The St. Louis Blues’ first round draft pick in 2010, Jaden Schwartz, will miss the remainder of the 2011 World Junior Championship and six weeks total after suffering a fractured left ankle in Team Canada’s victory over the Czech Republic on Dec. 28.
Schwartz, 18, tallied a goal and two assists in two appearances for Team Canada at this year’s tournament. Currently in his freshman season at Colorado College, the 5-foot-10, 182-pound forward leads the NCAA in points per game (1.53) among rookies with 11 goals and 15 assists in 17 games.
Canada’s final game of the preliminary round is on Dec. 31 against Sweden.
The Sharks did their best to decipher which member of the team was depicted in a child's drawing. Come for the reactions, stay for Dylan DeMelo's dissection of the hair.
Portrait drawing takes years of practice, a keen eye and some serious skill. Or, for any child with a handful of crayons and the back of a paper placemat at the local diner, it takes about 15 minutes while you wait for the pancakes to get placed on the table.
The best thing about a kid’s drawing, though, is that their way of sketching out what they see often comes with amazing results. Be it tiny arms and legs sticking out of one big, round head or three-fingered stick people with L-shaped feet, there’s always something hilariously unique about each drawing and almost every doodle requires some sort of explanation.
That is unless you’re the San Jose Sharks, in which case you go in blind and try your hand at guessing what — or, in this instance, who — you’re seeing. Watch as the Sharks try to determine which teammate’s photo has been drawn by a young member of their FINatical Kids Club:
The reactions off the top, especially those of Marc-Edourard Vlasic and Mikkel Boedker, are great, and Tomas Hertl’s half-laughing ask of “Who can be this?!” will crack you up. Then there’s the dissection of the “flow” by Dylan DeMelo, right down to the haircare products. But nothing about this video is better than Brenden Dillon’s unexpected self-burn.
While he’s trying to figure out who exactly the drawing is, he says that whoever is depicted in the drawing has “a face for radio.” Turns out it was you all along, Brenden. Surprise!
You’ve got give the Sharks credit where it’s due, though. Almost all of the players in the video ended up getting the drawing correct — few looked more shocked than Joe Thornton — and they all had their reasons for guessing the way they did, though most of the guesses had to do with the hair.
Philip Larsen got knocked unconscious, the Canucks retailiated without knowing what happened, and they could have hurt their teammate even worse in the process.
The incident was horrific. We can all agree on that.
Tuesday night in New Jersey, Vancouver Canucks blueliner Philip Larsen skated behind his net to retrieve a puck. He had no idea Devils left winger Taylor Hall was pursuing the same puck. They collided heavily. Larsen bashed his head on the ice and was knocked out cold.
It was a scary scene, undoubtedly, one that understandably evoked a ton of emotion from Larsen's teammates. It was hardly a surprise to see a flurry of Vancouver players swarm Hall and make him fight.
It was a shame, however, for multiple reasons. First off, the hit wasn't dirty. It wasn't even a deliberate bodycheck. Hall leaned back on his skates to slow his momentum and held out his arms as if protecting himself from imminent impact. It was more of a crash than a bonecrushing hit. We can debate whether Larsen's head was the principal point of contact – I don't believe it was at all – but it's irrelevant when assessing Hall's guilt. There was no intent there. He won't be disciplined by the NHL for an accident.
And yet, thanks to the sport's culture of immediate and forceful vengeance, Hall had to fight anyway. In the spur of the moment, in the heat of elite competition, players are simply too jacked up to take a breath and assess the situation. They see a comrade fall and, in mere milliseconds, seek and destroy whoever caused the harm.
“You always have a problem with a hit when one of your guys gets hit hard," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins told the Vancouver Province's Jason Botchford after the the game. "It doesn’t matter if it’s a clean hit. You have a problem when a guy gets hit that hard. I think all coaches would.”
The ironic thing about this tough-guy mentality is that it could end up pushing one of the toughest things about hockey out of the game: good, clean hits. If the swarm mentality goes on much longer, the only guys willing to lay opponents out with big hits will be those ready and willing to drop the gloves right afterward. Sooner or later players might decide it's not worth sitting five minutes and/or risking injury just to put a lick on a guy. And, in Hall's case, he wasn't even trying to drill Larsen.
Will we ever stop seeing players attacked after clean hits? I doubt it. The revenge assault is a crime of passion, a snap decision. But maybe, just maybe, the Canucks and players all over the world can learn a bit from what happened right after Larsen got hit. Watch:
The first instinct, sadly, is not to help Larsen, but to destroy Hall. Center Michael Chaput immediately starts a fight. That causes a pileup of players from both teams – all around the unconscious Larsen. It's downright disturbing to see him getting kicked in the head by his own teammates’ skates. Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom tries to box out Larsen and keep him safe. Markus Granlund tries as well but has to step over and onto Larsen in the process. It’s a miracle Larsen wasn’t cut. None of that would've happened had Chaput thought of Larsen first.
The ugly scene is a reminder that, right after a teammate takes a massive hit, the first priority should be to protect him. The best way to do that isn't to attack his attacker. It's to attend to the teammate first. There's plenty of time to review what happened and take down the perpetrator's number for later in the game. That's what jumbo-tron replays are for. And, in cases like Hall's, the violence would be averted altogether if players watched the replay and realized it was an accident.
Sadly, the idea is a pipe dream, and I don’t expect players to learn from Larsen's fate anytime soon. But we can always hope.
Blues winger Jaden Schwartz saw his chance to end Tuesday’s game in overtime and he took it, going upstairs with a beautiful backhand for his 10th goal and third game-winner.
Jaden Schwartz’s 2015-16 season was disappointing, but it wasn’t exactly his fault.
Schwartz was expected to be a key cog in a Blues offense that was expected to, and did, make a deep run in the post-season this past season, but the then-23-year-old had most of his year derailed by an unfortunate ankle injury just weeks into the campaign. Schwartz ended up being sidelined for 49 games and finished the year with just eight goals and 22 points in 33 games, a definite down-year for a projected 30-goal scorer.
He’s making up for lost time this year, though.
Injury once again hindered Schwartz at the start of the campaign as he missed four games with an elbow ailment, but since returning to the lineup he has been every bit the dynamic scorer the Blues were expecting him to become. No play better exemplifies that than Schwartz’s overtime winner against the Canadiens on Tuesday night, which came on a picture perfect backhander that beat Montreal’s Al Montoya clean:
Not to sleep on the great pass by Alex Steen, but that’s almost a video game backhand by Schwartz. The power, accuracy and timing of the shot gave Montoya next to no chance to stop the shot.
For Schwartz, the goal has put him right on the kind of goal-scoring pace the Blues have long expected him to reach. His pair of goals Tuesday — he scored midway through the third period on a net-front scramble to send the game to OT — puts him on pace for his first campaign with 30-plus goals and he’s set to have a near 60-point campaign.
More than just scoring, though, Schwartz is blossoming into the true top-line threat the Blues were expecting when they selected him 14th overall in the 2010 draft. After consistently skating in a top-six spot over the course of the past two seasons, Schwartz has averaged close to 20 minutes per game this season. Steen and Paul Stastny are the only Blues forwards who’ve seen the ice more.
There’s still no word as to what exactly caused Coyotes AHL captain Craig Cunningham to collapse on ice, but the 26-year-old was in contact with teammates and cracking jokes earlier this week.
More than two weeks after collapsing on the ice ahead of an AHL game between the Coyotes and Jets AHL affiliates, news has come that Craig Cunningham is starting to get back to his old self.
According to Tucson’s KVOA, Cunningham spoke with two teammates, Brandon Burlon and Christian Fisher, via FaceTime earlier this week, and both said that things are starting to look up for the 26-year-old Cunningham.
Fisher added that it was nice to see Cunningham, the captain of the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate Tucson Roadrunners, smiling again. But he wasn’t just smiling, he was also trying to have a good time with his teammates while hinting that he wants to get back on the ice.
“He was cracking jokes just as if he were here the next day," Fisher told KVOA. "It was pretty funny. He said he wanted us to come pick him up and take him to the rink. He was joking around. Stuff like that.”
The mystery still remains as to what caused Cunningham’s collapse, however. It came just moments before the game was set to start and resulted in medical staff in the building cutting away his equipment in order to attend to him. Cunningham ended up leaving the ice on a stretcher, was transported to hospital and he remained in critical but stable condition for much of the past two weeks.
Still, though, Burlon and Fisher said that there’s no “definitive answer” as to what caused Cunningham’s medical emergency. That’s more than all right with both players, too, so long as Cunningham’s health is starting to look up.
"What we do know is that he is doing well and we are moving forward here," Fisher told KVOA. "Hopefully, he will start the road to recovery now.”
Cunningham has suited up for 319 AHL games over the course of his career, netting 101 goals and 203 points, as well as scoring an additional three goals and eight points in 63 NHL games. He was drafted 97th overall by the Bruins in 2010, but was picked up by Arizona off waivers from Boston during the 2014-15 season.