Early spring is my favorite kind of sports chaos.
In college sports, you’ve got the Frozen Four - both men and women - and a pair of March Madness tournaments simultaneously going on, with a million things to watch and not enough hours in the day.
Oh... and then there’s the NHL playoff race, which is heating up like crazy right now, and then baseball spring training just to make sure everyone has an extra reason to head down to Arizona or Florida for a nice-weather trip.
Add in NFL free agency, the impending NBA playoffs, the kickoff of both the MLS and NWSL seasons, and the simultaneous NWHL and CWHL playoffs (which had a triple OT game Sunday night, not a big deal), and it’s sports overload. INJECT IT RIGHT INTO MY VEINS.
We’re still unfortunately running on a weekly catch-up here; we’ve got toddler allergies and peak racing season in my household, and plenty of work to go around for the rest of the MHH staff outside of morning links. I hope this gives you everything you’ve been missing, though, and then some!
IN THE NHL
To kick things off, we have to talk about the Avalanche pulling off that impressive win over the (admittedly feeble) Detroit Red Wings on Sunday afternoon. Remember when they made the playoffs for 25 straight years? [Mile High Hockey]
there is literally no way to stop Nathan MacKinnon anymore. pic.twitter.com/eBuykTvsKr— Goalie Blinnterference (@NHLBlinn) March 18, 2018
It’s also worth taking a look at what we should walk away from the loss to Dallas earlier in the weekend means for the team. [The Denver Post]
Speaking of the Red Wings, though, they’re now openly hoping for the first overall pick - and for their deal sending Petr Mrazek to the Philadelphia Flyers to yield as much of a return as possible. So when he won again, they all cheered - even for the enemy. [Detroit Free Press]
I also want to give this piece on the Red Wings and their Hockey is For Everyone month a little push. A good friend of MHH wrote it for The Athletic, and it’s got a ton of research poured into it. Worth the read! [The Athletic]
By the way, excellent point by Tom Gulitti:
Nathan MacKinnon winning the Art Ross after missing eight games with injury would probably seal the Hart for him. He's three points back of Kucherov now (one behind Malkin and McDavid) with a period to play today vs. Detroit. Has best PPG in NHL. He might win Hart regardless.— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) March 18, 2018
In some really weird news, by the way, Oscar Klefbom just got shut down by the Edmonton Oilers after the team’s Sunday game. [Twitter]
Normally, this wouldn’t be that weird. He’s been hurt, and the team is clearly trying to set a record for first overall picks. But it wasn’t that long ago that fans on Twitter were lambasted by a former Oilers player for wanting the promising defenseman to miss time for surgery; it was lauded as a very ‘playable’ injury, and now here we are. The disconnect is eventually, one would think, going to come to a head.
Finally, William Karlsson is just stupid good. No one saw it coming, either - and really, they had no reason to. [NHL on NBC]
IN WOMEN’S HOCKEY
Let’s start by sharing this:
I mean. Are you kidding me?????
For the record, that filthy goal was scored by a freshman. Yes, a freshman. I KNOW.
Also time to give a hearty congrats to Kunlun’s CWHL franchise, who just took home a triple-overtime win to head to the Clarkson Cup Final. They’ll face off against the Markham Thunder to see if the league’s first Chinese team can take home the hardware:
I also know that the Avalanche community has a pretty awesome Australian fanbase, so here’s a nod to the ladies playing for Melbourne Ice! They just took home the Joan McKowen Cup, winning their SIXTH championship. Here’s a look at why they’re so incredibly dominant, and what it means for women’s hockey down under. [The Ice Garden]
IN COLLEGE HOCKEY
Denver is still cruising along, taking the #2 seed in the Midwest region this weekend and advancing to face Penn State next. In my mind, the Pioneers are the clear favorite - but let’s not forget, Penn State still has this underdog mentality that’s getting them pretty far. Never underestimate the upset. [MHH]
For the enemy’s side of the news, here’s a look at what SB Nation’s Penn State site had to say about the announcement. [Black Shoe Diaries]
Combining women’s hockey and college hockey for a second, let’s give a moment of silence to Kassidy Sauve, who stopped 71 SHOTS before her team lost in the playoffs earlier this week. [Twitter]
Finally, a call to all of you.
Normally, I’m lazy and ask you for fun articles to share. Now, I’m going to ask you: if you have a secret, failsafe method for curing allergies in your 2-and-under children (without doping them up illegally on Mucinex), toss it my way. I’m sick of my shirt sleeve getting covered in toddler snot.