It wasn’t as loud as a sense of anticipation. A year ago, for the first time, the first two selections in the NHL draft went for teams based on approximately six miles, and wouldn’t we all enjoy watching the rivalry develop between the “devils” № 1, Jack Hughes and number 2 of Rangers, Kaapo How?
Well, the future is obviously that everything is ahead of twelve-year-olds, which is a pretty good thing, considering that one season from their past in the NHL has been added to the biggest combined statistical failure of one to two in more than two decades.
Hughes, misled early as a top-six center at age 18, scored 21 points (7-14) for the Devils, while Kakko, who struggled to assimilate into the North American game, posted 23 (1
You have to go back to 1997 to find a project in which the two best selections are both players in positions and combined for fewer points in the year immediately after the selection than Hughes and Caco.
But you know what? If Hughes and Kako follow the first two joint selections for this year, the Devils and Rangers will meet on a ferry in the middle of Hudson and dance the night away.
Since 1997, the first overall selection was Joe Thornton, on his way to the Hall of Fame despite a 3-4 = 7 rookie season in Boston under coach Pat Burns, who made the center a solid scratch more than 20 times.
And in 1997, the second overall selection was Patrick Marlowe on his way to the Hall of Fame after a more representative season for freshmen, in which he scored 32 points (13-19) to make a total of 39 points for athletes who, 23 seasons in later they are still in the league.
And let me tell you, Hughes danced all night in the garden on Thursday, collecting a pair of goals and an assist in an eye-opening performance to play alongside 47-lifeguard goalkeeper Mackenzie Blackwood in the Devils’ 4-3 win.
The youngster added musculature to his frame with hard off-season work that allowed him to fight in these 50-50 areas, but Hughes just kept moving his legs. He was dynamic and lively, on his feet all the time, while thriving under coach Lindy Ruf, who had worked as an assistant for the previous three years on the other side of the Hudson.
“My level of confidence is obviously high,” said Hughes, who has six points (2-4) in three races. “I think it’s always been high, you know, but we build and I build personally.
“Lindy wants me to play a fast 200-foot game and she believes I can play against all four lines. So for me I will play better when our line has a puck and is in violation, so this is part of my game, puck hunting and pickpocketing. “
Hughes scored on a pass from the goal line when a shot glanced at the shaken Alexander Georgiev and landed in the crease to give the Devils a 2-1 lead at 4:13 per second, just 1:23 after the Rangers had a draw. Hughes got his second break, accelerating on the left side before a backhand through five holes, after blocking a Jacob Trumpet shot at the point, for a 3-1 lead at 8:38. Then, after the Blueshirts closed 3-2, Hughes found Miles Wood on the right porch with a brilliant diagonal look for a 4-2 goal in the 16:00 power game.
“The puck found me,” Hughes said, as if he were little more than an innocent bystander. “It was a good time for our line. We must keep moving. “
Kako, meanwhile, did not score a point, but played a strong game. In fact, the Finn had a 21-6 try lead at 11:22 a five-to-five time, while he and ambulances Philippe Chitil (22-8) and Philippe DiGiusepe controlled the game under the hash points for substitutions at one point. Kakko had a hard time the first night, but he looked comfortable with the puck and confident without it.
He was a bright spot tonight when the Rangers received several powerful goals from the big boys Chris Kreder and Mika Zibanejad, but few of their best weapons with even strength. Ryan Strom, who happened to be walking, was somehow on the ice for just one attempt to shoot five to five rangers in 12:48, according to Naturalst.tv.com. This seems impossible.
It’s still early. At the beginning of the season, impossible at the beginning of the careers of Hughes and Kako, who want to prove that last year was a diversion and that the future is all ahead of them.
The present was pretty good for Hughes.