It appears someone has given didthehabslose.com a facelift on Friday, changing it into an anti-Hurricanes site instead.
Rather than an animated image of Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho scrolling through his phone and nodding, users are greeted with a stock image of a hockey rink with the title "Carolina Hurricanes suck" in all caps.
Below that, there's a message in smaller letters: "Just spreading the truth to a bunch of ... (it's copyrighted but you get it)." Hint: they mean "jerks."
There's plenty of worthwhile information in the site's "About Us" section. Whoever made the changes wanted to make it loud and clear they, in fact, hate the Hurricanes and that they are "not even a real team."
The minds behind the Hurricanes knew not everyone was going to be pleased with the website.
"It's literally our jobs: to entertain and drive revenue. That did both of those things," Hurricanes vice president of marketing and brand strategy Mike Forman said, according to ESPN's Greg Wyshynski. "If you're a Montreal Canadiens fan, it probably rubbed you the wrong way. But we're not building our marketing plan around Canadiens fans or Canadian media, for that matter. We're building it for our fans."
The Hurricanes reserved domains for four teams, including their own, and they've even mulled buying URLs for every single NHL team.
"We're not actual jerks. We're the figurative jerks. Our philosophy is that we won't throw a first punch. But we'll throw the second punch and we're going to try for it to be a knockout," Forman said.
He added the website was hacked, and the Hurricanes are currently debating what to do with it.
"Honestly, it's just gaining more traction because of it," Forman said.
The Hurricanes and Canadiens will square off again on Dec. 30 in Carolina.
The Penguins star underwent the procedure Sept. 8 and was expected to be sidelined for a minimum of six weeks, meaning his earliest return date would have been Saturday's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Crosby, however, was officially ruled out of that contest Thursday.
Pittsburgh general manager Ron Hextall said at the time of the surgery that the wrist injury wasn't a new issue for Crosby, and the center confirmed that fact on Friday.
The 34-year-old revealed his left wrist was initially injured by Ryan Reaves in a game shortly after the 2014 Winter Olympics. He'd been trying to manage the issue over the past seven years, including undergoing a scope last season, before opting to get surgery, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Mike DeFabo.
"We all felt like it was something that I wouldn't have gotten through the season if I didn't take care of it," Crosby said.
He added: "I'm hoping it improves it a lot. This last year - with the scope and just dealing with it - it became more of an issue. Hopefully, it can feel a lot better here and I can kind of put it behind me."
He practiced for the first time since the surgery Oct. 9 and participated again Friday but, before he can return to NHL action, he would like to shore up some aspects of his game.
"I haven't really had any force," he said, according to NHL.com's Crosby, "whether it be through faceoffs or lifting sticks. ... Those are things I haven't been able to do. When I can do that comfortably ... I think that will be a big step."
Penguins forward Kasperi Kapanen provided an encouraging report about the veteran after Friday's session.
"I mean, it's Sidney Crosby. He's always going to be the best player out there," he said.
The Penguins haven't lost a game outright in four contests without Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, going 2-0-2.
The Sabres are one of the feel-good stories in the NHL through the first few contests. They're undefeated over three games, and it's well deserved as they've controlled a league-leading 64% of the expected goals at five-on-five.
However, Buffalo isn't going to continue controlling the run of play to that extent. Even if it sustains strong chance numbers, the team lacks the scorers to finish on a remotely consistent basis. The Sabres' goaltending duo of Craig Anderson and Dustin Tokarski is also among the worst in the NHL.
Suffice to say, the good times will end sooner than later, and the first wake-up call could come tonight against Boston.
The Bruins are among the league's top five-on-five teams every year, and there's not much reason to expect anything different this season. They played pretty well in Philadelphia the other night - high-danger chances were 16-4 Boston - but fell short anyway.
Boston is no doubt looking to get back on track in a hurry, and I think it's going to overwhelm Buffalo.
It may not be a pretty game to watch, but I expect the Bruins to take care of business inside regulation.
The Penguins are as accustomed to playing without key players as any team in the league. They consistently do a good job at it, too.
But their problems are destined to catch up with them against the Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
Sidney Crosby may make his season debut in the contest, but Pittsburgh will still be without Evgeni Malkin, and now Jeff Carter is in COVID-19 protocol. Oh, and Bryan Rust recently went down with an injury, as well. The Penguins roster is paper-thin right now, especially at center.
That feels problematic when going up against the likes of Auston Matthews and John Tavares. Toronto seems likely to get the better of the chances, and it certainly has more healthy firepower to convert those opportunities.
The Leafs are also resting Jack Campbell on Friday, ensuring their starter is healthy and ready to go against Pittsburgh.
The Kraken haven't exactly received a warm welcome to the NHL in the early going of their inaugural season.
They opened the year with five consecutive road games, winning only one of those contests. Seattle's underlying numbers aren't great either, as it ranks 27th in expected goals for percentage at five-on-five.
Still, the Kraken seem like a team worth backing Saturday night. The fans will undoubtedly provide a huge lift as the club plays at home for the first time.
And the competition isn't exactly stiff. Despite all of Seattle's injuries and COVID-related issues, Vancouver is one of the few teams it's out-performed in terms of xG.
Things have started pretty rough for the Kraken, but they're starting to get healthy and are putting the pieces together. I still believe this team can contend for a playoff spot in a weak Pacific Division. This game is a good opportunity to right the ship.
Bet: Kraken (-130 or better)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
It's less than two weeks into the season and Chicago is already underwater.
On Thursday night, the Blackhawks' record wilted to 0-4-1 following a 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Through five games, they've been outscored 21-9. The gap widens if special teams are excluded, with the opposition outscoring Chicago 17-3 during five-on-five action. Yikes.
The heat is on fourth-year head coach Jeremy Colliton, and fingers are being pointed in all directions for not only the dreadful early-season record but also the process by which the Blackhawks arrived at this unsavory point.
It may all seem dramatic - there are 77 games to go - but, in reality, it's not. Chicago aggressively retooled this past offseason with the goal of returning to the playoffs and, really, none of the significant moves have panned out so far.
Not Marc-Andre Fleury, nor Tyler Johnson, nor Jake McCabe. Seth Jones certainly hasn't either.
Jones, a three-zone defenseman who finished fourth in Norris Trophy voting a few years ago, was acquired via trade from the Columbus Blue Jackets in July. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman sent promising blue-liner Adam Boqvist, two first-round picks, and a second-rounder to Columbus in exchange for Jones, a lower first-round selection, and a sixth-rounder. Then Bowman turned around and handed Jones, now 27, an eight-year contract extension (which doesn't kick in until 2022-23) at $9.5 million annually.
The Jones trade-and-sign was mocked by many, especially the analytics-savvy, because of the quality of assets Bowman sent to Columbus after Jones flat-out stunk in 2020-21. Jones' loyalists rebutted with the fact that he'd been an all-star-level defenseman the previous four seasons, and the last 18 months of pandemic life haven't been easy on anybody. Naturally, intrigue and expectation levels were high coming into Jones' first year in Chicago.
Paired with veteran Calvin de Haan, Jones has been getting carved up too often through five games. It's true, Jones has flashed some brilliant play - especially in the club's overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils, where he was arguably the best player on the ice - but the overall body of work ain't pretty.
The underlying data suggests Jones isn't playing anywhere near his career-best right now. Yet five games is a tiny sample size, so it's more than possible Jones rebounds. Heck, he's earned the benefit of the doubt for at least a couple of months, seeing as in the past he's proven he can be a dominant NHL player.
So, unlike some, I'm not ready to give up on the 2013 fourth overall pick. My confidence in Jones has assuredly eroded, but adjusting to a new city and learning a new system can take time. He deserves a little breathing room here.
The tricky thing is that Jones' nightly influence - good or bad - is outsized on this Blackhawks team. Because he plays nearly 26 minutes a night between strength and the power play, and also tends to figure out a way to be heavily involved in the action every single shift - again, good or bad - Chicago will go as he goes. In other words, Jones is the Blackhawks' most important player.
To be clear, that's most important to righting the ship in 2021-22 and most important over the long term as the franchise attempts to win a fourth Stanley Cup this century. Oh boy, what a predicament Bowman has put himself in.
Are we witnessing a Kyrou breakout?
Shortly after the St. Louis Blues drafted forward Jordan Kyrou in 2016, Derian Hatcher, the ex-NHLer and Kyrou's junior coach, touched base with Blues general manager Doug Armstrong. He had valuable insight to pass along.
First, Hatcher expressed to Armstrong how shocked he was that Kyrou was still available to the Blues at No. 35. Hatcher strongly believed the dynamic star of the OHL's Sarnia Sting was a first-round talent. Then, Hatcher explained to Armstrong how much Kyrou, an elite skater whose speed actually increased with the puck on his stick, reminded him of an old teammate.
"Mike Modano was the same way," Hatcher, who played with the Hall of Famer for 11 seasons in Dallas, told theScore this week. "Mike was able to make plays at full speed, which not many people can do in the NHL."
If the early returns of the Blues' season are any indication, Kyrou may well live up to the Modano 2.0 label soon. The 23-year-old right-winger has been electric, accumulating seven points (two goals, five primary assists) in three games despite ranking eighth in ice time (13:53) among St. Louis forwards.
His starring moment came Monday in a 7-4 victory over the Arizona Coyotes:
Yes, the Coyotes are terrible. Yet only a certain caliber of player can make a highlight-reel tally look so effortless. Here, Kyrou is audacious enough to dangle multiple opponents, and he possesses the requisite patience and skill to execute.
This is technically Kyrou's fourth NHL season, though he split time between the AHL (63 games) and NHL (44) in the first two. Last year, he posted a respectable 35 points in 55 games before signing a two-year, $5.6-million extension. So far, in 2021-22, he's taken even-strength shifts with center Brayden Schenn and either Jake Neighbours or Pavel Buchnevich.
Overall, Hatcher is pleased with what he's seen from Kyrou since the 6-foot-1, 196-pounder left Sarnia to turn pro. However, he does have one criticism.
"Mentally," Hatcher said, "he still has to figure it out."
In which ways?
Daily attitude and preparation, the junior bench boss replied. Rounding out his game, Hatcher added, will also be key to Kyrou's growth. "Some guys don't realize how hard it's going to be on a daily basis," he said. "It takes time."
OK, we'll hold off on printing "Kyrou Breakout SZN" T-shirts. But for the Blues' sake, Kyrou reaching star status ASAP would be a boon. As one of the NHL's oldest squads, they're in desperate need of young difference-makers.
Early impressions of the Kraken
Necessary disclaimer: The Seattle Kraken, an expansion team that's played a grand total of five games, are obviously still very much figuring things out.
That said, here are a few first impressions of the 1-3-1 club.
Seattle's goaltending and defense corps may look solid, if not good, on paper. However, the Dave Hakstol-coached group has been overwhelmed while trying to defend rush chances. Another major issue: turnovers galore. Sure, well-paid starting goalie Philipp Grubauer hasn't held up his end of the bargain (-4.56 goals saved above average), but he's also received little help.
Apparently, the Kraken like to tussle. Surprisingly, Seattle leads the league in fighting majors (six), putting the club on pace for 98 fights over 82 games. The willingness to throw down so often is notable, although it's probably just early-season noise. Last year's co-leaders, the Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning, finished with 23 fights in 56 games, or a 34-fight pace over 82.
On a positive note, the Kraken seem to be establishing an identity up front. There's some noticeable greasiness in the attack, and the majority of the team's 11 goals have been scored within a few feet of the goal line. Former Pittsburgh Penguins forward Brandon Tanev, for one, has been an animal around the crease.
Lundqvist taking to broadcast role
Hockey fans in the United States have been blessed with a number of different faces on national TV broadcasts. From Wayne Gretzky and Paul Bissonnette on TNT to Mark Messier and John Tortorella on ESPN, there's now some high-end influencers breaking down the game - a nice upgrade from the NBC days.
It's easy to understand why. The league's new TV partners have invested in their product and swung big on talent, especially in Gretzky's case.
All of this national buzz has overshadowed the debut of Henrik Lundqvist on MSG Networks. The 39-year-old future Hall of Famer - who retired from playing last month - found a comfy landing spot between old goalie partner Steve Valiquette and veteran host John Giannone on New York Rangers broadcasts.
There've been no hiccups in the chemistry department:
Lundqvist is as polished as you could reasonably expect from a rookie analyst. He's articulate, poised, willing to laugh at himself, and if we're being completely honest, it absolutely doesn't hurt that he's impossibly handsome.
"When I was playing, I was always interested in media," Lundqvist said on a recent conference call. "I've done a lot of different projects throughout my career, mostly overseas, but some stuff here in New York. It's a little bit of my creative side." The NHL's all-time wins leader among European goalies added that he expects to mostly dig into the player mindset for his on-air analyses.
3 parting thoughts
Why I love this sport: There was a flurry of feel-good stories during the first 10 days of action: Jonathan Drouin scoring in his return from personal leave; Brian Boyle scoring after missing the entire 2020-21 season due to health issues; LTIR mainstay Andrew Ladd competing again; the Columbus Blue Jackets winning 8-2 on Matiss Kivlenieks night; and the Minnesota Wild coming back to win 6-5 in overtime on Tom Kurvers night.
Evander Kane: The polar opposite of a feel-good story. On Monday, the NHL suspended Kane for 21 games for violating COVID-19 protocol, which, based on reports, centers around submitting a fake vaccination card. He also has myriad financial issues and recently has been investigated for various off-ice allegations, including gambling on NHL games. (The NHL found no evidence he had done so.) Watching from afar, the escalation of Kane's troubles has been perplexing and, mainly, sad.
NHLer sons: Ready to feel old? NHL Central Scouting released its "players to watch" for the 2022 class, which reminds me that those eligible for the upcoming draft were born in either late 2003 or 2004. The familiar names on the list add more shock value. Defenseman Josh Niedermayer (dad Scott), and forwards Marek Hejduk (Milan), Cole Knuble (Mike), Jakub Kopecky (Tomas), and Landon Sim (Jon) are some of the prospects who have NHLers for fathers.
Takes, Thoughts, and Trends is theScore's biweekly hockey grab bag.
John Matisz is theScore's senior NHL writer. Follow John on Twitter (@MatiszJohn) or contact him via email (email@example.com).
The Hurricanes continued poking fun at the Canadiens following a 4-1 victory during which Kotkaniemi - the former Habs forward who signed an offer sheet with Carolina in the offseason - scored in his return to Montreal.
First came the obligatory French tweet, which the Hurricanes had done before.
But then, Carolina dropped a URL.
On the website, there's an animated image of Hurricanes star Sebastian Aho scrolling his phone and nodding to answer the question.
Below that are links to buy Aho and Kotkaniemi shirts for $20 using the promo code "OUI." At the bottom, the copyright reads, "2021 Bunch of Jerks - All Rights Reserved."
Carolina has been giving it to Montreal since the latter club tried to sign Aho to an offer sheet in 2019. The Hurricanes matched that offer and then tendered one to Kotkaniemi in late August that the Canadiens chose not to match.
That pact infamously carried a $20 signing bonus (a reference to Aho's jersey number), and Carolina mercilessly goaded Montreal in a variety of ways at the time.
Carolina improved to 3-0-0 with Thursday's victory, while Montreal fell to 0-5-0.
Each country was required to submit a list of 55 NHL players who could make the Olympic roster last Friday.
Countries were permitted to name 50 players and five goalies on each list, but Canada was given an exemption to name six given the uncertainty surrounding Price's availability. The netminder is currently taking part in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program.
The last time the NHL sent players to the Olympics was in 2014 in Sochi. Price was among the three goalies on the roster alongside Roberto Luongo and Mike Smith. Price went undefeated in five games en route to a gold medal and was named the best goaltender of the tournament.
We had a quiet night Wednesday, filing just one official play. The Bruins outshot the Flyers by 15 and recorded 12 more high-danger chances, but unfortunately for us, the Bruins still came out on the wrong side of a 6-3 scoreline.
It's a new day and tonight's massive slate offers plenty of opportunities to get back on track. Let's dive into our best bets.
The Sharks are off to a nice start, scoring nine goals in two early wins and controlling better than 57% of the expected goals at five-on-five. San Jose is playing legitimately well.
Though the Senators are also out to a respectable 2-1 start, their underlying profile isn't nearly as strong. They own an expected goals share below 50%, which is hardly surprising considering the lack of depth on the Ottawa roster.
While neither side is likely to challenge for a playoff spot, the Sharks are destined to be the better of the two with youngsters like William Eklund and Jonathan Dahlen supporting a veteran core.
I expect that to shine through in this game, especially with Matt Murray between the pipes for the first time this season. Only Brian Elliott (-19.3), Martin Jones (-18.9), and Carter Hart (-18.3) conceded more goals above expectation than Murray a year ago.
He is unlikely to bail out the Senators if they're outplayed tonight.
The Flames remain winless on the year, but don't let that fool you - they've largely played well.
Though Calgary dominated the Oilers on the shot clock in the season opener, Connor McDavid did Connor McDavid things and turned every Edmonton opportunity into a goal. Fair enough.
The Flames responded by thoroughly outclassing the Ducks, winning the expected goals battle 3.88 to 1.87, but Calgary couldn't convert on its opportunities against a locked-in John Gibson and eventually paid the price by losing in overtime.
While many are jumping off the Flames bandwagon, I think their results thus far have provided an opportunity to buy low.
Calgary has out-chanced opponents 58-23 (71.60 SCF%) at five-on-five through two games. The Flames are showing the ability to control the run of play and, with Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Elias Lindholm leading the charge, it's not as if they're devoid of talent to finish plays off.
Still, they're getting little respect on the betting market. The odds imply a 57% chance of Calgary beating a rebuilding Red Wings team that won just 36 games from 2019-21 - let's take advantage of that.
With Nathan MacKinnon healthy and Gabriel Landeskog back from suspension, I think this line is a little short. The Panthers are a good team, but the Avalanche entered the season as Stanley Cup favorites and they're going up against Sergei Bobrovsky, one of the league's worst netminders over the last couple of seasons. Priced at a near coin flip, there is value backing the Avalanche to snap their mini losing streak.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
Jets captain Blake Wheeler was placed in protocol earlier this week and later tested positive.
Scheifele tested positive Wednesday but is asymptomatic and has since tested negative, according to TSN's Chris Johnston. He'll be eligible to play Thursday versus the Anaheim Ducks if he produces another negative test.
Players are typically required to isolate for 10 days when entering protocol.
Scheifele led Winnipeg with 63 points over 56 games last season and has notched two assists across two contests in 2021-22.