January 11 — Puck Drops, Record Stops & Ken Daneyko Trivia

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

GIVING THE OLD COLLEGE TRY: Thanks to the current COVID situation, injuries, and the reintroduction of taxi squads, the Carolina Hurricanes found themselves in a unique circumstance. With Antti Raanta out due to an upper-body injury, the Hurricanes signed their third-round section from the 2016 NHL Draft on Sunday. Jack LaFontaine will forego the remainder of his NCAA season at the University of Minnesota after starting the year 12-8-0. 

BONES TO PICK: On Monday, the NHL announced they are docking Dallas Stars head coach Rick Bowness $25,000 for swinging a stick on the bench after the Stars’ last-minute loss to the St. Louis Blues on Sunday. Bowness was livid after the Blues got away with what he thought was an interference call on their first power-play goal, saying, “we deserved better than that.” The $25,000 will go to the NHL Foundation.

HOME SNOW ADVANTAGE: Philipp Grubauer’s return to Colorado was spoiled when Nazem Kadri gave the Avalanche the lead for good with 5:43 left against the Seattle Kraken. Nicolas Aubé-Kubel had two goals, and Devon Toews added the game-tying tally midway through the third period as the Avs extended its record of 12 straight home wins.

CAPITAL LETDOWN: With a goal and four assists in the Boston Bruins’ 7-3 victory over the Washington Capitals on Monday, Matt Grzelcyk became the first defenseman to tally five points in a game this season. It was also the first time a Bruins player hit five points in one game, as Boston scored six straight goals after falling behind 2-0 early. 

WHAT THE CAL: In his first back-to-back start since returning from COVID protocol, Cal Petersen made 22 saves to improve the Los Angeles Kings to 4-1-0 in their last five games. Picking up where he left off on Saturday against the Red Wings, Petersen went two and a half scoreless stanzas before Mika Zibanejad scored the New York Rangers’ only goal in their 3-1 loss.

Trivia Tuesday

Ken Daneyko of the New Jersey Devils (Al Bello/Getty Images)

How well do you know Ken Daneyko?

  1. Daneyko won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy on June 15, five days after his team appeared in the Stanley Cup Final. Which year was it?
    • 1995
    • 2000
    • 2001
    • 2003

  2. In which season did Daneyko reach a career-high 21 points?
    • 1990-91
    • 1994-95
    • 1986-87
    • 1989-90

  3. How many times during his 20-year career did Daneyko play in the postseason?
    • 10
    • 14
    • 12
    • 8

Answers can be found at the bottom of the email.

Who is Zach Fucale?

Yesterday, in the wake of Zach Fucale setting the record for the longest scoreless sequence to begin an NHL career on Saturday, we looked at the four goalies he passed along the way. In the second part of our series commemorating the new record, let’s take a look at the person who set it.

Early Years

Fucale was born on May 28, 1995, in Laval, Quebec, and grew up in Rosemere, Quebec. He was selected 11th overall in the 2011 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) Draft by the Halifax Mooseheads, breaking the league’s rookie record for most wins with 32 in 2011-12, finishing with a 3.16 goals-against average (GAA) and an .892 save percentage (SV%) in 58 games.

The young goalie improved in just about every category his second season, posting 45 wins, a 2.35 GAA, and a .909 SV% in 55 games. He also earned QMJHL First-Team All-Star honors, broke the Mooseheads’ franchise record for wins, helped the team win the President’s Cup (given to the QMJHL champion), and guided the team to a Memorial Cup championship.

Fucale excelled in the QMJHL and was an integral part of the Halifax Mooseheads’ success. (theqmjhl.ca)

During a 2013-14 season in which he posted a .907 SV% and a career-best 2.26 GAA, the 18-year-old Fucale became the youngest goaltender in QMJHL history to reach 100 wins. He went on to set Halifax franchise records for most regular-season wins (126), most playoff wins (35), and most shutouts (15) before being traded to the Quebec Ramparts in the middle of the 2014-15 season, leading the Ramparts to a runner-up finish that postseason.

Move to Pro Hockey

Fucale, the number one goaltender in the 2013 NHL Draft, was selected 36th overall by the Montreal Canadiens. He spent the 2015-16 season with the American Hockey League’s (AHL) St. John’s IceCaps, finishing with a 3.13 GAA and a .903 SV% in 42 games. He also spent some time with the Canadians due to an injury to Carey Price but didn’t see any playing time.

He played most of the next season with the Brampton Beast of the ECHL, posting a 3.17 GAA and an .898 SV% in 46 games. A free agent following the season, he signed a one-year deal with the Vegas Golden Knights, tallying 20 wins, a 3.18 GAA, and an .894 SV% in 34 games for the Fort Wayne Komets, Vegas’ ECHL affiliate.

Fucale played one game for the Syracuse Crunch (AHL) and 24 games for the Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL) in 2019-20 before signing with EHC Red Bull Munchen of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), Germany’s top hockey league. Due to injury and the COVID-19 pandemic, he never played a game in Germany.

Record Start to NHL Career

The Washington Capitals signed Fucale to a one-year deal on Aug. 19, 2020. He gave up 20 goals in 11 games for the Hershey Bears (Washington’s AHL affiliate) in 2020-21 and re-signed with the Capitals for two more years on March 28, 2021.

On Nov. 11, 2021, he finally made his NHL debut, stopping all 21 shots he faced in a 2-0 road win over the Detroit Red Wings. He became the first Capitals goaltender to record a shutout in his debut and the first NHL player to do so since Nov. 2015 (Garret Sparks).

The Capitals couldn’t have asked for more from Fucale in his NHL debut (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The 26-year-old’s next appearance came last Friday in St. Louis. He relieved Ilya Samsonov after giving up four goals in two periods and turned away all seven shots he saw in a 5-1 loss to the Blues. On Saturday night, the rookie got the start at home against the Minnesota Wild, needing to shut them out for at least 23:48 to break the NHL record.

Fucale did that and more, holding off Minnesota until Mats Zuccarello scored with 35 seconds left in regulation. Upon hearing that he broke the record said, “That’s incredible. I did not know that. That’s wild, wild stuff. It’s a good, quality night, but I’m mad at myself at that [Zuccarello] goal. To me, that’s a tough goal to give. Just another little experience I’ve got to learn from.”

Drop That Puck!

Ah, the ceremonial puck-drop—such an underrated part of the in-game experience of watching pro hockey live. Sure, for some, it represents added buffer time to grab a pregame beer. But teams have gotten pretty creative in spicing up the long-time ritual, striking an emotional chord, going for laughs, and sometimes having things get unintentionally hilarious.

Then there are times when the ceremonial drop might overshadow anything happening in the actual game. Need a few examples? Well, look no further!

Monkeying Around

Remember the Anaheim Angels’ famous rally monkey? She’s taken her talents to the ice these days. “Katie” was on hand for the pre-game festivities ahead of the Anaheim Ducks’ Sunday contest against the Detroit Red Wings. Not only did she make the puck drop look easy, but she preserved her status as a good luck charm for Anaheim teams after the Ducks went on to win 4-3 in a shootout.

A Long Way Down

The Toronto Maple Leafs wanted to do something special to usher in the shortened 2012-13 season in their home opener, so they looked to outer space. Canadian astronaut and Leafs’ fan Chris Hadfield handled puck drop duties from aboard the International Space Station, demonstrating the puck’s gravity-less floating mid-air before “plummeting” down to Earth in a moment that, while requiring some suspension of disbelief, was still pretty cool.

A Robot Dog? Yep, a Robot Dog

Late last season, Spot managed to handle puck drop duties for the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks despite lacking a head. That’s because Spot is the robotic dog from MARS Lab Canada brought in as a guest by the technical college. He may not resemble any furry friend you’ve ever seen, but that waggle to drop the puck looked pretty realistic!

From the Rafters

The Western Hockey League’s Everett Silvertips used their “Local Heroes” night to deliver a puck drop to remember. A special ops helicopter member made the long trip from the rafters of Angels of the Winds Arena, rappelling down to center ice to get things started. As if that wasn’t cool enough, they had the first-person perspective camera angle to go along with it.

Trivia Answers

  1. 2000
  2. 1989-90
  3. 14 Seasons

Click here for more Ken Daneyko news and trivia!

NHL Standings

NHL’s Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule