Your weekly dose of the good, bad and ugly from around the NHL.
The good – Hall and Yotes
Taylor Hall, the former no.1 overall pick and one-time league MVP, has been dealt to the Arizona desert.
Well ’cause you,
You make my dreams come true, oh yeah
Well well you, ooh ooh
In return, the Devils received a stack of players and picks, including forwards Nick Merkley and Nate Schnarr, defenseman Kevin Bahl, a conditional first-round 2020 pick and a conditional third-round 2021 pick.
After struggling for what seems like forever, the Arizona Coyotes have finally built themselves quite the formidable-looking roster and will no doubt return to the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Hall is going to a place where he’ll be in a position to win.
This season has been nothing short of a slog for the 28-year-old in New Jersey. Skating on what was supposed to be a team stacked with talent, Hall has just six goals and 19 assists. The Devils currently sit dead last in the Metropolitan Division.
But keep in mind that Hall was the league MVP just two seasons ago – a year that he scored 93 points in just 76 games.
“Taylor Hall is one of the elite talents in the game today: a Hart Trophy winner, a high-end playmaker and one of the NHL’s most talented forwards,” said John Chayka, general manager of the Coyotes.
“We are beyond thrilled to add Taylor to our team as we continue in our mission of bringing a Stanley Cup home to Arizona.”
He has elite talent but, having only played playoff hockey once in his ten-year career, may also have elite bad-juju.
This looks like a cap management move as much as a hockey trade, with the Devils probably unable to meet Hall’s salary demands when off contract at the end of this season. The question now becomes whether the Coyotes will be able to themselves.
If not, Hall could be quite the high priced, half-season rental. The 2019-20 Coyotes are all-in.
The bad – Oskar strong
When I say bad, I mean absolutely terrible.
In devastating news that really puts hockey in perspective, 23-year-old Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom, has been diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma.
Ewing’s Sarcoma is a rare form of bone cancer and Lindblom will undergo treatment immediately, putting the forward out for the rest of the season. If you haven’t heard of it before, you’re not alone. It just makes it all the tougher to process the news.
With the show still rolling on, the Flyers continue to hang Lindblom’s jersey in his locker room stall, as shown here in Minnesota.
The ugly – Gruesome injury
If you’re a little squeamish, then skip ahead. Trust me on this!
After being catapulted into skates first by an opposition player, Niagara IceDogs goalie Tucker Tynan had one of the major arteries in his leg severed. Once again, the following video is very confronting viewing. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
WARNING: Graphic footage
To make this one all the more confronting, the incident happened in one of the Canadian junior hockey leagues, the OHL. Tynan is just a 17-year-old kid!
That vision when Tynan lethargically nudges himself forward and you see the pool of blood that has already formed underneath him… I am getting chills just thinking about the image that’s now burned into the back of my retinas.
What an amazing job the medical staff of both teams did – make no mistake on this, they saved a kid’s life.
Australian TV games this week
ESPN and Kayo are keeping up their coverage of the NHL on Aussie TV, with another week stacked full of quality match-ups.
Wednesday, 1:00pm (AEDT) – Pittsburgh Penguins vs Calgary Flames – ESPN1
The Penguins are 19-10-4 and sit in the first Eastern Conference wildcard spot. The Flames are 18-13-4 and also occupy one of the wildcard spots in the West.
With both teams right on the bubble, I’d expect this one to be a tight affair and, with neither team worried about dropping points to a conference rival, becomes a candidate for some overtime hockey.
Friday 1:00pm – Carolina Hurricanes vs Colorado Avalanche – ESPN2
The Hurricanes are 20-11-2 and, while equal in points with the Penguins, are actually in the third Metropolitan Division playoff spot. The 21-8-3 Avalanche are also entrenched in a Central Division playoff spot.
With a top line featuring Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, the Avalanche are always going to be exciting to watch. The Hurricanes, on the other hand, are proving to be another young, exciting team on the rise.
Monday 2:00pm – Vegas Golden Knights vs San Jose Sharks – ESPN2
Vegas are 18-13-5 and maintaining a playoff spot in the Pacific. The 16-17-2 Sharks, on the other hand, are treading water toward the bottom of the league.
The Sharks this week sacked coach Peter DeBoe. Who, after a period of reckoning for NHL coaches, it must be stressed wasn’t fired for anything other than his team’s lacklustre performances.
Tuesday 11:00am – New York Rangers vs Philadelphia Flyers – ESPN2
While the Rangers have lost two in a row (and four of their last six), the Flyers have also lost their last three. With all the distractions around the Flyers, it’s not hard to imagine the players’ minds may be elsewhere. But what’s the Rangers’ excuse?
If you’re sick of whatever repeated Christmas movie from the 90s that free-to-air TV is showing, then flick across to Kayo and check out some Christmas Eve hockey. Merry Christmas!