NHL Rink Wrap: Hockey world mourns Melnyk’s passing

NHL Rink Wrap: Hockey world mourns Melnyk's passing
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Monday’s top NHL players

Strangely, several two-goal, one-assist performances

Was there some sort of secret planned theme to the top NHL scorers from Monday?

  • As part of the Hurricanes’ lopsided win over the Capitals, Martin Necas scored two goals and one assist. Maybe the 23-year-old’s gotten lost in the shuffle a bit (35 points this season after 41 points in just 53 contests in 2020-21). He’s still highly promising, and part of makes them so deep.
  • Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals and one assist, too. By collecting those three points, Tarasenko reached 500 career points in 589 regular-season games played. Tarasenko also reached exactly a point per game this season (58 in 58).
  • Just 1:21 into the second period, the Blackhawks increased their lead over the Sabres to 4-0. Victor Olofsson generated two goals and one assist to help the Sabres rattle off a big comeback to beat Chicago 6-5.
  • Riley McLeod produced (wait for it) two goals and one assist as the Oilers roasted the Coyotes. Come on, that’s kind of spooky.
  • All but one game featured a two-goal, one-assist performer. The Kraken didn’t feature one, but they did dominate the Kings 6-1. So, four out of five games were decided by at least three goals, while four of five games involved a 2G, 1A performance. This Monday in the NHL: unusual.

Monday NHL highlights

Here is how Riley McLeod scored one of those three points:

Connor McDavid shakes so fast, yet he can slow things down and process them so well:

Sure, it would have been even better if Jonathan Toews pulled this off in game 1,000, but maybe he has something in store after this beauty in game 999?

The Hurricanes were seething after their win over the Capitals, despite the score. That’s because of a Lars Eller hit late in the game that may have injured Jesperi Kotkaniemi

Monday NHL Takeaways

Hockey fans mourn Eugene Melnyk’s passing at age 62

Late on Monday, the Senators announced that owner Eugene Melnyk died at age 62. You can read the team’s statement, comments from Gary Bettman, and more here.

Despite the highs and lows that come with being a team owner, Senators fans shared their appreciation for Eugene Melnyk, particularly for saving the team from bankruptcy in 2003.

People also pointed out that it’s a shame that he won’t get to see the rebuild play out.

Sad news for Melnyk, his family, friends, and the Senators organization. RIP.

Boston Pride beat Connecticut Whale 4-2 to win 2022 Isobel Cup

By rallying for a comeback win against the Connecticut Whale, the Boston Pride are repeat Isobel Cup champions. It’s also their third title.

Taylor Wenczkowski scored the game-winner a mere 17 seconds after the Pride tied it up.

A sad finish for the Connecticut Whale.

 

NHL GM Meetings Day 1

It sounds like officiating was the main focus of the first day of the latest NHL GM Meetings. Stay tuned at PHT, as Tuesday’s meetings may be juicier. (Could there be a focus on a playoff salary cap, possible overcorrection or not?)

Hurricanes blow out Capitals

If Monday provided a playoff preview, the Capitals better have things clicking at a higher level once they face the Hurricanes in a potential first round squabble. (At least the 5-on-5 high-danger chance battle was reasonably close?)

After earning a 2-0 edge through the first period, the Hurricanes ratcheted things up even more in the second. By the end of that middle frame, Carolina was already up 5-1, eventually adding a 6-1 tally in the third.

Could this be the sort of game that adjusts expectations? That’s a little extreme.

This may be a signal to pick their spots, however. For an older team — one without much of a chance to climb out of the wild card — perhaps they should rest the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and others? NHL teams seem allergic to strategic resting, so maybe not. But it sounds smart to me.

Todd McLellan coaches 1,000th game

By coaching the Kings against the Kraken during the NHL action on Monday, Todd McLellan coached his 1,000th game at this level. He’s merely the 31st NHL coach to reach the 1,000 games milestone.

Already this deep into a coaching career, what’s McLellan’s legacy? Honestly, it’s kind of tough to say. That said, there’s a skill in hanging in there, and being enough of a GM whisperer to keep getting gigs.

If you include coaches who were fired or resigned in-season, quite a few other active NHL coaches have been behind the bench for 1,000+ games. Here’s the list, with their wins, points percentages, and games coached:

Note: for the sake of simplicity, these stats are from before the NHL games on Monday. Boudreau and McLellan were among coaches whose teams played, so their percentages etc. will be slightly different following those contests. Hockey Reference is a great resource for coaching information like this.

Barry Trotz: 1,794 games coached (second all-time to Scotty Bowman’s 2,141); 905 wins; .568 points percentage.
Joel Quenneville: 1,768 GC (third most); 969W; .612%
Paul Maurice: 1,685 GC (fourth); 775W; .528%
Lindy Ruff: 1,615 GC (fifth); 779W: .549%
Darryl Sutter: 1,380 GC (13th); 689W; .569%
Alain Vigneault: 1,363 GC (14th); 722W; .585%
Peter Laviolette: 1,333 GC (15th); 710W; .594%
Dave Tippett: 1,285 GC (18th); 648W; .567%
Bruce Boudreau: 1,026 GC (25th); 591; came into Monday with .635%
Peter DeBoer: 1,001 GC (29th); 506W; .565%
Todd McLellan: 999 going on 1,000 GC (tied with Roger Neilson for 30th); 520 wins, came into Monday with a .577%

Interesting stuff overall, right?

[Check out where the Kings end up in the latest PHT Power Rankings]

Todd McLellan went from a Red Wings assistant (2005-06 through 2007-08) to become Sharks head coach. Your view of his work in Sharks may hinge based on how much you weigh continued regular season dominance vs. the teams painful history of (mostly) falling short in the playoffs. Three of his Sharks teams fell in the first round, yet they also reached two conference final series and won a single playoff series in another run. He ended up coaching the Sharks for seven seasons, before there was a “mutual” breakup after they missed the playoffs in 2014-15.

During his stint with the Oilers, McLellan rarely found much success in the regular season or playoffs (when Edmonton even made it.)

With that in mind, Kings fans likely were scintillated when McLellan received his third head coaching job (all in the Pacific Division).

After two seasons of missing the playoffs, McLellan and the Kings look like they have a nice chance of breaking their respective postseason droughts. The Athletic’s Lisa Dillman notes that the Kings have endured a bunch of injuries this season, particularly to their defense (and most prominently with Drew Doughty).

Combine injuries with the narrative that the Kings are ahead of schedule in their rebuild, and McLellan could earn some Jack Adams buzz. Interestingly, we may not see his signature coaching season until he’s passed this milestone.

If you think his best work was with the Sharks, then this at least qualifies as the best example of him coaching something of an underdog.

Tuesday’s big story

A loaded night of NHL action

Truly, hockey fans have a ton of intriguing NHL games to choose from on Tuesday.

  • The Maple Leafs and Bruins battle, which is almost always fun, even outside of context. Then sprinkle in their matching 41-19-5 records, and it gets more fun.
  • At 7 p.m. ET, you could instead choose another battle between powerhouses in the Lightning vs. the Hurricanes.
  • Can the Penguins avenge a blowout loss to the Rangers? Perhaps Pittsburgh can find a happy medium between getting blown out and scoring 11 goals on an opponent.
  • Finally, there’s a feud between the two top teams in the Western Conference in the Avalanche and the Flames. (Stars vs. Ducks has some late-night appeal, too, really.)

Naturally, you should watch hockey all the time (tsk tsk, talk of other hobbies/real-world responsibilities). That said, if there’s a night to dominate the TV and/or multiple screens, Tuesday might be it.

Monday NHL scores

Hurricanes 6, Capitals 1
Blues 4, Canucks 1
Sabres 6, Blackhawks 5
Oilers 6, Coyotes 1
Kraken 6, Kings 1

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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