November 19 — Collapsing Canucks & Is He Retired?

Last Night’s News 📰

MAN OF THE BROUWER: A veteran of 851 NHL games, Troy Brouwer has officially retired from the NHL. The former winger for the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, and Washington Capitals notched three 20-plus goal seasons but is probably best known for his contributions to Chicago’s 2010 Stanley Cup victory.

DEFENDING THE FORTRESS: With the Golden Knights’ victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night, Vegas has now defeated all 31 teams in the NHL at T-Mobile Arena. There are only two arenas that the Golden Knights have yet to record a win in: TD Garden (Boston Bruins) and Scotiabank Arena (Toronto Maple Leafs).

McDAVID DOES IT AGAIN: Connor McDavid scored his second highlight-reel goal in as many weeks last night, as the Edmonton Oilers captain tied the game against the Winnipeg Jets late in the third period. McDavid and Kyle Turris scored in the shootout for Edmonton, who held on to improve to 7-1-1 at home this season.

HOME TO ROOST: On Thursday, the New York Islanders finally got to test out their new digs and skate at UBS Arena two nights before they host the Calgary Flames. After starting the first 13 games of the season on the road to allow for the completion of the arena, the Islanders will spend the next week playing four games in their new arena.

Friday Favorites

Let’s look back at some of our favorite moments from the week.

Ducks Fly Together

The Anaheim Ducks had themselves a night on Tuesday. Let’s recap all the awesomeness that occurred: 1) Ryan Getzlaf earned his 1,000th NHL point. 2) Troy Terry extended his point streak to 15 games. 3) Trevor Zegras scored his second goal of the game in overtime to secure the win. 4) That OT win earned the Ducks their 1,000th victory in franchise history. Oh, did I forget to mention this all occurred in front of the home crowd? As a fan, you can’t ask for anything better.

This One’s for You

Kevin Hayes scored his first goal of the season, and after the puck crossed the goal line, he pointed up toward the sky in honor of his late brother Jimmy, who passed away in August. Kevin’s team gathered around him, including Cam Atkinson who played with Jimmy at Boston College. Philadelphia’s trainers handed the puck to Hayes after the game who stated he will give it to his brother’s son Beau.

The Climb

I’m not sure if anyone is paying attention to the Washington Capitals, but I can safely say everyone is watching Alex Ovechkin this season. He continues his journey to catch Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goals record and recently passed Brett Hull for fourth on the leaderboard. Ovechkin scored goal No. 742 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and if you’re wondering—no, his celebrations do not get old.

Standin’ in the Hall

Jarome Iginla may not have won a Stanley Cup, but he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame this past week. He played for the Calgary Flames from 1996-2013 and won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy twice in his career. In 2002, Iginla became the first black man to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics. Congrats on an amazing career, Iggy!

Retired/Still Around: I’m Not Done Yet!

The retirement of bruising defenseman Dion Phaneuf earlier this week ushered in plenty of tributes. However, it was also met with plenty of jokes—and maybe some genuine surprise—that the three-time All-Star hadn’t already called it a career.

Perhaps Phaneuf can take some comfort in knowing that he’s not alone. Right now, there are a number of notable veteran players stuck in that awkward limbo where they aren’t ready to hang up the skates but can’t find an NHL team despite their decorated resume. In fact, it can be hard distinguishing between the guys that have called it quits and those still hanging around. At Morning Skate, we’re here to help with a little “Retired or Still Around” breakdown:

Retired: Justin Williams

Three-time Stanley Cup champion Justin Williams (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Justin Williams’ first departure from the NHL came back in September 2019, when he announced that he’d be “stepping away” from hockey to weigh his options. After a comeback with the Carolina Hurricanes that lasted 20 regular season and seven playoff games, “Mr. Game 7” did no such hedging, announcing a firm retirement in October 2020 to settle into family life.

Still Around: Patrick Marleau

San Jose Sharks Patrick Marleau (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Jeff Chiu)

The NHL’s fourth-leading active points-getter isn’t really all that active these days. Patrick Marleau has enjoyed a 23-year career that has solidified him as a surefire Hall of Famer, although the 42-year-old is also coming off of a forgettable season that saw him manage only four goals and nine points in 56 games. It’s the hunger for an elusive Cup ring that has kept the San Jose Sharks legend coming back, but a return to the NHL may be out of his control.

Retired: Corey Crawford

Corey Crawford retires as a proven winner in the NHL (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

If you’re an old guy like me, the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs don’t feel like they were that long ago. That’s when a largely unknown Corey Crawford went on an unlikely run, backstopping the Chicago Blackhawks to their second Cup in four years by starting every playoff game and sporting a .932 save percentage. Crawford’s late-blooming career may have seemed short, but two Cup victories stand as a pretty good legacy for the netminder.

Still Around: Eric Staal

Eric Staal (21) of the Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Vincent Ethier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Just a few short months ago, Eric Staal was scoring playoff game-winners and helping the Montreal Canadiens to an unlikely Stanley Cup Final. Now, the six-time All-Star is left to wait by the phone in hopes of getting signed by a team in need of center depth. Sadly, it appears that his career has—for the moment at least—Staaled out. Alright, I’ll show myself out.

Falling Canucks

For a team that lost the Stanley Cup Final in 1994 and 2011 in brutal fashions, the pain seems never-ending for Vancouver Canucks fans. Vancouver is currently off to a 5-10-2 start and is seventh in the Pacific Division, only ahead of the struggling Seattle Kraken. Let’s take a look at what’s going wrong with the Canucks.

Elias Pettersson a Non-Factor

After signing a three-year deal worth a $7.35 million average annual value (AAV), it has not been a smooth start to the season for the Canucks franchise center. Pettersson currently has nine points in 17 games, looks disengaged in the transition game, and is turning the puck over in the offensive zone. It doesn’t help that he is only shooting 6.5 percent at the moment, which is bound to progress closer to his career average of 16.4 percent by the end of the season. 

Travis Green Needs to Go

The head coach has lost the room, it’s as simple as it sounds, just don’t tell general manager Jim Benning that detail. Diving into the numbers, the Canucks penalty kill ranks last in the entire league, allowing 19 power-play goals against in a 10 game span, and have gone 52.5 percent on the kill in that same timeframe. When combining the poor penalty kill with the concerning play of Pettersson and the team’s lack of ability to compete at 5-on-5, it all adds up. This organization needs a new head coach to turn the season around.

Fire Jim Benning

Vancouver’s general manager addressed the media Thursday and didn’t make the tension among the fanbase any lighter. Benning still believes this team can make the playoffs and stated he isn’t going to be making any instant changes to the coaching staff. It’s been an eight-year experiment of constant failure with Benning calling the shots, with a mixture of overpaying free agents along with questionable trades. While this has been a long time coming, the team needs to have a change in leadership from top to bottom.