celebrities and hockey

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Kings are covering up Taylor Swift banner despite risk of bad blood

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Sometimes you come across things so silly, it’s honestly tough to shake them off. The Los Angeles Kings accomplished that recently, as they’ve announced that they will cover up a Taylor Swift banner for sold-out performances during Kings home games.

For all the talk of eyesores, don’t you think it’s weird that they’re forcing a blank space over the pop star’s already-goofy banner?

Before we ridicule the Kings too much, let’s let them finish. It seems that this is a response to fans’ general disdain, as the Los Angeles Times’ Arash Markazi reported.

“The connection to our fans is our highest priority and through our engagement they have made it clear that the banner shouldn’t be part of their Kings game experience,” Kings/AEG Sports executive Michael Altieri said. “We didn’t see an issue in covering it for our games and in fact see it as an opportunity to show our fans that we hear them.”

Because hockey fans are involved, this isn’t a purely aesthetic argument, as extremely silly superstitions also seem to be involved.

Yes, some Kings fans think that the team’s colossal plummet down the standings isn’t about a bunch of players hitting the aging curve beyond their wildest dreams; instead, it’s about Taylor Swift.

Riiiight.

There’s just something about Swift that brings out the illogical and petty in people, from Kanye West to the Kings. If nothing else, this goofy update draws some attention away from the Kings’ evergreen gloating about Jonathan Quick, who might just be losing his starting job to Jack Campbell.

This situation actually brings up some other interesting details.

Before reading about this, I personally hadn’t realized that the Los Angeles Clippers cover up Los Angeles Lakers banners during their games at Staples Center, which is such a profound gesture of insecurity that I find it kind of charming. It would be like covering up a sibling’s trophy chest during a high school date, or something. But it’s a reminder that the Kings aren’t the only sports team being weird about banners — even in their own building.

Then again, considering Ye’s journey to the deep end after crossing T-Swizzle, I’m not sure if the Kings should really encourage such bad blood.

(Also: Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames need to get on this by aligning with Swift. Maybe bring 1989 throwbacks full circle? Perhaps the Flames could play a bunch of Swift songs, like a happy version of the Miami Dolphins passive aggressively playing Jay Z songs to mock Kenny Stills?)

Anyway, hopefully you enjoyed this extremely hockey story, and it begs the question: what other NHL team – pop star feuds would you like to see? Prediction: the New Jersey Devils will not take on Bruce Springsteen … or even Bon Jovi.

MORE:
• Pro Hockey Talk’s Stanley Cup picks.
• Your 2019-20 NHL on NBC TV schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Jenna Fischer talks Blues’ Stanley Cup Final run, ‘The Office’

The Bruins and Blues continue to battle in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, and so goes the rivalry between Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski, aka Pam and Jim from “The Office.”

Fischer stopped by for a chat with the NBCSN crew, which opened up an opportunity for Mike Milbury to ask Fischer about her favorite Dwight moments. Fischer made a great call in reminding us of the time Pam briefly befriended a seemingly concussed Dwight. (If that storyline happened today, Dwight would have to enter Dunder Mifflin’s concussion protocol. It might involve Steve Carell and a Foreman Grill.)

Fischer also discussed how much the Blues’ run has meant to fans in St. Louis, and her family’s love of hockey. Oh, and note that she’s not just wearing a Blues shirt, but also painting her nails specifically for the occasion. Good times.

This exciting playoff run has really brought out some celebrities, as Fischer joins Jon Hamm of “Mad Men” and plenty of others:

Game 6 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final is currently airing on NBC (stream here).

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Bruins fans, Dennis Leary lean into Boston championship ‘drought’

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Breaking: Boston sports teams have won a lot of sports championships lately.

It’s actually been a trend for a while, stretching back to the early New England Patriots Super Bowl wins, the Boston Red Sox breaking “The Curse of the Bambino,” Kevin Garnett adding to the Celtics’ trove, and the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup win.

Boston fans don’t have to reach back that far for their latest memories, as the video above reminds anyone who somehow failed to forget.

In October 2018, the Red Sox won the World Series; the Patriots followed that up by winning approximately their bajillionth Belichick – Brady Super Bowl in February. It’s been about 113 days since that Super Bowl, so Boston fans are leaning into that joke, complete with a comment about the Celtics’ letdown during their playoff run.

If you’re already bothered by Boston’s remarkable run of success in multiple sports, this won’t help. Comedian Dennis Leary also gets in on the fun:

Speaking of Leary, this is a great excuse to share this strange Getty Images shot of Leary and Brad Marchand, possibly comparing leather jackets:

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For a more understated moment of celebrity Bruins fandom, enjoy Matt Damon being wowed by the sight of the Stanley Cup here.

Game 1 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final is currently airing on NBC. You can stream the action here.

STANLEY CUP FINAL PREVIEW
Who has the better forwards?
Who has the better defensemen?
Who has the better goaltending?
Who has the better special teams?

X-factors
PHT Power Rankings: Conn Smythe favorites
How the Blues were built
How the Bruins were built
Stanley Cup Final 2019 schedule, TV info

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Bruins fan Matt Damon wowed by Stanley Cup

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When you think of Matt Damon’s connection to Boston, you’re most likely going to recall “Good Will Hunting,” and maybe make some bad jokes about apples and/or Ben Affleck. If forced to make a Boston sports connection, there’s likely the urge to compare him to Tom Brady, his occasional lookalike.*

Apparently Damon is also a Boston Bruins fan, or at least he came off as a one in the video above. If nothing else, he’s impressed by the sight of the Stanley Cup, which qualifies him as “human.” Damon was presented with the Stanley Cup while he was on hand for the Indy 500, which is airing on NBC (stream here).

There’s some good stuff as Damon explains that he was in Vancouver right after the town, um, handled the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup win poorly; Damon said he was going to work, which is hilarious and adorable. There’s also some old-school Stanley Cup trivia in the video, so that should be fun to watch even if you’re not a Damon fan.

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final takes place between the Bruins and St. Louis Blues at 8 p.m. ET on Monday on NBC. Click here for the full TV info.

* – Dangerous observation: Damon kinda sorta looks like Sidney Crosby from certain angles, doesn’t he? /ducks

OK, maybe that comparison is a stretch. But Damon’s looking a bit less like Brady these days, right?

STANLEY CUP FINAL PREVIEW
Who has the better forwards?
Who has the better defensemen?
Who has the better goaltending?
Who has the better special teams?

X-factors
PHT Power Rankings: Conn Smythe favorites
How the Blues were built
How the Bruins were built
Stanley Cup Final 2019 schedule, TV info

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

‘Mad Men’ star Jon Hamm calls Blues goal, clearly knows his hockey

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As fun as it can be when a celebrity appears on a hockey broadcast, things can often get awkward, at least when said celebrity just isn’t that into the sport. That clearly wasn’t the case with “Mad Men” and “30 Rock” star Jon Hamm, who knows his stuff when it comes to the St. Louis Blues, and revealed as much on Thursday.

The dapper depictor of Don Draper was clad in a Blues hat and Blues scarf during his appearance on Fox Sports Midwest’s telecast of the Blues eventual 4-0 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. As you can see from the video above this post’s headline, Hamm happened to be on hand for a very nice Ivan Barbashev goal, and smoothly transitioned to calling the play alongside Darren Pang and John Kelly.

(Bless Pang, by the way, for working in his “Holy jumpin’.” Panger had to have trademarked that by now, right?)

Hamm also discussed growing up as a Blues fan with his father, as you can hear in this clip.

Good stuff, and again, Hamm seems legit. He’s also leveraged his hockey fandom before, including some funny ads for “Skip the Dishes,” where he makes it clear that he loves the sport. And poutine?

In case you were wondering (I was), here’s a screengrab of Hamm’s “To Do List” from that ad.

Skip the Dishes

Hamm might plan on questioning reality, but there’s little sense questioning his hockey fandom.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.