To suggest Brett Connolly of Prince George is much-traveled would be an understatement.

At age 28, the former PG Cougars and Cariboo Cougars forward has joined his 5th NHL team (and 3rd in 4 years).

Could Connolly potentially be a spokesperson for Samsonite considering how many suitcases he has had to pack?

After starting his NHL career with Tampa, then going to Boston, Washington (where he won a Stanley Cup in 2018), Florida, and now Chicago, Connolly again gets a fresh start.

To cut salary and make cap room, the Panthers unloaded Connolly to the Blackhawks as part of a five-player deal.

He is in the 2nd season of a 4-year, $14 million contract signed in 2019.

As mentioned in last week’s Hart Attack column, Connolly has had a few ups and plenty of downs this season with the Panthers, who are just a point out of first place in the NHL overall standings.

In 2020-21, he played in his 500th NHL game, scored his 100th career goal but also was placed on waivers and was a healthy scratch for several games.

Connolly has just two goals and two assists in 21 games while averaging 12:36 of ice time.

“He was a good player last year, so it’s not like we’re trying to recapture something that was there five years ago,” said GM Stan Bowman to Blackhawks.com. “This happens around the league, it happens to players on our team — for whatever reason, their role changes with new players coming in and whether it’s their performance or whether it’s other players that are able to do things and they don’t get the same opportunities. The thing he has is tough to do in this league, which is score goals.”

Connolly was not in the Panthers long-term plan under coach Joel Quenneville so now he gets another opportunity to prove himself under Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton, who ironically replaced Quenneville in 2018.

While Florida is making plans for a Stanley Cup playoff run, the Blackhawks are becoming a long-shot to even
qualify for the post-season.

Chicago is four points behind Nashville for the 4th and final spot in the Central Division with each team having 15 games remaining.

This is yet another opportunity for Connolly, perhaps even a wake-up call.

He is going to play in a major American city that is passionate about its NHL team and he will be a teammate of arguably the greatest American-born hockey player of all time in Patrick Kane.

The Blackhawks have struggled of late but with Kane and Jonathan Toews leading the way they have won three Stanley Cups in the last 11 years (all with Quenneville as coach) dating back to 2010.

Connolly needs to make an impact in his new environment.

If not, he may run out of chances and possibly suitcases.

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Are you at all excited about Monday’s NHL trade deadline?

I guess if you are a big Taylor Hall fan you might be.

The 29-year-old unrestricted free agent this summer is more than accommodating to waive his no-trade clause so he can leave the sad-sack Buffalo Sabres and join a contender.

Before you think Hall could have an impact elsewhere, keep in mind the 2010 first overall pick of the Edmonton Oilers has just two goals in 37 games this season for a measly 2.3 percent shooting percentage.

Granted his production could pick up elsewhere, but if a team is relying on Hall to put them over the top, they are just fooling themselves.

Yes, Hall was the league MVP in 2018 and he does have 582 career points (220 goals) in 664 games, however, if he does end up being the biggest name dealt, the hype of trade deadline day will again fall well short of expectations.

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Taylor Gauthier and Tyler Brennan are the backbones of the PG Cougars. Both can relate to each other, not only as teammates but as goalies that have worn the Team Canada jersey. Hear from both Gauthier and Brennan on this week’s edition of Cat Scan. Topics include:

  • Life in the Kamloops bubble
  • Brennan’s thoughts on playing for Canada at U-18 Worlds
  • Gauthier being a mentor to Brennan
  • The competitive nature of both goalies

FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

So after going undefeated all season, Gonzaga lost in the championship game. Well even though the kids finished second, we can still say they are true Patriots.

*Contributor Marc Ragovin

With Gonzaga’s loss in the championship game, college basketball has not had an undefeated champion since Bobby Knight’s 1976 Indiana Hoosiers, 45 years ago. After toasting Gonzaga’s loss with members of his team, Bobby celebrated further by tossing a chair across the room.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

Seahawks DE Carlos Dunlap said last month Russell Wilson said he was “here to stay, let’s go Hawks.” In translation, Seattle couldn’t make a trade to one of the teams on Wilson’s list.

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

Ohio State safety Marcus Hooker was arrested on DUI charges after he passed out behind the wheel while waiting in a McDonald’s drive-thru line. Defense lawyers can’t decide whether to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or “I deserve a break today.”

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/


IN CASE, YOU MISSED IT

I’m not suggesting Baylor’s Bears had a picnic in beating Gonzaga. I’m saying they had enough baskets to even please Yogi and Boo-Boo.

*Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

Hartley Miller is the news and sports supervisor and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97.
He also is the 94.3 the Goat radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca