We learned, this week, that the Toronto Maple Leafs have new slogans adorning the walls of their dressing room this season:
If you are not in you’re in the way
Unite a city
That’s how James Mirtle from The Globe and Mail reported them; as a big fan of punctuation, I’m really hoping that on the wall itself, the middle one has a comma.
Training camp had come and was gone, this week, time for the NHL to drop the puck for its 97th season, though not before the @NHLBruins let the world know that Milan Lucic was looking forward to, quote, “taking a hit, getting in on the forecheck, battling on the wall, knowing where you are in the D zone again.”
From Los Angeles, we heard from @AnzeKopitar:
One of the best thing [sic] about hockey season… Afternoon nap! #boom
The Kings handed out rings, too. That was another L.A. thing from the week. “This is pretty special,” tweeted @DustinBrown23. “But my favorite ring…… Is still the next one.”
Which, according to EA Sports, is coming. Possibly. If the simulation they ran on their NHL 15 video game means anything, which it can’t, really, can it, other than as a clever bit of product marketing that the NHL and actual purveyors of news were happy to promote. In EA’s virtual 2014-15 NHL season, the Kings ended up beating the Bruins in six games to win the Stanley Cup again. A story on NHL.com deemed this a “prediction” while explaining:
EA Sports conducts its simulation using artificial intelligence and real-life player data. In an attempt to provide realism to the game, injuries and hot streaks are also thrown into the mix. EA Sports NHL 15 is also the first edition of the popular series to use 12 Player NHL Collision Physics and Real Puck Physics to more authentically replicate the unpredictability of what happens on the ice.
In Toronto, a former King, Matt Frattin, was back with the team that gave him his NHL start. Kevin McGran from The Toronto Star listened to Leafs’ coach Randy Carlyle on his disappointing September:
Frattin has had a mediocre camp. He needs to find a way to regenerate some enthusiasm. I feel sorry for him right now. The puck is not his friend. It’s going away from him versus bouncing for him.
Bruce A. Heyman, new U.S. ambassador to Canada/old Chicago Blackhawks fan, tweeted from Ottawa:
Ok… It’s beginning!!! #Hockey season is about to begin. Excited to experience it here in #Canada #myfirstcanadianwinter.
The New York Islanders traded for two defenceman on Puck-Drop Eve, acquiring Nick Leddy from Chicago and Johnny Boychuk from Boston.
@StanFischler thought that boded well:
#Garth Snow’s latest double-dip, Boychuk-Leddy spells playoff-bound. Solid up front and in goal.
Leddy (@ledpipe08) was quick to tweet:
I want to thank the @NHLBlackhawks and all the fans for everything! Excited to start my new adventure with the @NYIslanders
Boychuk had mixed feelings. He told Joe Haggerty from Comcast Sportsnet about his bond with Boston.
It’s tough because this is the place where I started my career. I grew to love Boston. This is a pretty easy place to play. The fans really took me in, and I worked as hard as I could so people would appreciate me. This is the kind of town where they like those types of players.
They liked that I would throw big hits on people, and sacrifice my body to help us win. It’s a working man’s town, and I always felt that love. I think it was just a really good fit for me, and the people are just fucking awesome.
Arpon Basu, managing editor of lnh.com, was watching a pre-season TV appearance by a pre-eminent Montreal defenceman on ICI Radio Canada’s “Tout le monde en parle” and he was quick to relay the news generated there to the wider world.
@arponbasu: P.K. Subban just admitted he intentionally farts in front of the net to annoy the opposition. I’m sure Carey Price must love that.
@arponbasu: Subban said his pre-game coffee acts as a catalyst in his stomach, then he holds it in until game time so he can fart on the ice. Great.
In Minnesota, the Wild welcomed back winger Thomas Vanek. He’d played there in college, for the Golden Gopher, and now he was back in town. Michael Russo from the Star-Tribune talked to former coach, Bob Motzko, who’d been an assistant on the Gopher bench and had coached Vanek as a 16-year-old at Sioux Falls in the United States Hockey League.
“If you keep him happy off the ice and let him score, he lives a pretty simple life,” Motzko said. “He’s just a big-hearted, loyal family man … who loves to score goals.”
Martin St. Louis, @mstlouis, endorsed Ryan McDonagh, the defenceman whose name can’t be written without a reminder that Montreal traded him away for Scott Gomez.
Congrats to @RMcDonagh27 for being named captain of @NYRangers. Well deserved and he’s going to be a great leader for many years!
TSN’s James Duthie spent time with Kings’ coach Darryl Sutter ahead of the season and if there was message in his profile, it was that while you may think you know Sutter, you don’t, sorry. Guess what? He’s not as gruff and taciturn in real life as he often seems to be on TV. Sutter also talked books:
I’ve spent a lot of time alone in my life. I could read a book a night… Canadian history, American history, and anything to do with the Old West.
Angela Price was telling Dave Stubbs from The Montreal Gazette about her husband this week, Habs’ goaltender Carey. “Thank goodness he’s never been a ‘do you know who I am?’ person because that’s very unattractive to me,” she said. “But he’s very humble and his heart is so attractive.”
The Vancouver Sun’s Iain MacIntyre talked to new Canucks’ GM Jim Benning, who told him, “I’m not a patient person. We expect to win because we hate losing. I can’t watch losing hockey. I can’t.”
Bobby Orr was telling Darren Yourk of The Globe and Mail about Gordie Howe and Mr. Hockey™’s new biography, which he called “a must-read.” “I sometimes go on the Internet to look at Gordie’s numbers and I giggle.” Because? Think about it, Orr says: the man scored 20 goals or more in 22 consecutive professional seasons.
Rick Nash left the game last night after he’d scored for the New York Rangers in a 6-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Not due to injury; because of life. NHL.com senior writer Dan Rosen was tweeting post-game from Madison Square Garden as Coach Alain provided an update:
Vigneault said Nash’s wife actually went into labor during the game, which is why he left. He also said Zuccarello is day to day.
That’s as much as we know, at this point: there’s been no further update on the Ranger pregnancies.