September 19 — Unhappy Campers & a New Goal Song

Last Night’s News 📰

WHAT’S “HAMBURGLAR” IN RUSSIAN?: The “Hamburglar” is bound for Russia, as journeyman goaltender Andrew Hammond has signed with Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL. Hammond has played in 67 games across six NHL seasons, most notably going 20-1-2 with a .941 save percentage and 1.79 goals against average for the 2014-15 Ottawa Senators.

FLYERS SIGN ROUSSEL TO PTO: On Sept. 18, the Philadelphia Flyers announced they signed forward Antoine Roussel to a Professional Tryout (PTO). He spent last season with the Arizona Coyotes, where he posted four goals and four assists for eight points and was a minus-16 in 53 games. The 32-year-old will be looking to bring physicality and depth to the Flyers’ roster. 

O, CAPTAIN! NO, CAPTAIN!: The Winnipeg Jets announced they are moving forward without a captain, which means Blake Wheeler will lose the “C” on his sweater, which he held since the 2016-17 season. It was one of the first decisions that new head coach Rick Bowness made, and during his media availability explained, “we want the core group to grow a little bit, so it’s not just one face coming out here talking to the media every day when things don’t go well.”

Camp Crabby

It’s almost training camp time, meaning you’re likely in for weeks of stories about players who “have never felt better” and “looked poised for their best season ever.” As the adage goes, everyone begins the year with the same record, so it’s easy for optimism to abound across the NHL.

Okay, maybe not everywhere. Whether teams are willing to admit it or not, there are still some players who aren’t exactly going into the 2022-23 season with unbridled hope. Let’s look at some players who, contrary to most of the league, may not be teeming with excitement as camps open.

Blake Wheeler – Winnipeg Jets

The “C” is a thing of the past for Blake Wheeler. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Credit to the Winnipeg Jets’ PR team for keeping a lid on team matters in recent months. Little has emerged from reported internal issues that have led to rumors of offseason changes and the hiring of Rick Bowness to replace Paul Maurice. It also prompted the removal of Blake Wheeler’s captaincy, presented as a largely uncontroversial team decision, save for when Wheeler said he was “shocked.” Let’s be honest—after more than 11 years with the organization and six years as captain, does anyone believe he isn’t livid with having the “C” stripped?

Patrick Kane & Jonathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks (Amy Irvin, The Hockey Writers)

Suffice it to say—this wasn’t how anyone foresaw the decorated tenures of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews in Chicago ending. The Blackhawks are in a full-blown rebuild, and having two veteran players in their mid-30s around on similar expiring $10.5 million contracts doesn’t help anyone. Until they get traded or merely ride out their contract year, neither three-time Stanley Cup champ fits in all that well. Also, spare a thought for Seth Jones, whose eight-year, $76 million deal is only now kicking in!

Vladimir Tarasenko – St. Louis Blues

Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

So wait, is Vladimir Tarasenko happy in St. Louis or not? The Blues’ star winger first demanded a trade in the summer of 2021. When it didn’t come to be, he professionally went about his business with a 34-goal, 82-point campaign. Now, here we are in mid-September, and Tarasenko still has yet to be moved as he heads into a contract year, despite having never rescinded the request. We can’t blame the 29-year-old if he’s counting down to free agency.

A Bieber, Maple Leafs Goal Song Collab

On Friday, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews joined the “Tim and Friends” show on SportsNet and was asked if he was good with the Maple Leafs’ goal song, “You Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates. He replied that he wouldn’t mind switching the goal song to something different or “maybe a little Biebs.” Justin Bieber is a life-long Maple Leafs supporter and a personal friend of Matthews. So, why don’t we test out some hypothetical Bieber tunes as goal songs? Let’s rock!

Beauty and a Beat Ft. Nicki Minaj

The term “beauty” is very significant in the hockey world. Hockey players use this term to describe great players and teammates, which could be a fun ode to beauties. This song is also one of Bieber’s electronic dance tunes, which would be a great way to get the Scotiabank Arena dancing.

Never Say Never Ft. Jaden Smith

One of Bieber’s most recognizable songs, it is also the title of his movie documentary. But the song itself could encompass the Maple Leafs. They have been dominant for the last five years but have yet to win a Stanley Cup with their core team. If they can get past the first round of the playoffs next season, they’ll be one step closer to their goal, and the hockey world could be saying, “Never Say Never” when it comes to them!

Confident Ft. Chance the Rapper

“Confident” is more of a hip-hop jam, which would give off a different vibe than their current goal song. Also, who doesn’t feel assured after scoring a goal in the NHL? Teams and fans always feel pretty confident in that setting!

Baby Ft. Ludacris

“Baby” might be Bieber’s most famous song of all time. Could you imagine the chorus of “Baby, baby, baby, oh!” sung by 20,000 people after a sweet goal by Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, or John Tavares?


Another electronic dance song with a chorus asking, “is it too late now to say sorry?” It would be a quirky knock on an opposing team for allowing the Maple Leafs to score on them and includes a lively beat, which could make for a suitable goal song.

Player Spotlight — Auston Matthews

Speaking of the reigning Hart Trophy winner, Auston Matthews will be starting his seventh season in the league and is looking to add a Stanley Cup championship to his impressive resume. We know what the Arizona native brings to the ice, but how about his life outside of hockey? Let’s check in.

Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Age of First Skate:

Four years old

What Is Your Dream Concert?:

Queen or Jimi Hendrix

Who Is Your Favorite Superhero?:

Iron Man

A Go-to Song That Never Disappoints:

Money Trees by Kendrick Lamar

What Is Your Favorite Video Game?:

NHL, Call of Duty, and Super Mega Baseball

A Bucket List Destination:


Heading into the 2022-23 season, the Morning Skate will introduce The Hockey Writers team contributors as they share some quick thoughts on what has been happening with their respective clubs this summer.

Kicking off another week, we sat down with Austin Stanovich, who covers the Los Angeles Kings, and our crew of Carolina Hurricanes contributors, including Brandon StanleyDean Plunkett, and Jacob Billington, to preview their teams. 

Los Angeles Kings

Carolina Hurricanes

How Would You Rate the Team’s Offseason?



A Prospect Who Could Make His NHL Debut This Season:

An Offseason Move That Will Pay Off This Season:

Most Underrated Player on the Roster:

Which Player Departure Was the Biggest Loss?:

First Kings Youngster to Break Through:

Will Max Pacioretty Help the Canes This Season?

CAR: Yes