Videos by OutKick
This is it gang! We’ve reached the end of the road for the 2022-23 NHL regular season.
Don’t cry, smile because it happened… and because we’re just days away from the most wonderful time of the year; the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Take a deep breath and drink it all in. Is there anything better than the first round where you can watch hockey from like 1 in the afternoon until like 1 am on the east coast?
I’ll answer for you: No, No there is not.
We’ve said “auf wiedersehen” to the 16 teams who have tee times and vacations planned to start next week. Now, let’s bid “adieu” to the regular season with the best the last week and change of the season had to offer.
It’s time to give out the last made-up hardware of the 2022-23 regular season…
Best Old-School Knuck-Chuckin’: Alex Gallant And Alex Kannok Leipert
I always like to check in on the fellas in the American Hockey League, and that’s because more often than not, they bring it.
This time around it was Alex Gallant of the Calgary Wranglers and Alex Kannok Leipert of the Abbottsford Canucks who gave us a proper tilt. The kind that is vanishing from the game these days.
It was a good old-fashioned Alex-Off.
There were some bombs exchanged. Good on these dudes for going the distance. It’s tough to say who won, but you might have to give the upper hand to Kannok Leipert. He played junior hockey in the WHL where they have always known how to throw ’em.
Best Save That Made Your Teammates Cancel Their April Vacation Plans: Connor Hellebuyck
Now, back to the NHL. There were a few teams who had to sweat it out over their playoff hopes until very late in the season. One of those teams was the Winnipeg Jets.
Well, Connor Hellebuyck (whose name I’m pretty sure I’ve never spelled correctly on the first attempt) sure wanted to play some postseason hockey because he made an unbelievable save to keep those hopes alive.
That came in the Jets’ second to last game of the season. which they won. That win locked up the last wild card spot in the Western Conference and a date with the Vegas Golden Knights.
That’s less than ideal, but hey, it beats sitting at home in April, doesn’t it?
Best Reminder Of Why People Usually Don’t Fight Wayne Simmonds: Michael Pezzetta
At this point in his illustrious career, everyone knows that Wayne Simmonds is not to be messed with. While he made a name for himself as an offensive star with the Flyers, he has always been able to throw a punch.
Still, guys decide to take him on, and every single time it looks like a mistake.
Montreal’s Michael Pezzetta — who’s no slouch when it comes to pugilism — was the latest to get a first-hand reminder that the Wayne Train is still one hell of a fighter.
What was that? Two, maybe three lefts, and that tussle was donezo?
Damn, I miss seeing Simmer in Orange and Black…
Best DIY Project: Devon Levi
Now and then we get a nice mixed-up goalie kit in the NHL. Maybe a guy gets traded or called up on short notice.
That happened to Devon Levi of the Buffalo Sabres. The 21-year-old joined the Sabres for 6 games this season after ending his collegiate career at Northeastern University. He backed up Craig Anderson this week but was caught off guard by the team wearing their red, white, and black “Goat’s Head” sweaters (one of the best the NHL has ever seen).
He only had blue and yellow lids to match the Sabres’ home, away, and Reverse Retro sweaters. So, he went old school and grabbed a handful of Sharpies.
And, you know what? It looks pretty damn good.
Unfortunately for his Sabres, they came up short in a late bid to make the playoffs. Buffalo is a team on the come-up for sure (although, I think everyone has been saying that for the last 3-5 years).
Cool Guy Move Of The Week: Jacob Trouba And The New York Rangers
Last one for the regular season, folks, and we’re going to end on a heartwarming note.
The New York Rangers gave the jerseys of their backs to some fans after their final game of the regular season. One fan, 18-year-old Isaiah Márquez-Greene, was on the ice to get Trouba’s sweater.
However, the Rangers captain had a surprise for the Márquez-Greene, who is a survivor of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and has been a fan of Trouba’s since his Winnipeg days.
That law school scholarship came courtesy of the Garden of Dreams Foundation, but Trouba went the extra mile and gave Márquez-Greene his personal phone number to stay in touch.
Trouba can be an absolute menace on the blue line, but that was one hell of a cool guy move.
That’s it, kids. 2,624 regular season NHL contests are in the history books. It’s time for the Stanley Cup Playoffs which start on Monday night. If you see anything award-worthy during the playoffs, don’t hesitate to send it to me on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle