Last Night’s News 📰
MONTH OF MISERY: For the first time in 32 days, the New York Islanders have won a hockey game. Prevailing 5-3 over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night, the Islanders went 0-8-3 since their last win on Nov. 6.
THAT’S A LOT OF BREAD: New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin needed all of 61 seconds to notch his 500th career point in the Blueshirts’ 6-2 victory over his former team, the Chicago Blackhawks. Coming into the game sitting at 499 points, Panarin finished with four points to become the 49th player in NHL history to record 500 points in fewer than 458 games.
FLIPPIN’ A: Holy cow, what an assist! Trevor Zegras set up Sonny Milano for the eventual game-winner, as the Anaheim Ducks beat the Buffalo Sabres 2-0. In what has to be a candidate for Goal of the Year, Zegras lobbed the puck over the net and Milano batted it past Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.
SPEZZA GETS SIX: Late last night, the NHL announced that Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza has been suspended for six games without pay. Spezza will forfeit $22,500 to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund, resulting from his kneeing incident on Neal Pionk in Sunday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.
A Game of Chants
There was a celebratory vibe at Rogers Arena on Monday night, as the Vancouver Canucks kicked off the Bruce Boudreau era with an emphatic 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings. He even earned a standing ovation as the final horn sounded. Somewhere in the midst of the revelry, Canucks fans serenaded their new head coach with a “Bruce! There it is” chant, inspired by the 90s-era Tag Team arena staple “Whoomp! (There It Is).”
Okay, so it’s not Shakespeare, but fan chanting is often so mindless and uninspired that it’s nice to hear something even vaguely clever and creative once in a while at an arena. Here are some other memorable fan chants that extend beyond “Let’s Go [insert team name here]:”
Corey Perry has long been a pest on the ice, which typically means his fans love him while opposing fans detest him. Back in 2015, Winnipeg Jets fans tried to get under his skin—just as he does to his opponents—with a “Ka-ty Per-ry!” chant, although we are sure it didn’t bother Perry to be likened to the similarly named pop star.
“Da Da Canada, Nyet Nyet Soviet!”
An oldie but a goodie, Canadian fans cheering on their home country during the eight-game 1972 Summit Series against the then-Soviet Union took some inspiration from their opponents’ native language. When translated, the chant is pretty banal (basically, “yes yes Canada, no no Soviet”), but constructing an English language rhyme out of Russian words wins points for creativity.
“He Shoots, He Scores, You Suck!”
If you are a visiting goalie at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, you need a pretty strong backbone. Predators fans love to get on the guys between the pipes, serenading them with “It’s all your fault!” after a home goal and engaging in a sing-songy chant of “He shoots, he scores, you suck!” during the goal song, “Gold on the Ceiling” by The Black Keys.
NCAA Hockey Chants
In the college ranks, there are simply way too many standout chants to name. Personally, I’m partial to the Minnesota Golden Gophers student section tradition where, upon the expiration of a power play and a subsequent announcement that both teams were back at full strength, Gophers fans chant, “That’s debatable!” Really, though, this is a topic that probably warrants its own Morning Skate breakdown at some point!
On Tuesday night, Trevor Zegras showed how he has become one of the most creative players in the NHL with the potential assist of the year in a game against the Buffalo Sabres. While behind the net, he corralled the puck like he would attempt the “Michigan,” but he instead passed it mid-air over the helmet of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Sonny Milano batted it out of mid-air. It was one of those goals that showcases the elite-level skill and abilities that not many players possess.
Let’s look at three other examples that came to mind where NHL players showcased their creative skills with the puck.
To start this off, let’s rewind time to Jan. 28, 2004, when Ottawa Senators forward Peter Schaefer scored a terrific shorthanded goal against the Dallas Stars. He lifted the puck over a sprawling Marty Turco, who was caught out of his crease as the puck was coming toward him. As the puck was in mid-air, Schaefer tipped the puck with the back of his blade, directing it into the empty net.
This could be an entire list of all his plays, but since that would be cheating, we’ll try to limit it to a single moment. The former Detroit Red Wings center’s most creative goal came during a shootout against the Nashville Predators on March 21, 2006. He dragged the puck back across the crease after he got Tomáš Vokoun to bite to one side and then shot the puck into the empty net.
He had already tried this move and succeeded, but he perfected the dangle, now known as the “Datsyuk,” after attempting it for a second time.
In terms of creativity, this is one of the best goals in NHL history, as it is a combination of pure skill and determination. During a game against the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 17, 2008, Nash entered the offensive zone and, by using the same move, skated his way through both defenders in the slot.
He then cut across the crease, avoiding a poke check from the goalie, and corralled the bouncing puck before burying it into an open net.
Holiday Wish Lists
With the lighting of the tree at Rockefeller Center, the holiday season is officially in full swing. For the next few Wednesdays, the Morning Skate crew will be creating a holiday wish list for each NHL team. Enjoy part one of three.
Anaheim Ducks: That Trevor Zegras will become the first Calder Trophy winner in franchise history. His ridiculous lacrosse-style assist now has him tied with Lucas Raymond for the rookie lead in points.
Arizona Coyotes: To win the draft lottery. The wheels have fallen off in Arizona, but the good news is they have eight picks in the first two rounds. However, the icing on the cake would be the projected first-overall pick, Shane Wright.
Boston Bruins: All the Bruins want this holiday season is a trade partner for Jake DeBrusk. The 25-year-old requested a move through his agent after reports came out that he was butting heads with head coach Bruce Cassidy.
Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres will be looking for a quality NHL goaltender under their tree. Ideally, they would like a healthy Craig Anderson, although Matt Murray or Braden Holtby would be a pleasant gift for the organization.
Calgary Flames: To remain atop of the Pacific Division. No one expected the Flames to have a strong start to the season but, thanks to Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary has been one of the best teams in the league.
Carolina Hurricanes: To continue having one of the best penalty kills in the league. Fans know how important special teams are, and a penalty kill of 87 percent certainly doesn’t hurt their chances of making the playoffs.
Chicago Blackhawks: After giving him a $76 million contract extension, the Blackhawks hope Seth Jones remains a top defenseman in the league. He currently ranks third in assists by defensemen with 19 in 24 games played.
Colorado Avalanche: For a healthy Nathan MacKinnon. The star forward has only played 12 games this season and will need to be a key piece for his team moving forward if they want to get back to the top of the Central Division.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Goals, goals, and more goals. Boone Jenner has a team-leading 11 goals, while the rest of the team has struggled to put the puck in the net. The Blue Jackets will happily take all the goals that can fit under the tree this season.
Dallas Stars: That Jake Oettinger can continue his elevated level of play. Oettinger is currently the top goaltender in the league with a 1.41 goals-against average (GAA) and a .951 save percentage (SV%).