We may only be halfway through the endless, leafs-less desert of sadness that is the bye week, but that’s ok because every other team in the league has decided to really step it up and entertain us in their absence! With this in mind, I’ve decided to turn today’s FTB into a gossip column. Think of it as the magazines you see at the grocery store checkout, but with even less editorial integrity!
First up: the Blackhawks had a practice fight, which are the best kinds of hockey fights.
The tail end of what appeared to be a, um, physical disagreement between Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith.— Jimmy Greenfield (@jcgreenx) January 21, 2020
I didn’t see what precipitated it and can’t say if it was real but sure looked real. pic.twitter.com/77ZcWnk5ZG
Toews later described it as “a little friendly wrestling”. Insert ‘Sure Jan’ gif here.
Over on the Oilers, Connor McDavid seems to have perfected the practice of psychic healing. Turns out that the knee injury that he received at the end of last season was way worse than anyone thought at the time, but rather than undergoing major surgery which would have resulted in him missing the entire season, he instead just... really committed to the principles of aestheticism*.
*did six months of rehab
Been working on this for a while now and I’m excited to share it with you all #WhateverItTakes— Connor McDavid (@cmcdavid97) January 21, 2020
Honestly, maybe he really will manage to drag the Oilers to the Cup through sheer willpower.
And finally, Philly’s favourite mascot of ill-repute posted this yesterday:
March of the Penguins sucked. pic.twitter.com/dLBlP8cb4L— Gritty (@GrittyNHL) January 21, 2020
Unfortunately I have no choice but to conclude that this is a clear and targeted threat. Gritty is planning on eating Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
I don’t know about you guys, but personally, I’m betting on the orange monster wearing the tutu.
With Auston Matthews on pace to set a new career-high, it’s worth taking a closer look at what exactly it is about his play that lets him score so many goals:
How does Auston Matthews score so much: It’s all in the timing
The past couple of weeks of goaltending from Frederik Andersen has a lot of people wondering if we should maybe be revisiting the Steady Freddie moniker. Katya takes a closer look at the numbers behind our shared sense of malaise:
Frederik Andersen is bad and he should feel bad
We also looked back at our 25 under 25 rankings from back in September. Some of them have aged like fine wine, some have aged like bad cheese. Check them out:
Looking back at the Top 25 Under 25
The Athletic polled the Leafs about their favourite artists and first concerts. No spoilers, but one player’s first concert was the Backstreet Boys:
Ask the Maple Leafs, Grammys preview edition: Favourite...
Sportsnet had a Q&A with John Tavares covering everything from what he’s been reading to his ideal shift length:
Q&A: Maple Leafs’ John Tavares on Mike Babcock, fatherhood and books
The Toronto Star had a very in-depth conversation with Andersen about his sleeping habits:
What has led to Frederik Andersen’s worst month of the season? The Leafs goaltender would like to sleep on it
Rasmus Sandin will not be representing Toronto at the AHL’s All-Star Weekend:
AHL also announces Rasmus Sandin will be unavailable for the event. No replacement from the Marlies was named. Kasimir Kaskisuo will be the only player representing the Toronto. https://t.co/5xE3qNm9LZ— Todd Crocker (@ToddCrocker) January 21, 2020
Sportsnet looks at the before and after records of all teams that have fired their coaches this season (so far!):
Analyzing how teams have fared after changing coaches in 2019-20
And finally, the NWHL have released their All-Star jerseys! At first glance, I was super on board for them but upon closer inspection, I just can’t get past the brick and shamrock border at the bottom. Feel free to tell me I have terrible taste, history will be on my side.
Jerseys Unveiled for 2020 NWHL All-Star Weekend in Boston 🏒 #2020NWHLAllStarWeekend— NWHL (@NWHL) January 21, 2020
📰: https://t.co/E7QEq1yuhk pic.twitter.com/JgyycSKi0R