It was a western Canada sweep of the NHL’s Three Stars for this week, as young Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko took home the league’s top honors while Edmonton Oilers superstar teammates Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl earned the second and third stars, respectively. Demko, who the Canucks are hoping can establish himself as their starter of the future this season, certainly played the part this week. He won all three of his starts, allowing just three goals total – one per game – on 103 shots. A 1.00 GAA and .971 save percentage are more than worthy enough of first star status. Meanwhile, McDavid and Draisaitl put up monstrous numbers that have somehow become commonplace for both. The duo combined for seven goals and 24 points in just four games. Somehow the Oilers won just two of their four contests.
- Nick Bjugstad’s wallet is now $5,000 lighter. The NHL Department of Player Safety announced that the Minnesota Wild center has received the maximum fine allowable for cross checking. The incident in question occurred on Sunday against the Colorado Avalanche. Defenseman Ryan Graves was the victim, taking a high cross check early in the second period. While the intent of the check was questionable at best, as Bjugstad battled Graves in front of the net, there is no denying that he delivered the check to Graves’ head area. That was all it took for the big pivot to earn a maximum fine.
- When the NHL returns to the Winter Olympics next year, they will do so on a more familiar ice surface. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun relays word from IIHF President Rene Fasel that the ice surface that will be used in Beijing will be North American in size. The IIHF has previously discussed using these smaller rink dimensions in competition after exclusively using the international dimensions in the past and the 2022 Winter Olympics will be the debut of this change. This does not imply that all future Olympic competitions will be played on a North American surface, but it does open the door for IIHF competition to be played on varying rink sizes, possibly as decided by the hosts.