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Weekend Flurries: Understanding the losing streak and the 2018 Hockey Hall of Fame

Gary Bettman? Really?

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Winnipeg Jets
Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson (6) and goalie Semyon Varlamov (1) stop a shot by Winnipeg Jets forward Brandon Tanev (13) during the second period at Bell MTS Place. 
Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Avs

Five in a row for the Colorado Avalanche. At least no one can judge us for day drinking on the weekend.

Yesterday’s loss to the Winnipeg Jets was very tough. “Too many mistakes and turnovers with the puck led to chances against,” said coach Jared Bednar after the game. “All those odd man rushes and scoring chances against are mostly on us.”

Coach went on to say that the Jets did a good job of hounding his players up the boards and took advantage of failed breakouts. “We didn’t play our two-on-one’s very well.” For a team that had a lot of practice time this past week, this isn’t a good sign.

Bednar was not inclined to blame systems breakdowns for the loss. “Our defending commitment was great; held them to 24 shots, didn’t give them any rush opportunities. But those turnovers can really come back at you, especially when you play a team that shoots the way they do.”

Special teams were also an area where the Avs struggled. The team went 0/4 on the power play, with only four shots on net and with most of the attempts from the outside. The Jets, however, scored twice on four chances with the extra man. They also had four shots on net in three fewer minutes on the power play.

The Avalanche play the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday. That’s a winnable game, right?

The League

This weekend is Hockey Hall of Fame induction weekend. Martin St. Louis, Martin Brodeur, Jayna Hefford, along with Willie O’Ree, Gary Bettman, and Alexander Yakushev all got their rings and plaques that will stay in the Hall forever.

Martin St. Louis is arguably the greatest underdog story of all time. A player who was never drafted, and cut from his first NHL team has now been able to call himself a Stanley Cup Champion, MVP, and Olympic gold medalist with over 1000 games and points in hockey’s best league.

Despite all the accolades, it wasn’t until after he retired that he thought about the possibility of being honored with a Hall of Fame induction. “You look around and it’s unbelievable. Being in here I don’t think of myself, ‘Look at everything I did’. Being here is more ‘Look who’s in here’ and now I’m part of that. To me that says it all.”

The highest-scoring woman to ever play professional hockey, four Olympic gold medals, seven World Championship gold medals, and now the commissioner of the CWHL. The resume speaks for itself with Jayna Hefford.

Jayna Hefford retired from competition in 2014, following the Sochi Olympics, so this is only her second year of eligibility for induction. That makes her the Canadian woman’s hockey player with the shortest time between eligbility and induction (American Angela Ruggiero remains, for now, the only woman to be inducted as soon as she was eligible). Still, for a player of her calibre it’s appropriate to say “about time!”

Three-time Stanley Cup Champion, four-time Goalie of the Year, and the NHL leader in wins and shut-outs, there was no doubt the Marty would make the Hall.

“As a player you get to meet Hall of Fame members and now to have my name in the same sentence makes me speechless,” said Brodeur. “I was fortunate to play on great teams that allowed me to play with my own personality, which is so important to a goaltender.” - The Hockey News

The first black hockey player. A trailblazer for generations of hockey players. It’s a travesty Willie O’Ree hasn’t been inducted already.

“If you look at what he’s done, he kind of opened the door for the rest of us to step in and play,” said former goalie Grant Fuhr, the first of two Black players to precede O’Ree into the Hall of Fame (the other is Angela James). “In my world, that’s the perfect description: as a builder of the game.” - The Record

Gary Bettman being inducted in the Hall seems...premature? Sure, he grew the NHL and made it very profitable, but there are a lot of dark marks on the league while he was in office. Why not wait?

Three lockouts, one that wiped out a whole season, happened under the commissioner’s watch, yet his end game was in line with what the board of governors envisioned when the 40-year-old was brought on board in February of 1993. He brought order to their loose lodge, took pro hockey into the modern era and fired a wraparound that covered the continent and much of the globe with the NHL brand. - Toronto Sun

Naturally, North American hockey writers don’t know much about Alexander Yakushev, so here’s a very detailed retrospective of Yakushev’s career from Reddit!

So all of this was a pretext for why Yakushev is a special player. He played for Spartak: another soviet and russian multi-sports society, but Spartak was always seen as a people’s team. The main sports societies at the time were Dynamo (police society) and CSKA (army society, as i said earlier). Spartak, while having some major support in the upper echelon of Soviet leadership had no relation to any of the soviet ministries.

Have a great weekend, feel free to rant about the Avs or Gary Bettman in the comments. This is a place for healing.