Don Cherry tweeted an emergency public health warning one afternoon from flu-ridden Toronto: “If symptoms present themselves, do others a favour, stay home and avoid spreading the bug.”
In an e-mail to Adrian Dater of The Denver Post, Ryan O’Reilly’s dad said, “Ryan is not a superstar based on skill but character. I know this for a fact the player he was yesterday will not be the player he was tomorrow he will continue to grow learn and thrive. The world values it less and less, yet everyone is looking for those players that eat sleep and drink the game and are unselfish plus compete because they are intrinsically motivated for excellence. This is another trait humankind is slowly losing!”
Something else he said, Brian O’Reilly, a life coach, was this: “Character, compete level, dedication, the love of the game, is what are the building blocks for dynasties. That is a long-term picture but it has to be always the short-term value. Character has to win out over skill that is why it takes a lot of skilled players a lot of losses to understand the character element of the game.”
Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson talked about Matt Cooke from Pittsburgh, the guy who cut his Achilles tendon with an ill-placed skate: “I received a text, didn’t think too much of it. Didn’t reply. Don’t think that we have anything to say to each other.”
Sorry: Mr. O’Reilly wasn’t quite finished. “Quality of character is really hard to describe but you recognize it instantly in someone’s behavior,” he said. “Each one of us has to decide the value of their own character and the character of others by how they treat you.
“It’s as simple as that! The Colorado Avalanche I believe have treated Ryan fairly. He had three wonderful years with them. Where we go from here will be a matter of character.”
Is it possible to mutter on Twitter? @Ryan_OReilly90 definitely seemed to be muttering when he found out what his dad had done, tweeting: “I had no idea of my dads letter to the Denver post. It’s tough situation I apologize to anyone bothered by this. Hopefully its over soon.”
On Sunday, like everybody else, hockey watched the Oscars.
“Daniel Day Lewis just killing this acceptance speech,” Edmonton’s Sam Gagner tweeted.
Montreal winger Brandon Prust: “Quentin Tarantino is a beauty lol”
“Argo cleaning up,” Gagner updated. “Very well deserved. Great flick.”
Good news for the NHL: ticket sales are up 5 per cent and the game has never been so popular on U.S. TV.
And yet there were grumbles this about a lack of scoring. Kevin Dupont from The Boston Globe: “NHL scoring now is just a fraction above what it was the year prior to 2004-5 lockout. Constipated.”
On NBC, Mike Milbury said he was tired of all the “soccer scores.”
Ideas? “One remedy,” wrote Dupont, “could be never allowing a club 5 skaters in own end. Fifth skater always must remain ‘above’ blue line.” Or maybe this: “Just as car manufacturers stopped including spare tires, NHL should stop allowing PK teams to ice the puck. 4/5 PPs fail.”
But if scoring was falling, concussions were on the rise. TSN’s Bob McKenzie: “After slow (good) start on concussions, we’re a roll (bad) now. In 12-day span (Feb 11-22), 9 guys concussed …”
Evgeni Malkin of Pittsburgh was one. Sidney Crosby talked to him afterwards. “I just asked him how he’s doing,” Crosby told Pittsburgh’s Post-Gazette. “I’d probably give him a headache if I started trying to explain all the stuff I went through.”
“It’s too early for telling him my life story.”
Asked for a Malkin update, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said, “He is feeling fine and his memory is returning. The short-term memory in instances he didn’t remember is returning.”
In New York, Katie Strang of ESPN asked New York’s Rick Nash whether his injury, still undisclosed, was in fact a concussion: “Um, I’m not a doctor, so it’s tough for me to analyze that.” The guessing was that he’d been hurt when Boston’s Milan Lucic knocked his head into the glass on February 12 — either that or, as a New York paper speculated, “a slight groin issue.”
Meanwhile, in Montreal, from @CanadiensMTL: “Michel Therrien a confirmé que Rene Bourque souffre d’une commotion cérébrale.” Therrien told reporters he was shocked to hear the news: he thought it was a cold.
On NBC, Milbury called Crosby and Malkin “crack addicts” for spending too much time in the offensive zone and not helping out in their own end. When Crosby heard this, he said, “He watches so much hockey, he must know. I’ll try to do a better job of playing defensively.” Said teammate Matt Niskanen, “It’s a little irritating. I try not to get too flustered by it. He always has a bonehead remark to make.”
“’Neuf, he plays a big role every night,” said Toronto defenceman Cody Franson, regarding his captain, Dion Phaneuf.
ESPN’s Strang talked to Dallas goalie Viktor Fasth about his path to the NHL. “Yeah,” he said, “ I mean some guys get to play in the NHL when they’re 18, some when they’re 30. Obviously, I’m 30, so I mean I really love being here. It’s been a long way, but it’s been worth it, every second of it.
The night Los Angeles beat Anaheim 5-2, @LA Kings twittered: “Fasth was just not Quick enough tonight.”
In Philadelphia, Flyers’ goalie Ilya Bryzgalov talked to SportsRadio 94WIP. “You know,” he said, “I still don’t know what does it mean, you know, Philadelphia Flyers hockey.”
What about meteorites? “You know, one thing it’s pretty interested, and other thing, on other hand, you know, it’s dangerous. And you know we can’t protect ourselves from the space danger.”
“I think we just gotta be thankful, be happy.”
Florida’s Alexei Kovalev was down on the way the game is played. “Not much skill compared to the old days,” he said.
“No-one can skate as fast as the puck,” said P.J. Stock on Hockey Night in Canada first, before Glen Healy said, later, “You can never skate as fast as the puck.”
Gabriel Landeskog told Eric Duhatschek that his head was good.
Mike Modano, via @9modano: “Did Gordie Howe only have one Gordie Howe hat trick…???”
No, actually, two.
“I’m not a dirty player,” Taylor Hall from Edmonton said after he was suspended for kneeing Minnesota’s Cal Clutterbuck on his knee. “In terms of being physical, that part of my game isn’t going to change. We need more physicality.”
“Six-nine and he’s a ballerina,” said the Bruins’ play-by-play guy after Zdeno Chara twirled around a Florida defenceman and scored on a backhand. “Zdeno Chara can destroy worlds, and he can dance like a giant world-destroying fawn,” said Bruce Arthur from The National Post. Chara: “Obviously you can’t really plan that kind of a goal or those kinds of moves.”
“If we’re not fighting as much, we can still accomplish what we would with fighting by blocking shots, hitting, being physical in the corners,” Rangers’ defenceman Michael Del Zotto told The New York Daily News Saturday morning in Montreal. “We’re just not doing enough of those things.”
Damien Brunner of the Detroit Red Wings said, “I can juggle like three balls in the air, not too much.” Asked whether Los Angeles was the largest city he’d ever been in, he said, “Yes, for sure. Paris and Stockholm would be the largest before now.”
Montreal goalie Carey Price tweeted twice on Tuesday after his team traded Erik Cole to Dallas in return for former Hab Michael Ryder. One: “Welcome back Ryds!” Two: “Salut Erik. Gonna miss ya brother.”
In Vancouver, Cory Schneider said, “I’m kind of tired of playing like an average goalie.”
“I know how to deal with the pressure of playing in Montreal, ” Michael Ryder told reporters, without revealing the secret.
Scott Burnside from ESPN wondered if an all-injured team of “Nash, Kesler, Malkin, Versteeg, McDonald, Steen, Reimer, Greene, Mitchell, Tarasenko, etc. etc. could win a Cup?” Yes, very possibly, other than … they’re all injured.
“I expect a strong Rangers recovery starting on Thursday,” spake Stan Fischler on Wednesday and lo, it was so: New York beat Tampa Bay 4-1.
Not long after Mike Keenan took to social media for the first time this week, Roberto Luongo got in touch: “Hey @coachironmike if you need advice figuring out this twitter thing let me know……….. Big fan!”
@coachironmike: “thanks Roberto. I wouldn’t have left you in for all 8 in Detroit.
Luongo: “That goes without saying.”
Rick DiPietro’s thoughts on the Islanders’ waiving him so they could send him down to the AHL? “They ripped my heart out, stabbed it, set it on fire and flushed it down the toilet,” he told a reporter. The part where he said he’d considered killing himself? That part, he clarified later on, was just some kidding around.
Something else from Don Cherry, this time on Coach’s Corner: the reason hockey players don’t take drugs is that a lot of kids he meets at rinks wear ties at nine o’clock at night. Something like that; it was harder than usual to make sense of Cherry’s soliloquy. “I just don’t understand these guys,” he said, too, “the sportswriters and that.”