NHL Notebook: Maple Leafs rake in wins
Let’s recap some of the major NHL headlines from on and off the ice over the last week.
Be-“Leaf” it or not
The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the hottest teams in hockey, having won four straight games while compiling a +14 goal differential in that span. They’ve also won seven in a row on the road, and nine of their last 10 overall.
The Leafs have seized first place in the Atlantic Division over the Panthers, albeit Florida has two games in hand. Toronto is now the fourth-choice to win the Stanley Cup at +900.
NHL Championship 2021/2022
Thu, June 16 2022, 10:00 AM
Vegas Golden Knights
Toronto Maple Leafs
Tampa Bay Lightning
Lemieux gives Department of Player Safety something to chew on
Los Angeles Kings forward Brendan Lemieux was ejected from Saturday’s game with the Ottawa Senators for allegedly biting Brady Tkachuk during a scrum in the third period. Tkachuk held nothing back in his postgame interview regarding Lemieux, calling him a “brick head.”
Lemieux has been offered an in-person hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, suggesting that he could be suspended for at least six games.
Bergevin canned by Canadiens
Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin (along with two of his assistants) was relieved of his duties on Sunday following his team’s dreadful 6-15-2 start to the season. Jeff Gorton has taken over as interim GM of the Habs.
Bergevin’s firing goes to show how quickly the pendulum can swing in the NHL. Mere months ago, the Canadiens were in the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Kane saga adds another chapter
Embattled San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane was placed on waivers on Sunday ahead of the expiration of his 21-game suspension for violation of COVID protocols. Dan Milstein – Kane’s new agent – is reportedly calling teams around the league to gauge interest in his client, who is owed $7 million this season and the next three seasons.
Kane was only recently exonerated from accusations of betting on and “throwing” NHL games, and a domestic assault allegation from his wife, Anna. Kane is likely to attract few suitors, though the New York Post has reported that an Eastern Conference team (not the New York Rangers) has shown “considerable interest” in bringing in Kane.
Isles be seeing you
The NHL was forced to postpone two New York Islanders games (Nov. 28 vs. Rangers and Nov. 30 vs. Flyers) due to a COVID outbreak in the Isles’ locker room. Casey Cizikas was the eighth regular skater that was forced to hit the reserve list prior to the league stepping in.
Assuming no more games are postponed, the Islanders (5-10-2) will start trying to climb out of the Metropolitan Division cellar on Thursday when they host the San Jose Sharks.
This is the second instance in which COVID necessitated postponements this year – the Senators had three games postponed less than two weeks ago.