NHL best and worst: Chychrun gets emotional, Leafs pals bid farewell, goalies go wild
With the NHL trade deadline finally in the rearview mirror, it’s all about performance on the ice, with about a month until the game. The playoff races are heating up, the coaches are tightening up the lineups, and the intensity is increasing.
Here’s everything you might have missed due to the chaos of deadlines in NHL magazine’s weekly edition of The Best and Worst.
Goal of the week
Looks like Vladimir Tarasenko is a perfect fit for his new club on Broadway. The All-Star winger has scored nine points in 12 games for the Rangers, but none of them match the silk-smooth gloves he displayed in this game. Look at the deception when Tarasenko leaves Cam Talbot in search of his brace.
Salvation of the week
Matt Murray’s injury comeback could have gone better as he conceded four goals on 24 shots in a tough loss to the Maple Leafs, but there’s more to be learned from Saturday night. Take, for example, that epic save against Christian Volanin when Murray manages to score what should have been a goal.
Player of the Week: Connor McDavid
There have been many weeks where Connor McDavid could have been Player of the Week this year. Hell, this week hasn’t even been particularly remarkable, with the Oilers star posting nine points in four games. But at a certain point, you just have to take a moment and enjoy the madness that was McDavid’s season. He’s the first player in the post-cap era to hit 120 points in two seasons, and he looks like he could hit 150 when all is said and done. This guy is a robot playing hockey and no one is even close to the level he is at.
Goal for Gramps
Jacob Chychran is a perfect fit for the Senators, picking up where he left off in Arizona with two points in his first two games. However, even more surprising than the defender’s performance was how quickly he integrated into the rest of the team. Having his own Ottawa roots in his grandfather’s uniform, Chichran is thrilled to see Gramps’ reaction to his first goal in a Senators uniform.
AHL Goalie Update
The AHL appears to be taking notes after Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark scored his first career goal last week. First, Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov, who currently plays in the AHL for Chicago, beat his NHL counterpart with a great goal and even better play on the field. Then, about 1,100 miles to the south in Austin, Texas, things got even faster when a pair of goaltenders, including up-and-coming Yaroslav Askarov, decided to dance in the always thrilling goaltending battle.
The Sandman Exit
Trade deadlines in the NHL are sometimes seen as fantasy hockey, where trades have no wider implications beyond on-ice play and teams. However, in behind-the-scenes moments like this one, when best friends William Nylander and Rasmus Sandin leave the stage after Sandin’s deal, you begin to understand the human element better.
The Foot family was a big influence on hockey (pun intended): Father Adam dominated the late 90s and his two first-round picks, Cal and Nolan. Matt Duchene certainly knows this, as he came up with the Colorado Avalanche while the older Foote was a key cog in the Avs at the end of his illustrious career.
This meant that as the Tanner Jeannot deal fizzled and it became clear who was heading in the other direction, this fantastic photo shoot more than a decade later became a must for Duchesne and his former roommate.
Useful moment of the week
Getting out on the ice with your heroes should be one of the most exciting experiences any young hockey fan can experience. However, for one poor Kings fan, the club’s miscalculation left one poor fellow without a professional to stand by. Joonas Korpisalo will definitely come to the rescue in one of the most touching moments on the ice we’ve seen this season.
There is tanking, there is money ball (or money puck), and then there is what the hell is going on in Arizona. The Desert Dogs launder money entirely with the pay cap, and even despite the NHL memo warning against cap scams, they don’t seem to care that much. Hey, five years from now – once they’ve made all their draft picks – they’ll be laughing at us for not appreciating their bold strategy of paying dudes not to play.
If you haven’t seen original speech this parody was based on (fair warning, Bruce Boudreau gets pretty chatty), do yourself a favor and give him a watch. This hilarious clip was one of several highlights from both Canadian deadline shows that were vying to fill over 8 hours of airtime under a deadline that had already expired a few weeks prior.
It’s been a long time
Mason Marchment was one of the biggest free-agent transfers in hockey this past offseason after the standout power forward moved from the Trophy-winning Florida Panthers to the Dallas Stars. While the early results were solid, things took a turn for the worse as Marchment went through an unenviable 32 games without scoring a goal. On Saturday afternoon, everything finally changed.
K’Andre Miller clashed with Drew Doughty when the Rangers and Kings met last Sunday, but Miller crossed the line, though he said the action was unintentional. During the scuffle, the Rangers defenseman revealed that he lashed out at the former Norris winner, earning a three-game suspension and suspension. This is some expensive bullshit.
Not a sport?
ESPN, which owns the NHL broadcast rights until at least 2028, should know better than that. After Yankees announcer Michael Kay chose the Rangers as the next New York club to win the championship, Steven A. Smith and Molly Kerim shut it down, completely discrediting the property that their network spent $3 billion to broadcast rights to. Not good.
In 40 games this season, Ryan Reeves has failed to connect with either the Rangers or the Minnesota Wild. To be fair, that’s not what he was brought in for, but you certainly hope that if you’re on the NHL ice, you can at least threaten to put the puck in the net. Finally, after Reeves’ son’s teammate punched the 36-year-old chirping for lifethe security officer was clearly tired, he cashed this beauty on Tuesday and demonstrated his hand-eye coordination in the process.
Worry about deadlines
Bill Guerin had a productive deadline, putting together a few key cogs for a Wild team aiming for their first playoff deep game since the NHL returned to the state of hockey in 2000. However, in this behind-the-scenes footage, we get a rare glimpse of what life in the NHL Grandmaster War Room actually looks like, and god, it looks a lot dumber than it was supposed to.
Fast on the draw
After the Kings ditched the legendary goaltender to the Blue Jackets, word quickly spread of Jonathan Quick’s displeasure. The Jackets ended up doing the right thing for the veteran by sending him to Vegas to enjoy the sunset of his career, but perhaps even better was this response tweet they wrote in honor of the Blue Jackets legend.
Trending: Ottawa Senators
Ladies and gentlemen, the senators have arrived. There’s no one hotter than the Bruins, who have racked up 10 wins in a row, but it’s time to show some love to other clubs as Boston chases history. The addition of Chychrun has breathed life into the Sens team, which gained momentum in late January and is now rapidly ascending the NHL standings as they head towards their first playoff since 2017.
With their fifth straight win on Saturday night and a streak that included two huge wins over their fellow playoff Detroit Red Wings, things are moving in the right direction in the Canadian capital.
Trending Down: Calgary Flames
Meanwhile, the Flames look like they’re fried. Potential Stanley Cup contenders entering the season, goaltenders Jacob Markstrom and Dan Vladar have done everything in their power to shatter the hopes of a pretty good team by teaming up in one of the NHL’s most pathetic tandems this season. They’ve now lost five times in a row, and with the wildcard last place in the West shifting more and more every day, it looks like things could get frisky this off-season in Cowtown with many questions and very few responses.