Let’s enjoy some hockey things together
Welcome to Please Like My Sport, the weekly column in which we find various things that can (and should) make you excited about hockey this week. Whether you’re already a hockey enjoyer or someone who is looking for reasons to become one, the goal is to deliver reasons for you to appreciate the NHL right now.
Here are some things to enjoy about hockey this week:
There currently seems to be a reckoning of sorts going on in the NHL as a number of coaches are being forced to answer for their past problematic behaviors. First it was Mike Babcock, who’s been accused of being verbally abusive and carrying out unnecessary methods of psychological warfare on his own players. Then it was Bill Peters, who essentially confirmed he used racial slurs against one of his players and has been accused of physically abusing others. He resigned. Now, it’s Marc Crawford, who is also facing accusations of physical abuse.
It’s kind of difficult to totally “enjoy” this reckoning because for coaches to answer for their past transgressions, those transgressions need to have been committed in the first place, and it sucks knowing that coaches may have been protected and gotten away with it for so long. (Not to mention the likelihood of additional cases that have yet to be exposed). That’s not to say that coaches can’t be tough or that players should be constantly coddled, but players — particularly those on the younger side — shouldn’t have to deal with the type of nonsense and abuse that has come to light over the past month, especially when it can significantly affect their livelihood.
But it’s also satisfying to watch the chickens come home to roost in a sport that has been largely dominated by “the old boys club.” It’s really no secret that the NHL has struggled with elements of toxicity and inclusiveness for quite a while, and some of those issues with the culture have been allowed to survive because the bad guys have been protected by their peers.
What we’ve seen take place over the last month can be considered enjoyable as long as it helps expose and expunge some of the crap that has been plaguing the culture of the sport, and that goes for coaching at all levels. There’s no place for physical or mental abuse. There’s no place for racism or homophobia. If you can’t effectively coach without those elements, or you want to raise a stink about them being taken out of the game, then get the hell out and good riddance.
The best highlight of the week came courtesy of Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov, who went end-to-end to deliver this absolutely nasty game-winner in overtime against the Canadiens.
Ivan Provorov… UNREAL. pic.twitter.com/4muTy4MgqS
— NHL (@NHL) December 1, 2019
Yeah, the through-the-legs deke to get around Max Domi is very nice but also be sure to appreciate Provorov stick-lifting Domi in the process.
Provorov really pulling out the moves for the OT winner! pic.twitter.com/sw06lZYd86
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) November 30, 2019
Also, shoutout to the Flyers, who have won five straight (even if four of those wins have come against struggling teams) and have moved into the top five in the Eastern Conference. They certainly haven’t looked perfect but they’re getting the job done and are exceeding a whole lot of expectations, including my own.
During intermission of a San Jose Sharks game a few weeks ago, one young kid competing in a shootout competition had all the fun. Not only did Sam Tracy score on a slick spin-o-rama goal but then he immediately topped that display by breaking out a moonwalk celebration.
Okay the spin-o-rama was cool and all BUT DID YOU SEE THAT MOONWALK CELLY 🕴 pic.twitter.com/Q1UbuWrtkF
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) November 24, 2019
Clearly a showman beyond his years, the Sharks made the wise decision to invite Sam to meet with some of their players this week. He was kind enough to share his secrets to celebrating goals in style, so if you see Timo Meier or Kevin Labanc moonwalking after a goal at any point this season, just know that Sam Tracy taught them everything they know.
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) December 2, 2019
No word on if this kid was invited.
Not all cellys can be winners though 😂 pic.twitter.com/jps9OJbpY0
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) November 24, 2019
BoroCop: Street Justice
Things are going surprisingly well for the Ottawa Senators these days. Not only are they not the absolute worst team in the league but they’re also getting some good PR — both things bringing a refreshing change of pace for them. Over the weekend, Sens defenseman Mark Borowiecki went full street vigilante when he thwarted a robbery on the streets of Vancouver.
After Borowiecki witnessed a would-be thief take a bag from a car, the defenseman reportedly clotheslined the criminal off the bicycle he was riding on. Then, after decking him to the pavement, Borowiecki wrestled the bag away from the perp, who then fled the scene. Pretty badass stuff.
Here’s a pretty entertaining video of Borowiecki giving a play-by-play in his own words:
Unfortunately for the Senators, it seems that the public is only allowed to see footage of their players’ off-ice, road trip activities when they involve Uber rides that paint the organization in a hilariously terrible light. No footage of Borowiecki doling out street justice has been released, at least not yet.
Luckily for the Sens, at least they have a great social media team that made this:
"Your move, creep." pic.twitter.com/sN7NtuRldx
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) December 3, 2019
And that will probably be the last thing we get to enjoy about the Senators this season.
Most unenjoyable thing of the week
I know we come here to enjoy the great hockey things together, but I think we can all also find unity and bond over some not-so-great stuff too. I feel like it’s safe to say we can all agree that whoever made this three-team P.K. Subban Frankenstein jersey needs to be sent to prison immediately.
(Yes, I know Frankenstein was the doctor. Shut up, nerd).
The Beautiful Game highlight of the week
They don’t make nets like they used to.
The beautiful game pic.twitter.com/M7Iwg44af0
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) December 4, 2019
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