Perhaps sensing that we could all use a moment of true peace amidst chaos, the Athletic put out an article on William Nylander yesterday.

The entire thing is wonderful, especially Rasmus Sandin’s wide-eyed emphasis on how much Willie likes (really likes) lasagna and Kasperi Kapanen treating a softball interview question about his best friend as if he was being asked to divulge state secrets. All of Nylander’s teammates talk about him like they all know he’s a CIA plant but none of them want to say it out loud. The standout line, though, is from Travis Dermott, who provided this response to a question about whether there’s anything we might not know about William Nylander:

Defenceman Travis Dermott paused for nearly 30 seconds before providing an answer.

“I don’t know,” Dermott said, laughing. “He’s his own cat.”

This is a marvel of a summary of a human being. It’s poetry. Everyone who has a cat, or has ever encountered one, immediately knows exactly what Dermott means. There are published authors out there who’ve never written a line as perfectly evocative as this one.  I don’t care if he was using it in the figurative, rather than literal, sense; both meanings feel deeply true, and isn’t that what matters? After his hockey career is done, I think Dermott should turn to writing fiction.

Cats are also mostly colorblind, capable of seeing blue, gray, and possibly yellow, which, let’s just say that explains some things.

My immediate next thought, because I am a logical person who never loses sight of what’s important, was who else on the Leafs is a cat? Most hockey players are more like dogs, which isn’t shocking from a sport that rewards teamwork and pack mentality as well as friendliness and bottomless enthusiasm. I put the question to the masthead, and after much deliberation—at least five seconds’ worth—we came up with Auston Matthews (who has “big cat energy” according to Fulemin), Frederiks Andersen and Gauthier, and Denis Malgin (to quote Species: “you know he’s there, but you can never find him”). If anyone has additional suggestions, please post them in the comments.


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