Wins and Sins: Post-deadline Golden Knights, thrown sticks and Brad Marchand’s social media presence

It’s time for our weekly installment highlighting what’s right and what’s wrong with the NHL. For all the things there are to love about the NHL and its product, there’s also plenty to hate and criticize. 

With that in mind, let’s hash it out together … right here … every single Wednesday. 

Loving and/or hating something about the NHL at any given point throughout this season? Feel free to drop your praise/complaints in my email inbox


Photo illustration by Pete Blackburn

What’s right: Post-deadline Golden Knights

The Vegas Golden Knights made the biggest splash of the trade deadline when they went out and acquired Mark Stone from the Ottawa Senators, adding another key two-way piece to their dangerous top six. They’ve been an extremely dangerous team since then.

Post-deadline, the Vegas Golden Knights are 9-1-0 and have outscored opponents 41-22. They’ve been outstanding on both ends of the ice during that stretch, including back-to-back victories against the Oilers and Sharks this week. Those wins came with Malcolm Subban starting on consecutive days while Marc-Andre Fleury battled a lower-body injury. 

The Sharks weren’t exactly at 100-percent (they were missing Joe Pavelski and Erik Karlsson) but that game had the stink of a possible “scheduled loss” for Vegas. Instead, the Knights walked into San Jose on the tail end of a back-to-back with their backup goaltender and came away with a statement 7-3 victory.  

As for Stone, he’s got a relatively modest four goals and eight points since swapping jerseys, but the 26-year-old forward is clearly a fit. He’s the impact player that the Knights were hoping they’d get when they acquired (and extended) him. As pointed out by ESPN’s Dmitri Filipovic, the Knights are controlling 65-percent of shots on goal and 72-percent of high-danger chances with Stone on the ice at 5-on-5. 

The Golden Knights are all but locked into that No. 3 seed in the Pacific, but if Fleury can get back to full strength (he’s day-to-day at this point) and play well, they’re going to be an absolutely nightmare first-round matchup for either the Sharks or the Calgary Flames

Given the way they’ve been playing lately, it seems like the Knights have as good a shot as anyone to make it out of the Western Conference come playoff time. Again.

This time around, though, there shouldn’t be many doubters.

What’s wrong: Throwing your stick

Is it just me or has throwing your stick as a defensive measure hit peak popularity this March? Alexandar Georgiev sparked the trend earlier this month when he desperately tried to deny Alex Ovechkin on a shootout attempt, and he almost got away with it. 

Then, this week, Anton Khudobin tried it in an effort to stop an Elias Pettersson penalty shot…and he did get away with it!

It certainly looks like Khudobin threw the stick on purpose, which is very much against the rules, but officials apparently believed it was a failed poke check. They could not conclusively determine that he intended to throw the stick. 

I mean, I can’t tell you with absolute certainty that it didn’t slip out of his hand accidentally, but should that even make a difference? If he throws a stick to break up a play, it should probably be illegal– whether it was intentional or not. You’re wading into pretty murky/dangerous territory if you’re opening things up to an official’s interpretation of intent. 

Give players a shred of belief that they may be able to get away with it and we start getting plays like this. 

“Whoops, it slipped! You can’t prove that it didn’t!”

Just hold onto your damn sticks, people. 

Social media personality of the week: Brad Marchand

Given his history of dirty plays and ridiculous antics, there’s probably a decent chance you don’t like Brad Marchand if you live outside of the Greater Boston Area. However, the Bruins forward is exceptionally talented and he’s got one of the more fun, entertaining personalities in hockey these days, so maybe all he needs is a good PR campaign.

It seems like he might be trying to handle that himself with a revamped social media presence lately. Marchand has been on Twitter for a while and has delivered sporadic gems over the years, but he’s showing a new level of commitment to social media now — including joining Instagram earlier this month. 

Things have gone well so far, with Marchand churning out content that is consistently funny and entertaining. Of course, most of that has to do with him chirping teammate Torey Krug over his height — or lack thereof. So things have gone well so far, unless you’re Krug. (To be fair, Krug has sent some pretty good zingers back in Marchand’s direction.) 

Marchand has thrown some shots at some of his other teammates as well, but the back-and-forth battle with Krug has been the most riveting. 

Even if Marchand’s social media presence doesn’t serve as a personal redemption for his prior transgressions, maybe it’ll help convince some other NHL players to not be so damn boring on Twitter.

Celebration of the week:

Speaking of Marchand, he broke out the Conor McGregor strut with the UFC champ in the building over the weekend.

Categories: National Sports

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *