January 27 – Player Nicknames & the Canucks’ New GM

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

ALLVIN!!!!: The Vancouver Canucks announced they hired Patrik Allvin as the team’s 12th general manager. The 47-year-old is no stranger to success and held the title of assistant general manager with the Pittsburgh Penguins for the past 16 seasons and won the Stanley Cup three times (2009, 2016, 2017).

OUCH!: Injuries hit a pair of teams situated very differently within the NHL standings. The Central Division-leading Colorado Avalanche lost star Nathan MacKinnon to an upper-body injury after colliding with Taylor Hall of the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night, while the basement-dwelling Montreal Canadiens will be without Jonathan Drouin indefinitely on account of an upper-body injury of his own.

OFFENSIVE OUTBURSTS: The Calgary Flames set a new franchise record with 62 shots on net as they blitzed the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 6-0 shutout win. Meanwhile, Dylan Strome’s first career hat trick led the Chicago Blackhawks to an eight-goal explosion in an 8-5 win over the Detroit Red Wings.

DELL WITH IT: Buffalo Sabres goaltender Aaron Dell had a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety for Tuesday night’s interference on Ottawa Senators forward Drake Batherson. The result is a three-game suspension for Dell in addition to forfeiting $11,250.00.

TKACHUK-ING INTO VEGAS: The Senators announced that their captain, Brady Tkachuk, is heading to the All-Star game to replace Batherson. This will be his second All-Star appearance. In 33 games this season, he has 12 goals and 27 points.

GET CARTER: The Pittsburgh Penguins announced that they have agreed to terms with Jeff Carter on a two-year contract extension with an average annual value of $3.125 million. Carter, who won two Stanley Cups during his time with the Los Angeles Kings, currently ranks third on the team with 12 goals.

Top-Shelf Thursday – Player Nicknames

Throughout NHL history, players have been given some iconic nicknames from teammates and fans. The classics include “The Great One,” “Mr. Hockey,” and “Super Mario,” just to name a few. Here at the Morning Skate, we decided to break down some of our favorite nicknames from players still active in the league, starting with arguably the most legendary of them all:

“Jumbo” – Joe Thornton

Does any current player have a more fitting nickname than 42-year-old Joe Thornton? Standing at 6-foot-4 and tipping the scale at 220 pounds, the name “Jumbo” makes perfect sense, but did you know there is more to the story? Thornton’s hometown of St. Thomas, Ontario, was where Jumbo the Elephant from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus died. The town built a statue and when Thornton was drafted, a link was made between his size, hometown and the statue.

“Big Rig” – Patrick Maroon

Like Thornton, Maroon’s stature fits the name, as he is listed at 6-foot-3 and 238 pounds. It was Anaheim Ducks teammate Andrew Cogliano who gave him the nickname “Big Rig.” During an interview with The Athletic, Cogliano shared, “He’s just a big man, he’s a big rig. I don’t know how it came about, probably just making fun of him doing his thing in Anaheim. But the nickname caught on. I should definitely be looking into royalties, though, for how much Big Rig has taken off.”

Pasta – David Pastrňák

David Pastrňák’s “Pasta” nickname has opened doors to charitable initiatives for the Boston Bruins star. In 2021, the 25-year-old teamed up with Stop & Shop to unveil the Pasta pasta boxes of penne, which were on sale for 88 cents at select grocery stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island to support pediatric cancer research. To no surprise, the black-and-gold boxes featuring a picture of Pastrňák, along with his signature and the Bruins logo, flew off the shelves.

David Pastrňák of the Boston Bruins (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Types of Players You Find on 2022 Olympic Rosters

Now that Canada has finally announced its entry into the 2022 Olympic men’s hockey tournament, we have a pretty clear picture of how every country’s roster stacks up heading into Beijing. When you look closely at how the lineups for the 12 participating nations have been constructed, there are some clear trends and patterns that emerge.

Here are the various types of players you’re likely to find as you navigate your way through a sea of vaguely familiar names as you get set to cheer on their bid for gold:

Old Guys

Always a young man’s game, the NHL has only gotten faster and faster, leaving some pretty good, albeit long in the tooth, players behind. While they’d ideally prefer to be continuing their careers in the league, Olympic participation offers a shot at a gold medal and a chance to catch the attention of an NHL team in need of some experience for the playoff push. In Beijing, players like Eric Staal (Canada) and David Krejčí (Czech Republic) will represent the old guard.

Young Future NHLers

From one end of the age spectrum to the other, a perfect storm of the NHL’s opt-out, coupled with an inordinate amount of top 2021 picks returning to college, has enabled the Olympics to offer a preview of future hockey stars. University of Michigan teammates Owen Power (Canada) and Matty Beniers (USA) are bound for China before their NHL careers begin, as are American teenagers Drew Commesso and Jake Sanderson.

The “Wait, He’s Not in the NHL Anymore?” Guys

If we’re being honest, there are a few players who popped up on rosters that prompted us to do a double-take and re-affirm that NHLers aren’t, in fact, permitted to play. I feel like I just saw guys like Steven Kampfer (USA), Michael Frolik (Czech Republic), Mikhail Grigorenko (Team ROC), and Jacob de la Rose (Sweden) while surfing through NHL Center Ice. Finland’s Leo Komarov feels that way, too, but that’s because he was just in the league, getting into a game this season.

Leo Komarov, former New York Islander (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

International Standouts

The lack of NHL participation means spots occupied by players you’re only faintly aware of, but here’s the thing: they’re still pretty darn good. If they are thriving in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) or the Swedish Hockey League, they are standing out amidst some pretty formidable hockey talent. In other words, keep an eye out for Vadim Shipachyov (Team ROC) and Corban Knight (Canada), who are starring in the KHL after fizzling out of the NHL.

Getting to Know: New Canucks GM Patrik Allvin

Jim Rutherford’s remaking of the Vancouver Canucks’ front office was completed on Wednesday when the club officially announced the hiring of 47-year-old Patrik Allvin as the team’s new GM. After taking a closer look at Vancouver’s trail-blazing new assistant GM earlier in the week, let’s get to know Allvin:

  • Allvin was born in Falun, Sweden, on Oct. 10, 1974. He is the first Swedish GM in NHL history.
  • Allvin played pro hockey for nine years (1993-2001). A left-handed defenseman, he split his career between Sweden and North America, where he played in the now-defunct International Hockey League and the ECHL.
  • In all, he played for 10 different pro teams: Arvika HC (1993-94), IK Vita Hasten (1994-95), Atlanta Knights (three games in 1995), Nashville Knights (1995-96), Quebec Rafales (two games in 1996), Pensacola Ice Pilots (1996-97), Bodens IK (1997-98), Mora IK (1998-99, 2000-02), Leksands IF (1999-00), and Sparta Sarpsborg (2000-01).
  • He played in 380 regular-season games during his career, tallying 34 goals and 63 assists.
  • He broke into the scouting ranks as a European scout for the Montreal Canadiens from 2002-06.
  • He worked for the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2006 to 2022, rising through the ranks from European scout to head of European scouting, Director of Amateur Scouting, and assistant GM.
  • He was named interim GM of the Penguins following Jim Rutherford’s resignation on Jan. 27, 2021. He held that post until Feb. 9, when Ron Hextall was hired as the new GM.
The face you make when your new boss is the first NHL GM from your home country.

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