A look at three of the biggest stories from the NHL weekend and how they’ll play into the coming days.
Another Black Eye
The weekend included plenty of important games and individual highlights. But those won’t be the focus today, because as seems to be the case a few times every season, the hockey world is instead left reflecting on yet another scary incident of needless violence.
This time it came in Saturday's game between the Penguins and Bruins. The teams have a long history with each other, and their recent matchups have featured plenty of bad blood. But Saturday’s game went well beyond that, and it left both teams facing down injuries and suspensions.
The second star: Leaf fans
Marquee free agent David Clarkson finally scored his first goal of the season, and Leaf fans are handling the event with their typical brand of quiet restraint.
The first star: Corey Perry and Alexander Semin
Do me a favor and let me know how many times you can watch this GIF before it stops being funny. I’ve had it running for three straight days and I’m not there yet.
In case you were busy officially filling out the paperwork necessary to hand over the title of "World's Most Obnoxious Argonauts Fan," here's what you missed in sports on Monday:
Cam Newton's late-game heroics, and a controversial non-call on a game-ending interception, gave the Panthers a 24-20 victory over the New England Patriots, their sixth straight win. Bill Belichick was furious with the officiating after the game, asking quarterback Tom Brady, "Who are those officials carrying all those flags for anyway? Goodell? Is that it? Goodell? Well I tell you, let me give you a little inside information about Goodell." Flames roared behind Belichick, and the stench of brimstone hung in the air as he added, "Goodell likes to watch. He's a prankster. Think about it. He gives men instincts. He gives players this extraordinary gift: instinct. And then what does He do — I swear for His own amusement, his own private, cosmic gag reel — He sets the rules in opposition." An increasingly animated Belichick continued, "It's the goof of all time. Look, but don't touch. Touch, but don't grab. Grab, but don't catch." Belichick then let out a horrible laugh, pointed to the ground, and yelled, "And while you're jumpin' from one foot to the next, what is he doing? He's laughin' His sick ass off! He's a tight-ass! He's a sadist! He's an absentee landlord! Worship Goodell? Never!"
Tony Allen was ejected for kicking Chris Paul in the face, but his Grizzlies held on, beating the Los Angeles Clippers, 106-102, at Staples Center. After the game, an excited Blake Griffin ran to Paul and said, "Dude, dude, dude. I have the best idea for a dunk-contest dunk, dude. Dude, will you help me do it?" Paul nodded and asked Griffin, "Does it involve kicking me in the face?" Griffin's eyes got wide as he said, "How did you know? Dude. Dude. Are you psychic?" But Paul didn't answer, and instead just shook his head and walked away.
Here are 10 vaguely connected thoughts from six hours of opening-night hockey.
The good and the bad of pregame ceremonies
The first game on the schedule came to us from Montreal, so you know there had to be a pregame ceremony. And indeed, the new season was welcomed into existence by this:
I know I can lose my Canadian passport for saying this, but that was awful, right? It was a ceremony involving the Habs and dimmed lights and a torch, so we’re all supposed to nod reverently and pretend that it was fantastic (and most Montreal ceremonies are). But that one didn’t work.
The basic premise was apparently “What if we made every Canadiens player awkwardly hold a torch at center ice while everyone stared at them for 30 seconds?” As it turns out, a player in that situation has only a handful of options:
• Stare straight ahead like a badass (P.K. Subban)
• Try to stare straight ahead like a badass and fail (Alex Galchenyuk)
In case you were busy waiting in line at a food truck for what turned out to be not the best pork buns you've ever eaten, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday.
Syracuse rode a dominant defensive effort into the Elite Eight, upsetting the Indiana Hoosiers, 61-50. "It's a disappointing loss for sure, but we can hold our heads up knowing we went down to one of the best coaches of all time in Jim Boeheim," said Indiana head coach Tom Crean after the game. However, Crean was apparently unaware that Syracuse had replaced Boeheim two years ago with a VHS tape of alumnus Jerry Stiller yelling, "2-3! 2-3! Rotate! Rotate! Come on, boys, get it together," playing on a loop on the sideline.
Marquette continued its impressive tournament run, as Buzz Williams's Golden Eagles knocked out Miami, 71-61. This marks Marquette's first appearance in the Elite Eight since 2003, which means it's time for About Last Night's newest feature: "What Ever Happened To " For our first "What Ever Happened To " we're going to look at former Marquette star Dwyane Wade, who led his team to the 2003 Final Four. It turns out that Wade has been playing basketball professionally with the Miami Heat since his college days. Thus concludes our first episode of "What Ever Happened To " If you have an idea for a long-lost star who you want to track down, leave his or her name in the comments, and we'll look into it for you.
It would appear that the NHL’s firing season is upon us. We’ve already seen two GMs relieved of their duties since the lockout ended — Brian Burke’s oddly timed dismissal in Toronto, followed by Scott Howson finally being put out of his misery in Columbus. Last week, we got our first coaching casualty.
And it was a big one. Lindy Ruff had held the distinction of being the NHL’s longest-serving head coach but this month got the pink slip after more than 15 years on the job in Buffalo. If Lindy Ruff can be fired, anyone can.
So who’s next? Let’s take a look around the league at some of the coaches and GMs who find themselves on the hot seat.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
Mike Napoli's two-run double in the eighth inning gave the Rangers a 4-2 win over the Cardinals and a 3-2 lead in the World Series. Napoli, a righty, hit his double off left-hander Marc Rzepczynski, but he should have been facing righty closer Jason Motte. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa called for Motte twice, but both times bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist misheard him due to crowd noise. Lilliquist later admitted to being embarrassed at his mistake, but was pleased to have won $300,000 gambling on a Rangers victory.