January 13 — 2020 Draft Progress & Top McCauley Moments

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

DUELING IN THE DESERT: It was a two-man offensive show in Arizona last night, as Ryan Dzingel of the Coyotes and Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs accounted for all three goals in the Coyotes’ 2-1 win. Matthews set the Maple Leafs record by scoring in his ninth-straight road game, while Dzigel scored for the first time since Nov. 20 and goaltender Karel Vejmelka made 45 saves for the Yotes. 

MARCHAND TO GOAL: Brad Marchand notched a hat trick for the fifth time in his career, leading the Boston Bruins to a 5-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. His third goal came while the Bruins were shorthanded, tying Brian Rolston and Guy Carbonneau for 14th in NHL history with 33, in addition to scoring eight goals in his last four games. 

JOE FI-VELSKI: For the first time in his 16-year career, Joe Pavelski recorded five points in one game in the Dallas Stars‘ 5-2 win over the Seattle Kraken. Pavelski earned First-Star honors with two goals and three assists on Wednesday night, becoming the first player 37 years old or older to post five points since Teemu Selanne in March 2011. 

GROWING THE GAME: Former college football player and TikTok influencer, Clifford Taylor IV, attended his first NHL game on Jan. 8 in Los Angeles. Equipped with a custom jersey featuring his name and college number, Taylor took in the Kings vs. Detroit Red Wings game and posted his experience to his social media accounts. It seems the Kings have earned a life-long fan! 

Top-Shelf Thursday – Top Wes McCauley Moments

Wes McCauley has been a referee in the NHL since the 2005-06 season. Over that time, he has become an icon and a favorite among fans. The Ontario native has officiated the Stanley Cup Final in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2020 and just celebrated his birthday on Jan. 11. The Morning Skate crew thought it would be fun to celebrate some of the reasons fans have dubbed him one of the best referees of all time.

Wes McCauley indicates a goal in the first-round series between the Leafs and Bruins (Flickr/slidingsideways)

His On-Ice Personality

Fans have complained for years that NHL players do not show enough personality. Thankfully, we have McCauley, who always makes sure his buoyant disposition is on full display. Whether it’s telling Mitch Marner that he loves ice cream in between plays or laughing when he realizes his mic is off, he always provides fans with enjoyable moments. 

The Dramatic Calls

McCauley has built a reputation for delivering some of the most dramatic penalties and review calls in the NHL. Seeing him announce an infraction, especially for fighting, is as iconic as Sidney Crosby’s Golden Goal at the 2010 Olympics. He always makes sure to bring laughter and suspense to a game, and for that, we will always appreciate him. 

Mic’d Up with Brad Marchand

In 2018, McCauley found himself refereeing the NHL All-Star Game. Seeing and hearing him interact with the players and coaches made fans appreciate the now 50-year-old even better. At one point in the middle of the game, he told the Boston Bruins forward that if he called a penalty on him, it would get the loudest cheer ever. Marchand couldn’t disagree, and it became one of the more memorable moments of the All-Star Game. 

From the Ice to the Boardroom

As you might have seen in the newsletter yesterday, Nick Lidström has joined the Detroit Red Wings’ front office as the VP of Hockey Operations. Putting aside how the Hall of Fame defenseman will fare as an NHL executive, it is undeniably cool to see two linchpins of Hockeytown’s 90s era dominance—Lidström and GM Steve Yzerman—together again.

Lidström and Yzerman not only represent a pretty powerful nostalgia trip for Red Wings fans, but they also headline what is arguably the best group of on-ice talent within any front office. The architects of four Stanley Cups are joined in Detroit by fellow players-turned-executives Mark Howe, Pat Verbeek, Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, Nicklas Kronwall, Jiri Fischer, and Shawn Horcoff. If the Wings weren’t having a surprisingly decent season, we’d be joking about whether there’s more talent on the ice or in the boardroom.

Nick Lidström (Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE)

Checking out Detroit’s loaded hockey ops department got us thinking about other front offices that could still compete on the ice. And yeah, you know we’ve got some!

Toronto Maple Leafs

With the rich history and popularity of the Toronto Maple Leafs, having a star-laden department of community representatives makes sense. It also means that a front office already anchored by Hall of Famer Brendan Shanahan is buoyed by having the likes of Wendel Clark, Daryl Sittler, Curtis Joseph, and Darcy Tucker on the payroll. Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention all-time women’s hockey greats Hayley Wickenheiser and Danielle Goyette.

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins merit inclusion here on the presence of co-owner and chairman Mario Lemieux alone. But even beyond Super Mario, the Pens’ executive ranks feature a former All-Star goalie in Ron Hextall, plus Kevin Stevens, Craig Patrick, Jay McClement, and Trevor Daley.

Mario Lemieux dominated his time in the NHL. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Tampa Bay Lightning

Hall of Famers Dave Andreychuk and Phil Esposito headline a group that has overseen the two-time defending Stanley Cup champs after enjoying successful playing careers of their own. Also on the Lightning payroll are Jamie Pushor, Mathieu Darche, Stephen Gionta, Tony Hrkac, and J.P. Côté.

Boston Bruins

Everyone has seen team president Cam Neely getting animated from the owner’s box in the upper reaches of TD Garden, but the Bruins’ roster of former players in executive roles doesn’t end there. Don Sweeney, Jamie Langenbrunner, Adam McQuaid, and P.J. Axelsson spent extensive time in the NHL before joining Boston’s front office.

Cam Neely and Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs [cr: Delaware North PR]

Los Angeles Kings

It seems that people don’t mind living in LA. And so it probably wasn’t all that difficult to assemble a front office that includes Kings greats like Luc Robitaille, Rob Blake, and Glen Murray, along with Nelson Emerson, Mark Osborne, Christian Ruuttu, Niklas Andersson, and Yuri Khmylev.

Check-In: Top 10 of the 2020 Draft

Tuesday night, Jack Quinn, the eighth-overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, made his NHL debut for the Buffalo Sabres. Five days prior, 2020 ninth-overall pick Marco Rossi made his debut with the Minnesota Wild. With Rossi and Quinn getting called up within the last week, now’s as good a time as any to check in on the rest of the top-10 picks from the 2020 NHL Draft, which was unique in that it took place in October due to COVID-19 rather than July when it customarily takes place.

Checking in on the top 10 picks from the 2020 NHL Draft, which was held at the Bell Center in Montreal, Quebec (Courtesy Wikimedia)

1. Alexis Lafrenière, LW, New York Rangers

Lafrenière, the consensus top player in the 2020 Draft, made his NHL debut on Jan. 14, 2021. He played in 56 games for New York last season, totaling 12 goals and nine assists. Through 37 games this season, he has eight goals and three assists.

2. Quinton Byfield, C, Los Angeles Kings

The highest-drafted black player in NHL history, Byfield made his L.A. debut on April 28, 2021. He tallied an assist in six games for the Kings last season. He was poised to start this season with the big league club but fractured his ankle in October.

3. Tim Stützle, C, Ottawa Senators

Stützle, who has played center and wing, made his NHL debut on Jan. 15, 2021. He played in 53 games for the Senators last season, totaling 29 points (12 goals, 17 assists). He has five goals and 10 assists in 29 games this season.

4. Lucas Raymond, LW, Detroit Red Wings

Raymond is a front-runner for the Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year). The sensational Swede, who started the season on the Red Wings roster and scored in his Oct. 19 debut, currently ranks first among rookies in points (30), second in goals (10), and second in assists (20).

5. Jake Sanderson, D, Ottawa Senators

Sanderson, the son of former NHL forward Geoff Sanderson, has yet to sign with the Senators. The Montana native is currently in his sophomore year at the University of North Dakota. He has six goals and 16 assists in 17 games for the Fighting Hawks.

6. Jamie Drysdale, D, Anaheim Ducks

Drysdale made it to the NHL before his counterpart Sanderson, making his debut on March 18, 2021 (a game in which he had a goal and an assist). After registering eight points in 24 games last season for the Ducks, he has 16 points through 39 games of this campaign.

7. Alexander Holtz, RW, New Jersey Devils

After coming over from Sweden before the 2021-22 season, Holtz, whose father played two seasons of pro hockey, made his NHL debut on Nov. 5, appearing in six games for the Devils in November and another on Jan. 4. In those seven games, he has registered two assists.

8. Jack Quinn, RW, Buffalo Sabres

Before making his debut on Tuesday, Quinn played 20 games this season with the Rochester Americans (Buffalo’s AHL affiliate), tallying 12 goals and 14 assists. He had two goals and seven assists in 15 games with the Americans last season.

9. Marco Rossi, C, Minnesota Wild

The Austrian-born Rossi, whose father played pro hockey for 20 years, recorded five shots and four penalty minutes in two games since joining the Wild. In 21 games with the Iowa Wild (Minnesota’s AHL affiliate) this season, he had seven goals and 16 assists.

10. Cole Perfetti, C, Winnipeg Jets

Perfetti made his NHL debut on Oct. 13, 2021, and has appeared in three games for the Jets this season, totaling three shot attempts. In 17 games for the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, he’s scored six goals and added nine assists.

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