- OK, I am guilty of Homerism. We all are, and if you’re not, then why bother being a fan at all? That said, the trade of Jake Muzzin to my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs is definitely newsworthy! Honestly, I love everything about this trade. The Leafs first rounder this year will be pretty low. In fact, it might be a pick that would have been a second rounder before the Las Vegas Golden Knights came into the league (YEAH I WENT THERE). It’s certainly more realistic than my video game/fantasy league idea of trading Gardiner and Nylander for Drew Doughty.
2. I didn’t watch any of the AllStar stuff. West Coast timing really messed with me. Isn’t it usually Skills on Saturday Night and the game on Sunday afternoon? Also, the 10:45 PM start time was a factor. I was bust participating in activities Stomping Tom Connors would suggest for a Sudbury Saturday Night. So I was very disappointed to hear that when I was lying on the couch hungover all day Sunday there would be no mid afternoon Allstar game for me to enjoy. It’s not really appointment viewing. I enjoy it any time I watch it, but it’s the nature of the game that it shouldn’t be good. Nobody wants to show anybody up or get hurt. I don’t even mind when players bail. 4 bonus days with your family and a chance to rehab injuries? I don’t like the suspensions either, it’s just more bad mojo between the NHL, the players and the fans.
3. This week in getting boooooooed the Columbus Blue Jackets home crowd apparently were giving it to Artemi Panarin both when his name was announced and when he touched the puck. Panarin refuses to negotiate a new contract during the season and wants a trade. Columbus is right in the middle of a hotly contested Metropolitan division race. He’s their leading scorer. I don’t like the idea of a fanbase booing their own player, but I definitely understand their disappointment. Does he deserve it? Will people lose respect for Panarin because of it? Will it hurt his contract numbers being regarded as a possible locker room malcontent? I think if he is moved before the deadline he’ll give a big boost to a team. He’s always been productive – 15 points in 17 NHL playoff games and has never missed the playoffs.
4. Speaking of fantasy leagues and similar scenarios, the Leafs for all intents and purposes have a bye week. At the start of the season many fantasy players were disappointed by the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Edmonton Oilers starting overseas, particularly people who took Nikita Kucherov and Connor McDavid. They had a very thin schedule to start and it was devastating to people who participate in head-to head leagues. Alluding to the homerism I spoke of earlier, anyone who weights their fantasy team heavy with hometown heroes or some other single team-centric strategy will find themselves with one week where things look very grim. I’ve read that in an NFL pool stacking your team with all players that have a bye week at the same time is a viable strategy – sacrifice one week entirely for a benefit that will slightly benefit every other week. How do we feel about a bye week? It annoys me as a fantasy player but I’m reminded of a quote from a book. Toronto Sportswriter Bob McCown wrote a book a few years back about the 100 Greatest Hockey Arguments. I hate Bob McCown, which was a major factor in why I loved his book. Many of these arguments we had an opposing viewpoint on which made the book more valuable to me. One in particular was lamenting the lack of specificity regarding player injuries. His contention was that in order to wager accurately the people need to know all the facts.his exact words were “something must be done about this insanity to protect the interests of the betting public.” Oh, and boy did I get mad. I remember Joe Colborne playing for the Marlies accidentally revealing a cast on his hand by scratching his nose – his opponents broke his wrist the next game. Johhny Gaudreau recently had his hand broken by the Minnesota Wild by having it repeatedly targeted in the same game. I was so mad that someone would value gaming over the health and safety of the players. But now I think about the NHL’s bye week, implemented to give the players a little break. Am I in the same category here, valuing betting interests over the players well being? To what degree should the league cooperate with gambling interests?