On Tap For Today — Tampa Bay at Buffalo; 7:00 pm EDT; MSG-B, BSSUN | Washington at Ottawa; 7:00 pm EDT; SN1, RDS, NBCSWA+ | Arizona at Florida; 7:00 pm EDT; BSFL, BSAZ | Calgary at NY Rangers; 7:00 pm EDT; SNW, MSG | Toronto at Carolina; 7:00 pm EDT; SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS, BSSO | Dallas at Columbus; 7:00 pm EDT; BSOH, BSSW | Los Angeles at St. Louis; 7:00 pm CDT; BSMW, BSW
Last Night’s News 📰
FINES, FINES, EVERYWHERE THERE’S FINES: Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf and Philadelphia Flyers forward Nicolas Aubé-Kubel are a little lighter in the wallet today thanks to a pair of fines for dangerous plays. Getzlaf earned a $1,000 fine for a trip on Minnesota’s Joel Eriksson Ek, while Aubé-Kubel was nailed for the league-max of $2,687.50 for a reckless knee on Florida’s Mason Marchment. It was a bad weekend for dumb plays, but a good weekend for the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND: It only took six games for the 19-year-old Detroit Red Wings sniper to make his offensive mark on the team, as Lucas Raymond completed a hat trick and added an assist in the Wings’ 6-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Raymond more than doubled his point total on the season, going from three points in five games to seven points in six games.
REMINISCENT OF HUMBOLT: In an eerily similar fashion to the Humbolt Broncos incident, a bus carrying a Junior A hockey team in Western Canada was involved in a two-vehicle accident Sunday morning. While none of the players or staff suffered any serious injuries, the driver of the car that hit the bus was pronounced dead at the scene. Morning Skate’s condolences go out to the victim’s family and all of the players, coaches, and staff involved.
GROWING PAYNES: Jason Payne made his debut as the only current Black coach in professional hockey in North America during the Cincinnati Cyclones’ 3-2 season-opening victory over the Indy Fuel in the ECHL. Congratulations on the next step to the NHL, Jason!
Fact or Fiction: The Flawless Four!
And then there were four! After a weekend that saw the Boston Bruins hand the Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks their first losses of the regular season and the Minnesota Wild exit the ranks of the unbeaten at the hands of the Nashville Predators on Sunday, four undefeated NHL teams—one in each division—remain as of Monday morning.
So, which of these red-hot clubs is for real? We don’t know, but we have our suspicions. Similar to what we did with the winless and woeful segment last week, let’s examine each team to see who might be living on borrowed time and which start could be a sign of good things to come.
Fact: Carolina Hurricanes
There will rightfully be some hesitancy in projecting a team that overhauled its goaltending tandem and lost a defensive linchpin, but the “Bunch of Jerks” haven’t lost a step since welcoming Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta and bidding farewell to Dougie Hamilton. Andersen (4-0, 1.75 GAA, .944 save percentage) looks reborn in Carolina, while Andrei Svechnikov (four goals, three assists in four games) is lighting it up.
Fiction: St. Louis Blues
Sorry, Blues fans, but I’m just not ready to play “Gloria” yet. The road to 4-0 looks pretty sparkling with 22 goals scored, but posting seven goals apiece on the lowly LA Kings and Arizona Coyotes helped, as did early clashes with the under-manned Colorado Avalanche (no Nathan MacKinnon or Gabriel Landeskog) and sputtering Vegas Golden Knights. Plus, Jordan Kyrou averaging two points per game might be the most “first month of the season” thing ever.
Fact: Florida Panthers
The Cats clearly haven’t lost a step in the aftermath of a breakthrough 2020-21 campaign and a six-game first-round thriller against the Tampa Bay Lightning to spark the Battle of Florida last spring. Tampa was among Florida’s victims during the Panthers’ early 5-0 tear that has also included triumphs over Pittsburgh, Colorado, Philadelphia, and the New York Islanders. A balanced team with star power (Aleksander Barkov) and strong goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight? Look out!
Fact: Edmonton Oilers
It looks like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl might finally have the help they need in Edmonton. Obviously, the superstar centermen are leading the Oilers’ 5-0 charge, but the secondary pieces are doing their part, too. Darnell Nurse remains a workhorse, Zach Hyman has been everything the club has hoped for thus far, and Jesse Puljujarvi has officially started his redemptive comeback story.
This past week has provided some memorable moments, like the Seattle Kraken making their home ice debut. It is also one of the best times of year because fans get to see their favorite players dress up for Halloween. Let’s check in.
Let’s Get Kraken
The Kraken played their home opener on Saturday night and multiple Seattle legends were seen at Climate Pledge Arena rooting on the home team. Ciara and Russell Wilson Instagrammed their date night, while Macklemore, Sue Bird, and other members of the Seattle Seahawks were in attendance as well.
Even though Halloween is this coming weekend, some players celebrated early due to their schedules. So far, the costumes have not disappointed, and the best part is there are more to come! Early favorites include Brady Tkachuk as Allen Gamble from “The Other Guys” and Marcus Foligno as Ted Lasso.
Showing Support in Arizona
Recording artists Dan and Shay stopped to snap a few photographs at Gila River Arena ahead of their concert last week. They were each sporting their own Coyotes jersey with their last name and the number 21. Things in Arizona may be off to a rocky start, but at least fans can take comfort in knowing that the kachina jersey is one of the best in the league.
History was made on Saturday night as the Seattle Kraken played their first game at Climate Pledge Arena against the Vancouver Canucks. Getting a more inside look into the arena, it appeared some adjustments had been made to the ice level. White-colored anchors were added to the red line, signifying the nautical atmosphere the team is going for. It is not always easy to spot details such as this, so how many are there in other NHL rinks? Let’s check:
The Cannon – Nationwide Arena (Columbus Blue Jackets)
Every time a player scores for the Blue Jackets or the team takes the ice at the start of the game, the infamous hand-made replica of the 1857 Napoleon cannon fires a blank, making a loud noise in the arena. There is no other setup in the NHL like this one and it has become known across all sports for how unique it is. The atmosphere of the crowd is turned up to another level when the cannon goes off and, especially during the playoffs, the home team can feel that energy and support from their fans from this feature.
Shark Head – SAP Center (San Jose Sharks)
When participating in the pre-game warmup, the standard setup in most arenas is for players to come out of the locker room and skate through the bench. The Sharks decided to step that up a notch on Oct. 14, 1993, when the team introduced an enormous Shark head with an open mouth. Ever since that day, players skate through the head as a fog machine is used to create a dramatic effect. Similar to The Cannon, there is no feature in the NHL quite as unique as this one.
The Bridge – Madison Square Garden (New York Rangers)
No other arena in the world is as iconic as Madison Square Garden, and New York Rangers fans will make that very clear to the rest of the league. An aspect that fuels the discussion is the chase bridge seats that are located on the middle floor, known as one of the most unique seats in sports. Fans sitting in this wonderful spot will get an above-the-action view that cannot be found anywhere else on the planet.