WHAT DA PUCK

2023-01-23 · 4 min read · NHL/Hockey
Bruce Boudreau, Connor McDavid and Rick Tocchet

Sportsnet Twitter (@Sportsnet) | Andy Devlin/Getty Images | Howlin Hockey

With another great week of hockey in the books let’s take a look at some of the most notable delopments.
1.
Edmonton Oilers Superstar Connor McDavid hit 40 goals on Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks. It took McDavid a little over a minute into the game to hit the twine for the 40th time this season, doing so in 48 games, the fastest it has been done since Pavel Bure who also needed 48 in the 1999-2000 season. He also became the fastest active player to score forty goals in a season since Toronto Maple Leaf superstar Auston Matthews, who needed 49 to score 40 last year. McDavid also extended his point streak to 10 games, he has eight goals and eight assists in that span. McDavid continues to pace that league in goals (40), assists (48) and points (88), he has 15 more points than the next player in the league fellow Oilers star and frequent line mate Leon Draisaitl who has 73. McDavid is currently scoring 1.83 points per game putting him on pace to hit 150 this season, something that hasn't been done since Mario Lemieux had 161 in the 1995-96 season. With McDavid firing on all cylinders and Edmonton on a six-game winning streak, it's a good time to be a Oilers fan.
2.
Unfortunately, a multitude of players went down with long term injuries this past week. Firstly, the Montreal Canadiens lost multiple players namely last year's first overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky and leading goal scorer Cole Caulfield. Slafkovsky Is estimated to miss three months with a lower body ailment. The young Slovak has not had the season the Canadiens hoped for after making him the first pick in the 2022 draft. Slafkovsky has 10 points in 39 games, in his last 15 before getting hurt he failed to record a point with only 11 shots on goal while posting a -12 rating. The Canadiens also announced that Caufield will be out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. Caufield leads the Canadiens with 26 goals and is second with 36 points. The 15th overall pick from the 2019 draft, Caufield will be a restricted free agent when the season ends. Former Canadiens captain and current Carolina Hurricane Max Pacioretty was placed on injured reserve by the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday because of a torn Achilles. Pacioretty missed the previous two games with a lower-body injury and the first 38 this season while recovering from surgery to repair a torn Achilles. He has three goals in five games with the Hurricanes this season. Pacioretty, who was acquired in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights on July 13, had 37 points (19 goals) in 39 games last season. Pacioretty has now played just 44 games since the start of 2021-22. The 34-year-old is a six-time 30-goal scorer and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
3.
It's been another wild week for the Vancouver Canucks with more strange press conferences, team and fan comments and finally culminating in the long-rumoured firing of Bruce Boudreau. Rick Tocchet has been announced as the new coach of the Canucks, replacing the sometimes bemoaned and otherwise beloved Boudreau. The Canucks (18-25-3) have lost 10 of their past 12 games and are sixth in the Pacific Division, 14 points behind the Colorado Avalanche for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. They are 31st in the NHL in goals against per game (3.96) and last on the penalty kill (65.9 percent). Boudreau was hired by the Canucks to replace Travis Green on Dec. 5, 2021. When he was hired, the Canucks were in last place in the Pacific with an 8-15-2 record, Boudreau went 32-15-10 with them, missing the playoffs by just two points. That led to Vancouver announcing that Boudreau would return as coach. However, the Canucks got off to a slow start this season, losing their first seven games (0-5-2), including becoming the first team in NHL history to blow a multigoal leads in each of its first four games of a season. Following their Saturday night loss to the Oilers, Boudreau stayed on the bench and clapped as fans chanted “Bruce, there it is.” He then fought back tears in his postgame press conference. “You never know if it's the end,” Boudreau said. “So, when you've been in it for almost 50 years, you know, the majority of your life, and now if it's the end, I had to stay out there and look at the crowd and just try to say, 'OK, try to remember this moment.” Boudreau, 68, is 617-342-128 in 1,087 games with the Canucks, Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks and Washington Capitals, and 43-47 in 90 playoff games. His .626 points percentage in the regular season is second in NHL history among coaches with at least 1,000 games, behind Scotty Bowman (.657). Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford will surely take some criticism over his questionable handling of this situation, as Boudreau’s potential firing and replacement by Tocchet came out weeks ago. Rutherford then said on Jan. 16 that he was sticking with Boudreau as coach, although he also confirmed that he had spoken to potential candidates to replace him. The Canucks president did take a moment to address this during Tocchet’s introduction saying “Nobody takes great pride in this. I've known Bruce for a long time. He's been a friend and I feel very bad about it. And if I've offended anybody in the process, I apologise personally on behalf of the Canucks.” Tocchet, who will coach his first game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday, worked as a television analyst for Turner Sports the past two years after going 125-131-34 as coach of the Arizona Coyotes from 2017-21. The 58-year-old also coached the Tampa Bay Lightning for two seasons from 2008-10, going 53-69-26, and won the Stanley Cup twice as an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins (2016, 2017).
Quick Wristers
  • Tampa Bay Lighting captain Steven Stamkos scored his 500th career goal on Wednesday this past week. Stamkos scored Nos. 500, 501 and 502 in a 5-2 victory at the Vancouver Canucks. Stammer as he is often known became the 47th player in NHL history to score 500 goals. He joined Washington Capitals Captain Alex Ovechkin and Pittsburgh Penguins Captain Sidney Crosby as the third active player to reach the milestone, the 23rd in history to do it with one NHL team.
  • Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane returned this week after missing the previous 31 games due to his wrist being cut by a skate Nov. 8 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 31-year-old power forward tallied 13 points in 14 games before the injury. Kane recorded 35 goals and 21 assists in 58 contests in 2021-22 (in the regular season and playoffs) after signing with Edmonton as a free agent midseason.
  • The Joseph brothers Ottawa Senator Mathieu Joseph and Pittsburgh Penguin Pierre-Oliver Joseph were called for matching penalties in a hilarious sequence this week. Penguins defenceman Pierre-Olivier's stick hit older brother Mathieu in the face as the Senators forward missed his check, prompting the other end of the twig to catch Pierre-Olivier in the mouth. Despite only Pierre deserving it both Josephs were then sent to the box to each serve two-minute minors, grinning and shaking their heads in disbelief. Making even better their parents were in attendance and were similarly displeased but amused with the call. Here is the vid for your enjoyment
Highlights of the week
McDavid doing McDavid things
Dahlin diming across the ice
Sports Tree Profile

By: Chase Howard

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