Puck Daddy Countdown: Calling BS on supposed drama in Leafs land

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Kyle Dubas being named GM isn’t going to make the Maple Leafs unravel. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Kyle Dubas being named GM isn’t going to make the Maple Leafs unravel. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

6. Condemnations

Hone of the biggest laughs I had in this postseason was when the Bruins packed up their dressing room for the summer and everyone had to very gravely talk about how Inappropriate it was for Brad Marchand to lick people all the time.

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Marchand himself said he would have to change and Don Sweeney basically said “Ah jeez we hope he stops.”

I honestly don’t understand why. Like, maybe you feel as though licking is a bridge too far for anyone, but no one from the Capitals is auditioning for an Oscar-bait drama by gravely saying Tom Wilson needs to stop concussing people, and what’s the bigger issue in the league?

More to the point, what if Brad Marchand needs to keep the licking thing in his back pocket as a thing of like, “Don’t go near Marchand, he’ll lick ya!” I mean, how many times was it waved away of like, “Well Matt Cooke needs to constantly maybe be trying to end a guy’s career to be effective. That’s playing with an edge!” Would licking people not be a better edge to play with than putting them in the hospital?

(And also maybe it’s a little homophobic, right? In what way is it different from the Goldust gimmick? And that guy’s a WWE Hall of Famer!)

Like I’ve said before, I’m not pro-licking, but I’m definitely anti-most-of-the-people-who-are-staunchly-anti-licking. Even when doing takes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend; you must read your Sun Tzu. So, for me, too big of a deal has been made out of this.

5. Hitting Dustin Byfuglien

I know hockey players are like big tough guys who think they’re so so so strong but what on earth is with all these guys on the Golden Knights feeling like “I can definitely put Dustin Byfuglien on his wallet.”

It’s like watching one of those matches mid-90s WCW matches where The Giant has to fight two cruiserweights and they’re just doing missile dropkicks and he’s no-selling all of it then he chokeslams both of them at the same time after like 35 seconds and also never stopped smoking a cigarette.

Don’t try to hit Dustin Byfuglien. You’re gonna die.

4. Confidence

Speaking of that series, honestly, the Jets didn’t look that bad in their Game 2 loss to Vegas, and a funny thing happened mid-game.

Jonathan Marchessault was interviewed on NBC and he basically said this was a standard Golden Knights game. Which was true, because his line shredded the competition as it so often does, and all the other lines got kinda run over but inexplicably broke even because Marc-Andre Fleury played out of his mind.

There’s a reason half the hockey media was tweeting after the Jets went down 2-0 that there was no way they were going to go down quietly: They looked incredible, and Vegas got lucky to only give up the one goal in the onslaught that followed.

Then in the third period, Vegas did a pretty successful job of slowing the game down and keeping the Jets away from the danger areas, but even then it was a lot more interesting than the numbers would suggest.

Which, hey, it’s good that the Jets looked at it that way. They had maybe five bad minutes in a 60-minute game and they lost. It happens! So they should definitely feel good about going into Vegas and being able to win some games out there.

Sometimes the Marchessault line is gonna shred you. That’s life.

3. The World Championships

The Worlds have been good this year because Canada lost to the U.S. in a shootout, got smoked by Finland, and needed overtime to beat Latvia.

Also the U.S. only lost once and it was to Finland also.

Very good results so far. Especially if you’re Finland.

2. Alex Ovechkin

I love the idea that Alex Ovechkin has somehow changed the way he plays the game because he stopped shooting like 8 percent in the playoffs. If (when?) the Caps make it to the Cup Final, the number of glowing “He’s changed so much!!!!!” profiles the dumbest people in the sport will write and produce about him will be incredible.

Remember when he Changed under Hunter and Oates? Turns out he sucked then! He’s good again now? So let me try to get this straight:

From 2005 to like 2011, he was amazing but also bad and selfish and a defensive liability?

Then under Hunter and Oates from 2011 to 2014, he was good and unselfish but also couldn’t score and that was bad?

Then under Trotz from 2014 to, I guess, 2018 he was good and unselfish but the team couldn’t get out of the second round so he was bad?

But now in the last six weeks at age 32 the fact that he’s shooting 18 percent or whatever — and Braden Holtby continues to be phenomenal behind him — is an indicator that he’s once again changed his approach and it’s exactly perfect after 11 seasons?

Am I getting that argument right? Good lord.

1. Rifts!!!!!

Have you heard? Mike Babcock has beef with Auston Matthews. And Mike Babcock has beef with Kyle Dubas. And Kyle Dubas has beef with Mark Hunter. And Brendan Shanahan has to hold it all together like a Toronto-based Michael Bluth.

I have a different theory: This is all manufactured BS because a bunch of old dumbasses who decided they hated corsi 10 years ago are now mad because a young smart person who doesn’t hate Corsi and in fact probably likes it is in charge of the team they like.

Someone please email me and let me know if I’m on the right track here.

And also, no one let any of those old guys know that the reason the Leafs lost to the Bruins was actually “all the slow guys who suck that Lou Lamoriello brought in over the last three years.”

Imagine the fits they’re gonna pitch when Roman Polak, Leo Komarov, and Dom Moore don’t come back this summer.

Imagine the meltdowns when they get some undervalued third-liner from a non-playoff team for $1.1 million because they have to mostly save money for when all their good RFAs come due at the same time.

It’s going to be very, very funny. Especially once the Leafs improve their standings position in 2018-19.

(Not ranked this week: Nothing.

We’re in a real good place with hockey right now and let’s hope it lasts literally forever! (It won’t!))

Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here.

(All statistics via Corsica unless otherwise noted.)

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