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.

Report: Potential Shattenkirk trade fell apart over contract talks

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 9:  Kevin Shattenkirk #22 of the St. Louis Blues waits for a faceoff against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on February 9, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Blues defeated the Maple Leafs 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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Kevin Shattenkirk‘s name has been floating around the NHL’s trade rumor mill for sometime now, and according to reports from TSN’s Bob McKenzie and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the Blues came very close to dealing him six weeks ago only to have the trade fall apart when the new team and Shattenkirk were unable to reach an agreement on a new contract.

It is not the first time that has happened over the past year.

According to reports from TSN’s Bob McKenzie and Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Blues recently had a Shattenkirk trade in place with an Eastern Conference team that was believed to be the Tampa Bay Lightning. But when Shattenkirk turned down a long-term contract extension with the team that would have paid him $42 million over seven years, the trade fell apart.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman mentioned on Thursday night that the Arizona Coyotes also had permission earlier this season to speak to Shattenkirk about a new contract but were unable to reach a deal. A similar situation unfolded in the offseason when the Edmonton Oilers also tried to acquire the veteran defenseman.

The Lightning would make a ton of sense as a trade partner for the Blues here because they have been in desperate need of another big-time defenseman to add to their blue line along with Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman. They also have several restricted free agents (and a pretty tight cap situation) to deal with this summer that could have been part of a return in a Shattenkirk trade.

If the reported contract terms are correct, it’s a pretty good sign that Shattenkirk thinks he can get a massive payday on the open market this summer as a free agent. And he is probably not wrong. Since the start of the 2011-12 season Shattenkirk has been one of the most productive defensemen in the NHL, currently sitting 10th among all blue-liners in points (241) and posting dominant possession numbers.

A $6 million per year cap hit would put him in the same salary range as Mike Green, Johnny Boychuk, and Erik Johnson.

He outperforms all of them.

Even though Shattenkirk is one of their top players, and the Blues seem on track to make the playoffs, the team still seems determined to move him before the deadline rather than risk losing him for nothing over the summer.

Blackhawks keep rolling with another dominant offensive performance

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Another night, another hat trick, and another dominant offensive showing from the Chicago Blackhawks.

On Thursday night it was Patrick Kane becoming the second Blackhawks forward in as many games to record a hat trick — following the three goal (and five point) effort Jonathan Toews had on Tuesday night — to help lead the Blackhawks to a 6-3 blowout win over the Arizona Coyotes.

Along with Kane’s three goals, Toews picked up two more assists to continue his recent scoring surge that has seen him pick up 23 points in his past 15 games. Keep in mind he only had 21 points in the 37 games prior to that.

Even more than Toews is the fact the entire Blackhawks team is clicking right now offensively.

Their win on Thursday is their eighth in the past nine games and every one of those wins has been a display of total offensive dominance, scoring 40 goals during that stretch. That is more than four goals per game. Everybody is contributing to it at this point as seven players (Toews, Kane, Richard Panik, Artemi Panarin, Nick Schmaltz, Artem Anisimov and Duncan Keith) all have at least eight points during this run.

It’s a stretch that has helped the Blackhawks gain some ground on the Minnesota Wild in the Central Division race, as they now sit three points back of the top spot.

Just about the only bad news for the Blackhawks on Thursday night was defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson leaving the game with what coach Joel Quenneville described as an upper body injury.

The Blackhawks knew he wasn’t 100 percent going into the game and dressed a seventh defenseman, Michal Rozsival, as a precaution in case Hjalmarsson could not finish. After skating just four shifts in the first period — a first period that saw the two teams combine for six goals — he exited the game and did not return. Rozsival ended up playing a pretty significant role in the game scoring his first goal of the season just two minutes into the second period for what ultimately prove to be the game-winner.

Lundqvist stays hot as Rangers move ahead of Blue Jackets

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 11:  Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers laughs as Kevin Klein #8 misses an attempt at a hattrick during the third period against the Colorado Avalanche at Madison Square Garden on February 11, 2017 in New York City.  The Rangers defeated the Avalanche 4-2.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Remember those few weeks earlier this season when Henrik Lundqvist was struggling, he was losing playing time to Antti Raanta, and everybody in the NHL was freaking out about the Rangers’ goaltending situation?

At this point it seems like an eternity ago.

Lundqvist has been on an absolute roll over the past month and has helped the Rangers finally gain some ground in the Metropolitan Division.

After his 32 save performance — in the Rangers’ 2-1 shootout win in Toronto on Thursday night, the Rangers are now in the third spot in the Metropolitan Division, moving ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets who for the time being move down to the top Wild Card spot. The Rangers are now just two points back of the Pittsburgh Penguins for a spot that would get them home ice in the first round.

Leading the way lately during this recent surge has been Lundqvist as he plays his best hockey of the season. In his past 13 starts the Rangers own a 10-2-1 record, while Lundqvist is carrying a .938 save percentage.

Even though the Rangers took huge steps over the summer to improve their forward depth — and it has absolutely paid off — it is still a team that is weak on the blue line and is only going to go as far as Lundqvist can carry it in the playoffs.

But with the way he is playing right now, and with the way the Rangers can roll four solid lines and score (3.28 goals per game, fourth best in the NHL) this could be a potentially scary team come playoff time.

Islanders shut out Canadiens for huge road win

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 18:  Thomas Greiss #1 of the New York Islanders in action against the New Jersey Devils on February 18, 2017 at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Islanders 3-2.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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Overall this season the New York Islanders have really struggled away from the Barclays Center, a point of concern when you consider how many road games they have down the stretch as they try to overcome their miserable start to climb back into the playoffs.

Their current nine-game road trip is off to a promising start with wins in the first two games, including a 3-0 shutout win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night to improve their record to 12-4-2 under new coach Doug Weight.

The Islanders received goals from Anthony Beauvillier, Anders Lee and John Tavares in the win, while Thomas Greiss stopped all 24 shots he faced to record his third shutout of the season.

With the win the Islanders hold sole possession of the second wild card spot in the East for the time being, two points ahead of Florida and Boston (the Bruins are in action right now) and continue their stunning second half turnaround.

But while things are going great for the Islanders right now, the struggles in Montreal continue.

With their loss on Thursday they failed to put any extra distance between themselves and the rest of the Atlantic Division that has suddenly closed the gap on them. They remain just two points up on Ottawa and only four points ahead of Toronto. The loss also continues what has been a particularly brutal stretch over the past couple of months that has seen the team win just seven of its past 20 games.

It’s probably too early to start fully panicking in Montreal, but given the way the end of last season went this can’t be a promising development for Canadiens fans.