It’s finally #TimoTime. After fans have been calling for him since the start of the season, the San Jose Sharks finally brought up prized prospect Timo Meier to the NHL after Logan Couture suffered an injury. The former top-ten pick showed his physical play early on, scoring a goal on his first NHL shot, a loose puck in front of Carey Price midway through the first period. Meier basically caught a shot from David Schlemko with his stick inches from the blue paint, then tucked it around the Montreal netminder on his backhand.
Though the 20-year old winger played just 10 minutes, he recorded three shots and two hits and flew around the ice. His power-forward style is a perfect fit for a Sharks team that loves to forecheck and possess the puck as much as possible down low. If Meier can continue to put up points in limited minutes, perhaps he’ll move up the lineup as the season progresses. For now, he’ll just soak in every second of being in the NHL – even if it is coming easy to him thus far.
- In Toronto on Saturday night, another player recorded his first NHL goal, though it is by no means his first professional one. Nikita Zaitsev, a Maple Leafs rookie who has played seven seasons in the KHL, notched his first in a 2-1 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Zaitsev only turned 25 a month ago, having played in the Russian professional league since he was 17. Skating alongside Morgan Rielly for the majority of his icetime, Zaitsev has 11 points in 30 games and has garnered high praise from head coach Mike Babcock. His best season in Russia was in 2014-15 when the Moscow native scored 32 points in 57 games for his hometown team. Logging 22 minutes a night, he’ll look to provide that kind of impact for the Maple Leafs this season. He’s a restricted free agent at the end of the year.
- For one of the most well-respected goaltenders in the history of the game, Saturday night was just another win. In reality it put Henrik Lundqvist needs just one win away from tying Dominik Hasek as the leader all-time among European-born goaltenders. As Dan Rosen reports, Lundvist now has 388 wins in 708 games, while it took Hasek 735 to amass his 389. Passsing Hasek would put Lundqvist 12th all-time, and within striking distance of the top 10. The play of Antti Raanta may have caused some to question who the best goaltender in New York is currently, but if you ask people about the best in Rangers history, you’ll be sure to get a lot of ’King Henrik’ answers.
- One of the most polarizing figures in hockey for his entire career has been John Tortorella. Always in the headlines for something he’s said or a new coaching method, he often wears out his welcome in cities sooner than later. You can’t exactly argue with his resume though, with a Stanley Cup victory and Jack Adams award with his name on it. Not only does he have the upstart Columbus Blue Jackets in a playoff spot currently (and way ahead of their pace from last year) he’ll go for his 500th career win Sunday against Vancouver, the team that fired him in 2014 after just a single (disastrous) season. Only 23 other coaches have ever reached the mark, and at 58 he still has many years left. While he’ll never reach the all-time mark set by Scotty Bowman (1244 wins is still more than 400 more than second place, Joel Quenneville), he’ll likely end up somewhere in the top-20. If Columbus continues their current pace and development of young players, maybe he’ll go down as the first coach to take the franchise past the first round.