It was a rather calm week in the NHL. That doesn’t mean I don’t have five awesome takes for you. In this week’s column, I’ll share with you one major surprise around the league, one of the funniest things I saw, and a few of the best goals I saw this week. You can thank me later.
1. DeAngelo Waived by the Rangers
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) January 31, 2021
The most stunning news of last week was the Rangers’ decision to waive defenseman Tony DeAngelo. According to this article in the New York Post, DeAngelo was waived for a combination of poor play and for his role in an altercation with his teammate Alexandar Georgiev. DeAngelo cleared waivers and was placed on the Rangers’ taxi-squad.
DeAngelo has been awful this season. The 25-year-old has only mustered one assist in six games and is also a minus six. Last year was his breakout season, where he scored 13 goals and added another 38 assists. Many thought he was going to be a key cog for a potential playoff team this season. DeAngelo was rewarded with a two-year deal with offseason with an AAV of $4.8 million.
I was shocked when I heard this news. DeAngelo was one of last season’s breakout stars. It’s one thing to try and trade an out-of-favor player, but to waive him that quickly was surprising. However, I’m sure the Rangers don’t want to take any risks with team chemistry, something I’m sure isn’t very strong considering DeAngelo’s scrap with Georgiev.
I’ll be interested to see if DeAngelo is traded and where he goes. Maybe he’ll get his shit together and turn it around. Still, the Ranges are not interested in his bullshit and surely won’t want to take on a bad contract to trade DeAngelo. This saga could take longer than most parties would like.
2. Chara Loses His Sticks
On a lighter note, one of the funnier stories from last week surrounded one of the newest members of the Capitals, Zdeno Chara. Last week, Chara was due to receive a shipment from True Hockey, his stick manufacturer. Instead, the shipment of sticks was sent to Ariel Ben-Abraham, a clothing entrepreneur in New Jersey. Ben-Abraham took to Twitter to announce the mixup.
Hey @Capitals why are $5k worth of your hockey sticks at my house…
Also what time is practice?
— Ariel Ben-Abraham (@ArielCreate) February 1, 2021
I love Ben-Abraham’s sense of humor. Imagine receiving a box with hockey sticks for the 6’9″ Chara to your doorstep when you were expecting clothes or other small packages. Hell, I think the biggest package I’ve ever received in the mail was for a 24″ x 36″ frame. I don’t know what I’d do if Chara’s sticks came to my door.
The funniest part was when True Hockey asked FedEx for the tracking information, they were told the sticks were in Memphis. True Hockey’s marketing manager replied by saying this:
“No, they’re not in Memphis, guys. We have a kid in New Jersey who has posted them online,” said Gregory, “and they said they couldn’t do anything until they knew they were missing. So we took it into our own hands.”
This is one of the funnier stories I’ve seen involving hockey. It’s definitely something we all need during almost 12 months at home due to the pandemic.
3. Spezza Scores a Hat Trick
On Thursday, the 37-year-old Jason Spezza scored a hat trick, his first since April 9th, 2016 with the Dallas Stars. This was a nice moment, after all, Spezza’s been through over the last two years.
He was famously scratched by former Maple Leafs’ coach, Mike Babcock, in last season’s opener against the Ottawa Senators, Spezza’s former team. That decision of course outraged many in the hockey community as Babcock was quick to pull a move like that to flex his muscle. Well, Spezza proved to everyone he can still play at a high level on Thursday.
That third goal was something. You don’t see many 37-year-olds pulling that out of their bag. Spezza has actually had a nice start to this season. In 10 games, he’s scored four goals and added four assists.
The Toronto native famously signed with the Leafs last year with hopes to win a Stanley Cup for his boyhood team. If he keeps playing like this, the Leafs might have a chance to do so this year.
4. Williams Named Special Advisor in Carolina
Justin Williams has returned to the Hurricanes. He wasn’t gone that long, but now he’s back as a Special Advisor to the GM. Williams of course spent eight seasons in Carolina, on two separate stints. He was named captain during the 2018-19 season and was a fan favorite. Williams was also a part of the Hurricanes 2006 Stanley Cup-winning squad.
I’m not surprised by this at all. Teams love to bring back beloved players after they retire. Most ownership groups like to bounce ideas off of those players and have their faces show up around the community. The players tend to like the role too as it keeps them around the organization and provides structure during retirement. They also love being around the locker room. I know for a fact Williams still lives in the Raleigh, NC area and is coaching his kid’s hockey teams.
The Hurricanes don’t have a rich history, so keeping Williams in the organization is a smart move. It’s also great because Williams of course played last year, so the fans won’t have forgotten about him.
Congrats to Williams on his new role and I’m happy the Hurricanes chose to keep him in the organization.
5. Huberdeau’s Wonder Goal
One of my favorite things to write about is spectacular plays. This week I’ve scoured the NHL and found a play worth showing you all. It’s courtesy of Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers. Check out the first 30 seconds of the video below:
Before I get to the goal, this was one of the best games of the young season. Both Filip Forsberg and Huberdeau scored five points each. The Predators scored two goals in the last three minutes to send the game to OT. Forsberg then scored the winner in overtime to cap off a fantastic game.
However, it was Huberdeau that opened the scoring in the game. He capitalized off a Predators’ turnover and fought off two guys to score on the breakaway. He fakes out Preds’ goalie Juuse Saros and goes back to the near post, shifting his body as much as he can to send the puck to the back of the net.
Huberdeau is lighting it up this season. In eight games, he’s already scored four goals and tallied eight assists. Maybe this is the year he really forces his way into the conversation among the leagues’ best players? We will see. ■