September 17 — Recent Expansions & Network Nemeses

Days until start of 2021-22 NHL Season25 days

Wednesday’s Wheelhouse

BOTTOM OF THE BARREL: Evidently looking to bolster an already crowded forward room, the Edmonton Oilers signed veteran Colton Sceviour to a professional tryout (PTO). Sceviour tallied five goals and five assists in 46 games for the Pittsburgh Penguins last season, while—interestingly enough—forwards Tyler Ennis, Alex Chiasson, and Kailer Yamamoto remain unsigned.

FROM BEANTOWN TO GLENDALE: John Ferguson Jr. has been appointed assistant general manager of the Arizona Coyotes. After beginning his career as a scout for the Ottawa Senators in 1993, he worked for the St. Louis Blues, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs, and, most recently, the Boston Bruins.

UNDER THE KNIFE, AGAIN: Oilers’ 2020 first-round draft pick Dylan Holloway went back under the knife for his second wrist surgery since March. This is a frustrating setback for the Oilers’ top prospect, who still hopes to suit up for Edmonton’s AHL affiliate, Bakersfield Condors, sometime in December or January.

Thursday’s Tap-in

SORE SHOULDERS: In an interview with Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff, NHL deputy commissioner Billy Daly stated the league expects 98 percent of players to be vaccinated on the opening day of the season. This is the highest percentage among the four major men’s professional sports leagues in North America.

TIME FOR TIMS: The Sabres and Maple Leafs are set to clash in the 2022 Heritage Classic on Sunday, March 13. Taking place at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, ON, this will be the third outdoor game of the season, following the Winter Classic and Stadium Series matchups.

RAISING KANE: San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane said that the allegations his wife made against him this summer, claiming he bet on and even threw NHL games, were absolutely false. Although Kane admits to previously struggling with gambling, he is confident he will be exonerated of these charges.

Top Shelf Thursday – Modern Inaugural Jerseys

When the NHL announces the addition of an expansion team, one of the first questions on everyone’s mind is: What will the jersey look like? With Seattle’s jersey fresh in our mind, it got us thinking about inaugural sweaters, specifically those since the expansions of the 1990s. Agree or disagree? Tweet us your favorite jersey using #THWMorningSkate.

#5 Tampa Bay Lightning: If a jersey were to ever match a team name, this would be it. Dark blues outlining black on the white sweater and gray on the black, along with the pairing of the cursive lettering and logo for the crest, this uniform screams “storm ahead!”

#4 Phoenix Coyotes: If Chris Hemsworth was a jersey, he would be this one. The Coyotes joined the league with a uniform that turned heads, whether you wanted to look or not. Like Hemsworth, you can’t help but stare, and the longer you stare the more you appreciate the beauty before you.

#3 San Jose Sharks: First, I would like to personally thank the Sharks organization for re-introducing teal into the NHL color palette. The logo is straightforward and, let’s face it, is way more intimidating than a Penguin. #SorryNotSorryPittsburgh

#2 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim: A nod to how amazing the 90s truly were. In 1992, we were introduced to coach Gordon Bombay, and one year later, we were graced with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. If you were a hockey fan in the 90s, you wanted this iconic jade and eggplant jersey, including Kings fans.

#1 Seattle Kraken: I’d like to think when Paris Hilton says “that’s hot,” she is referring to the Kraken’s jersey. Between the color combination and the red eye hidden in the logo, this uniform gives a depth that may only be picked up by the subconscious. Honestly, chef’s kiss to whoever put this masterpiece together.

Seattle Kraken Jerseys 2021-22 (Illustration by Andrew M. Greenstein, The unofficial NHL Uniform Database)

The New Network Wars

On Tuesday, Turner Sports officially announced its broadcast teams for the upcoming NHL coverage on TNT and TBS. It’s an eclectic group that includes a controversially popular hockey personality in Paul Bissonnette, vets, like Liam McHugh and Keith Jones, and, as previously announced, the Great One.

Sensing new-look network wars when it comes to NHL coverage, we at the Morning Skate are curious to see how these broadcast teams measure up to one another. Let’s break things down on both sides of the border and look at Turner, ESPN, TSN, and Sportsnet.

Biggest Personalities

Bissonnette, known as BizNasty, could be an outspoken asset to Turner, but the group might be a little thin beyond that, just as ESPN’s crew seems a tad dry apart from the always-colorful Barry Melrose. Newcomer Kevin Bieksa provided a boost to Sportsnet last season, but Brian Burke’s hiring in Pittsburgh was a big loss for the network. Though they have no national broadcast rights, TSN still gets the nod here with James Duthie, Jeff O’Neill, and others bringing consistent entertainment.

Most Stylish

There isn’t much flash on the TSN or Sportsnet crews, and we don’t know what Turner will offer yet, so this one easily goes to ESPN. Kevin Weekes knows his way around a suit, while Chris Chelios, Ryan Callahan, and Rick DiPietro were all known for their off-ice fashion game during their playing careers.

Most Fun

TSN, hands down. Duthie, O’Neill, and Bob McKenzie constantly look like they have a blast together, which made John Tortorella stand out like a sore thumb during his brief tenure.

Best On-Ice Lineup

It’s hard to top Turner adding Wayne Gretzky, even if ESPN features Chelios, long-time Gretzky teammate Mark Messier, and US women’s great Hilary Knight. Curiously, the best player featured on the Canadian networks is probably O’Neill.