior to the start of the free-agent market, Craig Morgan reported he didn’t put much stock into recent buzz linking Jakob Chychrun to the Ottawa Senators. He anticipates the 24-year-old defenseman will start the season with the Arizona Coyotes and could be shopped leading up to the 2023 trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators are done making additions this summer as they still have an eye on adding to the top end of their defense chart. However, Chychrun might not be in their sights given the Coyotes’ high asking price.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE JETS, ISLANDERS, PENGUINS AND LEAFS?
THE ATHLETIC: Murat Ates reports Pierre-Luc Dubois’ agent Pat Brisson told TVA Sports on Wednesday that Montreal is a place his client would like to play but added the interest in the Canadiens was theoretical.
The Winnipeg Jets center is a restricted free agent who has indicated his desire to test the 2024 UFA market. Ates said he was told the Canadiens had reached out to the Jets about Dubois but their trade proposals were inadequate.
Ates also reports Jets captain Blake Wheeler remains a trade candidate and there’s interest in defenseman Brenden Dillon. However, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff maintains he likes his current roster.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff could move Dubois, Wheeler or Dillon if a rival club makes an irresistible offer. However, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards for now. It appears the Jets GM wants to gauge how his club performs in 2022-23 under new head coach Rick Bowness.
THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz wondered what the New York Islanders’ “Plan B” is to address their need for a scoring winger after missing out on the Johnny Gaudreau sweepstakes. Trade options could include St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko or Vancouver’s J.T. Miller while Nazem Kadri remains available (for now) in the free-agent market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Isles reportedly discussed Miller with the Canucks at the draft last week. Maybe GM Lou Lamoriello will revisit that option.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski wondered if Penguins GM Ron Hextall could use the trade market to free up his blueline logjam. He’s got nine defensemen under contract for 2022-23 and needs to free up some cap space as well as pursue a forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins blueliners John Marino, Marcus Pettersson and Brian Dumoulin have surfaced in the rumor mill in recent weeks. As Kingerski pointed out, however, their contracts might not be easy to move.
TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas will turn to the trade market to add depth to their defense corps and forward lines. Alex Kerfoot and Justin Holl could be trade candidates.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas remains handcuffed by his limited salary-cap space. I don’t expect he’ll get much of a return for Kerfoot or Holl but maybe a deal will appear following the frenzy of signings from the opening day of free agency.
The possibility of Patrice Bergeron departing the Bruins as a free agent this summer plus the latest Sharks speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy acknowledged it seems like a given Patrice Bergeron will either sign a one-year contract with the Bruins this summer or retire as a Bruin. However, he feels there’s a slight chance the 36-year-old future hall-of-famer could test the market if the club fails to go on one more serious Stanley Cup run over the next two months.
Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).
Numerous sources tell Murphy that Bergeron will draw plenty of interest from other clubs if he tests the market on July 13. One of them could be the Montreal Canadiens. His former agent, Kent Hughes, is now the Canadiens’ general manager.
Murphy doesn’t expect Bergeron to “go to the dark side” by signing with the Bruins’ biggest rival. Nevertheless, he wouldn’t blame him if he decided to sign with a Stanley Cup contender.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can understand a bit of nervousness among Bruins fans over Bergeron’s future. After all, long-time captain Zdeno Chara was cut loose two years ago and wound up signing with the Washington Capitals last season and the New York Islanders this season.
Chara, however, was a fading star when he and the Bruins parted ways. Bergeron may have slowed slightly but he remains among the NHL’s elite two-way forwards and the Bruins’ first-line center. I daresay management has a strong desire to keep him in the fold beyond this season.
It’ll come down to what Bergeron seeks on his next contract. If he wants a deal beyond three years in length and demands a big raise over his current $6.875 million, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney will thank him for his years of service and bid him good luck in his future endeavors. If Sweeney low-balls Bergeron with a one-year deal at a considerable pay cut, the Bruins captain will walk.
I don’t see either scenario unfolding. The two sides agreed to shelve contracts talks until the season is over. Bergeron’s made no secret of his love of being a Bruin and playing in Boston. I can see them working out a two-year deal with an annual cap hit between $5.5 million and $6 million annually.
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien wonders what it’ll take for the San Jose Sharks to rebuild, rather than retool after how this season went down for them. He believes they can only blame so much on bad luck, pointing out that Pacific Division rivals such as the Vancouver Canucks and Vegas Golden Knights could be sturdier next season.
O’Brien pointed out the Sharks still missed the playoffs this season despite career years from rising stars like Timo Meier and bounce-back performances from veterans like Erik Karlsson and Logan Couture. He wondered how much of their failure to reach the postseason can be laid at the feet of head coach Bob Boughner.
Given Doug Wilson’s resignation as general manager, O’Brien speculates the only rebuild could come in the front office. They might have to shed some salary to re-sign restricted free agents like Mario Ferraro and recently-acquired goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen.
O’Brien suggested trading Meier, a restricted free agent next summer who’ll be in line for a raise over his current $6 million annual cap hit, if they wanted to jump-start a rebuild, along with attempting to move Couture and Brent Burns if they don’t want to be part of a rebuild. He also wondered if they would attempt to buy out Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As O’Brien pointed out, Sharks ownership isn’t interested in a rebuild. Whoever takes over from Wilson as general manager will have to find a way to retool the roster into a playoff contender. That could involve replacing Boughner as head coach.
Retooling the roster won’t be easy with veteran core players like Couture, Burns and Karlsson carrying expensive contracts with no-move or no-trade clauses. We can rule out the possibility of Meier hitting the trade block this summer. Buying out Vlasic will be expensive for next season ($3.687 million) and in 2024-25 ($4.187 million) and 2025-26 ($5.187 million) before dropping to a more affordable $1.687 million annually over the remaining four years.
The Sharks will have to make a cost-cutting deal or two to free up cap room for guys like Ferraro, Kahkonen and unrestricted free agent Alexander Barabanov. Fortunately, they won’t break the bank. Trade candidates could include a goalie like James Reimer or Adin Hill, winger Kevin Labanc and defenseman Radim Simek.
Senators owner Eugene Melnyk passes away, the Hurricanes take over first place in the Eastern Conference, Vladimir Tarasenko reaches a scoring milestone, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
SENATORS OWNER EUGENE MELNYK DEAD AT 62
OTTAWA SUN: Senators owner Eugene Melnyk passed away late Monday following a long illness. His enduring legacy was buying the Senators in 2003 and maintaining the franchise in Ottawa. In 2015, Melnyk underwent a life-saving liver transplant. With his help, the Senators Community Foundation invested over $100 million in local charities and community programs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Melnyk’s family and the Senators’ organization. The hockey world is mourning his passing, with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Senators captain Brady Tkachuk among the first to pay tribute.
Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk dies at age 62 (NHL.com).
The Senators were among the NHL’s top teams during Melnyk’s early years of ownership, reaching the 2007 Stanley Cup Final. After exceeding expectations to reach the 2017 Eastern Conference Final, the club spent the following years rebuilding its roster.
Melnyk often faced criticism from Senators fans over the club’s direction, especially in recent years. He received his share of the blame for the departures of popular stars such as Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson. The outspoken Senators owner also threatened to move the club several years ago if the club’s attendance didn’t improve.
Nevertheless, the Senators would’ve probably relocated to an American city in 2003 if Melnyk hadn’t stepped in to purchase the franchise. It’ll be up to his successor and the club’s current management to ensure the current rebuilding program achieves his dream of turning the Senators into a Stanley Cup contender.
NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Washington Capitals 6-1 to take over first place in the Eastern Conference with 95 points, one ahead of the Florida Panthers. Martin Necas scored two goals and added an assist while Frederik Andersen made 25 saves for the win. The Capitals (84 points) remain three points behind the Boston Bruins, who hold the first Eastern wild-card spot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes weren’t happy over a hit on forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi by Capitals center Lars Eller late in the game. Kotkaniemi’s left leg appeared to be injured. Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour didn’t know the extent of the injury following the game but commented it didn’t look good. No word if Eller will face supplemental discipline.
St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko reached his 500th career point in a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Tarasenko scored twice and chipped in an assist while Ville Husso turned in a 35-save performance. With 81 points, the Blues sit in third place in the Central Division. The Canucks (73 points) remain three points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: David Perron also reached a Blues milestone, joining Brett Hull and Scott Young as the third player in franchise history to score at least 12 goals in a calendar month.
The Edmonton Oilers bounced back from a 9-5 loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday by thumping the Arizona Coyotes 6-1. Ryan McLeod tallied twice and picked up an assist, Leon Draisaitl had a goal and an assist and Mikko Koskinen got the win by kicking out 31 shots. The Oilers sit in third place in the Pacific Division, two points back of the second-place Los Angeles Kings.
Speaking of the Kings, they fell 6-1 to the Seattle Kraken. Chris Driedger stopped 36 Kings shots while teammate Vince Dunn collected two assists. It was the 1,000th career NHL game for Kings coach Todd McLellan, who became the seventh active coach to reach that milestone.
The Buffalo Sabres rallied from a 4-0 deficit to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-5 with Tage Thompson netting the game-winner in the final seconds of the third period. Sabres winger Victor Olofsson scored twice and picked up an assist.
IN OTHER NEWS…
NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot, Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau and Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 27, 2022.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upheld a one-game suspension to Hurricanes winger Nino Niederreiter for a slashing infraction on March 18.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury suffered from a high hit by the Minnesota Wild’s Marcus Foligno during the Jackets’ 3-2 loss to the Wild on Saturday.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture suffered a bruised lung when he was struck by a shot by teammate Brent Burns during last Thursday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. He missed Saturday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks but will return to the lineup on Wednesday to face the Arizona Coyotes.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Over a week after being traded from the Montreal Canadiens to the Colorado Avalanche, Artturi Lehkonen’s immigration paperwork has been processed and he can finally join his new teammates.
Another multi-point game for Connor McDavid, the Sharks are unbeaten in four straight, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Connor McDavid collected two assists while Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman each scored twice to give the Edmonton Oilers a 5-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. The Oilers captain has a league-leading 13 points in five games. Only Wayne Gretzky had more points (15) in franchise history over the same period to start a season. The Oilers sit atop the overall standings with a 5-0-0 record while the Golden Knights are 1-3-0.
The San Jose Sharks pushed their season-opening win streak to four games (4-0-0) by downing the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3. Logan Couture scored two goals and set up another while goalie Adin Hill made 30 saves for his third straight victory. The Leafs are 2-2-1 in their first five.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks general manager Doug Wilson entered this season on the hot seat as his club missed the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. He was also criticized for his handling of Evander Kane’s off-ice issues. The Sharks will eventually lose some games but building on this impressive start will reduce the heat on Wilson.
A 35-save performance by Linus Ullmark backstopped the Boston Bruins to a 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres, handing the latter their first loss of the season (3-1-0). Charlie Coyle had a goal and two assists while Taylor Hall and Brad Marchand chipped in two points. This was Ullmark’s first game against his former club.
An overtime goal by Denis Gurianov lifted the Dallas Stars over the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. Miro Heiskanen had a goal and two assists for the Stars. Kings captain Anze Kopitar tallied his sixth goal of the season and has scored in all four of his club’s games. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty left the game in the second period following a knee-on-knee hit by Stars blueliner Jani Hakanpaa, who received a five-minute major and game misconduct for kneeing. Doughty’s status remains unknown.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hakanpaa could receive supplemental discipline for what was a dirty hit on Doughty, who could end up missing significant time as a result.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks forward Max Jones will be sidelined between four and six months after suffering a torn pectoral tendon during Monday’s game against the Calgary Flames.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry was removed from COVID protocol yesterday and rejoined his teammates in practice. Jarry had received a false positive test on Thursday.
SPORTSNET: Winger Alex Barre-Boulet was reclaimed off waiver by the Tampa Bay Lightning yesterday. He was originally claimed by the Seattle Kraken on Oct. 11 and saw action in two games with them.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I look forward to his video tribute by the Kraken the next time those two clubs meet.
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports the NHL and its team of medical experts are currently debating the merits of testing asymptomatic players. This comes after several players, including Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifle and Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jeff Carter missed games due to a positive COVID-19 test despite being asymptomatic. That’s led to growing frustration among players and general managers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli speculates this could lead to changes to the protocol only to test players and team staff who show symptoms of COVID-19. However, he notes even the experts have split opinions on the matter.
The league and the NHLPA will meet on Nov. 1 to review the protocol. Given the 99.5 percent vaccination rate among players and staff and the strict rules on social distancing, it wouldn’t be surprising if the testing rules become adjusted.
The Hurricanes clinch first place in the Central Division, the Panthers and Lightning will face each other in the playoffs, the Blues clinch a postseason berth, the Stars stay alive and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars kept their playoff hopes alive by downing the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2. Joe Pavelski led the way with two goals and two assists while Roope Hintz had three points. With 58 points, the Stars sit two points behind the fourth-place Nashville Predators.
Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski (NHL Images).
Thanks to the Stars, the Carolina Hurricanes clinched first place in the Discover Central Division. The Lightning will face the Florida Panthers in the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes have an opportunity to win their first-ever Presidents’ Trophy. They have 80 points with two games remaining while the Vegas Golden Knights have 78 points with three games left.
The Panthers-Lightning will be facing each other for the first time in postseason competition. I’m looking forward to watching their opening-round series. These rivals are evenly matched, with each team have won three of their six games thus far in their season series. We’ll get a first-round preview as their final two games of the schedule (today and Monday) are against each other with playoff seeding on the line.
The Washington Capitals remain two points out of first place in the MassMutual East Division after dropping a 4-2 decision to the Philadelphia Flyers. Wade Allison scored two goals for the Flyers. Washington was without Alex Ovechkin (lower-body injury) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (COVID-19 protocol list). With 73 points, the Capitals have a game in hand over the first-place Pittsburgh Penguins (75 points), who play their final game of the schedule today against the Buffalo Sabres.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins, Sabres, New York Rangers, Arizona Coyotes, Detroit Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets and Anaheim Ducks all have one game remaining in their respective schedules.
The St. Louis Blues clinched a playoff spot in the Honda West Division despite falling 4-3 to the Vegas Golden Knights. Jonathan Marchessault’s overtime goal capped a three-goal rally by the Golden Knights, who hold a four-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for first place in the division.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues were in danger of missing the playoffs in early April following a seven-game losing skid. Their current eight-game points streak (including five wins) put them over the top.
Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen tallied his 30th goal of the season as his club held off the Los Angeles Kings 3-2, eliminating the latter from playoff contention. Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon missed the game with a lower-body injury in what appeared to be a precautionary move by head coach Jared Bednar. Earlier in the day, the Kings announced winger Dustin Brown will miss the remainder of the season with an upper-body injury.
An overtime goal by rookie winger Kirill Kaprizov lifted the Minnesota Wild to a 4-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Kaprizov has 27 goals on the season as the Wild sits one point back of the Avalanche in third place with 73 points.
Phil Kessel collected his 900th career point as his Arizona Coyotes beat the San Jose Sharks 5-2. Kessel had a goal and an assist while teammate Conor Garland collected three points. The Sharks were without captain Logan Couture, who could miss the remainder of the regular season with a lower-body injury.
A three-goal outburst in the second period rallied the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Vladislav Namestnikov scored twice, Valtteri Filppula collected three assists and Joe Veleno tallied his first NHL goal.
IN OTHER NEWS…
THE SCORE: Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said Friday he’s hopeful of returning to action for his club’s postseason opener. Stamkos has been sidelined by a lower-body injury since April 8.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens center Phillip Danault is day-to-day with an upper-body injury and will miss Saturday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Goaltender Carey Price (concussion) has been working out on the ice at the Habs’ practice facility but there’s no timetable for his return. Shea Weber and Paul Byron are each listed as day-to-day. Brendan Gallagher (broken thumb) has resumed skating while Jonathan Drouin remains on an indefinite leave of absence.
THE PROVINCE: The NHL department of player safety handed a one-game suspension to Vancouver Canucks forward Zack MacEwen for kneeing Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse on Thursday.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Ondrej Kase returned to Bruins practice for the first time in four months after taking a high hit from New Jersey Devils winger Miles Wood back in January. He hasn’t ruled out returning for the Bruins’ final two games of the season.