Feeling out of the loop on the recent developments in the NHL? Here's a cheat sheet of five things you need to know from across the league this week.
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Las Vegas finally gets its name and logo
It took five months and way too much speculation, but Las Vegas' expansion franchise mercifully revealed its team name and logo in a very poorly run ceremony outside their new arena.
Enter: Vegas Golden Knights.
Regardless of how you feel about the name, you should probably just be glad the way-too-drawn-out mystery is finally over. Now we get to count down to the reveal of the jerseys. Yay.
Personally, I still think they should have gone with something like Aces or Spades, but I understand the desire to stay away from gambling references. Either way, Golden Knights is fine. At least the logo is cool.
Brent Burns is rich(er)
The San Jose Sharks defenseman would have been the top prize of next summer's free agent class if he got there, but it was not meant to be. Burns, 31, agreed to an eight-year extension that will pay him an average of $8 million annually to stay in San Jose.
It's not the most ideal extension for the Sharks considering Burns will be making bank through his age 40 season (though the contract is a bit frontloaded) but it was probably necessary and inevitable if they wanted to keep him around. He's earned that payday, as he's established himself as one of the most effective offensive blue-line weapons in the league — especially with the 75-point season he put up a year ago.
It's great news for Sharks fans that he'll be sticking around beyond this year, but that deal has the potential to look not-so-great five, six, seven years down the road.
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A very bad week for health
As we pointed out in last week's 5 Things, the injuries are piling up across the league, and this week was a particularly brutal one. Steven Stamkos, haver of bad luck, is out until mid-March (at least) with a knee injury. Both Brad Richardson and Mika Zibanejad suffered broken legs in pretty gruesome fashion. Nathan Beaulieau was hospitalized after taking a puck to the face.
But most unsettling and concerning story of the week comes from the AHL. Tuscon Roadrunners captain Craig Cunningham collapsed before a game and required emergency medical assistance. According to reports, he began convulsing after hitting the ice and medics had to cut away his jersey and perform chest compressions before he was taken to the hospital, where he remains in critical but stable condition.
There isn't a whole lot of information regarding his status, and the team is declining to comment out of respect to his family. Cunningham, 26, has had NHL stints with the Coyotes and Bruins. He's received a tremendous amount of support from his peers around the league and the #CunnyCan hashtag has been a popular channel of thoughts and prayers.
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A great week for family
You could probably use a heartwarming story, huh? Well, the Guentzel family has you covered.
The Penguins called up rookie forward Jake Guentzel to play in his first career NHL game this week. The 22-year-old had himself quite the debut, scoring twice in the opening period. But the real stars were his family members (mom, dad and brother) in attendance, as they had pretty spectacular reactions to his immediate success. At the risk of sounding soft, I think seeing loved ones get emotional while watching an athlete accomplish something great is one of the best parts of sports.
In other family news, Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson got engaged over a pretty terrible-looking pizza. Your pepperonis are not supposed to look like hockey pucks, Erik. Sad!
Auston Matthews is… human?
Remember when top overall pick Auston Matthews vaulted to phenom status after scoring four goals in his NHL debut with the Maple Leafs? Well, he's come back down to earth a bit.
The 19-year-old Matthews has just two goals in 18 games since that debut, and he hasn't scored since October 25th. He also has just three assists since.
So, what does this mean for the Leafs? Should they freak out? Label him a bust? Trade him while they still can?!?!
Probably not. Honestly, this is probably just karma for Leafs fans everywhere declaring him the greatest player to ever live after a single game. This is just the Hockey Gods' way of telling them to chill out a little bit. The kid is still a teenager, he's going to have his ups and downs. He's also still supremely talented, so he'll be fine and continue to wow us all again eventually.
For now, the Leafs can be glad that they've got other impressive youngsters — like Mitch Marner and William Nylander — who are producing pretty consistently in their respective rookie campaigns.
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