November 29 — Hughes on the Mic & a Soft Spot for Seattle

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

GREAT SCOTT: Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Niedermayer is stepping behind the bench as part of the Team Canada coaching staff at the upcoming Spengler Cup. Currently serving as a special advisor in the Anaheim Ducks front office, Niedermayer will manage the defense on head coach Travis Green’s staff.

FERRARO OUT: Yesterday, the San Jose Sharks placed defenseman Mario Ferraro on injured reserve with a foot injury. It’s an unfortunate break for the 24-year-old after suffering a facial injury in early November. He has five points and is a minus-14 in 23 games this season. 

DEVILS DO IT AGAIN: Tying another team record this month, the New Jersey Devils won their 10th consecutive road game with a 5-3 victory against the New York Rangers. Coming back from a two-goal deficit just over three minutes into the game, the Devils scored four straight en route to their historic triumph.

STILL STREAKING: A pair of point streaks extended on Monday night when Mitchell Marner and Jason Robertson netted goals in their respective games. Marner recorded the game-winner for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 4-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings to reach 17 games, one shy of the longest in Leafs history held by Darryl Sittler and Eddie Olczyk. Meanwhile, Robertson is at 16 games after a tally in the Dallas Stars’ 4-1 conquest over the St. Louis Blues. 

BUZZER-BEATING BOUCHARD: With five seconds left, Evan Bouchard made everything right in Edmonton again. After giving up two third-period goals, the Oilers tied the game with time running out in regulation. Edmonton wouldn’t need long to secure the win, as Connor McDavid found Leon Draisaitl on the backdoor 22 seconds in overtime.

Trivia Tuesday

How Well Do You Know Jared Spurgeon?

Jared Spurgeon, Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
  1. How many seasons did Spurgeon finish with 40+ points?
    • One
    • Zero
    • Two
    • Three

  2. Against which team did Spurgeon record his first career hat trick?
    • St. Louis Blues
    • Los Angeles Kings
    • Edmonton Oilers
    • Buffalo Sabres

  3. Which franchise drafted Spurgeon in the sixth round in 2008?
    • Chicago Blackhawks
    • Anaheim Ducks
    • New York Islanders
    • Boston Bruins

Answers can be found at the bottom of the email.

Some Love for Seattle

Last year’s expansion season for the Seattle Kraken went exactly as it should have: a few highs, plenty of lows, and the emergence of a team with a bright future that wasn’t yet ready to win. But even while this is a pretty standard first-year blueprint, it still felt a little disappointing in light of the impossible standards that the Vegas Golden Knights set for expansion clubs in their Stanley Cup Final-bound 2017-18 debut campaign.

No, Seattle didn’t explode out of the gate in year one, but what they’re doing right now seems almost as unlikely. Recent winners of five consecutive games and 10 of their last 12, the Kraken have surged to No. 2 in the Pacific Division (fittingly behind the Golden Knights) with a 13-5-3 record. We considered featuring them in this week’s “Real or Fake” segment, but rather than focus on their long-term legitimacy, here’s why we should be enjoying the ride and cheering for one of the best stories of this young NHL season.

Martin Jones’ Cinderella Story

It was six long years and three teams ago that Martin Jones was actually in the Vezina conversation, thanks to his work backstopping the San Jose Sharks. Since then, the 32-year-old has faded considerably, registering three years with a goals-against average (GAA) above 3.00 and four with a sub-.900 save percentage (SV%). However, Jones has suddenly found new life by stepping in for injured starter Philipp Grubauer, sporting an impressive 11-4-2 record.

The Rookie Sensation

Matty Beniers was a popular preseason pick for the Calder Trophy, and he hasn’t done anything to take away from the early hype. Even as head coach Dave Hakstol shelters him somewhat in a second-line center role behind Alex Wennberg, Beniers has arguably highlighted himself as the team’s best forward, producing seven goals and 11 assists in 21 games. Seattle might have the one thing that Vegas never had: a bona fide, homegrown, foundational star to build around.

Building a Winner

We get that it’s probably premature to anoint an organization coming off of a Pacific Division cellar-dwelling 27-win season as having established a winning culture. However, the Kraken are showing encouraging signs that extend beyond their record. That includes a 7-2-1 mark on the road, where they haven’t lost since Oct. 23. Clearly, Seattle is enjoying the benefits of having recent Stanley Cup winners like Yanni Gourde, Vince Dunn, Jaden Schwartz, and leading scorer André Burakovsky on its roster.

Hughes Rules Interviews

New Jersey Devils forward Jack Hughes dislikes doing interviews, which is evident in how quickly he answers questions. However, the relationship between Hughes and the media has made for some fun on social media. Since 2021, his interviews have gone viral, and the latest dropped this past week. Spoiler alert: his unintentionally funny responses are legendary, and this is probably something fans can continue to look forward to throughout his career.

Gato & Chill

When the New Jersey Devils faced the Washington Capitals on Nov. 26, Hughes had a two-goal game going into the third period, in which he ultimately recorded his first career hat-trick in a 5-3 win. Play-by-play announcer Matt Loughlin spoke with Hughes before the third period and asked him what he does during intermissions, to which he replied, “Just chill, really.” When asked if the team has to conserve more energy on a back-to-back, he replied, “No, just gotta be a little smarter. Go into the locker room here and get some Gato[rade] in us, and we’ll be good to go for the third.” Some fans on Twitter have now dubbed it a “Gato and Chill” mantra.

Jack Hughes, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

We’re Okay

New Jersey had a historic 13-game win streak, but when it hit nine games, Hughes was asked by a reporter what the Devils could do to gain more consistency throughout the full 60 minutes. He replied, “I mean, we’re on a nine-game heater. I’d say we’re doing okay.” Of course, Hughes got straight to the point, and hey, he wasn’t wrong. 

Just Win

Facing the New York Rangers in Jan. 2021 and tied 3-3 heading into the third, commentators asked Hughes what the message in the locker room was. He said, “Let’s try to win this game, not lose the game, you know?” We couldn’t agree more with that advice and Jersey fans loved it, turning it into a sticker you can purchase

Trivia Answers

  1. Two Seasons
  2. Edmonton Oilers
  3. New York Islanders

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