January 7 — The Hockey Writers Celebrates 13 Years!

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Last Night’s News 📰

GAME-WINNING DEBUT: Marco Rossi and Matt Boldy made their NHL debut last night for the Minnesota Wild against the Boston Bruins. Rossi logged 16:19 of time on ice (TOI), including 6:22 on the power play, while Massachusetts native Matt Boldy notched his first NHL goal and the eventual game-winner with his family in the stands

YOU CAT TO BE KITTEN ME: In a 6-4 Arizona Coyotes win over the Chicago Blackhawks that featured Johan Larsson netting his first goal of the season and hat trick in his career, the play of the night went to Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat, combining for an incredible display of hand-eye coordination. 

TEN-PEN BOWLING: Pittsburgh is the first team to string 10 wins together this season after the Penguins won the Battle of Pennsylvania over the Philadelphia Flyers last night, 6-2. Leading the way for the Pens was the red-hot Bryan Rust, who has 11 points in his first three games of the calendar year, joining Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux as the only players to accomplish the feat since the expansion era. 

A JUMBO MILESTONE: After a 16-day layoff, the Dallas Stars are back on the ice and in the win column after defeating the Florida Panthers 6-5 in a shootout. Denis Gurianov had three points for the Stars, as Dallas spoiled Joe Thornton’s 1,700th career game. Thornton joins Patrick Marleau (1,779), Gordie Howe (1,767), Mark Messier (1,756), Jaromír Jágr (1,733), and Ron Francis (1,731) as the only players to reach the milestone.

Friday Favorites

The first week of 2022 is in the books, and it brought some fun moments for fans, including the Winter Classic and a surprise team at the top of the standings. Let’s look back at our favorite moments of the week.

Another Winter Classic in the Books

And just like that, the Winter Classic is over. Minnesota fans finally witnessed hockey at Target Field after 2021’s game got postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 38,519 fans braved the cold to see the Blues beat the Wild by a score of 6-4. Jordan Kyrou notched four points for the Blues, which is the most earned by any player in a Winter Classic. 

Coleman Gets Stanley Cup Ring

Yesterday, the Calgary Flames faced the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. Before the game, Blake Coleman, his wife Jordan, and daughter Charlie received his second Stanley Cup ring, meeting with former teammates Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh for a group photo before hitting the ice. Coleman left the Lightning as a free agent this past summer after winning back-to-back championships with Tampa Bay. 

Smashville Back on Top

The Nashville Predators are ending the week in the number one spot in the Central Division. They are 8-1-1 in their last 10 and have been playing surprisingly well, considering they traded Ryan Ellis during the offseason and are in a “creative rebuild.” Both Roman Josi and Mikael Granlund lead the team with 30 points in 32 games. It appears all is well in Smashville.

The Hero We Deserve

Of course, our favorite moment of the year happened last weekend, as Brian “Red” Hamilton of the Vancouver Canucks and Seattle Kraken fan Nadia Popovici were reunited. Relive the incredible moment through Popovici’s own words as she sat down to talk with our very own Ben Fisher.

By the Numbers – Happy Birthday, THW!

In our birthday feature on Monday, we neglected to mention the most important milestone to celebrate—The Hockey Writers turns 13! That’s right, your favorite source of in-depth hockey coverage has officially reached its teenage years, founded on Jan. 7, 2009. 

Thirteen years later, plenty has changed for the site, the sport of hockey, and the world as a whole. With the assistance of the site’s owner/founder/fearless leader Bruce Hollingdrake, let’s take a By the Numbers look back at THW as it hits the big 1-3. Cue the shameless self-congratulations!

65,800: Total number of articles published to date—and counting!

100,000+: Comments posted by readers (and a couple of them were even positive!)

100s: Number of contributing writers worldwide in THW history.

5,000,000: Average number of readers on the site each month.

59,000,000+: Pageviews over 2021, the most successful year in site history.

32,000,000+: Number of total readers in 2021

225,000,000+: Total page views in the history of the site.

150,000+: Views on The Hockey Writers YouTube channel in 2021.

30,000+: Followers for the site’s Facebook page.

28,000+: Followers for the site’s official Twitter account, @TheHockeyWriter.

1,400+: Followers for the site’s Instagram account, thehockeywriters_.

Who Else is Celebrating?

On Jan. 7, 2009, The Hockey Writers was born, sharing the day with 35 past and present NHLers born on the seventh day of the year. Nine played over 500 games in the league, seven registered at least 100 points, two won more than 200 games in net, five are currently in the league, and two have made it to the Hockey Hall of Fame. So blow up the balloons and get out the party hats, here are a couple of notable NHL players who share a birthday with The Hockey Writers.

Babe Pratt

Babe Pratt (THW Archives)

Walter “Babe” Pratt was born on Jan. 7, 1916. The Canadian started his career in 1935 with the New York Rangers, winning the Stanley Cup in 1939-40. After being traded by the Rangers to Toronto in Nov. 1942, Pratt won the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP in 1944. He became the fourth defenseman in NHL history to win the award (and only one of eight defensemen in history) while also helping the Maple Leafs to the Stanley Cup in 1944-45.

In the middle of the following season, Pratt received a suspension for gambling on games (which he admitted to but denied betting against his team). After promising to stop, he was reinstated within the month and rejoined the Leafs, before his final NHL stop with the Boston Bruins in 1946-47. He played in the minors for five more years before retiring from hockey in 1952.

Pratt played 518 games in the NHL, tallying 83 goals and 210 assists. He added 12 goals and 17 assists in 63 playoff games. The elite defenseman was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966 and appeared in various roles for the Vancouver Canucks organization until his death in 1988.

Mike Liut

Another successful goaltender with a Jan. 7 birthday, Mike Liut was born in 1956. He was selected 56th overall by the St. Louis Blues in the 1976 NHL Draft. However, opted to play for the Cincinnati Stingers of the World Hockey Association (WHA) instead and joined the Blues when the WHA merged with the NHL in 1979. In 1980-81, his second season with St. Louis, Liut won the Lester B. Pearson Award (now the Ted Lindsay Award) as the league’s most valuable player as voted upon by the NHL Players’ Association. He also finished second in the voting for the Hart Trophy that year, behind some guy named Wayne Gretzky.

St. Louis traded Liut to the Hartford Whalers during the 1984-85 season, where he led the Whalers to their first and only playoff series victory in 1985 and their only division title in 1985-86. Hartford traded him to the Washington Capitals near the end of the 1989-90 season, and he helped lead the franchise to its first conference final appearance.

Mike Liut of the St. Louis Blues (Photo by B Bennett/Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

After encountering back problems, Liut retired in 1992. His 251 wins during the 1980s were the most of any NHL goaltender in that decade. He finished his career with an .883 save percentage (SV%) and a 3.49 goals-against average (GAA) in 663 games, along with an .889 SV% and 3.39 GAA in 67 playoff games. He now works as a sports agent.

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