Jason Kay is the Editor in Chief of The Hockey News and has been with the brand since 1989. No, that's not a typo. Born in England, raised in Toronto, he arrived in his home and adopted land as a baby in 1967, just in time to see the Maple Leafs win their last Stanley Cup. A stay-at-home defenseman once upon a time, Kay knows his NHL dreams are long dead, but he hasn't given up hope of winning the Brier.
The George Stroumboulopoulos experiment at Sportsnet is still in its relatively early days, but that hasn’t stopped critics and fans from opining. The reviews have been mixed, with some old-school hockey viewers taking a harsh stance and millennials generally liking the work he’s doing.
A scan of some pointed comments on a website prompted one of my colleagues to state: “Nobody filling Ron MacLean’s shoes really had a chance.”
The reality is, 28 years ago, MacLean was in the exact same position as Stroumboulopoulos. He was the new kid on the block, replacing the highly respected Dave Hodge as the face of Hockey Night in Canada. MacLean had to battle aspersions that he was too young and lacked credibility.
Turns out, he filled Hodge’s chair rather nicely. A decade from now, we may be saying the same about Stroumboulopoulos.
The following story chronicles MacLean’s challenges in his early days on the job and the hurdles he had to overcome. It was written by Eric Duhatschek and appeared in The Hockey News’ now-defunct sibling publication, Inside Hockey, in November of 1987.
What are the chances your team will land a player on trade deadline day to help it win the Stanley Cup this year? It’s a long shot, but perhaps not as remote as you think.
Over the past 10 years, five teams have made swaps on D-day for a piece of the puzzle, guys who’ve helped, on various levels, to capture glory. Here they are, in order of significance:
The Wayne Gretzky shocker to L.A. will always be hockey’s pre-eminent swap. It is, after all, known simply as “The Trade.”
That said, the first seismic, earth-shattering, mind-blowing blockbuster to register on my Richter scale happened more than a decade earlier, on Nov. 7, 1975, when the Rangers sent Jean Ratelle, Brad Park and Joe Zanussi to Boston for Phil Esposito and Carol Vadnais. To borrow a line from Greg Kihn, they just don’t write ’em like that anymore. Read more
If I’m a fan of the Seattle Seahawks, I’d probably agree their choice to throw on second and goal was a mistake of Titanic proportions.
Given I’m neutral, I see it through a different lens. Running the ball was no guarantee of a touchdown. Marshawn Lynch, it turns out, isn’t efficient at punching it in from the one. And goal-line running plays, as this Pittsburgh Steelers fan can attest (see Jerome Bettis, 2005 AFC divisional playoffs), can have just as dire consequences.
Regardless, of your take, the play will live in infamy and Pete Carroll’s legacy will be attached to it.
But epic coaching gaffes aren’t unique to football. Here are five head-scratchers from our world that ended with massive fails.
What does Andrew Raycroft have that Patrick Roy, Jacques Plante and Dominik Hasek don’t? The same thing Brit Selby does and Rocket Richard, Bobby Hull, Jean Beliveau, Guy Lafleur, Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky don’t: a Calder Trophy.
The award for NHL rookie of the year is prestigious, exclusive and possibly the toughest individual bauble to win. Players typically have just one crack at it. But the honoree in any given season doesn’t always prove to be the cream of his freshman crop, not in career distinction.
It’s not always a harbinger of future greatness. Check out these examples: Read more
It’s a well-worn adage in sports that if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.
As we sit back and watch the NFL’s Deflategate with a certain amount of schadenfreude, we should be careful not to let our smug meter edge too high. Hockey isn’t as lily white as the surface it plays on.
We needn’t look beyond the NHL’s decision this season to punish divers, by outing them, for Exhibit A. If pretending to be fouled, or embellishing an act to draw an advantage isn’t unethical, it’s certainly uncool.
The Connor McDavid-Jack Eichel NHL draft showdown is a towering monster, thanks in various parts to their amazing skill levels, an insatiable media appetite and social media. They’re being touted as better than Taylor Hall-Tyler Seguin, the dynamic duo that topped the 2010 draft board. As for their careers, however, they have many miles to skate to rank with the best-ever No. 1-2 tandems.
That distinction is held by Guy Lafleur and Marcel Dionne, who occupied the top slots in 1971. Montreal nabbed Lafleur first, following Sam Pollock’s legendary machinations; the Habs GM pried the No. 1 pick out of California a year earlier, then traded Ralph Backstrom to Los Angeles to help prop up a flagging Kings squad when it appeared they might finish last overall. The dipsy-doodling worked, as Los Angeles moved past the Seals, cementing the top choice for Montreal. Read more
When we were building the formula for our NHL Fan Rankings, the notion of noise was tabled. Should we try to concoct a volume measurement and weave that into the calculations?
The suggestion fell on deaf ears, for a couple reasons. For starters, we couldn’t think of an objective methodology. There is no decibel-per-game average available anywhere. Secondly, and more to the point, loudness doesn’t necessarily equal good fandom. Read more