The New York Rangers are on the West Coast, and apparently, Colorado Avalanche GM Chris MacFarland is just following them around. It could easily be purely coincidence, as MacFarland is doing some scouting well ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline, but he’s taken in back-to-back Rangers games in California. On Sunday, they were in Anaheim to take on the Ducks, and a potential deadline acquisition for Colorado put on a good performance for MacFarland.
Meanwhile, Patrick Roy had his first game as an Islanders Head Coach, and he did the Avalanche a bit of a favor.
All that and more in this Monday edition of Evan’s Daily.
Colorado Hockey Now
A look back at the win over the Philadelphia Flyers, which may be the last game Artturi Lehkonen misses due to his neck injury.
The Avalanche were off on Sunday, but will be back on the ice for practice at Ball Arena Monday.
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The NHL Trade Deadline is in about 45 days, and Chris MacFarland is already getting to work. He took in the Rangers/Kings game on Saturday, and then the Rangers/Ducks on Sunday. In that game, Adam Henrique, a pending free agent and someone who could make a lot of sense as an acquisition for the Avalanche, scored not just one, but two goals.
— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights & News (@HockeyDaily365) January 22, 2024
Henrique is up to 28 points in 45 games, which is similar production to Elias Lindholm. One would have to imagine he’d cost quite a bit less to acquire. I doubt MacFarland was in town just to scout Henrique, but he makes some sense as a deadline pickup for Colorado.
I did end up watching Nikolai Kovalenko’s first game back in a month, and that’s a very different team with him in the lineup. Torpedo came back to win in overtime. He didn’t pick up a point, but was on the ice for a shorthanded goal for his team.
Watched the game, and Torpedo's a little different with him in there. He created two breakaways with area passes in the first, but looked rusty a large portion of the game.
— Evan Rawal (@evanrawal) January 21, 2024
I found this quote from his teammate, Vladislav Firstov, fitting in describing Kovalenko’s game.
“Of course, we missed Nikolai Kovalenko. He’s a fighter. We prefer to give passes, and sometimes we need to play in the body, cover the opponents so that they make mistakes. Nikolai contributed in terms of impudence and perseverance, which benefited the team.”
There’s skill in Kovalenko’s game, but that’s not all he has, and a big reason why many believe he’s the KHL player who could fit the best in the NHL.
Patrick Roy Wins
Patrick Roy is officially 1-0 as the New York Islanders Head Coach. It took overtime, which is standard for the Islanders this season, but they pulled off the win on a Bo Hornet breakaway. Good news for the Avalanche, because they were playing the Dallas Stars.
The organization was so hyped about it that at one point during the game, the TV broadcast crew had an ISO cam on Roy while play was going on.
Earlier in the day, Matthew Barzal talked about how the team did need a change.
National Hockey Now
Corey Masisak, who now works for the Denver Post, put out a special article for San Jose Hockey Now on his search for Sharks owner Hasso Plattner last year. (+)
Nashville might have a real nice future NHL player on their hands in Matthew Wood.
Jack Hughes appears as though he will attend the NHL-All Star game. Playing? That’s another question.