Sidney Crosby didn't just win the Art Ross trophy in 2013-14. He won it going away, finishing as the only player to crack 100 points. No one else even got to 90.
It'll probably happen again. Now that he's healthy, Crosby looks like a lock to win it every year until he starts to wear down. Bovada will likely list him as the next season's Art Ross front-runner,just as they did last year, with 9/4 odds, and it seems downright silly to bet against him, say, by taking the 100/1 odds on Matt Moulson.
But it could happen. Maybe Crosby has a down year. Maybe his wrist holds him back in the earlygoing. Maybe there's an injury. Maybe he has a run of truly bad luck. The Art Ross may be Crosby's to lose, but he could very well lose it.
If he does, who wins it? Here are ten guys with the potential to wrest the Art Ross from Crosby's grip.
It'll also help if the Leafs don't go to crap with two months left in the season. Kessel probably puts up more points in March and April if the Leafs are trending in the other direction.
The Chicago Blackhawks have finally listened to their fans. "The Stripper" is no more.
On Tuesday, we discussed the "Shoot the Puck" game that's become a staple of Blackhawks home games. In the intermission segment, fans are selected, presumably at random, to shoot at the goal from center ice. It's mostly harmless, except when beautiful women take their turn, Frank Pellico's organ launches into a rendition of sleazy instrumental track "The Stripper".
This has been going on for decades, and while many fans have expressed their frustration with this casual sexism over the years, the Blackhawks have been slow to respond.
Backlash has been mounting this summer, however, and on the heels of a confrontation at Blackhawks Convention, which stoked the fires of a movement online, Blackhawks CEO John McDonough told Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times that the team would finally be doing something about it.
Poll a sampling of hockey fans, Family Feud-style, about the most obnoxious song they're likely to hear at a Chicago Blackhawks home game, and the number one answer is probably going to be "Chelsea Dagger". The track, from one-hit wonder The Fratellis, accompanies every Blackhawks goal, and since we aren't exactly talking about a Dave Tippett team here, you hear it a lot.
As Mark Lazerus noted, it's embarrassing:
This has been going on for decades, which is amazing when you consider the progress the Blackhawks, and society as a whole, have made in recent years. A lot has changed, such as the acceptability of this practice.
It's given "Shoot the puck", which should be little more than a lark to pass the time between periods, a controversial air.
Fans are sick of it, and they're beginning to make some noise.
3) Have 1-2 women moderators at the 2015 Blackhawks convention.
Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.
• Patrick Kane continues to pose with fans while censoring hockey outfits he doesn't like. [Reddit]
• Alex Ovechkin on playing for Barry Trotz: "Trotz is a great man even though I know that he’s a stern coach. I don’t think I’ll have any problems with him." [RMNB]
• The Tampa Bay Lightning were good last season, and with their improved blueline, they should be even better next year. [Bolts By the Bay]
• Another improved blueline: the other one in Florida. A look at how Dale Tallon made that happen. [Panther Parkway]
It hasn't been a good summer for the ice girls. The Florida Panthers continued their cost-cutting measures, sacking the entire ice girls program not long after doing the same to their sales staff. A Mother Jones piece quoted a former Philadelphia Flyers' ice girl describing her work at the Winter Classic by saying, "It really felt like we were in some kind of torture camp."
And over in San Jose, the Sharks somehow came to the decision that the summer of 2014 was the right time to bring in under-dressed ice girls, just as other teams were beginning to realize the issues with the practice, like how trotting women out as something to gawk at marginalizes them, and alienates female hockey fans who can't help but notice the in-game entertainment isn't for them and can only be left to assume the game isn't either.
Sadly, we don't get to see her face, but we do get to see Parise's, and he reacts with appropriate horror. "Oh spit," he says, if my lip-reading is anything to write home about.
Is it possible to win the Ice Bucket Challenge? It's not really a competition, of course. The point of the challenge, which hit hockey hard this week, either because these guys have nothing to do since it's August or because they're all really hot since it's August, is to raise awareness and money to fight ALS. You dump a bucket of ice on your head; you challenge a couple friends to do the same. Tough to win that kind of challenge, especially when everybody's doing the same thing (although Marc-Andre Fleury doing it in a banana costume for some reason was a nice change of pace).
That said, I'd argue Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin won it on Sunday. Nevermind that we said this guy won it on Friday. We've changed our minds. Rather than nominate two friends, you see, Grabovski and Kulemin nominated two foes, in Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle and GM Dave Nonis:
A lesson from Concerts 101: People want to be pandered to. They want to hear that their city in the best in the world, that you couldn't be happier to visit, and that, while you're there, you're a fan of their local sports team.
It's why, when Snoop Dogg performed at British Columbia's Pemberton Music Festival last month, he did so in a Henrik Sedin sweater (albeit one of the horrible Black Ice jerseys). It's why, at the Bell Centre last summer, One Direction performed in Montreal Canadiens jerseys (and told the screaming crowd they were the loudest one ever... swoon).
This is just how it's done.
The poor doll was thrashed about the stage, then beheaded.
Yeah, so Boston fans might still be kind of upset about the playoffs.
When you go swimming or fishing as a kid in just about any natural body of water, the dream, the thing that would make your day, is finding something really amazing. A massive fish. The beginning of a mystery. Some kind of treasure.
But it rarely goes down that way -- something that's been lampooned in cartoons for decades, as kids go home with tin cans, fish bones, and soggy old boots.
It actually happened to eight-year old Anthony Theriault, however. The kid was swimming in New Brunswick's Restigouche River this summer when he came across this:
It's a ring with a Stanley Cup on it... HOLY CRAP IT'S A STANLEY CUP RING.
The great thing about Cup rings is that they're identifiable, since they tend to have the player's name and number engraved on them. This one is no exception: as the ring has the Montreal Canadiens logo, with the initials and number of now 96-year-old former Canadiens' centre Elmer Lach, along with the year 1945-46, a year the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup.
Did Elmer Lach really drop his Stanley Cup ring in a river?
Probably not, unfortunately.
The city of Abbotsford was never a particularly good home base for the Calgary Flames' American Hockey League affiliate, and it had nothing to do with the team being just east of Vancouver, in the heart of Canucks country.
Fact is, Abbotsford wasn't a good fit for a Canucks affiliate either, which is why Vancouver signed a five-year agreement to put their AHL franchise in Utica, New York, rather than waiting for the Fraser Valley city with twice the population and a love of all things Canucks to open up.
The problem with Abbotsford: it was just too far away. Not from Calgary or Vancouver, mind you, but from any other city in the AHL.
In a league driven by parity, where drafting and development have become the most important part of the game, the AHL's Western Conference teams are getting increasingly upset at having to exile their prospects to the other side of the continent, where they're harder to call up and harder to keep an eye on.
The question becomes: Where will the AHL be getting these teams?
Insightrix Research Inc. is a firm based in Saskatoon, the largest city in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. And like most residents of Saskatchewan, it's primary interest is the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.
The Roughriders are undoubtedly the strongest brand in the CFL (the best football league in the world, bar none, it's not even close, don't even try to argue). But where do they stand as a sports brand in relation to Canada's other major sports franchises?
Survey says: third, behind the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs, in first and second, respectively.
Yes, respectively. According to Insightrix Research's findings, the Montreal Canadiens are a stronger brand that the Toronto Maple Leafs.
These are divisive results, especially in hockey-mad Canada, and especially in August, when hockey-mad Canadians are mostly just mad Canadians, because there's no hockey.
Poor Insightrix. They simply wanted to do their Saskatchewanian duty and remind everyone how great the Roughriders are. But now they've stepped in it.
Of course Montreal won in May. They were playing in May, and winning.