The Vegas Golden Knights are perfect, but they are not without trouble at some key spots, especially at the top of the lineup. Patrick Kane is spurring free agent interest in a few hot spots, while the Columbus Blue Jackets are working the NHL trade market to unload a defenseman. The Edmonton Oilers are flirting with dumpster fire status. Connor McDavid is injured, while Evander Kane took a dig at his head coach on Hockey Night in Canada. Alex Ovechkin is chasing Wayne Gretzky’s goals-scored record, but has age already caught him? Former Golden Knights Misfit Reilly Smith is doing well with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but the Penguins have serious mounting questions after a bad start, and is Connor Bedard who we thought he was?
Imagine being 18 years old and having the entire Chicago media surround you every day. It must feel like being the lone sober person on the Strip Saturday night.
By the way, Dan Kingerski of the Hockey Now fam, who many of you got to know during the Stanley Cup run as he covered the Golden Knights faithfully from April through the parade before handing the reigns to me, is headed out for a few days in January. He’s already requested a prime rib dinner, a good chicken parm, and a get-out-of-jail-free card to not-so-gently nudge tourists who stop in the middle of crosswalks for a selfie. He told me how much he misses Vegas.
This city gets in your blood.
Vegas Hockey Now
Life is good for the perfect 6-0-0 VGK. But Coach Bruce Cassidy expects more from the Vegas Golden Knights top line.
AP: The Raiders news counts, too. Josh McDaniel is on the hot seat, and his Vegas tenure could end as it did with the Broncos. For our VGK sports family–some Raiders news.
NHL Trade Talk, News, and National Hockey Now:
Sportsnet: The Oilers are a pedestrian 1-3-1, not the best start for the season. Leon Draisaitl proclaimed, “Cup or bust.” Connor McDavid suffered an upper-body injury in Saturday’s game and is reported to be out for one to two weeks. To make matters worse, Kane is chirping his own coach.
Chicago Hockey Now: Chicago Blackhawks fans need to show patience with Lukas Reichel. Connor Bedard is checking all the right boxes. Some good analysis here from our colleague Nate Brown on the emerging Chicago Blackhawks.
Colorado Hockey Now: Keeping eyes on the Golden Knights’ primary playoff rival, some interesting stats from the new NHL player hub for the Colorado Avalanche.
San Jose Hockey Now: Our buddy Sheng Peng tells the tale of the peeved Sharks. They’re pretty bad this season (again), but Filip Forsberg bowled Sharks goalie MacKenzie Blackwood with a few minutes to go in the game, but … no one responded. The coach and leaders apologized and took their San Jose Sharks to task.
Washington Hockey Now: Alex Ovechkin averages 4.71 shots per game over his 1,351-game career. The 38-year-old has just nine shots through four games, and for two of those games, Ovechkin was held without a shot. What the?! What is leading to Ovechkin’s decline?
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Is the once lethal core of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang getting stale? What other questions are mounting for the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins?
Sportsnet: We’re quite sorry to report that Jets coach Rick Bowness’s wife had a seizure, and he’s left the team indefinitely to be with her. Our best to the Bowness family.
The Athletic ($): The Columbus Blue Jackets have too many defensemen. They don’t want all of them, and even some young guys are on the NHL trade block.
NY Post: Larry Brooks reports that Patrick Kane is getting closer to a return, and Brooks thinks the New York Rangers fit. So, too, do the Sabres, but not the Red Wings. It doesn’t seem any Western Conference teams are yet in the mix for the three-time Stanley Cup winner.