Only one month (or so) and counting until the 2018 NHL Draft!
For the Avalanche and 27 other NHL teams, we’re currently deep in the throes of the postseason offseason, with nothing but the Conference Final series and the World Championships over in Denmark to keep us amused.
As we get closer and closer to the draft, talk has ramped up about who will be selecting whom. For the Avs, here’s a look at the Top-50 players through Mid-May, so we have a launching point to discuss what kind of pieces the team can be adding as they head into next season. [Mile High Hockey]
And, in more detail, here’s a profile on Ty Dellandrea, a player the team could potentially snag in the first round on draft day in Dallas. [MHH]
Side note: MHH will have a chance to chat with some players at the draft, since I’ll be there for work and will be able to snag a few interviews. So get your prospect questions ready ahead of time, we’ll make sure to get the chats you want and the answers you need!
Moving on, can we all get a slow clap for the Colorado Eagles right now? They’ve been scrappy as hell this year, and I’m really here for it. [The Denver Post]
Also, you may have noticed that the cover photo for today is the Winnipeg Jets wearing their Humboldt Broncos memorial jerseys. That’s because, in the last week, we’ve gotten a ton of good news from the Saskatchewan team as they rebuild and try to move forward:
First, the moms of the players killed in the bus crash last month had an extra hard time leading up to this Mother’s Day, knowing that their children wouldn’t be coming home to wish them a happy day this year. So the hockey community stepped up, sending them messages of support, flowers, and love from across North America. [CBC]
The team has also confirmed that they hope to resume operations for next season:
We're happy to officially announce today that the Humboldt Broncos Junior A Hockey Team will return for 2018-19 SJHL season! See the attached link for today's release and job posting for the GM/Head Coach position... https://t.co/Q1ygado67Y #humboldtstrong pic.twitter.com/ZZR6flJwLA— Humboldt Broncos (@HumboldtBroncos) May 11, 2018
For anyone worried that it’s too soon, by the way, the sister of late head coach Darcy Haugan said it was exactly what he would have wanted:
Darcy loved the game. He’d be the first to lace them up, I believe.— invisigirlonfire (@DebbieJayneC) May 12, 2018
In more good news, one of the bus survivors, Kaleb Dahlgren, has committed to York University to continue playing when his recovery is over. The university has told him that, despite numerous injuries he still needs to heal, “he can start whenever he’s ready”. [The Star Phoenix]
Now, for some playoff action:
The first three games of the Conference Final series have been a bit... disappointing in the realm of goaltending. But William Karlsson, everyone’s favorite overachiever, had the save of the year during Game One of the Western Conference series:
Finally, a save! This Wild Bill beauty glove stop was the best of the night. pic.twitter.com/7u88oheHFT— InGoal Magazine (@InGoalMedia) May 13, 2018
While they lost Game One, though, here’s a great story on how the Vegas Golden Knights have become who they are this year. [The Guardian]
And on the other side of the ice, here’s the best coaching tidbit you’ll see all day (sound on required):
Paul Maurice to Patrik Laine: "You got to f***ing move your feet, kid."— Gino Hard (@Ginohard_) May 13, 2018
*Laine shoots and scores*
Maurice: "Or do that." pic.twitter.com/W6TKRBwOKL
Outside of hockey, veteran NBA star Pau Gasol had some words for anyone who thinks that Becky Hammon shouldn’t be getting interviews for a head coaching gig. [The Player’s Tribune]
Finally, I wanted to leave this here to touch a little bit on how disappointing it is that Bobby Hull still gets celebrated so much around the NHL.
At Game One of the Western Conference Final, it was highlighted in the broadcast - and by quite a few media members in attendance - that Hull and the rest of his linemates from his WHA Winnipeg days were at the game to cheer the team on.
Not everyone is going to agree with me, and that’s fine (this is my morning link dump as long as information isn’t factually inaccurate, it’s fair game to put here). But a lot of what Bobby Hull did on the ice, as impressive as it was - and as great as it was for the growth of North American hockey - just can’t overshadow what he did, said, and believed off the ice, for me and many others.
I don’t mind when players of differing political opinions share their opinions with the general public, and I don’t mind if a player with a different lifestyle than my own lets it be known to the world. Republican, Democrat, Christian, Jewish, atheist... whatever you are, I believe you should be allowed to express it to the world. And for a lot of players, an off-ice transgression isn’t the be-all, end-all to me when it comes to allowing them to continue playing or even being an ambassador of the game.
Since his earliest days, though, make no mistake: Bobby Hull has not been someone with ‘a transgression’ or with ‘a difference of political opinion’, but an abuser, a racist, and a wholly unapologetic white nationalist.
He’s been reported as defending Hitler, saying that his ideas were good but ‘went a little too far’. He’s been accused of beating his ex-wife with a steel-toed shoe, with the incidents confirmed by one of his sons as well as his daughter, Michelle. He’s reportedly gone on record for an overseas paper saying that the world’s black population has grown too quickly, genetic breeding would improve the human race, and that he ‘didn’t give a damn’ if he was labeled a racist simply because he wasn’t ‘running for public office’.
Everyone, I suppose, is entitled to their opinion. And in a way, I suppose, what he says and does off the ice doesn’t affect what he does on it (although I’m curious what, exactly, his ideals did over the years to affect who was willing to play for teams he was on).
The NHL is constantly talking about how they bring in ambassadors from years past, though, to help grow the game. They bring back former players as heroes, inspiring the next generation and making fans feel like their team is still loved by the old guard.
Frankly, the last thing that they need is some young fan of color to see what Hull has done, see how he’s rewarded, and - as Chicago Sun-Times reporter Evan Moore once put it - say, ‘nah, I’m good’ and walk away from hockey. The last thing they need is for some young player to feel emboldened by what Hull has done and said over the years and use it to excuse his own behaviour.
I’m fine with Teemu Selanne, who has quietly supported Donald Trump in the past, still getting his accolades and spotlights. I’m not so fine with Bobby Hull getting the same, and this piece out of Winnipeg more or less explains why. I know this was a long end note for today’s flurries, but giving just a little side note to someone like that felt wrong. [Jets Nation]