NHL Talk: Avalanche, Bruins, Golden Knights, Blackhawks & Kraken

The daily “NHL Talk” column is your go-to for quotes from the top storylines in the NHL. Listen to THW contributors talk hockey every weekday on The Hockey Writers Podcast, available on iHeartRadio and wherever you listen to podcasts.

In this edition of NHL Talk, these are the top storylines with quotes from players, coaches, managers, and more:

Kraken’s Fitzhugh and Brown to Become First All-Black NHL TV Broadcast Team

Seattle Kraken radio play-by-play broadcaster Everett Fitzhugh and TV colour commentator J.T. Brown team up on Thursday to become the first all-Black TV broadcast team in NHL history when Seattle visits the Winnipeg Jets. The Kraken’s regular TV play-by-play broadcaster, John Forslund, is away from the team as he announces for NHL on TNT. Thursday marks a special moment in hockey as the sport continues to emphasize diversity and inclusivity for everyone.

“For me personally, and I know J.T. shares the same sentiment, this is an opportunity for people who aren’t used to seeing folks who look like them involved in the game of hockey,” Fitzhugh said. “I know that when I was a fan of the game growing up, I didn’t have many black people to look up to in the game. To have that kid who might be on the fence about being a hockey fan, seeing J.T. and myself on the broadcast, that’s going to be, for me, the most important piece of this whole experience for us.”

“You want people to play the game … but there’s other avenues to stay within the game of hockey if you have that passion,” Brown said. “You don’t have to be a player, you don’t have to be a coach. You can go into broadcasting, you can go into marketing. Just to be able to see someone that looks like them is important.”

Golden Knights’ Eichel Makes Team Debut, Plays First Game in 11 Months

Vegas Golden Knights forward Jack Eichel makes his team debut in a 2-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday. It is the 25-year-old’s first game played since March 7, 2021, when he was still a member of the Buffalo Sabres. He was traded to Vegas on Nov. 4, 2021, and had artificial disk replacement surgery on his neck on Nov. 12, 2021. He finishes his first game in a Golden Knights uniform with one shot, one hit, four penalty minutes, and a plus-minus rating of minus-1.

Buffalo Sabres Jack Eichel
Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

“I don’t think you want to take two penalties and be on the ice for their goal,” Eichel said. “But I think there was some stuff to build on. Obviously, they’re a really good team. You get matched up against a pretty good line for part of the game. So first game in 11 months, it’s good to just get back doing it.”

Avalanche’s Kuemper Sets Franchise Record With 15-0-2 Record in Last 17 Games

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper is in the midst of an incredible stint, setting a franchise record by earning his team at least one point in 17 consecutive games. The 31-year-old is helping the Avalanche maintain its spot as the No. 1 team in the NHL standings. He has posted back-to-back shutouts, with a 4-0 win at the Dallas Stars on Sunday, and most recently, a 2-0 win at the Golden Knights on Wednesday.

Darcy Kuemper, Colorado Avalanche
Darcy Kuemper, Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

“I felt good, but I think a lot of that was the guys in front of me were really committed to defensive hockey,” Kuemper said on his second consecutive shutout, which sets a franchise record by going 15-0-2 in his last 17 games. “It was a 0-0 game going into the third there. It looked like it might be a one-goal game. Guys did a great job of boxing out, letting me see it and staying on the D-side of pucks. When they allow me to see it, it makes my job a lot easier.”

Blackhawks’ Fleury Hopes to Play At Least One More NHL Season

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury‘s name is frequently brought up in NHL Trade Deadline discussions, and he opened up about his future on Wednesday. The 37-year-old is expected to be traded to a Stanley Cup-contending team ahead of the March 21 deadline, and believes his agent, Allan Walsh, has had conversations with the Blackhawks about a potential move. Fleury hopes to compete for his fourth championship with likely one season remaining after this one.

Related: NHL Talk: Penguins, Flames, Capitals, Golden Knights & Sabres

“If … if … I move, I would love a chance to win,” Fleury said. “That’s what I play for and that’s what I love. But like I said, it’s still a big if at this point … I don’t have that much left, right? So enjoy this season and hopefully next season again. After that, I don’t know.”

Bruins’ Bergeron Returns to Lineup on Thursday After Head Injury

Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron will return to the lineup against the New York Islanders on Thursday. He missed the last three games after a collision with Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby on Feb. 8, which caused him to fall into the boards, injuring his head. Bergeron was not concussed on the play and is able to return just nine days after the incident.

Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

“When I hit my heads on the boards there … I had a laceration on the back of my head,” Bergeron said on Wednesday. “Needed some time to get some stitches. It was swollen so just needed some time to get back.”

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