November 17 — Talking Torts & Throwback Thursday

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

REAVES OUT?: New York Rangers forward Ryan Reaves has been a healthy scratch four of the last five games, and his days in New York could be near an end. He said that he has been putting in the work at practices, but ultimately, it might come down to a numbers game by stating, “We’ve got a lot of bodies around here, and I don’t know how it’s going to shake out.” Reaves currently has zero points in 12 games. 

FLOWER’S ON THE SHELF: Yesterday, the Minnesota Wild placed goaltender Marc-André Fleury on injured reserve due to an upper-body injury. Fleury did not practice on Wednesday after making 23 saves in a loss to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday and will be out for at least seven days.

AN APPLE A DAY: For the Winnipeg Jets, it’s more like 56-84 days! That’s how long Mason Appleton will be out after having wrist surgery on Wednesday. Appleton suffered the injury during the second period of the Jets’ 3-2 overtime win against the Seattle Kraken on Sunday and will miss the next 8-12 weeks.

MOMS MAKE MEMORIES: Following a win against the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday, the St. Louis Blues brought their mothers on a two-game road trip to Colorado and Chicago. It was the first-ever mom’s trip for the Blues, who won both games to extend their winning streak to four in a row.

DOUBLE DUTY FOR DOUGIE: Not only have the New Jersey Devils been hot on the ice, but their social media game has also been on fire. After fans asked New Jersey’s Twitter account to reveal its admin if the Devils won 10 games in a row, the team responded with a video of Dougie Hamilton hard at work creating memes. Never change, Dougie! 

Throwback Thursday

To the surprise of many, the top three teams in the league are the Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils, and Vegas Golden Knights. Today, we look at the last time these respective teams had a hot start or long winning streak. Let’s start with the club that emerged as the beasts of the East.

The Last Time

Boston Bruins Had a Hot Start to the Season (Oct. 12, 1969 – Oct. 25, 1969)

  • “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” was the top movie at the box office.
  • The Beatles recently released “Abbey Road” (Sep. 26, 1969).
  • Matthew McConaughey was not yet born (Nov. 4, 1969).
  • The Vancouver Canucks, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary (Atlanta) Flames, and New York Islanders were not in the league.
  • Current Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery was a few months old. (June 30, 1969)

New Jersey Devils Won 10 Consecutive Games (Mar. 28, 2006 – Apr. 16, 2006)

  • Twitter was not available to the public.
  • “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter was the number-one song on the charts.
  • “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” would not air for another year and a half (Oct. 14, 2007).
  • “Scary Movie 4” was the top movie at the box office.
  • “Hannah Montana” debuted on the Disney Channel (Mar. 24, 2006).

Vegas Golden Knights Had a Hot Start to the Season (Jan. 14, 2021 – Feb. 27, 2021)

  • “Drivers License” by Olivia Rodrigo was the number-one song on the charts.
  • Bill and Melinda Gates were still married.
  • Britney Spears was still under conservatorship (Nov. 12, 2021).
  • Nick Cannon only had four children.
  • “Firefly Lane” was the top-streamed show on Netflix.

Tortorella Talk

Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella is one of the most quotable personalities in the NHL. He goes viral for his brutal honesty, and fans have come to get a chuckle out of it. There is never a dull moment on the Tortorella train, like when he went viral on Nov. 15 for a comment about the Flyers while facing the Columbus Blue Jackets. So, we figured we would go down memory lane and reminisce on some of his memorable quotes this season. 

Everything Sucks

That viral comment about the Flyers during the Blue Jackets game came during the first period while talking to the ESPN+ announcers behind the bench. The announcers asked Torts what his analysis was on his team’s play, considering they gave up the first goal. He responded, “We suck. We haven’t forechecked. We haven’t done anything as of right now.” Well, that certainly is honest! His team responded and fought back to force overtime but lost 5-4.

‘A’ for Effort

Philadelphia is now on a four-game losing streak, and on Nov. 13, Tortorella had words of encouragement for his squad instead of criticism. He backed his boys by stating, “You can boo us. You can talk s*** about us. I will back those guys because they are trying. I’m very pleased with the effort. I don’t give a s*** what people think about out here.” Torts may have a soft side that people aren’t used to seeing, even if expletives are involved. 

No Analytics Zone

Analytics have become a big part of the NHL. It has been implemented in scouting players and in constructing rosters and game plans for teams, but Torts is not a fan. He stated, “I think most analytics are trash. I believe in the eye test and the stomach.” Hard to disagree with the stomach test. If it’s a gut feeling, it’s usually right! 

Real or Fake: The New Jersey Devils

This weekly segment looks at a notable, eye-opening trend in the league, be it an individual or team performance, and examines whether it’s real or if it’s more likely an aberration that should correct itself over time.

Last season, it wasn’t until January that the New Jersey Devils notched their 13th win. By that point, the team was already 17 points back in the loaded Metropolitan Division and had just lost Dougie Hamilton to a jaw injury that cost him 17 games. In other words, their fate was in the books. This year’s 13th win came on Tuesday night amidst much more favorable circumstances, serving as the Metro-leading club’s 10th in a row.

New Jersey dropped its first two games of the season and has won 13 of 14 since, setting a blistering pace that has upended the entire division. Are the Devils here to stay?

Real: Young Stars Breaking Out

This surge of contention seems to have come out of nowhere, but GM Tom Fitzgerald and the Devils’ front office planned for it. By signing Hamilton, Ondřej Palát, and Erik Haula over the past two offseasons, there was a clear intent to add some outside help to bolster a core set to develop internally. That internal development is happening rapidly, as homegrown youngsters Jesper Bratt (24), Jack Hughes (21), and Nico Hischier (23) lead the team in scoring.

Fake: Feasting on an Easy Schedule

Tougher tests for the Devils are still to come. Only five of their first 16 games have come against playoff teams from a year ago. Although Vitek Vaněček‘s shutout of the Colorado Avalanche in late October was legitimately impressive, the other three clubs (Washington Capitals, Edmonton Oilers, and two games against the Calgary Flames) aren’t exactly setting the league on fire right now.

Real: Vaněček Shining

Given all the goalie-starved franchises this past summer, it’s a wonder that New Jersey landed Vaněček for what seems like a paltry return. To acquire the 26-year-old, who will earn $3.4 million this year ahead of restricted free agency, the Devils merely swapped second-rounders with the Capitals (that swap is looking good, by the way) and threw in a third-round pick. Now, Vaněček is 7-1 with a 2.17 goals-against average and .915 save percentage, numbers that stand as career-bests but don’t seem entirely out of line from the Czech netminder’s first two seasons.

Verdict: Some regression is likely, but these guys are for real, and a new era of New Jersey Devils hockey is clearly upon us.

NHL Standings

NHL’s Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule