Days until start of 2021-22 NHL Season: 27 days
Monday’s Moon Shots
INTO THE DEPTHS: Seattle added to the forward depth of its inaugural roster by signing Ryan Donato to a one-year, $750,000 contract. Heading into his fifth season in the NHL, the Harvard University product tallied six goals and 20 points in 50 games last season with the San Jose Sharks.
PAPI’S RETURN: Auston Matthews is hopeful to play in the Leafs’ season opener after undergoing surgery on Aug. 13 for his left wrist. Toronto’s star centre was expected to miss a minimum of six weeks, which would see him return in time for training camp.
DONE DUCK: After 15 seasons, Ryan Kesler conceded that his time in the NHL has come to an end due to hip injuries. The 37-year-old forward has not played since March 6, 2019, shortly after surpassing the 1,000 career game mark.
Tuesday’s Toe Drags
HONORING AN ICON: Since 2014, the Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually to an iconic sports figure who exemplifies the sportsmanship and character synonymous with “Stan The Man.” This year, the award will be bestowed upon hockey legend Wayne Gretzky and his wife, Janet.
BOZAK’S BACK: Tyler Bozak will return to the St. Louis Blues on a one-year contract worth $750,000. Entering his 13th NHL season, the 35-year-old forward has recorded 449 points in 764 career regular-season games.
INSIDE THE NHL: Former NHL player and coach Rick Tocchet has been hired as an NHL studio analyst by Turner Sports. Joining a decorated in-studio team, Tocchet will be working with the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Anson Carter, Paul Bissonnette, and host Liam McHugh.
Do you know Patrick Marleau?
- How many seasons of Marleau’s career have been spent with the San Jose Sharks?
- Marleau broke which player’s record for games played in the NHL?
- Mark Messier
- Jaromir Jagr
- Wayne Gretzky
- Gordie Howe
- Which player replaced Marleau as captain of the Sharks for the 2009-10 season?
- Dan Boyle
- Joe Thornton
- Rob Blake
- Joe Pavelski
Answers can be found at the bottom of the email.
By the Numbers – USA Shocks the World in ’96
Tuesday marked the 25th anniversary of Team USA completing an unlikely rally to win the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. It wasn’t quite the “Miracle on Ice,” but the Americans, backed by tournament MVP Mike Richter, knocking off a Canadian squad featuring Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Steve Yzerman, and a young Martin Brodeur, remains pretty darn impressive.
After dropping Game 1 of the best-of-three series on home ice in Philadelphia, the US rallied back with a pair of 5-2 wins in Montreal to secure victory in the inaugural eight-team best-on-best tournament. Let’s break down some of the numbers behind what was a major international hockey tournament and a significant on-ice triumph for the Americans:
17: Number of combined current Hall of Famers on the American and Canadian rosters for the inaugural World Cup tournament. Along with Richter in net, the Americans featured the likes of Brian Leetch, Chris Chelios, and Brett Hull, while the Canadians rostered Joe Sakic, Eric Lindros, and Paul Coffey in addition to the names above.
37: Goals scored by the US over seven tournament games, including 13 goals scored in the best-of-three final. The Americans finished with a record of 6-1.
3:18: The time left in the deciding Game 3 when Hull’s deflection off a Leetch slapshot got past Canadian goalie Curtis Joseph to tie the game. Though the 5-2 scoreline looks dominant, it was a late surge by the Americans and two empty netters that truly put the game—and series—away.
10%: The jump of US-born players in the NHL, from the season prior to the World Cup victory to this past season. In 1995-96, 154 American players represented 18% of the NHL, while last season saw 282 players from the States compose 28% of the league.
MSk8 Debate 💬
Not to be outdone by the Minnesota Wild, the St. Louis Blues released their Winter Classic jersey over the weekend. Following the same route as the Wild, the Blues created their jersey with the team’s past in mind as the heart of the design. The details are filled with callbacks to the team’s inaugural jerseys, including historically accurate fonts from 1967 and a felt stitched logo. Let’s see what our Morning Skate crew thinks of the look.
BF: I appreciate the Blues’ nod to history here, tying in a callback to their inaugural season in 1967 that just so happened to feature a franchise debut against a team from Minnesota (the North Stars, not the Wild). Homage aside, the jersey carries a modern boldness about it, even if I wouldn’t have minded a vintage 90s era theme. Small disappointment aside, I give it an 8.5/10.
KF: I love this jersey! The team had a similar concept as the Wild and took the opportunity to celebrate their past, but they took a different approach to the design. The jersey is simple, and sometimes that’s best. I love the colors and appreciate their subtle nods to the past. I gotta give this one a 9 out of 10.
AM: The St. Louis Blues will win “Best Dressed” for the 2022 Winter Classic and it is not even close. The jersey is both nostalgic and easy on the eye. It’s a 9 out of 10 for me.
KK: Simple and striking, I love what the Blues did here. Going with the off-white cream to compliment the vintage blue and yellow striping will provide for an aesthetic contrast to the greens and browns of the Wild. With the added details of the felt and chain stitching, I’m giving this combination a 9.5.
VERDICT: That leaves a final score of 9! Agree or disagree? Sound off on Twitter using #MSk8Debate