March 31 — Cereal Wars, Television Twins & Joining the Club

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

FEELING FINE(S): A pair of forwards are a little lighter in the wallet today after the NHL handed down fines to Taylor Hall of the Boston Bruins and Tanner Jeannot of the Nashville Predators. Hall was fined $5,000 for punching Toronto Maple Leafs’ defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin, who would leave the game. Jeannot was dinged $2,000 for kneeing Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk. 

McDAVID THE MACHINE: For the fifth time in seven seasons, Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid has registered 100 points. With a goal and an assist—as well as the shootout winner—in Wednesday’s 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings, McDavid joins legends Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, and Mark Messier as the only Oilers to hit triple digits at least five times. 

REPRESENTATION MATTERS: In honor of the organization’s fourth annual First Nations Night, the Vancouver Canucks wore special orange warm-up jerseys designed by local artist Chase Gray. Gray used local Indigenous art and colors to inspire his design, as the Canucks also honored St. Louis Blues head coach Craig Berube, a member of the Cree Nation. 

GOLIGOSKI STAYS PUT: On Wednesday, the Minnesota Wild signed defenseman and Minnesota native Alex Goligoski to a two-year, $4 million extension. Goligoski was set to become a free agent after this season and has recorded two goals and 26 assists for 28 points this year. 

Defensemen 80-Point Club

On Sunday, Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators became just the fourth defenseman since the turn of the 21st century to reach 80 points in a season. The 31-year-old, who was selected 38th overall by the Predators in the 2008 NHL Draft, currently sits at 81 points (18 goals, 63 assists) through 65 games, 16 more than his previous career-high (65, which he accomplished in 69 games in 2019-20).

Roman Josi, Nashville Predators (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In the history of the NHL, there have been 57 total 80-point seasons recorded by defensemen. Out of those 57, only four, including Josi’s, have come since 2000. Sunday, he joined Nicklas Lidström, Erik Karlsson, and Brent Burns in that exclusive club. Let’s take a look at those other three 80-point seasons.

Niklas Lidström, 2005-06 (80 Points)

The Detroit Red Wings legend, who won the James Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman seven times and helped lead the Red Wings to four Stanley Cup titles during his 20-year career, registered at least 50 points in 15 of those seasons, including 2005-06.

Red Wings Nicklas Lidström. (Photo by Amanda Nitz)

That year, the 35-year-old Lidström posted 80 points (16 goals, 64 assists) in 80 games. The season-long performance helped the 14-year veteran win his fourth Norris Trophy, an award he also won each of the next two seasons.

Thanks to Lidström’s output, Detroit won the Presidents’ Trophy with the best record in the NHL (58-16-8) that year. However, the Wings were upset in the first round of the playoffs by the Edmonton Oilers.

Erik Karlsson, 2015-16 (82 Points)

The current San Jose Sharks defenseman was drafted 15th overall by the Ottawa Senators in 2008, almost reached 80 points in his third season, scoring 78 points (19 goals, 59 assists) in 82 games in 2011-12. Four years later, the then 25-year-old did reach the mark, posting 82 points (16 goals, 66 assists) in 82 games for the Senators.

Erik Karlsson, former Ottawa Senator (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Despite a career-high point total, Karlsson, who had won his second Norris Trophy the year before, didn’t win it in 2015-16, finishing second to Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings. It didn’t help that the Senators finished 38-35-9, eight points short of a playoff spot.

After nine seasons in Ottawa, the Senators traded Karlsson to San Jose on Sep. 13, 2018. Through 42 games this season, he has 10 goals and 21 assists for the Sharks, who currently sit at 29-28-8, 11 points out of a playoff spot.

Brent Burns, 2018-19 (83 Points)

Josi is likely to blow past the highest single-season point total for defensemen this century. For the time being, Burns’ 2018-19 season holds that distinction. Selected 20th overall by the Minnesota Wild in the 2003 NHL Draft, the 37-year-old Burns has five seasons of 60 points or more, all between 2014-2019, for the Sharks.

Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The final of those five straight 60-point seasons was an 83-point effort (16 goals, 67 assists) in 82 games. Burns, like Karlsson, finished second for the Norris Trophy that year, losing out to Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames in 2018-19.

Unlike Karlsson, Burns’ team made the postseason. The Sharks finished 46-27-9 and made it to the Western Conference Final, where they lost to the eventual champions, the St. Louis Blues, in six games. This season, Burns has 42 points (six goals, 36 assists) in 65 games for San Jose.

Television Twins: Yellowstone

Did you know that the “Yellowstone” season four finale became the most-watched cable telecast in the US since the season eight premiere of “The Walking Dead” in 2017? As I sat down to unwind for the day, I put on season four and noticed parallels between these iconic television characters and some of our favorite NHL players. Who doesn’t love when we can combine pop culture and hockey. Warning: spoilers ahead if you haven’t caught up with what’s going on at Yellowstone Ranch. Let’s dive in. 

Sidney Crosby as John Dutton

John Dutton is one of the most respected and influential members of his community, similar to Sidney Crosby and his growing legacy in Pittsburgh. While it appears they are getting pushed out by a younger generation, they both remain at the top and are unfazed by the threats around them. With McDavid and Matthews having explosive seasons in the prime of their careers, Crosby is showing age is just a number by putting up 70 points in 56 games

Brad Marchand as Beth Dutton

They are the epitome of a person you love to have fighting alongside you but despise when they are against you. Both are known to fight dirty. Whether it’s getting an activist thrown into jail or licking an opposing player, Beth and Marchand will do whatever it takes to win. For better or worse, they repeatedly leave fans entertained and sitting at the edge of their seats waiting to see what happens next. 

Jonathan Toews as Jamie Dutton

Like Jamie Dutton, Jonathan Toews has been a loyal soldier to Chicago and the Blackhawks. He has been the captain of the Blackhawks since he was 20 years old and has carried the team on his shoulders to three Stanley Cup championships. Life for both of these men changed after respective surprises, coming in the form of a birth certificate for Jamie and a Brandon Hagel trade for Toews. After the move, Toews said that “for the longest time, the thought never entered my mind to leave Chicago. In this case, you can’t help but picture yourself and what it’d be like to play for another team and what that experience would bring.” Jamie left Dutton Ranch, but does that mean Toews will move on from the Madhouse on Madison?

Jack Eichel as Kayce Dutton

It has been a rough road for Jack Eichel and the youngest Dutton son. After a difficult time at the ranch, Kayce left to search for peace and found a home on the reservation. As much as Eichel tried, he could not make things work in Buffalo, as everything came to an ugly head when sides were unable to agree on the path for his surgery. Both Kayce and Eichel found a new home but realized the grass may not always be greener on the other side. For the first time in their short history, the Vegas Golden Knights may be one of the most hated franchises in the league. Hopefully, both can find peace sooner rather than later.

Cereal Showdown: Marchand vs Tavares

On Tuesday night, Brad Marchand and John Tavares exchanged pleasantries during a feisty affair between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs. Is it possible that the lingering animosity between the two stars had to do with breakfast cereal?

Okay, so that’s probably a stretch. However, the two veteran forwards recently released their respective cereal brands through PLB Sports & Entertainment. Marchand unveiled his new signature “March Munch Cinnamon Crunch” cereal last week, while Tavares debuted his own “Recipe 91” cereal on Tuesday. As their long-standing on-ice battle takes on an off-ice component, let’s break down each man’s new breakfast offering:

What’s In It?

March Munch Cinnamon Crunch: Given Marchand’s well-documented love of breakfast cereal, the only surprising thing about his foray into the market is that it didn’t come sooner. Nevertheless, going the cinnamon toast crunch route guarantees a tasty, flavorful cereal that’s at least worth a try. Still, they should’ve tried to find a way to get some “March”-mellow in there, no?

Recipe 91: Your kid may be excited to have Tavares’ cereal, but the contents likely won’t be as compelling. Ever the health nut, Tavares concocted a granola cereal that features dark chocolate, dried blueberries, and coconut. Boring? Yeah, but then it’s pretty well-suited for the Maple Leafs’ captain!

Charitable Cause

MMCC: A portion of the sales from Marchand’s cereal will benefit Christopher’s Haven, a Boston-based organization operating an affordable living community for families of children fighting cancer.

Recipe 91: Proceeds from Recipe 91 will benefit the John Tavares Foundation, dedicated to educating kids on proper nutrition while promoting mental and physical health and well-being.

He Said It

Marchand: “Growing up as a kid I would see different athletes with their own cereal, I just never thought it would be me one day.”

Tavares: “All proceeds from our limited-edition cereal will go directly towards helping kids reach their fullest potential.”

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