Ducks’ forgettable road trip doesn’t dampen newlyweds’ honeymoon

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Andrew and Kaylin Gladd figured that by the end of their Canadian road trip following their beloved Anaheim Ducks the pucks they collected before each game would end up being the highlight of their travels.

The California natives were married on New Year’s Eve and decided to spend their honeymoon traveling across Canada as the Ducks played the Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, and Ottawa Senators. It was a plan hatched over the summer after the NHL released its 2018-19 schedule. 

Being true Californians, of course, meant that aside from booking hotels, buying game tickets and planning how they would get to each city, they would need to make some additions to their wardrobes considering the time of year they would be honeymooning.

“We started buying actual winter boots because we didn’t have anything clothes-wise,” Andrew told Pro Hockey Talk on Friday from the couple’s Ottawa hotel room.

“It’s cold up here,” added Kaylin.

When the Gladds, who have had Ducks season tickets together for the last three years, began planning, there probably wasn’t a thought that the Ducks would be as bad as they are right now. They’re eight points out of a wild card spot in the Western Conference, but it feels like a thousand. Anaheim has won only twice in their last 21 games and John Gibson’s Vezina Trophy hopes have taken a major hit with the lack of support in front of him.

Andrew and Kaylin got to witness the red lights in four different rinks light up with regularity in the past week, with the Ducks getting outscored 23-5 during the Gladds four-game trip. Fortunately for them they headed to Washington D.C. to finish out their honeymoon and missed out on the 6-2 loss in Philadelphia, which turned out to be Randy Carlyle’s final game behind the bench.

“I did think Ottawa was our best chance,” said Andrew. “Ottawa came off playing in Toronto, came back home and took care of a team that didn’t play the night before.”

The hockey was enjoyable, and while the results weren’t there for the Ducks something unexpected happened on the trip that really changed their final outlook on things.

On Thursday morning, TSN host James Duthie came across a photo on Twitter of the couple with their checklist sign before the Maple Leafs game. He responded with, “Ouch. Feel like we should all chip in and send them to a resort. Or therapy.”

Three hours later Duthie Tweeted again, writing that through connections he has at the Wymara Resort in Turks and Caicos, the Gladds would be getting a free four-night stay. “[O]ne of our owners is a Senators fan so it’s the least we can do,” the resort revealed.

The Wymara Resort gave Pro Hockey Talk the full details of what the Gladds trip will consist of:

• Four night-stay at the resort
• A three-course dinner at the restaurant Stelle, which will also include a bottle of wine
• Sunset cocktails at champagne bar Pink Bar and a beach bed

“We had kind of been talking about doing a trip like that this year, maybe down to Cabo [San Lucas] for my birthday,” said Kaylin. “I mean, Turks and Caicos, we’ll take that, too.”

Despite the poor results on the ice, what the Gladds were able to do away from the rink only enhanced their Canadian experience. There were Beavertails enjoyed in Ottawa, poutine sampled in every city, a trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame to see the plaques of Ducks legends Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne, and some outdoor hockey played on a river in Winnipeg.

The response from opposing fans in each city was one of respect. “It was always shock just thinking that we would come from Southern California to somewhere so cold for our honeymoon,” explained Kaylin.

But despite some good-natured ribbing, there were bonds formed with fans from the opposing teams and even some Ducks fans they discovered who were living in each of the cities.

“Definitely the Canadian nice thing was there. Everyone was nice,” said Andrew. “The hockey aspect you can bond on. Even the person in customs, they ask you quite a few questions, and he’s like ‘Really? You guys came here for your honeymoon?’ And that was the reoccurring theme.

“After that you end up talking to people, connecting to people and sharing the love for the game.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.

Kuzmenko signs 2-year extension with Canucks

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Forward Andrei Kuzmenko signed a two-year contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

The deal has an average annual value of $5.5 million.

The 26-year-old Kuzmenko has played in 47 games for the Canucks this season with 21 goals and 22 assists, four penalty minutes and a plus-4 defensive ranking.

Kuzmenko ranks second on the team in goals and power-play goals (nine) this season.

His 43 points are also tied for third on the team in overall scoring, while his 32 even-strength points (12 goals, 20 assists) are second on the Canucks.

Kuzmenko leads all Vancouver skaters in shooting rate (24.7%) and ranks third in the NHL in that category (minimum of 20 games).

He leads all first-year NHLers in almost every offensive category, including goals, assists, points, points per game (0.91), power-play goals, and power-play points.

He has also had 14 multi-point games so far this season (second most on the Canucks), highlighted by his first-career NHL hat trick and season-high four-point game against Anaheim on Nov. 3.

A native of Yakutsk, Russia, Kuzmenko spent his first eight professional seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) with CSKA Moscow and SKA St. Petersburg, getting 200 points (85-115-200) in 315 regular-season games. He set career highs in goals (20), assists (33), and points (53) last season, ranking second in the league in scoring.

Kuzmenko has also represented his country on the international stage on multiple occasions, totaling 16 points (10-6-16) and six penalty minutes in 37 games played. He was originally signed by Vancouver to a one-year, entry-level contract on July 13, 2022.