December 16 — The Cheery Central & Boeser or Horvat

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

LA WANTS MOORE: Trevor Moore will remain close to home for the foreseeable future. The Thousand Oaks, California, native agreed to a five-year, $21 million contract extension with his hometown Los Angeles Kings, whom he joined in the Feb. 2020 Jake Muzzin trade. Moore, 27, has 42 goals and 65 assists in 236 career games.

STARS ACQUIRE LAAKSONEN: The Dallas Stars and Buffalo Sabres made a minor-league trade of defensemen as the Stars acquired Oskari Laaksonen in exchange for Joseph Cecconi. Laaksonen was with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League (AHL), has 2 points, and is a plus-1 in 10 games this year. Cecconi was with the Texas Stars of the AHL, garnered 2 points, and is a minus-2 in 12 games. 

OVI’S FIRST ASSIST: No, not that one. Alex Ovechkin’s son recorded his first assist at Capital One Arena last night, albeit from the stands. Sergei Ovechkin, helped by Washington Capitals mascot Slapshot, updated the “Ovechkin Goal Counter” banner to 800 before the Capitals took on the Dallas Stars on Thursday. Dallas held Ovechkin to an assist in a 2-1 victory over the Caps, setting up a chance for Ovi to tie Gordie Howe’s record on Monday against the Detroit Red Wings. 

MARNER MEETS MATCH: Mitch Marner failed to hit the scoresheet for the first time in two dozen games for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Jimmy Vesey scored the game-winner and added an empty-netter for the New York Rangers, while Igor Shesterkin made 22 saves to give the Leafs their first regulation loss since Nov. 11. Toronto fell one game shy of tying a team record of 16 straight games with a point set in 2003-04 (14-0-2). 

KESSEL KONNECTION: A Kessel scoring in Las Vegas isn’t typically newsworthy, but on Thursday night, there was an extra special connection between goals. Minutes after Phil Kessel put one home to give the Vegas Golden Knights a 3-0 lead against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center, his sister Amanda opened the scoring for Team USA against Canada in Game 4 of the 2022-23 Rivalry Series in Nevada. Talk about a sibling bond! 

CANADIAN COMEBACK: Speaking of the 2022-23 Rivalry Series, Canada held off the US for its first win 3-2 on Thursday night thanks to a Sarah Nurse tally early in the third period. Kristen Campbell made 21 saves in the victory, as Blayre Turnbull and Jamie Lee Rattray added goals for Canada. Kessel and Hilary Knight scored for the US, while goaltender Maddie Rooney turned away 13 shots. Canada is 1-2-1 in the best-of-seven with Game 5 on Monday night in Los Angeles.

Friday Favorites

Let’s look back at our favorite moments of the week.

Make-Up Gift

Remember the viral moment from Dec. 10 when Ottawa Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot accidentally swung his stick on the bench, hitting teammate Travis Hamonic in the face? Well, Chabot made amends by offering a package of Christmas gifts. He declined to share what he got, but the ESPN broadcast on Dec. 14 shared that he gifted Hamonic four bottles of wine and a spa day with his wife, Stephanie. There is nothing that gifts like those can’t fix! 

A Legendary Stick

On Dec. 13, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin made NHL history by scoring a hat trick that helped him reach 800 career goals. There were plenty of celebrations at the United Center in Chicago, with excellent on-ice recognition from the Chicago crowd and some locker room fun with Caps players. However, one of the more heartwarming moments from the night was when Ovechkin spotted a young Capitals fan in the crowd. He gave him the stick he used to score his 800th goal as he headed back to the locker room. That child now has a piece of hockey history and a holiday memory to last a lifetime. Way to go, Ovi! 

Is That MacGuyver?

It is known around hockey how important a team’s pre-game soccer match is to them as it is a great warm-up exercise for them. Before the Vancouver Canucks faced the Calgary Flames on Dec. 14, the Canucks got their soccer ball stuck in the ceiling. Forward J.T. Miller came to the rescue and used a prop to get the soccer ball out, as the team jokingly referred to him as “MacGuyver.” His heroics helped his teammates continue their game and led them to a 4-3 shootout victory against the Flames.

Horvat or Boeser: Vancouver’s Trade Candidates

Trade talk is not particularly hot right now in NHL circles, especially when the March 3 trade deadline remains two and a half months away and the league’s holiday roster freeze will take effect from Dec. 19-27. Do you know where trade talk is hot, though? Vancouver, where the Canucks are an uninspiring 13-13-3 and speculation has centered on the futures of Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser in the city.

For a Vancouver team that entered the season with legitimate playoff ambitions, loud trade chatter involving two foundational pieces after less than 30 games seems like a stunning shift. Let’s compare the two long-time Canucks, looking at how we got to this point and who seems like the more viable trade candidate.

How Did We Get Here?

Horvat: Captain Canuck is on an expiring contract while amid a career-best season that has complicated contract negotiations. With 21 goals and 30 points, Horvat is worth way more than the $5.5 million he’s making this year—possibly more than Vancouver is prepared to spend. Throw in the team’s underperformance and the urgency of a player headed into unrestricted free agency, and here we are.

Bo Horvat, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Boeser: Less than six months ago, the club signed Boeser to a three-year, $19.95 million contract extension. Since then, however, the Canucks’ play has mirrored Boeser’s, making for a problematic situation for an organization looking to create cap room. The 25-year-old feels the same way, as his agent has reportedly entertained trade talks with six other teams.


Horvat: There will always be a market for a proven leader and point-per-game player who also ranks among the league’s top-five goal scorers, especially at $5.5 million. The concern, however, is how much interested teams will part with to acquire a rental. Furthermore, would Vancouver part with the heart and soul of their club for less than full value or keep him as its rental in hopes of turning things around?

Boeser: Boeser won’t be 26 until late February and already has four seasons of more than 20 goals to his name. Interest, in other words, won’t be hard to come by. But just as Horvat’s strong play has complicated the equation, so has the Minnesota native’s poor play. Two remaining years at $6.5 million doesn’t look onerous for Boeser, but that doesn’t mean teams will necessarily be lining up to surrender a treasure trove of assets for the privilege of taking on his contract.


Horvat: It sure doesn’t sound like Horvat will call BC home by the season’s end, and it won’t be easy to find a trade partner who could absorb his contract without surrendering some current contributors. However, the New York Islanders have some cap space, have all their draft picks, and could finally be ready to make some noise after a disappointingly quiet offseason.

Brock Boeser, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Boeser: A Boeser trade at this stage doesn’t make sense, and it makes even less if Horvat departs, solving some temporary cap issues. If the Canucks rejoin the playoff picture, Boeser will need to be a big part of that. If they don’t, his age won’t put him far off from the projected timeline of a rebuild. Look for Vancouver to show patience with their 2015 first-round pick and hold onto him through at least this season.

Merry Moments: Central Division

Because it is Christmas time, we thought we would look back on some happy, “merry” moments on and off the ice that every NHL team has experienced in December thus far. To start things off, here is the Central Division.

Nashville Predators

Bridgestone Arena flooded after its main water line broke on Nov. 25, and Predators CEO Sean Henry told The Tennessean that the ordeal could have shut the building down for up to 50 days. Luckily, Nashville only had to re-schedule two games and lost five days in total before the team was back at it. The story stated they had over 30 public work agencies, vendors, and private companies help to make it work. The Nashville Predators were able to be back home on Nov. 29 and Dec. 10. What an incredible recovery and a perfect way to ring in the new month of December. 

Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks haven’t had much to be “merry” about, as they have lost 19 of their last 22 games. They also had significant injuries to goaltender Petr Mrázek and forward Tyler Johnson. However, both players returned from injury on Dec. 13, and Johnson even scored a goal that night.  

Colorado Avalanche

When the Colorado Avalanche were facing the Philadelphia Flyers on Dec. 5, there was a fan in the stands with a sign that read, “If I can solve this Rubik’s cube in under a minute…may I have a stick?” The fan solved the Rubik’s cube in 44 seconds, and according to the comments, the child got a stick from defenseman Jacob MacDonald with a note stating, “My record is 52 seconds, good job!” 

Dallas Stars

Tyler Seguin has been snake-bitten this year, as he only has five goals in 31 games. However, he is starting to find his groove as he scored his first goal of the month on Dec. 8, which happened to be the game-winning goal against the Ottawa Senators. 

Arizona Coyotes

Forward Clayton Keller recorded his first career hat trick against the Philadelphia Flyers on Dec. 11. What makes the moment merry is that it was not only Keller’s first hat trick, but it was also the first ever hat trick experienced at the Mullett Arena.

St. Louis Blues

On Dec. 9, the St. Louis Blues visited the St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital to spread some holiday cheer. They experienced some heartwarming moments, such as visiting Ceanna, who got a match for a new heart, and Jimmy, who re-wrote the song “Demons” by Imagine Dragons as part of music therapy to feature some of his favorite players, including Noel Acciari and Robert Bortuzzo.

Winnipeg Jets

To start the month of December off, the Winnipeg Jets launched a 2023 “JetsPets” calendar where players such as Adam Lowry, Mark Scheifele, and Pierre-Luc Dubois posed with their best friends. The best part is that the proceeds of the calendar go to D’Arcy’s A.R.C., an animal rescue center in Manitoba. 

Minnesota Wild

The Minnesota Wild acquired forward Ryan Reaves from the New York Rangers on Nov. 25, and it is a trade that has done dividends for them. Head coach Dean Evason said he helps the team be tough to play against and has become a favorite in the locker room and with the fans. He has three points in his last 10 games, with his most recent coming on Dec. 4. Plus, he is laying out some massive hits, with the latest one coming against Detroit Red Wings defenseman Filip Hronek on Dec. 14. He has been firing up his team big time. 

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