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Opinion

NHL Weekly Wednesdays: McDavid, Habs and a new Devils GM

(Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Roar Rookie
14th January, 2020
3

Just like that it’s mid-January and we’re back to business as usual.

So let’s get straight back into talking hockey and have a look at this week’s good, bad and ugly from around the NHL.

The good: Connor McDavid

We’ve been here before, I know, but Connor McDavid is just very good at this whole hockey thing. Some of the things the guy does with a puck on his stick are just too hard to ignore.

Take a look at this week’s special goal he scored in the most recent battle of Alberta, in Calgary.

Just look at the burst of speed McDavid manages to inject.

Sportsnet clocked him at 44 kilometres per hour as he made that final move to bury the puck behind Cam Talbot. The kid is a freak – if we can even still call him a kid.

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This was in fact Connor McDavid’s last game before turning 23. Take a look at some of the elite under-23 scoring company that he’s now featured alongside.

Chalk up another Connor McDavid, Wayne Gretzky comparison.

But honestly, can we talk about how on earth Gretzky managed to get 861 points before even turning 23? I had to double-check that stat was even real. That’s unbelievable!

The bad: The Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens are bad – there’s just no other way to put it.

Currently sitting sixth in the Atlantic Division, they’re above only Ottawa and Detroit. While those two teams sitting 29th and 31st in the entire NHL show that things could certainly be worse for Montreal, a franchise such as the Habs demands better.

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Before Ilya Kovalchuk’s overtime winner against the hapless Senators on Sunday, the Canadiens had lost their previous eight games, their second eight-game losing streak of the season. Yikes.

The dumpster fire of a season has coincided with Jonathan Drouin’s injury:

Any team that loses arguably their best player is going to struggle, but this has really exposed the team’s lack of depth.

Keep in mind that the Canadiens this month traded prospect Mike McCarron to the Nashville Predators.

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You’ve never heard of him, you say? Well, that’s because he’s the latest of six straight first-round Monreal Canadiens draft picks to be a bust. With a draft record like that, the Canadiens depth issues are understandable.

Something has to change.

The ugly: A new GM in New Jersey

The New Jersey Devils have agreed to part ways with general manager Ray Shero effective immediately. Yes, that’s a nice way of saying he’s fired. Assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald has been appointed on an interim basis.

Keep in mind that goaltending legend Martin Brodeur is available in support, currently working for the organisation in an advisory role.

With the Devils able to reach the post-season under Shapiro only once, owner Josh Harris felt there was no other option.

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“It’s never a good time to do this but once you make the decision, you have to act,” Harris said. “We thought this was the right thing to do for the franchise.”

The move comes barely a month after Shero fired head coach John Hynes and moved 2018 MVP Taylor Hall to Arizona.

But, like all pro sports, hockey is a results-driven business, and they just haven’t come anywhere near expectations for the Devils this season. A team with Taylor Hall, Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, PK Subban and Wayne Simmonds should not be sitting near bottom of the East.

But, hey, that’s hockey.

Australian TV games this week

Here’s a look at the NHL games that will be aired on Fox and Kayo this week. I just can’t believe it features a rare appearance from the Minnesota Wild – but as a long-suffering Wild fan, I’m all over this!

New York Islanders vs Detroit Red Wings
Wednesday at 11.00am, ESPN1

Boston Bruins vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Friday at 11.00am, ESPN1

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New York Rangers vs Columbus Blue Jackets
Monday at 11.00am, ESPN2

Minnesota Wild vs Florida Panthers
Tuesday at 12.00pm, ESPN2