By Lori Bennett
Two veteran NHLers found new homes this week for the 2022-23 season. On Tuesday, the Carolina Hurricanes announced they had signed Paul Stastny to a one-year deal. Then on Thursday, the Vegas Golden Knights announced they had added Phil Kessel for one year. Both players are in the twilight of their careers, but still have something to add to squads hoping to be in the Cup contention conversation.
While Stastny has struggled with injuries, he demonstrated his worth with the Winnipeg Jets last season, scoring 45 points in 71 games. Kessel, on the other hand, is playing for the iron man record. The record is currently held by Keith Yandle, whose streak ended last season at 989 games when he was made a healthy scratch on April 2nd. Kessel has played 982 consecutive games and is tracking to break the record in the first month of the season.
Kessel’s name in Toronto is infamously connected to hot dog consumption, after a local sportswriter published a 2015 article alleging Kessel made near daily visits to a hot dog vender in the downtown area of Front and John Streets. After winning the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2017, Kessel appeared to troll Simmons when he ate hog dogs from the Cup. The street meat diet seems to be working just fine for Phil the Thrill.
The busiest team in the league this week was the New York Islanders, but it wasn’t the business GM Lou Lamoriello hoped he would be doing. The Islanders were rumoured to be one of the final teams in the Nazem Kadri sweepstakes and were reportedly waiting to announce several deals once Kadri was landed. When the Calgary Flames lured Kadri west, the Islanders were forced to move forward. Extensions were announced for restricted free agents Noah Dobson, Kieffer Bellows and Alexander Romanov, who was acquired by trade from the Montreal Canadiens at the draft, along with several AHL players.
While NHL teams are trying to finish off-season business in preparation for a new
season, the Colorado Avalanche are still busy celebrating their Stanley Cup win. This past week Newfoundland’s own Alex Newhook celebrated his day with the Stanley Cup in St. John’s. His celebrations included a parade that began at Bannerman Park and ended at George Street, a Signal Hill hoist, and a meal of fish and chips out of the Cup.
Newhook was born and raised in St. John’s and began his hockey development there before moving out of province and continuing his development at St. Andrew’s College, a preparatory school in Ontario, the Ontario Junior Hockey League, the British Columbia Hockey League, and eventually Boston College, on his path to the NHL.
Newhook was selected in the first round, at 16th overall, by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. During Colorado’s cup-winning year, Newhook played in 71 regular season games and scored 13 goals and 20 assists, followed by 12 playoff games where he registered four assists.
In other hockey news, Sarah Nurse of the Canadian National Team made history this week, becoming the first woman on the cover of an EA Sports NHL videogame, sharing the cover of NHL 23 with Trevor Zegras of the Anaheim Ducks. The Olympic gold medalist had a goal and an assist on Thursday for Canada in a 4-1 win over Finland to open the women’s world hockey championship in Denmark.
CFL Catch Up
Having passed the halfway mark, the picture for the 2022 CFL season is taking shape. In the West Division, the defending champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers are leading with a 9-1 record. The BC Lions are close behind at 8-1. Third place belongs to the Calgary Stampeders (6-3), followed by the Saskatchewan Roughriders (5-5). The Edmonton Elks (3-7) are taking up the rear.
The race is tighter in the East. Despite having more losses than wins, the Toronto Argonauts (4-5) lead the division. The Montreal Alouettes (4-6) lay claim to second, having more losses than the Argos. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats (3-7) are in third and last place is owned by the Ottawa Redblacks (1-8).
This year’s Grey Cup is due to be held at Mosaic Stadium in Regina on November 20th.
Blue Jays Babble
Last weekend the Toronto Blue Jays needed a slump-breaking weekend in New York against the Yankees. On Thursday, George Springer went five for five, leading the Jays to a 9-2 win. Kevin Gausman pitched seven strong innings in a 4-0 win on Friday. A team pitching effort on Saturday from starter Mitch White and a collection of relievers was the story in a 5-2 win. A 4-2 loss on Sunday foiled the sweep, but the Jays left New York on a roll.
The Baby Blue had Monday off and headed to Boston for a three-game series against the Red Sox. An eight-run rally in the third inning was enough for a 9-3 win in the opener on Tuesday. On Wednesday, George Springer hit an RBI double to drive in the winning run in the 10th inning for a 3-2 win. They needed extra innings again on Thursday to pull it off, but the Jays sealed the sweep with a 6-5 win.
On Friday, the Jays were back in Toronto for a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels, riding a wave of wins. A lot can change in a week on the diamond.