Redesigns over these last seven years have been somewhat minimal, with many teams returning to former designs as opposed taking on new looks. But Adidas has left their mark on the league’s alternate jerseys. Pushing boundaries with the designs in Dallas and Edmonton and finding the right mix of heritage and contemporary design with Winnipeg’s (sadly) short-lived Jets script alternate.
Arguably the biggest impact we’ve seen from Adidas is the Reverse Retro program. The new take on alternate jerseys has brought about a raft of excellent and nostalgic uniforms and is a fairly sharp derivation from the typically conservative NHL. Whether the program continues after Adidas departs is a pretty big question from both an aesthetic and revenue perspective.
Pete Jensen of NHL.com joins the show to offer up a fantasy hockey outlook for the coming season. Pete lends his expertise to discuss which players are candidates to climb up draft boards, players poised for a breakout year in fantasy and which Sabres will carry the most fantasy value this season.
Noah Ennis, goal mask artist and owner of Shell Shock Paint joins the show for an expansive conversation about goalie mask art and the pro clients Noah works with. New Sabres goalie Eric Comrie is among the roster of pro clients Ennis works with in addition to the Anaheim Ducks’ Lukas Dostal, John Gibson and Anthony Stolarz, Laurent Brossoit of the Vegas Golden Knights and many other NHL and AHL netminders. Our conversation covered some of the finer details of working with NHL goalies on mask designs and the trends and innovations within the wider industry. Noah’s work can be found online at shellshockpaint.com or on Instagram @shellshockco.
Despite their Western Conference ouster, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl put on one of the most memorable playoff performances of recent memory. We discuss whether or not their play would be strong enough to garner attention for the Connn Smythe despite not reaching the Cup Finals.
We also touch on the waves rocking the boat in Boston as Bruce Cassidy was fired earlier this week, three key veterans will miss the start of the season and now rumors are swirling that David Pastrnak may be dealt in the summer. We analyze Boston’s outlook in the wake of this news and even find time to talk about Chris Osgood in the Hall of Fame as part of Chris’ 11 Day Powerplay fundraiser.
We run down both the Eastern Conference Finals and Western Conference Finals now that the NHL’s second round is complete. We touch on the no speed limit Western Conference Final and the goaltending battle that looms in the east.
We also discuss the signing of Isak Rosen and how the Sabres might manage his development in Rochester or Sweden during the 2022-23 season.
Jason Moser of PuckLuck.com joined the show this week to discuss the way he applies advanced analytics to betting NHL games and how his model can help give bettors an edge in winning hockey bets. We discuss how he developed the model using common analytics such as expected goals and how those models are applied to determine which NHL games offer the best opportunity for betting wins on a night-to-night basis.
We also touch on how models such as Jason’s can be applied to areas such as fantasy hockey. All of the information can be found on Jason’s site, puckluck.com, which is free and available to the public. We talk at length about the sort of information he provides on the site and how it is structured to help you win more bets.
One half of the Maintenance Day podcast team joined the show this week as Joe Yerdon was back once again. Unfortunately, Lance Lysowski was unable to join for our roundtable discussion. We touch on the Sabres difficult injury luck and how they will be addressing their goaltending pipeline as Devon Levi and Erik Portillo continue to impress in the NCAA. We also touch on the NHL’s announcement of rescheduled games and how the stretch run is going to be a challenge for teams to handle as the games will be coming fast and furious.
COVID outbreaks continue to impact the NHL schedule as this week has seen a number of teams impacted by positive tests and game postponements. We discuss how these most recent outbreaks are affecting the NHL schedule and what influence it may have on the league’s ability to send players to the Olympics. Also on the docket is the impressive play of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and how he may be influencing Buffalo’s choices in net. Lastly, we touch on the World Junior Championships rosters, the Sabres prospects expected to participate and who we predict to take home gold in this year’s tournament.
It was a huge news week in the NHL as the Montreal Canadiens fired Marc Bergevin, cleaned house with the rest of their front office and brought in Jeff Gorton to head up the hockey department. We discuss everything surrounding the moves and the difficulty in Montreal continuing to maintain hiring French speaking executives and coaches. Elsewhere, the Penguins have new owners in Fenway Sports Group and more COVID cases may just threaten the NHL’s ability to send players to the Olympics.
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After the NHL ended nearly 20 years of Olympic participation at the 2018 PyeongChang games, they’re set to return to the 2022 games. At least for the time being.
The first COVID hiccup of the 2021-22 season has caused the Senators to postpone games and immediately set off alarm bells regarding the NHL’s ability to withdraw from the games should additional postponements occur. How this all proceeds depends on a whole lot of factors no one can predict. The current surge in COVID cases certainly doesn’t bode well for avoiding additional outbreaks and postponements. But there’s no way to know if and when exactly another outbreak could come.
This all puts a cloud of uncertainty around if players will ultimately play in Beijing as it sounds like the league is happy to find any excuse to avoid actual participation in the games. That’s disappointing for anyone who relishes the opportunity to watch the best-on-best tournament and savors the quadrennial event. Whether or not NHL players ultimately make the trip to China for the 22 games won’t be officially determined in January, but it seems likely that if another postponement or two occurs in November or December, the league would pull the plug.
Hopefully it doesn’t come to that and the league’s stars are able to represent their countries once again. A men’s tournament with NHL talent is the best possible outcome for the event and would ideally shed more light on the women’s tournament which will have Canada and the US on another gold medal collision course.
The issues with the NHL at the Olympics are well documented at this point. The league is not shy about advertising their position on the matter, though I can’t help but think their inability to capitalize on their participation has more to do with how they manage the event and less to do with shutting down for a period each Olympic cycle.