Get the latest summer forecast and weather knowledge from Cindy Day
Want to become a member? Check out the benefits here.
Thanking our essential workers
SaltWire's cartoonists bring heart and humour to the news.
Visit SaltWire.com for more of the stories you want.
SaltWire Selects: Our weekend entertainment picks
What you need to know about COVID-19: September 18, 2020
Thankfully, Patrice Bergeron’s fourth career playoff overtime goal stopped the Bruins-Hurricanes game Wednesday afternoon rather than Wednesday evening.
Mercifully, Boston’s star centre didn’t let things go beyond the 1:19 mark of the second extra period.
Otherwise we would have been subjected to another round of whining from fans and media who are now urging the NHL to come up with a different way to end deadlocked playoff games. Seems dramatic sudden death isn’t satisfactory anymore. It’s not coming soon enough.
What’s wrong with you people? Where are you in such a hurry to go?
We wait five long months for hockey to return from a pandemic pause and on the opening night of the playoffs — after the Blue Jackets and Lightning take five overtimes and six and half hours to settle their score — it’s eating up too much of your precious time? Are you worried that the schedule was pushed back, forcing Boston and Carolina to wait until the next morning to play?
It just means more hockey for us to watch.
That eight-plus period game was intensely wonderful. It was a battle of attrition, exactly what the NHL playoffs are supposed to be about. Yet the lineup at the complaints window is miles long. What about the hockey snobs who are pointing out that the game turned sloppy and the pace slowed? No kidding. The two teams almost completed a triple-header. Same thing happens when two exhausted heavyweights drop their guard while slugging it out to the end of the 12th round. We call that a classic, which is exactly what Columbus and Tampa Bay played Tuesday.
How can you not love an NHL playoff marathon? I get nervous somebody is going to score and end it.
“Why does everyone want to change the playoff format?” NHL defenceman-turned-broadcaster Jason York said on Twitter. “That’s part of what makes the Stanley Cup the toughest trophy to win in sports. Man, people love to complain.”
Leave things be. The NHL playoffs are great just the way they are.
STOPS AND STARTS
Bergeron’s four OT winners in post-season play leave him halfway to Joe Sakic’s total. Incredible, isn’t it, that the former Nordique-Avalanche superstar ended eight of the 172 playoff games he was in? … Isn’t it humorous how fans rush to the defence of the players who just broke their hearts when a columnist writes about what happened to have their hearts broken. Just because some sportswriters are gutless cheerleaders and apologists doesn’t mean we all have to be … I know a number of Ottawa fans who hate the Maple Leafs mostly because they hate Maple Leaf fans. Sometimes it’s very easy to understand why … Don’t laugh Ottawa fans. Generally, you’re no better … Did Anders Lee really drop the gloves with Tom Wilson? That could have been a lot uglier than it was.
The production is fine, analysts are good, and Doc Emrick is one of the best play-by-play men of all time. But I don’t want to watch NHL playoffs on a NBC feed. It’s doesn’t feel nearly as comfortable as Hockey Night in Canada … Brilliant was whoever came up with the idea of keeping one half of the TV screen on the sporting event while showing commercials on the other half. Now you get up for a snack less often, for fear of missing something, and you actually listen to bits and pieces of the odd add. It’s a win-win … Celebrating a birthday today is former Flyers great Bobby Clarke (71) and former Partridge Family great Danny Bonaduce (61).
It doesn’t matter that he was whether he was wrong or right (and he was right), Rod Brind’Amour spoke his mind and was fined $25,000. If he does so similarly in the next calendar year, it’ll cost him another 25 grand. That’s another ruling that makes the league look like a “joke.” … There’s a couple of capital connections in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs — coaching against each other are Brind’Amour and Bruce Cassidy, both from Ottawa, and Claude Julien and Alain Vigneault are both former coaches of the Hull Olympiques. At one time (maybe still) they both lived in the capital region … If they held the 2003 entry draft today, Bergeron (who went 45th overall) and Shea Weber (49th) would be the top two picks. With those two still on the board that June 21 at the Gaylord Entertainment Center, Tampa (34th), Nashville (35th), Calgary (39th) and Montreal (40th), took Mike Egener, Konstantin Glazachev, Tim Ramholt and Cory Urquhart. The Flames’ Ramholt was the only one of that group to play in the NHL, and he had just one game.
The Maple Leafs have a whole lot of growing up to do. From their top player all the way to their GM.
It was clear they weren’t going to be living in the Royal York bubble very long moments after their first qualifying game against the Blue Jackets, when Auston Matthews was asked a question by the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons about the stifling Columbus system in a 2-0 loss.
“First of all, it is unfortunate that I am getting a question from you at this point, Steve,” said Matthews, the Leafs most relied-on offensive player. “I just wanted to say I didn’t appreciate the article you wrote about me a couple of months ago. I thought it was a bit unethical to be honest.”
Matthews was in a huff because Simmons accurately reported that Matthews had tested positive for coronavirus. Why? Who knows. It doesn’t matter. That it was on his mind at that moment, “months” later when all his focus should have been on the task at hand, showed his selfishness and immaturity. That’s what matters.
Matthews is a great hockey player, but at 22, he’s no leader. To think that the Leafs considered giving him the captain’s ‘C’ last year is laughable.
On Wednesday, when Simmons asked 34-year old GM Kyle Dubas if it was possible he had misjudged the potential of his group, the reply was curt.
“No,” said Dubas.
Was he angry at Simmons for writing a day earlier that it’s too early to fire Dubas, but that doesn’t mean the pressure isn’t on him? Was he in a snit because Simmons said he should be gone if the Leafs have another season like this one? Both statements are accurate. Dubas’ unprofessional reaction says his focus is misdirected as well.
Curiously, many Toronto fans rejoiced over the way their heroes reacted to Simmons’ criticisms. Funny, if the Leafs did their job as well as Simmons does his, they’d still be in the bubble.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020