December 7 — Hockey’s ‘Sportsperson of the Year’ Candidates

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

SEE YOU IN 2023: Following Monday night’s tilt against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Colorado Avalanche will be without Nathan MacKinnon for the next four weeks after the 27-year-old left early with an upper-body injury. MacKinnon leads the Avs with 34 points in 23 games this season.

BACK WHERE IT BEGAN: According to NHL insiders, the Edmonton Oilers will host the Heritage Classic in Oct. 2023 at Commonwealth Stadium. It will mark 20 years since Edmonton hosted the original Heritage Classic (the first outdoor NHL regular season game), in which the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Oilers 4-3. 

OUT SHINING THE STARS: Matt Murray made 44 saves to earn his first shutout for the Toronto Maple Leafs, blanking the Dallas Stars 4-0. Mitch Marner assisted on John Tavares’ eventual game-winning goal in the first period to extend his point streak to 20 games, while Jason Robertson didn’t hit the scoresheet for the first time in 19. 

WJC SCHEDULE RELEASED: Fans will have to wait until the knockout round for the Battle of North America, as Team Canada and the USA will be in separate groups for the World Junior Championship. Canada headlines Group A and will kick off the tournament against Czechia in Halifax at 6:30 pm ET, while the US plays Latvia at 4 pm ET in Moncton to begin Group B on Dec. 26.

Who Said It

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1) “[He’s] a guy that plays 25 (minutes) a night and in every situation, so you have to juggle everything. Do the best you can. You’ve just got to keep grinding and find guys that contribute. Guys are going to have to step up. It’s going to be a challenge. It’s been a challenge for us and seems to be getting worse at this point.”

A. Jared Bednar
B. Brad Larsen
C. Dallas Eakins

2) “Coming to a new team, I just wanted to play the way I know I can play and bring everything I can to the table to help out. I want to be that consistent person every night. I think that’s worked out so far, and I’m going to try and continue that the rest of the year.”

A. John Marino
B. Brent Burns
C. Noel Acciari

3) “I just suck at hockey right now.”

A. Jack Campbell
B. Jacob Markström
C. Jordan Binnington

Answers can be found at the bottom of the email

Wacky Wednesday (Pt. 10)

There is never a dull moment in hockey, so we will keep you updated on all the “wacky” stats from around the NHL during the 2022-23 season. Here is part 10 of our “Wacky Wednesday” series—enjoy!

‘Goal’ Caufield

Cole Caufield is currently tied for eighth in the league in goals with 15 and recently made Montreal Canadiens history. He became fourth-best in goal scoring through 100 career games (40) for the Habs—behind Montreal icons Maurice “Rocket” Richard, Jean Béliveau, and Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion—and now has 42 goals in 103 contests. Fans don’t call the 21-year-old “Goal” Caufield for nothing!

Ovechkin Strikes Again

It seems like most of Alex Ovechkin‘s career accomplishments at this point are about catching Wayne Gretzky in the record books, and he did so again. Ovi broke Gretzky’s record for most goals scored on the road in league history with his 403rd against the Vancouver Canucks on Nov. 29. Now Ovechkin continues to chase Gretzky as the NHL’s all-time leading scorer, only 102 away from breaking the 894-goal plateau. 

Kane Joins Another Elite Club

On Dec. 3, Patrick Kane became the 50th player in NHL history to achieve 1,200 career points after having a three-point night against the New York Rangers. What’s even crazier is that he is just one of three active NHL players who have reached that milestone, joining Sidney Crosby and Ovechkin. Evgeni Malkin is the closest to hitting the mark, needing 29 points to obtain 1,200. 

Marner & Roberston Face Off

Not only was the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Dallas Stars game an exciting matchup because they are two good teams, but it was also a must-watch affair because it was the first time in NHL history that two players entered a game with a point streak of at least 18 games in Mitch Marner (Maple Leafs) and Jason Roberston (Stars). Marner extended his point streak to 20, while Robertson’s streak, unfortunately, ended at 18 games as the Maple Leafs defeated the Stars 4-0.

Hockey Players Are (Sports)People Too!

On Tuesday, Sports Illustrated announced Steph Curry as the 2022 recipient of the publication’s annual “Sportsperson of the Year” award, deservedly earning the honor after leading the Golden State Warriors to another NBA title. Curry was a fine choice, no doubt, but the award could rightfully give the sport of hockey more love.

Only four times in the award’s nearly 70-year history was a hockey player recognized—1970 (Bobby Orr), 1980 (the “Miracle on Ice” team), 1982 (Wayne Gretzky), and 1987 (Bob Bourne, named as one of eight “Athletes Who Care” for his philanthropic work with disabled children). This year, as with so many others, had plenty of worthy candidates who ply their trade on the ice. We’re biased here at Morning Skate, but why couldn’t these guys be Sportsperson of the Year?

Cale Makar

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar hoists the Stanley Cup (Photo by Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Netting 84 points in 77 regular season games since the calendar flipped, the Colorado Avalanche defenseman rose to superstardom in 2022. More significantly, the 24-year-old Norris winner was the driving force behind the Avs’ Stanley Cup victory, receiving the Conn Smythe Trophy after recording eight goals and 29 points in 20 postseason games. When one former Sportsperson (Gretzky) suggests Cale Makar is the best blueliner since another former Sportsperson (Orr), it’s probably worth taking note.

Connor McDavid

Just as you could probably give Connor McDavid the Hart in any season, the league’s best player also belongs in the Sportsperson conversation. Although the lack of playoff success is likely a deal breaker, 119 points in 75 games (and counting) over the calendar year is incredible, to say nothing of a league-high 33 playoff points in just 16 games. Curry’s anointment was, in part, a career achievement recognition, which McDavid could be due for one day.

Nazem Kadri

Nazem Kadri, Calgary Flames (Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Personally, 2022 was huge for Nazem Kadri. He obliterated his career-best points mark, won his first Stanley Cup, and signed a seven-year, $49 million contract to leave the defending champion Avs for the Calgary Flames. On a broader cultural level, though, the 32-year-old shared in the Cup celebrations with the Muslim community, bringing the storied trophy to his hometown mosque in London, Ontario.

Who Said It Answers

  1. Jared Bednar on Nathan MacKinnon
  2. Noel Acciari
  3. Jacob Markström

NHL Standings

NHL’s Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule