Last Night’s News 📰
HANK ON TOUR: Henrik Lundqvist broke out his guitar on the TNT set during the early hours of the NHL’s broadcast on Thursday morning. Accompanied by Paul Bissonnette on vocals, the pair serenaded the studio to “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica.
BASTIAN’S BACK: On Thursday, the New Jersey Devils claimed Nathan Bastian off waivers from the Seattle Kraken, after being claimed in the NHL Expansion Draft. Selected in the second round by the Devils in 2016, the 23-year-old right winger currently has one goal and two points in 12 games this season with Seattle and was quick to change his profile picture on Instagram. Just based on the animated drawing, you can tell that he is a likable guy in the locker room.
WAVING FOR WILLIE: NHL on TNT analyst and co-chair of the NHL’s Player Inclusion Committee, Anson Carter, made his way through Manhattan on a float honoring the great Willie O’Ree during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Joined by MSG Network analyst Bryce Salvador, past recipients of the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award, and a performance by Mickey Guyton, the first Black female solo artist to receive a Grammy nomination in Country music, Carter hopes that O’Ree’s legacy will continue to turn diversity in the sport into inclusion.
A TRIO OF TURKEYS: Three players were each assessed $5,000 fines on Thanksgiving day, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement for each incident. Nakita Zaitsev of the Ottawa Senators was fined for cross-checking San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier, although no penalty was called on the play. Meanwhile, both Max Domi of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Adam Morrissey of the Winnipeg Jets were slapped with fines for unsportsmanlike conduct and slashing, respectively, when the two teams faced off on Wednesday.
Let’s look back at some of our favorite moments from the week:
A Brick Woll
Toronto Maple Leafs netminder Joseph Woll made for an unlikely candidate as the first goalie to record a shutout at the New York Islanders’ new UBS Arena. Called on to be Jack Campbell’s backup in place of an injured Petr Mrázek, the 23-year-old followed up a shaky-but-victorious Nov. 13 NHL debut with a 20-save gem against the Isles. His teammates made sure he felt the love in the form of an enthusiastic locker room water bottle shower.
A(nother) Good Week to Be Connor McDavid
Sure, Connor McDavid might have seen his season-long point streak snapped on Tuesday in Dallas, but the rest of the week proved to be pretty good to the NHL’s best player. Not only did he hit the 400-assist plateau during another week of incredible offensive exploits, but he got to show off what $12.5 million a year can buy, joining girlfriend Lauren Kyle to take fans on a tour of their North Saskatchewan River Valley home.
It’s the Thanksgiving tradition you didn’t know you needed! On Wednesday, the Washington Capitals brought back the Turkey Mites after a two-year absence, hosting a group of players from local youth teams clad in turkey costumes who took to the ice during a break from the Caps’ 6-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens. It might sound strange, but it’s pretty darn cute!
We’re Going Streakin’!
It was an eventful week for streaks in the NHL. While McDavid and Troy Terry saw their point streaks come to an end, Colorado’s Nazem Kadri reached 10 games and will go for 11 in a row against the Dallas Stars on Friday night. That streak has helped his Avs to a six-game win streak of their own.
By The Numbers: Connor & Leon
Though Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving a month ago, there’s surely still plenty of gratitude and thankfulness among Edmonton Oilers fans for the otherworldly duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Wednesday night offered another example of the tandem’s brilliance, as they each chipped in two goals and two assists, while linemate Zack Kassian came along for the ride with a three-point night of his own during a 5-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes.
The game saw Draisaitl score his 20th goal of the season (no one else has more than 15), while McDavid upped his league-leading assist total to 22 (and the 401st of his career). Perhaps unsurprisingly, the pair also top the NHL in average ice time (TOI) among forwards, with Draisaitl at 23:03 TOI per game and McDavid at 22:24.
Although I’m not sure what else there is to say about the league’s two leading scorers, let’s see if we can capture some of their dominance through a deep dive “By the Numbers.”
2: The advantage, in goals, that McDavid and Draisaitl currently hold over the New York Islanders this season (34 to 32). Yes, the Isles have only played 16 games to the Oilers’ 19, but we’re still talking about two guys vs a whole team here!
19: Games required by Draisaitl to hit 40 points, one year after doing so in 21. The 26-year-old’s scoring exploits during a pandemic-shortened 2020-21 campaign came on the heels of Nikita Kucherov recording 40 points in 28 games and streaking to a 128-point season, the highest point total in 23 years. Barring injury, Draisaitl won’t be held back by a 56-game limit this year and could produce some truly eye-popping numbers.
22: From 1996-97 to 2018-19, a span of 22 seasons and one season-killing lockout, only one pair of teammates stood atop the NHL scoring list at the end of the year: Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis and Steve Stamkos in 2012-13. Fast forward to the present day, McDavid and Draisaitl are on pace to achieve the feat… for the third consecutive year!
172.6 & 155.4: The projected point totals for Draisaitl and McDavid, respectively, if they were to maintain their current scoring pace. While the numbers are mostly just for fun, their production to date is nonetheless eye-opening. To put those numbers in context, no one in NHL history without the last name of Gretzky or Lemieux has ever scored more than 155 points in a season (Steve Yzerman hit 155 in 1988-89).
We’ll Need a Raincheck
On Wednesday, the Minnesota Wild and New Jersey Devils had to delay the opening puck drop, as the Wild were stuck in New York City traffic and unable to arrive at the Prudential Center in time for the 7:00 p.m. start. Games being delayed are not at all uncommon in the NHL, so let’s take a look at a few instances when it happens for unusual circumstances, reminding us that arenas—and mascots—are not always invincible.
Colorado vs Vegas: Feb 21, 2021
Dating back to earlier this year, there was a delay in the 2021 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Colorado Avalanche and the Vegas Golden Knights. A warmer day with less cloud cover than expected led to the sun heating up ice, causing the top layer of the surface to melt around the darker logos that helped absorb the sun’s heat. After an eight-hour delay, the game resumed at 9:00 p.m. PST when the first intermission finally ended.
Detroit vs San Jose: March 12, 1992
Toward the end of the 1991-92 season, the Red Wings were in San Jose to take on the Sharks and, in an effort to hype up the crowd, team mascot Sharkie started to repel from the rafters during starting lineups but ended up getting stuck. After about 20 minutes of dangling, the stadium crew was able to successfully pull Sharkie up to safety in the rafters, but not before the start time of the game was delayed by about 12 minutes.
Chicago vs Ottawa: Dec 3, 2015
This game had already been well into the second period when a Cody Ceci shot at the 7:16 mark caused the bottom of the boards to break, resulting in a large hole in the yellow kick plate. After taking more than 10 minutes to remove and replace the section, the game resumed at the Canadian Tire Center with the Senators in the middle of a power play. It would take all of 30 seconds for Bobby Ryan to notch a goal on the man advantage once play resumed, leaving Sens fans wishing for more in-game delays!