this week: shut up, have you ever played the game?

turkey season

Talking Turkey: Chicago’s Jimmy Thomson and Jean-Guy Gendron of the New York Rangers pose, cica 1958, for a seasonal photograph deserving of a cleverer rink-to-table caption than they may have actually ended up with.

“Happy Thanksgiving Canada!” tweeped Colorado’s Matt Duchene this week — today, actually. “Miss being up there this time of year.”

Scotty Bowman, who doesn’t tweet a lot, doesn’t call himself Scotty on Twitter: it’s Scott Bowman, @coachwsb. If his last message, from the NHL’s opening week, was a little cryptic, the gist of it was clear enough. “I support views of Steve Yzerman Ray Shero and Jim Rutherford on their opinions for Addressing most Fighting Issues Poll all Players.”

Whoooeeeh, Mikhail Grabovski of the Washington Capitals said last week, and I quote. Grabovski has been living with Alex Ovechkin this month, and driving with him to the rink. Dan Steinberg from The Washington Post was wondering about Ovechkin’s driving, and that’s what Grabovski said, whoooeeeh. “Like in the game, you know? Always machine. I put seatbelt all the time.”

Steve Yzerman had called for game misconducts to be called on players who fought. “We’re stuck in the middle and need to decide what kind of sport do we want to be,” he’d said. “Either anything goes and we accept the consequences or take the next step and eliminate fighting.”

“He’s like the Pied Piper,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said of Teemu Selanne. Insofar as … like the rat-catcher who hasn’t been paid, he steals people’s children with music? No. Boudreau’s reading of the old German folktale is a different one. “Everywhere you go,” he was saying, “people love him.”

Keith Acton told John Tortorella to shut his fucking mouth. Acton (assistant coach in Edmonton) was mad about something Tortorella (Vancouver’s coach) had yelled in the heat of the Canucks win this week over the Oilers, so that’s what he yelled.

Told later that the CBC’s Glenn Healy thought Tortorella should calm down, the coach said, “I don’t care what CBC says, anybody has to say, quite honestly. They don’t know what’s happening.”

Ottawa coach Paul MacLean was peeved by the winning goal that Toronto’s Mason Raymond scored in the shoot-out this week against the Senators. He’d stopped, spun, scored; it was a good goal, officials deemed, because the puck remained in motion.

“I think it’s a very unfair play for the guy to come in and blow snow on the goaltender,” MacLean said. “To me, he came to a full stop, the puck went backwards and then forwards.

“But that’s me, I’m only a fisherman from Nova Scotia. So I don’t know nothin’ about nothin’.”

On Monday, the wires of Twitter jangled with news from Philadelphia. Kevin Allen, USA Today: “The Flyers have called a 11 a.m. press conference for their Peter Laviolette firing announcement.”

Darren Dreger from TSN was on the case, too. “Fired 3 games in is harsh, but, not surprising based on tension Flyers management has been feeling. Now Holmgren has to be in crosshairs.”

Laviolette’s assistant was promoted to replace him, Craig Berube. he said, “Just because I’ve been in the organization a long time doesn’t mean I’m going to do the same thing other coaches did. I’m not them. I have my own thoughts. I have my own way of how I want to coach.”

The Flyers’ owner was asked, hey, what about maybe should the team have reached beyond its own frontiers for someone new with a whole new outlook? The team hasn’t won a Stanley Cup, after all, since 1975.

“We don’t need a fresh perspective,” said a snarly Ed Snider. “We have a pretty good culture, and we know who we’re dealing with.”

“I’ve always been a Flyer in my mind,” Berube mentioned, also.

Winnipeg’s Eric Tangredi told The Globe and Mail’s James Bradshaw that his teammate Dustin Byfuglien definitely has a little bit more hunger in his eyes, not to mention almost maybe something of a chip on his shoulder.

In Colorado, Steve Downie spoke to Adrian Dater of The Denver Post. “I like to play hard,” Downie said, “and things happen out there. That’s my game, that’s how I’m effective. I’m a guy who’s going to play the body every time I can. I mean, if it bugs guys, it bugs guys.”

“Everybody is rattled by him,” said the Avalanche coach, Patrick Roy.

Rick Nash of New York’s Rangers got an elbow in the head this week from Brad Stuart of San Jose, unless it was a shoulder.

“I have a headache,” Nash said after the game. “It got worse. It was a headshot. I’m concerned the way it feels.”

“Wow,” said Montreal’s Lars Eller of goalie Carey Price after the Canadiens beat the Canucks and the Habs fans in Vancouver sang “Ole, Ole, Ole.”

Earlier in the week Eller was explaining why the Canadiens were winning: “We’re taking good care of the puck when we have it.”

Detroit coach Mike Babcock understood why his team lost 4-2 to Phoenix this week. “We lost the first seven face-offs in our own zone,” he said, “and we didn’t skate very good and we gave up too many odd-man rushes.”

In Brampton, Ontario, John Monahan talked about coming home from the night shift in September to watch a recording of a Calgary pre-season game in which his son, 18-year-old Sean, was doing his best to make the Flames.

“I have trouble sleeping after the games,” said John, who works sheet metal in construction. “It’s really enjoyable but quite intense. If you’re at a hockey game, there’s nobody watching your son as much as you are. You’re watching the whole play but it’s very difficult to take in what’s going on. It’s pretty centralized. You just watch what he’s doing, plays he’s making. It’s all about timing.”

“Only The Lord Saves More” is the name of Hall of Fame goalie Bernie Parent’s blog, at bernieparent.net. But you probably knew that already. The news there this week was that Parent is launching a new line of cigars, including the BSB#1 and the BSB#! HOF 84 Torpedo.

San Jose’s 18-year-old centreman Tomas Hertl became a verb this week, right after he scored four goals in a game against the New York Rangers, when the headline in The Globe and Mail was “Hertling Toward Fame With The Sharks.”

After three games, Hertl was the NHL’s leading scorer, with six goals. “Everyday I get congratulations from my family,” he said. “I am very happy to have three games and score six goals.”

His last goal against the Rangers was the one everybody was talking about, seeing on TV, YouTubing. In alone on goalie Martin Biron, Hertl slipped his stick between his own legs and flipped the puck high into the corner of the net where, because of all the peanut allergies, they now keep nothing but raspberry jam.

Spectacular, some said, but there were those, too, who thought that Hertl had embarrassed himself by embarrassing Biron.

Washington coach Adam Oates was one of those who wasn’t pleased. “Don’t disrespect the league,” he said.

Bruce Arthur from The National Post explained the controversy next day:

While it is a move the NHL has seen many times, this seemed a little different. With a game already out of reach and a hat trick already in the youngster’s bag, Oates was impressed by the show of finesse but felt it was a little too flashy for the circumstances.

“What” said Edmonton’s David Perron. “Hertl scores a nice 4th goal & some people talk about disrespecting the game? This is sad. It’s a hockey play, finally some creativity!”

For Hertl’s victims, the Rangers, it was an all-round terrible week. Having lost lopsidedly in San Jose, they did it again in Anaheim. “We’re not playing very well right now,” said the coach, Alain Vigneault. “We’re not making the right plays.”

Defenceman Dan Girardi:  “Our puck management is not very good right now. We’re just giving pucks away.

“It’s nothing to laugh at, that’s for sure,” said Brad Richards.

Don Cherry had his thoughts on the Hertl goal, of course. He said how would you like it if Martin Biron were your son or your dad or anything like that and everybody was laughing at him? Still, he didn’t want to go too hard on Hertl, because he was Czech, and Czechs don’t know any better.

Meanwhile, in Vancouver, San Jose’s Joe Thornton had waded in. Hearing reporters asking Hertl whether he was showing off maybe a little bit, Thornton took what’s sometimes called exception. “Shut up, have you ever played the game?” he said, before going on to say that if it were him who’d scored four, he would have celebrated by showing everybody his penis.

The Sharks declared their profound shock when Thornton’s comments were published in their original, untidied glory on The Province’s The White Towel blog. “Pathetic,” San Jose director of media relation Scott Emmerton said.

“I don’t think it would be a surprise to anyone in the industry that ‘locker room talk’ exists. Professional reporters understand that concept and respect it.”

On Saturday Hertl scored another goal in San Jose’s game against Ottawa. He left in the second period, though, after Clarke MacArthur hit him hard.

“He’s a little bit sore but I think he’ll be fine tomorrow,” said San Jose coach Todd McLellan after the game.