Leafs, Flames, Habs fans listed among 'most stubborn' in sports

leafsfans.jpgAskMen.com featured an intriguing little article today in which they named the top 10 “most stubborn” fan bases in all of sports. Three NHL teams managed to make the list and to very little surprise, all of them are Canadian. Here’s a little excerpt for each one, along with a pithy comment from yours truly.

No. 2 Toronto Maple Leafs

Leafs fans are more committed to their team than Whitney Houston was to Bobby Brown. Overall, they’ve probably taken about the same amount of abuse.

Burn! If you know me, you know I’ll always approve of a Bobby Brown reference. Does that make me a bad person? Wait, don’t answer that …

No. 6 Montreal Canadiens

Those stubborn Habs fans are stuck in the past. They’re quick with a quote from a memorable season in the ’70s and they’ll reminisce about the good old days, but the reality is that they are nothing more than the champions of mediocrity nowadays.

To be fair, Larry Robinson did hit someone so hard it dented the boards. I’d brag about that alone for 40+ years. That’s just awesome.

No. 8 Calgary Flames

Hockey fans are always committed, but in Calgary, without any other major sports, the Flames are like an only child.

Does that make people in Winnipeg “latch-key” kids? G-get it? Because they don’t have a team/metaphorical parents at home? (Sorry)

In case you’re curious, the Cleveland Browns were named the No. 1 team when it comes to stubborn. See, Browns fans, you can be the best at … oh, right.

(H/T to Sean Leahy from Puck Daddy.)

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    After 20-game absence, Elias to make season debut for Devils

    Patrik Elias
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    It took a while, but Patrik Elias‘ campaign is ready to get underway.

    Elias, who’s yet to play this year because of a knee injury, says he’ll be in the New Jersey lineup tonight when the Devils host the Blue Jackets at Prudential (per The Record).

    The 39-year-old’s presence should provide an emotional lift in front of the home crowd.

    A lifelong Devil — only Ken Daneyko and Martin Brodeur have appeared in more games — fans may be witnessing Elias’ last year in uniform. It’s fair to suggest he could be on the verge of retirement, given he’s in the last of a three-year, $16.5 million deal and will turn 40 in April.

    As for tonight, it’s not yet official who Elias will play with — or how much he’ll play. He did take line rushes with Jacob Josefson and Stefan Matteau at Tuesday’s practice.

    After three-game absence, Johnson back for Bolts this week

    Carl Gunnarsson, Tyler Johnson
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    The Lightning have a busy stretch of the schedule coming up, with three games in the next four nights.

    And it sounds like they’ll get a big lineup reinforcement to help them through it.

    Per LA Kings Insider — the Kings are in Tampa tonight — Bolts head coach Jon Cooper confirmed that Tyler Johnson will be back in the lineup “at some point” this week, after missing the last three games with an upper-body injury.

    Johnson has been out of the lineup since taking a Dave Bolland hit on Nov. 14. The timing of the injury was lousy, especially since Johnson looked to be rounding into form — after a rough October in which he failed to score a goal and had just five points in 12 games, Johnson was playing well in November, with three goals and five points in his first six games.

    There’s no denying the Bolts could use Johnson back in the mix.

    The club has been ravaged by injury lately and is currently without the services of Ondrej Palat, Jonathan Drouin and Cedric Paquette at forward.

    The injuries are a big reason why Tampa is off to a mediocre 10-9-3 start. That said, the team has looked good in each of its last two games — a 2-1 win over the Rangers in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Final, followed by a 5-0 blowout of the Ducks on Saturday.

    As for when Johnson might get back in? The Bolts play tonight at home against L.A., on Friday in Washington, then back at home on Saturday against the Islanders.

    Will the Bruins re-sign Loui Eriksson?

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    Loui Eriksson, one of the key pieces Boston acquired in the Tyler Seguin trade, is in the last of his six-year, $25.5 million deal and will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

    And, at least for now, there doesn’t appear to be much certainty about his future as a Bruin.

    “I’ll never, ever comment publicly in regard to individual players and negotiations and such,” B’s GM Don Sweeney told the Boston Herald this week. “Whether (comments) come out from the other side or wherever, they’re not going to come from me.

    “He’s a big part of our team and he’s off to a really good start.”

    Eriksson is certainly off to a good start — nine goals and 18 points in 20 games, his highest points-per-game average (.90) since coming to Boston, and the second-highest of his career.

    He’s also playing nearly 20 minutes per night, enjoying great chemistry playing alongside David Krejci and, after an injury-riddled first year as a Bruin followed by last year’s playoff miss, seems to have really found his groove.

    So why the silence on the extension front?

    Two weeks ago, Eriksson told the Globe his agent, J.P. Barry, hasn’t had any discussions with Sweeney about re-signing in Boston.

    “There’s not much you can really do about it now,” the 30-year-old Swede explained. “I’m trying to focus on playing good and trying to help this team as much as possible. Then we’ll see what happens after this year.”

    Obviously, money is a factor.

    Looking ahead, Boston’s current cap crunch doesn’t project to get much lighter. The club already has $61 million in salary committed for next season (per War On Ice), and Sweeney has to be mindful of other important contracts on the horizon.

    Torey Krug is a restricted free agent at year’s end, and in line for a raise on the $3.4 million he made this season. Brad Marchand will be a UFA following the ’16-17 campaign.

    And you’d think Sweeney would want to keep money free to eventually sort out Boston’s defense. The blueline has been an issue this season; it’s also getting old and will likely need an injection of new blood in the near future.

    There’s also the question if, should he head to free agency, Eriksson couldn’t be replaced internally. The B’s are flush with young wingers — Jimmy Hayes, Brett Connolly, Seth Griffith, David Pastrnak, Frank Vatrano and Alexander Khokhlachev are all 26 or under — which could make Eriksson expendable.

    PHT Morning Skate: There’s a third Strome brother on the horizon

    Ryan Strome, Johnny Boychuk
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    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    Matthew Strome — the younger brother of the Isles’ Ryan and the Coyotes’ Dylan — is making waves as a 16-year-old rookie with OHL Hamilton. (NHL.com)

    Vern Fiddler caught country legend George Straight’s hat at a concert this summer. He’s apparently received big money offers for the lid, but isn’t willing to sell. (Ottawa Sun)

    Is Anders Nilsson the Oilers’ No. 1 goalie? (Edmonton Journal)

    Good piece here on Max Pacioretty‘s captaincy in Montreal. (New York Times)

    Some appreciation for gritty Leafs forward Leo Komarov. (Toronto Sun)

    According to this piece, GM Marc Bergevin has been the Habs’ MVP this season. (Montreal Gazette)