January 17 — No All-Star Left Behind & NHL Female Firsts

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LAST MEN IN: Voting for the NHL All-Star Game’s “Last Men In” will conclude tonight at 11:59 PM EST. Make sure to get your final votes in before the deadline!

SWEATER SEASON: One of the fun things that come along with the All-Star Game roster announcement is the release of the ASG jerseys. This year, Adidas will supply blue and red ADIZERO Prime Green Authentic NHL jerseys made with at least 60% recycled material. 

CANUCKS QUIET CAPS: In the only game on Sunday, and the first game back in Washington since Bruce Boudreau took over behind the bench, the Vancouver Canucks outgunned the Washington Capitals 4-2. Elias Pettersson scored two goals, while Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller each added a goal and an assist to end the Canucks’ three-game losing streak. Alex Ovechkin scored his 26th goal of the season and 1,374th point of his career, moving him into a tie with Mike Modano for 24th all-time. 

Room for One More

Today is the deadline for the “Last Men In” NHL Fan Vote, welcoming one more All-Star per division. Is it a shameless ploy to entice people to create NHL.com accounts? Of course, but it’s also an opportunity to right some of the wrongs of the initial All-Star announcement.

Based on the questionable rules around the initial All-Star team selections, there remain plenty deserving candidates still holding out hope for an opportunity to head to Las Vegas for All-Star Weekend on Feb. 4 and 5. You can see who we think deserves to join in the fun below. Who do you have as the last men invited?

Atlantic Division: Steven Stamkos – Tampa Bay Lightning

It would’ve been nice to acknowledge the Florida Panthers’ exceptional season thus far and send a highly deserving Aleksander Barkov as the team’s second All-Star to go with Jonathan Huberdeau. But with only 25 games under his belt, it becomes that much harder to deny the incredible turn-back-the-clock season of Steven Stamkos, who has 46 points in 39 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Metropolitan Division: Jake Guentzel – Pittsburgh Penguins

Here, it’s a toss-up between Jake Guentzel of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Evgeny Kuznetsov of the Washington Capitals. I’ll give Guentzel the slight edge, as the Nebraska native has one fewer point (37 to 38) but in five fewer games. And while both of these clubs probably deserve more than the one All-Star representative they currently have, a Penguins team without a single skater at the mid-season exhibition seems like sacrilege.

Central Division: Nazem Kadri – Colorado Avalanche

Roman Josi should probably be Vegas-bound given the half-season he’s enjoying in Nashville, but this one’s pretty easy. You’d have to figure the NHL is rooting for Nazem Kadri to make it through the vote, given that his inclusion would likely let them off the hook in light of criticisms from Nathan MacKinnon on the ASG selection format. Plus, there’s the whole “fifth in league scoring” thing.

Pacific Division: Troy Terry – Anaheim Ducks

Troy Terry doesn’t lead the Pacific Division “Last Men In” candidates in points. That distinction belongs to J.T. Miller of the Vancouver Canucks. However, Terry, the goals leader (22) among the group, gets the nod as the leading scorer on the exciting, young Anaheim Ducks, who currently remain in a playoff position.

Female Firsts in the NHL

Last Thursday night, Aisha Visram was behind the bench as the Los Angeles Kings’ head athletic trainer for their home game against the New York Rangers. In doing so, she became the first woman to ever serve behind an NHL bench in any capacity.

Visram, whose regular role is as the head athletic trainer for the Ontario Reign, LA’s AHL affiliate, was called up to serve as the Kings’ trainer after several staff members entered COVID-19 protocols on Thursday. She joined the Kings on Jan. 13, 2021, after serving as a trainer for the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder from 2017-20. Before that, she was a trainer for the men’s and women’s hockey teams at St. Lawrence University.

It likely won’t be Visram’s last time behind the bench at an NHL game, and she won’t be the last woman to do it. There have been impactful women throughout the league’s history, and as more are getting the opportunity to make an impact, more barriers get broken. Here are just a few other notable female pioneers in the NHL:

Marguerite Norris

Norris’ father, James Norris, was the owner of the Detroit Red Wings. When he died in 1952, his 25-year-old daughter became president of the team, making Norris the first female executive in the NHL. She served in the role for three years, and in two of those years (1954 and 1955), the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup, making her the first woman to have her name engraved on the trophy.

Manon Rhéaume

The goaltender, who made history in multiple men’s minor leagues, tried out for a newly-created expansion team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, in 1992. She started and played one period of a preseason game on Sep. 23, 1992, stopping seven of nine shots against the Boston Bruins. Not only did Rhéaume become the first woman to play in the NHL, but she also became the first woman to play in any of the major North American men’s sports leagues.

Dawn Braid

In August 2016, the Arizona Coyotes hired Braid as their skating coach, making her the first woman to hold a full-time gig on an NHL coaching staff. Before joining the Coyotes, she had worked as a consultant with many NHL teams. After two years with the team, she left to go back to consulting.

Kendall Coyne Schofield

During the NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Jan. 19, 2019, the league invited Coyne Schofield to help demonstrate the fastest skater challenge. However, she became Nathan MacKinnon’s replacement when he backed out of the event due to injury. Coyne Schofield finished seventh out of eight skaters, becoming the first woman to participate in an event during NHL All-Star Weekend

Leah Hextall

On March 8, 2020, a year after becoming the first woman to call an NCAA Men’s Championship game, Hextall became the first woman to call play-by-play of a nationally-televised NHL game. She was part of an all-female crew that broadcast an International Women’s Day game between the Vegas Golden Knights and Calgary Flames for Sportsnet.

Player Spotlight – Gabriel Landeskog

Gabriel Landeskog was the NHL’s first star of the week ending Jan. 9, 2022, leading the NHL with four goals and three assists for seven points in three games played. On Jan. 6, he earned his fourth career hat trick and sixth career four-point performance. Colorado’s captain currently has 36 points in 27 games, including two game-winning goals. Fans know plenty about what the 29-year-old can bring to the ice, but what about his off-ice interests and favorite things? Let’s check in.

Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Which player, besides Gretzky, would you like to go back in time and play with:

Peter Forsberg

Who has the best nickname in the NHL:

Pasta (David Pastrňák)

All-time favorite board game:


What TV shows did he binge during quarantine:

Tiger King

Coolest reverse retro jersey? (other than your own):

Carolina Hurricanes

Most overrated/underrated TV show:

Seinfeld/Game of Thrones

Favorite Actor:

Vince Vaughn & Kevin Hart

Most embarrassing NHL moment:

Being turned inside out by Evgeni Malkin my rookie season.

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