If you ask an NHL player what their favorite time of the season is, most would likely say the annual dad trip.
It’s become a yearly tradition around the league and one that undoubtedly brings back memories of those early Sunday morning practices and long car rides to away games. By all accounts, these trips are a blast for everyone involved and a great way for the players to show their appreciation for the people who helped get them to where they are today.
But let’s remember it's not a one-way street.
As someone who grew up playing hockey three times a week, it was my Molson-Export-in-her-French-Canadian-veins mother who spent more hours in the cold arenas than anyone. While these dad trips are a lot of fun and a great experience for the players, let’s hope it’s not a one-way street for much longer.
For the first time last season, a few teams (Carolina, Calgary and Vancouver) took the initiative of adding a Mom’s Trip to the schedule. Now the rest of the teams need to follow their lead and make it a league-wide tradition as well.
Yesterday, the Avalanche left for Nashville with their father’s by their side, here are some of the highlights:
A goalie and his father; something I can relate to:
By all accounts, Len Barrie is stealing the show on this trip. It’s his trip, everyone else is just along for the ride:
afterward, I told Tyson “good game” and his pops was like “what game were you watching?”— Andy (@thereubins) November 25, 2018
Around the league
Late last night, the Arizona Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks linked up for yet another trade. This one was a pretty big one involving three former first round picks all aged 22 and younger.
To ARZ: Nick Schmaltz (C)
To CHI: Dylan Strome (C), Brendan Perlini (LW)
Schmaltz and Perlini are both 22-years old and were selected eight picks apart in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, while Dylan Strome was the 3rd overall selection in the incredibly deep 2015 draft. After dominating the AHL last season, Strome has had some difficulties adapting to the speed of the NHL this season. He is a tremendous playmaker, but skating has always been Strome’s weakness and it simply hasn't improves since he was drafted.
He’s still got a lot of time to grow but as long as he was in Arizona, Dylan Strome would always have a stigma attached to his name simply because the team passed on guys like Mitch Marner, Mikko Rantanen, Mathew Barzal, Kyle Connor and Tiemo Meier i order to draft him.
Many will argue that the Coyotes are giving up on Strome far too early - and they might be right - but no one knows how he has progressed as well as the Arizona organization. They haven't seen the growth you would want from a kid with his pedigree and it seems like John Chayka is willing to take the risk that Strome never lives up to his full potential.
In Schmaltz, the Coyotes get a very good two-way center that head coach Rick Tocchet is going to love. He’s a much safer player that is going to be a very good middle-6 center for a long time.
For me, the deal breaks down as three highly skilled players that haven’t yet lived up to full expectations. Schmaltz is the best player in the trade but Chicago has home run potential in both Strome and Perlini. I’d say this trade is a win for both sides - safer for Arizona but it’s easy to understand why Chicago would make the deal.
Trades are always fun, but someone needs to tell Arizona and Chicago that they’re allowed to trade with other teams:
The Chicago Coyotes and the Arizona Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/PkAIphQSRS— Catherine Silverman (@catmsilverman) November 26, 2018
On a more serious note, last week was Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week here in Ontario. In order to help shed a light on the impact bullying can have in the hockey world, former NHLers Daniel Carcillo and Shawn Matthias shared their stories of bullying when they were in the OHL. Give yourself some time to read through the thread below. It’s a good reminder that while these kids are playing the game they love and chasing a dream, there is a darker side to it that can’t be overlooked.
#BullyingAwarenessWeek— Daniel Carcillo (@CarBombBoom13) November 24, 2018
The year is 2002-2003 I am 17 turning 18 yrs old & it’s my @NHL draft year
I moved away from home, family & friends, to play hockey in the @OHLHockey for the @StingHockey
I endured daily bullying/abuse at the hands of veteran players
Below is my story...