NHL 2023-24 Recap Week 14 Islanders fire coach, Fleury passes Roy, Matthews scores more, Jones finally scores

January 21, 2024 Weekly Recaps

After a few quiet weeks, we have another NHL coach firing. The latest victim is New York Islanders coach Lane Lambert. This is interesting for several reasons. You could be fired once your team hits a streak of four losses. Lou Lamoriello has never met a coach he wouldn’t fire. The coach he just fired was the one he replaced Barry Trotz with after he fired him. He shouldn’t have done it, but I’m sure he doesn’t regret it. Lambert didn’t even last two seasons. The new coach is… Patrick Roy. Roy hasn’t coached in the NHL since 2016, when he left the Colorado Avalanche because he had no say in personnel. But the Avalanche knew what they were doing since they won a Stanley Cup afterward. This should be highly entertaining to watch. It’s hard to imagine Roy’s and Lamoriello’s egos not clashing. No matter who is coaching, the Islanders are still offensively challenged. I’ll mention Roy again in a bit. I didn’t think I’d mention him twice in a column. The Islanders had a nice comeback overtime win over the Dallas Stars.

Things I like

  1. In the third period of the Toronto Maple Leafs vs Calgary Flames, a Flames goal was challenged for a hand pass. It was funny to watch the announcers comment on whether it was goalie interference or offsides, and they found no evidence of either. Then the referee says for a missed stoppage due to a hand pass. Ooo, hand pass. From most angles, you couldn’t see anything, but from the right angle, it was obvious it was an inadvertent hand pass. A great job by the Maple Leafs coaching staff and replay assistants for finding it and calling a timeout first to give them more time to be sure. That overturned the game-tying goal, and the score remained 4-3, which was the final.

  2. Auston Matthews scored a hat trick in that game, his 12th multi-goal game this season, the 71st in his career, and the 11th hat trick. This puts him 68th all-time and tied with Evgeni Malkin despite playing in half as many games. He’s only two away from 40. If Matthews plays 1400 games, he should be able to break Wayne Gretzky’s record. Matthews is scoring at a higher pace than Gretzky and Alex Ovechkin.

  3. Marc-Andre Fleury just passed Patrick Roy for second all-time in NHL wins with 552. It’s quite remarkable that he lasted this long to obtain it. Fleury had one of the strangest careers. A first-overall pick, he made the Stanley Cup Finals in his third season starting. He lost despite playing well. The Penguins returned next season to beat the Detroit Red Wings despite having worse numbers than the previous season. But we all remember that iconic save. He regressed the next few seasons and became one of the primary reasons the Penguins kept losing in the first round. He was the backup in the next two Stanley Cup wins until he was picked in the expansion draft by the Vegas Golden Knights. He made another Stanley Cup appearance in their first season. That’s five appearances with three Stanley Cup wins. He revived his career in Vegas, and his final season there was his best. But we all remember his playoff gaffe against the Montreal Canadians in the playoffs. He was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks and now plays for the Minnesota Wild, where he’s just kind of there. Next on the wins list is Martin Brodeur. with 691. I highly doubt he’ll reach that. I don’t consider him in the same class as Roy and Brodeur, but what a career.

Things I don’t

  1. This season has gone the way the Chicago Blackhawks envisioned. It went the way I did, but this is worse than expected. They are 31st in goals for, 30th in goals against, and 31st in power play. Seth Jones was the last major acquisition the Blackhawks had before they started rebuilding. It still puzzles me they made that deal and kept him. They probably can’t trade him because of his contract. But he’s mentioned because Jones hadn’t scored a goal this season despite playing in thirty games. But he finally got his first one in overtime against the Islanders. He was relieved, and so was most of Chicago.

Fights of the Week

Special thanks to for making this section a little easier to do.

Scott Sabourin vs Jarred Tinordi

An excellent long fight with tons of punches.

Ross Johnston vs Joel Edmundson

Edmundson gets stuck in the door, and the referee helps him to start the fight. Very odd.

Goat of the Week

Jamie Drysdale - Philadelphia Flyers

Drysdale lets a routine pass through his legs, and Zack MacEwen takes it the other way for a goal. The Flyers were up 2-0 halfway through the second period. This was a bit of a turning point. The Flyers did score a power play goal six minutes later, but the Senators scored a minute after that. The Senators scored three in the third, including an empty net to win 5-3.

Stat Line of the Week

1/21/24 Minnesota 5 vs. Carolina 2

Skater TOI G A +/- SOG Blk
K.Kaprizov 20:18 3 0 3 5 2

The Carolina Hurricanes came into the game 8-2 in their last ten, while the Minnesota Wild were 3-9 in their last twelve. If you think you knew who would win, you’d be wrong. Kirill Kaprizov had three points in a winning effort against the Florida Panthers, and he followed it up with a hat trick against the Carolina Hurricanes. The game was closer than it looked, as two goals were empty nets, including Kaprizov’s third goal. But the Wild needed a win, and Kaprizov has been hot lately, with 18 points in his last 11 games. But with only 15 goals thus far, it’s unlikely he’ll hit his third straight forty-goal season.

Numbers, Numbers

13 – Straight Edmonton Oilers wins, the longest in franchise history, and four away from the NHL record

600 – Career points for Evander Kane

1 – Hideous throwback uniform for the Oilers, the pants don’t match the jersey. I almost vomited looking at it. But I do like the oil drop.

1 – Goal by Brendan Brisson, the first of his NHL career against the Penguins. His dad is an agent, and Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin lived in his house briefly when he was a toddler.

9 – Goals scored by the Boston Bruins against their arch-rival the Montreal Canadiens


The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.

Top 5

  1. Edmonton
  2. Vancouver
  3. Winnipeg
  4. Boston
  5. Carolina

Bottom 5

  1. San Jose
  2. Chicago
  3. Anaheim
  4. Los Angeles
  5. NY Islanders

NFL Thoughts

What a slate of games that was. All were close and went down to the final play except the Ravens vs Texans, which at least had a close first half. Now we get the hotly anticipated Lamar Jackson vs. Patrick Mahomes and Brock Purdy vs. Jared Goff duels. I kid about the second one.

First, I’d like to say I don’t see how the Eagles actually thought they could win. They can’t tackle anyone, and they ran 4 verts on a third and two when the Buccaneers were showing blitz. No one would call that anywhere, even in high school. The play would be dumb enough to run on any third or fourth and two, but when they’re blitzing, it’s even dumber. Why anyone thought the Eagles could beat the Buccaneers when they pulled their starters down 17-0 to a bad Giants team with nothing to play for is beyond me.

The narrative that Patrick Mahomes has never played a road playoff game is so bizarre. He’s played a road game several times in his career. I highly doubt he cares. The Bulls and Chiefs provided another classic that could have gone either way. I don’t know why people think the Chiefs offense is bad. It was bad, but they have pieces. Rashee Rice has become the number one they needed. Isiah Pacheco can run, and if Travis Kelce doesn’t drop any passes, they’ll be more than fine. I feel bad for the Bills. Losing another game on wide right-field goals. Josh Allen played great with no turnovers, but he missed some passes he needed to make. I hate the fumble out of the end zone is a touchback rule. Out of your end zone, it’s fine if it’s a safety but not the opposing end zone. It needs to change.

There’s something about the Ravens I don’t like. I’m picking the Chiefs to beat them.

The Packers vs. 49ers was one of my favorite games ever. Brock Purdy doesn’t like throwing a wet football. He hated it in Cleveland and in this game. But he delivered when it mattered, and that’s what counts. He’ll be even better next week. Jordan Love played great but was poor in the final few minutes. He’s got to make better decisions and didn’t need to force it with another down left. The 49ers’ defense wasn’t great, and that’s a bigger concern. I’ve never seen so many people fall on their home field, either. That clock management at the end of the half was awful, too.

I’m surprised Jared Goff has no turnovers. Baker Mayfield had two, and that was the difference. I feel bad for him because neither pick was awful. But on the second one, he should have thrown it away. Quarterbacks force the ball too much today. Unless it’s fourth down, there’s no need. Going for two was also stupid. Imagine losing a playoff game that way.

I’m taking the 49ers over the Lions to set up a Super Bowl rematch.

Alex Mueller
Alex has played floor and ice hockey but never anywhere near NHL level. He's been writing this column since 2013. He's finishing up his first novel entitled Bobby Sterling vs Truth. Learn move about the book here. He loves exploring the outdoors and photography. Join the adventure and view the photos here.