The Colorado Avalanche had SUCH a feel-good season, yet it’s becoming increasingly hard to applaud the moral victories that teams like the Avs took home this year when the Vegas Golden Knights are laughing their way straight to the Stanley Cup Final.
Book it: they’re definitely winning it all this year.
It’s tough to tell if they’re a bigger insult to the numbers boys, winning playoff game after playoff game on the backs of a bunch of skaters who embody ‘winning it to stick it to the man’, or to the 200 Hockey Men who laughed at guys like Collin Miller and Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith (and who are all now kind of wishing they had this kind of dynamic scoring on their roster, too).
Marc-Andre Fleury was once mercilessly mocked as a guy who experienced meltdown after meltdown in the postseason, single-handedly ousting his team from the playoffs year after year.
Right now, he’s sitting on an absurdly stupid .960 save percentage through seven games, having allowed just 10 total goals in 488 minutes of hockey. He’s averaging 70 minutes of hockey a night, and allowing just 1.23 goals on average in each game en route to what could very well be his third Stanley Cup in three years.
Then, there’s the player that literally no one on this planet could have predicted would be sitting on 47 goals since getting picked up by Vegas LAST SUMMER:
William Karlsson with a sweet snipe to win Game 3 in OT for Vegas pic.twitter.com/DM9eHUMwVS— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) May 1, 2018
There is hockey talent, there is elite hockey talent, and then there is shooting with a magical golden stick. I’m suspiciously inclined to believe that the player whose teammates ironically nicknamed him ‘Wild Bill’ is careening through his 2017-18 campaign on the back of the third option.
In some really hilarious news, Karlsson is set to become a restricted free agent this summer. So while we’re in the doldrums of the Avalanche offseason, here’s a fun look at what the hell his next contract could even look like. [Sporting News]
This is also a fairly hilarious video, in which even Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant admits that he has no idea where the kid even found this scoring talent. [Sportsnet]
The Boston Bruins also lost on Monday evening, which had a lot to do with a largely lifeless-looking team but also had a bit to do with this:
Bad turnover by Pastrnak leads to the Lightning rush. Bad goaltending by Rask pic.twitter.com/zH8xP7hRtR— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 1, 2018
If you think that is bad, you would be correct!
We’ve also got just one piece of Avalanche content for you, but it’s a very fun read on Draft Prospect Jesperi Kotkaniemi. [Mile High Hockey]
Finally, if you have an Athletic subscription, here’s an incredible story about now-retired, two-time NWHL champion Harrison Browne.
I try not to put my final story of the Flurries as one behind a paywall, but this was a very good - and very important - one to share. Browne made history as the first out transgender man to have his preferred name and pronouns announced during a goal call during an NWHL game two years ago, and he’s continued breaking down barriers since.
Even in 2018, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about gender, biology, and human nature.
Currently, in the running community, the rigids ideals of gender and biology so prevalent in the modern world are being severely questioned as female runners with higher natural levels of testosterone are put in the spotlight for ‘gender tests’ and potential hormone suppressants (for more information on the back story there, this is a superb long read ran in the New York Times back in 2016 about Indian sprinter Dutee Chand and her battle to continue racing despite a not-so-unique condition).
In other sports, though, transgender athletes have been put in the spotlight for rigid and often harmful ideals and practices that place the athletes in degrading and occasionally dangerous situations due to their gender and biological differences.
This story about Browne doesn’t go as much into the scientific nuances that are rebuffed by the ‘only two genders’ camp, although the Dutee Chand story has plenty of information to get people started.
What the Browne story does have, though, is a superb look at the personal journey of an openly transgender athlete - from the NCAA to the pros - and how he eventually hopes to make a difference in the lives of other LGBTQ athletes everywhere. If you’re able, it’s definitely worth a read. [The Athletic NHL]