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

Celebrity Overtime: Five questions with Ice Pilot Mikey McBryan

Mikey McBryan (Shaw Media)

Stars (even reality stars) like hockey too, and everyone once in a while they’re more interested in chatting up last night’s game than they are in pontificating about their latest TV or film projects. In our weekly “Celebrity Overtime” feature, we take five minutes with various celebrities to discuss their love of the good old-fashioned game.

Mikey McBryan is best known as the general manager of Buffalo Airways, the Hay River, NWT airline that’s been featured on the Canadian series for the past six seasons. But when the personality isn’t trying to avoid emergency landings or coming up with cool Buffalo Airways swag to give fans, he’s all about the Stanley Cup—no matter what team wins it. Read more

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

Tarasenko, Weise channel inner Mr. Hockey, record Gordie Howe hat tricks

Jared Clinton
Dale Weise (Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

It might be time we start wondering if there’s anything Vladimir Tarasenko won’t do this season. Thursday night, when the St. Louis Blues played host to the Nashville Predators, the Blues winger registered his second hat trick of the season, only this one was of the Gordie Howe variety.

The Blues goal-scoring sensation got the assist out of the way early in the game and would add the goal late in the second period. But the highlight, of course, is the “fight”: Read more

Why did Montreal grab Sergei Gonchar from Dallas for Travis Moen?

Ryan Kennedy
Sergei Gonchar heads to the Habs (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

There are some hockey trades that just make sense at the time and others that require a little more thinking. When news hit that Montreal had acquired veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar from Dallas in exchange for sandpaper bottom-sixer Travis Moen, the initial motivations were cloudy.

After all, the Canadiens aren’t exactly a physically intimidating team and the Stars didn’t seem to be in a position to lose an experienced blueliner, but here we are. So what’s the context of this deal?

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NHL draft prospect Nick Merkley is making a statement on The Hot List

Nick Merkley (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

The CHL-Russia Super Series kicked off in Saskatoon Monday night and the visitors continued their hot streak by winning 3-2 in a shootout over the Western League’s squad. The six-game showdown usually starts in Quebec and goes West, but things are flipped this time and will be interesting to see if that affects the results at all. In other news, top 2015 Swedish prospect Oliver Kylington was loaned out to AIK in the country’s second-tier league, the Allsvenskan, where he will get more playing time. Here’s a look at some of the other youngsters we’re keeping an eye on.

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Hamilton Bulldogs hope to raise $50,000 for fallen soldier’s son

Ken Campbell
Courtesy Hamilton Bulldogs

As people lined four deep through the streets of Hamilton last month to honor one of their own, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo’s casket was en route from the funeral home to the church in a procession that included Cirillo’s family at the front of it. As that procession made its way past the FirstOntario Centre, Hamilton Bulldogs president Stephen Ostaszewicz was struck by the gravity of it all.

Cirillo was the young man who was killed the morning of Oct. 22 as he stood on ceremonial sentry duty at the Canadian National War Memorial in Ottawa. The shooting and subsequent attack on Parliament Hill stunned the nation, but it hit the closely knit city of Hamilton particularly hard, something Ostaszewicz witnessed first hand when he saw Cirillo’s five-year old son, Marcus, walking in the procession.

“I watched him march in the procession with his grandmother and his aunt,” Ostaszewicz said. “And a lot of the people here, both on the Global Spectrum side and the team side, were touched by it.” Read more

Chris Kreider getting reputation as habitual crease crasher

Kreider Price

What makes New York Rangers’ winger Chris Kreider a unique player is his combination of size and speed. At 6-foot-3 and nearly 200 lbs., that same speed also makes him a danger when he comes crashing towards the net.

And, after Sunday night’s game against the Edmonton Oilers, some are starting to wonder about Kreider’s intentions when he gets close to the crease.

In the contest – a 3-1 loss at the hands of the Oilers – Kreider received a goaltender interference penalty for contact, no matter how incidental, with Edmonton netminder Viktor Fasth: Read more