The Boudreau Saga, Habs’ Injury Problems, All-Star Voting, and More!
It’s the Monday edition of Links, News and Notes!
- The story of the weekend was the incredibly bizarre way in which the Vancouver Canucks handled their dismissal of Bruce Boudreau. It has been an open secret around the league for weeks that the Canucks planned to move on from Boudreau, and even exactly who the replacement will be. The (now former) head coach’s last two games behind the bench were incredibly emotional, with fans serenading him, opposing players sticking up for him, and Boudreau himself tearing up during press conferences. Sure enough, the Canucks fired him on Sunday morning, pretty much exactly when the rumours said it would happen. He was replaced by Rick Tocchet, with Adam Foote and former Ottawa Senator Sergei Gonchar serving as assistant coaches. Even putting aside how weird it is that everyone seemed to know all of this long before it was announced, it’s incredibly strange to see a fanbase stand so clearly on the side of a coach that’s about to be fired - usually, if things have reached that point, the fanbase is pretty sick of the guy.
- The Montreal Canadiens will be without their best goalscorer for the remainder of the season. Cole Caufield has apparently been playing through a shoulder injury for some time, and has elected to have surgery. Sens fans can certainly relate to the frustration of seeing a favourite player suffer that kind injury. It’s also baffling that he was allowed to play through it, considering that the Habs a) are bad; and b) would actually benefit a lot from finishing this season as low in the standings as possible.
- The winners of the fan vote for this year’s All-Star game were announced on Thursday night, and despite Sens fans’ best efforts, Tim Stützle was not one of them. Instead, David Pastrňák, Auston Matthews and Andrei Vasilevskiy will represent the Atlantic division. This actually comes as a bit of a surprise to anyone who was watching the twitter vote, where Stützle and Caufield were the runaway favourites and it wasn’t close, but it’s worth keeping in mind that the voting on the NHL website was open for much longer, and that many dedicated NHL fans are not on Twitter. We also don’t know how the different voting methods were weighted. At the end of the day, Pastrňákcertainly deserves his spot, and Matthews is a star even in a down year, so the selections make sense— even if they’re booooring.
- The Buffalo Sabres recently retired the number of star goaltender Ryan Miller. Ahead of Saturday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks, Miller and his son got the chance to participate in an all-goalie ceremonial faceoff:/
- The Erik Karlsson trade rumours are still swirling, despite the obvious difficulty in making a trade work. Karlsson was on a podcast recently, where he talked about the rumours and made it clear that his main priority is to win. Although I’m still holding on to the hope that a return to Ottawa is somehow possible, it’s hard to think of many players who deserve to play for a contender more than Karlsson does. I hope it works out for him
- Isn’t it cool how Tim Stützle is on pace for almost 40 goals this seasond? Well, Connor McDavid already has 40 this season. On Saturday, he became the fastest active player to reach that mark, beating Auston Matthews’s time from last year. He’s just playing a different sport than everyone else is.
- Montreal’s new PHF team has been one of the league’s best storylines this season, and they pulled off a massive overtime victory yesterday against the nearly unbeatable Boston Pride, despite losing Christine Deaudelin to a scary injury that had her stretchered off the ice in overtime. The team provided an update after the game./
Christine ❤️ pic.twitter.com/4i5UMQIjzO— La Force de Montréal (@LaForceMontreal) January 23, 2023
- In other PHF news, the Toronto Six announced on Thursday that they have signed former NCAA superstar Daryl Watts. The forward wasted no time scoring her first goal over the weekend. It’s a massive addition for one of the league’s top teams, and it’s encouraging to see the PHF become more of an attraction to free agents. It’ll be cool to see if any other major signings happen before the playoffs./