September 26 — ‘The Office’ Characters & Training Camp Tales

Last Night’s News 📰

SABRES RE-SIGN GM: Last week, the Buffalo Sabres signed general manager Kevyn Adams to a multi-year contract extension, although details are still unknown. Adams helped the team improve to a 32-39-11 record last season, which was fifth-best in the Atlantic Division. It matched the team’s best record since finishing third in 2011-12.

MAKING THEIR CATES: John Tortorella’s preseason debut as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers was a successful one, as brothers Noah and Jackson Cates each scored in a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins. We guess that’s why they call it the “City of Brotherly Love.”

PRESEASON PUCK DROP: Preseason games kicked off on Saturday. Tortorella won his first exhibition behind the Flyers bench, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators traded victories in their two split-squad scrimmages, and the St. Louis Blues outlasted the Arizona Coyotes. Across 10 contests on Sunday, a pair of new acquisitions contributed immediately to their current clubs. 

Hope Springs Eternal in Training Camp

For all the stress and anxiety that being a hockey fan can bring, NHL training camp can offer a nice little break. With all 32 clubs getting a fresh start, it almost feels like you get the optimistic hope without any of the dread or worry that typically accompanies it. Win a preseason game? Hey, this team could be something special! Lose? I mean, it’s preseason, so who cares?

Training camp follows usual narrative patterns infused with optimism and positivity, especially as media coverage grabs some of those feelings of hope. With an entire 82-game season ahead that’s sure to be filled with injuries, obstacles, and trying times, why not stir up some good feelings early on? Here are some of the token optimistic storylines you’re sure to hear in every NHL market:

“He Looks Poised for a Breakout”

St. Louis Blues forward Logan Brown (Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)

Everyone wants to be the Nostradamus-like prognosticator who can take credit for a projection gone right. Therefore, training camp marks the perfect time to use encouraging early play to predict a step toward stardom. Logan Brown’s two-goal showing in the St. Louis Blues’ 5-4 win over the Arizona Coyotes could be an early breakthrough indicator for the 11th overall pick—or it could just be a guy who had a solid first preseason game.

“He Feels Better Than Ever”

With all due respect and appreciation for the effort and dedication required to work your way back from a surgery or significant injury in the offseason, hockey players probably don’t want to be greeted with stories about how they feel 100 percent heading into camp. That’s mainly because those stories never center on players with a track record of previously being robust. So, congrats on your health after four or five months off work.

“If Everything Breaks Right, They Could Win It All”

The Vegas Golden Knights were Stanley Cup Final-bound in their incredible 2017-18 expansion season. (Photo by Jason Halstead/Getty Images)

“If” is always a fun qualifier because it makes many things seem possible. Why not envision some dream scenario in which everyone on the roster remains injury-free while delivering to the absolute peak of their abilities? In all honesty, the league has witnessed the Vegas Golden Knights‘ magical expansion season and underdog Stanley Cup finalists like the Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens in recent years, so who knows??

One Time at Training Camp

Training camp is underway around the NHL, filled with an undertone of questioning which players will make their respective teams. However, the preseason is also ripe with shenanigans. Without further ado, we present some antics from around the NHL—inspired by “American Pie’s” iconic “this one time at band camp” line.

Friendly Fire

Chicago Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson is known for skating with the team. He does it when the club does laps, which has caused some friendly fire. Richardson collided with and accidentally stepped on defenseman Caleb Jones during practice. Defenseman Connor Murphy had the best response to the ordeal, stating that it would take minutes away from Jones, to which he responded, “No, I love it. Hitting the coach will get you minutes.” Hey, players do whatever they have to do to get playing time.

Man Down

Philadelphia Flyer’s head coach John Tortorella has emphasized skating to his team for a long time. For example, he had his players doing 30-minute drills after an hour of scrimmage, and the team may have gotten winded. One of the most entertaining photographs of training camp came from one of the Flyers’ players lying flat on his back on the ice in front of coach Tortorella. You can count on the Flyers being in shape this season! 

Junk in the Trunk

In July, the Sharks signed defenseman Matt Benning to a four-year, $5 million contract, and he looks like he is having fun on the mic for his first San Jose training camp. Benning told reporters, “everyone makes fun of how big [Tomáš Hertl’s] butt is.” Players can joke all they want because Hertl’s physique contributes an average of 25 goals a season!

Sauna Time

As part of the 2022 NHL Global Series in November, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Colorado Avalanche will face off twice in Tampere, Finland. No one is more excited than Columbus’ Patrik Laine, a Finnish native. Laine jokingly stated that he can’t wait to show his teammates a “real” Finnish sauna to see who “holds up with me” and who is “going to be in the hospital afterward.” Columbus needs to make a vlog of that experience, STAT! 

NHL Franchises as Characters From ‘The Office’

According to IMDB, “The Office” is the 10th-best comedy TV show and is ranked higher than “The Big Bang Theory” and “Friends.” For many, it’s the ultimate comfort show, and here at The Morning Skate, we decided to discuss which NHL franchises would be characters from the mockumentary. Please enjoy Part One!

Vegas Golden Knights as Michael Scott: Do hockey fans like the Golden Knights? Absolutely not. Is Michael as well-liked as he thinks while he holds the title of Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin? Again, no. Both seem to have a misguided opinion of themselves, which can lead to trouble within their organization. 

Toronto Maple Leaf as Dwight Schrute: Always an assistant, never the manager. Toronto has spent the last several seasons in the bullpen hoping to one day make it into the big office. The good news is that Dwight eventually becomes Regional Manager, which means there is hope that the Maple Leafs will soon celebrate a Stanley Cup victory.

Philadelphia Flyers as Kevin Malone: Like the accountant having no clue what is happening in the office 99 percent of the time, no one seems to know what the Flyers are doing. After an offseason that included royally screwing up the Johnny Gaudreau sweepstakes, Philadelphia thinks that having both John Tortorella and Tony DeAngelo in the same locker room is a recipe for success. 

Seattle Kraken as Toby Flenderson: The NHL’s newest franchise and the human resources representative are sadly a second thought among their peers—sorry, not sorry. Nothing is intimidating about the Kraken once the puck drops, and those Sabre printers proved to be more dangerous than Flenderson. 

Tampa Bay Lightning as Creed Bratton: Tampa knows how to use the system to their advantage, just like Creed. They are sneaky and make some questionable choices, but that doesn’t mean we don’t root for them to succeed from time to time. 

Ottawa Senators as Stanley Hudson: Ottawa quietly goes about its business, much like Stanley Hudson. Although the Senators may not be the main character, they occasionally provide some dramatic storylines that keep fans intrigued. 

Nashville Predators as Kelly Kapoor: If Kelly were a city, she would be Nashville. The customer service rep would sashay up and down Broadway and lead fans in the smashing of the car when she finds out Ryan cheated on her—again. 

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.

This week, we kick off with San Jose Sharks contributor Andrew Stille and St. Louis Blues writers Marcus AshpaughMike MeyerStephen Ground, and Ethan Carter to preview their teams. 

San Jose Sharks

St. Louis Blues

How Would You Rate the Team’s Offseason?


STL: C or C-

A Prospect Who Could Make His NHL Debut This Season:

An Offseason Move That Will Pay Off This Season:

SJS: Signing Oskar Lindblom

STL: Signing Noel Acciari or extending Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou

Most Underrated Player on the Roster:

Which Player Departure Was the Biggest Loss?:

Will GM Mike Grier Make a Big In-Season Move?:

Will the Blues Trade Tarasenko This Season?:

SJS: Yes!

STL: Mike & Stephen: Yes – Marcus & Ethan: No