Four games await this weekend, with the Whale visiting the Riveters in New Jersey and the Pride squaring off with the Whitecaps in Minnesota.
With a busy final weekend before the All-Star break, new jerseys and even a new mascot to evaluate, let’s take a look at who’s hot, who’s not and who to keep an eye on going forward.
Trending up: Amanda Boulier, MIN | 2 goals, 4 assists in two games vs CTW
Amanda Boulier continues her campaign for Defender of the Year, exploding offensively in a triumphant home weekend against the Connecticut Whale. After putting up six points in two games, she now leads all NWHL defenders in scoring with 21 points on the season.
2019 finished on a bit of a down note for Boulier, collecting only one assist in her final five games. She’s returned to form since the turn of the calendar, however, striking out on a four-game point streak including a four-point performance on Saturday and two more on Sunday.
Boulier has already vastly exceeded last year’s point total (13) in the same amount of games played, and last season she had the benefit of being paired with all-world caliber defender Lee Stecklein.
Boulier has always had the capacity for creativity, but she seems to be exploring it more this season. She’s taking more chances pinching in with the puck, and has been making some dazzlingly confident plays with her stick.
Boulier was recognized as the VEDA NWHL Player of the Week for her performance.
Trending down: Elena Orlando, CTW | -12 in last five games
Elena Orlando is on a tough stretch. Not only was she a -4 this weekend, she has been on the ice for 13 5-on-5 goals against over her last six games played and only one for.
Connecticut is having a difficult year, and Orlando’s recent play is sticking out more and more. Whether the team is consistently falling short because of games getting out of hand early- like Saturday’s 7-1 loss to Minnesota in which Orlando was on the ice for three first period goals against- or barely scraping by in overtime to cinch their first victory- in which Orlando was on the ice for both the tying and go-ahead Riveters goals late in the third period- the defensive miscues are simply piling up.
She’s both outmuscled and outworked in front of the net here by Allie Thunstrom, and it isn’t the first time this season it’s happened to Orlando.
Since the team rarely scores at 5-on-5 with Orlando on the ice, it goes without saying that her offensive numbers leave a lot to be desired: 0 points in her last 16 games.
Orlando will represent the Connecticut Whale at this year’s All-Star Game in Boston, automatically chosen as a founding member of the NWHL. If she didn’t have that distinction, it would be near impossible to justify her selection.
Trending up: Jonna Curtis, MIN | 2 goals, 4 assists in two games vs CTW
A fascinating stat about Jonna Curtis: she has points in 10 of the Whitecaps’ 15 games this season. Nine of those games are multi-point performances.
Curtis was a breakout dark horse candidate for MVP last season, racking up 19 points in 16 games. She has already surpassed last year’s performance in fewer games, posting 23 points in 15 contests.
With four straight multi-point games under her belt, there’s no reason to think she can’t threaten for the league scoring title when all is said and done. She currently tails Jillian Dempsey by nine points, but has a game in hand. Considering her propensity to strike more than once in a game, she could make up ground quick if she continues her hot streak.
Trending down: Cappy | What is this
Look. We live in a world that has taken a legitimate shine to Sesame Street’s resident crack addict, Gritty. He’s literally under investigation by the police for allegedly punching a 13-year-old kid in the back. We don’t seem to care. If anything, it has helped Gritty’s brand image as a lovably psychotic dream-haunting demon.
So it’s in that same spirit of loving the bizarre that I have to ask: what is Cappy?
There’s just something about this Sentient Puck Being that is off-putting. Maybe it’s the fact that unlike most other mascots, there are really no other exaggerated features about its humanoid body, making it look like some lab experiment gone wrong. Maybe it’s the curvature of its mouth. Maybe it’s the mischievous look in its eye, like it knows something you don’t.
I, like most of the internet, laughed at Gritty when he first broke onto the scene. Then Gritty immediately leaned into his inherent creepiness by using his second tweet to threaten to murder the Pittsburgh Penguins in their sleep and I was completely on board.
So I don’t know, maybe it will just take some time for me to get to know Cappy. But for right now, I’m skeptical.
Discussion question: who in the NWHL is most likely to instigate some type of Robin Lopez-esque Mascot Beef? My vote is Madison Packer.
Trending up: All-Star Game Jerseys | Ooh, that gold though!
A lot of All-Star Game jerseys have been black-and-white lately. The NHL, the NBA, the NFL Pro Bowl. That’s why last year’s NWHL All-Star Game jerseys were such a breath of fresh air- they were vibrantly colorful, intricately designed and were representative of the host city.
It’s nice to see that even when the league succumbs to the black-and-white trend, they still have a unique touch to them that makes them stand out.
The logo itself is clean, with easily identifiable Bostonian imagery- the brick pattern and the clovers. The gold is crisp, reminiscent of West Point’s sweaters.
The usage of distinct color combinations and specific detailing is always something to marvel at when examining the jersey designs of M Style Marketing. It doesn’t always have to be as ambitious as doily watermarks across the torso; these are more subdued, yet still eye-catching and appealing.