12-year-old Alex Henderson and his mother Suzete got the idea to help first responders by making masks, eventually helping out with more than 1,000. When Garnet Hathaway and the Capitals learned about the Henderson family’s efforts, they decided to give Alex a surprise, and the results were precious.
There’s even a little bit of quarantine-era technical awkwardness to really tie the whole thing together.
They began with about 50 masks, and over a few weeks, eventually produced about 1,000.
(Let’s be honest. Alex’s mother Suzete is probably the biggest hero.)
The Capitals set up what seemed to be a video call with announcer John Walton, but that was a ruse. Hathaway hopped into the call and Alex realized it … eventually. You can see that really kick in around the four-minute mark in the video above this post’s headline.
One of the best moments came right after Alex realized Hathaway made his “visit.” Suzete said, “(Alex) is speechless, and he’s never speechless.” Wonderful teenage embarrassment ensued:
Hathaway invited Alex to a future Capitals game, hoping to give them a tour. The two got to chat about hockey — Hathaway doesn’t think he could play defense — and other fun stuff.
Mask shortages and other challenges haven’t been a pleasant thing to see, but people have responded. When it came to the Henderson family, it meant sewing masks, including with Capitals logos.
Good stuff from Hathaway, Walton, and the Capitals, and hopefully the Hendersons get that grand tour — when it’s safe.
Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hockey world continues to help out with COVID-19, and figure out what’s next
• Count Helene Elliott as the latest person to argue that the NHL should cancel its regular season — and now. Beyond the logistical concerns Elliott brings up, there’s one point that should be most crucial. Doing so would provide refunds for ticket-holding fans. You’d assume … just about all of them have more important things to spend their money on than games that might take place. (Los Angeles Times)
• One factor that doesn’t come up a lot, but should also be considered: a return to action could involve a heightened risk of injuries. Diana C. Nearhos’ story broaches that subject, and there’s also a funny bit about how Braydon Coburn thought that the Peloton bike he bought his wife would eventually just gather dust. “Those words have come back to haunt me,” Coburn said. (Tampa Bay Times)
• Gary Bettman confirmed a lot of what’s been said about the NHL’s approach to resuming play in an interview on Fox Business Network. In particular, Bettman emphasized that the league will be “flexible and agile” when it comes to considering ways to make things as fair as possible for playoff contenders. (Write-up on Sportsnet)
• Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway helped raise $15K for Hath’s Heroes, which helps feed first responders dealing with the pandemic. It’s one thing to salute those treating people affected, but kudos to people like Hathaway for actually helping them. (NHLPA)
General hockey links, including Koivu on topic of retirement
• The Blues signed scrappy Sammy Blais to a two-year extension with a $1.5M AAV. (KSDK)
• John Matisz dives deep into what makes Auston Matthews such a unique sniper. There’s discussion of his outstanding release, as well as how much Matthews scores on a per-minute basis. Such stats partially explain why people were so confounded by Mike Babcock’s reluctance to load up Matthews’ ice time in past seasons. (The Score)
• Broad Street Hockey’s Brad Keffer admits to being wrong about the Flyers’ decision to hire Alain Vigneault. Like Keffer, I too weighed Vigneault’s tougher moments with the Rangers too heavily. It seems like AV possesses a pretty spry hockey mind. Not sure AV would be my Jack Adams pick, though … but he’s been a big upgrade nonetheless. (Broad Street Hockey)
“I’m not sure the severity of it,” Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault told reporters after the win. “There are different breaks but he took that shot right on the tip there. I’ll find out tomorrow (Thursday) for how long.”
Lars Eller and Garnet Hathaway scored, but Washington fell for the second time in the previous three games. Four points separate the top three teams in the Metro and a slump could cost the Capitals, Flyers or Pittsburgh Penguins home-ice advantage in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Provorov sealed the victory for the Flyers with a wicked wrist shot that sailed past the glove of Braden Holtby in the third period. Jakub Voracek patiently waited at the blueline until the young defenseman was able to join the rush and gave the Flyers a 4-2 lead. Philadelphia leads the NHL with 43 goals scored by defensemen this season.
The Flyers took a 3-1 lead in the second period with consecutive goals by Konecny and Hayes.
Konecny converted on the power play shortly after one of his attempts was waived off following a video review. Provorov took a shot from the point that Holtby couldn’t control and Konecny buried the rebound.
Hayes expanded the Flyers lead when Derek Grant wisely kicked a fluttering puck toward the other side of the crease for the tall center to finish. It was the 23rd goal and 40th point of the season for Hayes, his first with Philadelphia after signing a lucrative seven-year deal this summer.
Eller opened the scoring for Washington with a skillful backhand-forehand combination at 14:09 of the first period. Richard Panik and Carl Hagelin assisted on the play.
Hathaway helped the Capitals cut the Flyers’ deficit to 3-2 with a bar-down wrister from just above the crease in the second period.
— Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.
The Buzzer: Hats off to Duclair; Staal one point away from 1,000
1. Anthony Duclair, Ottawa Senators. This had to be a satisfying game for Duclair. He showed John Tortorella and the Columbus Blue Jackets that he does, in fact, know how to play the game by scoring three goals in a 4-3 win for the Ottawa Senators. That performance includes the game-winning goal in overtime. The 24-year-old Duclair now has 18 goals in 33 games this season and is on pace for more than 40 goals this season. Read all about his day here.
2. Bryan Rust, Pittsburgh Penguins. With Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Brian Dumoulin, Nick Bjugstad, and Patric Hornqvist out of the lineup the Penguins have more than $35 million in salary cap space sitting in the press box at the moment. They still keep finding ways to win. They picked up a 5-4 shootout win over the Los Angeles Kings in Saturday thanks to another huge game from Rust. He scored two goals and picked up an assist in regulation, then scored the game-winning goal in the shootout. Rust now has 12 goals and 22 total points in only 19 games this season for the Penguins. He has always been one of their most versatile — and valuable — players, and he is showing why this season.
3. Eric Staal, Minnesota Wild. Staal has been on a roll for the Wild and thanks to his two-goal effort in Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, he now has six points in his past five games and is up to 999 for his career. That means with one more point he would become only the 89th player in NHL history to hit the 1,000 point milestone. The Wild are one of the league’s hottest teams since the start of November with a 12-3-5 record in their past 20 games. They were 4-9-0 before in October.
Other notable performances from Saturday
David Pastrnak extended his lead in the NHL goal-scoring race with a pair of goals in the Boston Bruins’ 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers. He now has 28 goals on the season and is five ahead of Jack Eichel.
Foegele’s two goals for the Hurricanes both came while shorthanded, making him the fifth Hurricanes player to ever accomplish that in a game. [NHL PR]
Ottawa Senators 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 3 (OT)
New York Islanders 3, Buffalo Sabres 2 (OT)
Anaheim Ducks 4, New York Rangers 3 (SO)
Carolina Hurricanes 4, Calgary Flames 0
Dallas Stars 4, Nashville Predators 1
Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Edmonton Oilers 1
Minnesota Wild 4, Philadelphia Flyers 1
Detroit Red Wings 2, Montreal Canadiens 1
Washington Capitals 5, Tampa Bay Lightning 2
Boston Bruins 4, Florida Panthers 2
Pittsburgh Penguins 5, Los Angeles Kings 4 (SO)
New Jersey Devils 2, Arizona Coyotes 1
St. Louis Blues 4, Chicago Blackhawks 3
San Jose Sharks 4, Vancouver Canucks 2
1. Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche. After being sidelined for more than a month Rantanen returned to the Avalanche lineup on Saturday and picked right up where he left off, recording four points in a complete destruction of the Chicago Blackhawks. He is now up to 16 points in 10 games this season, and with him back in the lineup the Avalanche dominant duo of Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon is going to start taking over games again. They are still without Gabriel Landeskog but have managed to keep piling up points thanks to the brilliance of MacKinnon and the improved depth throughout the roster. Given all of the salary cap space they still have they are going to have a chance to add a major piece before the trade deadline and be a force in the Western Conference playoffs. Joonas Donskoi also had four points for the Avalanche on Saturday, while MacKinnon added three. This game also featured one of the most random and unexpected fights of the season when Chicago’s Alex DeBrincat squared off against Colorado defenseman Samuel Girard.
2. Chris Driedger, Florida Panthers. With big-money free agent Sergei Bobrovsky off to a terrible start this season, the Panthers turned to the 25-year-old Driedger for his first career start on Saturday against the Nashville Predators. He made quite an impact turning aside all 27 shots he faced as the Panthers began a nine-game homestand. Before Saturday Driedger had only made three relief appearances (all with the Ottawa Senators) in his very brief NHL career.
3. Tanner Pearson, Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks have been waiting for some of their depth players to make an impact offensively this season, and it has finally started to happen over the past couple of games. Pearson had a huge game in their 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers, scoring two goals and adding two assists. Unlike Wednesday’s game in Pittsburgh, they were able to hold on to this three-goal third period lead to snap what had been a brief two-game losing streak.
Other notable performances from Saturday
Alex Ovechkin became just the fifth player in NHL history to record 15 consecutive 20-goal seasons to begin a career. He also moved into 10th place all-time with his 24th career hat trick. Read all about it here.
The San Jose Sharks won their 11th game in November, tied for their second-most wins in any month in franchise history. [NHL PR]
The Capitals are only the second time in the past 12 years to score at least 100 goals before December. [NHL PR]
The Islanders’ win on Saturday extended their current home points streak to 11 consecutive games. [NHL PR]
New York Rangers 4, New Jersey Devils 0
Philadelphia Flyers 4, Montreal Canadiens 3 (OT)
Calgary Flames 3, Ottawa Senators 1
Washington Capitals 5, Detroit Red Wings 2
Carolina Hurricanes 3, Tampa Bay Lightning 2
Florida Panthers 3, Nashville Predators 0
New York Islanders 2, Columbus Blue Jackets 0
San Jose Sharks 4, Arizona Coyotes 2
St. Louis Blues 5, Pittsburgh Penguins 2
Colorado Avalanche 7, Chicago Blackhawks 3
Los Angeles Kings 2, Winnipeg Jets 1
Vancouver Canucks 5, Edmonton Oilers 2