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Sammi’s Morning Mix: Kucherov, Bolts Take Game 1, NHL Going Back To Normal

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Howdy, and here’s to another Tuesday and another hockey-filled week ahead. Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final is in the books, it’s been a week since our launch and offseason questions across the NHL continue to brew.

So what are we waiting for? Grab your coffee (or to keep up with the Sammi tradition, 16 fl oz of your favorite soda, and let’s break it all down.

Capitals Links

  • Stick taps to Zdeno Chara, who added to his trophy case with a national award from his home country of Slovakia. Here’s more on the honor he received from Slovakian president Zuzana Čaputová. (Washington Hockey Now)
  • The offseason report cards continue for the Capitals. This time, Geoff Thompson dives deeper into Justin Schultz‘s play in his first season with Washington. (Japers’ Rink)
  • Alex Ovechkin‘s a pending UFA, but Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes his extension is already “in the drawer.” Ian Oland takes a closer look at what’s next for Ovi and Washington. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)
  • The Capitals rewarded Bobby Nardella with a two-year extension that turns into a one-way deal. Jon Sorenson reviews Nardella’s performance in Hershey and previews what’s ahead for the blueliner. (NoVa Caps)
  • In the end, Washington’s 2020-21 campaign didn’t go according to plan, but there was still a lot that went right. Michael Marzzacco examines the brighter side of the team’s play. (Stars & Sticks)

NHL Links

  • Three-point nights from Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point proved too much for the Habs in Game 1. James O’Brien breaks down the 5-1 victory and how Tampa’s quick start and mistakes from Montreal helped the Bolts take a 1-0 series lead. (ProHockeyTalk)
  • It’ll cost college tuition-type money to be at Bell Centre for Games 3 and 4. Caitlyn Holroyd takes a look at the cost of tickets to see the Habs in their first Cup Final since 1993, with prices ranging from $5,600 to $32,000. (The Score)
  • It appears to be business as usual for the NHL next season. Gary Bettman and the league aim to return to a full 82-game schedule featuring outdoor hockey, regular divisions and more. (NHL.com)
  • Bettman also discussed the “concerning” sexual assault allegations surrounding the Blackhawks, adding there will be potential discipline depending on the investigation. Emily Kaplan provides more details. (ESPN)
  • Meanwhile, trade speculation continues to shake the league. Jimmy Murphy has the latest surrounding Jack Eichel, Phil Kessel, Seth Jones and more in the latest Off The Record. (BHN+)

Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes

  • First off, sending our deepest condolences to the Pastrnak family following. Rest in peace, Viggo.
  • Seeing Amalie Arena filled to the brim and plans to return to the regularly scheduled programming in 2021-22 brings about euphoria. It’s an eerie feeling, though, I’ll admit. The pandemic once had me believing we’d gotten to a point of no return, an event horizon of sorts. It’s comforting to finally see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel… even if only for a moment.
  • Speaking of going back to the way things once were, it’d be great to see NHL players return to the Winter Olympics. It remains a question, and Bill Daly added Monday that the Beijing games aren’t “ideal” considering the virus.
  • The Habs’ Game 1 loss does not fall on Carey Price. Five goals is a lot, but ultimately, it was early mistakes and tough matchups that led to a Tampa takeover. Ultimately, it’ll be exciting to see what comes out of Game 2, especially following a physical game (see Mikhail Sergachev‘s questionable, gruesome hit on Brendan Gallagher) that featured quite a few errors (Ben Chiarot‘s rough night) and the Bolts’ power play finally breaking through Montreal’s remarkable penalty kill.

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