This entire post isn’t going to be “Wah wah Gary Bettman needs to go” but he’s in here hence the photo.
It’s July. Still. God this month drags for what feels like an eternity. I have no passionate feelings about anything so it’s hard to find a writing topic. New divisions? Whatever. The Minnesota Wild crying poor? Meh. Mikhail Grabovski remaining unsigned? Yeah, what is up with that? NHL GMs, man.
When the passion isn’t there, you can’t force it. That’s how you wind up with a ninth season of Friends and marriage. So instead of forcing it with one of those aforementioned topics (Seriously, if Grabovski winds up somewhere besides the NHL, this league should be embarrassed), I’m doing one of those things about ways to make the NHL better that will never happen but whatever it’s fun.
Some are obvious, some maybe aren’t, some are probably dumb, some are definitely things you’ve heard before. So here’s some stuff about hockey to distract you from your life and job for a few minutes. Read the rest of this entry »
The Pittsburgh Penguins, who had dropped two in a row after a 15 game winning streak in March, got back in the win column last night against the New York Rangers, but it may have come with another long-term injury to one of their top players.
Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson takes exception to a Zac Rinaldo hit on Chris Phillips by cross-checking the forward in the face late in the third period of today’s game against the Flyers. On the play, he received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for his actions.
The Toronto Maple Leafs 6-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens was impressive for sure, but it also featured an incident in the third period that may land Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski in hot water with the league.
Grabovski has a hearing scheduled with the league today after an allegedly biting Canadiens’ forward Max Pacioretty. During a third period scuffle, Pacioretty wrapped his arm around Grabovski’s head, and later claimed Grabovski bit him.
That’s how Alex Gibney’s remarkable documentary, “The Last Gladiators,” begins: a tight close-up of a pair of hands that are small, delicate, and fragile looking. The camera stays focussed on those hands as their owner, Chris “Knuckles” Nilan, describes the abuse they took over a 13-year NHL career. Throughout the opening two minutes of the film, the camera doesn’t leave his hands: we get to know his knuckles before we ever see Nilan’s face.
It’s an appropriate opening, as many hockey fans likely know far more about Nilan’s fists than they know about Nilan as a person. “The Last Gladiators” changes that, giving an unprecedented look into the life of an NHL enforcer. Toward the end of the film, while working with a public speaking coach, Nilan seems uncomfortable introducing himself as “Knuckles.” His coach suggests instead, ”I bet some of you in this audience know me as “Knuckles” Nilan. I prefer ‘Chris’.” More than anything, this is a film about Chris.
I’m not exactly sure what people expect from award shows. If you’ve ever seen any, like so much as one in your life, you’re aware they’re not exactly a Louie CK stand-up hour of unadulterated hilarity, and it’s pretty unlikely your favourite band is going to show up and bang out your favourite song - they’re major events meant to appeal to the masses. With that in mind…I thought last night’s NHL Award Show from Las Vegas was just fine, and pretty entertaining. (Daniel Wagner gave his review here.)
I took notes along the way (how sad is that), so let’s mindlessly plow through every one with zero discretion.
For starters, here’s a list of who won the stuff that matters: