As you probably already know, at least one fan threw a banana at black Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds during a neutral-site preseason game in London, Ontario last night. It was a truly revolting moment of racism, but sadly far from the only incident in recent hockey history.
The hope is that such an awful scene doesn’t paint broad brushstrokes about the hockey community in general. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said it well when he called it a “stupid and ignorant action” that shouldn’t represent fans in London, Ontario as a whole.
Thankfully, that ugly situation prompted a lot of support for Simmonds among hockey teammates and opponents as well as fans and writers. First, let’s take a look at what a few of his colleagues had to say via Twitter, with help from this NHL.com article. (Note: some shorthand has been corrected.)
St. Louis Blues forward Chris Stewart:
The incident that happened in london tonight involving my best friend wayne simmonds was simply disgusting, it’s 2011 people need to grow up.
San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture:
Wayne Simmonds is a good friend of mine. To hear what happened tonight to him in my hometown is awful. No need for this in sports, or life.
Former goalie and current TV analyst Kevin Weekes (in three parts):
For those that asked: I’m extremely disappointed with what happened to Wayne Simmonds tonight in London Ont. We’ve taken HUGE steps to grow the game of hockey. As I speak Willie O’Ree and I are in D.C attending the Black Congressional Caucus on behalf of the #NHL and ironically this takes place.😦 There’s NO place for this in sports since sport connects us not divides us.
As far as hockey writers and fans go, CSNPhilly.com gathered some of the reactions in this article. Here’s a quick excerpt.
By hockey writer Dennis Bernstein (@DennisTFP)
Covered Wayne Simmonds for entire 3 years with Kings. His response to an ignorant act displays the same class I’ve seen since day one.
By Rob Kennedy (@robk35)
Heard what happened to Wayne Simmonds. people quit giving hockey a bad name by ruthless and classless acts, hockey is a gentleman’s game.
By Heather (@owlssinitaly)
Whoever threw that banana at Wayne Simmonds needs to get slapped.
I have to agree with Heather on that one.
Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.
Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:
Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.
Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.
“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”
Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”
People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.
Matt Murray was just on another level in Game 3, giving the impression that the Washington Capitals would only beat him with perfect shots.
Jay Beagle got that memo … and maybe added a little element of surprise on top of that.
As you can see from the video above, Beagle beat Murray from an unexpected angle with a pretty resounding goal. It was one of those “Wait, did that just happen?”-type moments.
The Capitals saw their lead go away moments before this post was completed, so it’s now 1-1.
The Pittsburgh Penguins won Game 3 thanks to Matt Murray‘s heroics, but now they must face the Washington Capitals without Kris Letang in Game 4.
(And the Penguins were overwhelmed for much of that last contest with their best blueliner.)
The Capitals, meanwhile, acknowledge the baggage – perceived or not – of the past as they try to tie this series.
It should be a fascinating Game 4, and you can soak in all the drama and action on NBCSN and also stream it via the link below.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
It sounds like the Arizona Coyotes’ youth movement won’t merely be seen on the ice.
ESPN’s Craig Custance reports that the Coyotes will promote 26-year-old assistant GM John Chayka to GM. The team teased a major press conference for Thursday, when that news is likely to be made official.
The presser could be useful for more than the usual quotes and mission statements, as the Coyotes seem like they may parallel the Toronto Maple Leafs in combining an experienced executive, a young up-and-coming thinker and a more empowered head coach.
Dave Tippett is expected to have more of a say in personnel decisions while the Coyotes hope to bring in a Lou Lamoriello-type to assist Chayka, according to Custance.
(Custance’s ESPN Insider article [subscription required] goes in much greater depth, including a comparison to the NBA’s Golden State Warriors rather than the Maple Leafs.)
It’s possible that Dallas Stars assistant GM Les Jackson might come in to help Chayka, although an earlier report suggests that Jackson might stay in Dallas.
Multiple reporters including Puck Daddy’s Josh Cooper back up Custance’s report.
Considering Chayka’s age – he’s primed to become the youngest GM in NHL history – it’s no surprise that people are churning out jokes.
(This post’s author comes with six more years of [life] experience and a resume stacked with impressive video game and fantasy hockey team-building, by the way.)