NHL 2021-22 Recap Week 9 – Coaching changes in Philly and Vancouver, Stars Golden Knights thriller, Rangers blossom, Trouba hits
Last week was the first time I missed a week in ten years of writing this. But I was sick. Getting old sucks.
A third of the way through the season, we have our first firings courtesy of the Vancouver Canucks and Philadelphia Flyers. Neither is surprising since both teams had higher expectations.
The Flyers were always destined to be a hot mess, but they’ve spiraled even more out of control. A coaching change did nothing to fix that. If the team has talent and a coaching change doesn’t ignite it, it might be time to change the team’s makeup. But after losing ten straight, they finally beat a good Golden Knights team in Vegas. Perhaps progress. But it could be a mirage. Carter Hart improved to 6-0 when facing 40 or more shots. That’s impressive.
The Vancouver Canucks are more perplexing. After breaking through to the second round, they had an injury, and COVID plagued follow-up. Then this season started the way the previous one ended. Firing the coach is fine. The general manager is more questionable, but they wanted a total shakeup. That’s fine too. But they hired Bruce Boudreau as the coach. What? The Canucks are playing better and are 4-0 under him, but that isn’t the point. Boudreau has made the playoffs ten times in his 12 full seasons as an NHL head coach. However, he’s only been out of first-round four times, and he’s never won anything as a head coach. In fact, the coaches that replace him fare better than he did. Including Barry Trotz winning the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals.
Boudreau is now 66. It’s unlikely he will win a Stanley Cup at this point. He’s fine for now, but if the Canucks want to win it all, he isn’t the guy.
Things I like
1. The Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights played a phenomenal game on TNT on Wednesday night. It was everything you loved about hockey. Fast-paced back and forth action between two good teams loaded with great players. With four goals scored in the second and third periods. They even had the goalie change to motivate the team, and it worked. The Golden Knights scored the last three goals to win the game and snap the Stars’ seven-game win streak. Post-game, the TNT crew interviewed Max Pacioretty about what the guys at the bench thought about Tyler Seguin missing a chance to put the game out of reach. Pacioretty replied Paul Bissonnette knows what it’s like being on the bench. Bissonnette responded with, what did you say to me? Pacioretty responded with I didn’t mean it like that. It was a pretty funny moment that had more layers later on the show.
2. The New York Rangers have finally blossomed into the team we thought they might. 12-3 in their last 15 games, they boast a potent scoring attack with eight players having five or more goals. I also love that Gerard Gallant has been given another chance to coach since he’s been unfairly fired his last two times. There’s a chance the Rangers could win the division. The only problem is this team screams first-round exit. They lack playoff experience, and I don’t think there will be any bad teams in the playoffs, even at the lower seeds.
Things I don’t
1. Jacob Trouba of the Rangers has been blocking shots and hitting people a lot the last few weeks. A few hits were nasty, one on Jujhar Khaira and one on Nathan MacKinnon. In theory, both were clean hits. The MacKinnon one was okay because he had the puck and was skating in the middle of the zone. The Khaira one, he never had the puck, his head almost hit the ice, and he needed to be stretchered away. Even if it’s clean, it’s not something you should do. I love big clean hits, but that one was tough to watch. I’m sure there will be more, as Trouba said he wouldn’t change his style.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Yakov Trenin vs Zdeno Chara
Chara getting it done in his 40’s. Trenin is getting it done with his shirt over his head.
Gabriel Landeskog vs Jacob Trouba
Landeskog sticks up for MacKinnon.
Goat of the Week
The Arizona Coyotes aren’t having a great year on or off the ice. First, they fail to pay the money they owe the city to utilize their arena, and then they are extra sloppy against the Philadelphia Flyers.
First, they skate right into James van Riemsdyk and turn it over.
Second, their goalie Karel Vejmelka comes out to stupidly play the puck.
The Coyotes lost by two.
Pass of the Week
Nothing better than this gem from Trevor Zegras. I don’t recall seeing something like this that led to a goal.
Stat Line of the Week
12/07/21 San Jose 5 vs. Calgary 3
Tomas Hertl recorded his fourth NHL hat trick against the Flames. Surprisingly, Hertl is now in his ninth NHL season. A first-round pick in 2012, he was destined to take over for Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. But he never quite got there. His best season was in 2018-19, when he had 35 goals and 74 points. This season is a little better than his regular averages, and he is currently on a four-game goal streak.
500 – Career NHL wins for Marc-Andre Fleury, the third goalie to hit that mark
1 – Home win for the New York Islanders on their eighth try
84 – Blocked shots by third-year defenseman Mario Ferraro, first in the NHL
5 – Washington Capitals in the top eleven in plus-minus
5 – Teams with losing streaks of four or more games
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
3. NY Rangers