Ovechkin keeps climbing, more McDavid magic

Ovechkin hits 800, your weekly dose of McDavid medicine, hot-mic health and more in this week's edition of NHL best and worst.  (Photo via USA TODAY Sports)

Ovechkin hits 800, your weekly dose of McDavid medicine, hot-mic health and more in this week’s edition of NHL best and worst. (Photo via USA TODAY Sports)

Another week of NHL action – chalk full of bad goals, nasty saves and viral moments – is in the books, and we’ve got everything you need to see, hear and know from the past seven days right here.

Let’s dive right into the goodness, shall we.

Goal of the week

While Tampa Bay started their season a little slow for their liking, the three-time Eastern Conference champions have found their stride recently, winning five in a row. One of the most popular teams in the league, they were led by Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos, but don’t forget about Brayden Point.

The Bolts pivot has bounced back from a few sub-point-per-game seasons this year and looks rejuvenated in a big way this year. That was no more evident than last Tuesday when Point took the NHL’s newest franchise off the map with this absolute doozy of a goal.

Rescue of the week

Folks, we may have our new rescuer of the year candidate. The Columbus Blue Jackets have had a season to forget, especially in the goalkeeping department, but this one definitely stands out. Blue Jackets third-stringer Daniil Tarasov – seemingly the only netminder actually stopping pucks for Columbus right now – absolutely robs Nikita Kucherov scoreless with the glove hand, reaching out with a predatory save to get the puck right off the goal line.

Player of the week

Alex Ovechkin entered the history books this week with a hat-trick against the Chicago Blackhawks, becoming just the third player ever to reach 800 marks in his career behind Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe. Although he was unable to get the 801 from Mr. Hockey, he’s still on the verge of passing NHL legend, allowing just one domino the size of Gretzky to topple before The Great Eight reigns.

Hands of the week

McDavid’s hands were so beautiful this week that we had to pick him twice. McDavid scored some end-to-end beauties against two different Central Division teams as the NHL’s best player tortured his opponents this week.

First, it was the Nashville Predators, who could only sit back and watch McDavid buries after one of his patented solos hurtles toward the net. Then, just two days later, McDavid decided to play with his food again, this time with Alexei Toropchenko, Jordan Binnington and the rest of the St. Louis Blues in tow. At this rate, maybe this column should just add a “What Did McDavid Do This Week” section.

hit of the week

While hockey has continued to evolve towards an ever-increasing level of skill and speed, that doesn’t mean the tough guy has died out altogether. Ryan Reaves, for example, has found a way to carve out a niche at age 35 by anticipating hard, laying the body, and doing the dirty work, while throwing the occasional spark with the fists. Against the Detroit Red Wings last week, Reaves put the punch on defenseman Filip Hronek, leaving him flat on his wallet with an epic hit.

Worst of the week

There are undisciplined punishments, and then there’s what happened here. After New Jersey Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler broke his stick on the penalty kill, Erik Haula did just the right thing: he gave the defender his twig to keep the blueliner able to defend the attacker. The only problem is that Haula was on the other side of the slot, prompting him to throw his baton into Siegenthaler’s hands, resulting in a brutal (and hilarious) penalty on the line.

Full marks for the creativity, though.

Quote of the week

NHL players are masters of chirping, but most of what happens on the ice level doesn’t reach the fans, which is probably for the better. Every once in a while, though, the odd hot mic gives fans a glimpse of some of the extracurricular activities going on between the benches, which is exactly what happened here. Jordan Greenway hit Darnell Nurse where it hurt with this hilarious chirp at the expense of the blueliner.

‘The fans don’t like your questions’

Klim Kostin may be in his first season with the Oilers, but the former first round pick is sure to find ways to quickly become loved by the fans. In this hilarious clip, Kostin throws some shade at longtime writer Jim Matheson with a hilarious joke about the writer’s “divisive” online personality.

Statistics of the week

Who says the old guys can’t compete? In a league full of young stars, and in a team that leads the way as the youngest, it is 41-year-old Craig Anderson who makes history as his chicken egg against the Los Angeles Kings made him the second-oldest goaltender ever to win an NHL shutdown. Now that deserves a festive glass of plum juice.

Watch out, I’m wearing a microphone!

As Kailer Yamamoto shrieked in his ear, NHL referee Corey Syvret instructed the 24-year-old to keep it PG-13. As the hot mic was rolling, the hilarious warning was loud and clear not only to Yamamoto, but to the rest of the hockey world who tuned in to the broadcast.

Wholesome time of the week

What Kris Letang has done since suffering a stroke at the end of November has been nothing short of astonishing. The longtime Penguins defenseman returned to action less than two weeks after the first incident and then scored in his third game back. Just remarkable things from the future Hockey Hall of Famer.


After being on the league’s worst team all last season, it can be excused that Jake Allen might be a little excited to be on a young and exciting team that has so far exceeded expectations. However, Allen’s colorful choice of words leaves little to the imagination. Someone needs to give this man a room.


Jack Hughes’ explosion into the league’s elite has been an absolute joy to watch, and it’s no secret why. In a generation of flashy, highly skilled players, Jack Hughes might just top the pack as one of the most exciting. Against the Flyers last Thursday, the New Jersey franchise star took the Flyers for a walk, splitting the defense and burying an absolute beauty.

Big nap dude

Mad props to Seth Jarvis for speaking his truth. Naps are the best, and anyone who says otherwise is just lying to your face. As for the question that prompted this answer, well, I don’t know if I could tell you if you guessed me a million times.

Wisconsin cheese head

The legend of Phil Kessel continued its upward trajectory as former teammate Kris Versteeg shared this hilarious story about Kessel’s pregame meal routine from his days with the Maple Leafs. Hey, whatever makes your blood beat faster Kessel. If the NHL iron man does it, who are we to judge?

My friend’s friend…

The Canadiens and Senators may be league foes and compete as NHL bubble teams, but at least the two can bond over their mutual hatred of the Maple Leafs. Even as the Maple Leafs in New York City prepared to face the Rangers the next day, the two Canadian Eastern Conference foes put aside their feuds to let the people know that Toronto indeed sucks.

Miller time

For a defender, K’Andre Miller makes it look easy. Even after tripping in the breakaway, Miller finds it in himself to get to his feet, send Carter Hart’s jockstrap to the cam and score a beauty.

Word salad

Jack Edwards is back in the spotlight with some more antics. It’s only been a few weeks since the Bruins broadcaster shamed Pat Maroon, but once again the 65-year-old found himself twisting his tongue and speaking nonsense. If someone can crack the code and figure out what’s going on here, be my guest.

Scrap of the week

All the points go to Michael McLeod as the young Devils do his best to take on Flyers heavyweight Nicolas Deslauriers. The Flyers tough boy generally gets the best of McLeod, but this feisty tilt was a lot of fun to watch anyway.

Trending up

Winners of their last six, the New York Rangers are back. Just five points off the division lead, New York has found a way to pull it off, thanks in large part to Igor Shesterkin’s big month and return to elite-level play. On the offensive side of the puck, Jimmy Vesey also played the unlikely hero for the Blueshirts, as a former product of Harvard demanded some revenge at his old club with a pair of goals against the Maple Leafs on Thursday. Whether the Rangers can keep this up is perhaps a question for another day – they are still 24th in projected goal percentage as of December 1 – but for now, as long as they keep getting saves, things will turn out the way they should. of the Rangers keep going until further notice.

Trend down

A surprisingly good start to the year, buoyed by solid goalkeeping, Dylan Larkin taking his game to the next level and a number of surprise breakaway stars kept the Red Wings looking good heading into December. Sadly, much of that magical fairy dust seems to have been sprinkled off as the Red Wings went into a major slip for the first time this season.

Detroit had lost five straight games on Sunday and won only two of their last ten games. They’ve also been overrun by both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers between late November and mid-December, which certainly doesn’t bode well for a team looking to make the leap. They’ll have to turn their ship around in short order if they’re to have any hope of a playoff push anyway.

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