December 12 — Painting Praise & Targeting Teammates

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

EMPTY NET KING: Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin has four empty-net goals in his last three games. It is the first time in his career that he has three consecutive goals on goalie-less nets. In addition, all the tallies are inching him closer to Wayne Gretzky’s scoring record. Only 97 more to tie the 894-goal record!

MOVES LIKE JAGR: At 50 years of age, Jaromír Jágr, owner of the Kladno Knights, made his on-ice season debut for the Czech Extraliga club. Jágr recorded two assists in over 15 minutes of ice time in a 7-3 loss to Liberec.

3 FOR 2 IN OT: Two players completed hat tricks to win their respective games in overtime on Sunday night, as Mikko Rantanen and Clayton Keller found the back of the net three times. Rantanen tied the Colorado Avalanche’s game against the St. Louis Blues with nine seconds remaining before scoring 29 seconds into the extra period. Meanwhile, Keller netted his first career hatty on a wrist shot with 23 seconds left in OT to help the Arizona Coyotes outlast the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4.

CARE FOR McCARRON: Yesterday, the National Hockey League and NHL Players’ Association announced that Nashville Predators forward Michael McCarron is receiving care from the player assistance program. McCarron will be eligible to return to the Preds once cleared by program administrators.

ROBERTSON OUT FOR LEAFS: After leaving Thursday night’s game with a shoulder injury, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced forward Nicholas Robertson will be out for 6-8 weeks. Choosing rehab over surgery, Robertson hopes to return from his third significant injury in as many seasons by February.

Friendly Fire!

Over the weekend, the Ottawa Senators faced the Nashville Predators when a viral moment occurred. During the second period of the game, Sens defenseman Thomas Chabot was supposedly upset over a missed call, so much so that he swung his stick on the bench in frustration and accidentally hit teammate Travis Hamonic in the face. Hamonic was uninjured, but unfortunately, some teammates in the past did not come out unscathed. Here are some other instances in NHL history of friendly fire. 

Zdeno Chára & Steven Kampfer

In 2011, NHL legend Zdeno Chára and the Boston Bruins were facing the Pittsburgh Penguins when Chára accidentally high-sticked his teammate Steven Kampfer in the second period of the game. Kampfer left the game with a broken nose and didn’t return. Chára said, “I think it might have been my stick that got him. I’m not 100% sure, but obviously, it was a battle, and then my stick got high and hit Stevey. It was an unfortunate play.” Thinking a Penguins player hit Kampfer, Boston earned a four-minute power-play from the injury but could not score. That is a rough sequence all around!

Taylor Hall & Colin Miller

When Taylor Hall was a member of the Buffalo Sabres in 2021, he took a puck to the face from teammate Colin Miller in the first period of the Sabres’ matchup versus the New Jersey Devils. His mouth was bleeding on the play, and he immediately headed to the locker room, but it ended up being okay as he was eventually able to return to the game. No hard feelings! 

Jack Eichel & Nicolas Hague

Even the fourth-best team in the NHL is not without hiccups. On Nov. 28, Vegas Golden Knights forward Jack Eichel took a wrist shot to the eye from defenseman Nicolas Hague on a power play against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Eichel had to leave the game but returned 10 minutes later with a shiner around his eye as a nice souvenir. There is never a dull moment in Vegas! 

Patrick Kane & Jonathan Toews

The road to the Stanley Cup doesn’t come without bruises along the way, and Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane know that all too well. Over 13 years ago, before the duo won their first championship together, Toews and Kane accidentally ran into each other on the ice when the Chicago Blackhawks were facing the Blue Jackets. Kane was left rattled and was slow to get up following the collision, chipping a few teeth. Meanwhile, Toews was left uninjured. Oh, the joys of winning! 

Tribute by Mask

With Ilya Samsonov and Matt Murray both healthy in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ crease, Erik Källgren has been plying his trade with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. Still, that doesn’t mean the Maple Leafs have been far from his thoughts or, more specifically, a recently fallen Toronto legend. Källgren has been sporting a tribute to recently passed Hall of Fame defenseman and Swedish countryman Börje Salming on his goalie mask.

The goalie mask tribute has become an increasingly popular mode of honoring someone held in high esteem by its wearer. So, who has been deemed worthy of adorning a goalie mask? Let’s find out.

Curtis McElhinney

Why pay tribute to one player when you can offer recognition to a half dozen trailblazing athletes in a single paint job? Curtis McElhinney sported a mask that featured six black athletes who sparked progressive strides in their respective sports. Hockey pioneer Willie O’Ree, Olympic gold medalist Alice Coachman, baseball trailblazer Jackie Robinson, boxing great Muhammad Ali, and the Black Power salute duo of Tommie Smith and John Carlos.

Elvis Merzļikins

The Columbus Blue Jackets were devastated by the tragic passing of young goaltender Matīss Kivlenieks in the summer of 2021, perhaps none more so than Latvian countryman and fellow Columbus puck-stopper Elvis Merzļikins. Merzļikins wasted no time paying tribute to his fallen friend, sporting a mask with Kivlenieks’ No. 80 prominently featured. I want him close to me,” Merzļikins said. “I always want him with me. I know he is going to always be with me, and he is going to look on from up there and help me.” 

Jordan Binnington

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington took his team’s ’90s theme night one step further during the 2019-20 season. Already rocking Blues throwback jerseys, Binnington completed the ensemble with a mask that paid homage to childhood idol and one-time St. Louis star Curtis Joseph. Not only was Joseph’s likeness present on the helmet, but it even featured a ferocious, rabid dog, playing off of his legendary “Cujo” nickname.

Player Spotlight: Kris Letang

Defenseman Kris Letang returned to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup on Saturday night, just 12 days after suffering a stroke. In his return, Letang registered seven hits and three blocked shots in a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Fans know plenty about what he brings on the ice, but what about his life off it? Let’s dive in! 

Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Favorite Road City:


Do You Have Any Pre-Game Rituals?:

My son Alex picks out my shoes.

Who’s in Your MySpace Top 8?:

Sid [Sidney Crosby], Kapi [Kasperi Kapanen], and Dumo [Brian Dumoulin].

How Would You Describe Your Fashion Sense?:


What Game Will You Never Play Again?:

Bean Boozled

How Do You Keep Your Hair Flawless?:

I just got my mom’s hair. So I guess it’s natural.

NHL Standings

NHL’s Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule

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