Secret's Out: After Being Sidelined For Two Months, Taylor Hall Underwent Successful Knee Surgery Earlier This Week
First and foremost, I would be remiss not to say that I'm very happy to hear that Taylor Hall is still alive, never mind recovering from a successful knee surgery. Considering the suspiciously vague way in which the organization has spoken about the status of the league's reigning MVP (or, more accurately, been shameless in their refusal to) the last few months, I was half expecting to next see him starring as the dearly departed host in a Weekend At Bernie's-inspired intermission skit. In that sense, I was absolutely ecstatic upon finding out that that all he needed was to go under the knife after two full months out of the lineup. Talk about managing expectations!
In all seriousness, if I had to diagnose how the Devils have handled the previously inexplicable absence of their best player, I think I'd suggest an organizational lobotomy. Admittedly, I'm short a medical degree, so I'll leave the well-being of the franchise's most important joint in the hands of the professional practitioners. If they thought the smartest course of action was to rehab around surgery until doing so presumably became unrealistic earlier this week then far be it for me to tell them otherwise. However, mum continuing to be the word regarding the whereabouts of a transformational player while a flushed season circled round-and-round the toilet is a step back for an organization that was thought to be decidedly less secretive since being relinquished from the vice grip of the eternally tight lips of Lou Lamoriello.
I'm not even that annoyed by the fact that only now is Taylor Hall actually healing from what ailed him since late December, as - well before this point - I assumed he was going to be done for the remainder of a season that's long been lost regardless. I am annoyed that a franchise that, albeit understandably, has done very little to improve the team over the last year thought the smart play was to treat their frustrated fans like they're stupid.
I just don't understand what was to be gained from leaving everyone lying in wait and wonder about the availability of a superstar who could, if a nightmare were to be realized, have played his last game as a Devil with nothing else to distract them but a whole hell of a lot of piss poor hockey. Disclosure can be a hell of a drug when trust is what you're looking to attain. Ipso facto, leaving those that are already starved for any sort of success also in desperate need of a fix is both a surefire and entirely unnecessary way to make them manic. I still believe in the light at the end of the tunnel, but much less so when the conductors are leaving the paying passengers in the dark for no apparent reason.
All Positive Vibes Go Out To Mirco Mueller, Who Has Feeling In His Extremities After Being Left Lifeless By A Scary Crash Into The End Boards
It's probably a bit premature to say crisis entirely averted, as we should learn the full scope of the damage done to Mirco Mueller by the awkwardly incidental collision that sent him sprawling head first into the end boards before speaking so cavalierly of it.
That being said, with how temporarily terrifying it was to see him laying face first on the ice without a sign of life in sight, the thought of him being able to move, speak, think, and respond even prior to being taken to the hospital of which he's since been released is endlessly encouraging. Any time the stretcher makes that quick of an appearance it's a very bad sign, so - especially relative to the alternative - all the news that's come out since he was wheeled off the ice with his thumb held high has been very good. The diagnoses following incidents that remind everyone of the undeniable and potentially life-altering dangers of sports as fast and physical as hockey typically aren't as forgiving, so I'll gladly accept that apologetic outcome from real life for interrupting the insignificance of sport with its damn ramifications.
Never mind Mirco Mueller the player, because Mirco Mueller the person is alive and apparently well enough to return to his own home, which is by far the most impactful win of the Devils' season. Hopefully they can rack up another one by returning him to ice in a much more flattering fashion, but that's a much less important battle to be fought another day.
Random tangent: I'm aware that I am only speaking to the few, the loud, the morons that probably seemed to be attending in higher numbers than they actually were due to the silence of the rest of the building, but the time to berate officials is not when they are looking helplessly down at a potentially paralyzed player. I know it's a craaaaazy concept that accidents happen when professional athletes fly around on skates banging bodies with one another, but not every fall is the result of penalty. Hell, even if that were the case, being worried about the game (especially one as meaningless as...well...the rest of the Devils season) while one of your team's players looks like he's about to be lined in chalk is borderline sociopathic behavior. I know the thing that stupid fans in every city lack the most is self awareness, but if everyone around you is completely silent then do right by your poor parents by taking a hint and shutting the fuck up.
It Appears Mike McCarthy Has Adjusted Well To Life Outside The NFL, As He Chased The Referees Of His Stepson's HS Basketball Game Out Of The Building
In the interest of freeing up the hands that his stepson undoubtedly has his head buried in out of embarrassment, I hope Mike McCarthy is offered a job by an NFL organization sooner rather than later. In the interest of freeing himself of the frustrations that have built up over years of being undermined by Aaron Rodgers, however, I hope that excoriation of underpaid officials was what it took to finally make him feel as though his voice was being heard again.
There's something to be said about the hyper-competitiveness of those that make a cutthroat living on the biggest stages in professional sports, and that something can't typically be said on basic cable. Therefore, it's not all that much of a surprise that some midwestern parents were appalled to have their virgin ears penetrated by Mike McCarthy's colorful language. You don't just go from NFL sideline to high school bleachers without an adjustment period. Considering he's both prone to overcompensation as a stepparent and in need of a power play as a coach whose pride was pummeled by how things ended with the Packers, that adjustment period wasn't about to be rated PG.
Now, I'm not saying that we should all give a grown ass man a pass for having a full-on fit as an over-involved observer at an amateur sporting event. I am saying that I'm giving him a pass, as most people involuntarily take their work home with them and most people don't even have the excuse of being recently let go after spending the last few years being talked down to as a boss.
The Lakers' organization doesn't strike me as the type to appreciate self-deprecating humor. Taking an objective look in the mirror and having a laugh at themselves would require them to remove their collective head from their collective ass. I could be wrong, but I have a feeling that's not something the most self-importantly run franchise in sports is prepared to do with how poorly they've worn the embarrassment of the Anthony Davis debacle.
Therefore, the most reasonable explanation was that this scoreboard snafu at Staples Center was an innocent mistake. Unfortunately, it was an innocent mistake that is so rarely, if ever, made that I have no choice but to believe that it was the result of the technological equivalent of a Freudian slip. An innocent mistake the likes of a man blurting out the name of his former mistress while sleeping with his wife, but worse considering AD and LA were never actually "a thing".
I don't want to treat this as more than it is, since it was presumably just one person pressing the wrong button. However, I'll be damned if that one person immediately associating the name Anthony Davis with purple and gold isn't hilariously emblematic of the struggles a once proud franchise has had in getting over a player that was never actually on their roster. Don't let LeBron making a shot that few could to squeak out a win over a Pelicans' team that sat their superstar during the 4th quarter fool you. The effects of the trade that never was are still, rather pathetically, being felt throughout a Lakers' organization that appears primed to be seated at home for the postseason, apparently even amongst its most anonymous employees.
Give Last Night's Buzzer-Beater Its Own Centerfold In The Final Chapter Of Dwyane Wade's Illustrious Career
There it is. The exclamation point. With this season being his swan song, last night's clutch finish was basically the guitar solo. From finishing off a point-per-minute performance by driving a dagger into the best team in basketball, to having a familiar Flash for the dramatic in doing so, to coming as a result of a shot that arrived straight from the damn circus. That might not be the last showcase of all that Dwyane Wade brought to the game of basketball, but him taking it to the bank while serving as the only explanation for the inexplicable is more than likely the best one we could possibly hope for at this stage of his legendary career.
The only way it could have been more fitting would have been if it sealed a playoff series, but - since the postseason doesn't look to be in the cards - you might we well bottle up everything about that moment and pop the top off after his final game in what's become known as Wade County. Kevin Durant standing there completely dumbstruck. The man of the hour standing there triumphantly atop the scorer's table in front of the people that have laid witness to his championship mettle for over a decade and a half. If the basketball gods had any sense of timing they would have ascended his jersey straight off his back to its own spotlight in the rafters of American Airlines Arena while that atmosphere was at its most electric.
Regardless of what that new hairdo might imply, Dwyane Wade isn't getting any younger. Luckily, the memory of a sequence that was nothing short of symbolic will age about as gracefully as the transcendent player responsible for it.
Johnny Manziel Has Been Banned From The CFL, Which Is A League You Toootally Knew He Was Still Employed By This Morning
This is just...sad. Not to me personally, but sad nonetheless. If I had to pick which aspect was the saddest it would be a tough call. On one hand, I needed to find out that Johnny Manziel was banned from the entire CFL to be reminded that he was, up until now, still in the CFL. On the other hand, the CFL feeling the best publicity an SEC sensation turned NFL first round flameout still stood to provide them was by way of dishonorable discharge must also be a pretty bitter pill to swallow for those that actually care. Simply put, no matter what angle you choose to look at it from, it's the type of continued plummet from relevance that you typically watch out of the corner of one eye after compromising between turning away out of respect and rubbernecking the wreckage out of morbid curiosity.
I'm not going to pretend to know which stipulation in an undoubtedly strict contract was breached, but a league that needs all the NFL's sloppy seconds it can get being unable to look past what doesn't seem to be much more than a misdemeanor misstep is a rough, rough look for Johnny Football, never mind Johnny Manziel. Of course, I'd imagine he'll shortly resurface in either the AAF or the next iteration of the XFL, but being blindly thrown overboard by the CFL while knowing full well that their brand new competition has plenty of lines in those same waters doesn't exactly make him look like a quality catch, or really a keeper at all.
An Almost Entirely Unrecognizable Group Of Players Wearing Devils' Jerseys Are Set To Take On The Calgary Flames Tonight
Being that almost the entirety of the season to date has been governed by Murphy's Law, I should really only be surprised in how little I'm surprised by looking at a woefully underwhelming lineup. Still, I found myself genuinely taken aback by the shocking results of the New Jersey Devils' forwards falling victim to a bizarro world plot of 'Final Destination' in which their inevitable and eventual resting place is with the dregs of the draft lottery. In between short stints of rooting for Cory Schneider to have some long overdue success, I have been a loud and less-than-proud member of Team Tank for awhile now, but having their odds increased by the whole damn team taking a group trip to the emergency room sort of feels like a sick joke.
For example, let's take the curious case of Egor Yakovlev. I spending the last month or so merely wanting nothing more than for a mildly promising Russian defenseman with an impending incentive to defect to scratch an NHL ice surface ahead of the lame-duck likes of Eric Gryba, Mirco Mueller, and - to a much lesser extent - Ben Lovejoy. Hoping to see more of someone who'd shown flashes that could light the night sky relative to those of his competition at a depleted position felt like a reasonable request. Yet, here I am - having watched him go from inexplicably playing in Binghamton to bringing so much of Binghamton with him out of necessity that he's been forced into playing forward - realizing that no wish is a careful wish during such an apocalyptically anti-climactic year.
I wanted to see the young players in the system be given a shot to make an impression at the end of an otherwise lost season. So, in that sense, it's refreshing to see Michael McLeod, Nathan Bastian, and Connor Carrick being given a sizable opportunity to do just that. I just didn't think the means to that potentially encouraging end would be the injured list looking nearly indistinguishable from the list of high scorers.
Neither the players, the coaches, or the front office would ever say and/or think so, but each loss is a bit of a win at this point. For that reason, it doesn't really matter that they are rolling out four lines that couldn't even intrigue a desperate junkie going through withdrawals. Still, the harsh reality that their goaltending has somehow gone from their achilles heel to their main source of excitement in the blink of an eye is...well...the type of painfully ironic yet entirely unexpected plot twist that would make M. Night Shyalamalan hit the pause button and take a deep breath...
This Goalie Used His Innovative Powers For Evil In Snapping The Stick Of An Opponent Who Was Involved In A Scuffle
Being all-too-familiar with the frustration of having a wildly overpriced stick broken in just about any form or fashion, I really hate to do this, but I have to give credit where credit is due. He's undoubtedly being docked a couple letter grades for being a douchebag, but that goaltender earned his points for creativity. Intentionally breaking someone else's stick is psychotic behavior, but - seeing as you have to be a bit of a psycho to play the position of puck stopper - the source must be considered. For what it's worth, which is no excuses whatsoever, that particular source sure found a way to surprise me in using the repurposed tools at his disposal to MacGyver that stick into multiple pieces.
Now, I don't know that leveraging his net against his post to cause property damage is what you'd consider a trick of the trade, but there was a bit of genius to his evil. The moment of "did he just..." that froze his foe long enough for him to dodge a well-deserved ass-kicking of epic proportions tells you all you need to know about the ingenuity that he put into being an asshole. After all, brakes are one thing you typically don't see used on the tracks of someone who just saw their $200 dollar investment snapped like twig.
A High School Basketball Broadcaster In Indiana Resigned After Offering The Most Stick-In-The-Ass Analysis Of A Breakaway Dunk
And that's what we call a blessing in disguise. I don't mean to paint that rant in too positive a light, because it undoubtedly came from the tightly repressed lips of someone who has non-ironically said "a lay-up counts for just as many points" more times than he can even remember. Still, we should all celebrate his resignation, no matter what preempted it, because that guy had unquestionably been broadcasting local high school basketball in rural Indiana for far longer than any one man should.
Without checking his resume, there's reason to believe that he's been the voice of Wells County since the 'Wells County Voice' finally succumbed to forming an online adaptation. Consider the period of time for which you'd have to have studied a rotating stable of teenage athletes to form a grim generalization of the school for which they play. Honestly, I'm not sure he resigned due to backlash as much as he went ahead and cashed out the harsh reality check that was hearing himself non-satirically say the words "typical Homestead attitude" about a bunch of kids who can't even buy cigarettes.
That guy's hate for Homestead High runs so deep that he's either watched their players raise the roof (in an infuriatingly awkward fashion that's reserved for entirely white basketball teams in Middle America) for a decade plus, or he spent a combined year of his youth shoved deep into one of its lockers. There might be some middle ground I am missing, but what can I say? I learned from the best...broadcaster Wells County had to offer in jumping to conclusions and slanderously firing off broad strokes character assassinations.
Russell Westbrook Stared A Hole In The Kid Who Touched Him Courtside Before Offering A Quick Parenting Critique To His Guardian
Well, he's not wrong. I focused as intently on his postgame response as Russell Westbrook did while he aggressively Jedi Mind Tricked an overzealous kid right back into his seat with a soul-piercing stare, and I certainly couldn't spot the lie. Given the circumstances, which include being in the front row and a member of the opposing crowd, there was about a 95% chance of that touch coming from an intoxicated adult and being inspired by animosity as opposed to awe. Surely that educated guess of a statistic, as well as Russell Westbrook's relentlessly intimidating demeanor on the court, led to him turning around with the only bright in his eyes being the fire of a 1,000 suns.
As far as the parent-teacher conference that ensued, I can't help but think that was long overdue. Usually I'd just chalk that uncomfortable situation up to the society's overarching inability to take children anywhere (much less within arm's reach of professional athletes), but Mike Malone's long-term job security should feel threatened by how casual that kid's command of the sideline was. We're basically talking about the sizzling stovetop of NBA players, and that little dude confidently put his hand directly to the flame like any lesson he stood to be taught was his first one. As is just about always the case, Russell Westbrook could have been more relaxed in his initial reaction, but that would have been a huge disservice to a fellow Father who looked far too at peace playing the part of irresponsible Uncle.
Here's A Fun Display Of Teddy Bridgewater's Health And Athleticism, As Well As Another Sign Of The Saints' Solidarity
I'm not biased enough to think that stuff like this doesn't go down in other locker rooms around the National Football League. However, since other locker rooms around the National Football League didn't appear anywhere near as fun and cohesive as the Saints did from Monday through Sunday, I'm treating this on-going friendly competition between backup quarterbacks as yet another tip of the cap to the culture that's been created in New Orleans.
I mean, how random is that collection of players? A first year free agent linebacker in Demario Davis. A fringe wide receiver/punt returner in Tommy Lee Lewis. A backup quarterback that was acquired by trade just prior to the season in Teddy Bridgewater. An undrafted backup to the backup quarterback that found himself in an on-again, off-again relationship with the practice squad in J.T. Barrett. It honestly leads you to believe you could call four random names off the roster - regardless of age, status, or position - and they'd have been just as likely to get along like life-long friends, if not brothers. I'm sure that's not entirely true, but only in the latter half of coming of age sports' movies is something as rare as 53+ personalities co-existing as one supposed to seem remotely plausible.
Also, not that I needed one, but this is just another small look in on how much a clearly healthy Teddy Bridgewater enjoyed being a New Orleans Saint, despite actually only playing one game. Time will tell whether the clock has already struck midnight on his residency within the Who Dat Nation, but - all else being equal (with 'all else' being $) - it's not crazy to envision a world where he thinks his future is brightest behind Drew Brees. Good things come to those who wait and just about everything we've seen from the Saints, be it on or off the field, indicates that calling the current construction of their talented, tight-knit roster a good thing would be a massive understatement.
P.S. I first treated Sean Payton's question as if it were asked in jest, but clearly he didn't know the extent of these battles or Teddy Two Gloves would have using one sticky ass hand to cut into Taysom's workload as yet another pass-catching quarterback in the Saints' offense. Hell, he might be capable of creating more separation than some of the actual wide receivers not named Michael Thomas did this past season.
A News Network Filmed A Video Of Select Islanders' Fans Criticizing John Tavares, Complete With All The Second Hand Embarrassment You Can Possibly Handle
Alright, make it stop. No seriously, make it stop. I said, MAKE...IT...STOP!
Honestly, fifty seconds was more than my fair share of second hand embarrassment for the calendar year, so someone needs to shut down the shameless search for attention that is the 3-minute extended version to save me from deafening myself with internal screams.
I obviously understand that this video doesn't even come close to representing the collective opinion of actual Islanders' fans. For, if it did, then I'd remind them that the "woe is me" act doesn't quite play when it basically translates as "woe is the franchise that waited nine full seasons before finally getting their shit together when their homegrown superstar already had one foot out the door". Again, it goes without saying that this is the most preposterously pathetic portrayal of a loud and proud fanbase. However, just so we are clear, this season has provided the perfect cure for whatever separation anxiety might have existed before it started, so to still be sick over John Tavares' departure is to be sick in the head.
That doesn't mean Long Island's finest shouldn't boo the socially awkward misfit that is 'Pajama Boy' to the highest of heavens when he takes the opposing end of all-too-familiar ice on Thursday. It does, however, mean you need both a massive mirror and therapy if, for even a single second, you found yourself nodding along with a collection of pawns that were scripted to look like absolute imbeciles by a news network that was actively exploiting the type of sports' agony that breeds illogical opinions.
Rooting for the first place team in the Metro Division should have more than expedited the mourning process, so News 12 should be just as ashamed of themselves as those they bamboozled into publicly embarrassing the organization they regionally cover.
Doc Rivers Stopped The Game, Grabbed The Mic, And Worked Clippers' Fans Into A Frenzied Appreciation Of Dirk Nowitzki
Well, I can't say I saw that coming. The moment in which Doc Rivers called an unnecessary timeout and unexpectedly grabbed for a microphone was a long time coming, but I could have sworn that when it eventually came it would have been to add some decibels to a demonstrative, expletive-laden critique of the officials. Therefore, doing so to incite an appreciative standing ovation, as opposed to an angry mob, for one of the most universally beloved athletes in NBA history was an uncharacteristically pleasant surprise.
Like Doc or not, that was an extremely cool moment. So much so, in fact, that it almost allows me to ignore that the league has basically taken it upon itself to collectively, and increasingly less subtly, walk Dirk Nowitzki to the door of retirement. I can't say I blame them as he currently looks every bit the part of a 40 year old who has spent over half his life in the NBA despite never being all that fleet of foot...
...but we are still talking about someone whose legendary status reserves him the right to officially exit at his own leisure.
Needless to say, these grand gestures are as awesome as they are well-deserved. However, like a rock being thrown through a lover's window instead of against it, they are going to go from heartwarming to hilarious if an all-time shooter decides come the end of the season that he still has some quality mid-range fadeaways in the chamber.
At this point, I don't even know which outcome I am hoping for, but the entertainment value of Doc Rivers trying to somehow top stopping the show for an opponent's curtain call has me leaning towards "ONE...MORE...YEAR!".
In What Serves As Proof That He Can Do No Right In The Eyes Of The Officials, Boogie Cousins Got T'd Up For Looking Out For The Safety Of His Peers
It's like ten thousand rules when all you need is common sense, and isn't it ironic? Don't ya think?
It's actually amazing. The thing that officials, whether they be babysitting six year olds or presiding over professional athletes, struggle with the most is situational awareness. They can mesmerize every intricate stipulation in the most exhausting of handbooks, but when it comes to reading a room they are basically illiterate.
I'm fully aware it's not an easy job to have to trust your eyes in making split second decisions about the legality of the physicality between some of the biggest, strongest, and fastest athletes on the planet. However, a referee being unable to comprehend what DeMarcus Cousins was doing by tossing an errant sneaker from an area of the floor in which it would have served as nothing more than a man-child's hilariously unorthodox attempt to form a connection with his illegal adoptee is the most glaring example of their counterproductive command of avoiding criticism...
I say the following with an understanding that jobs don't get more thankless than officiating at the NBA level. When in doubt, referees should default to the decision that's the least likely to get them yelled at, just like almost every other employee on the planet. That's certainly not a perfect system, especially when Boogie is on the court, but it's one that should aide the flow of play and offer their PR team a helping hand in making those that police the game seem somewhat pragmatic.
Obviously there's a reason that players are supposed to be punished for throwing things in the crowd, but there's also a reason that those with the whistles are given the creative license of "human error" in determining whether to blow them or not. That reason couldn't be highlighted more by the most inhuman of error, which was a failure to see the difference between calmly removing a clear and present danger from the most inhabited area on the court and psychotically booting a basketball to the back row of the building.
We're not talking about doing something super-duper hard like counting the steps and actually calling a 12-step travel. We're talking about a ref having more than enough time to absorb context clues before firing synapses annnd aimlessly shooting himself right in his own foot. I know a lot goes into being a professional official, but that's not an excuse for not putting some brain power towards being a rational person.
The NFL Is Looking Into Penalizing Teams For Leaving The Bench To Celebrate, Thus Proving That There Truly Is No Offseason When It Comes To Needling The Saints
First, let's check in on the Saints for their thoughts on the matter...
If I were only allowed one way to describe my reaction to this news it would be unsurprised. We've long known that when it comes to having idiotic priorities advised by people whose asscheeks tend to be held as tight as their wallets, you really can't put any entirely unnecessary and non-football related rule change past the 'No Fun League'. Having recently given in to allowing orchestrated and/or choreographed group TD celebrations, it was only a matter of time before they were no longer able to ignore that inherent desire to suppress the showing of team spirit. They've probably been looking for a way to satiate the satisfaction they get from censorship since the first time the players' powers combined to...::audible gasp::...entertain their customers.
Now, as a Saints' fan, I'd be willing to bet that just as many coaches and owners suggested an amendment that took the ability to decide Conference Championships out of the cowardly hands of suspect officials. Unfortunately, as a Saints' fan, I also sit here colored with not one shade of shock that the league chose to use their unadulterated influence for the evil that is emotional inhibition as opposed to something that might actually uphold, or even improve, the integrity of their product.
Whatever theory there is to support that players leaving the bench is problematic, there is over a year's worth of execution that speaks directly to its harmlessness. The fact of the matter is that most teams have fully embraced flooding from the sideline to pose after turnovers, and I know this because most teams shamelessly stole that very celebration from the New Orleans' defense. Go figure, even during the offseason, the franchise targeted most by the NFL's incompetent attempts at governing itself is the one that employs Sean Payton. What else is fucking new?
I think any rational fan, of which there are very, very few this time of year, was hoping for a 1st round pick and expecting a 2nd round pick in return for someone who did his damnedest to inflate his trade value throughout the month leading up to the deadline.
In that sense, getting the latter plus a future 4th round pick for Marcus Johansson following the better part of two underwhelming, injury-plagued seasons after trading a 2nd and 3rd round pick for him isn't at all disappointing. Especially since it sets the Devils up pretty nicely to use their brand spankin' new abundance of assets to make a move similar to the one that brought him over from Washington.
On the other hand, in the sense that the team that gets to benefit from his appropriately priced services is the same one that rosters the walking, talking, licking bag of douche whose elbow intentionally derailed his tenure in New Jersey, this trade is somewhat disappointing. Especially since it's well within the realm of possibility that MoJo's worth could potentially be a lot higher, both personally in free agency or to the Devils at the deadline, if not for dealing with the difficulties from the following inexplicable cheap shot that kept him out of the lineup nursing a head injury for the second half of last season...
At the end of the day, the Devils didn't do right by Marcus Johansson. When he was actually healthy, one of the best passers/playmakers on the team wasn't often flanked by the pieces necessary to maximize his production. If that wasn't evident early in the season when he kept putting the puck on a pin but still couldn't buy a point then it was evident throughout the last few weeks during which his chemistry with Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt was as palpable as it was statistically proven.
That said, the Boston Bruins somehow did even worse by him, as their resident rodent very well could have caused irreparable damage to his brain, never mind his career. Again, I don't think the trade is at all bad, but the taste it leaves in my mouth certainly is, as there is something about Brad Marchand now benefitting from said brain and said career that feels as dirty as his sliver of a snake-like conscience.
I have no doubt that Ray Shero got as much as he possibly could in making a more than fair deal, which is obviously all that really matters when flipping an asset. Unfortunately, I also have no doubt that Marcus Johansson will act with the upmost professionalism in letting bygones be bygones, which is obnoxiously annoying since the person that couldn't help but concuss him for no conceivable reason doesn't deserve the fucking courtesy.
As someone who is typically against entirely purposeless fights, you might think I'd frown upon fisticuffs that occurred off the rink prior to puck drop. Usually you'd be right, as you can't argue these two were providing some sort of momentum swing when there was not yet any momentum to be swung.
That being said, limiting yourself to a two foot wide island of rubber amongst an ocean of concrete while attempting to punch each other in the face with skates on is too stupid to not lead me to believe that these two have some deep-seated animosity. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's such a wildly inefficient place to pound on one another that I have no choice but to believe that rage blinded them to their spatial circumstances. If it was merely an attempt at intimidation then surely they could have walked three more feet down the runway into the room or waited until after the opening face-off when the whole rink would provide them a proverbial oyster on which to crack each other skulls. Therefore, I'm thinking this was just one of those conflicts that needed to be resolved immediately, be it at a bar, a church, or literally anywhere in between.
Well, either that, or it was just a result of one or both parties spending too much damn time in the ECHL to care where, how, who, what, or why they fought.
Never forget. Just, never forget.
I can't possibly pretend I am excited about the prospects of a fifth round pick in the NHL equivalent of an eternity, just like I can't - in good conscience - act like Keith Kinkaid was worth anything more at this point in what's become as humbling a season for him personally as it has been for his now former team. For that reason, this trade is entirely unmemorable in a way that doesn't feel fair to a guy whose performance was anything but in willing a young Devils' team into the playoffs for the first time in six years.
This move became inevitable as soon Mackenzie Blackwood burst on the scene and Cory Schneider (and his contract) finally proved himself more capable than a corpse. However, I refuse to let the god awful goaltending behind a dumpster fire of a defense that "helped" stamp New Jersey as eventual sellers by the time people were last-minute Christmas buying tarnish the memory of Keith Kinkaid shouldering the load during an unexpected postseason push. That extended flash of brilliance, be it in a pan or not, was absolutely awesome to watch throughout a month in which he went entirely unafflicted by playing every game as they were each packed with the pressure of playoff hockey.
As somebody who, like basically everybody, finds Keith Kinkaid to be an endearing personality, I hope that last season doesn't end up being the highlight of his career. Realistically, with neither age nor the odds of a larger sample size working in his favor, we've probably seen his best. Therefore, the least we could do is replay it from time to time in doing justice and giving thanks to a player who, through the fleeting ups and extended downs, looked to love being a part of an organization for which he was once undeniably a savior. To put it in his language, don't be ? that it's over, be ? that it happened.
UNC's Nassir Little Has Apparently Grown A Wee Bit Tired Of The Size Of Zion Williamson's Media Circus
Can someone please grab Nassir Little a bottle of Pepto-Bismol so he can start stomaching his team's place behind the most physically impressive 18 year old in sports' history on the headline hierarchy? Waiter, utensils please, because someone is going to need a spoon after publicly pouring himself one big old bowl of butt-hurt.
I don't want to act like I can't sympathize with a competitive kid trying to demand some respect for his team after they demolished a #1 ranked regional rival in their building because he probably should feel slighted as a looming lottery pick himself, but let's not get crazy here. The media might be shamelessly choo-chooing while riding the Zion Williamson hype train, but there is only one entity responsible for putting those wheels in entirely unstoppable motion and he happens to be an athletic anomaly the likes of which we have never seen. ESPN certainly has its flaws when it comes to damn near chaffing the utters in milking the shit out of prominent players for content, but they didn't create the 280 pound myth-like Monstar anywhere near as much as they've just given him the publicity he's earned as an almost unprecedented prospect.
Simply put, we've seen high-profile games between the best of Duke and UNC go any which way for decades now, but we've never seen a college basketball player be too strong for the structure of a sneaker. We've never seen a consensus 1st overall pick in the NBA Draft go down due to his frame being almost impossible to outfit. We've never seen the cost of tickets to a regular season college basketball game hoover around five figures while attracting the likes of Ken Griffey Jr. and Barack Obama. We've never seen all the things combined at the perfect time to prove, once and for all, that an undisputed pro caliber talent risking his health for zero profit is inherently stupid. Even if the story wasn't as ridiculous as a kid ripping right through the product of the biggest shoe company on the planet on and momentarily stealing the collective breath of the basketball world, the featured subject would have been Zion Williamson. The jealousy is understood, but all eyes would have been on him regardless, and with damn good reasons other than the media said so.
I Wonder What Color The Sky Was In Steve Kerr's World When He Didn't Notice Draymond Green Hopping, Dropping, And Rolling In Agony
I hate to say this as someone who understands that ego maintenance/management is an underrated job responsibility of NBA coaches who have a goddamn monopoly on talent, but score the three annnnd one for the "coaching the Warriors is a mindless activity" crowd.
I obviously don't think Steve Kerr needs to be planning out every possession when he's got the best shooting backcourt of all-time and they only rank as the second and third most unstoppable scorers on the roster. However, casually going comatose is not the best look for someone who really only needs to look like he's trying. To be viewed as one of the best in even the most monotonous and boring of professions, it's pretty imperative that one seems more optically engaged than Sandra Bullock in that dumbass movie that I refuse to watch and, as such, am the last internet savvy soul to reference. Yet, Steve Kerr looked like he was more prepped for a root canal than he was for a professional basketball game against a quality conference foe. Draymond Green legitimately played a full round of hamstring hopscotch right in front of his vacant, emotionless face and not until he was about to have his toes rolled over did he notice that his most important defensive cog was demonstrably damaged goods. Maybe I say the following out of recency bias since 'The Beard' didn't play last night, but I think I've seen Rockets' role players appear more alert when James Harden has the ball with under 10 seconds left on the shot clock.
Again, I'm not foolish enough to view that ridiculous visual as an indictment of Steve Kerr as a basketball mind and I'm certainly sympathetic to the idea that doing any job for long enough will turn you into a robot, but even Rosie from The Jetson's would have called for a cleanup on aisle antagonist. So maybe, just maybe, it would be wise not to skip the pregame expresso, since the head coach of a team that's won three titles in four years tooootally gives a damn what the general public thinks about his actual game-to-game impact.