Last Night’s News 📰
SEATTLE STYLE: On Monday, the Seattle Kraken celebrated Indigenous Peoples Night in style. Wearing Karuk-inspired warm-up jerseys, the Kraken logo was infused with basketry art created by artist Fox Spears. Each jersey was autographed and auctioned off in support of a local Seattle charity.
MENTAL OLYMPICS: Robin Lehner announced that he has declined Sweden’s invitation to play in the 2022 men’s Olympic hockey tournament in February. Stating that, “how it’s going to be is not ideal for my mental health,” Lehner also mentioned the uncertainty around COVID-19 as being another reason for his decision.
DESPICABLE KNEE: Yesterday, Neal Pionk was suspended for two games, without pay, for kneeing Rasmus Sandin in the Winnipeg Jets’ 6-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs that took place on Sunday. At the same time, Jason Spezza was offered an in-person hearing for his own kneeing incident from the same game. Spezza could face a five-game suspension for his hit on Pionk, although no penalty was called on the play.
VIGNEAULT MORE: Alain Vigneault was dismissed as the Philadelphia Flyers head coach on Monday, following the team’s 7-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday. Assistant coach, Michel Therrien, was also fired following the Flyers’ 8-11-4 start to the season, including an 0-6-2 record over the past eight games.
How well do you know Bruce Boudreau?
- Which three franchises did Boudreau coach prior to joining the Vancouver Canucks?
- Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild
- Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks, Carolina Hurricanes
- Washington Capitals, Arizona Coyotes, Florida Panthers
- St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres
- As a player, Boudreau was drafted 42nd overall in the 1975 NHL Draft by which franchise?
- Chicago Black Hawks
- Boston Bruins
- Montreal Canadiens
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- How many seasons did Boudreau play professionally?
Answers can be found at the bottom of the email.
Comparing Recent Changes
Two days, two fired head coaches. After Travis Green got the pink slip from the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday to bring about the start of the Bruce Boudreau era, the Philadelphia Flyers dropped the axe on Alain Vigneault amidst a nine-game losing streak and coming off a 7-1 home loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Clearly, this isn’t where either organization hoped to be at this stage of the season. That said, both clubs have the talent to turn things around quickly. So, which team’s situation looks better? Let’s compare:
Vancouver: If there was a complete opposite of the Hart Trophy (the Hart-less?), Elias Pettersson would loom as a pretty strong candidate. In spite of his struggles, the Canucks have a talented foundation of players (Quinn Hughes, Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat, Conor Garland, and Thatcher Demko) just entering their prime.
Philadelphia: What makes the Flyers situation so painful is how clearly they positioned themselves to be in win-now mode. The four leading scorers (Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Cam Atkinson, and Derick Brassard) are on a roster that currently averages over 32 years of age.
The Cap Sheet
Vancouver: There’s a reason why GM Jim Benning was also let go. Vancouver has significant money invested in its current, underwhelming core group, including over $36 million still owed to Oliver Ekman-Larsson. In fact, it currently has just over $11 million in cap space for next season—and that’s without a new contract for Boeser.
Philadelphia: The contracts of Atkinson, Couturier, and Kevin Hayes, among others, ensure that Philly will be paying big money to middling veterans for the foreseeable future. This summer, the Flyers have a decision to make on pending unrestricted free agent Giroux.
Immediate Turn-Around Potential
Vancouver: The firings of Green and Benning were a long time coming, so the problems in Vancouver are certainly deeply seated. At the same time, the Canucks are just two years removed from a trip to the Western Conference Final. Boudreau brings instant legitimacy and could be worth some wins.
Philadelphia: Let’s not forget that prior to the current swoon, Philly was a pretty respectable 8-4-2. Small sample size? Sure, but it nonetheless serves as a reminder that these guys aren’t bad. A hot streak for Carter Hart (as opposed to 14 goals allowed in two games), could do wonders for Mike Yeo and the Flyers.
An underrated part of the NHL are the stories about rookies living together or with veteran players during their first season with the team. On Monday, it came out that Seth Jarvis, a rookie sensation on the Carolina Hurricanes, is roommates with the team’s alternate captain, Sebastian Aho. Teammate Jesperi Kotkaniemi gifted Jarvis an Xbox recently, but the default language was set to Kotkaniemi’s native Finnish, so Jarvis is attempting to reset the console using Google Translate. He could easily ask Aho for help, who is also a native of Finland, but he wants to try and do it himself.
Let’s examine some other roommate stories from around the league, as we take a look at the fun side of the game.
Ty Smith and Jack Hughes
Ty Smith does all of the cooking and cleaning and has done so since their rookie seasons last year with the New Jersey Devils. You can tell that these two enjoy playing together and continue to build on their chemistry as they both embark on their sophomore seasons. The funniest moment from this duo came during a post-game media availability for Hughes, where Smith came up from behind him and surprised the young superstar.
Hughes was shocked, the two chirped each other on-air, and it was a hilarious moment for all of the fans watching at home.
Alexis Lafrenière and K’Andre Miller
This is a more wholesome story and, similar to the one above, these two played in their rookie seasons last year. Lafrenière and Miller made a pact early in their living arrangement to be “open and forthright,” using communication to discuss everything they are going through in life.
It’s not a flashy moment or hilarious tidbit, but it gives us insight into how two players can help each other progress as they go through the same experiences.
Tim Stützle and Brady Tkachuk
The 2020-21 season was the year of roommate experiences in the NHL, and some of the most memorable stories came from the young, dynamic duo playing for the Ottawa Senators. It starts with Tkachuk calling the German center “Jimmy” and sometimes “Jimmy Stü,” as word got around to the locker room and stuck with him.
It has stuck so well, that Josh Norris sometimes forgets his actual first name. The bromance has translated to the ice as well, as Stützle couldn’t help but laugh when he saw Tkachuk in the penalty box last year, as both of them started grinning.