October 21 — Hockey Hors D’Oeuvres & Winless Worriers

On Tap For Today — Carolina at Montreal; 7:00 pm EDT; TSN2, RDS, BSSO | San Jose at Ottawa; 7:00 pm EDT; TSN5, RDS2, NBCSCA | Colorado at Florida; 7:00 pm EDT; BSFL, ALT | Washington at New Jersey; 7:00 pm EDT; MSG+, NBCSWA | NY Islanders at Columbus; 7:00 pm EDT; BSOH, MSG+2 | Calgary at Detroit; 7:30 pm EDT; SNE, SNO, SNW, BSDET | NY Rangers at Nashville; 7:00 pm CDT; BSSO, MSG | Anaheim at Winnipeg; 7:00 pm CDT; TSN3, BSSC, BSSD | Vancouver at Chicago; 7:30 pm CDT; SNP, NBCSCH | Edmonton at Arizona; 7:00 pm MDT; SN360, SNW, BSAZ

Last Night’s News 📰

WELCOME BACK, BRADY: Brady Tkachuk will be in the lineup tonight when the Ottawa Senators take on the San Jose Sharks. Ottawa currently has a record of 2-1-0 and Tkachuk will be a welcome addition to the team. He signed a lucrative 7-year deal with the Senators on Oct. 17, 2021, after a brief holdout to start the season.

HOME SWEET HOME: On Saturday, the Seattle Kraken will host its first-ever home game in franchise history, and yesterday it was announced that the Climate Pledge Arena is ready for hockey! After officially opening its doors to a Foo Fighters concert on Tuesday, members of the media were invited in for the grand tour on Wednesday.

MONEY MOUSE: Disney announced that it is expected to sell over $100 million in ad sales across its NHL broadcasts and streams this coming year. The high demand for hockey and the NHL is great for the growth of the sport and even better for Mickey and Minnie’s bank account!

PREMIER+: ESPN+ will be the exclusive U.S. broadcasting partner of the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) for the 2021-22 season. Rebranded from the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) to the PHF back in September, the PHF will begin its season on Nov. 6, with all 60 regular-season games and the Isobel Cup Playoffs to be broadcasted on the network.

Top-Shelf Thursday – Top-5 Game-Day Snacks

It always annoys me that game-day food is synonymous with football. I make it a point to cook up some delicious snacks when gearing up for the Battle of Alberta or any Saturday night matchup really. With the regular season upon us, the Morning Skate crew decided to provide five game-day snack and drink pairings for you to enjoy when your team hits the ice.

#5 Salted Caramel and Chocolate Tart + Hot Maple Mulled Apple Cider

Who hasn’t stayed up to catch a game with that unfortunate 10:30 p.m. puck drop? At that hour, pizza and poutine may be out of the question. However, this dessert may be the perfect nightcap, especially on a cold winter night. The hot apple cider requires four ingredients and 15 minutes to prepare, and the tart is easier to prepare than you think, only requiring nine ingredients and 25 minutes of prep time. This is the perfect cozy pairing to bring to your friend’s house for game night.

#4 Chips and Guacamole + Margarita

I already know you love this Mexican-inspired treat. Guacamole is one of the easiest and most delicious snacks to make, with the key ingredients including avocados, onion, tomato, cilantro, and lime juice. It’s loved for its simplicity and is listed as America’s favorite dip. The perfect drink to pair with guacamole is a margarita—obviously. Whether it’s classic, frozen, or strawberry, you can’t, I repeat, can’t go wrong with this tequila-based cocktail. A hockey game on Taco Tuesday may be a better combination than Crosby and Malkin.

#3 Charcuterie Board + Wine

Some people do a weekly book club, others throw on a jersey and root for their favorite team. Regardless of the event, the trendy charcuterie board will keep you satisfied all night. Meats, cheeses, fruits, olives, and nuts—there is something for everyone. This game-day treat is filled with multiple options, and the only crucial question you need to ask yourself is: red or white? If you’re a fan of the Ducks or Sabres, consider grabbing one of each.

#2 Pizza + Lager

I get it, you had a tough day at the office and need to veg out and watch the game—we’ve all been there. Cooking is too much of a daunting task and you’re starving because you worked through lunch. Thankfully, there’s always pizza, a classic dish that can be delivered to your door. Obviously, you’ll get up to grab your favorite beer, but that is where your effort ends. Let the boys on the ice do all the work and enjoy a slice or two.

#1 Poutine + Pale Ale

A Canadian staple, poutine is the game-day snack if you’re watching any NHL game. This delicious dish includes french fries and cheese curds topped with brown gravy. Is your mouth watering yet? Why pair with a pale ale, you ask? Well, because “the sharp bitterness is able to cut through all of the fatty ingredients and textures that go into poutine, while the sweetness of the malt contrasts with the salty flavor.” I mean, I’m sold. Could there be anything better?

Woes of the Winless

As of this morning, every NHL team has now played multiple games this season. So, while it’s still too early to react meaningfully to performance trends, it’s probably fair to start calling out those who have yet to win a game, especially when there are only five such teams left.

Let’s have a look at these five winless warriors and examine what situation they find themselves in as they sport a “0” in the win column:

“Hit the Panic Button!”

As you might have guessed, this applies to the 0-4-0 Montreal Canadiens, who have scored three goals on the season while allowing a whopping 15 goals against. How much do these guys miss Carey Price, Shea Weber, and Phillip Danault?!

“Can Someone Turn Off That Red Light Already??”

A question that the Arizona Coyotes staff must be asking themselves daily. Arizona is single-handedly driving up league scoring numbers by allowing 17 goals in three games, including an 8-2 loss to Columbus and a 7-4 defeat at the hands of St. Louis. Goaltender Carter Hutton’s current numbers: 8.75 GAA, .702 SV%.

“I Just Wanna Go Home!”

The Winnipeg Jets finally get a dose of home cooking tonight after only picking up one point over a three-game road swing that took them through Anaheim, San Jose, and Minnesota. Hopefully, the newly renamed Canada Life Centre can cure what ails them.

“Seriously, Schedule Makers??”

If the Jets think they’ve had it rough, then how about the new-look Chicago Blackhawks, who opened the season by visiting the Colorado Avalanche, then had a back-to-back in New Jersey and Pittsburgh, and finally returned home to face an angry New York Islanders team. Upcoming home games against the Vancouver Canucks and Detroit Red Wings should help net Marc-André Fleury his first win in Chi-town.

“Nothing to Worry About… Yet!”

The Calgary Flames technically fit the parameters of this group, but probably deserve more than the two games they’ve played to “right the ship.” After all, they could’ve easily emerged victorious in their home opener vs Anaheim, out-shooting the Ducks, 43-27, only to fall in overtime.

Paying The Price

Over the past two decades, there has been quite an uprise in players getting fined. Fineable offenses come in all shapes and sizes and were recently featured when Florida Panthers veteran Joe Thornton speared Tampa Bay Lightning forward Boris Katchouk this past week.

Coming off the 2005 lockout, there was a dramatic shift in rule changes, and the NHL was a chaotic place that following season. However, there is also a difference in how lenient the NHL Department of Player Safety is when assessing messy situations, often reverting to fines over suspensions. Looking at the data, it is pretty clear that players are paying the price for making boneheaded decisions. Here is an evaluation of the fines assessed from the past decade.

An Expensive Start:

The 2010-11 season saw three NHL teams face fines for various reasons, with the New York Islanders having to pay $100,000 for their conduct in the team’s game on Feb. 12 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s not often that you see teams getting fined to this capacity, but there were multiple examples of this happening in the early part of the decade.

Looking at the player side, the most expensive fine handed out during the 2014-15 season was $11,021 to Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin for his elbow to the head of Buffalo Sabres forward Brian Gionta. On April 18th, 2015, former Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley was fined $50,000 for his role in what took place on the ice in the team’s second-round playoff game against the Vancouver Canucks.

Adjusting for Inflation:

There were multiple seasons in the final part of the decade where the total fines exceeded $100,000. One of the most penalized years, the 2017-18 season, featured 33 fines being issued and resulted in over $137,000 in dues, with multiple players receiving at least $5,000 in fines throughout the year. These included Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown, former New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall, and Boston Bruins star Brad Marchand, among many others. That was until the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Since the halting of the 2019-20 season through the playoff bubbles, a total of $61,000 in fines were assessed to NHL players and coaches, bringing the total of fines levied for the season to $184,844.77. Included in those playoff rulings were matching $25,000 fines to former Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella and Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour for “inappropriate comments against officials during a postgame press conference.” Last season, thanks to team fines for COVID-19 protocol violations and public comments criticizing an NHL official, the league took in $501,573.99 in collections.

Until the NHL Department of Player Safety takes stricter action when handing out suspensions, the fines impressed upon players, coaches, and teams will likely continue to increase over the coming decade.