While the Colorado Avalanche are officially on break, there are still teams in the NHL playing. On Saturday, one of them was the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Nikita Kucherov took back the scoring lead from Nathan MacKinnon. While a lot of fans are arguing about who is being disrespected or ignored, I’m a little confused as to why people aren’t just sitting back and enjoying it all.
All that and more in this Sunday edition of Evan’s Daily.
Colorado Hockey Now
The Avalanche head into the All-Star break on a high, and looking back at another strong performance from Alexandar Georgiev.
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Ivan Ivan Hype
One of the standouts/surprises of training camp in Colorado was Ivan Ivan. In camp on an AHL deal, the 21 year old stuck around way longer than expected and earned a lot of praise from Jared Bednar.
While he was having a decent rookie year in the AHL, things have really picked up of late. In his last six games, he’s got seven points, and he scored again on Saturday night.
Ivan Ivan for the lead! pic.twitter.com/iKcLHNYxMO
— Colorado Eagles (@ColoradoEagles) January 28, 2024
Ivan still does not have an NHL contract, so technically some other team could come in and swoop him up, so the Avalanche may have to be careful here. I don’t know if it happens before the end of the season, but if he continues growing as a player, he’s probably someone you want to stick around.
Enjoy The Kucherov/MacKinnon Back-And-Forth
As is tradition, Nikita Kucherov took the scoring lead back from Nathan MacKinnon on Saturday and sits atop the NHL with 85 points. They’re going to be going back-and-forth all season long, it appears.
There’s some discourse on social media of how Kucherov is being disrespected for playing in a “smaller market,” and Avalanche fans obviously would like to see MacKinnon win a Hart, seeing as how he probably should have one already.
Heck, here’s Steven Stamkos on the Hart talk.
Stamkos on Kucherov not being the center of the Hart conversation despite leading the league all season.
(He’s right) pic.twitter.com/VJglNgCWUl
— Diandra Loux (@Diandra_loux) January 26, 2024
The only problem with Stamkos’ comments is that trophy that Kucherov has on his shelf from 2019. That’s the year he won the Hart Trophy, partly because he led the NHL in scoring. Clearly the voters haven’t been ignoring Kucherov all along.
I know fans want their guy to win, and that’s natural, but I say enjoy the ride.
While Connor McDavid is lurking with 67 points, this looks like the first year someone on the Edmonton Oilers isn’t just going to run away with the scoring title. The last four years have gone – McDavid, McDavid, McDavid, Draisaitl. It’s good to have some variety in the NHL, and quite frankly, it’s fun to watch. One night, MacKinnon scores three goals, then the next night, Kucherov has three of his own.
Enjoy it. These are two elite players on a heater, and both will be in Toronto next week for the All-Star game.
National Hockey Now
A win in Montreal at this time of the year shouldn’t be “must win” for any NHL team, but it was for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Are these the real Detroit Red Wings?
It’s been a rough season in New Jersey, and Nico Hischier says the team needs to be “pissed off.”
Could Erik Johnson be on the move at the deadline?