You couldn’t have two teams having more drastically different seasons than Anaheim and Dallas facing off tonight on Versus (8 p.m. ET).
Dallas has overcome an injury to their starting goalie Kari Lehtonen and found a young stud in his stead in Richard Bachman. Meanwhile, young forward Jamie Benn is a rising star and Loui Eriksson continues to be quietly one of the most productive forwards in the league. Having things shake out this well is a blessing for the Stars and a lot of that credit belongs to new head coach Glen Gulutzan.
In Anaheim, however, things haven’t gone so smoothly.
As you know, the Ducks fired Randy Carlyle recently, replacing him with Bruce Boudreau. Boudreau hasn’t quite been able to work his magic with a Ducks team that is suffering from poor performance all over the ice. Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan are having a down seasons, Corey Perry hasn’t single handedly put the team on his back and carried them the way he did last season, and Jonas Hiller has looked rough in goal. The only guy stepping things up is 41 year-old Teemu Selanne who is leading the team in points.
All this does is shape things up for Dallas to continue rolling along tonight unless Boudreau’s message has started getting through to the rest of the Ducks.
Get set for the Heritage Classic with hot dog facts and more
The Winnipeg Jets host the Edmonton Oilers at the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field this afternoon. You can watch it on NHL Network, Sportsnet, TVA Sports 2 or NHL.tv at 3 p.m. ET.
With that in mind, let’s get prepped with super-important stats about unhealthy food, interesting photos and fun facts.
Want to get an in-depth look at the rivalry between the Jets and the Oilers? NHL.com and Sportsnet both have some great retrospectives.
The CBC notes that there was rain ending in the morning but it’s expected to be cloudy. Overall, sounds like a nice climate for an outdoor hockey game. NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika wonders if the sun’s glare might cause some issues.
The Arizona Coyotes received (mostly) good news on Sunday: Mike Smith‘s injury isn’t believed to be “severe,” even if he’s considered week-to-week, according to reporters including TSN’s Darren Dreger.
While Louis Domingue and Justin Peters isn’t the sort of goalie duo that will make shooters think twice about firing the puck, they’re both at least fairly experienced netminders.
(Considering Smith’s struggles with injuries and inconsistency, it’s not surprising that Arizona invested in a little insurance in Peters.)
Domingue is slated to start in net for the Coyotes against the New York Rangers on Sunday. It’s been a bumpy start for him so far, but Arizona has at least a theoretical advantage in that the Rangers played on Saturday.
As far as when Smith will be back? Well here’s a slight idea.
Dave Tippett does not think Mike Smith will be ready for home game vs. Colorado on Oct. 29, but he is not far from getting back on the ice.
Chances are, plenty of hockey fans – and maybe some members of the Colorado Avalanche – were uttering that question after Saturday night.
Well, we know this about Shane Harper: he scored his first two NHL goals at age 27, helping the Florida Panthers beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2.
You can watch both of Harper’s goals in the recap video:
Harper also drew enough ire from the Avalanche to get into a bit of a skirmish following a hit.
So, who is Shane Harper?
For one thing, he’s from Valencia, California and did not go drafted.
His best junior season came in 2009-10, when he scored 42 goals and 80 points for the Everett Silvertips. He’s become quite the seasoned AHL veteran since then, and while his numbers won’t wow you, he did do enough in 2014-15 to maybe turn a head or two. Harper scored 32 goals and 50 points for the Chicago Wolves that season.
You can tell his teammates were happy for him – gentle ribbing and all – when the media asked about his career milestone: