It’s been an eventful few days in the NHL. There are no more unbeaten teams around the league, the two Alberta squads are a mess to start the season, and Shane Pinto received the first suspension from the league for gambling. It was bound to happen eventually, and I’ve got some thoughts on the whole situation.
With the Colorado Avalanche, we took a look back at their loss to the Penguins, although the less said about that game, the better.
All that and more in this Saturday edition of Evan’s Daily.
Colorado Hockey Now
Did anyone play well against the Penguins? I would say there was maybe one player on the Avalanche who was okay, but even that might be pushing it.
Colorado wasn’t just sloppy at 5v5. It carried over to the powerplay, and a late powerplay in the first period was their chance to turn things around. That didn’t happen. (+).
Soon to be Avalanche forward Nikolai Kovalenko is nearing a return in the KHL from his injury.
The Pinto Suspension
Something like this was bound to happen eventually. I know everyone on the Avalanche had to sit through a meeting in camp about the do’s and don’ts of gambling, so you know every NHL team had to do the same. These players are aware of what they can and cannot do when it comes to sports gambling.
At this point, it’s come out that Shane Pinto was not gambling on NHL games, so that’s why some people think the punishment is a little harsh. It’s also come out that the 41 game suspension Pinto received was the result of a negotiated settlement, as opposed to a disciplinary hearing.
That, to me, says all you need to know. The fact that they chose to negotiate a settlement says that he knows he messed up. His statement more or less indicated that. The settlement included a confidentiality clause as well, which would not have been the case had it gone through a disciplinary hearing. That’s why there’s so much mystery around what happened.
According to The Athletic, he was in touch with a third-party proxy, so while he didn’t directly bet on NHL games, a whole lot of things could have been going on there. The actual reason for the suspension will likely never come out, but if he negotiated the suspension, he knows he did something he shouldn’t have been doing.
The NHL, like every other league, are sponsored by all these gambling companies. The Ottawa Senators were actually the first NHL team to put a gambling advertisement on their helmet. It’s always going to be a strange look when these leagues make money on this stuff, but players get in trouble for doing it. That being said, the rules were put in place, and the players know the rules.
Pinto is the first, but just as we’ve seen in the NFL, he won’t be the last.
This doesn’t help the Senators in any way. They’re off to a rough start, have no cap room, and even if they can get him signed, won’t have Pinto for half the season. They’re in a tough spot. Maybe Patrick Roy will come to the rescue…
Around The NHL
The Edmonton Oilers are in trouble early in the year, and are without Connor McDavid at the moment, but they’re not the only Alberta squad that’s a mess.
The Calgary Flames don’t have Darryl Sutter to blame anymore for their troubles. They stink, and the players were pretty honest after their last game, a game where they were booed off the ice.
“I just want to apologize to our fans,” Nikita Zadorov said. “We’re playing like s— right now.”
You can always count on Z for some honesty.
The Flames are currently negotiating extensions for Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin. I’m not quite sure why. It’s clear they need to tear some things down and rebuild a little. They’re stuck with the Huberdeau and Kadri (one point in eight games) contracts, but they can at least trade those other two for some nice pieces. If I was Craig Conroy, I’d be doing anything I can to trade these guys on expiring contracts. It’s clear the core doesn’t have it, so move on and get what you can for the future.
Edmonton and Calgary have combined for three wins on the season. Nobody was picking the Flames to win the Stanley Cup, though.
National Hockey Now
The San Jose Sharks are absolutely the worst team in the NHL, but that might be a good thing for them in the long run.
There are no more unbeaten teams in the league, as the Vegas Golden Knights fell in overtime on Friday.
Nico Hischier took multiple massive hits on Friday night, and left the game for precautionary reasons.