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.
The Ryan Nugent-Hopkins trade speculation may have died down since it peaked at the draft in late June, but it’s not entirely dead.
The 23-year-old former first overall draft pick was asked to address the ongoing rumors Monday at an Oilers charity golf tournament.
“I try not to pay attention too much,” Nugent-Hopkins said, per the Edmonton Journal. “If it happens, it happens. I know it’s definitely a different group than the one we finished with last season.”
Indeed it is. Most notably, Taylor Hall is in New Jersey now, traded for defenseman Adam Larsson. The Oilers also signed Milan Lucic and drafted Jesse Puljujarvi.
What’s still lacking is an offensive defenseman who can run the power play, which is why the names Tyson Barrie (Avalanche) and Matt Dumba (Wild) have been floated as potential targets.
The Wild in particular could use a good, young center like Nugent-Hopkins, and the expansion draft is looming for a Minnesota club that already has defensemen Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin, and Marco Scandella locked up in long-term contracts.
Barrie, meanwhile, has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Friday.
Blues d-man Kevin Shattenkirk is another name that’s come up; however, he can become an unrestricted free agent after next season, and whether he’d re-sign in Edmonton is in doubt.
Chalk up another arbitration hearing that won’t be required. This time it’s Brandon Manning‘s. The 26-year-old defenseman has agreed on a two-year, $1.95 million deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, according to CSN Philly.
Manning’s hearing was scheduled for next Tuesday. He was the last restricted free agent on the Flyers, after Brayden Schenn re-signed Monday.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the Manning signing.
Manning played 56 games for the Flyers in 2015-16, his first full season in the NHL. He had one goal and six assists while logging an average ice time of 16:32.
The Chicago Blackhawks are reportedly parting ways with defenseman David Rundblad. The two sides have agreed to a contract termination, according to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Rundblad, 25, was set to earn $1.1 million this season, per General Fanager. His cap hit was $1.05 million, meaning the ‘Hawks will gain $100,000 in cap space by not having to bury his contract in the AHL next season.
Rundblad was unlikely to make the Blackhawks in 2016-17 — not after the additions of Brian Campbell and Michal Kempny, and also the re-signing of Michal Rozsival.
It remains to be seen where Rundblad will end up. One possibility is back in Switzerland, where he spent part of last season before dressing three times for the ‘Hawks in the playoffs.
Darryl Sydor, after being let go by the Minnesota Wild, has joined the Chicago Wolves as an assistant coach.
The St. Louis Blues, the parent club of the AHL Wolves, made the announcement Monday. It was also announced that former NHLer Daniel Tkaczuk would join Sydor as an assistant on new head coach Craig Berube’s staff.
Sydor, who won two Stanley Cups as a defenseman, spent five years as an assistant on Mike Yeo’s staff in Minnesota. His time with the Wild was marred by an arrest in 2015 for drunk driving. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and sought treatment.
“I know now that alcoholism is a disease and I’m powerless over alcohol,” he told Kamloops This Week in January. “I can never have a drink again and I’m fine with that.”