A mild defense of Reebok's 'Champagne' Jerseys and other 'girly' clothes for women

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From everything I’ve seen, it must not be easy being a female sports fan.

Men, on a whole, feel the need to reign supreme over what we think is our ultimate dominion: sports talk. Forgive me for generalizing, but sports are often a domain in which guys can make immature jokes, high five each other despite being 40 years old and drink beer/eat unhealthy meats in a social setting. Having someone with long hair and lady parts come along and … dare I say it … display equal or greater knowledge of the sport is akin to someone chopping down the tree that holds our exclusive Boys Club treehouse.

You cannot blame women for taking offense to stereotyping when it comes to sports, whether it comes in the form of fantasy sports taunting or the way leagues market clothing toward their gender. Take a look, then, at the latest bit of ladies’ apparel that is causing a stir at Puck Daddy and on Twitter: Reebok’s new Champagne Jersey line.

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Now, if you’re looking for a fashion-wise description, you’ve come to the wrong place (unless Joe Yerdon knows his garments). I have the fashion sense of an especially inept 10-year-old boy. I haven’t purchased new shoes in two years. I wear khaki shorts on occasion. My hair style is somewhere between indifferent and pathetic. So I’ll leave it to the women Greg Wyshynski polled to provide a quick description of the kind of styles you can see in the photo above. This one comes from Wrap Around Curl, a great blogger who happens to use all kinds of terminology that is as foreign to me as Corsi Ratings are to the women I fail to impress at bars.

The Pittsburgh one wouldn’t look bad, with some editing. I want to take a seam ripper to that collar situation and it’d be better if that back could have an actual player name. The cut appears flattering since in the back the curves give the illusion of a smaller and defined waist. The arms have a slim cut which means you aren’t wearing layers underneath to combat a chilly arena.

But most of all I’m distracted by how cheap these look. They look like same low quality (and breezy) material used to produce $5 basketball shorts.

As for the foil, it doesn’t last in the wash long and usually it reacts with detergent, mutating into a pond scum color. I’ll never understand having to pay a premium for a “distressed” item. I take pride in the wear and tear I inflict on a sweater. I don’t want some cheap, nylon club top masquerading in the tradition of a sport I love.

So let there be no doubt that these jerseys are a failure with the puck-literate, passionate female fans out there … but what I cannot help but wonder is, what about casual fans? After all, Reebok doesn’t make less cash just because the money is coming from someone who went to one game and had some fun or wants to acknowledge the favorite team of loved ones/boyfriends/etc.

I know this won’t be a very popular stance – and as I said – my fashion sense is pathetic. That being said, I’ve dated women who had a very flippant, passing interest in sports and I saw more than a few pink hats and jerseys. It seems obvious that this is the demographic Reebok is targeted, however large that group is.

Is it pandering and laughable? In many ways, yes. And sure, there should be more options for women who’d like to wear something a little more flattering than a “tent-like” hockey jersey. (Heck, I don’t even like wearing jerseys, and I dress like a baffled American tourist.) Still, Reebok is a clothing company trying to make money. My guess is that they’re trying to appeal to a niche within the already niche hockey audience and perhaps they know what they’re doing.

Even if justifiably offends some great female fans in the process.

Lonnie Cameron, hockey-tough linesman, shakes off puck to head (Video)

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Talking about hockey toughness is pretty much a trope at this point, yet there are still moments that impress even the cynical among us.

Linesman Lonnie Cameron accomplished that for many on Tuesday, as he returned to the Nashville Predators – Vancouver Canucks game despite taking a puck to the head in a scary moment.

Judging by the Twitter feed of Brooks Bratten from the Predators’ website, Cameron missed mere minutes of time.

So, yeah, it seems like Cameron qualifies as “hockey tough.”

As far as the game itself went, the Canucks beat the Predators 1-0 thanks to Henrik Sedin‘s goal (his 999th point) and Ryan Miller‘s 30-save shutout.

Is this more than just a slump for Henrik Lundqvist?

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People have been wondering for years if Henrik Lundqvist would finally fall off track and, you know, look human. After the New York Rangers’ zany 7-6 loss to the Dallas Stars, those rumblings are probably getting a little louder.

Don’t expect the Rangers to throw their star goalie under the bus, though, especially after a wide-open game like Tuesday’s goal-filled game at Madison Square Garden.

In fact, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault is already penciling Lundqvist in for Thursday’s game against the rising Toronto Maple Leafs.

“He’s going to play, he’s going to try real hard, and we’re going to try to play better in front of him,” Vigneault said, according to the New York Post’s Brett Cyrgalis. “This is a team.”

Lundqvist, meanwhile, said about what you’d expect:

Naturally, Lundqvist and plenty of other Rangers threw the word embarrassing around quite a bit to describe this game, or at least the first 40 minutes. It’s just that no one’s really raking Lundqvist over the coals.

Is this time different?

Again, Lundqvist is no stranger to struggles, even if he struggles less often than just about any franchise goalie in recent memory.

Still, the sample size is getting large enough for this stretch to be a concern for the 34-year-old netminder.

While goal support and stretches of good play open the door for a respectable 18-12-1 record, Lundqvist’s allowing almost three goals per game (2.89 GAA) and has a backup-level .902 save percentage this season. And that’s over 32 games.

Things get even uglier if you focus on more recent events.

He’s allowed 20 goals in his past four starts, including allowing 12 tallies over four periods during the past two games. Lundqvist has a putrid .841 save percentage in January after producing great work in November (.925 save percentage in 11 games) and nice numbers in December (.915 in eight games).

Lundqvist has given up four goals or more on nine different occasions since Nov. 23.

In other words, there are a lot of different ways in which he’s struggling:

Is this a matter of Lundqvist regaining his focus or is “The King” finally abdicating his throne?

The Rangers are going to let him try to work through this. Otherwise, they might just need to hope that this is an off-year and *gulp* at least consider how far (an eventually healthy?) Antti Raanta could take them.

Supporting cast rallies Blackhawks in win against Avalanche

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For much of the season, the Colorado Avalanche’s biggest names have let them down while many believe that the Chicago Blackhawks are getting it done despite a mediocre supporting cast.

On Tuesday, the script was essentially flipped. The Avs’ stars were productive, yet so were lesser-known Chicago forwards like Tanner Kero and Vinne Hinostroza.

The most important narrative stayed the same, however, as the Blackhawks found a way to get by the Avalanche in a 6-4 decision.

The Blackhawks took a 2-1 lead into the second period, but the Avs put together one of their best stretches of this lousy season. Blake Comeau tied it up, Matt Nieto scored his first goal with Colorado and then Matt Duchene answered Chicago’s only goal of the second period (by Kero) to give the Avalanche a 4-3 edge.

The Avalanche doubled Chicago’s shots on goal in the second period, generating an 8-4 edge. It felt like a rare moment where Colorado’s talent actually flexed its collective muscles.

Then the Blackhawks turned it on in the third, generating a 12-5 shot edge of their own and finding a way to win.

Hinostroza ended up making the biggest difference, scoring the tying and game-winning goals before Kero iced it with an empty-netter thanks to an unselfish pass by Jonathan Toews.

(It’s not to say that Chicago’s big names outright slept through this game, either. Toews got that assist and Marian Hossa made a bunch of plays to help make life easier for Hinostroza and Kero.)

This wasn’t always pretty, but the Blackhawks are doing enough to get points night after night. On some nights, that’s the real difference between a contender like Chicago and a languishing squad like Colorado.

Blue Jackets move back to first in Metro, NHL after beating Hurricanes

COLUMBUS, OH - JANUARY 7:  Sergei Bobrovsky #72 of the Columbus Blue Jackets warms up prior to the start of the game against the New York Rangers on January 7, 2017 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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After stumbling for a bit, Tuesday was a reassuring night for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

With a 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus moved back to the top of the Metropolitan Division (and thus, the NHL) because they now match the Washington Capitals’ 64 points but have more wins (30 to 29) and hold a game in hand.

Also comforting for Columbus: Sergei Bobrovsky returned to the Blue Jackets net, allowing one goal on 25 shots.

They were probably also happy to see Brandon Dubinsky enjoy a strong night (two goals) and Boone Jenner collect an assist and this absolute beauty of a goal:

The Hurricanes actually did hold a 1-0 lead in this game, but it lasted all of 11 seconds, as that Jenner goal erased that advantage.

The Blue Jackets face the Senators in Columbus on Thursday and then host the Hurricanes once again on Saturday. They follow that up with five straight road games and six of seven away from home beginning on Jan. 22. Columbus will pass another big test if they can stick with the Capitals and the rest of the NHL’s best through that stretch.