Grown men should stop being afraid of rainbows

NHL players refusing to wear Pride Night jerseys is absurd

After what seemed like good steps towards inclusivity in the NHL in the past few years, things are going backwards after some teams cancelled their Pride Night celebrations because players refused to wear Pride jerseys during warm-ups.

Ivan Provorov of the Philadelphia Flyers was the first NHL player to refuse to wear a Pride Night jersey and to not participate in warm-ups for that reason, despite playing in the game later on.

Many others, including Eric and Marc Staal of the Florida Panthers, followed suit. In both cases, the teams still held their Pride Night celebrations. Other teams — the New York Rangers, Minnesota Wild, Chicago Blackhawks, and St. Louis Blues — completely discarded their Pride Night warm-ups.

Pride Nights are held to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and make everyone feel welcome in hockey. The special jerseys worn during warm-ups are designed by someone from the LGBTQ+ community, and are later auctioned off to a charity of that community.

While the rest of the team is wearing these beautiful jerseys to celebrate inclusivity, why is opting out even an option?

Well, the reasons stated for refusing to wear them have either been religious beliefs or safety concerns, the latter referring to Russian players who have families in Russia, where same-sex marriage has been constitutionally banned since 2020.

However, the act of wearing these jerseys on its own doesn’t mean support for the LGBTQ+ community. Support comes from much more than just wearing a jersey. But it is a good first step to help fans feel welcome, and it’s also for a good cause.

Now, I can maybe understand the safety concerns for Russian family members, although I still don’t understand how wearing a jersey means anything.

But more importantly, what about the safety of all the marginalized and mistreated LGBTQ+ people in Canada, the United States, and especially in a country like Russia?

If a player is that afraid of the consequences of wearing a rainbow jersey, then perhaps they could also show some concern for the LGTBQ+ community in their home country — and maybe make a donation (of whatever the jersey would’ve been auctioned off for) to an LGTBTQ+ organization, either in the country they play in or back home.

However, the absurdity really comes in when people claim they can’t wear a rainbow jersey because of their “religious beliefs.”

First of all, I wasn’t aware that any religion forbids wearing rainbow jerseys (because once again, wearing these jerseys doesn’t mean supporting anything).

Second of all, if someone is that religious, why do they get to pick and choose what aspect of religion they want to follow? If their religion is against supporting LGBTQ+ people, chances are it also is against working on a Sunday, lying, or sleeping with a partner before marriage. But these players are obviously choosing what they want to “believe in.”

Let’s take the example of the Staal brothers. They both stated religion as the reason for not wearing Pride Night jerseys. However, when Eric was playing for the Montreal Canadiens, he (and the entire team) wore Pride-themed jerseys for Pride Night warm-ups.

His reaction when a reporter brought it up? “I haven’t worn a Pride jersey before.”

Well, there’s a video that proves otherwise, Eric. And I thought lying was a sin in Christianity…

This just proves that if these players weren’t given the option to opt out of warm-ups during Pride Night, they would’ve worn the jerseys — just like Eric did when he was with the Canadiens.

Moreover, the Flyers allowing Provorov to refuse really started an unnecessary wave of players feeling empowered to follow suit.

There is still a lot to be done for hockey to be an inclusive sport, but right now it only seems to be getting worse.

A lot of players have been speaking out about how much it means to them and the fans to hold these events, and even if that’s just a glimmer of hope for inclusivity, it’s better than nothing.

I would also much rather see which players are refusing to wear these jerseys than have Pride Nights cancelled because of a minority who don’t want to participate.

This doesn’t change the fact that grown men being afraid of rainbows is absurd, and no matter what their reason is, if they weren’t allowed to opt out, they wouldn’t be doing it.

After all, no player has opted out of wearing a military-themed jersey for Military Appreciation Night, have they?

So why should it be any different for Pride Night?

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Réjean Houle and his hockey legacy

Former Montreal Canadiens player Réjean Houle remembers his playing time and what the future holds

The Montreal Canadiens professional hockey team brought fame to some of the greatest names in hockey history and has been around since 1909. Réjean Houle saw his time shine in the 1970s and as a general manager in 1995 until 2000.

Houle is a former right wing of the Montreal Canadiens from 1969 to 1983. He was born in Rouyn-Noranda, located in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region of Quebec. He started his hockey career playing with the Thetford Mines Junior team from 1966 to 1967, before moving to the Montreal Junior Canadiens the following year. He was the first overall draft pick in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Montreal Canadiens in 1969. During his active career, he helped bring five of the ten Stanley Cups home to Montreal. After his retirement, he returned to the team as General Manager and later as the President of the Canadiens Alumni Association. 

Houle remembers growing up watching hockey with his father, dreaming of one day becoming what he was seeing on the television screen. 

“I always dreamed of playing for the Canadiens. I was able to achieve my goal several years later by putting in the necessary effort, I made it,” said Houle.

Archive Image courtesy of the club de hockey Montreal

While he admits he was not one of the big names of the team at the time, he is proud to have been surrounded by some of the greats such as Jean Béliveau, Guy Lafleur, and Bob Gainey. 

“I was on the third line. I was working to help the team win, but I had a specific role. I didn’t score ‘Guy Lafleur’ goals,” said Houle.

Playing as a right wing, he contributed to the lineup by making the necessary passes to earn a victory, which makes his role just as important as center. 

“There is an expression, ‘you have to know which chair is yours,’ so a player must know what he can give to the team. That doesn’t mean he’s not as recognized as Guy Lafleur, but inside the team, he plays an important role,” said Houle. 

Photo by Charlotte Megelas

As a former General Manager, he saw how the game changed on the ice. In hockey changes are minimal since coaches have kept similar strategies on managing the game, according to Houle. He says the players now have more range on the ice. 

“Before, you couldn’t get too far to the side of the red line because it was offside, whereas now you can get from the red line to the opponent’s other blue line, so the play is much faster, the puck circulates much more now than before,” said Houle.

Houle not only made passes to help the team win, he also scored 161 goals himself. In recent years, he noticed that the new style of hockey sticks give more feel and power to the puck.

“The ‘one timers’ at the time, didn’t exist. The sticks are different, they are lighter, they have a kind of spring in the stick so it speeds up the game. The puck comes at 100 miles an hour,” said Houle.

He remembers his time with the team as an honour. No matter how much time has passed in his career, he and his former teammates still stay in touch and remain connected as one big family. 

“We keep this link there always. For us it’s very important because the years go by, but you have to remember the good times. Then in the most difficult moments, we stick together and we get through it,” said Houle.

He commemorated his teammate and friend Guy Lafleur, who passed away in 2022. To the fans, Lafleur was “Le Démon Blond,” but for Houle, “He was a star.”

After building that strong connection with the sport, Houle did not see himself leaving hockey overall. Houle played hockey for 14 years, and when the time came for him to retire, he knew his life would change once he left the team. 

“The most important change is when you retire because you didn’t feel like it, I didn’t feel like retiring,” said Houle. 

Since Houle was in the same era as Guy Lafleur, Serge Savard, Yvan Cournoyer, Ken Dryden, and Jean Béliveau, he had the honor of winning five Stanley Cups. He remembers the feeling of winning those cups as a privilege in his career.

“When you’ve tasted it once, you always want to win it, then when you play with good players, your chances are always there of winning it, so that’s kind of the period that I lived in. I was lucky. Timing is everything sometimes in life,” said Houle.

To Houle, hockey is more than just a sport. He has grown to appreciate it more as a spectator after he retired and seeing how many people come together and watch it. 

“There is great satisfaction because the Canadiens is a team that is very involved in the community. People don’t realize that, but it’s very important because it unites a community,” said Houle.

When the Montreal Canadiens arrive, whether you’re French, English, Asian, Lebanese or Canadian, the team will always be a symbol to Montreal, according to Houle.

Houle had a huge support system of his teammates, who became his friends as the seasons went by. He continues to love their support and thanks them for helping him become the player he always knew he could be. 

“To have the opportunity to play with members of the hall of fame, great players in the organization, it helps you when you’re younger to become better yourself because you are well surrounded,” said Houle.

“The most you can do is improve yourself when you have people around and helping you out, that’s what it was in my case. I was lucky that way.” 

Houle owes everything to hockey, from helping raise his own family to focusing on his life after his professional career. He is still active with the Canadiens as the President of the Alumni Association, and he attends every home game surrounded by other former players and their families. Houle remembers hockey as a big part of his life, from when he was watching it on television with his father, to building a legacy with the team. Truly a full circle moment for a Rouyn-Noranda kid with a dream.


Top five most underrated NHL players

These players deserve way more recognition

This top five is based on the last few seasons in the NHL (regular season and playoffs), including the start of the current season. This also takes into consideration my expectations for them for the remainder of the season, so it’s a subjective list.

Here are my top five most underrated players in the NHL:

#5 – Tage Thompson

The 2016 first-round pick had a rough start in the NHL, there is no denying it. Other than playing on a top 10 St. Louis Blues team his first year, Thompson had a tough time on the Buffalo Sabres, who were a bottom 10 team in the league. However, Thompson had an incredible season last year and has also had an amazing start to this season. The 25-year-old 6’6 winger is only getting started. Although he’s having success now, he was labelled a “bust” for years and that still follows him, so it’s reason enough to say he’s underrated.

#4 – Mason Marchment

The Dallas Stars’ winger went undrafted. He hasn’t had the easiest road to the NHL, but he made it and is now thriving at 27 years old after an impressive season with the Florida Panthers in 2021-22. Many players who don’t get drafted can be considered underrated if they even just get a full-time lineup spot in the NHL, because they simply won’t get as much attention. But to thrive to the level Marchment has after so much adversity is remarkable, and that’s why he cracked my top five list. I think he’ll be getting more recognition soon.

#3 – Adam Pelech

Pelech is half of the iconic New York Islanders’ top defensive pair with Ryan Pulock, and together, they are the best defensive defencemen duo in the NHL. Defensive defencemen in general are underrated, but Pelech is so good and his chemistry with Pulock is amazing, so he can’t not make the list. He simply doesn’t get enough appreciation, especially considering how big a part he plays in the Islanders’ incredible defensive play.

#2 – Valeri Nichushkin

So the Colorado Avalanche, huh? They’re a great team, they have a lot of skill, and a bunch of superstars that I obviously don’t have to name. Nichushkin, however, is their most underrated player. He played a big part in their season and Cup run last year, and is showing that he’s not planning on slowing down. After a disappointing 2018-19 season with the Stars, who bought out his contract, he signed a one-year deal with Colorado and was able to prove his worth. If he keeps putting up great numbers, he should be getting more love from fans and media pretty soon.

#1 – Jaccob Slavin

If there was an award for best defensive defenceman in the NHL, Slavin would be a finalist, if not the winner, until he retires. The Carolina Hurricanes’ defenceman is easily the best defensive defenceman in the league. Once again, it’s a pretty similar argument to the one for Pelech, as defensive defencemen don’t get the appreciation they deserve. But on top of that, Slavin plays in a small market, which oftentimes is enough on its own to make a highly skilled player underappreciated. So that makes him twice as underrated around the league.


Ads on NHL jerseys really aren’t that bad

Is it understandable that the NHL now allows teams to have ads on their jerseys — or is it just greedy?

By now, everyone has probably seen the blue and yellow RBC logo slapped onto the Montreal Canadiens’ classic red jerseys. And it’s not pretty.

The National Hockey League (NHL) introduced ads on helmets last season, and now with the  NHL’s Jersey Advertising Program, some teams have decided to go with ads on jerseys too.

Like in any sport, hockey teams have sponsors. They have ads on the boards as well as on the ice, both painted and projected. Now with jersey ads, some are wondering how far the NHL is willing to go.

Will NHL jerseys end up looking like uniforms in Europe, where they have multiple ads on the jerseys, shorts, and socks?

I highly doubt it.

European teams need these sponsors to survive. NHL teams don’t.

However, hockey is a business, and if there is a way for teams to make extra money, I don’t see anything wrong with that.

While this isn’t the case for the Canadiens, a lot of teams made it work, including the Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Minnesota Wild.

But where do we draw the line?

Thankfully, the ad patches are an option when buying jerseys, so they’re avoidable.

Does it still look weird when you watch a game and see a blue patch on the Habs’ jersey? Absolutely. But will people get used to it? Eventually.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has ads on jerseys — barely noticeable ads — that are small and blend in well with the colours of their respective teams.

If the Canadiens had just made an effort to make the RBC patch less noticeable, it wouldn’t have received such a strong and negative reaction.

Fans even made designs themselves, and some are better than the actual patch the Habs chose.

In the end, whether we like it or not, we live in a capitalist society where everyone welcomes a bigger revenue.

As is the case for other kinds of ads, people will soon forget about these jersey patches and it’ll just become the new normal.

As long as one ad doesn’t become two or three in a few years, and that (hopefully) the Habs choose a more discreet patch next, Habs fans will come around.


Montreal says goodbye to memorable faces at NHL trade deadline

The Canadiens are doing everything right in the second half of the regular season, besides winning hockey games.

The new and improved Montreal Canadiens won’t make any noise this season, but are clearly trending upwards under interim Head Coach Martin St. Louis. In his short tenure thus far, he’s empowered the team’s youth and energized the franchise in a meaningful way despite the playoffs being completely out of the realm of possibility. 

Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes, the team’s executive vice president of hockey operations and general manager respectively, have also done their part in beginning a hopeful chapter since joining the Habs. Here are my thoughts on their first trade deadline with the Montreal Canadiens. 

The Florida Panthers acquire defenseman Ben Chiarot

Montreal received a first-round pick in 2023, a fourth-round pick in 2022, and a forward prospect in Tyler Smilanic. Considering how poorly Chiarot played for most of the regular season, it was shocking to see the Canadiens get three future assets back for the 30-year-old defenseman. 

The Panthers were already among the best teams in the league, but were looking to improve and bolster up their defence ahead of the playoffs. It goes without saying Florida paid a hefty price for Chiarot, but shows how much they value his game, which tends to shine the brightest in the postseason when physicality becomes of increasing importance. 

The Colorado Avalanche acquire forward Artturi Lehkonen 

In return, Montreal got defensive prospect Justin Barron and a second-round pick in 2024. While the team has struggled all season, Lehkonen has been having the best individual season of his young career (29 total points in 58 games played). Beyond the stats, the 26-year-old forward plays with a high motor on a nightly basis, and can be a quality depth player on a contending team.  

For the Habs, it made sense to move on from their hero from Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Conference Finals against the Golden Knights. Colorado had to offer up a promising prospect in Barron, who should fit Montreal’s contending timeline better. But the Avalanche are a much better team today with Lehkonen, even if he is due for a raise after the season. 

The Edmonton Oilers acquire defenseman Brett Kulak 

The Canadiens got back 26-year-old defenseman William Lagesson, a 2022 conditional second-round pick, and a seventh-round pick in 2024. This deal involves a couple of depth players and consequently made fewer headlines, but the Habs came away with a couple more future assets. 

On paper, Kulak is an upgrade for the Oilers but he’ll need to regain his confidence and perform better to make this worth it for Edmonton. When he’s right, Kulak is a puck-moving, defensively sound player but moving a second-round pick for a marginal upgrade is a steep price to pay.


Graphic by Madeline Schmidt


Liking rival teams can be a healthy way to enjoy sports

Being a fan of two rival teams isn’t easy, but it can be fun

Every sports fan has a favourite team. Some even have two or more for the same sport, which helps them follow different conferences or divisions. But how often does it happen that someone likes two rival teams? It’s rare, but not impossible.

Rivalries are one of the most fun parts of sports. It can even get to a point where you’re rooting for a team’s failure and not another team’s success.

If you’re as big of a hockey fan as anyone in Montreal, there is no way that you don’t absolutely despise the Boston Bruins or the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Or maybe there is.

Pia Yared, who has been living in Montreal since 2015, became a Canadiens fan the second she started living in Montreal. That was until last year, when she watched her first Leafs game and it was love at first sight.

“I just loved their energy, and how they played,” she said. “All it took was one game and I became a Leafs fan.”

She said she is now 55 per cent a Leafs fan and 45 per cent a Habs fan, but that it can fluctuate during the year.

Mitch Levis, a Montrealer and Baseball Québec umpire, also mentioned these numbers, but for the MLB.

He is 55 per cent a Cincinnati Reds fan and 45 per cent a St. Louis Cardinals fan.

Before that, Levis was a huge Expos fan, but he stopped following MLB altogether after the Expos moved to Washington, D.C., and became the Nationals.

However, he got back into it in 2010 when he travelled to Cincinnati and went to a Reds game there, with the Cardinals visiting.

“On the Cards’ roster was Rafael Furcal, a player I had met as a child when he played for Atlanta. But on the Reds was all-star Canadian player Joey Votto,” Levis said, explaining what helped him get back into watching MLB and following these two teams.

Although he doesn’t watch baseball during the regular season due to his busy schedule, Levis watches some games during the preseason and the playoffs. He also follows both teams in the news and on social media to keep up with everything.

He said if he were to watch his two favourite teams against each other, he would probably root for the Reds.

“But I’d also lean more neutral and hope for an exciting pitching matchup,” he said.

Yared also said she doesn’t watch a lot of games during the regular season, but tries to keep up with the news as much as possible.

She mentioned she usually roots for the Leafs over the Canadiens when they face off, but hopes for a fun game, even if it’s not the outcome she expects.

“I try to go into it neutral and see how the game goes,” she said. “And if a team is too disappointing, I’ll cheer for the other one.”

This is exactly what happened in the 2021 playoffs. She went into it rooting for Toronto, but ended up cheering for Montreal the closer they got to winning the series.

At the end of the day, sports are meant to be fun and to bring people together. Everyone has unique sports experiences. You can like one team and be loyal to them until death. You can like a team, then decide you don’t like them anymore, and pick a new one. You can also not have a favourite team, but instead just enjoy a sport.

Or, you can have two favourite teams that have a great rivalry, and enjoy every second of chaos you’ll witness.


Graphic by Madeline Schmidt


The lifestyles and journeys of YouTube sports content creators

Content creators share what their daily lives look like

A common theme in YouTube success stories is the unexpectedness of it all. A lot of sports content creators start making videos as a hobby because they like a sport or a team, but almost none think it will lead to making sports content full-time.

Shannon Skanes, from the Vancouver area, started his YouTube channel “The Hockey Guy” in 2015. He started making vlogs, until one day when he decided to make a video predicting who would win in the first round of the 2015 playoffs.

As time went on, Skanes decided to start making content about the NHL in general, as many similar YouTubers would usually only talk about their favourite team.

Nathan “Grav” Murdock, from Dallas, Texas, started uploading videos on his channel “Graviteh” in March 2017. He started making MLB videos, but when the season ended in September and the hockey season started, he decided to branch out his content. By the end of that year, his channel focused entirely on hockey.

“I was 14, I was just making it for the sake of making it, and thankfully, it’s turned out pretty well,” Murdock said, with four Dallas Stars jerseys hanging on the wall behind him.

“It’s one of those things where I feel like most people that find some success aren’t truly expecting it to work out.”

He switched to making content full-time in 2019, around the trade deadline, the playoffs, and especially the draft.

“That’s when the whole thing started to become a lot more [of a] reality,” Murdock said. “And I started to take it a lot more seriously.”

Earlier this year in January, Murdock joined Sportsnet, for whom he now makes content on top of making videos for his own YouTube channel.

Skanes also switched from making videos as a hobby to full-time in his third year on YouTube, in April 2018.

“What happened was the channel was growing, and it was getting to the point where if I worked my regular job, I actually made less that day than I did if I just made YouTube videos that day,” he explained, adding that he had to quit his job to be able to cover the playoffs.

Although Skanes and Murdock both cover hockey, their routines are pretty different.

Skanes wakes up every day at around 7-8 a.m. He starts by working on game preview videos and news videos. Then, throughout the day, he moderates the comments section on his channel to prevent it from getting toxic. He keeps an eye on Twitter during the day, as well as a few other sites, to know whenever something happens in the hockey world.

“If there’s a trade and I’m not paying attention and watching a movie, I will have at least 15 messages between Facebook, emails, Discord… There’ll be messages everywhere, so I have to make sure I’m on it and I get a video done,” he said standing in front of his whiteboard, ready to be filled out for the review video of the day.

During the offseason, Skanes can have a specific schedule, but it’s harder during the season since no one knows what’s going to happen from one day to another. But he always makes sure he has time set aside for the games to be able to do review videos.

On the other hand, Murdock wakes up at around 9-10 a.m. He starts filming his daily video, which usually takes him until 11 a.m. He then does the editing and thumbnail, and by the time he puts in the titles and finalizes the video, he can upload it at 3:05 p.m., which has become the time at which he always uploads his videos, though he’s not sure how it started. He also watches the games every night, and once they’re done he starts cultivating ideas for the next day.

Murdock usually tries to make two to three videos every week for Sportsnet, and three to four on his channel, while Skanes uploads multiple videos every day.

Making a lot of content frequently can cause creative blocks, but both Skanes and Murdock have come up with ways to overcome them.

Murdock said he likes to look at old ideas he has worked on and expand on them or make a variation, like for ranking videos.

Skanes usually likes to make videos that are fun for him, whether it’s about a “horrible season a team had in the ’90s,” or uploading a video on his other channel, “The Entertainment Guy,” about a movie or a show he just watched.

Another part of being a content creator is sponsorship offers. Oddly enough, both Skanes and Murdock have received more offers to do ads for makeup, jewelry, and mobile games than for hockey products.

“I’m not doing a makeup tutorial. It’s just not happening. I don’t even know how I would work that in. Do I work that into a news video?” he laughed, adding that he wouldn’t get paid if the ad was done in a sarcastic way.

They have both only ever had a few hockey-related deals. Murdock has done an ad for the Topps Skate app, and Skanes has had deals with Bench Clearers and Ben H Sports on eBay. It’s important for them to have sponsors that fit their channels.

They also both said they don’t take any part of their journey and success for granted. Murdock said that being a part of Sportsnet is still a “huge deal” for him. “Hopefully, it lasts forever. But for as long as it lasts, I’m happy to be here,” he added.

“If I ever take it for granted, that’s when I know I’m in trouble,” Skanes said. “It’s like a dream job for me. So I have to make sure that I maintain that same level of work ethic and that I don’t take it easy and decide ‘well, I’ve made it’ because as soon as I do that, then I’m pretty much hooped.”


Graphic by Madeline Schmidt


Colour Commentary: Social media’s involvement in sport

Social media has provided fans with ways to push the envelope on some well-known athletes. To what extent is it enough?

Professional athletes are humans too and as sports fans, we tend to forget that. The physical capabilities of athletes, now more than ever, are so extreme that we class them as near superheroes. The sheer power it takes to dunk a basketball or the agility needed to stretch from post to post to save a puck make us forget that although what athletes do is near extraterrestrial, they still deal with personal issues just like the rest of us.

Social media is the purveyor of directed personal messages to public figures across the world — a facilitator for people to personally send their opinions (good or bad) at the ends of their fingertips. Professional athletes don’t receive just a modicum of messages, they receive a plethora of different opinions and critics.

We’ve never really asked ourselves: how much is too much? How many negative messages can someone endure before it seriously takes a toll on them? Does traditional media exploit and amplify these messages athletes already see online?

For many players, they either avoid social media altogether or deal with messages head-on. Especially now more than ever, it is encouraged for athletes to express how they feel as well as their mental health status. It has gotten to the point that even notable NBA all-star Kevin Durant was caught responding to critics using multiple burner accounts on Twitter to defend himself. When media outlets like ESPN caught wind of Durant’s usage of a burner account, it became a non-stop discussion topic on all their platforms.

Lebron James has even admitted that come playoff time he shuns social media altogether. Sports media companies keep tabs on the online activity of any given athlete. If anything “newsworthy” exposes itself, they take a screenshot and share it with their millions of fans. All facets of media and fan involvement intertwine, constantly placing players under a microscope.

Locally, over the past year, both Jonathan Drouin and Carey Price admitted themselves in the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) assistance programs, creating a media stir in Montreal. Out of the countless rumours posted online, sports media amplified the message to another degree. Media companies are always on the prowl for anything that can attain clicks and shares.

The O.J. Simpson trial is when traditional media intersected into the personal life of an athlete and broadcast it for the world to see. The outcome of that trial prompted traditional media to continue pursuing drama in players’ personal lives to report on.

For an athlete, social media is a tough medium to frequent. Many people are jealous of their success, similar to tall poppy syndrome, a cultural phenomenon where fans criticize and sabotage people of notable success in order to make themselves feel better.

Social media is still too early in its development to know what the appropriate steps are to combat backlash. Athletes should have the chance to enroll in possible PR training on how to properly use social media for their own benefit. Though it may not be the ultimate solution, it’s a good place to start.


Colour Commentary: Montreal Canadiens hit with reality check

Montreal Canadiens fans are rightfully upset with the team’s start to the 2021-22 season, but should they be surprised?

The Montreal Canadiens — last year’s Stanley Cup finalists — are a bottom-feeding team in the NHL through the opening stretch of the 2021-22 regular season. The storied franchise that was on the precipice of glory last spring can’t even muster two consecutive periods of quality hockey today. 

Canadiens fans are rightfully upset, but should they be surprised? More specifically, was last year’s postseason run simply a fluke, or are the Habs wildly underachieving through the first 10 games of the season? Both perspectives to the aforementioned question carry real weight.

On one end, the Canadiens limped their way into the playoffs last season, showing little to no signs of life before they went on to defeat Toronto, Winnipeg, and Las Vegas in successive playoff rounds. They went into every series as underdogs and played a low-scoring, physical defensive style that relied heavily on Carey Price’s heroics and reputation. And he delivered, despite the inconsistency he displayed through most of the regular season. 

The truth is, among the major sports, hockey has the most parity. A hockey team can essentially go from near mediocrity to greatness in the span of a few weeks, a notion that is so rarely seen in other sports like basketball, for instance. Last season’s Habs were the latest example of how unpredictable hockey can be. Ultimately, the sport’s parity is what draws many fans to it. 

Losing team captain Shea Weber, veteran two-way forward Phillip Danault, and Price to start the season for varying reasons meant losing the Canadiens’ anchors of stability, so a regular season dropoff was to be expected. As a result, this year’s offence is being manned by young, unproven talent into unknown waters. So far, Montreal’s key players — namely, Nick Suzuki and Jeff Petry —  simply haven’t shown up and met expectations. 

Despite the fact the current Canadiens roster barely resembles the veteran squad it suited up during the postseason, there is reason to believe the Habs shouldn’t be as bad as they’ve been. As things currently stand, the Canadiens find themselves situated next to the NHL’s worst teams in the standings, many of which have embraced losing in their hopes of rebuilding. 

On the other hand, the Habs are in a unique and dangerous circumstance, one where they fully intend on remaining competitive but are continually failing to tally wins. This team is teetering between mediocrity and success, and considering the fact that they’ve already dug themselves into a near insurmountable hole, at some point Montreal needs to forget about last year’s Stanley Cup run and think towards the future.  


Fantasy hockey: last-minute cheat sheet for sleeper picks

With the return of hockey in our lives, it’s never too late to draft a fantasy squad

As a sports fan, fantasy leagues are one of the most exciting ways to consume your favorite sport. Living the full general manager fantasy by meeting up with your friends and drafting your teams one by one, then facing off on a weekly basis against other rosters to assert your dominance over them is pure bliss.

Fantasy sports websites like to rank players based on their statistics. Most of the time, it accurately reflects players’ performances, but occasionally, players are left higher or lower than their real-life value. For hockey, the NHL website itself has a fantasy section, where they recently released their “Fantasy hockey top 250 player rankings”.

This list cumulates players’ projected statistics in a panoply of different categories for head-to-head leagues, but not for points leagues. With that said, here are five underrated players you should watch out for in your last-minute fantasy league draft.

Taylor Hall, LW, Boston Bruins

Projected ranking: 133

At 29 years old, the first overall pick in 2010 is coming off an abysmal season with the joke of an organization that is the Buffalo Sabres. With a poor two goals and 17 assists with a -21 plus/minus in 37 games compared to his standards, Hall picked it up when he got traded to the Boston Bruins with a hopeful 14 points in 16 games to end the season. After re-signing with Boston over the summer at a very reasonable price, (four years, $24 million), this contract will most likely be looking like a bargain at the end of this season. The 2017-18 Hart trophy winner is going to bounce back this year by bringing some second line scoring to a stacked Bruins’ offence and you can definitely expect Hall to outperform his projected ranking by quite a lot.

Darnell Nurse, D, Edmonton Oilers

Projected ranking: 83

With Oscar Klefbom’s injury last year, Nurse really seized his opportunity to become Edmonton’s most reliable defender by having an incredible season. In 56 games, the 26-year old put up an impressive 36 points — including 16 goals, the second-most for a defenseman last year. Fantasy-wise, Nurse had an even better season by averaging 25:38 minutes of ice-time per game, having a +27 plus/minus differential and by being in the top 20 for defensemen in shots, hits, and blocked shots. While Klefbom is still out this season, Nurse is looking to repeat what he achieved, and with Edmonton having a weaker defensive core than last year, the Ontarian could very well surpass these astonishing numbers by filling in an even bigger role this year.

Tyler Seguin, C, Dallas Stars

Projected ranking: 112

Having only played three games last year due to a hip injury, it’s hard to guess how well Seguin will perform this year as he will be entering his 12th season in the league. One thing is certain, Seguin has always been an impactful player and a pure offensive beast when healthy as he has put up more than 70 points in six separate seasons. Seguin should also benefit from the emergence of young talents in Dallas with players like Roope Hintz and last year’s Calder Trophy runner-up Jason Robertson. The second overall pick in 2010 will remind people of how good he was before his injury and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Seguin add another 70 point season to his already imposing resume.

Neal Pionk, D, Winnipeg Jets

Projected ranking: 131

From being a defensive liability to becoming one of the most underrated young blue-liners in the league since joining the Jets during the summer of 2019, Pionk has completely shut down critics and was able to become a quiet force in Winnipeg. Pionk is not a flashy player, so he is severely overlooked by poolers. Last year, he registered 32 points in 54 games, 10 of which were scored on the first powerplay unit. He also finished 10th in hits and with a +6 plus/minus differential. Ranked at 131, Neal could very much look like a steal early on in the season.

Linus Ullmark, G, Boston Bruins

Projected ranking: 79

Ullmark has never had a real chance to show off what he really is capable of, simply because the Sabres were atrocious during his time with the team . He has gone under the radar for quite some time now but last year he quietly put up a 0.917 save percentage and a 2.63 goal against average in 20 games on a Sabres team that ended the year with a 15-34-7 record, the worst record in the league. He was able to steal games all by himself last year. After signing with the Bruins over the summer, Ullmark is going to have his shot at being a number one goalie to a consistent playoff team and people are finally going to see his true value. If he falls in the draft, grab him if you can, you won’t regret it.


Graphic by Madeline Schmidt


Colour Commentary: The puck drops on another NHL season

The National Hockey League’s regular season will start on Oct. 12

The 2021-22 NHL season is upon us, marking the start of another promising run at the Stanley Cup for some franchises and their fanbases, and continued suffering and anguish for others.

Here are the teams you should keep an eye out for in the exciting weeks of hockey to come, for better or worse.


Of course, I have to start things off with the local band. I just wish I had an inkling of a clue of what to expect from them.

The Montreal Canadiens are coming off their most successful postseason in over two decades, ultimately losing in the finals back in early July to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Stanley Cup champions of the last two seasons. Their regular season, however, was the epitome of inconsistency and turmoil. 

That’s easy to forget, given how well the team performed come playoff beard-oil time, but the Habs were scrapping for a playoff spot — an absurd notion considering the Canadiens started the season off incredibly hot. 

Cinderella runs like last season are few and far between, but there’s still reason to believe their chemistry last postseason wasn’t a fluke. That being said, the Habs will be relying heavily on their young guns Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki to take the reins and produce on a consistent basis. 


I don’t need to remind Maple Leafs fans about last season, right? 

Since the emergence of Mitch Marner, the acquisition of John Tavares in free agency in 2018, and the drafting of Auston Matthews in 2016, the pressure has been on for Toronto. They have an undeniably skilled core that most NHL franchises would kill for, and the results have been fairly positive in the regular season. 

But the postseason has been riddled with annual disappointments, and now is the time to translate their regular season success into postseason accolades. For the sake of my father — a long-time Leafs fan who has never seen them win it all — I’m admittedly rooting for them to return to glory. Yikes. 


On paper, the newest expansion team’s roster looks to be average at best. After all, the Seattle Kraken should be near the bottom of the league in their inaugural season. 

But remember when the Las Vegas Golden Knights made a historic run to the finals in their inaugural season under similar circumstances? Nobody had them pegged as contenders. 

Seattle has some sneaky good depth at defense and should have an invigorated fanbase that could swing the momentum of games in their favour. Las Vegas’ feat in the 2017-18 season may never happen quite the same way again, but there’s a world where Seattle finds success right away while preserving their cap space for the future. 


The Habs and the trade deadline

This is the year where the Montreal Canadiens should be buyers

It’s been a while since the Montreal Canadiens have had such an opportunity to go deep in the playoffs. With the realigned divisions for the 2020‒21 National Hockey League (NHL) season, the Habs are only playing fellow Canadian opponents in the regular season.

The best four of their seven-team division will qualify for the playoffs, and with those teams only playing each other until the Stanley Cup semi-finals, the chance to make it past the first two rounds is there for the Habs.

The Canadiens have started the season strong, but have had some trouble in the past month, even firing their head coach. Yet, they’re still in a playoff spot and seem confident on the ice against pretty much all their opponents. It would be fair to think that this season, for the first time in years, General Manager Marc Bergevin would try to improve his team by the NHL trade deadline, with hopes to shock the hockey world and win the Stanley Cup.

After adding key players Tyler Toffoli and Josh Anderson last offseason, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Bergevin add depth for his third and fourth lines. Bergevin doesn’t often make trades, but when he does, he rarely fails to improve his roster, either in the short-term or long-term.

An important player who could be traded is Phillip Danault. Despite being a great centreman and good defensively, Danault is in the last year of his contract, and hasn’t offered much offensively this season. Any team looking for depth at this position would give a lot for him, especially at the trade deadline, when teams often overpay.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion

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