August 20 — Desert Downer & Hockey in August

WE CAN’T WAIT FOR: IIHF Women’s World ChampionshipTODAY!!!

Days until start of 2021-22 NHL Season: 53 days

Wednesday’s Wheelhouse

PASTA’S HOT: Bruins forward David Pastrňák was honored as the Czech player of the year for the fifth straight season, surpassing Jaromír Jágr’s previous record of four consecutive victories. Not to worry, Jágr still holds the record with 12 total wins.

Thursday’s Tap-in

COYOTE MIGRATION: The City of Glendale informed the Arizona Coyotes and the NHL on Thursday that they will not renew the team’s lease after the 2021-22 season. Where the Coyotes will play next is anyone’s guess.

FEELING BLUE: Sabres’ top overall draft pick Owen Power officially announced he will return to the University of Michigan for his sophomore season, an expected decision based on comments he made earlier this summer.

Women’s World Championships – By the Numbers

The Women’s World Championship begins today in Calgary after the 2020 tournament in Halifax was canceled due to COVID-19. It has been 859 days since the ladies took the ice, and we are more than ready to get this thing going! Let’s take a look at the Women’s World Championship by the numbers.

1990: Ottawa hosted the first Women’s World Championship in 1990. The host team took the gold medal while the United States squad was the runner-up and claimed the silver medal. There were 9,000 people in attendance for the gold medal game and a million viewers tuned in on television.

10: There will be 10 teams participating in the tournament. The US is the reigning champion and has won the gold medal for the past five tournaments in a row. Japan, Hungary, and Germany will also be hoping to win the first Women’s World Championship medal for their respective countries.

250: Calgary will play host to 250 athletes throughout the course of the tournament. All 10 teams arrived almost two weeks ago to start their 10-day quarantine before taking part in practices and pre-tournament competitions.

8: The number of new faces making their debut for Team Canada. Donning the Maple Leaf for the first time are Victoria Bach, Ashton Bell, Kristen Campbell, Sarah Fillier, Emma Maltais, Kristin O’Neill, Ella Shelton, and Claire Thompson after playing last season in the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association or the NCAA Division I.

13: Medals won by the Finnish national team at the Women’s Worlds. The Finns were the runners-up in 2019, earning their first silver medal. They also have 12 bronze medals, which is the most of any country playing in the tournament. Finland will battle Canada in the opening game of the round-robin portion, and if they can survive, they may have a chance to win their first gold medal.

Cup or Crash: Predicting Your Favorite Team’s Season

Although there are certainly questions left to answer and loose ends to tie up, most of the roster-building is done for the NHL’s 32 front offices in preparation for the 2021-22 season, which is somehow just a month away. To get you set, we’ll be taking a quick look at where each team stands and what the chances are that this might be their season. Rather than commit to predicting how good each team will be, we figured we might as well look at both possible paths: good and bad.

Please follow along and look back as we traipse through the NHL four teams at a time — all done alphabetically — and examine why these teams just might succeed, but also why they could be poised to flop.

Ottawa Senators

Why Your Team Will Succeed
With Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stützle, Thomas Chabot, Josh Norris, and Drake Batherson, the Sens are beginning to put together a solid foundation of youth, as you do when you’re rebuilding. They looked competitive on many nights in the Scotia North Division this past season.

Why Your Team Will Flop
Ottawa finished 19th league-wide in goals scored and pivoted by subtracting fifth-leading goal scorer Evgenii Dadonov and adding Michael Del Zotto and Nick Holden—the proud owners of four combined goals (all by Del Zotto). Oh, and Tkachuk and Batherson still don’t have contracts for the upcoming season as the club sits on $28.5 million of cap space.

Philadelphia Flyers

Why Your Team Will Succeed
An offseason overhaul brought plenty of toughness and leadership and might just have this Flyers team looking stronger than the one that came one win shy of the Eastern Conference Final in 2019-20.

Why Your Team Will Flop
The reference to 2019-20 glosses over a disappointing 2020-21 campaign that saw them finish sixth in the eight-team MassMutual East Division. Maybe the weird 56-game pandemic season can be easily shrugged away, but they were still inferior to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, New York Islanders, and New York Rangers, none of whom got appreciably worse this summer.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Why Your Team Will Succeed
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin haven’t been traded or anything, right? Okay cool, just checking.

Why Your Team Will Flop
Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s been five seasons since Pittsburgh last hoisted the Cup. Since then, they’ve won one playoff series and most recently got bounced by the Islanders in six games in the first round. The new Ron Hextall/Brian Burke regime failed to address Tristan Jarry’s disappointing season in net or add win-now help in a contract year for Malkin and Kris Letang.

San Jose Sharks

Why Your Team Will Succeed
There’s so much strong, veteran talent throughout San Jose’s lineup and in the locker room that a third straight non-playoff season can’t be in the cards, can it???

Why Your Team Will Flop
The Evander Kane situation looms over everything here. But even if it didn’t, a group led by the over-30 crowd of Erik Karlsson, Logan Couture, and Marc-Édouard Vlasic that went 21-28-7 last year represents a troubling reality for the Sharks. Their core is aging without producing, creating considerable concern over owed long-term money (Karlsson, especially).