October 17 — Predicting a Panic & HBD Ken Morrow!

Saturday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

WHAT’S AN “ADDUCTOR,” ANYWAY?: Matt Murray didn’t leave his lengthy injury track record behind him in Ottawa, as the new Toronto Maple Leafs netminder will be out for at least four weeks with an adductor injury. Murray, who sustained the injury in practice on Saturday, has been placed on long-term injury reserve (LTIR). 

IT’S ALWAYS SONNY IN WASHINGTON: After being released from a professional tryout (PTO) with the Calgary Flames before the season, Sonny Milano signed a one-year, $750,000 contract with the Washington Capitals. The 26-year-old forward was then placed on waivers to be loaned to Hershey of the American Hockey League (AHL). 

DECORATING DOUG: On Saturday, the San Jose Sharks honored long-time former general manager Doug Wilson with a banner presentation before a 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Wilson became San Jose’s first captain after being acquired from Chicago on Sept. 6, 1991, and held the GM role from May 13, 2003, until April 7, 2022. 

NHL EUROPE: Yesterday, the NHL announced its “NHL Saturday” and “NHL Sunday” will bring prime-time live game broadcasts to hockey fans in Europe for the fifth straight season in 2022-23. Starting on Oct. 15, the NHL and its international media partners began airing “NHL Saturday presented by SAP” and “NHL Sunday presented by SAP” in more than 30 countries and territories.

‘Panic Watch’ Rankings

A rare Sunday without any NHL games offered teams a mini-reset after the early days of the 2022-23 season produced victories for all but seven teams. With just under a quarter of the league still winless, there could be a bit of early anxiety amongst certain fan bases. Therefore, we thought it would be fun to rank those with a zero in the win column by how much panic is warranted, from least to most concerning. Here are the first “Panic Watch” rankings:

7. Arizona Coyotes

An early season Eastern road swing that sees the Arizona Coyotes play their first six games away from good ol’ Mullett Arena was never going to be easy. And no, allowing six goals in each of their two contests thus far isn’t ideal. But really, were the expectations much different than what we’ve seen? The Yotes have done nothing to alter their status as a Connor Bedard sweepstakes front-runner.

6. Minnesota Wild

Far more surprising is the Central Division’s other 0-2 team, the Minnesota Wild, who have seen newly re-signed veteran netminder Marc-André Fleury start the year with an 8.35 goals-against average (GAA) and .776 save percentage (SV%). So why the (relative) lack of worry? Thus far, they ran into the red-hot New York Rangers and dropped a shootout to the Los Angeles Kings, a playoff team a year ago. After hosting the Colorado Avalanche tonight, things do get easier.

5. Vancouver Canucks

Seeing his Vancouver Canucks blow a three-goal lead and then a two-goal advantage in consecutive losses to the Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers had to drive head coach Bruce Boudreau nuts. But with five road games to start the season and Ilya Mikheyev and Tyler Myers sidelined, some early struggles were to be anticipated.

4. New Jersey Devils

While visions of Stanley Cups may not yet have danced in the heads of New Jersey Devils fans, there was modest optimism after an offseason that didn’t produce Johnny Gaudreau but did bring in notable upgrades Ondřej Palát and Erik Haula. Two games in, neither man has hit the scoresheet, and Palát is minus-five. More troubling, the Devils have dropped 5-2 decisions to the lowly Flyers and the Detroit Red Wings.

3. San Jose Sharks

New San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier is currently getting a crash course in the work that lies ahead for him. The Sharks are already 0-4, scoring just six times compared to 14 goals given up. Little was expected in San Jose this year, but it must be extra painful for Grier to see these results knowing long-term money for a roster full of expensive, ineffective veterans is still on the books.

2. Columbus Blue Jackets

Gaudreau’s decision to sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets in free agency hasn’t become clearer after three games. He is doing his part with two points, but Patrik Laine is hurt, Jakub Voráček (zero points, minus-6) is struggling, and Elvis Merzļikins (5.00 GAA, .800 SV%) hasn’t found his groove. Although the opening slate (Carolina, Tampa Bay, and St. Louis) has been brutal, Columbus needs to collect some wins to avoid falling too far back in the Metropolitan Division.

1. Ottawa Senators

After all that offseason buzz, this was hardly the start that the Ottawa Senators saw coming. Tuesday night’s home opener will usher in four straight at the Canadian Tire Centre and hopefully remedy the sails. But fans are already growing anxious given the team’s history of slow starts under head coach D.J. Smith.

By the Numbers: 2022-23 Opening Week

We are officially one week into the 2022-23 season, and although it is still very early for any trends to emerge, we thought we would share some notable numbers from the first few games. Without further ado, here is the 2022-23 NHL season-opening week—by the numbers:

7 – Goals allowed by the Minnesota Wild in each of their first two games. They only allowed seven goals in a game twice all of last season.

8.37 &.776 – Goals against average (GAA) and save percentage (SV%), respectively, of Marc-André Fleury through two games this season.

3 & 2 – Leads, in goals, that the Vancouver Canucks blew over their first two games of the season to the Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers, respectively.

240 – Total number of goals recorded around the league. Scoring is coming in bunches, as there have only been two shutouts so far courtesy of Logan Thompson (Vegas Golden Knights) and Ville Husso (Detroit Red Wings).

6 – Teams to hit double-digits in goals this week. Pittsburgh and Boston did so in two games, while Los Angeles, New York Rangers, Seattle, and Vegas have achieved the feat in three. Nashville (nine goals scored) and San Jose (six) are the only teams to have played four contests.

1 – Hat trick scored since the season began—by none other than Connor McDavid. Edmonton’s captain wasted no time netting three in the Oilers’ season opener against the Vancouver Canucks. 

Player Spotlight — Ken Morrow

Defenseman Ken Morrow had a career most players could only dream about having. He was part of the “Greatest Sports Moment of the 20th Century” and was integral to the New York Islanders dynasty. Today the former Olympian turns 66, and we decided to celebrate by putting the spotlight on the Davison, Michigan, native. 

Ken Morrow, New York Islanders (Photo by B Bennett/Getty Images)

Favoritism at Its Finest

Here is a fun fact—Morrow was the only player on the 1980 Olympic team who was allowed to have facial hair. Herb Brooks modified his “no beard rule” to allow players who came to the team with a beard to keep it, and the only player that modification applied to was Morrow. Brooks did not want to risk losing the defenseman, so making him happy became a top priority. It’s safe to say it was worth it in the end. 

The OG of an Iconic Tradition

Speaking of facial hair, some credit Morrow with being the first player to sport the now iconic playoff beard. The Michigan native began his tenure with the Islanders right after the United States’ victory over Finland in Lake Placid. Of course, he had the beard, and when the playoffs began, he never shaved it off. According to an article by Stan Fischler, as the Islanders continued their success in the playoffs, other players like Denis Potvin, Clark Gillies, John Tonelli, and Butch Goring followed suit. As we know, the rest is history!

From Gold to Silver

Morrow was the first player to win Olympic gold and a Stanley Cup championship in the same year. His impressive resume includes Olympic gold and four consecutive Stanley Cup championships. Including the blueliner, eight players earned gold and a Cup in the same year: Brendan Shanahan (2002, CAN/DET), Steve Yzerman (2002, CAN/DET), Duncan Keith (2010, CAN/CHI), Brent Seabrook (2010, CAN/CHI), Jonathan Toews (2010, CAN/CHI), Jeff Carter (2014, CAN/LAK), and Drew Doughty (2014, CAN/LAK). 

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