The Toronto Maple Leafs got off to a strong start this season with a 10-4-0 record. Their offense, led by Phil Kessel, was dominating the league and goaltenders James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier were an effective duo.
So far, it looks like Toronto peaked in October. By Dec. 18, Toronto had slipped to 17-16-3 and had just a three point edge in the battle for the second Wild Card spot. That naturally led to speculation about head coach Randy Carlyle’s job security, but Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis insisted that he wouldn’t fire the bench boss.
Fast forward a month and the Maple Leafs remain stuck in the mud and they’ve lost their Wild Card spot. However, even as Toronto’s situation gets bleaker, Nonis hasn’t changed his stance.
“Randy’s job is not in jeopardy,” said Nonis, according to the Toronto Star. “It’s the players who have to play better, and they know that. The biggest piece in all of this is the players, collectively. This is not a bad hockey team.”
Instead, Nonis is looking to shake things up via a trade. He’s already made some moves in that regard, including the acquisition of 22-year-old Peter Holland from Anaheim and a trade involving defensemen Tim Gleason and John-Michael Liles.
In the meantime, he added that Friday’s 3-2 loss to Washington was their best game in roughly two months. They’ll play New Jersey tonight.
Winnipeg Jets fire Claude Noel
Update: Puck drop is now scheduled for 4:53 p.m. ET.
It’s not a familiar situation for the NHL, but it has happened before: a weather delay for a hockey game.
The Winnipeg Jets confirmed that the start time for their Heritage Classic game against the Edmonton Oilers has been delayed. The glare of the sun appears to be too much.
At the moment, it is not yet known how severe the delay will be. Puck drop was originally scheduled for just after 3 p.m. ET.
That’s a bummer, but at least it inspired a joke that would probably make Ilya Bryzgalov smile:
Warm-ups were moved to 4 p.m. ET. PHT will keep you posted if there are any other changes.
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Former Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Demers is back at home after going to a hospital Saturday.
Demers’ Senate office would only confirm that the 72-year-old Demers, a Canadian senator, was at home Sunday, but didn’t provide any details about the reason he went to the hospital.
Demers had suffered a stroke in April, but he was at the Canadiens’ home opener Tuesday night, smiling in a wheelchair while handing a torch to captain Max Pacioretty to close out a pregame ceremony.
Demers led the Canadiens to their most recent Stanley Cup in 1993. He also coached the Quebec Nordiques, the Detroit Red Wings and the St. Louis Blues.
Demers was appointed to the Senate in 2009 by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper, but later left the Conservative caucus in December to sit as an Independent.
At the time, he said he was uncomfortable with some of the fallout from the Senate expenses scandal and didn’t like to have to vote the Conservative party line all the time.
So, let’s assume that the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets will eventually play in the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field on Sunday.
Every indication is that Cam Talbot and Connor Hellebuyck shall get the nods for their respective teams. Most assume, with the firepower on hand, that this could be a high-scoring game.
Hellebuyck isn’t flustered about all the goals the Jets have allowed so far, as he told NHL.com.
“It’s not something you’re really worried about,” Hellebuyck said. “It’s early in the year, it happens to a lot of teams. If you look at the trends in the past 10 years, there’s always a lot of goals being scored at the beginning of the year.”
They’re not just facing dangerous offenses. They’re also dealing with the conditions, as the game was already delayed by the glare of the sun.
Goalies are already accustomed to having their views compromised by screening forwards. Will Hellebuyck and Talbot squint through the Heritage Classic?
Wild at Islanders – Darcy Kuemper vs. Thomas Greiss
Coyotes at Rangers – Louis Domingue vs. (probably) Henrik Lundqvist
Canucks at Ducks – Ryan Miller vs. (likely) John Gibson
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.
- No doubt about it, the futures of both franchises will be on display, from Connor McDavid to Patrik Laine.
- The league’s PR department tweeted out some silly facts: 425 lbs. of cheese curds “will top poutine” during the event and 2.5 kilometers (about 1.55 miles) of hot dogs and “smokies” will be consumed.
(Imagines one enormous cheese dog.)
Now that you have important food facts in mind, here are a few fun photos as promised.
Should be a great time.
Oh, and in case you missed it, here is a recap of Saturday’s wonderful alumni game: