The 2021-22 season got under way last Tuesday, Oct. 12, with the battle of the expansion teams. The Seattle Kraken were in Las Vegas to face the Golden Knights. That wasn’t the only noteworthy milestone.
Max Pacioretty opened the scoring at 3:10 of the first period and became the first NHL player to score a goal against all 32 NHL teams. He entered the game as one of 35 players not on the Kraken roster who had scored against 31 clubs, including the two teams he had played for.
Vegas had a commanding 3-0 lead at the halfway point when Ryan Donato scored the first goal in Kraken history at 11:32 of the second to begin the comeback. Seattle was able to tie the game at three, but it was Chandler Stephenson’s goal midway through the third that secured the win for Vegas and spoiled the Kraken debut.
Then on Wednesday, the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs opened their seasons at the Scotiabank Arena in the Big Smoke. It was the Leafs who drew first blood in the first of four games this season.
The game opened on an emotional note at 7:22 of the first period when Jonathan Drouin scored on a beautiful 2-on-1 pass from Josh Anderson. Drouin left the Habs in April of last year, missing the end of the season and the unexpected playoff run. Drouin has since disclosed playing through anxiety and insomnia for years and having reached a point last season where he had to seek help.
Pierre Engvall tied the game on the power play midway through the first on a pretty deke on Ben Chiarot. The game winner came off William Nylander’s stick early in the third, a beautiful shot off a rush down the right wing following a quick change. The difference in this one was special teams, where the Habs were a special kind of ugly on the man advantage, squandering a third period 5 on 3.
Another storyline in the NHL revolves around Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. The 36-year-old veteran is entering his 17th season in the NHL and chasing a scoring title. The record for NHL career goals is 894 and is owned by the “Great One”, Wayne Gretzky. Ovechkin entered the season with 730 goals and a few fancy names between him and Gretzky – Gordie Howe (801), Jaromir Jagr (766), Brett Hull (741), and Marcel Dionne (731).
The Capitals opened their season Wednesday night against the New York Rangers and Ovechkin scored two, passing Hull on the list. Ovy signed a 5-year, $9.5M deal this past off-season, buying him some time to work toward the record.
Of course, no season is complete without some disgruntled players who need new homes.
Jack Eichel is still awaiting a trade. The young Russian sniper, Vitali Kravtson, requested a trade when he did not make the opening roster for the New York Rangers. The Rags have given the kid and his agent permission to seek trade options with other teams.
The Chicago Blackhawks have also made it known that forward Dylan Strome is available for trade. Strome is entering the last year of a $3M contract and is a restricted free agent this summer. He is 24 and scored 17 points in 40 games last season.
Week 10 of the 2021 CFL season is in the history books with five games on the docket, two teams playing twice, and two kickers stealing the show.
On Wednesday the Toronto Argonauts pumped out 27 points in the third quarter to defeat the Ottawa Redblacks 35-16. On Friday, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers extended their winning streak to six games when they trounced the Edmonton Elks 30-3.
Saturday’s game in Regina was drama-filled as Rene Paredes kicked a 44-yard field goal on the final play of the fourth quarter to lead the Calgary Stampeders to a 22-19 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Then on Thanksgiving Monday two teams delivered an encore. The Redblacks suffered their second loss in week 10, losing 20-16 to the Montreal Alouettes. The Als won the game, but lost Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr to a shoulder injury. He was placed on the six-game injury list on Tuesday, but it looks like surgery will not be required.
The Argos won their second when they edged arch-rival Hamilton Tiger Cats 24-23, and once again it was a late field goal that sealed the deal. Boris Bede struck from 51 yards out on the final play of the game.
The BC Lions enjoyed a bye week.
The NBA preseason has concluded, and teams have pared down to their opening night rosters. The Toronto Raptors open their 2021-22 season on Wednesday (20th) night at home against the Washington Wizards. After nine seasons of being led by Kyle Lowry, the Raptors will take to the court with a group of young players who are being rebuilt into another generation of contention.
The kids may give us more to cheer about than we’re expecting, but patience should be on the menu for the next couple of seasons for basketball fans in the north.
Lori Bennett is a social worker, policy professional, recreational softball player and coach, and new ukulele-ist. Originally from NL and now based in Toronto, Lori loves a good hockey chat or debate, as long as it remains respectful. She posts game time thoughts on twitter as @lori10habs.