The Vancouver Canucks will look to end a two-game home losing streak Saturday night against the Edmonton Oilers, a team led by NHL leading scorer Connor McDavid and his German pal Leon Draisaitl. Kind of reminds you of all those years when Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were always mentioned in the same sentence. That Pittsburgh Penguin duo won three Stanley Cups together. Are the Oilers getting closer?
Edmonton’s been busy, starting the season 5-and-1, while the Canucks are dragging a bit thus far at 3-4-1. More on the BC boys in a bit, but there’s plenty of news around the “big show” so …
Let’s Skate! …
— Across the country in Toronto, the Maple Leafs took care of business about eight months early in signing their most consistent defenceman Morgan Rielly ahead of him becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer. The 27-year-old leftie inked an eight-year deal for $7.5-million per season that kicks in next fall. He’s making $5-million this season. Great deets here from Scott Cullen at Toronto Hockey Now.
The Maple Leafs presently have the same record as the Vancouver Canucks but with a much worse goal differential of minus-9. The Canucks have only been outscored this season by a grand total of two goals. The Maple Leafs host the Detroit Red Wings Saturday evening.
— We still have undefeated teams in the National Hockey League as we enter the season’s third weekend. The Carolina Hurricanes, winners Friday night at home 6-3 over the Chicago Blackhawks, stand at seven wins with zero defeats. Heading south you’ll find the Florida Panthers one better. The Cats are now 8-and-0 after Friday’s 3-2 overtime win in Detroit. Aleksander Barkov had two goals including the game winner.
That’s it for the purely undefeated, while the Washington Capitals remain the only other NHL team without a loss in regulation. Ovie’s DC boys are 5-0-3 on the season. They suffered an OT loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on October 16th, a 4-3 OT loss to the Calgary Flames exactly one week later on the 23rd, and a 3-2 OT loss to Detroit on Wednesday the 27th.
— It’ll be at least five more weeks before centre Jack Hughes, the younger brother of Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes, returns to action for the New Jersey Devils from his dislocated shoulder injury. The former 1st-overall pick in the NHL Draft in 2019, Hughes was thrown to the ice in the left wing corner in the Seattle zone by Kraken defenceman Jeremy Lauzon in the first period of a game in Newark back on October 19th. Despite a winning record of 3-and-2 and because they’ve played the fewest games in the League, the Devils are in last place in the NHL’s Metropolitan Division with just six points.
— By the way, speaking of Sid “not-so-much-a-kid” Crosby, he’s a game time decision to play his first match of the season Saturday night at home against those Devils. Crosby went through wrist surgery on September 9th and has been recuperating.
— The fall-out continues from the Chicago Blackhawks decade-old sex scandal as the owner of the club, Rocky Wirtz, has suggested to the Hockey Hall of Fame that they purge the name of Brad Aldrich off the Stanley Cup.
“Aldrich’s involvement with the team during the 2010 season has cast a pall on the players’ extraordinary work that year,” said Wirtz in part of his letter to the Hall.
The video coach with the team at the time, Aldrich is alleged to have used his position of power to coerce and sexually assault prospect Kyle Beach and another player. The Chicago Blackhawks were accused and found negligent by the league in covering up the matter rather than dealing with it at the time. Since Beach came forward and identified himself this past week, the club’s GM Stan Bowman and others have been fired our resigned from their current NHL positions. That includes the Hawks former Stanley Cup winning coach Joel Quenneville, expelled yesterday as coach of the Florida Panthers.
In a related note, Kevin Cheveldayoff, the current Winnipeg Jets general manager, who was the Blackhawks’ assistant GM and senior director of hockey operations from 2009-11, will not be disciplined by the NHL for “actions or inactions” related to the Kyle Beach matter.
— If you missed the latest update on the Vancouver Canucks walking wounded, here’s that article from Friday. The Canucks are lacking a bit of depth down the middle with their handful of injuries.
Enjoy the Hockey Action!!