Some links, news, and notes from the world of hockey this Thursday:
- It’s tough to start off with this, but the biggest piece of news this week has been the fact that Ivan Provorov refused to wear the Pride jersey for warmup with the Philadelphia Flyers. It was a massive controversy, and a whole lot of comments were being said by people that should not be said in a public setting, quite frankly. There are many appalling things with this (and I could write a long article about it), with the first being the cowardice to hide behind “religious beliefs.” There are millions of religious people (even people part of the Russian Orthodox Church!) who can accept LGBTQ+ people for who they are, and the whole point of religion is to love others anyway so there isn’t much of a basis for that hatred. It’s literally just a jersey, and Provorov wearing it wouldn’t have meant that he fully supports them, but it would’ve at least given LGBTQ+ fans the sense that they are welcome. Instead, we know that’s sadly not always the case. It’s just disheartening that we’re still having to deal with the lack of acceptance that this community exists and deserves equality. Lastly, John Tortorella is one of the biggest hypocrites out there:
John Tortorella: “If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game.”— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) January 18, 2023
Also John Tortorella: https://t.co/HeYSVUX3dD
- Steven Stamkos scored a hat-trick last night against the Vancouver Canucks, which included his 500th career goal. He finished the night at 502 goals in 965 games, which is 18th all-time in terms of goals per game. What’s remarkable is that Stamkos is only 32 years old but there were a few moments when his future was seriously being questioned. In 2017 he was coming off of an injury-plagued 20-game season and had just 64 points the season prior. Then in 2020 he only played one game in the playoffs (and scored in the finals!) but some were worried about his injury moving forward. Yet through all that, he’s back to a well over a point-per-game player and will go down as one of the greatest scorers of all-time.
- The final NHL All-Stars will be revealed tonight during the first intermission of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Edmonton Oilers game, which starts at 9 pm EST, so the announcement should be around 9:45 EST. One goalie and two skaters will be named for each division, and we will see if Tim Stützle joins Brady Tkachuk in Florida.
- Montreal Canadiens first overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky will miss the next three months, and most likely the rest of the season. They don’t say what the injury is, just that it is a lower-body injury. Slafkovsky has some tantalizing tools, but his 10 points in 39 games showed that he could have probably used some time in the AHL before anointing him as ready.
- Mathieu Joseph not playing last night was incredibly strange, and it appears that even team reporters have no idea what’s going on. Ian Mendes tried to get to the bottom of it but still isn’t quite sure:
Tried to dig into the Mathieu Joseph situation over past few hours, but all sides quiet right now.— Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes) January 18, 2023
My sense is this isn’t a traditional “coach versus player” healthy scratch situation.
I also get the sense this might have something to do with something non-hockey related.
I wonder if there will have to be some relationship repairments between Joseph and DJ Smith...
- Minnesota Wild winger Matt Boldy signed a 7-year extension with an AAV of $7M. He’s been great for them, with 68 points in 90 career games. However, that 62-point pace being worth $7M makes Stützle’s $8.35M look like an absolute steal.
- Erik Karlsson had another four points last night, giving him a whopping 62 points in 46 games. That puts him on pace for 111 points...He’s fourth in the entire league in points and first in even strength points at 45. It would be pretty neat to see him win another Norris, which would surely cement his Hall of Fame candidacy, even though that should have been decided long ago.