December 6 — Murray’s Megastar & an Armchair GM Update

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

WRIGHT TIME TO RETURN: Just over two weeks after being sent down, the Seattle Kraken recalled Shane Wright, the 2022 fourth-overall pick, from his conditioning loan with the AHL’s Coachella Valley Firebirds. Wright has four goals in five games with the Firebirds after posting one assist in seven games with the Kraken. 

GALLAGHER OUT: On Monday, the Montreal Canadiens announced that forward Brendan Gallagher has an upper-body injury and will miss around two weeks. Gallagher has three goals and five assists for eight points in 22 games this season but hasn’t played since Nov. 29.

MISSING MACK: Nathan MacKinnon left last night’s Colorado Avalanche game during the first period with an apparent upper-body injury. Unfortunately, head coach Jared Bednar did not have an update after the game except to say MacKinnon would be traveling back to Colorado with the team.

BRUCE BESTS BRUINS: In his first game coaching against the Boston Bruins since his dismissal on June 6, Bruce Cassidy led his Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-3 shootout victory, ending the Bruins’ 14-game home winning streak. Boston’s run at TD Garden was the longest streak to start the season in NHL history.

WJC SELECTION CAMPS ANNOUNCED: Yesterday, Hockey Canada and USA Hockey released the rosters and dates for their respective World Junior Championship selection camps. Held in Moncton, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, Canada’s camp will take place Dec. 9-12 in Moncton, while the US will be from Dec. 12-17 in Plymouth, Michigan. 

Trivia Tuesday

How Well Do You Know Troy Terry?

Troy Terry, Anaheim Ducks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)
  1. Troy Terry made his NHL debut against which team?
    • San Jose Sharks
    • Vancouver Canucks
    • St. Louis Blues
    • Arizona Coyotes

  2. Which university did Terry play for before going pro?
    • University of Denver
    • Boston University
    • University of Minnesota
    • Quinnipiac University

  3. Which Hall of Famer coached Terry during mite hockey?
    • Scott Niedermayer
    • Pat Quinn
    • Joe Sakic
    • Teemu Selänne

Answers can be found at the bottom of the email.

The Armchair GMs Aren’t Always Right

We are officially into the “told you so” season of NHL fandom when fans have accumulated enough data to confirm opinions of offseason moves as being correct. Those who suggested that the Dallas Stars needed to get a deal done with restricted free agent holdout Jason Robertson, for example, are feeling pretty good about themselves. However, fans don’t always get it right, which is why they’re in the stands and not the front office.

With the dust clearing from the start of the season, it’s becoming evident which general reactions were on the money and which missed the mark concerning those moves. Here are a few that aren’t looking too good at this point.

‘The Maple Leafs Have a Goalie Problem’

Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov (The Hockey Writers)

Amidst a thin goalie market and desperate need of a puck stopper, the Toronto Maple Leafs decided they had seen enough from Jack Campbell to let him walk to the Edmonton Oilers. Instead, they went the trade route to add the red flag-ridden Matt Murray before taking a low-cost gamble on Ilya Samsonov. Toronto fans didn’t take this well, but after an eye-roll-inducing injury to Murray early, both men have sparkling numbers and are thriving in a successful tandem.

‘The Panthers Gave up Too Much for Matthew Tkachuk’

It isn’t easy to land a 24-year-old budding superstar coming off a 104-point season and still lose a trade. However, many fans felt the Florida Panthers gave up a small ransom (Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, prospect Cole Schwindt, and a protected first) to the Calgary Flames for a guy who was going to leave anyway. That may be true, but there’s no buyer’s remorse from the Panthers now. Tkachuk has 12 goals and 34 points in 23 games for Florida, while the Flames have failed to maintain their 2021-22 pace with their new additions in tow.

‘The Flyers Are Crazy for Not Signing Johnny Hockey’

Johnny Gaudreau of the Columbus Blue Jackets (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

No one knows all the back-door happenings regarding free-agent deals, but it seemed pretty clear that Johnny Gaudreau was open to joining the Philadelphia Flyers. The feeling, it turned out, was not mutual. Few, Philly fans included, could understand why the Flyers wouldn’t jump at the chance to land a star player without sacrificing significant assets. Gaudreau has been solid in Columbus but hasn’t helped the Blue Jackets win. Philadelphia is also not winning, but the Flyers may prove horrible enough to join the Connor Bedard sweepstakes.

Matt Murray’s Hero

One of the more heartwarming stories this season has come from Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Matt Murray. After five storied years in Pittsburgh, his trade to the Ottawa Senators had him posting career-worst stats and injuries, leaving many to believe his NHL career could be in jeopardy. Yet, the Maple Leafs decided to give him a chance by trading for him this summer, and now he is one of the hottest goalies in the NHL with a 5-1-2 record, 2.63 goals-against average (GAA), and .921 save percentage (SV%) in eight games. And his success can be attributed to his late father, James, who he always refers to as his hero. Here are some of Murray’s stories of his dad that shaped his career thus far. 

Motivation to Succeed

Murray explained that his dad would be thrilled to see him now on the Maple Leafs. He stated, “I mean, my first hockey game was a Leafs game with him. It was his favorite team. It was my favorite team to watch growing up. So, yeah, of course, I think he’d be super happy.” No doubt that gives Murray extra motivation to play his heart out for his boyhood team!

Matt Murray, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Stanley Cup Celebrations

After winning back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Penguins, Murray’s dad made his celebrations extra special. One of the memories shared was that when he won in 2016, his dad displayed an eight-inch replica of the Cup that Murray made out of aluminum foil and gifted to his dad for Father’s Day when he was young. We love a genuine full-circle moment!

Summer Memories

There were summer traditions in the Murray household between the two. Starting when he was 10, he and his dad would fly to Toronto for a week-long goaltending camp. He went on to share that he wears a helmet with Dutch and Scottish flags to honor his heritage, complete with his parent’s initials. Those goalie camp trips sure paid off, as Murray is now a two-time champion! 

Trivia Answers

  1. Vancouver Canucks
  2. University of Denver
  3. Joe Sakic

NHL Standings

NHL’s Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule