April 20 – Playoff Watch, Connor Bedard & Celebrity Owners

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

MATTHEWS REMAINS OUT: The league’s leading goal scorer missed his second consecutive game with a “minor injury” last night. The Toronto forward is listed as day-to-day and the organization is in no rush to bring him back. Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe admitted it’s an injury he could potentially play through, but with the playoffs fast approaching, the team is not willing to take any chances.

BUSY SUMMER IN ALBERTA: The world is coming to Alberta this summer, as Hockey Canada announced that the Western Canadian province will host the rescheduled 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship and the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. The COVID-scrapped World Juniors returns to Edmonton’s Rogers Place from Aug. 9-20, while the Hlinka Gretzky tournament will run July 31 – Aug. 6 at Red Deer’s Peavey Mart Centrium.

PANTHERS STAYING HOT: The Florida Panthers are the hottest team in the league winning their 11th straight game last night against the New York Islanders in overtime thanks to an Aleksander Barkov hat trick. The team has not lost a game all month and appears to be finishing the season the way they began it—streaking.

ANDERSEN TO MISS ANOTHER WEEK: The Carolina Hurricanes will miss Frederik Andersen for a week with a lower-body injury. The 6-foot-4 goaltender has a record of 35-14-3 this season and the second-best goals-against average in the league. It looks like Antti Raanta and Pyotr Kochetkov will be the goaltending tandem until Andersen gets back on the ice.

Playoff Watch

The playoff picture is starting to come into focus, and fans are anxiously awaiting playoff hockey. Let’s see how things are shaping up in the standings.

The Final Four

Nashville Predators [93 points]: The Predators beat the Calgary Flames in overtime last night, giving them a two-point advantage over the Dallas Stars to remain in the first Western Conference wild-card spot. Defenseman Roman Josi is having a career season with 89 points in 75 games and is leading his team to the playoffs for a second consecutive season.

Dallas Stars [91 points]: The Stars are a mediocre 5-3-2 in April with unexpected losses to the New Jersey Devils and Seattle Kraken jeopardizing their postseason chances. Currently on their Western Canada road trip, they failed to gain any points against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday, losing 6-2. Now come tough games against the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. Jamie Benn’s team will need to overcome a difficult remaining schedule to punch their playoff ticket.

Vancouver Canucks [87 points]: Hockey fans need to thank the resurgent Canucks for keeping things interesting as the regular season winds down. A tough OT loss to the Ottawa Senators last night wasn’t what they hoped, but it did pull them even with the Vegas Golden Knights. Can they become the Cinderella story of the postseason? We will have to wait for a few more games to find out.

Vegas Golden Knights [87 points]: Nick Alberga won Hockey Twitter yesterday when he tweeted, “who had the Hamburglar ending Vegas’ playoff hopes on their bingo card?”. The Golden Knights fell to the New Jersey Devils and in the process, their playoff qualification probability dropped to 21%. With only five games left to play, it seems that this could be the season the Golden Knights finally miss the playoffs.

Connor the Conqueror

The Western Hockey League (WHL) regular season ended on Sunday, and 16-year-old phenom Connor Bedard decided to send it out in style. Bedard led his Regina Pats to a 7-4 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors by potting two goals and adding another three assists, hitting both the 50-goal and 100-point plateaus for the year. The BC native’s greatness has grown so commonplace in Regina that he didn’t even register among the top three stars of the game!

With more than a year to go before Bedard is even NHL draft-eligible, let’s look at the ways in which the World Under-18 Championship-bound youngster’s season was incredible:

Connor Bedard, Regina Pats (Photo Credit: Keith Hershmiller)

History Made

On a night when his team posted seven goals, Bedard actually waited until late in the third period to get on the board, himself. With 6:10 to go in the game, he notched goal number 50 and officially became the youngest 50-goal scorer in WHL history (an empty netter gave him 51) while also finishing second league-wide. The remarkable campaign saw Bedard finish with 1.61 points per game, including two per game over the final 38 regular-season contests.

Bedard Wasn’t Enough

By hitting the 100-point mark, Bedard helped lead the Pats to…a ninth-place finish in the Eastern Conference? While it frees up the young center to represent Canada at the U-18 tournament, that doesn’t make it any less bewildering that boasting the fourth-leading scorer in the league wasn’t enough to get Regina into the playoffs. Perhaps the Pats can work on their defensive effort after allowing the second-most goals in the East.


Forget about Bedard’s peers; it’s hard to even find NHL greats that put up these kinds of numbers at such a young age. If we accept Wayne Gretzky and his 182-point age-16 season with the Soo Greyhounds as other-worldly, Bedard measures up to anyone. His namesake, Connor McDavid? He fell one short with 99 points for the OHL’s Erie Otters, albeit in six fewer games. Even a 16-year-old Mario Lemieux (96 points) missed the century mark, although his 282 points in 70 games two years later wasn’t half bad.

From Player to Owner

On Monday, the Seattle Kraken announced that former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch, along with Seattle-born rapper Macklemore, have become minority owners of the team. They joined the Kraken Investor Group, which is led by team founder and majority owner David Bonderman, and are expected to be involved in initiatives to connect with fans and people in the community.

Lynch, the Seattle Seahawks’ franchise leader in many rushing categories and part of the club’s Super Bowl win in 2014, isn’t the first famous professional athlete to own part of a hockey team. Here are a few other famous athletes who have dabbled in NHL (and minor hockey) ownership.

Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh Penguins)

Mario Lemieux remains a legend in Pittsburgh. After 12 seasons playing for the Penguins, he retired and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997 without facing the standard three-year waiting period. Soon after in 1999, he bought the organization for whom he was already a celebrated icon, rescuing the club from bankruptcy.

Mario Lemieux (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

While keeping the title as owner, Lemieux returned to the ice in 2000, playing five more seasons in a Penguins jersey. Since moving up to the boardroom and luxury boxes, he’s overseen three more Stanley Cup victories to go along with his two as a player. Although the team was sold in late 2021, he remains a minority owner.

Michael Jordan (Washington Capitals)

Michael Jordan will be remembered for his hard court dominance, but his equally impressive business career actually brought him into the world of hockey. After his second retirement in 1999, Jordan bought into Lincoln Holdings LLC, which owned the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the Washington Capitals, giving him a 12% stake in an NHL team.

Michael Jordan (THW Archives)

Jordan decided to return to the court for the second time in 2001 and joined the Wizards as a player. The move ended his short stint as an NHL owner. After two more seasons, he retired from basketball for the third and final (we think) time. He currently is the principal owner and chairman of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.

John Tavares, Sam Gagner, Don Cherry and Bret Hart (Minor Hockey Teams)

All four of the above-mentioned athletes have been—or currently are—owners of minor league hockey teams. Tavares and Gagner are both Ontario natives and took control of the Toronto Marlboros of the Greater Toronto Hockey League in 2021. The 31-year-old Toronto Maple Leafs captain and 32-year-old Detroit Red Wings center both previously played for the Marlboros.

Sam Gagner (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Cherry spent six years as an NHL head coach for the Boston Bruins and Colorado Rockies but is better known for his controversial broadcast career on Hockey Night in Canada’s Coaches’ Corner. The colorful commentator was part-owner of the OHL’s Mississauga IceDogs from 1998 to 2006, sometimes serving as general manager and head coach. Meanwhile, the Calgary-born Hart, better known as the “Hitman” from his celebrated pro wrestling career, was a founding owner of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen and the inspiration for their name.

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NHL’s Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule