Whether discussed at this meeting or not, there’s a growing sense of urgency in determining the NHL’s plans to continue to expand its European profile.
While it’s not CBA related, the NHL and NHLPA did agree to work together to send four NHL teams back to Europe next fall for regular season games. Sources say there has been little progress in planning the NHL’s return and time may be running out. NHL clubs are already making plans for their 2014 training camps and preseason games and the marketing impact required may suffer because of the loose ends.
The World Cup of Hockey is also on the list of items that IIHF executives would like to discuss this week.
Last week, it was reported that the NHL had plans to add $1 billion in revenue over the next three seasons, in part through an increased presence in Europe, as well the return of the World Cup.
Coyotes win again, end Maple Leafs’ run at six games
After a downright depressing start to a season that opened with some hope, the Coyotes are at least gaining some self-respect, if not some respect around the NHL. That continued on Monday as the Coyotes extended their winning streak to three games.
Remarkably, that 4-1 win came against the Toronto Maple Leafs, ending the Buds’ own run at six games.
Mike Babcock said he was "concerned" tonight would be a trap game for #Leafs. Didn't think team got nearly enough from the young, skill players that usually drive them.
That 4-1 margin greatly exaggerates the difference between the two teams, however. This one came down to the wire, especially as a would be 2-2 goal was disallowed. The Coyotes added insurance goals late with two empty-netters.
Instead of being lopsided, the game came down to players who were expected to be difference-makers actually making a difference.
It hasn’t been the easiest start for hidden-gem-star Oliver Ekman-Larsson, so he must have been especially happy to score what eventually stood as the game-winner:
Antti Raanta also had himself quite a game, stopping 27 out of 28 shots as his winning streak is also at three games. Injuries and other issues plagued him to start his debut season with Arizona, but now it looks a lot more like things are going as originally planned.
Heading into a Canadian road trip that began with a 4-1 loss to the Jets in Winnipeg, this sure seemed like it would be a dreadful turn for the already-dreadful ‘Yotes. Instead, they’ve rattled off three straight wins: 5-4 at Montreal, 3-2 in OT at Ottawa, and now tonight’s victory in Toronto. You may note that two of those wins came in regulation, too.
(If this team was still the Phoenix Coyotes instead of the Arizona Coyotes, you’d probably see a lot of “rising from the ashes”-type headlines. But alas.)
They began the month winning one and losing one. Starting on Nov. 6, they went on a stretch where they played seven of eight games on the road (a stretch that ended today in Toronto). They lost the first five games of that run, but they managed to get “loser points” in two of those defeats.
Despite a tough schedule on paper, and after going a ludicrous 1-11-1 in October, the Coyotes are now 4-4-2 in November, with seven road games versus three home tilts. Maybe they were inspired by a traveling band of fans?
Great article, funny thing is 4 Arizona Natives have been showing Eastern Canadians that we support our Yotes! We have been rewarded with 2 epic wins. So many Canadians shocked that we came all the way from AZ for hockey! It's 80 degrees back home! Now we in Toronto for that W! pic.twitter.com/Kyx5lIaOQZ
Now, none of that makes you think that this team is going to set the world on fire. Instead, it indicates that there’s some fight left in this squad, and maybe a nod to Rick Tocchet keeping spirits reasonably high even as things looked especially grim.
With Raanta seemingly healthy, “OEL” back on his game, and Clayton Keller continuing to tear the league up as a rookie (two more assists tonight), the Coyotes might be building some confidence, even if they can’t go too far with that at 5-15-3.
Still, they need only to look at the team they narrowly defeated in Toronto and realize that, with the right players and decision-makers, a quick turnaround is actually quite plausible.
For now, they’ll settle for a resoundingly successful road trip.
When you talk about the best lines in the NHL, don’t sleep on the trio Johnny Gaudreau is leading for the Calgary Flames.
With his 10th goal of the season coming early in a Flames – Washington Capitals game that is ongoing, Gaudreau collected his 30th point of 2017-18. As of this writing, only two other players have hit that mark so far: Steven Stamkos (35 points) and Nikita Kucherov (33), the headliners of a Tampa Bay Lightning trio that’s grabbing a lot of, well, headlines.
Here’s the goal Gaudreau scored against the Caps, keeping in mind that he has plenty of time to add to his lofty totals:
This Gaudreau guy is pretty good at hockey. Holtby doesn't let many players beat him on clean looks like that.
To an extent, it feels like Gaudreau’s fantastic work has been sneaking under the radar, at least compared to the likes of Stamkos – Kucherov. Then again, maybe some of it has to do with the fact that his hot streak is at least somewhat concentrated in the last few weeks?
Johnny Gaudreau in the past 10 games: 8 goals, 10 assists. He good.
Gaudreau, no doubt, is the catalyst. His playmaking ability is often spellbinding, and he’s well beyond questions about being a flash in the pan at this point in his career. The 24-year-old came into tonight’s game with 233 points in 251 career regular-season games; he’s scored more than the likes of Joe Pavelski and Evgeni Malkin since becoming a full-time player in 2014-15, according to Hockey Reference. (He ranks 12th overall during that span.)
There remains a debate about how much Sean Monahan can accomplish without Gaudreau, yet the counterpoint would be to wonder if it’s really that wise to mess with such a good thing. Such an argument is especially tough to make on the heels of his first career hat trick:
While Gaudreau has eight goals and 10 assists for a whopping 18 points (and possibly counting) during a 10-game point streak, Monahan collected his 21st point of this season on the primary assist. He added a helper to that hat trick the other night, so even if he’s stopped for the rest of Monday, Monahan has five points in two games. He also generated a six-game point streak (three goals, five assists) from Oct. 27 – Nov. 9.
When people haven’t been discussing Monahan’s dependence upon Gaudreau, they’ve wondered who might be the right winger for that dynamic duo.
The big 25-year-old currently has 12 points in 18 games, but he’s really been revving up his production as of late. The Flyers snapped his five-game goal streak on Nov. 18, yet he extended his point streak to six contests with an assist (5G, 3A).
Logically, Ferland makes some sense for Gaudreau – Monahan. Neither of those forwards bring a lot of beef to the table, and Ferland has also shown some signs that he possesses the ability to finish the chances they can set up. As fun as it is to watch Jaromir Jagr with those two, Ferland might end up being the best fit for them since Jiri Hudler’s better Flames days.
(Ferland didn’t get an assist on Gaudreau’s goal, so he’ll need to generate some offense as this game goes along to keep his impressive streak going.)
Stamkos, Kucherov, and Vladislav Namestnikov probably carry the championship belts as the best scoring line in hockey, at least right now. One of the delightful things about this relatively high-scoring start to the season is that there are plenty of contenders for that imaginary title, and Gaudreau’s group shouldn’t be shortchanged in such debates.
Update: Monahan added a goal of his own (the eventual game-winner, with a primary assist by Gaudreau) as the Flames ran away with this one by a score of 4-1. Matthew Tkachuk made his presence felt as well with two assists.
About the only bummer was that Ferland’s point streak ended.
So, Gaudreau finishes the night with 31 points on the season, including 19 during this 10-game streak. Monahan now has 22 points (with six in the last two contests).
The above concerns of all parties involved were genuine, of course, Hurricanes management, too, were likely chomping at the bit as they awaited the Finn’s scoring touch around the net.
Perhaps Aho just doesn’t like running with the big pack out of the gate. Slow and steady, as the old saying goes. Despite the lack of pucks behind goalies, Aho has been a strong possession player this season and his expected goal numbers are equally as good.
Aho also has his brief history in pro hockey on his side.
Indeed, Aho’s rookie season didn’t start much different. Last season, it took the Finn 13 games to score his first NHL goal, but he managed to finish the season with 24, an impressive number from a new commodity.
He was only off that pace by two games this season.
It took him 15 games (over four-and-a-half hours of ice time) to register his name and number in the goal section of the scoresheet.
“Before, I never used my stick in any way like that,” he said. “It was unfortunate.”
Despite the ugliness of the slash, Perreault was fine and hasn’t missed any games for the Winnipeg Jets. He was well-aware of Gudas’ rap sheet and while he said the defenseman apologized, he was weary at the thought it wasn’t intentional.
“He apologized in the penalty box, but when you look at the replay, it looks like he did it on purpose,” Perreault said last week. “It wasn’t an accident. He’s been known for doing stuff like that, so I certainly don’t appreciate it. I’m sure the league will take care of it.”
Gudas won’t be able to return to the Flyers’ lineup until Dec. 12 and it doesn’t look like he’s going to appeal. It will be interesting to see what happens the next time he runs afoul of the NHL rulebook given this latest suspension.
“I don’t agree with it, but I accept their decision,” Gudas said. “There’s not much else I can say.”