I’m trying a new thing with the weekly round-ups this year. This is the first one of the season because last week was only a half-week (also I was sick). So the last week and a half in hockey:
Goal of the Week
From the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Penguins game (Malkin has a nice goal too). This slick pass from Letang to Crosby off the boards is the stuff dreams are made of.
Runner up: Alex Galchenyuk streaking up the ice after exiting the penalty box and scoring was definitely a sight to behold.
Fight of the Week
Mats Zuccarello was what you might describe as feisty during the Blues vs. Rangers game on October 9. Here he gets into it with TJ Oshie:
Runner up: Iginla vs. Phaneuf which sadly was not to be. Iggy is number one on my list of intimidating superstars, so it’s probably good for Phaneuf that they were broken up, but we all know we would have loved to see that.
What Don Cherry Wore
The great thing about NHLN picking up Rogers feeds now is that we Americans can be treated to Don Cherry’s outfits on Hockey Night in Canada. The downside is that we have to listen to him if we can’t get to the remote in time.
On October 11, he wore this monstrosity:
I honestly thought that stuffed animal thing was part of his suit for a moment. What I love about this is that Don Cherry seems to be wondering if we remember that he’s Canadian. “Am I Canadian?” he probably pondered earlier that day. “How do I prove it?” And lo, he opened his closet and there was the sign from above.
This suit is from October 18:
It’s…actually tasteful? He does kind of look like he should be singing in a barbershop quartet but it’s nicely understated and his tie looks nice with. Also, is Ron MacLean always making that facial expression?
Tweet of the Week
Okay technically it’s tweets plural, but this exchange between the Senators and Blue Jackets was pretty great:
On October 17, the Cottonmouths were down 3-0 in an exhibition game and made a goalie change, calling in Shannon Szabados halfway through the second period:
Szabados didn’t let in a single goal through the rest of the period, third, or in the eventual overtime, leading to a 4-3 victory for the Cottonmouths.
It’s that time-honored tradition: looking at the NHL standings and seeing which teams are top (bottom?) of the tanking for McDavid pile. Who cares how early in the season it is?
5. Colorado Avalanche, 1-4-1
Statistics fans everywhere clutch their chests with joy to see the Avalanche regress. Fun fact: in our group chat when discussing predictions for this year, Tasha described this year as the Avs “going off the statistical cliff.”
4. Carolina Hurricanes, 0-2-2
Despite the fact that they are the only team other than Edmonton to be winless at the moment, I think things aren’t as bad for the Hurricanes as all that. Yes, they are having a hellish time with injuries already, but I feel like two shootout losses are acceptable. (On a side note, though, I think it would be super cool if one of the top prospects went to Carolina, just from a marketing and fanbase-growing perspective.)
3. Winnipeg Jets, 1-4-0
I’m so used to the Jets not doing anything that sometimes I forget they exist. I’m hoping this is the year they finally start to move players.
2. Buffalo Sabres, 1-5-0
This one is no surprise. The Sabres are tied with the Oilers for worst goal differential in the league and no one expected anything different from them.
1. Edmonton Oilers, 0-4-1
It is bad news for the Oilers, who had a couple of injuries to deal with in addition to just seeming unable to get it together. I wanted a reason to take them off my tank list this year and I do think that they can improve, but a five game losing streak is hard to come back from this early in the season. I think this is the year we start seeing their dragon hoard of first round picks start to move if Craig MacTavish can find players to trade for who don’t have Edmonton circled, stared, and highlighted on their no-trade list.
Soapbox of the Week
Today, Slava Voynov of the Los Angeles Kings was arrested on domestic violence charges. The NHL (the league itself) has suspended him indefinitely while the investigation is ongoing.
There are a lot of things I want to say, but I am not a lawyer or a doctor nor do I have any expertise on the topic. I do think that this was absolutely the right call, and it’s what should have happened last year when Semyon Varlamov was arrested in Denver. This clause exists in the CBA (something I investigated thoroughly last year when trying to determine what the NHL could do with the Varlamov case) probably for PR, but in a league where the players have guaranteed contracts, it’s the league and teams’ only real recourse in these situations.
I am of the mind that it should be in the CBA that anyone under criminal investigation should be suspended until the investigation is concluded (whether paid or not is another issue that I have been debating especially given the notion of “innocent until proven guilty” in the eyes of the law). It would be hell to deal with legally, particularly when it comes to labor rights, but I would counter that the NHLPA, the NHL, and the teams have made it their business to promote their stars as role models and pillars in their communities. The NHL conducts seminars with rookies about social media, LGBT issues, tolerance in the dressing room, and domestic violence as well as sexual assault, and that’s great. Should it be conducted every year with every team and player? Probably, yes. When you promote your stars as role models, which I would contend the NHL and NHLPA do, then it’s your responsibility to be sure they actually are role models and to set an example yourselves by showing that criminal behavior isn’t tolerated, period. When the league lets players slide, it sets a terrible precedent both in practice and for other players.