Top player from Tuesday in the NHL
Tomas Hertl, Sharks (and several goalies)
Around the NHL on Tuesday, there were strong performances. Then again, there wasn’t one that really towered above the rest.
So you have to split hairs a bit. Tomas Hertl wasn’t the only NHL player to generate three points on Tuesday. However, Hertl scored two goals and one assist while others (Ryan Getzlaf, Mitch Marner, Nick Suzuki) got to three based on a goal and two assists.
There were also several goalie performances of note. Carter Hart (29 saves), John Gibson (28), Jack Campbell (26) and Jake Allen (22) all pitched shutouts. Juuse Saros didn’t stop every shot he faced, but he made 38 saves to steal a Predators win vs. the Flames.
— Kent Wilson (@Kent_Wilson) November 3, 2021
After scoring two points in his first game of the season, Hertl went cold. He was limited to one goal and zero assists during a six-game slump. With this outburst, Hertl’s generated four points in two contests, bumping him up to seven points in nine games this season.
Being that this is a contract year, Hertl’s clearly a player to watch for the Sharks. Frankly, the wiser move would probably be to trade Hertl in hopes of accelerating a rebuild. If Doug Wilson‘s too invested in his big, shaky-looking investments, he might instead try to keep Hertl.
If nothing else, that strategy could help the Sharks be more fun to watch this season.
Highlights from Tuesday in the NHL
It would be sweet if Jeff Skinner was able to just, you know, enjoy playing hockey again. Either way, this is brilliant.
Jeff Skinner knocks it out of the air, off the back of Reimer and in…5-3 #LetsGoBuffalo #SJSharks pic.twitter.com/GPlQt2wPwy
— Buffalo Hockey moments (@SabresPlays) November 3, 2021
Last season, Thatcher Demko was often brilliant — the Canucks’ shabby defense just obscured that brilliance. So far in 2021-22, there’s a risk that happens again. That would be a shame, really, because Demko regularly makes awesome saves. You can’t expect Demko to do this regularly, though.
Video evidence of Mitch Marner being just-fine, thank you:
Kirill Kaprizov scores his first goal of the season, and does so in overtime:
KIRILL THE THRILL SEND IT IN!! 🚨🚨🚨 pic.twitter.com/1O2NBnNRcE
— Bally Sports North (@BallySportsNOR) November 3, 2021
John Klingberg rudely spamming the “fake shot” button before this goal — oh hold on, this wasn’t in a video game? Klingberg might want to hold onto this clip for future contract negotiations.
Tuesday’s NHL takeaways
Jets’ Cheveldayoff, Chipman show empathy where NHL lacked — but both press conferences left a lot to be desired
In addressing Kyle Beach’s heartfelt interview and the Blackhawks’ internal investigation regarding sexual assault allegations toward Brad Aldrich, the NHL’s Gary Bettman and Bill Daly came across as cold. Many believed that legalese resonated instead of empathy.
If nothing else, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and executive Mark Chipman provided a human reaction on Tuesday. Both got emotional at times in explaining Cheveldayoff’s role in the situation, and a lack of league discipline.
For some, that press conference proved powerful enough to impress.
However, if you dig a little deeper into the content of the message from Cheveldayoff and Chipman, things begin to wobble.
Watch that hour-plus press conference from Cheveldayoff and Chipman below:
Naturally, there’s a lot to digest. One repeated suggestion is that Cheveldayoff seemingly believed that Aldrich was being accused of harrassing Kyle Beach, rather than assaulting him. (Aside: sexual harassment is a big deal, too. Just throwing it out there.)
Cheveldayoff says based on his involvement "It was not clear to me what had fully transpired." He said he did not know the extent of the sexual assault allegations until this year.
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) November 2, 2021
There’s some comfort in an apology that at least looked sincere. But parts of the argument make you furrow your brow.
If I understand Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff properly, the Blackhawks, in the midst of the 2010 Stanley Cup playoff semifinals, convened a meeting of the team's entire executive team to discuss how their video coach had sent a player a few harassing text messages. Ok.
— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) November 2, 2021
Frankly, it would also be nice if the NHL and its teams provided something more concrete than “learning from” what happened. It’s nice to say that you never want something to happen again. Without going further to truly show how you hope to avoid someone going through something similar to what Kyle Beach experienced, you rely on benefit of the doubt.
And, frankly, the NHL, Blackhawks, Jets, Panthers, and NHLPA have a long way to go before they earn that trust.
Winless Coyotes on track for one of the worst seasons in NHL history
Look, the Arizona/Phoenix Coyotes are no strangers to losing, and losing big. And often. It says a lot about their sad history that the Coyotes’ 0-9-1 start isn’t unanimously the worst in team history.
Scott Laughton, 2-0 Flyers.
Claude Giroux empty-net goal, 3-0.
The Coyotes are going to fall to 0-9-1, one loss short of the franchise record for the longest winless streak to start a season.
— Craig Morgan (@CraigSMorgan) November 3, 2021
Nonetheless, it’s not too early for Coyotes fans to dream of Shane Wright. It’s also not too hasty to wonder where the Coyotes may finish among the worst teams in NHL history. Some quick facts from some of the worst teams who played at least 70 games in a given season:
- During the time of ties, the 1974-75 Washington Capitals managed just eight wins (8-67-5-0), generating 21 standings points in 80 games. That Capitals team scored a feeble 181 goals.
- The 1980-81 Winnipeg Jets are the other team under 10 wins (9-57-14-0).
- The 1954-55 Chicago Blackhawks scored less than two goals per game (133 in 70 GP for a 12-51-7-0 record).
So, the Coyotes boast a single standings point so far through 10 games. They’ve been punchless with 13 goals during that time, while allowing 42. Brutal.
Overall, these tanking Coyotes are designed to be bad. Still, there are a few reasons to expect some relative relief. Only the Blackhawks have a lower PDO than the Coyotes, indicating some bad luck for Arizona. It also can’t help matters that they’ve played seven of their first 10 games on the road.
And, hey, you could argue the Coyotes deserved to win (or put up a good fight) on Tuesday:
Overall, though? Coyotes fans might want to binge a TV show instead. Maybe “Search Party” could provide the sort of gallows humor Coyotes fans would be looking for? (Probably already heard of “Succession.”)
Confidence-boosters for Canadiens, Maple Leafs
Yes, it’s crucial to downplay some of this. The Golden Knights are suffering from a ludicrous array of injuries, making them easy fodder for the Maple Leafs. Also, the Red Wings are showing signs of progress, but they’re not quite evoking the peak of the Sergei Fedorov era, either.
(Few call it the Fedorov era, I know. Hot take: people should take a moment to recall just how great he was every now and then. Fedorov feels too easily forgotten, or lightly mentioned.)
So, don’t necessarily weigh shutout wins for the Maple Leafs and Canadiens too heavily. That said, three-point nights could cool some of the heat on Nick Suzuki and Mitch Marner. A two-goal output from Auston Matthews turns the volume down on complaints, as well.
Wednesday’s big story
Who will end the night looking the hottest?
Undefeated through eight games, the Hurricanes are an easy choice for hottest team in the NHL. Consider, for instance, PHT’s latest Power Rankings.
There are teams nipping at the Hurricanes’ heels, however. Particularly if you believe that they’re better despite one fewer win or an extra loss.
The almost-as-hot Oilers and Blues face the Predators and Kings respectively on Wednesday. Could either of those teams end up at the top of the mountain (of perception) after those games? It’s possible, especially if the Blackhawks follow their first win of the season with their first winning streak by upsetting the Hurricanes.
(Uh, don’t bet on that one, though, please.)
Tuesday’s NHL scores
Maple Leafs 4, Golden Knights 0
Canadiens 3, Red Wings 0
Flyers 3, Coyotes 0
Wild 5, Senators 4 (OT)
Jets 4, Stars 3 (SO)
Predators 3, Flames 2 (OT)
Canucks 3, Rangers 2 (OT)
Ducks 4, Devils 0
Sharks 5, Sabres 3
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.