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Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Friday Thoughts… And Winner of Best Pizza

Three nights of NHL hockey have created some extremely early observations. Let’s dig in.

— Last night, in nine games, teams averaged 4.1 goals/game. Teams scored 74 goals and collectively they were 30.9% on the powerplay. Through 16 games teams have scored 33 goals on 124 opportunities for an average of 26.6% efficiency. Very few teams will be able to compete in the regular season without a very good powerplay.

— It is the main reason why the Canadiens will miss the playoffs. Their PP was bad last year and it has looked brutal in two games thus far going 0-for-8. Watching them shoot from the point on a 5-on-3 against Toronto was painful. High volume from the point is not the key to success for today’s powerplays.

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— It was only one game, but Vegas looked terrible against LA last night. Robin Lehner said it was the worst game his team has played since he joined them. Mark Stone left the game with a lower body injury. Vegas could get off to a slow start without their emotional leader.

— Brutal news for Anaheim. They played very well in their season-opening win against Winnipeg, but today they announced John Gibson is out with a lower-body injury. The Ducks have some exciting young players, but they need Gibson to stand on his head for them to be competitive. If he is out for an extended period it is a huge blow for the Quackers.

— An amazing stat regarding the Calgary Flames. They’ve lost 11 season openers in a row.

2010: Lose 4-0 in Edmonton.
2011: 5-3 home loss to Pittsburgh.
*2012: 4-1 home loss to San Jose. *Was actually January, 2013.
2013: 5-4 shootout loss at home to Washington. Flames blew a 3-0 lead.
2014: 4-2 home loss to Vancouver.
2015: 5-1 home loss to Vancouver.
2016: 7-4 loss in Edmonton.
2017: 3-0 loss in Edmonton.
2018: 5-2 loss in Vancouver.
2019: 5-3 loss in Colorado.
*2020: 4-3 loss in Winnipeg. *Game was played in January 2021.

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They are 0-10-1 and have been outscored 46-23. (I didn’t include SO goal by Washington as a goal scored). Edmonton will try to extend that streak to 12 tomorrow night.

— When the LA Kings signed Phillip Danault they believed it would allow Anze Kopitar to be more offensive. They looked like geniuses last night as Kopitar scored 3-2-5 in the Kings 6-2 victory over Vegas. The only goal he didn’t contribute to was Danault’s goal. It was a perfect start for the Kings. I had the Kings finishing fourth in the Pacific, and after watching them last night I won’t be surprised if they finish in the top three.

— I think Ottawa will get a bigger bang for its buck on the Brady Tkachuk ($8.205m AAV) contract than Montreal will with Nick Suzuki ($7.875m AAV). Tkachuk is still growing into his body. He’s going to be a very good power forward. He and Tim Stutzle will be a very good duo for Ottawa.

— Zack Kassian needs to clear one more test tomorrow, according to Dave Tippett, but it looks like he is close to being ready to play. Devin Shore did skate on his own today, but he will not play tomorrow. Slater Koekkoek will also draw in meaning Kris Russell and Colton Sceviour will come out if Kassian is cleared. Mike Smith will start in goal tomorrow v. the Flames.

THANK YOU…

We hosted our third annual Jason Gregor Pizza Pigout last Friday. Once again we had a drive-in movie and pizza night. Over 120 vehicles were greeted with goodie bags, loads of pizza and then watched Secret Life of Pets. It was a great success. And a massive thank you to Volvo of Edmonton for being the title sponsor.

We had over 30 pizzerias donate hundreds of pizzas for the chance to win the best pizza.  Here is a list of this year’s winners as voted on by the ticket holders.

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Campio’s unique pizza was The Forager, while Panini’s Italian made a nice Chicken Pesto.

Congrats to all the winners. Please support all these wonderful pizzerias and enjoy their great pizza.

BACK TO BACK TITLE…

Winner of Amazing Race Canada #7, Anthony Johnson, was back to defend his title in the pizza eating contest. He battled Dustin Nielson, Joaquin Gage, Jed Roberts and Olympians Alysia Rissling, Ashley Stacey and Dawn Richardson-Wilson.

Johnson dominated his peers eating over five pieces of a large pizza in two minutes. Nielsen finished second downing two and 2/3 pieces. Johnson will be back vying for a three-peat next year and we will need to get Nation Dan back involved. Dan ate an entire pizza in three minutes at our inaugural event and was the inaugural pizza eating champion.

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Thank you again for supporting KidSport and to all the pizzerias and sponsors who made this event so memorable. You can see photos from the night here. The money raised will help a lot of children play sports this year. It is a great charity, with very low administration fees, and giving kids the joy of playing sports is a wonderful blessing. Due to the generosity of sponsors and ticket buyers we were able to raise over $35,000. Almost double what we did last year.

Thanks again for supporting the Pizza Pigout, and more importantly, for supporting KidSport so all kids can play.

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