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‘NHL’ Articles

Pro Hockey

NHL suspends Capitals’ Wilson 20 games for illegal check

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHLmedia.com

 

 

Tom Wilson in practice 2017 photo By Michael Miller - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

 

NEW YORK – Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson has been suspended for 20 games, without pay, for an illegal check to the head of St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist during NHL Preseason Game No. 106 in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, Sept. 30, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.

 

The incident occurred at 5:18 of the second period. Wilson was assessed a match penalty for illegal check to the head.

 

Wilson is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, will forfeit $1,260,162.60. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

 

For a full explanation of the decision, complete with video, please click on the following link: https://www.nhl.com/video/t-277440360/c-61556003.

 

 

Sharks’ Joe Thornton, still chasing milestones at age 39

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHLmedia.com

 

Joe Thornton 2016 photo By mark6mauno, CC BY-SA 2.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

One of the greatest playmakers in League history returns to the Sharks lineup for his 21st NHL season

 

 

Sharks center Joe Thornton, one of the greatest playmakers in League history, returns to the San Jose lineup for his 21st NHL season and enters the 2018-19 campaign within reach of several career benchmarks.

The 39-year-old Thornton, who re-signed with San Jose on July 2, is three shy of 400 career goals, three assists from tying Mario Lemieux for 11th place on the League’s all-time list and seven outings from the 1,500th game of his NHL career.

397 GOALS, 1,030 ASSISTS, 1,493 GAMES AND COUNTING
In his first 20 NHL seasons, Thornton has registered 397-1,030—1,427, placing him among the top 20 in League history for both assists (12th) and points (16th). The London, Ont., native is on track to become the 19th player to appear in 1,500 career regular-season games.

* Thornton would become the 11th player in NHL history to collect at least 400 career goals and 1,000 career assists. Every player who has achieved the feat – other than Jaromir Jagr, who is not yet eligible – has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

 

* Known for his on-ice vision, Thornton has recorded 57 career games with three or more assists, trailing only 11 players for the most such outings in NHL history. His 230 career multi-assist games rank 11th all-time.

 

 

* Thornton is one of four players expected to suit up for his 21st NHL campaign in 2018-19, a feat achieved by only 37 players in history entering this season. The others playing their 21st NHL season in 2018-19: Patrick Marleau (TOR), Matt Cullen (PIT) and Zdeno Chara (BOS).

AN ICON AMONG FIRST OVERALL PICKS
After his second season with the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Thornton was selected first overall by the Bruins in the 1997 NHL Draft – one pick ahead of future teammate Patrick Marleau, who was chosen by the Sharks at No. 2.

* Thornton collected only seven points in 55 games during his 1997-98 rookie campaign, but quickly evolved into one of the NHL’s premier centers. He was named captain of the Bruins ahead of the 2002-03 season before eclipsing the 100-point mark for the first time later that year (36-65—101).

* Thornton would later team up with Marleau in San Jose, marking the ninth time the top two picks from the same NHL Draft played together. The 899 regular-season games in which both Thornton and Marleau skated with the Sharks is by far the highest such total in NHL history, 453 games more than Bobby Smith and Ryan Walter, the top two picks in 1978, played together with the Canadiens (446 GP).

* Thornton will become the first No. 1 overall pick in the 55-year history of the NHL Draft to reach the 1,500-game milestone. His 1,030 career assists and 1,427 career points trail only NHL legend Mario Lemieux (690-1,033—1,723) among first overall selections.

 

FROM BOSTON TO SAN JOSE
In the midst of what had been his greatest season to date, Thornton was traded to the Sharks on Nov. 30, 2005, in a blockbuster deal that sentMarco SturmWayne Primeau and Brad Stuart to the Bruins. The power forward collected 20-72—92 in his first 58 games with the Sharks – an average of 1.59 points per game – and concluded his first season in San Jose with career highs in assists (96) and points (125), capturing the Art Ross Trophy and Hart Memorial Trophy.

 

 

* Thornton’s arrival in San Jose also led to the first (and still only) 50-goal season in franchise history. He set up 39 of Jonathan Cheechoo’s 56 goals in 2005-06 (69.6%) – including 49 scored by Cheechoo after his arrival (79.6%) – as the Sharks skated to a second-place finish in the Pacific Division, matching a then-franchise record with 44 wins.

* In 2006-07, his first full campaign with the Sharks, Thornton set franchise records for assists (92) and points (114) in a season – records that still stand. The club also reached unprecedented heights, establishing then-franchise records for wins (51) and points (107) in a season.

* Thornton has remained with the Sharks since the trade. He now is the franchise’s all-time leader in assists (745), while his 973 points and 228 goals in a San Jose uniform rank second and third, respectively, in Sharks history.

 

NHL 2018-19 Opening Season Rosters

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHLmedia.com

 

 

NEW YORK Following are NHL club rosters to open 2018-19 season:

 

Anaheim Ducks

Pontus Aberg, Andrew Cogliano, Max Comtois, Cam Fowler, Ryan Getzlaf, Brian Gibbons, John Gibson, Adam Henrique, Hampus Lindholm, Isac Lundestrom, Josh Manson, Ryan Miller, Brandon Montour, Marcus Pettersson, Rickard Rakell, Carter Rowney, Luke Schenn, Kiefer Sherwood, Jakob Silfverberg, Sam Steel, Ben Street, Andrej Sustr, Troy Terry.

 

Injured: Patrick Eaves, Korbinian Holzer, Max Jones, Ondrej Kase, Ryan Kesler, Kalle Kossila, Corey Perry, Kevin Roy.

 

Arizona Coyotes

Kevin Connauton, Nick Cousins, Lawson Crouse, Laurent Dauphin, Jason Demers, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Christian Fischer, Alex Goligoski, Michael Grabner, Vinnie Hinostroza, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Clayton Keller, Mario Kempe, Darcy Kuemper, Ilya Lyubushkin, Jordan Oesterle, Richard Panik, Brendan Perlini, Antti Raanta, Brad Richardson, Derek Stepan, Dylan Strome.

 

Injured: Jakob Chychrun, Josh Archibald, Dave Bolland, Christian Dvorak, Alex Galchenyuk, Conor Garland, Barrett Hayton, Marian Hossa, Nicholas Merkley, David Ullstrom.

 

Boston Bruins

Noel Acciari, David Backes, Patrice Bergeron, Anders Bjork, Brandon Carlo, Zdeno Chara, Jake DeBrusk, Ryan Donato, Matt Grzelcyk, Jaroslav Halak, Danton Heinen, Steven Kampfer, David Krejci, Sean Kuraly, Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, Kevan Miller, John Moore, Joakim Nordstrom, David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask, Urho Vaakanainen, Chris Wagner.

 

Injured: Martin Bakos, Torey Krug.

 

Buffalo Sabres

Nathan Beaulieu, Patrik Berglund, Zach Bogosian, Rasmus Dahlin, Jack Eichel, Remi Elie, Zemgus Girgensons, Carter Hutton, Jake McCabe, Casey Mittelstadt, Casey Nelson, Kyle Okposo, Jason Pominville, Sam Reinhart, Rasmus Ristolainen, Evan Rodrigues, Marco Scandella, Conor Sheary, Jeff Skinner, Vladimir Sobotka, Matt Tennyson, Tage Thompson, Linus Ullmark.

 

Injured: Matt Hunwick, Johan Larsson, Sean Malone, Scott Wilson.

 

Calgary Flames

Mikael Backlund, Sam Bennett, TJ Brodie, Austin Czarnik, Dillon Dube, Michael Frolik, Johnny Gaudreau, Mark Giordano, Travis Hamonic, Noah Hanifin, Garnet Hathaway, Mark Jankowski, Curtis Lazar, Elias Lindholm, Sean Monahan, James Neal, Dalton Prout, David Rittich, Derek Ryan, Mike Smith, Michael Stone, Matthew Tkachuk, Juuso Valimaki.

 

Injured: Matt Taormina.

 

Carolina Hurricanes

Sebastian Aho, Calvin de Haan, Phillip Di Giuseppe, Justin Faulk, Micheal Ferland, Haydn Fleury, Warren Foegele, Dougie Hamilton, Jordan Martinook, Curtis McElhinney, Brock McGinn, Petr Mrazek, Martin Necas, Brett Pesce, Jaccob Slavin, Jordan Staal, Andrei Svechnikov, Teuvo Teravainen, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Lucas Wallmark, Justin Williams, Valentin Zykov.

 

Injured: Scott Darling, Victor Rask.

 

Chicago Blackhawks

Artem Anisimov, Brandon Davidson, Alex DeBrincat, Anton Forsberg, Erik Gustafsson, John Hayden, Luke Johnson, Henri Jokiharju, Dominik Kahun, David Kampf, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Marcus Kruger, Chris Kunitz, Brandon Manning, Andreas Martinsen, Jan Rutta, Brandon Saad, Nick Schmaltz, Brent Seabrook, Jonathan Toews, Cam Ward.

 

Injured: Corey Crawford, Gustav Forsling, Connor Murphy.

 

Colorado Avalanche

Mark Barberio, Tyson Barrie, Gabriel Bourque, Matt Calvert, Ian Cole, J.T. Compher, Sheldon Dries, Samuel Girard, Philipp Grubauer, Erik Johnson, Tyson Jost, Alexander Kerfoot, Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, Patrik Nemeth, Matt Nieto, Mikko Rantanen, Carl Soderberg, Dominic Toninato, Semyon Varlamov, Colin Wilson, Nikita Zadorov.

 

Injured: Sven Andrighetto, Vladislav Kamenev, Anton Lindholm, Conor Timmins.

 

Columbus Blue Jackets

Josh Anderson, Cam Atkinson, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Sergei Bobrovsky, Gabriel Carlsson, Adam Clendening, Brandon Dubinsky, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Anthony Duclair, Nick Foligno, Markus Hannikainen, Scott Harrington, Boone Jenner, Joonas Korpisalo, Dean Kukan, Sonny Milano, Riley Nash, Markus Nutivaara, Artemi Panarin, David Savard, Lukas Sedlak, Alexander Wennberg, Zach Werenski.

 

Injured: Seth Jones, Ryan Murray.

 

Dallas Stars

Jamie Benn, Ben Bishop, Connor Carrick, Blake Comeau, Jason Dickinson, Radek Faksa, Miro Heiskanen, Roope Hintz, Julius Honka, Mattias Janmark, Anton Khudobin, John Klingberg, Esa Lindell, Marc Methot, Valeri Nichushkin, Tyler Pitlick, Roman Polak, Alexander Radulov, Brett Ritchie, Tyler Seguin, Devin Shore, Gemel Smith, Jason Spezza.

 

Injured: Martin Hanzal, Stephen Johns.

 

Detroit Red Wings

Justin Abdelkader, Andreas Athanasiou, Jonathan Bernier, Tyler Bertuzzi, Dennis Cholowski, Trevor Daley, Danny DeKeyser, Christoffer Ehn, Jonathan Ericsson, Martin Frk, Luke Glendening, Darren Helm, Jimmy Howard, Nick Jensen, Niklas Kronwall, Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Frans Nielsen, Gustav Nyquist, Michael Rasmussen, Libor Sulak, Thomas Vanek.

 

Injured: Johan Franzen, Mike Green, Brian Lashoff, Evgeny Svechnikov, Henrik Zetterberg.

 

Edmonton Oilers

Ethan Bear, Matt Benning, Evan Bouchard, Kyle Brodziak, Drake Caggiula, Alex Chiasson, Leon Draisaitl, Jason Garrison, Zack Kassian, Jujhar Khaira, Oscar Klefbom, Mikko Koskinen, Adam Larsson, Milan Lucic, Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Darnell Nurse, Jesse Puljujarvi, Ty Rattie, Tobias Rieder, Ryan Strome, Cam Talbot, Kailer Yamamoto.

 

Injured: Ryan Mantha, Kris Russell, Andrej Sekera.

 

Florida Panthers

Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, Troy Brouwer, Evgeni Dadonov, Aaron Ekblad, Micheal Haley, Mike Hoffman, Jonathan Huberdeau, Roberto Luongo, Jacob MacDonald, Derek MacKenzie, Denis Malgin, Maxim Mamin, Mike Matheson, Jared McCann, Alexander Petrovic, Mark Pysyk, James Reimer, Colton Sceviour, Vincent Trocheck, Frank Vatrano, MacKenzie Weegar, Keith Yandle.

 

Injured: Josh Brown, Bogdan Kiselevich, Jamie McGinn.

 

Los Angeles Kings

Michael Amadio, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Jack Campbell, Jeff Carter, Kyle Clifford, Drew Doughty, Oscar Fantenberg, Derek Forbort, Alex Iafallo, Adrian Kempe, Anze Kopitar, Ilya Kovalchuk, Paul LaDue, Trevor Lewis, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin, Tanner Pearson, Dion Phaneuf, Jonathan Quick, Nate Thompson, Tyler Toffoli, Austin Wagner.

 

Injured: Jonny Brodzinski, Dustin Brown, Gabriel Vilardi.

 

Minnesota Wild

Jonas Brodin, J.T. Brown, Charlie Coyle, Devan Dubnyk, Matt Dumba, Joel Eriksson Ek, Eric Fehr, Marcus Foligno, Mikael Granlund, Jordan Greenway, Matt Hendricks, Mikko Koivu, Nino Niederreiter, Gustav Olofsson, Zach Parise, Greg Pateryn, Nate Prosser, Nick Seeler, Jared Spurgeon, Eric Staal, Alex Stalock, Ryan Suter, Jason Zucker.

 

Injured: Luke Kunin.

 

Montreal Canadiens

Karl Alzner, Joel Armia, Jordie Benn, Paul Byron, Phillip Danault, Max Domi, Jonathan Drouin, Brendan Gallagher, Charles Hudon, Noah Juulsen, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Artturi Lehkonen, Victor Mete, Antti Niemi, Xavier Ouellet, Matthew Peca, Jeff Petry, Tomas Plekanec, Carey Price, Mike Reilly, Nikita Scherbak, Andrew Shaw, Tomas Tatar.

 

Injured: Jacob De La Rose, Nicolas Deslauriers, David Schlemko, Shea Weber.

 

Nashville Predators

Viktor Arvidsson, Anthony Bitetto, Nick Bonino, Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Kevin Fiala, Filip Forsberg, Frederick Gaudreau, Dan Hamhuis, Matt Irwin, Calle Jarnkrok, Ryan Johansen, Roman Josi, Zac Rinaldo, Pekka Rinne, Miikka Salomaki, Juuse Saros, Colton Sissons, Craig Smith, P.K. Subban, Kyle Turris, Yannick Weber.

 

Injured: Ryan Hartman.

 

New Jersey Devils

Brian Boyle, Jesper Bratt, Will Butcher, Blake Coleman, Jean-Sebastien Dea, Andy Greene, Eric Gryba, Taylor Hall, Nico Hischier, Marcus Johansson, Keith Kinkaid, Eddie Lack, Ben Lovejoy, Mirco Mueller, Stefan Noesen, Kyle Palmieri, John Quenneville, Steven Santini, Damon Severson, Sami Vatanen, Miles Wood, Pavel Zacha, Travis Zajac.

 

Injured: Cory Schneider.

 

New York Islanders

Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier, Johnny Boychuk, Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck, Jordan Eberle, Valtteri Filppula, Tanner Fritz, Thomas Greiss, Thomas Hickey, Ross Johnston, Leo Komarov, Tom Kuhnhackl, Nick Leddy, Anders Lee, Robin Lehner, Matt Martin, Scott Mayfield, Brock Nelson, Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock, Luca Sbisa.

 

Injured: Andrew Ladd, Matt Lorito, Linus Soderstrom, John Stevens.

 

New York Rangers

Pavel Buchnevich, Filip Chytil, Fredrik Claesson, Tony DeAngelo, Jesper Fast, Alexandar Georgiev, Kevin Hayes, Brett Howden, Chris Kreider, Vinni Lettieri, Henrik Lundqvist, Cody McLeod, Adam McQuaid, Vladislav Namestnikov, Neal Pionk, Kevin Shattenkirk, Brady Skjei, Brendan Smith, Ryan Spooner, Marc Staal, Jimmy Vesey, Mika Zibanejad, Mats Zuccarello.

 

Injured: Matt Beleskey, Boo Nieves.

 

Ottawa Senators

Craig Anderson, Mikkel Boedker, Mark Borowiecki, Cody Ceci, Thomas Chabot, Mike Condon, Dylan DeMelo, Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel, Alex Formenton, Ben Harpur, Maxime Lajoie, Max McCormick, Magnus Paajarvi, Tom Pyatt, Bobby Ryan, Zack Smith, Mark Stone, Chris Tierney, Brady Tkachuk, Colin White, Chris Wideman.

 

Injured: Marian Gaborik, Clarke MacArthur, Jean-Gabriel Pageau.

 

Philadelphia Flyers

Sean Couturier, Brian Elliott, Christian Folin, Claude Giroux, Shayne Gostisbehere, Radko Gudas, Robert Hagg, Travis Konecny, Scott Laughton, Jori Lehtera, Oskar Lindblom, Andrew MacDonald, Nolan Patrick, Ivan Provorov, Michael Raffl, Travis Sanheim, Wayne Simmonds, Anthony Stolarz, James van Riemsdyk, Jakub Voracek, Mikhail Vorobyov, Jordan Weal, Dale Weise.

 

Injured: Corban Knight, Pascal Laberge, Alex Lyon, Samuel Morin, Michal Neuvirth.

 

Pittsburgh Penguins

Derick Brassard, Sidney Crosby, Matt Cullen, Casey DeSmith, Brian Dumoulin, Derek Grant, Jake Guentzel, Carl Hagelin, Patric Hornqvist, Jack Johnson, Phil Kessel, Kris Letang, Olli Maatta, Evgeni Malkin, Matt Murray, Jamie Oleksiak, Juuso Riikola, Chad Ruhwedel, Bryan Rust, Justin Schultz, Riley Sheahan, Dominik Simon, Daniel Sprong.

 

Injured: Kevin Czuczman, Tristan Jarry.

 

San Jose Sharks

Justin Braun, Brent Burns, Rourke Chartier, Logan Couture, Aaron Dell, Brenden Dillon, Joonas Donskoi, Barclay Goodrow, Tim Heed, Tomas Hertl, Martin Jones, Evander Kane, Erik Karlsson, Melker Karlsson, Kevin Labanc, Timo Meier, Joe Pavelski, Joakim Ryan, Radim Simek, Marcus Sorensen, Antti Suomela, Joe Thornton, Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

 

Injured: None.

 

St. Louis Blues

Jake Allen, Ivan Barbashev, Sammy Blais, Robert Bortuzzo, Jay Bouwmeester, Tyler Bozak, Chris Butler, Vince Dunn, Joel Edmundson, Chad Johnson, Jordan Kyrou, Patrick Maroon, Niko Mikkola, Ryan O’Reilly, Colton Parayko, David Perron, Alex Pietrangelo, Brayden Schenn, Jordan Schmaltz, Jaden Schwartz, Alexander Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko, Robert Thomas.

 

Injured: Robby Fabbri, Erik Foley, Carl Gunnarsson, Luke Opilka, Nikita Soshnikov, Oskar Sundqvist.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning

Anthony Cirelli, Braydon Coburn, Cory Conacher, Louis Domingue, Adam Erne, Dan Girardi, Yanni Gourde, Victor Hedman, Tyler Johnson, Mathieu Joseph, Alex Killorn, Slater Koekkoek, Nikita Kucherov, Danick Martel, Ryan McDonagh, J.T. Miller, Ondrej Palat, Cedric Paquette, Brayden Point, Mikhail Sergachev, Steven Stamkos, Anton Stralman, Andrei Vasilevskiy.

 

Injured: Michael Bournival, Ryan Callahan, Kevin Lynch, Ben Thomas, Daniel Walcott.

 

Toronto Maple Leafs

Frederik Andersen, Connor Brown, Travis Dermott, Tyler Ennis, Jake Gardiner, Frederik Gauthier, Ron Hainsey, Justin Holl, Zach Hyman, Andreas Johnson, Nazem Kadri, Kasperi Kapanen, Josh Leivo, Par Lindholm, Martin Marincin, Patrick Marleau, Mitchell Marner, Auston Matthews, Igor Ozhiganov, Morgan Rielly, Garret Sparks, John Tavares, Nikita Zaitsev.

 

Injured: Nathan Horton.

 

Vancouver Canucks

Sven Baertschi, Jay Beagle, Alex Biega, Brock Boeser, Michael Del Zotto, Alexander Edler, Loui Eriksson, Nikolay Goldobin, Markus Granlund, Erik Gudbranson, Bo Horvat, Ben Hutton, Brendan Leipsic, Jacob Markstrom, Tyler Motte, Anders Nilsson, Elias Pettersson, Derrick Pouliot, Tim Schaller, Troy Stecher, Brandon Sutter, Christopher Tanev, Jake Virtanen.

 

Injured: Thatcher Demko, Derek Dorsett, Yan Pavel Laplante, Antoine Roussel.

 

Vegas Golden Knights

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Jake Bischoff, Ryan Carpenter, William Carrier, Deryk Engelland, Marc-Andre Fleury, Erik Haula, Nick Holden, Brad Hunt, William Karlsson, Oscar Lindberg, Jonathan Marchessault, Brayden McNabb, Jon Merrill, Colin Miller, Tomas Nosek, Max Pacioretty, Ryan Reaves, Reilly Smith, Paul Stastny, Malcolm Subban, Shea Theodore.

 

Injured: David Clarkson, Cody Eakin, Alex Tuch.

 

Washington Capitals

Nicklas Backstrom, Madison Bowey, Andre Burakovsky, John Carlson, Brett Connolly, Pheonix Copley, Christian Djoos, Nic Dowd, Lars Eller, Braden Holtby, Dmitrij Jaskin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jayson Megna, Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov, Brooks Orpik, T.J. Oshie, Alex Ovechkin, Devante Smith-Pelly, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana, Nathan Walker, Tom Wilson.

 

Injured: Mathias Bau, Travis Boyd, Michal Kempny.

 

Winnipeg Jets

Laurent Brossoit, Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Chiarot, Kyle Connor, Andrew Copp, Marko Dano, Nikolaj Ehlers, Connor Hellebuyck, Dmitry Kulikov, Patrik Laine, Brendan Lemieux, Bryan Little, Adam Lowry, Josh Morrissey, Joe Morrow, Tyler Myers, Mathieu Perreault, Jack Roslovic, Mark Scheifele, Brandon Tanev, Jacob Trouba, Kristian Vesalainen, Blake Wheeler.

 

Injured: None.

 

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman gives update on Seattle expansion

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHLmedia.com

Gary Bettman 2016 photo By NNC Public Affairs Photography in Public Domain, https commons.wikimedia.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NHL 2018-19 Season preview: Can the Capitals repeat?

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHLmedia.com

 

 

BANNER-RAISING, RIVALRIES MAKE UP OPENING NIGHT OF 2018-19 SEASON

On the heels of a campaign that saw the largest year-to-year scoring increase in more than three decades and another record-tying seven-team playoff turnover, the 2018-19 NHL season begins Wednesday in four cities: Toronto, Washington, Vancouver and San Jose.

 

* In Toronto, the Canadiens and Maple Leafs will face off for their 741st all-time regular-season meeting, the 17th to come in a mutual season-opener (TOR: 9-6-1, MTL: 7-9-0). The Canadiens (53-30-17, 100 GP) are one of three NHL clubs with at least 40 wins in season-opening games, joined on that list by the Red Wings (41-36-14, 91 GP) and Bruins (40-37-16, 93 GP).

 

* In Washington, the Capitals will raise their first-ever Cup banner to the rafters of Capital One Arena before hosting the Bruins, a contest that comes 119 days after the Capitals defeated the expansion Golden Knights 4-3 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. Defending Stanley Cup champions own an all-time record of 57-25-15 in season openers, including only three wins over the past 10 seasons: Pittsburgh won in 2009-10 and 2016-17, and Chicago won in 2013-14.

 

* In Vancouver, the Flames and Canucks renew their rivalry in their first matchup since Dec. 17, 2017, and first in more than 18 years without eitherDaniel or Henrik Sedin. Wednesday will mark the first time in the 21st century that the Canucks will play a game against any opponent without either Sedin in the lineup – a span of 6,752 days and 1,465 team games (1,360 regular season and 105 playoffs). A season-ending 5-2 victory in San Jose on April 9, 2000 was the last such occurrence.

* In San Jose, Erik Karlsson is expected to make his regular-season debut with the Sharks when they host the Ducks for the final game of opening night. Karlsson (126-392—518 in 627 GP) had 0.83 points per game over his first nine NHL seasons with the Senators, the eighth-highest points per game average by a defenseman in League history (min. 200 GP) – 0.12 better than the next-closest active blueliner (John Klingberg: 0.71; 42-172—214 in 303 GP).

 

SETTING THE STAGE: SEASON OPENERS

Highlights from 100 years of NHL season openers are noted below. A detailed overview – with stats for teams, players, head coaches and League records – is available at this link.

 

* Aside from the Golden Knights, who defeated the Stars 2-1 in their inaugural game in 2017-18, the Lightning (.680) hold the best point percentage in season-openers in League history.

 

* The Lightning, Canadiens and Canucks (4-0-0 since 2014-15) share the longest active win streak in season openers. The NHL record is nine straight wins, set by the Canadiens (1953-54–1961-62) and matched by the Blues (1978-79–1986-87).

 

* The Lightning, Canadiens, Canucks and Capitals (2-0-2 since 2014-15) share the longest active point streak in season openers. The NHL record is 17 consecutive season-opening games with a point, set by the Canadiens (13-0-4 from 1963-64–1979-80).

 

* The Wild visit the Avalanche on Thursday before hosting the Golden Knights on Saturday. Minnesota (.853; 13-1-3 in 17 GP) and Colorado (.737; 26-8-4 in 38 GP) rank first and second in League history, respectively, for point percentage in home openers (excluding Vegas).

 

* The NHL record for fastest goal from the start of a season opener is 0:10, scored by Minnesota North Stars forward Kent Nilsson on Oct. 11, 1986 against the Quebec Nordiques.

 

* The NHL record for goals by one player in a season opener is five, achieved twice in 1917-18 (Harry Hyland and Joe Malone) and once in 1922-23 (Babe Dye). The modern-era record is four, last achieved by Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews in his League debut on Oct. 12, 2016 against the Senators.

 

* There have been 56 instances of a player scoring at least three goals in a season opener, including at least one to begin each of the past five campaigns (4 in 2017-18; 2 in 2016-17; 2 in 2015-16; 1 in 2014-15; and 2 in 2013-14).

 

* Ten active NHL players have scored a hat trick in a season opener, including four who did so in 2017-18: Connor McDavidWayne Simmonds,Brandon Saad and Alex Ovechkin.

 

* The NHL record for assists in a season opener is five, set by Devils forward Greg Adams on Oct. 10, 1985 against the Flyers and matched byPenguins forward John Cullen on Oct. 5, 1990 against the Capitals.

 

* The NHL record for points in a season opener is six, set by Penguins forward Kevin Stevens (2-4—6) on Oct. 5, 1990 against the Capitals.

 

* Both 2016-17 and 2017-18 began with three players recording at least four points in a season opener. Overall, there have been 96 instances all-time of a player recording at least four points in a season opener, including at least one to begin each of the past seven campaigns (3 in 2017-18; 3 in 2016-17; 1 in 2015-16; 2 in 2014-15; 1 in 2013-14; 3 in 2012-13; 1 in 2011-12).

 

Marc-Andre Fleury (VGK; 9-4-0 in 13 GP) and Ryan Miller (ANA; 9-3-1 in 13 GP) each need one victory to match the NHL record for career wins in season openers.

 

* Fleury, Antti Niemi (MTL; 6 GP), Jimmy Howard (DET; 7 GP) and Roberto Luongo (FLA; 15 GP) each have two shutouts in season openers, one shy of tying the record shared by Hall of Famers Glenn Hall (11 GP) and Jacques Plante (12 GP).

 

Bruce Cassidy (BOS; 3-0-0), Jared Bednar (COL; 2-0-0) and Travis Green (VAN; 1-0-0) are the only active head coaches with a perfect record in season openers. Four other active head coaches have yet to lose a season opener in regulation: Mike Yeo (STL; 5-0-1), Guy Boucher (OTT; 4-0-1), Dave Hakstol (PHI; 2-0-1) and Phil Housley (BUF; 0-0-1).

 

* Housley is one of seven active head coaches in pursuit of his first win in a season opener, a list that includes four first-time NHL head coaches:Rod Brind’Amour (CAR), Jim Montgomery (DAL), Todd Reirden (WSH) and David Quinn (NYR). The others: Rick Tocchet (ARI; 0-2-0) andBob Boughner (FLA; 0-1-0).

 

ON THE RADAR IN 2018-19

 

Young Stars

* Edmonton’s Connor McDavid aims to become the sixth player in NHL history to win at least three consecutive Art Ross Trophies; only Wayne Gretzky (7), Gordie Howe (4), Phil Esposito (4), Jaromir Jagr (4) and Guy Lafleur (3) have done so. McDavid (87-169—256 in 209 GP) is within reach of hitting 300 career points before his 22nd birthday (Jan. 13, 2019), a feat achieved by only eight players in League history – Sidney Crosbyis the only player to do so in McDavid’s lifetime.

* Toronto’s Auston Matthews and Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine, the top two picks in the 2016 NHL Draft, respectively, each set out for a third straight 30-goal season. Since the 1980s, only four players have started their NHL careers with at least three consecutive 30-goal campaigns: Pavel Bure(3), Evgeni Malkin (3), Sergei Fedorov (4) and Alex Ovechkin (13).

 

* Reigning Calder Trophy winner Mathew Barzal enters 2018-19 after posting 22-63—85 last season (82 GP) to finish 14th in NHL scoring and with 20 points more than the next-closest rookie. The Islanders forward became the eighth rookie in League history to record 60 assists in one season; only two of the previous seven hit the mark again as a sophomore: Peter Stastny (93 in 1981-82) and Sidney Crosby (84 in 2006-07).

 

 

2018 Draft Class

Each of the top five picks from the 2018 NHL Draft – who hail from five different countries – remain on NHL rosters. Only once in the past 31 years have each of the top five picks played in a season-opening game immediately following their draft: 2008-09 (Steven StamkosDrew Doughty,Zach BogosianAlex Pietrangelo and Luke Schenn).

 

* Buffalo’s Rasmus Dahlin (No.1) is set to become the fourth-youngest defenseman in the past 20 years to make his NHL debut (18 years, 174 days on Oct. 4). The franchise record for points by a rookie defenseman was set in 1982-83 by Phil Housley (19-47—66 in 77 GP), the team’s current head coach.

 

* Carolina’s Andrei Svechnikov (No. 2) will become the third-youngest player to debut with the franchise (18 years, 192 days on Oct. 4) behind Jeff Skinner (18 years, 144 days) and Paul Lawless (18 years, 172 days). The franchise record for goals (40) and points (72) by a rookie was set by the club’s first-ever No. 2 pick, Sylvain Turgeon in 1983-84 when the team was in Hartford.

 

* Montreal’s Jesperi Kotkaniemi (No. 3) will become the third-youngest player to skate in an NHL game for the club (18 years, 89 days on Oct. 3; tied with Claude Lemieux), behind goaltender Olivier Michaud (18 years, 46 days) and forward Mario Tremblay (18 years, 73 days). Tremblay, who made his debut on Nov. 14, 1974, scored his first NHL goals two nights later against the Rangers (2-0—2 on Nov. 16, 1974).

 

* Ottawa’s Brady Tkachuk (No. 4), who celebrated his 19th birthday on Sept. 16, will make his NHL debut less than two years after his brother,Matthew, did so with the Flames (Oct. 12, 2016 at EDM). Their father, Keith, started the family tradition on Feb. 28, 1992 with the original Jets, notching an assist against the Canucks. Keith had 28-23—51 during his first full season as a rookie in 1992-93, while Matthew posted 13-35—48 in his rookie campaign of 2016-17.

 

* Arizona’s Barrett Hayton (No. 5) could become the youngest player in Coyotes/Jets franchise history to make his League debut (18 years, 118 days on Oct. 4). Hayton would aim to follow in the footsteps of teammate Clayton Keller, who led the club with 23-42—65 as a rookie last season (82 GP). Since the end of the 1980s, only three clubs have had back-to-back seasons with a rookie hitting 60 points: the Red Wings from 1990-92 (Sergei Fedorov and Niklas Lidstrom), the Flyers from 1992-94 (Eric Lindros and Mikael Renberg) and the Penguins from 2005-07 (Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin). Note: The 1992-93 Jets (2) and 2016-17 Maple Leafs (3) each had multiple rookies hit the mark in the same season.

 

 

Veterans

* Washington’s Alex Ovechkin needs 78 points for 1,200 in his career (607-515—1,122 in 1,003 GP) and has scored at least 30 goals in each of his 13 NHL campaigns. The Capitals captain aims to become just the third player in League history to score 30+ goals in 14 consecutive seasons. The reigning Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner has led the League in goals seven times, tied with Bobby Hull for the most in NHL history.

* Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby needs 52 games to surpass Mario Lemieux (915 GP) as the Penguins’ all-time leader and 84 points for 1,200 in his career (411-705—1,116 in 864 GP). Crosby has averaged at least 1.06 points per game in each of his 13 NHL seasons and owns the sixth-highest point-per-game average in NHL history at 1.29 P/GP (min. 200 GP). Only three players in League history have had more consecutive seasons with at least one point per game (min. 20 GP), all with 15: Marcel Dionne (1972-73–1986-87), Wayne Gretzky (1979-80–1993-94) and Mario Lemieux(1984-85–2002-03).

 

* Florida’s Roberto Luongo (471) sits 14 wins shy of passing Ed Belfour (484) for third place on the NHL’s all-time wins list and 29 victories from joining Patrick Roy (551) and Martin Brodeur (691) as the only goaltenders with 500+ wins. Entering his 19th NHL season, Luongo also needs one shutout to pass Tony Esposito (76) and Belfour (76) for sole possession of ninth place and 29 games to pass Roy (1,029 GP) for second place on the all-time games played list among goaltenders, behind Brodeur (1,266 GP).

 

* San Jose’s Joe Thornton (1,493 GP) is set to become the 19th player in NHL history to skate in 1,500 career games – and could climb as high as 11th place on the League’s all-time list. Entering his 21st NHL season, Thornton needs four assists to surpass Mario Lemieux (1,033) for 11th place all-time; 31 points to leapfrog Teemu Selanne (1,457) for 15th place all-time; and sits just three goals shy of 400.

 

* Joining Thornton for a 21st NHL season are Patrick Marleau (TOR), Matt Cullen (PIT) and Zdeno Chara (BOS). Cullen, the oldest active NHL player, will celebrate his 42nd birthday on Nov. 2 and needs only 55 games for 1,500 in his career.

 

* Marleau (706 GP; 7th), 39, is one of four players beginning 2018-19 with an active consecutive games played streaks among the top 11 longest in League history. The others: Florida’s Keith Yandle (715 GP; 6th), Pittsburgh’s Phil Kessel (692 GP; 8th) and Montreal’s Karl Alzner (622 GP; 11th).

 

NHL VETERANS SET FOR NEXT CHAPTER WITH NEW CLUBS

Blockbuster trades and free agent signings highlighted a busy summer. Takeaways from the complete offseason summary:

 

* After spending his first nine NHL seasons with the Islanders, John Tavares returns to his home province of Ontario on a seven-year contract with the Maple Leafs. Four Ontario-born players have accumulated at least 70 points in their first full season with the Maple Leafs, with each of those players traded to the club during the previous campaign: Doug Gilmour in 1992-93 (32-95—127), Dave Andreychuk in 1993-94 (53-46—99), Wilf Paiement in 1980-81 (40-57—97) and Red Kelly in 1960-61 (20-50—70).

 

* With the addition of Erik Karlsson, the Sharks are set to become the ninth team in NHL history to have multiple Norris Trophy-winning defensemen in their lineup for a game. Karlsson, a four-time finalist and two-time Norris Trophy winner (2011-12 and 2014-15), and Brent Burns, a two-time finalist and winner in 2016-17, have combined for 308-776—1,084 in their careers.

 

* After playing five seasons in the KHL, Ilya Kovalchuk returns to the NHL as a member of the Kings. The 35-year-old has 417-399—816 in 816 career NHL games, the eighth-most points by a Russian player in League history. Kovalchuk ranks eighth on the NHL’s all-time regular-season overtime goals list with 14.

 

* Former Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty and former Jets forward Paul Stastny are among the newest members of the Golden Knights for their sophomore season. Pacioretty has 45 career game-winning goals, including 38 since the start of 2013-14 – second in that span behind Alex Ovechkin (43).

 

* Three-time 30-goal scorer Jeff Skinner joins the Sabres after eight seasons with the Hurricanes. Skinner (204-175—379), selected seventh overall in the 2010 NHL Draft, ranks second in goals and third in points among his draft class (Tyler Seguin: 229-276—505 and Taylor Hall: 191-283—474).

 

* The new-look Flames signed 10-time 20-goal scorer James Neal and acquired forward Elias Lindholm and defenseman Noah Hanifin from theHurricanes, while also signing Bill Peters as their new head coach.

 

Ryan O’Reilly, a 20-goal scorer in four of the past five seasons, joins the Blues along with St. Louis native Pat Maroon. Maroon will become the third Missouri-born player ever to suit up for the Blues, joining forward Cam Janssen (165 GP) and defenseman Chris Butler (45 GP).

 

REWIND: 2017-18 MARKED BY SURGE IN OFFENSE

A quartet of season-opening hat tricks in 2017-18 – four of 81 on the season – foreshadowed what would become the highest-scoring NHL campaign in more than a decade, with an average of 5.9 goals per game. Quick hits from 2017-18:

 

* The 7% increase in goals from 2016-17 to 2017-18 was the largest year-to-year spike since a 9% rise from 1979-80 to 1980-81 (excluding a 20% increase from 2003-04 to 2005-06 that followed various rule changes).

Third season since 1996-97 to feature at least 5.9 goals per game. The others: 2005-06 (6.2; 7,588 G in 1,230 GP) and 2006-07 (5.9; 7,246 G in 1,230 GP).

Twenty-one players recorded at least 80 points after only seven players hit the mark in 2016-17. Only three of the previous 20 campaigns saw more players reach the 80-point mark: 2006-07 (28), 2005-06 (26) and 1996-97 (22).

* Edmonton’s Connor McDavid led a group of 24 players who averaged at least one point per game in 2017-18 (min. 25 GP), the most in one season since 2006-07 (32). There were eight such performances in each of the previous three campaigns.

 

* Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux and Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov joined McDavid in the 100-point club, while eight players scored at least 40 goals in 2017-18, led by Alex Ovechkin (49).

 

* Giroux hit the 100-point mark for the first time thanks to a 44-point improvement over 2016-17, making him one of 21 players to boost his point total by 25 or more compared to the previous season.

 

* There were 67 instances of a team scoring at least seven goals in a game, the most in any season since 1995-96 (105).

 

* Overall, 82% of all skaters scored at least one goal (726 of 890), tied for the highest percentage in one season since 1980-81 when 85% of skaters scored a goal (484 of 570).

 

* The seven-team playoff turnover matched the largest year-to-year change in NHL history. It marked the second straight campaign and third time in four seasons that seven new teams reached the postseason. Overall, there has been playoff turnover of at least five clubs in 11 of the past 13 seasons.

 

For only the fourth time since the conference format was introduced in 1974-75 – and second straight campaign – the last-place team from each conference reached the playoffs the following season, with both the Avalanche and Devils making the leap from 2016-17. The other instances: Red Wings/Rockies (last in 1976-77), Bruins/Sharks (last in 1996-97) and Maple Leafs/Oilers (last in 2015-16).

 

 

 

 

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