A look at the NHL surprises, the disappointments thus far after a quarter of the season has been played | The Canadian News

The NHL recently passed the quarter mark from another season played under the long shadow of the pandemic.

With that milestone in mind, The Canadian Press takes a look at some of the highlights – and lowlights – from the show’s first two months – and some of the things to look out for going forward.

Biggest surprise: team

The Calgary Flames were not expected to do much in 2021-22.

After a disappointing season in the only Northern Division, there were big questions, including the future of forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, and what Darryl Sutter could get off the roster in the first full season of his second period. as head coach.

Well, the flames have silenced the skeptics in an impressive way.

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READ MORE: Calgary Flames stay warm on the road with a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings

Click to Play Video: 'Checking Out the Sizzling Calgary Flames'

Checking the red hot flames of Calgary

Register in the Red Hot Flames of Calgary – November 11, 2021

Heading into Friday’s game roster, Calgary ranked first in the Pacific Division, was fourth overall and sat tied for fifth in points percentage.

The recipe? The Flames have done it with defense and with the goal.

Calgary Flames goalkeeper Jacob Markstrom, center, celebrates his Pittsburgh Penguins shutout with Mikael Backlund (11) and Blake Coleman (20) at the end of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Oct. 28. of 2021.

AP Photo / Gene J. Puskar

Jacob Markstrom leads the NHL with five shutouts (backup Dan Vladar has two of his own) on a team that had surrendered 45 league-low goals in 23 games heading into the weekend.

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Biggest surprise: gamer

There are several candidates, including Anaheim Ducks winger Troy Terry and Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri for their staggering point totals, but Calgary forward Andrew Mangiapane gets the nod.

Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88) reacts after scoring a goal in the second period of an NHL hockey game against New York Islanders goalkeeper Semyon Varlamov (40), Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021 in Elmont, NY

AP Photo / Adam Hunger

The 25-year-old recorded a career-high 18 goals during last season’s 56-game campaign, and has already found the back of the net 16 times in 2021-22.

READ MORE: Mangiapane scores twice while Flames does it 4 in a row with a 5-3 win over the Devils

Mangiapane’s total was just four behind the Edmonton Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl, with 10 of his goals coming to the same strength.

Leon Draisaitl (29) of Edmonton Oilers fights for the puck with Blake Wheeler (26) of Winnipeg Jets during NHL Stanley Cup playoff action in Edmonton on Friday, May 21, 2021.


While it’s still a long shot for Canada’s Olympic team in Beijing, if the NHL does indeed send its players to China, the Toronto native has at least included his name in the conversation.

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Click to play video: 'Andrew Mangiapane wins MVP at IIHF World Hockey Championship 2021'

Andrew Mangiapane wins MVP at the 2021 IIHF World Hockey Championship

Andrew Mangiapane wins MVP at IIHF World Hockey Championship 2021 – June 11, 2021

Biggest disappointment: team

While the Montreal Canadiens, the New York Islanders and the Ottawa Senators are among the clubs that have not come close to meeting expectations for a variety of reasons, the Vancouver Canucks’ performance, or lack thereof, is at stake. another level so far.

The team underwent a roster renewal over the summer, including acquiring defender Oliver Ekman-Larsson from the Arizona Coyotes, but a group hoping to return to the playoffs have made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Check it out below: Some recent videos from the world of hockey.

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Before recent road wins over the Canadiens and Senators, the Canucks were on a disastrous 1-8-1 streak that raised serious questions about job security from both head coach Travis Green and general manager Jim Benning.

Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green in the back stands on the bench behind Brock Boeser, left to right, Jason Dickinson, Juho Lammikko of Finland, and Tyler Motte during the second period of a hockey game of the NHL against Colorado Avalanche in Vancouver. on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.


Questionable squad construction, poor top-to-bottom play and rumors of locker room conflicts have added fuel to the West Coast fire.

Benning is in his eighth season in charge and has made the playoffs twice.

Biggest disappointment: gamer

Canucks center Elias Pettersson, who racked up consecutive 66-point seasons to start his career with astonishing ability that wowed fans, has been a shell of himself.

The 23-year-old Swede has four goals and 12 points in 24 games. Before scoring a point in back-to-back games against Montreal and Ottawa, he had posted a lone assist in his previous nine outings.

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Vancouver Canucks’ Brock Boeser (6) next to the bench with teammates Nils Hoglander (21), Elias Pettersson (40) and Conor Garland (8) during an official review following a Boston Bruins goal that was disallowed in the third period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Boston.

AP Photo / Michael Dwyer

Having signed a three-year deal worth $ 7.35 million annually after missing a portion of training camp, Pettersson has averaged roughly 13 minutes of ice time in four of Vancouver’s last five games, five minutes less than the average for his career.

The 2019 Calder Trophy winner as NHL Rookie of the Year hasn’t scored as hard this season.

The biggest story to see

The NHL’s decision on whether or not to participate in the Winter Olympics in Beijing will be a major focus between now and the January 10 deadline to withdraw without financial penalty.

Players have been adamant about their desire to compete on the world stage, but the league and NHLPA have an exclusion clause if COVID-19 conditions make participation “impractical or unsafe.”

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READ MORE: NHL players will dress up at the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing

With a new variant of concern and a significant increase in the number of players entering the NHL virus protocol in recent weeks, the league tightened some of its rules ahead of the holiday season.

The NHL’s board of governors, historically tepid about the Olympics even under ideal conditions, will convene next week for its annual meeting in Florida. Whether or not the league goes to China will certainly be up for debate.

First contenders for awards

Oilers captain Connor McDavid already looks poised to win his second straight Hart Trophy, and third overall, as the NHL’s MVP.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid skates on the ice during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Las Vegas.

AP Photo / Chase Stevens

The good start for Colorado defender Avalanche Cale Makar has him as the leader in the Norris Trophy race ahead of Adam Fox of the New York Rangers, who took last season’s honors as the best defender in the league.

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Cale Makar (8) of Colorado Avalanche and Colton Parayko (55) of St. Louis Blues chase a loose puck across the boards during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, in St Louis.

AP Photo / Jeff Roberson

Tampa Bay Lightning goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevskiy is in the driver’s seat for the Vezina Trophy, but there are plenty of quality candidates, including Igor Shesterkin (Rangers), Jacob Markstrom (Flames) and Jack Campbell (Toronto Maple Leafs).

Minnesota Wild right wing Ryan Hartman (38) shoots a puck at Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, while Wild Kirill Kaprizov left wing, left, and Lightning defender Mikhail Sergachev watch during the third period of a game. NHL hockey game on Sunday, November 28. 2021, in St. Paul, Minnesota.

AP Photo / Craig Lassig

As for Calder’s career, Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond has garnered a lot of attention, while defender Moritz Seider, his Detroit teammate, and Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras, too. are in the conversation.

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Detroit Red Wings right wing Lucas Raymond (23) advances toward goal against Seattle Kraken center Colin Blackwell (43) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 in Detroit.

AP Photo / Duane Burleson

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