And the wait is officially over.
It’s not like it was an eternity for Edmonton Oilers mega-prospect Connor McDavid. But two games into his career without a goal felt like a long time given the hype for the first overall pick. But, just as No. 99 did more than three decades ago, No. 97 got tally No. 1 in game No. 3.
Here it is, in all its glory, a deft redirection off an Andrej Sekera point shot to draw Edmonton even with the Dallas Stars:
The first week of the NHL campaign is nearly in the books, yet it feels like there’s already a full season’s worth of highlight-reel material that can’t even crack the top five plays that have been made this season.
A number of rookies scored their first NHL tallies, 3-on-3 overtime was an exciting change of pace from the shootout and a few teams tugged on the heartstrings to open the campaign. But the top five plays of the opening week range only feature one first-career goal, with two NHL veterans stealing the show.
Here are the top five plays from the first week of the season: Read more
It’s been more than a year since the Philadelphia Flyers promoted Ron Hextall to GM. With Hextall at the helm, the thought was the Flyer great could restore the winning culture in Philadelphia in a hurry. That certainly hasn’t been the case.
Under Hextall in the 2014-15 campaign, the Flyers went 33-31-18, finished sixth in the Metropolitan Division ahead of only the veteran-laden New Jersey Devils and lowly Carolina Hurricanes. Philadelphia was a defensive nightmare, allowing the seventh-most goals against despite a season in which goaltender Steve Mason, when healthy, was among the best netminders in the league.
Despite a 1-0 win Monday, Hextall’s Flyers already appear to be in an early state of disarray. Under new coach Dave Hakstol, the Flyers were blown out 7-1 Saturday evening at the hands of the Florida Panthers, which resulted in a players-only meeting post-game. Through three games, the team has scored four goals and it’s their depth players, not their top-line guys, who are contributing best right now.
On his first day as GM in May 2014, Hextall told media, “There’s nothing anyone here won’t do to win a Stanley Cup.” It’s early in the season, sure, but maybe it’s time for Hextall to pull out all the stops. As it stands right now, things aren’t looking good for Philadelphia and it could get a lot worse. Read more
A post-Canadian Thanksgiving compendium of news and views for your dining and dancing pleasure:
* It’s good to be Eric Boulton these days. You’re 39 years old, whatever skills you had as a hockey player are clearly in decline, you’ve never scored more than six goals in a season and you haven’t played a playoff game in more than eight years, and yet there are still executives at the NHL level who are willing to offer you a contract.
In this case it was New York Islanders GM Garth Snow, who gave Boulton a one-way deal worth $575,000. It’s a deal that increases by $25,000 for every playoff round the Islanders win this season, playoff wins that will almost certainly be earned without Boulton ever seeing a minute of ice time. So if the Islanders win the Stanley Cup this season, Boulton will make $100,000 for being a good guy and working out with the scrubs.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have back-to-back titles for the first time since 1964. The only problem is the title is possibly the least admirable in all of professional sports.
For the second consecutive year, ESPN’s Ultimate Standings have named the Maple Leafs as the worst franchise in all of North American professional sports. That’s right, no team in the NHL, NBA, NFL or MLB is worse, according to ESPN. That includes the financially struggling Arizona Coyotes, the NFL’s seemingly hopeless Jacksonville Jaguars and the MLB’s basement-dwelling Philadelphia Phillies. Not even the NBA’s awful New York Knicks, who finished with only 17 wins in 2014-15, rank lower.
“The hapless, entitled Leafs have owned last place in this ranking in three of the past four years,” writes ESPN’s Doug McIntyre. “No franchise in the four major sports leagues charges more for delivering less ($139 total cost per game for a club that has failed to qualify for the playoffs in nine of the past 10 seasons).” Read more
Daniel Briere officially announced his retirement from the NHL nearly two months ago, but the 17-year veteran hasn’t taken much time away from the game.
Briere, 38, was at the Wells Fargo Center ahead of the Flyers’ pre-game skate Monday and told NJ.com’s Randy Miller that he’s back with the team in a part-time management capacity, though it’s unofficial at this point.
“I’ll be doing a variety of things working with (Flyers president Paul Holmgren),” said Briere, who retired on Aug. 17. “I’ll be learning the ropes. I think it’ll be fun.” Read more
The new NHL season is barely a week old, but things aren’t going well for the once-mighty Boston Bruins, who lost their opening three games. Captain Zdeno Chara only recently returned from a pre-season upper-body injury, feisty winger Brad Marchand is out indefinitely with a concussion, back surgery sidelined blueliner Dennis Seidenberg and struggling rearguard Matt Irwin was waived and demoted.
Factor in the shake-up to the Bruins’ front office and roster during the summer, which included trading away defenseman Dougie Hamilton and left wing Milan Lucic, and it’s unsurprising that trade speculation has already begun.
In an interview with Sportsnet 960 last Friday, Elliotte Friedman was asked if he thought Bruins management might consider trading the 38-year-old Chara or goaltender Tuukka Rask. Acknowledging their bold off-season moves, he felt it might be worth watching. Friedman spoke about trade rumors regarding the 28-year-old Rask this summer, but was told they wouldn’t make that move because of their lack of experienced goaltending depth. Read more
Goaltender Steve Mason was supposed to get the call for the Flyers in Monday’s game against the Florida Panthers, but news broke in the early afternoon that he would instead be out of the lineup due to a personal matter. With Mason out, Michal Neuvirth was given starting duty for Philadelphia. He didn’t disappoint.
In his first regular season tilt in a Flyers uniform, Neuvirth stopped all 31 shots he faced and led Philadelphia to their first victory of the season — a 1-0 shutout win over the same Panthers who had beaten the Flyers 7-1 just two nights earlier.
Neuvirth was nothing short of spectacular for the Flyers in the victory, but no save highlights that as much as a sprawling backhanded glove stop he made on Panthers left winger Brandon Pirri: Read more