Hey there hockey gossip fans, hope the past week has been treating you well. Hockey drama is at a bit of an all time high these days, with firings, player social media habits, COVID response, and more. Of course, our own Toronto Maple Leafs remain at the centre of it all, as usual, because they are the centre of the hockey world, as we all know. Let’s take a gander around the league, shall we?
Captain John Tavares is expanding his hockey footprint, as he and buddy Sam Gagner are the proud new papas of a hockey team.
— John Tavares (@91Tavares) March 2, 2021
That’s right, the Leafs captain is the new owner of the Toronto Marlboros. JT seems to be setting himself up for a long commitment to hockey – perhaps a fun little project for when he retires? Investing in the Toronto hockey scene like this certainly indicates that he plans to be a Leaf for the duration of his career, wouldn’t you think?
Meanwhile, coach Sheldon Keefe had a hilarious reaction during media availability recently, when he was asked how he would respond to a certain reporter (*cough Steve Simmons cough*) comparing William Nylander to complicated IKEA furniture. Keefe looked as dumbfounded and bewildered as we all felt about it:
— David Alter (@dalter) March 2, 2021
The Leafs finally got a player safety call in their favour! Oiler Alex Chiasson was suspended for an illegal crosscheck to the neck against Jimmy Vesey:
Edmonton’s Alex Chiasson has been suspended for one game for Cross-checking Toronto’s Jimmy Vesey. https://t.co/EU3N6sbCo9
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) March 2, 2021
Also in response to that game, a 3-0 shutout of the Oilers that got chippy at the end there, Travis Dermott turned to Zach Bogosian and Scott Sabourin for some tips on how to stay tough:
The @MapleLeafs Zach Bogosian off to the side giving fighting tips to Travis Dermott and Scott Sabourin lending a helping hand as well. Dermott got into an end of game skirmish Wednesday night with @EdmontonOilers @JoshArchibald15 pic.twitter.com/Mfxn0IfQaW
— Gene Principe (@GenePrincipe) March 2, 2021
Of course, the Leafs continue to deal with goalie issues, as well. Jack Campbell made a dominant return from injury on Saturday, posting a 4-0 shutout, only to be sidelined again with the same injury. Frederik Andersen is not quite back yet, though maybe in tonight’s match up, so the Leafs were relying on Michael Hutchinson. While the goalie carousel is stressful, so far all three netminders have done well for the team.
Finally, Black History Month has ended, but to finish off strong, GM Kyle Dubas spoke about Black Lives Matter to Sportsnet’s Donovan Bennett.
.@MapleLeafs GM @kyledubas joined @donnovanbennett to discuss what #BlackLivesMatter means to him, why it's important for the team to support the movement, and what the hockey community can do to better support and engage the Black community.#BlackHistoryMonth | @Rogers pic.twitter.com/Ol22TUc17g
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 27, 2021
Hockey is for Everyone?
Oh Jamie Benn, this is not a good look.
Does Jamie Benn know his Instagram likes are public? This is some heinous, hateful, anti-trans garbage Candace Owens is spewing. pic.twitter.com/kfJ4xZNcMD
— Hemal Jhaveri (@hemjhaveri) March 2, 2021
— The Chris Mosier (@TheChrisMosier) March 2, 2021
When I used to work with @YouCanPlayTeam we would respond to issues like this one.
Sure, athletes can have opinions. But athletes are role models & this is a crushing blow to LGBTQ+ fans.
YOU ARE A PUBLIC FIGURE & it's ALL public.
— The Chris Mosier (@TheChrisMosier) March 2, 2021
Hemal and Chris addressed this better than I can, but suffice it to say this is more than disheartening. I wonder if and how the Dallas Stars and NHL will respond? It doesn’t help matters that Benn seems to be blocking anyone who asks him about this on social media. Sigh.
Two young NHL players are set to become dads shortly! Congratulations to Dylan Strome and his girlfriend, as well as Travis Konecny and his girlfriend, on their upcoming new arrivals:
…these two people are about to be dads pic.twitter.com/LPuAS03AYG
— Wear a Damn Mask ✌🏼💜🏒 (@lulu_vohn) February 27, 2021
Can I just mention how old this makes me feel?
Jordan Binnington made his displeasure with being pulled from the game known the other night:
Jordan Binnington doesn't seem happy about being pulled… pic.twitter.com/DMLDoq7Po4
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) February 28, 2021
Binnington got a little punchy with a few Sharks players while heading off the ice, and Evander Kane had some thoughts on that:
Evander Kane had a simple answer when asked his thoughts about Jordan Binnington 👀 pic.twitter.com/p32eNylzj3
— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) February 28, 2021
It’s always entertaining to watch NHL players throw tantrums, isn’t it?
The drama continues to grow in Buffalo, with both Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner reportedly unhappy with the state of affairs:
— Ted Goldberg (@TedGoldbergTV) February 26, 2021
Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall, Jeff Skinner, Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Dahlin all play for the Sabres and they haven’t scored in two games.
— James Kurdziel (@JamesRadio) February 28, 2021
Goalie drama in Montreal, with Carey Price struggling and the Habs firing their goaltending coach:
Carey Price has now allowed 5+ goals in an NHL-worst 11 games since the beginning of the 2019-20 season.
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) February 26, 2021
The Canadiens have relieved Stéphane Waite of his duties and have appointed Sean Burke as director of goaltending.https://t.co/hOXX0Jx5rK
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) March 3, 2021
And will John Tortorella be the next coach on the chopping block?
🚨🚨🚨Breaking News: #CBJ HC John Tortorella in a press conference via zoom, on the recent losing streak and his job as head coach.
“When you’re losing games and playing as poorly as we’ve played, those questions need to be asked. I expected those questions to be asked sooner.” pic.twitter.com/JdDlFFjI5m
— Hockey Hound (@HockeyHoundShow) March 2, 2021
Finally, a growing number of teams are starting to allow fans back into arenas. While this might be good news for revenue, and for hockey fans itching to get back to games, there are still real and valid concerns about spreading COVID. We all want to get back to normalcy, but safety of fans, staff, and players needs to be paramount. We hope the time is coming where games are open to all again, safely.
That’s for this week, friends! Enjoy your hockey, see you next Wednesday.