It’s been a long few months but the NHL is finally back in action after a chaotic summer. With all sorts of commotion around the league it’s tough to keep up with everything. That’s why we want to give you the scoop on all the best (and worst) over the last week of action.
Matthew Boldy made a big statement to the league in his rookie year, notching 39 points in 47 games. This year, the budding Minnesota Wild superstar got out on the right foot, tallying a pair of goals in the Wild’s season opener, including this absolute doozy in which he deked through the entire New York Rangers squad.
Matt Murray and the Maple Leafs ultimately fell in their season opener to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, but that didn’t mean there weren’t bright moments for the elder half of the Buds’ new netminding tandem. The former Senator makes a heroic effort here, falling backwards onto his wallet but somehow keeping the puck out in the process.
Performance of the Week
How about a come from behind hat trick to win the game for your team? No task is too tall when you’re the league’s best player, and Connor McDavid did just that by notching three goals and adding an assist for a four-point opening night. What’s even crazier is that McDavid has made a habit of scoring in bunches to open up the season.
Best goal that never was
Check out the nifty mitts on Columbus Blue Jackets‘ 2021 first round selection Cole Sillinger. Unfortunately, the goal would come back on an offside, but this dipsy-doodle and snipe combo was impressive. Sillinger looks poised for a breakout this season after he notched 31 points last year in his rookie campaign.
That didn’t take long. Cale Makar is at it again, taking names and snatching souls. Here’s the reigning Norris Trophy winner sending Tyler Johnson to the phantom realm with a nifty head fake. They don’t call him Iverson on skates for nothing.
Best comeback performance
Last year, David Krejci spent his season torching the Czech league to spend more time with his family back home. Already in his mid-30s, it seemed like the end of the line for the longtime Bruins pivot, who all but said his goodbyes following the shortened 2021 season. Well, as it turns out, Krejci has plenty left in the tank, evidenced by an electric three-point night to open the season against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday. He even cashed in an important insurance goal late in the third to seal the win for the Bruins.
To the rafters
The Colorado Avalanche celebrated their Stanley Cup win by raising their banner to the rafters on Wednesday in front of their fans at Ball Arena. The moment was made all the more special when the Avs invited their former teammate, Jack Johnson, now with the Blackhawks, to join them in their celebration.
A nice payday
Before signing a seven-year, $30 million deal with the Sabres this week, not many NHL fans knew who Mattias Samuelsson was. Now, he’s set to be one of the highest-paid defencemen on the team, at least until Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power cash in a few years down the line. What’s even crazier though is that Samuelsson signed his big deal before he even scored his first NHL goal. Talk about betting on upside.
The weirdest thing you’ll see
For all the fun most players have on the ice, it’s not exactly a well-kept secret that NHL players can be a bit timid when it comes to showing their personality off the ice. In this hilarious Minnesota Wild ad, however, Marcus Foligno not only shows off some acting chops but goes full throttle in a video you just have to watch to appreciate.
If Connor McDavid’s electric opening night hat trick wasn’t enough for you, the superstar showing made him the seventh-fastest player ever to reach 700 points, doing so in just 488 games. He’s only behind the legendary names of Wayne Gretzky (317), Mario Lemieux (363), Peter Stastny (457), Mike Bossy (469) and Jari Kurri (483).
With a pair of assists this week, Cale Makar needs just 18 points in his next 27 games to become the fastest defenceman ever to 200 points. In case you didn’t know that this kid was something special.
How about a goalie hit in the first edition of Best and Worst of the Week? Jack Campbell made his presence known in his Oilers debut, laying out Canucks forward Dakota Joshua with a solid open-ice hit. Keep your head up, kids!
John Tortorella has never been one to bite his tongue, and he had another fantastic quote this week when chatting with NBC Sports Philadelphia. Asked if there was anything that the Flyers were particularly good at, Torts was succinct and to the point in his answer.
Most heartwarming moment
Last February, Toronto Maple Leafs 2020 first round pick Rodion Amirov was diagnosed with a brain tumour which caused him to be away from the game for several months undergoing chemotherapy. Now, having undergone four treatments and slowly working his way back, the Maple Leafs had the young Russian introduced alongside the rest of the Toronto Maple Leafs ahead of their home opening tilt against the Washington Capitals. What an awesome moment to see for the kid.
Best NHL first
At 35 years old, Sid the Kid isn’t much of a kid anymore, but he’s still finding ways to accomplish firsts 18 years into his NHL career. For the first time ever, Crosby scored the first goal of the Penguins’ season, rifling a one-timer past Coyotes netminder Karel Vejmelka. The Pens would go on to thrash the Coyotes 6-2 behind a three-point night from Sid.
This summer, the NHL announced plans to introduce digital advertising on the boards this year. The response from fans has been, shall we say, mixed at best, with fans complaining about the distracting movement and abrupt changes in the middle of play. Perhaps the most egregious example of the new digital ads came during the Oilers vs. Canucks game Thursday night when the boards went a little haywire late in the first period.
Most awkward moment
There are no words. This poor Islanders fan popped the question during the Isles-Panthers game Thursday night and got a very emphatic answer from the lovely lady. You hate to see it.
Best guest appearance
Do you smell what The Rock is cooking!? That’s right, none other than Dwayne Johnson was in the house for the Maple Leafs’ home opener against the Washington Capitals Thursday night. Decked out in Leafs gear, Johnson received a loud response from Maple Leafs fans before starting a creative chant that got the crowd pumped nonetheless.
Scrap (and snap) of the week
Ryan Reaves and Marcus Foligno got into it pretty good on Thursday night as the two heavyweights dropped the gloves towards the end of the Rangers-Wild tilt. Check out both players landing absolute haymakers, especially Reaves, who tagged Foligno with a couple of good right hands to end the bout.
Even more epic, however, is this exceptional snap from the game courtesy of Aaron Lavinsky of the Star Tribune in Minnesota. Hang this thing in the Louvre.
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