Matt Duchene

Twitter Thursday: Matt Duchene is really into Brad Paisley


This feature profiles an NHLer that’s making noise on the Twitter machine.


Confession time: I had no idea who Brad Paisley was until Duchene mentioned him. I mean I’ve heard the name and all, but if you told me Brad Paisley was a soap opera star or the guy that invented the Segway, I probably would’ve believed you.

That said, it’s not surprising that Duchene feels the Paisley concert is a matter of life and/or death. One, he’s 20 years old. Everything is epic when you’re 20. For example, seeing Entertainer of the Year at the 44th annual Country Music Awards perform in your home town. Fairly epic.

Two, Duchene might be the most earnest person alive — he seems genuinely enthused about everything. He loves playing guitar. He appreciates fashion. He and Paul Stastny used to celebrate wins by doing the Bang Bang dance from How I Met Your Mother. Missing the Paisley show was probably a major bummer for him.

With that said, I’d like to point out all is not lost for Duchene. Colorado has a six-day break from January 24-31 that coincides with the NHL All-Star break. Well, guess what? Paisley will be playing a January 28th show in…wait for it…Las Vegas. Yes, live from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, it’s Brad Paisley along with special guests The Band Perry and Scotty McCreery. Vegas, baby. You can almost hear Duchene bouncing off the walls right now.

[Of course, Duchene is 20 and the legal drinking age in Nevada is 21, so maybe there’s a little less bounce than originally imagined.]

In closing, I’d like to remind you that Pro Hockey Talk is your No. 1 source for NHL news and country music tour stops. Taylor Swift plays Tampa on November 12!

And speaking of PHT (and Twitter), a reminder to follow all of our writers: Me (@PHTalk_NBC), Jason Brough (@JasonPHT), Joe Yerdon (@JoeYerdonPHT) and James O’Brien (@cyclelikesedins).

Oilers go captain-less, name four alternates instead

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Edmonton’s made a fairly significant shift in its leadership group.

The big news is the Oilers won’t have a captain this season, as Andrew Ference will relinquish the “C” he’s worn for the last two years.

Ference will, however, remain part of the group and wear an “A” as part of a four-man alternate captain collective, one that also includes Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall.

The news of Ference being removed as captain doesn’t come as a huge surprise. The veteran d-man is a well-respected leader, but isn’t expected to be in the lineup every night this season.

The decision to go without a captain, though, is something of a surprise, especially given what new head coach Todd McLellan endured during his final season in San Jose.

The Sharks’ captaincy issue — stripping Joe Thornton, then going with four rotating alternates — was an ongoing problem, something that players, coaches and GM Doug Wilson had to repeatedly address until it blew up in spectacular fashion.

That said, the circumstances in Edmonton are quite different.

It’s believed the club’s intentionally keeping the captaincy vacant, on the assumption that Connor McDavid will evolve into a superstar and, subsequently, the club’s unquestioned leader.

Finally, McLellan noted that with Eberle currently sidelined, a fifth Oiler would be added to the leadership group — veteran forward Matt Hendricks, who will serve as a temporary alternate.

Brandon Sutter didn’t have the greatest preseason

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When Brandon Sutter was acquired by the Vancouver Canucks, GM Jim Benning called the 26-year-old a “foundation piece for our group going forward.”

Sutter was quickly signed to a five-year extension worth almost $22 million, more evidence of how highly management thought of the player.

Fast forward to yesterday, when Benning was asked the following question:

“What does it say that you made the trade for Sutter, you called him a ‘foundation’ player, and it took him until the final night of the preseason to find a spot (with the Sedins) on the wing, which isn’t his natural position?”

Here was Benning’s response:

“Well, [head coach Willie Desjardins] wants to try that out, he thinks that’s going to be a good fit. At various times, the Sedins played with wingers with speed, with [Ryan Kesler], who could get in on the forecheck and had a good shot. Sutter brings some of those qualities, too.”

While all that may be true, Sutter was not signed to play the wing; he was brought in to play center, specifically on the second line. He finished the preseason with zero points in five games. And as mentioned, he’ll start the season on the wing, not his natural position.

Meanwhile, youngsters Bo Horvat, 20, and Jared McCann, 19, had outstanding camps and are expected to start the regular season (tonight in Calgary) centering the second and third lines, respectively.

Though Sutter did finish the preseason with 12 shots on goal, up there with the most on the Canucks, it’s fair to say he did not look like a “foundation” player.

“I haven’t seen him play his best,” Desjardins said last week. “I see a guy who’s big and a good skater and who understands the game real well, but just hasn’t got that involved.”

Now, we are only talking about the preseason here. New players often take time to get comfortable. Perhaps playing with the Sedins can provide Sutter with some confidence.

“I know he’ll be there and I totally believe that,” said Desjardins.

But it hasn’t been the best start, and if it wasn’t for the encouraging play of the youngsters, it would be a far bigger story in Vancouver.

Related: Canucks roll the dice on rookies, waive Vey and Corrado