October 26 — Tough Times in Vancouver & A Fresh Dose of Wacky

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

LAINE RETURNS: After missing six games with an elbow injury, Patrik Laine returned from injured reserve ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ 6-3 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night. Laine failed to register a point despite a team-high five shots in his return.

IRON PHIL: One day after tying the NHL Ironman record, Vegas Golden Knights forward Phil Kessel played in his 990th consecutive game to take sole possession of the Ironman mantle previously held by Keith Yandle. Kessel also recorded his 400th career goal and first as a Golden Knight in a 4-2 win over the San Jose Sharks.

BLUES SIGN PITLICK: The St. Louis Blues announced the signing of center Tyler Pitlick to a one-year, $750,000 deal. He was on a training camp PTO (Professional Tryout) with the Blues but sustained an injury, which caused a delay in the signing.

BIG BAD BRUINS: The surging Boston Bruins are 6-1 on the season after toppling the Dallas Stars 3-1 on Tuesday night. Taylor Hall scored his third straight game-winning goal, while Linus Ullmark made 30 saves in the victory.

What’s Going On in Vancouver??

You may recall Monday’s newsletter offering praise to the unbeaten St. Louis Blues, which ultimately became quite the jinx when they went out and lost 4-0 to the Winnipeg Jets that same night. Well, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out the beleaguered team on the other end of the success spectrum, the 0-5-2 Vancouver Canucks.

While a one-goal loss to the Carolina Hurricanes is nothing to be embarrassed by, the wheels certainly seem to have come off in Vancouver. The head coach is calling his players “mentally weak,” teammates are at each other’s throats, and fans have taken to tossing jerseys onto the ice. How did things get so bad so quickly? Let’s take a look:

Letting Up

The “mentally weak” comment from Bruce Boudreau came after Vancouver made some dubious NHL history, becoming the first team to lose their first three games of the season with blown multi-goal leads. While you might think that’s easy enough to fix with better efforts, it clearly wasn’t addressed when they were thoroughly outplayed in the third period of Monday’s loss to Carolina and certainly wasn’t evident throughout Saturday’s 5-1 stinker at home against the Buffalo Sabres.

Shallow Blue Line

The news got worse for the Canucks when it was announced that Quinn Hughes would be out week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Vancouver’s blue line was already iffy with Hughes in the lineup. Without him, they might be the league’s worst unit. Before the injury, he’d been relied upon for a whopping 27:14 of ice time per game. Now, Tyler Myers will have to anchor a group that is also without Travis Dermott and Tucker Poolman and is left to lean on the likes of Luke Schenn and Kyle Burroughs.

The New Signees

It’s probably not a great look for new GM Patrik Allvin that so many of the most disappointing Canucks happen to be recently signed on his watch. Boudreau has been the subject of early hot seat speculation, even as he just got a new contract in the summer. On the ice, J.T. Miller signed a seven-year extension just last month and now sports a minus-five plus/minus rating, while recently re-upped forward Brock Boeser has no goals and four assists in six games. Meanwhile, new free agent signee Ilya Mikheyev was hurt to start the year and now has just one assist in four games.

Who Said It

1) “I’m counted on as a leader and as an older presence in the room, a role before I came here that I really wanted. I wanted to expand my leadership and embrace that role more. … I think last year, as the season went on, I became more of the guy I envisioned myself being here.”

A. Blake Coleman
B. Yanni Gourde
C. Barclay Goodrow

2) “I got a little taste of it last year. There are some new guys that they’ve brought in, and some really good draft picks. …Everyone’s goal is obviously to win a Stanley Cup but talking to the guys at the end of last year, after having a tough season, everyone is determined to make it a good season this time. Everyone is ready to go.”

A. Lucas Raymond
B. Matty Beniers
C. Alexander Holtz

3) “The whole thing was just amazing. The venue was incredible. They have a backstage area that is so cool with so many unbelievable guitars, old ones, newer ones, Keith Richards’ old amp it was just awesome performing there and get to do all of that. It was fun to get up there and do that with some pros.”

A. Matt Duchene
B. Henrik Lundqvist
C. Craig Smith

Wacky Wednesday (Pt. 5)

Throughout the offseason, we have introduced some intriguing hockey statistics from around the league. With plenty of “wacky” stats to start the 2022-23 season, we’d like to present part five to this segment. Enjoy!

Oh Canada!

The Montreal Canadiens are living up to their name when it comes to their roster. According to Sportsnet, the Habs had the most Canadians on their active opening night roster in the NHL, with 17. I would say that is very Canadian, eh?

Standing Tall

Forward Elmer Söderblom made his NHL debut with the Detroit Red Wings this season, and the 21-year-old now holds a fun record: at 6-foot-8, he is the tallest player in Red Wings’ history.

Memorable Debut

No one loves season openers more than New York Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad. He scored two goals during the Rangers’ first game of the season against the Tampa Bay Lightning, making him the first player in franchise history to record two multi-goal games in season openers. He did so previously in Oct. 2017 against the Colorado Avalanche.

Eager Helpers

Alex Ovechkin’s 18-year NHL career has seen him play alongside many different teammates. So when his Washington Capitals faced the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 17, Dylan Strome’s assist on an Ovechkin power-play goal carried an interesting fact. Strome became the 105th different skater to record an assist on a goal by the legendary Russian sniper. Ovechkin isn’t showing signs of slowing down anytime soon, so that number will continue to rise.

“Who Said It” Answers

1. Barclay Goodrow
2. Matty Beniers
3. Matt Duchene

NHL Standings

NHL’s Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule