December 26 — Happy Boxing & World Juniors Opening Day!

Last Night’s News 📰

NO. 2 WITH A BULLET: Only one player remains standing in the way of Alex Ovechkin becoming the NHL’s all-time leading goal scorer after the Russian superstar surpassed Gordie Howe by scoring goals No. 801 and 802 in a 4-1 home win over the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night. Next in his sight lines: “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky, who sits at 894. 

FOUR FOR NEMO: New Jersey Devils prospect and former second-overall pick Šimon Nemec earned four assists in Slovakia’s 5-1 win over Austria in a World Junior Championship pre-tournament game. Slovakia will play its tournament opener on Dec. 27 against Finland. 

CARLSON OUT: A scary scene ensued when Washington faced the Jets on Dec. 23, as Capitals defenseman John Carlson got struck in the head with a puck. He was taken to the hospital afterward as a precaution before being discharged on Saturday. However, the team announced that he will be out indefinitely. Carlson was having yet another strong season with 21 points in 30 games. 

SHAW SUSPENDED: On Friday, the NHL announced the suspension of Minnesota Wild forward Mason Shaw for kneeing San Jose Sharks forward Evgeny Svechnikov. Shaw received a major penalty and game misconduct for the hit in the second period of Thursday’s game and will forfeit $8,108.10 of his salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. 

SANTA-GOVICH: New Jersey Devils center Yegor Sharangovich dressed up as Santa to deliver presents to his teammates on Friday. “Santagovich,” as he referred to himself, tied in players’ nicknames with their gifts—Ryan Graves (“Gravy”) got a gravy boat, while Tomáš Tatar (“Tuna”) received a can of tuna—in addition to other “thoughtful” gifts. 

SECOND TO TRIPLE DIGITS: Yesterday, a second player in NHL history hit the triple-digit mark. No, not in points, goals, or games played. New York Americans prospect and Detroit Red Wings forward, Steve Wochy, is believed to be the second skater to become a Centenarian after celebrating his 100th birthday on Christmas

The Greatest Goal Scorers

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin made history on Dec. 23 against the Winnipeg Jets when he scored two goals that ultimately made him second-all-time in goal scoring in the NHL with 802 goals—passing Gordie Howe’s 801. Because Ovi stands on such a high pedestal, we thought we would look at active NHL players on the all-time scoring list behind him. 

Sidney Crosby

Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby have had a lot of battles over the years between the regular season and playoffs, as the Pittsburgh Penguins and Capitals matchups are always a sight to behold. Therefore, it makes sense that Crosby is second-best behind Ovi for active career goals with 536 goals, which makes him 34th all-time. Crosby isn’t slowing down anytime soon, as he has 19 goals and 43 points in 33 games this season.

Steven Stamkos

The Tampa Bay Lightning put the entire hockey world on notice when they won back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 2020 and 2021. Tampa’s success also put Steven Stamkos on the map after quietly producing for years. So much so that he is third-best for active goal leaders with 497 goals, and he is 48th all-time. He is having another impressive season, as he was on a 14-game point streak that ended on Dec. 15. He also has 16 goals and 38 points in 32 games. 

Evgeni Malkin

Evgeni Malkin is Crosby’s long-time teammate with whom they shared so much success, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that he is fourth-best in goals with 455 and is 59th all-time. He hasn’t been scoring as much this season as he only has 11 tallies, but he is still one of the best in the game, with 33 points in 33 games. 

Eric Staal

Most know Eric Staal has been one of the greatest players in the NHL since he entered the league in 2003, but some might be surprised that he is fifth-best among active goal scorers with 444 goals, good for 66th all-time. Staal has struggled a bit this season, with three goals and eight points in 28 games with the Florida Panthers, but nothing can change his goal-scoring accomplishments.

Some other notable mentions among active goal-scorers are Patrick Kane (435 goals), Joe Pavelski (432), Jeff Carter (422), and Zach Parise (419). Meanwhile, Patrice Bergeron (413), Corey Perry (410), John Tavares (405), and Phil Kessel (405) are the only others to surpass the 400-goal mark. 

World Juniors Storylines to Watch

If the World Junior Championship feels like it just happened, it’s because it did—kind of. The rescheduled 2022 event wrapped up a little over four months ago, with Canada crowned champions. That said, no one is complaining about more best-on-best junior hockey or yet another pre-NHL showcase for Connor Bedard’s greatness.

Lest you think there’s no need to tune into a tournament that admittedly seems a little déjà vu-ish, here are some storylines that promise to make the 2023 event in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Moncton, New Brunswick, stand out a little more.

A Target on Canada’s Back

Canada returns a good portion of its 2022 team and is playing on home soil, so there’s every reason to believe the Canadians will defend their title. But not so fast. Before Canada can claim gold for the 20th time, it will be the No. 1 target of rival countries. That includes Finland, who took the Canadians to overtime in last August’s gold medal game, and the United States, who shared the same 4-0 round-robin record but were stunned in the quarterfinals by Czechia. Crucially, the Canadians will be missing Mason McTavish, the reigning tournament MVP, from their ranks.

Fantilli’s Time to Shine?

Can Adam Fantilli unseat Bedard as the No. 1 selection in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft? Realistically, no, but that doesn’t mean the University of Michigan star can’t solidify his standing near the top of the draft while reminding people that Bedard isn’t the only 2023 Draft prospect worth watching. With apologies to Matvei Michkov, Canada’s New Year’s Eve game against top Swedish prospect Leo Carlsson could offer a peak at the top three selections in the upcoming draft.

Who’s the MVP?

Identifying MVP candidates ahead of a tournament is never easy. However, this year offers a surprisingly established crop that could all thrive if things go right for the player and country. Canada doesn’t have McTavish but does boast the wicked combination of Shane Wright and Bedard. Team USA returns 2022 standout, Luke Hughes. Joakim Kemell and Niko Huuhtanen represent a two-headed monster up front for Finland, while Fabian Lysell and Jonathan Lekkerimäki should spark Sweden.

Player Spotlight: Jason Robertson

Dallas Stars forward Jason Robertson is taking the league by storm. He has 50 points, which is fourth-best behind Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Tage Thompson. His impressive start already has him in the Hart Trophy conversation as the most valuable player in the NHL. We know plenty about what he can do on the ice, but what about off it? Let’s dive in.

Jason Robertson, Dallas Stars (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Most Played Song:

“Picture” by Kid Rock

Preferred Way to Pass Time on Team Flights:


Favorite Road City:

Los Angeles

One Former or Current Player You Would Like as a Teammate:

Ilya Kovalchuk

One Item You Always Take With You on the Road:

My PS4 and my monitor

Do You Agree the Better Team Always Wins a Best of 7 Series?:

Honestly, I disagree

NHL Standings

NHL’s Leading Scorers