Sports NHL Winners and Losers from Week 13
Bowl season winners and losers: SEC heavyweights dominate, Pac-12 goes winless
The SEC heayweights ruled, the Pac-12 struggled and opt-out talk has become a tired exercise. Here are this year's Bowl winners and losers.Five games were canceled, and two teams served as replacements. Opt-outs were a polarizing topic of conversation. That said, a total of 38 games will have been played when the College Football Playoff championship between No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia is played on Jan. 10 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Each week in the NHL brings forth its winners and losers. Mike Stephens takes a look at the highs and lows around the league from the past week.
Each week in the NHL brings forth its winners and losers.
It's my job to parse through the action and determine who fits which criterion. It ain't much, but it's honest work.
So, without further adieu, let's take a look at the winners and losers of week 13 of the NHL season.
Loser: Any Team that Signs Evander Kane
Look, "intangibles" are a trait that tends to get overvalued in NHL circles. This is mainly because they don't involve math, therein allowing hockey men to attribute them to a "gut feeling" and seem smarter than they actually are.
Stu Cowan: Mathieu Darche checks all the boxes in Canadiens' GM search
Who will be the next general manager of the Canadiens? If it were up to me, it would be Mathieu Darche, but the people making the decision will be team owner/president Geoff Molson, executive vice-president of hockey operations Jeff Gorton, former captain and GM Bob Gainey, and minority owner Michael Andlauer. That committee is expected to start interviewing candidates on Wednesday and you have to think the new GM will be named within the next month or so with the NHL trade deadline set for March 21. Two of the candidates expected to be interviewed are women: Émilie Castonguay and Danièle Sauvageau .
Which is fine. Let them have their fun.
But while intangibles are not as essential to the roster construction process as the old heads might make you think, that doesn't mean they don't matter at all.
Over an 82-game season, being "good in the room" holds value, as players are more likely to succeed when surrounded by teammates that have collectively bought into the overall goal of winning -- or, at least, are capable of being stomached for the bulk of a workday.
Kane – and I cannot stress this enough – does not foster those warm and fuzzy feelings of camaraderie.
In fact, he's perhaps the most toxic lockerroom presence the league has at the moment, leaving carnage in his wake wherever he goes.
Just check the tapes.
Dustin Byfuglien straight up led a mutiny against Kane during their days in Winnipeg when the then-23-year-old winger wore a tracksuit to a meeting in violation of a team policy, causing Byfuglien to throw that same tracksuit in the shower to send a message.
NHL Winners and Losers After the Christmas Break
Mike Stephens breaks down the winners and losers in the NHL from after the winter break, including stories from St. Louis, Edmonton and Red Deer. © Provided by The Hockey News Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports This is the NHL, folks, where some become winners and others become losers. My job is to identify who fits which criteria each week. And that's exactly what we're going to do today. Buckle up. Here are the NHL's winners and losers from after the winter break. Winner: Dave Tippett's RealtorI'm not sure if Dave Tippett owns a house in Edmonton or if he's merely renting.
“There’s a standard that everyone needs to live up to,” future Jets captain Blake Wheeler said of the incident at the time.
“If you don’t like it then there’s other places to go.”
So, weeks later, Kane did go to another place: Buffalo, the beacon of organizational functionality.
How did that turn out?
“Shut the [expletive] up, you selfish [expletive],” screamed then-Sabres defender Justin Falk at Kane during a practice in January of 2018.
This outburst, which the team tried to shrug off as a competitive disagreement, came minutes after Kane had apparently gotten tangled with teammate Zach Bogosian during a drill that caused the veteran defender to fall into the boards and be helped off the ice.
So, a little over a month after his latest debacle, Kane was shipped to the Sharks, where, upon arriving, he pledged to be the model citizen he'd never been at any point of his hockey-playing career, and was rewarded with a seven-year extension.
As U Sports Players Sit Sidelined, Two Alumni Make NHL Impact
Two U Sports alumni – Logan Thompson and Zach Sawchenko – realized their NHL dreams in different ways over the past week. But COVID-19 has sidelined many top Canadian university hockey players trying to chase their own. © Provided by The Hockey News Logan Thompson Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports The City of Las Vegas' official motto is "What happens here, only happens here." That rings true for Logan Thompson, who became the first former Canadian university goaltender since 1990 to get an NHL start.
Fast forward to the present day, and the honeymoon is long over. Kane's teammates have gone on the record on multiple occasions times to state how they've avoided making contact with their polarizing co-worker, and reportedly barged into their exit meetings with Sharks management last season to state that they did not want Kane back with the team.
Management listened, and yet were still forced to pick up the pieces after Kane managed to somehow violate the NHL's COVID-19 protocols despite being banned from Sharks training camp in September, ultimately earning him a 21-game suspension.
And those are just a few of Kane's hockey-related transgressions. It's the tip of the iceberg, baby!
I don't care how many goals this guy can score. I don't care if he can magically turn the puck into a loveable sea otter that becomes my best friend and accompanies me on a series of whimsical adventures.
Wayne Gretzky himself would not be worth this headache. And any team that hitches their wagon to Kane -- of which, reportedly, there are many -- instantly becomes a loser in my eyes.
Canadiens at Blackhawks: Five things you should know
Here are five things you should know about the Canadiens-Blackhawks game at United Center Thursday. (8:30 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN-690 Radio, 98.5 FM) The matchup: This is the second of two meetings between these Original Six teams and both teams have seen better days. The Canadiens are last in the Atlantic Division and have the worst winning percentage in the NFL after losing 5-1 in Boston Wednesday. Montreal is winless (0-3-1) in its last four games. The Blackhawks, who blanked the Canadiens 2-0 at the Bell Centre on Dec. 7, are seventh in the Central Division, but the Blackhawks have a modest two-game win streak after beating Columbus 4-2 Tuesday.
Winner: Zach Fucale
Gosh darn it. I just love stories like this.
Zach Fucale was a second-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens in 2013. He turned pro in 2015, and has since played for nine different teams across numerous different organizations in three different leagues, compiling one of the more prolific journeymen resumes modern hockey has seen to date.
Fucale was even in the ECHL roughly 12 months ago, suiting up for his lone game with the South Carolina Stingrays in an attempt to keep his professional hockey career alive amidst a global pandemic.
Now, Fucale is an NHL record holder. It's funny how life works.
The 26-year-old debuted with the Washington Capitals earlier this season and has since kicked his big-league career off with a bang, earning the NHL record for the longest shutout streak to start a career on Saturday night by holding the Minnesota Wild scoreless through the 3:43 mark of the second period.
When Fucale was grinding away in the minors for the past seven years, riding in cramped buses across middle America to play in half-empty barns while surviving off of as much rest stop food as his per-diem afforded him, it's hard to imagine how far he likely felt from the Hockey Hall of Fame.
But after Saturday's performance, that's almost certainly where his stick is headed. And I, for one, could not be happier.
Stu Cowan: Canadiens and Coyotes in a battle for last place in NHL
Unlike the Arizona Coyotes, the Canadiens can pay their taxes on time and know where they will be playing their home games next season. But the Canadiens and Coyotes do have something in common: they are the two worst teams in the NHL. The Canadiens (7-24-5) are in last place in the overall NHL standings, one point behind the Coyotes (8-24-4) with the teams set to square off Monday afternoon in Arizona (4 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM) on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the U.S. There no doubt will be some Montreal fans cheering for the Coyotes because finishing last in the NHL will increase the Canadiens’ odds of getting the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft lottery.
Follow your dreams, kids.
Loser: The Toronto Maple Leafs (With a Multi-Goal Lead)
Dear reader, I just want to personally say that your "it was 4-1" tweet on Saturday night was absolutely hysterical. Truly, a work of art. When I read it, my body began convulsing with laughter, achieving an ecstasy I did not previously know was possible. I then immediately fell to my knees to curse the heavens for not granting me the breadth of comedic genius that you have clearly had since the day of your birth.
How do you even come up with this stuff? Is it hard to formulate such a cutting-edge joke that no one in human history has ever thought of before? Are you aware of your newfound status as a comedy pioneer? Someone about which children will read about in history books as perhaps the funniest person to ever live?
Bless you, dear reader. Bless you!
No, but seriously, the Leafs blew another 4-1 lead on Saturday and deserve all the heat they have gotten and will continue to get until it happens again.
At a certain point, you have to stop doing "The Thing". But the Leafs can't. They crave embarrassment, as Saturday's collapse to the Avalanche served as the fifth blown 4-1 lead by the team since 2013, when the meme was birthed.
How is this even possible? This is a curse that spans eras, transcends cores, and has sept into the very bedrock of the franchise.
These collapses date back to the Dave Nonis era, for Pete's sake. The Leafs have had two different GMs since then, along with three different head coaches, and a roster facelift that has sent quite literally every single player who suited up for that fateful game seven in 2013 out the door.
Canadiens name Kent Hughes as their new general manager
Kent Hughes is the new general manager of the Canadiens. The team announced Tuesday morning that the 51-year-old Montreal native has become the 18th GM in franchise history, replacing Marc Bergevin, who was fired on Nov. 28. “We are very excited to add Kent Hughes to our organization,” Canadiens owner/president Geoff Molson said in a statement. “Kent is highly respected in the hockey world, having built an excellent reputation as an NHL player agent for over 25 years now.” Hughes will work with Jeff Gorton, who was named the Canadiens’ new executive vice-president of hockey operations after Bergevin was fired.
And yet, life finds a way.
All you can do is laugh, really. I certainly am. This is funny to me. Ha-ha. I love it.
(Life is pain).
Winner: The Hockey Diversity Alliance
Watch the video. Buy the tape. And support this undeniably important cause.
It's impossible to overstate just how fearless the members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance are for leading the charge against racism and intolerance that plagues hockey to this day.
Wayne Simmonds, Akim Aliu, Trevor Daley, Matt Dumba, Anthony Duclair, Chris Stewart, Nazem Kadri, and all other members of the organization are heroes. That is an unquestionable fact.
But the bravery of the HDA is not shown solely in their attempt to spark change in a community that harbors (and even empowers) countless people who hate them for no reason other than the color of their skin.
No, their bravery shines through in the way they have gone about it.
Anti-racism messaging in hockey has always been presented in a neat, sanitized little package of "be kind to everyone" epithets that are quickly forgotten after puck drop. It's better than nothing, I guess. But, clearly, it's not enough.
The HDA has eschewed all pleasantries with their #TapeOutHate campaign. And what they've done is provide the public a glimpse into the vitriol that players of color deal with on a daily basis, stripping the hate of its sugar-coated filter and showcasing the true horrors they endure in its rawest form.
That is a message that cannot be ignored.
Communicating it, however, does not come easily. Putting these real and unfiltered acts of aggression on display requires those involved in the campaign to unearth past trauma on a public stage, with their pain serving as a plea for the public to spare future generations of a similar fate.
That takes strength. A strength that those who do not identify with those groups cannot comprehend.
Hockey is a better place with the HDA. Hopefully, the powers at be will begin to work with them.
Staal, Julien could see hopes of NHL return boosted by Olympic performances .
Eric Staal wasn't aiming to take part in his third Olympics. Claude Julien, meanwhile, agreed to coach Canada at two December tournaments simply to get back behind the bench. The COVID-19 pandemic has, of course, closed plenty of doors. But for Staal and Julien, it's opened another wide open — and there's a chance it could eventually lead both men back to the NHL. The decorated duo is set to lead Canada's Olympic men's hockey team at theClaude Julien, meanwhile, agreed to coach Canada at two December tournaments simply to get back behind the bench.