Welcome to the weekend, Avalanche fans!
It’s been a wonderful 2018 for the Central Division club so far. They’re one of the hottest teams in the NHL, and benefitting from some serious Western Conference slumps coinciding with their own hot streak to skyrocket up the standings.
Heading into their early-morning game on Saturday, the site took a look at how well Matt Nieto has been doing this season - and why his emergence over the last handful of games has been perfect for the team. [Mile High Hockey]
If you’re a Colorado hockey fan but need some college games in your life, here’s your preview for this weekend’s series between the Pioneers and Omaha [MHH]
Speaking of college hockey, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks has a defender who is currently battling cancer. Check out the awesome support he got at their game on Friday:
Made it to JJMSIA. Almost game time. Misfits pulling for Weiss. #Stickit2cancer— Nanooks Hockey Blog (@NanookHockey) January 19, 2018
Let’s #GoNooks pic.twitter.com/vufKcnT6gB
Of course, it goes without saying, but MHH sends their best wishes his way as well. Cancer sucks.
Now, speaking of NHL teams that are slumping as the Avalanche are flying high, the Los Angeles Kings are in a tailspin - and now, former team captain Dustin Brown is shelling out $10,000 for an illegal cross-check in their last game. Things aren’t going so well in the city of angels; bad news, since the team was hoping that their shake-up over the summer and a healthy Jonathan Quick would be the answer to a return to the postseason. [NHL Department of Player Safety]
He wasn’t alone, though. In the process, Brown took someone down with him:
Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the CBA, for spearing Los Angeles’ Dustin Brown.— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) January 19, 2018
Now, with a poor season for the Montreal Canadiens, time to start playing the blame game. First up is Claude Julien: is this season his fault? [Habs Eye On The Prize]
We also want to share the incredibly moving obituary for Red Fisher written by Michael Farber yesterday. So far, a number of outlets have held off on doing any reporting on their own of Fisher’s passing, just to leave Farber’s piece standing on its own as an incredibly powerful piece of reporting. [Montreal Gazette]
And for some good, Cam Talbot is auctioning off a game-worn mask to support youth sports funds in Alberta.
It’s not his first rodeo doing charitable good. He’s gotten on board to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey, raising money for his wife’s hometown, and the couple constantly work to help better their community.
Still, it’s always incredible to see continued efforts to help out, and this is no exception.
For more information, check out the link in the tweet:
This game-worn Cam Talbot @BauerHockey mask painted by @artofdave can be yours! proceeds help kids play sports through @SportCentral_AB— InGoal Magazine (@InGoalMedia) January 19, 2018
details: https://t.co/ysXHWuTdly pic.twitter.com/KUUno2sj15
Now, for a couple of stories in women’s sports:
I’ll start with the positive, warming your hearts a bit before we tackle an ongoing difficult topic.
No one has ever heard of a Nigerian Olympic bobsled team, but this trio of women are changing that. We’re as hype as Serena Williams seems to be about it:
Finally, there’s more information to share on the ongoing Larry Nassar trials.
If you haven’t caught up on that particular story, Larry Nassar is the former USA Gymnastics team doctor who’s headed to prison for hopefully the rest of his life after decades of sexually abusing underage athletes in the name of medical treatment.
The story first broke in 2016, although his victims date back to the 1990’s and span multiple gyms, teams, and Olympic games. They were as young as 11 or 12 when he started abusing some of them, and he’s allegedly been enabled for years by Michigan State University turning the other cheek on accusation after accusation over the years.
It’s a horrifying case with shameful, reprehensible behaviour from Nassar himself, but also from those around him.
Earlier this week, I shared a long read on the enablement culture among his colleagues that left him in a position of power for years before one of his accusations was finally taken seriously. Now, here’s another read on how his survivors want more than just justice against him; they hope the school that left him in control for far too long will go down for it, as well.
It’s remarkable and heartbreaking reporting by The Athletic’s Katie Strang, a good friend of mine who’s taking on one of the hardest journalistic assignments I’ve ever seen. This story is unlocked by the site, so you can read without a subscription. [The Athletic Detroit]
After Nassar requested he be removed from listening to the victim impact statements, though - implying he wasn’t emotionally equipped to handle them - one of his former victims, two-time USA Gymnastics Olympic Team Captain Aly Raisman - delivered straight fire as she told him exactly where to stick it:
[VIDEO] Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman delivers a powerful victim impact statement against Larry Nassar. pic.twitter.com/VxlLQubrdN— Outside The Lines (@OTLonESPN) January 19, 2018
While I know that this isn’t hockey, I feel it’s important to include a lot of this in the morning links simply because the entire sports community deserves to follow along with this trial and understand exactly what went wrong. Hopefully, this will be the last time something like this is allowed to continue like it did.