I’ll start with something I said via Twitter that wasn’t appreciated: I don’t like Anthony Mantha challenging Aleksander Barkov for Barkov’s hit on Dylan Larkin late in the third period today.
Part of it is that bad things happen when Mantha plays that role. The guy’s hands are glass. If someone needs to step up, it should not be him.
More controversially, I don’t think the hit was that bad. I know there are a lot of people saying Barkov stuck his leg out, even saying that it was a (or was at least an attempted) knee-on-knee hit. I see an awkward hip check. Barkov’s hip went backwards, his leg went out sideways, and his hip is what made contact. I’m sure we could say that he stuck his hip out to cover for the fact that he was sticking his leg out but I just don’t see it.
I could see the argument that it was late, maybe. But I just don’t see that as one that someone should be made to answer for.
Going into the game I was unhappy to see the Red Wings going with 11 forwards and seven defensemen with Evgeni Svechnikov left out of the lineup. I was going to say that, as much as I didn’t like it, much like the healthy scratch of Mantha earlier this season, it would probably work. I should have hit send.
After so many missed chances this season, it was great to see Mathias Brome get his first career NHL goal. It’s also funny because he’s had better chances than that one but that’s the one that went in. I didn’t realize until he scored that goal that he didn’t even have a point yet this season. Eye-test-wise, he’s played way better than that.
Despite the Brome goal and the outcome, this didn’t feel particularly fun to watch. Wings games rarely have over the last couple seasons. so that’s not a surprise, but it makes it feel like wins aren’t as earned.
On the aesthetic side, man, I love those Panthers’ Reverse Retro jerseys. I thought for sure that the Red Wings would use an opportunity when they were already wearing white at home to break out their own Reverse Retro set but they didn’t. Part of me wonders if the Wings will try to slide through the season never wearing theirs.
Speaking of Reverse Retros, that’s what all four teams are wearing in this weekend’s Outdoor Games at Lake Tahoe.
Seeing media coverage of the event via Twitter has been difficult for me. As I noted earlier today, it seems like there are a lot of journalists or other media personalities praising the visuals at Lake Tahoe, calling for more events like that. And I applaud the NHL for giving this a shot, even though the first game is currently paused after one period because of ice issues, because it is a gorgeous setting.
But there are no fans there. This season, that’s not a big deal. But you’re going to have a hard time convincing me that, in a normal season, we should be doing made-for-TV events that only media actually get to go to live. I get that these events (hell, even normal games) have gotten so expensive that a lot of fans are unable to attend in person. But crossing the line to events that no fans can attend in person seems like too much.
Especially as the line between “fan” and “journalist” seems to dissolve further and further. In the bad old days of the blogosphere, one of the knocks against bloggers was our fandom, our partiality. Now there are credentialed media who feel a lot like cheerleaders on Twitter. So to see those journalists calling for more events without fans, which would be open to them, while they act more and more fan-like… It rubs me the wrong way.