For decades, the ugly Christmas sweater has been a fashion faux pas, an ugly, handstiched gift from grandma that you felt obligated to wear on the one day out of the year you actually see her. The colors are often a garish red and green, featuring designs of reindeer, snowmen, holly, and a waving Santa sewn on it. It looks terrible. You look terrible.
The NHL is attempting to out-ugly nana this year by selling their own version of the ugly Christmas sweater. They are so hideous that they are kind of beautiful. You must own one. There is a design for most NHL teams. Three players are immortalized in wool: Jonathan Quick, Patrick Kane, and our own Alex Ovechkin.
The National Hockey League just released a two minute video they produced commemorating the official end of the lockout. It features cameos by Alex Ovechkin, Jason Chimera, and Sidney Crosby… crying. Liev Schreiber, the voice behind 24/7, also narrates. “Hockey is back,” the video claims. No, that never really left. Just you, NHL. Just you.
For whatever reason, this video feels hollow to me, but I encourage you all to watch it for yourself and come to your own conclusions.
Reader Stephen C. forwarded us this email. On Monday, Ticketmaster sent him a campaign promoting the December 4th Capitals/Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. Except there’s this lockout thing going on, so that ain’t happening. We figured it was just a screw-up in the system, some email marketing intern noob flying off the handle. Stephen thinks it is a sign that “our long (inter)national nightmare is nearing an end.”
On Wednesday night, I got this apology in my inbox from Ticketmaster.
Let’s start with a disclosure: we aren’t actively covering the lockout. Financial negotiations (and their public face) are all about posturing, tedium, and equivocation, whereas our principal interest in hockey has always been scoar, moar, and goals. That said, our Alex Ovechkin has spoken out about the ongoing melee between NHL ownership and players, and it’s definitely newsworthy.
If we speak in Russian, the NHL provided a beautiful dream to the media and fans, but in reality it’s a lie. It’s showboating. The league is trying to show that they are kind of working, trying to save the season, but they offer nothing new. It’s all the same, just in different words.
In the interview, Ovechkin carries some water for the players’ association, but he ends with a bombshell: he is willing to walk away from the NHL if the new CBA is no good.
On March 12th, the MHL, the KHL’s developmental league, held an All-Star game for under-18 year-old players in Cheylabinsk, Evgeny Kuznetsov’s hometown. KHL president Alexander Medvedev attended the one-day event and made time to meet with the local press. When asked his opinion about the future of the league’s most popular player, Medvedev responded, “Kuznetsov would be better playing a couple more years here.”
Apparently Kuznetsov agrees with Medvedev, because today on KHL-TV’s “The Icing Show,” the 19-year-old Caps prospect revealed that he will stay in Russia next season.
For those of you who may not know, James is the grandfather of Sabermetrics (baseball #fancystats) and is currently a senior advisor on baseball operations for the Boston Red Sox.
Part of my personal #fancystats book collection
He began writing The Bill James Baseball Abstract in 1977 which was “the first of its kind to scientifically analyze and study baseball, often through the use of statistical data, in an attempt to determine why teams win and lose.”
“It’s tough, it’s fast, and you better be highly skilled,” says the Chicago pol bluntly. “Believe me, I’ve got my share of bruises and stitches over the years. There’s a brutal beauty to it.”
Rep. Quigley during last year's Warriors game.
You could be forgiven for thinking the not-quite-second term Democrat and former Cook County Commissioner was talking about politics– Chicago-style or otherwise. But he’s talking about his other hard-knocks passion: hockey.
Stocky and pugnacious, Rep. Quigley looks and talks like a guy who’s been around the rink a few million times. He should. “I’ve been playing since I was eight years old, skating around on old frozen lagoons,” he says. “Twenty degrees below zero, all of that. And I never stopped. I played every chance I could get.”
Quigley loves everything about hockey. Watching it: “Sitting at the old Chicago Stadium – 3rd row, 2nd box behind the blue line– man, that place just shook. Never shoulda torn it down.” Playing it: “My favorite play out there is setting up a bang-bang play, you know, a real good-looking goal.” Even tweaking his opponents about it: “When I was Cook County commissioner, I passed this resolution, right before the Winter Classic between Detroit and the Blackhawks. All the whereas’s and here-to-for’s … but if you read every red capitalized letter, it spells out “DETROIT SUCKS.” (We checked it out. He really did.)