Dear hockey fans: let’s do more to weed out internet trolls

James Reimer (Getty Images)

The emergence of social media has enhanced the hockey-watching experience for many fans and media, but it’s also spawned the worst element of the sports (and for that matter, the internet) world: namely, the anonymous cowards who get their pathetic kicks hurling abuse at those with whom they take issue.

For some – pro athletes, public figures, opinion columnists – harsh criticism is to be expected: people have every right to be passionate about something that piques their interest, and so long as they engage in a respectful, healthy debate, they should be engaged with. But there are still some boundaries you don’t get to cross just because you have an online connection and a rudimentary grasp of the written word. And we’re still seeing too many people cross it in the hockey community.

Last week, some drooling goober thought he was justified in sending a repugnant Tweet to former NHLer and current analyst Jeff O’Neill that mentioned O’Neill’s late brother, Donny. When he saw it, Jeff O’Neill openly pondered not returning to his Twitter account until January (although he’s since reconsidered). And Saturday night, after the Maple Leafs were humiliated by the Buffalo Sabres, the wife of Toronto goalie James Reimer was subjected to a number of reprehensible Tweets from stooges who know how a keyboard works, but not how basic human decency works. Worse still, this wasn’t the first time Reimer’s wife has had to deal with the yammering clods of the internet. In March, she was the target of invective because of her husband’s play on the ice. (I’m not linking to any of the abusive tweets, because the cretins behind them aren’t gaining any notoriety from one of my files.)

It shouldn’t have to be said, but apparently, it needs to be: there is no excuse for attacking a player’s wife, girlfriend or any family member. None. If you don’t know why this is inappropriate, go soak your head for a good, long while, and try figuring it out again on your own. The families of hockey players have no connection to your enjoyment of the game. Any rationalization you have to include them in your hate is fundamentally flawed, as are you as a human being if you’re stupid enough to do so. Read more

What happened to the once-great Quebec goalie factory?

Ken Campbell
Chicago Blackhawks' Corey Crawford

A popular notion is the impact of Quebec on goaltending has diminished significantly. That’s not true, not at all. After all, almost a third of NHL teams – eight to be exact – employ Quebec-born goaltending coaches. The shocking, and blasphemous if you’re from La Belle Province, fact is that total represents double the number of goalies from Quebec who are actually playing in the NHL.

Not including Martin Brodeur, who may or may not find NHL employment, the NHL’s Quebec goaltending fraternity could easily hold its meetings in a Mini Cooper. There was a time, when Patrick Roy made goaltending cool and the position attracted the province’s best athletes, when half the league had a starter or backup goalie from Quebec on its roster. Of the 60 possible goaltenders in the NHL in 2014-15, that number will have likely dwindled to four: Chicago’s Corey Crawford, Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury, Toronto’s Jonathan Bernier and Florida’s Roberto Luongo.
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Tim Bozon’s fight back from meningitis to get back on the ice

Tim Bozon

By Marty Hastings

Like any NHL prospect, Tim Bozon spent his off-season training hard for 2014-15. This summer, however, the road to a new season has been particularly long for the 20-year-old third-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens.

After all, it wasn’t until June that he skated for the first time since falling ill in March and losing nearly a quarter of his bodyweight. His mother, Hélène, brought an iPad to the rink to film his return to the ice. “If you think about three months ago, when he was laying down like a dead boy,” she said, “if someone told you he could be on the ice in June, probably I would not believe them.” Read more

Third round of WHL Best Name contest is set

Ryan Kennedy
Red Deer's Kayle Doetzel (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

It’s really getting down to it now. Our Elite Eight has been set thanks to the votes you cast on Twitter as the WHL Best Name tourney gets serious. The Victoria Royals, who have been strong all tournament long, are guaranteed a semifinalist, but will another challenger be able to take the overall crown? Watch the THN Twitter feed for your chance to vote your faves into our Final Four. Here are the pairings:

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Stop the hypocrisy. Connor McDavid fighting is exactly what we want

Jason Kay
Connor McDavid (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The hypocrites have taken over the asylum.

Connor McDavid gets hurt in a fight and there’s a groundswell of finger-waving, tongue-cluckers wondering why the most talented player in junior hockey is trading knuckle sandwiches with someone he should be battling on NHL 15.

Seriously? This is exactly what we want. Minus the broken/fractured/bruised metacarpal, of course.

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Junior phenom Connor McDavid injured in a fight that’s indefensible

Adam Proteau
Connor McDavid (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Everyone with a cognitive apparatus in reasonable working condition should know by now that anyone who tells you nobody gets hurt in a hockey fight is not telling the truth. The latest example proving those people to be liars came Tuesday night when OHL superstar Connor McDavid suffered an apparent right hand injury in the first real fight of his burgeoning career.

McDavid’s Erie Otters were taking on the Mississauga Steelheads when, after the whistle, McDavid and Steelheads center Bryson Cianfrone decided to fight. By the end of it, McDavid was the worse for wear, leaving the ice holding his right hand gingerly in his left and subsequently heading to the hospital for x-rays. Read more