Last week was a great week for milestones and great plays. Four out of five of this week’s takes are from those two categories. The last take is rather sad; it’s about Ben Bishop and an injury that will cost him the rest of his playing career.
I won’t keep everyone down in the dumps for too long. It’s the holiday season and there is still a lot of hockey to be played.
1. Zegras Plays Lacrosse
I can’t remember the last time I saw a play this awesome. I’m sure you’ve all seen it by now. Ducks’ forward Trevor Zegras looked like he was going to attempt a lacrosse-style goal behind the Sabres’ net. Then, he flipped the puck over the net to Sonny Milano who batted it past Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen for a goal.
Lacrosse-style goals have been all the rage over the last few years after Andrei Svechnikov scored two in the same season. EA Sports even found a way to put them into their NHL video game. But a lacrosse-style pass? That, I’ve never seen.
This is the best play of the season so far. I don’t think it will be topped.
2. Ben Bishop’s Career is Over
The Dallas Stars will place goalie Ben Bishop on long-term injured reserve due to a degenerative knee issue. GM Jim Nill announced that this will mark the end of Bishop’s career. Bishop hasn’t played in the NHL since the 2020 playoffs.
Bishop was one of the better goalies in the NHL during his peak. He played 11 NHL seasons for the St. Louis Blues, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Los Angeles Kings, and Dallas Stars. The 6’7″ netminder broke out with Tampa Bay during the 2013-14 season. He played parts of three more seasons in Tampa before being traded to LA mid-season. He had a great run in Dallas, finishing second in the Vezina Trophy voting in 2018-19, his third top-three finish.
Bishop will retire having played 413 games with a record of 222-128-36, a 2.32 GAA, a .921 sv%, and 33 shutouts. While Bishop never won a Stanley Cup, he did help the Lightning to the 2015 Finals, only to lose to Chicago. He also was a part of the Stars team that lost to the Lightning in the 2020 Finals, although he did not play. Bishop was also selected to one All-Star Game and was a two-time Second-Team All-Star.
Overall, Bishop was a great contributor over his 11-year career. While he probably won’t go down in history as one of the best goalies of all time, he made his mark on the NHL and will be remembered fondly in Tampa and Dallas.
3. Trouba’s Big Hit
Jacob Trouba laid perhaps the biggest hit of the season last week. Trouba hit Blackhawk Jujhar Khaira so hard he was knocked out before he hit the ice.
Warning, don’t watch the following video if you’re squeamish.
Really scary scene in Chicago as Jujhar Khaira is knocked out cold by Jacob Trouba. Paramedics on the ice. pic.twitter.com/so2YmuXl8Q
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) December 8, 2021
I think this hit is clean. Khaira’s head was down the entire time and Trouba put his shoulder into Khaira’s chest. The result is unfortunate, but the hit is clean. I feel awful for Khaira and hope he recovers quickly.
While I typically don’t like when players on the same team as another player who is hit hard go after the aggressor, I didn’t mind the Hawks sticking up for their teammate in this situation. The Hawks were going after Trouba because of the result of the hit, not the hit itself. Too often I see players try and fight the aggressor for clean hits that don’t result in injury. That I don’t like. Thankfully, the situation didn’t escalate any further.
4. Russell Gifted Silver Shinpads
Players are gifted a silver stick when they’ve played their 1,000th NHL game. That’s not the only way to get silver if you play in the NHL. Edmonton Oilers’ defensemen Kris Russell was recently gifted a pair of silver shinpads for blocking the most shots in NHL history. He passed ex-Blackhawk Brent Seabrook after he blocked his 1,999th shot. He’s added to his record and has blocked 2,015 career shots.
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Russell doesn’t have many career milestones. He has an outside shot to play in 1,000 NHL games, he’s currently sitting at 895. He has a shot at the Stanley Cup too as long as he’s playing with Connor McDavid.
This record might not be Russell’s forever. While there are quite a few active players close to Russell’s milestone, John Carlson seems to have a real chance to catch Russell, seeing as he’s only 31-years-old. I’m sure that’s a milestone Carlson wouldn’t mind not securing.
5. Loui Eriksson Plays 1,000 Games
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Speaking of silver sticks, Loui Eriksson grabbed one last week when he played in his 1,000th NHL game with the Arizona Coyotes. It’s hard to believe Eriksson is in his 16th season. He’s played for the Dallas Stars, Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks, and Coyotes.
I can’t believe Eriksson has played 1,000 games because he hasn’t been relevant since the 500 mark. Eriksson was a really good player in Dallas, scoring 20+ goals in four straight seasons, including tallying a career-high 36 goals in the 2008-09 season. He also posted three straight 70-point seasons in Dallas. Eriksson had a solid three-year stint in Boston, scoring 30 goals in 2015-16. Since then, Eriksson has scored 38 goals and added another 56 assists in 277 games. The last quarter of his career has been utterly forgettable.
I’m happy for Eriksson, he deserves this milestone. It’s a shame he hasn’t been able to stay relevant over the back half of his career. Maybe if we’re lucky he’ll force us to pay attention to him before his career ends. ■