It’s (the end of) December, which means that the holiday season has come and almost gone by this point. ’Tis to be merry and mad! How ever you plan to celebrate with friends and family, be it in person or virtually, there’s sure to be someone who says something stupid and starts some kind of argument with everyone else.
With only New Year’s Eve as the other big holiday remaining, James and Robyn take a look back at some of the most memorable fights and best chirps. Kyle Clifford getting dropped; Anze Kopitar dropping the gloves the one and only time in his career; and Dion Phaneuf tripping over his own skates make the top highlights. Plus, James tries to turn the podcast into a Patrick Maroon Appreciation Lovefest.
What are your favorite fights? What smack talk gets your goat when you hear it? Comment below, we’d love to hear from you!
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INTRO: [Musical interlude plays] Are you ready for the most informative, well-thought out hockey podcast on the Internet? You are?? Sorry, it’s just Crown Conversations with your hosts, Robyn P. and James Nicholson.
RP: Hello and welcome to another episode of crown conversations just a quick little Merry fisticuffs right before the holidays but first I do have some news to announce [news music] I will be adding James Nicholson as a permanent co-host to the podcast, so thank you for joining me James.
JN: Wooo are you excited to regret some decisions you’ve made?
RP: [laughing] He’s here to permanently bring down the state of this podcast.
JN: you want something nice to listen to, too bad, I’m making it mediocre. You can’t stop me.
RP: [laughs] But you know what I am looking forward to it. I think this is going to be fun. I think you’re going to bring something interesting and different to the—people just usually listen to me babble on so now they can listen to you babble on with me
JN: Yeah, yeah. We’ll babble on about Babylon and other ancient empires and what’s this podcast about again?
RP: We’re doing fights and chirps and…
RP: So, ‘tis the season to be merry and mad. [Pause] And I was thinking about it the other day because I was thinking... Even though a lot of us aren’t going to be with our family in person, that’s not going to stop somebody from saying stupid over a Zoom call or starting a fight some somehow some way someplace else cuz... it is the holidays and this is what we do in the holidays: we fight.
JN: That’s true. Nothing really makes me feel more merry than raining blows upon those who love me most.
RP: [laughs] I didn’t mean literal fights or fistfights. I meant more like verbal arguments but you know you do you, James, I don’t want to judge your family.
JN: We’re a Festivus household.
JN: My wife is so happy I made a Seinfeld reference less than two minutes into being an official co-host of this podcast. So, okay. Yeah, no. Fights in chirps and just agitation, it’s it’s… [sighs] I miss it because I miss hockey and I spent so much of today watching old Raitis Ivanans fights on YouTube
JN: And like just reminiscing about when like the idea of the Kings ever being Stanley Cup contenders was just a long shot but we hoped, oh did we hope, and pray for the day and we relied on like guys wearing number 41 who was not super great at skating to just punch people in the face for us to get us there. And... Man, I... There was one I had spent about an hour trying to find this one that I remembered where [name] just goes charging in and loses his mind and it was, I think from 2006, and where, like, it was when they had first instituted the no-touch icing rule… Um… And Davis Drewiske goes back on an icing call and a Sharks player just, like, absolutely crushes him. Like, headshot from the blindside on an icing… Like everything you shouldn’t do and Ivanans just goes charging in and like, somehow he comes out of the-the mass of people on the other side and he’s with Jody Shelley who was not involved in the play somehow and the two of them just wail on each other and it was… It was nice cuz… Uhh… You know, Raitis Ivanans… I mean, he… Gosh, that man logged a lot of hard minutes and hard penalty minutes for the Kings when they weren’t that great and then I was reminded that the Sharks used to have these weird orange stripes on their jerseys.
RP: That is weird and I’m so glad they did not do that for their Retro Jerseys.
JN: Oh! Are we going to just talk about that for a longer? Cool.
JN: That sounds pretty—
RP: [interrupting] No, no, no. Stay on topic, James, no ADD tonight.
JN: [laughing] Well as you prepare for the inevitable disagreement with your family, what fights bring you joy or solace?
RP: I don’t know if fights like.. If any fights that really bring me joy and solace because I’m sort of on the... That... Okay, my hot take is that fighting is stupid and should absolutely be banned because it brings zero to the game and only leads to more disappointment and injury for players and particularly notable was, um… Oh, but I have to say this as an aside in that I am a horrible um hypocrite in that I will absolutely cheer at a game [laughing] when... if the Kings are winning their fight.
JN: Yeah, yeah. Unlike when Kevin Westgarth fought John Scott.
RP: Oooh ohhh… That was… Let’s talk about that for a moment. John Scott versus Kevin Westgarth; two heavy weights. But I think that John Scott has a couple inches on Westgarth, right?
JN: I think he has five inches on Westgarth.
JN: And like, like… oh, man. John Scott is so massive of a human being and... like… Is like… Having listened to his podcast now, is like a really kind of just family-oriented, very religious dude but um... Was not that on the ice it seemed and [chuckling] really punched people very hard in the face.
RP: [laughs] It’s what he was paid to do.
JN: That is very true and Kevin Westgarth, a man who graduated from an Ivy League Institution—
RP: Princeton College, baby.
JN: [unhappily] Ah, same with George Parros, that Powers Boothe-looking Director of Player Safety. Um… Yeah, that, like… Westgarth… [pause] It was so hard for him, I felt like cuz he was like... he was a big dude but he wasn’t big enough to fight John Scott and it seemed like a lot of—
RP: [interrupting] Nobody is.
JN: —Well, yeah. It also kind of felt like guys his size were starting to be phased out of the game, so it felt like he was always looking for a fight but there was no one for him to fight with except guys who would really hurt him as John Scott did.
RP: Yeah, that was the unfortunate thing about Westgarth is that his skill didn’t quite match up to the NHL level that it needed to be in order for him to stay, but from everything that I’ve heard, he is a good dude off the ice, he just unfortunately he was big and strong and so he fit the Dean Lombardi enforcer type role. But speaking of John Scott and famous fights: Phil Kessel two-handing lightsaber chop [laughs].
JN: [laughing] Oh man, I-I feel like I saw him talk about this on Chiclets where like, he was... It was a deal with Randy Carlyle because he was the Maple Leafs coach at the time and like he had been chirping John Scott and sending guys out to like hit him in this preseason game and like just kind of no one standing up and fighting him and he, I guess as he’s finishing the shift before, he yells at Randy Carlyle, like “next time I’m on the ice I’m going after whoever is next to me,” like “whoever you line up against me I’m going.” And Randy Carlyle thought I’ll be so smart and smug, like he is, and put Phil Kessel out there and apparently he just looks at Phil like, sorry dude I have to fight you and that’s when Phil is like “no, no, get away!” And two-hand slash! so, um… [laughing] That one is… It-it’s beautiful. It’s all the-the just pure like… Like, just thuggery of the NHL. It’s a manhood measuring contest, to put it politely. It’s just a pissing contest and that’s always one of my… That’s something that I just always find funny about sports because it’s not the competition but you have to pretend that it is. So, yeah. Anyways. I always love that fight, I love John Scott’s perspective on it. I love that he turned into this big lovable goofball at the end of his career and in retirement whereas before, he was just viewed as an absolute monster on the ice because of what he could do to people with his fists.
RP: Yeah, it’s kind of interesting how the perception, the public perception of him changed and it all started with the All-Star Game. It was a joke and then he got voted in to piss off the NHL because their All Star Game is… the selection is stupid and it’s just, you know, he came out with, I don’t know if he came out in the pink tutu or if it was one of his daughters but I mean like it just kind of like, “oh I guess he’s human” and yeah he concussed guys because that was that was the job and I don’t know if we should be like, “cool,” like “totally understand bro” but at the same time like, we’re all over here rooting for this stupid garbage sport [laughs]
JN: [mocking laugh] Apparently Eugene Melnyk wrote a blog about CTE. I haven’t read it yet [Robyn laughs] because who wants to read Eugene Melnyk’s blog other than Eugene Melnyk.
RP: [laughs] Yeah, Eugene Melnyk has a blog now…
RP: That’s… Yeah, I don’t know what to say about that…
JN: I’m just going like I remember him like being so mad about the Matt Cooke on Erik Karlsson play and-and, you know, thank goodness Erik Karlsson has been able to rehabilitate from that and have an outstanding Hall of Fame career afterwards and Eugene Melnyk really… I remember he said a lot of pretty intense things during that time about his star player who he would trade away because he’s a cheap monster [Robyn snickers] um…
RP: Tell us how you really feel, James.
JN: Yeah, I know. But that also… Those like 3 years, from like 2010 to 2013, like Matt Cooke was Public Enemy Number One in the NHL. Like he was the reason why like partying the heads of penalty and stuff after what he did to Marc Savard and [pause] It was at that time I was working for the Pittsburgh Penguins and was in like the radio broadcast office when they were in Atlanta and he fought Evander Kane, who was a rookie, and I was... I mean I... [pause] Like I am not an MMA guy, I like boxing, but like I’m not one of those like cover my mouth bounce up and down [exaggerated] oooooohhhh. But I did on that one because like 1) The ferocity with which Evander Kane punched him out; how unexpected it was; and then the absolute worried for Matt Cooke’s well-being because he hits his head hard on the ice... It felt great cuz I feel like that was... not long after the Marc Savard hit and it kind of, you know, it kind of felt like fair payback for it cuz I mean…[pause] For as great as the Penguins in the last 12 years, they have a lot of agitators and fighters on that team come through with Matt Cooke, Aaron Isham, Tom Sestito… Just a bunch of big, gooney guys and… all to protect Crosby and Malkin, I understand… Yeah...That one’s an all-time for me in terms of watching guys get punched in the face.
RP: [chuckles uncomfortably] That’s kind of an interesting um… [pause] Transition, I guess we’ll say...You know, “Oh yeah, watching people get punched in the face, I like this one.” Just kind of the way you wrapped it up made me laugh [laughs].
JN: Yeah, I’m good at that and uh… Man, I just…
RP: [laughs as James searches for words] You have a way with words, James, it’s what you’re good at.
JN: Hah hah. Um… It’s why I’m a co-host now.
RP: [laughs] Um… There was another fight I wanted to talk about…Um… Except now I can’t remember it [long pause] Oh, oh! Speaking of fights that make you kind of jump up and down and go [mimicking James] oooh, in the playoffs, I forget exactly which year it was… But… We all know Jonathan Quick to be rational, reasonable, and level-headed when he’s playing hockey, right? So… When he decided to fight Jumbo, I was like [laughing] I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry or to cheer or do all three all at once, which I think I kinda did.
JN: Yeah, he mugged… He mugged Joe Thornton pretty good there and then quickly skates away.
JN: I-I… Was that 2014?
RP: I think that might have been because that’s when the Kings were getting their butts absolutely whooped by the Sharks in the first—
JN: [interrupting] —Or it was the next year in 2015, but yeah, no that was um… [brief pause] man [changing thoughts] No! Cuz they didn’t make the playoffs in 2015 what am I talking about anyways yeah no they were um.. I mean Quick uh chopping uh Corey Perry’s groin is always up there for me.
JN: I mean Quick—
RP: [interrupting] —I was at that game.
JN: Uh Quick almost fighting Corey Crawford at center ice… Um… was a good one… But like Corey Crawfordm tried to like, you know, he shook his pads at him and stuff and Quick just kind of like stares at him… [Robyn snorts] And that’s one of my favorite things [Robyn snickers]. When the guy tries to intimidate or like coax a guy into a fight and he just gets ignored... Like, oh there’s a great one with Steve Ott and Andrew Shaw. Where Steve Ott like flinches like he’s going to smack Andrew Shaw with his stick and Andrew Shaw just like turns his head and is like, “I didn’t even flinch,” like “that’s embarrassing for you.” Cuz [laughing] it’s just like good hockey chirps are like watching comedians embarrass hecklers.
RP: Oh yeah, because the good ones are very good. There was a… I’m not going to… relive… the-the person who said it but, you know, or-or rehash it really much, but you know there was one that came out after the 20[[pause]14 Road to the Cup and you know it was like “F you, you F’ing F’er.” [laughing] It was something like that. It was like “shut the fuck up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut the fuck up.” And like all he could say was “shut the fuck up” like the whole time and it was like “man, you’re bad at this. I know English is not your first language, but man…”
JN: [chuckling] I… Oh, man… Uh… I mean Drew Doughty at the Dodger Stadium game goes to Patrick Maroon, “Buddy, you suck at hockey.” It is just… It’s so sweet and Patrick Maroon has obviously won now to Stanley Cups in two years. I don’t know how true that is, but it’s still a great chirp and it was at the time. I love the HBO 24/7 leading up to the Winter Classic games. Like Tom… I think it’s Tom Sestito… Was he playing for Boston or Philadelphia? And he’s like yelling at the Rangers and Brad Richards like just kind of like looks at him like, “I hope you fun at the NHL today. Like, you’re not going to be here long, make the most of it.”
JN: Like, oh man… That-that’s a good one… I love it. I love good-good chirps. Especially when they make big dumb guys look especially big and dumb.
RP: Well, I mean that’s usually Drew Doughty cuz he’s big and—well he’s not that big, but he’s dumb; he’s very not smart, like off the ice. But it’s hilarious listening to him chirp because he kind of thinks like he’s a 12 year old a lot of the time, so it’s like, he’s like “oh you’re just”—I think he said to um... It was like another one of those like behind the scenes things. I forgot who he said it to. I think it was Pat at Maroon or somebody on the Ducks and he’s like “you’re just a fourth-liner, go back to the AHL” or something stupid like that.
JN: Yeah, yeah [laughing] that was-that was Maroon, oh man…
RP: He really loves—he loves to get into it with Maroon. Oh but who is it that was on the Blues for the longest time that Jonathan Quick absolutely loathes?
JN: There’s a few guys.
RN: Oh. Yeah. He won the Stanley Cup I think with St Louis? I can’t remember.
JN: Patrik Berglund?
RP: No… It’s not Steen... I forget who it is, it’ll come to me later. But um… Oh! He was with the Blues and then he was either traded or UFA, I can’t remember .
JN: Oh, TJ Oshie?
RP: No, no, not BrOshie, nobody cares about BrOshie.
JN: Uhh… Ryan Reaves…?
JN: BJ Crombeen...?
RP: No! [laughs]
JN: I am… I’m sorry. Um, let me just keep guessing. This is good podcasting, right?
RP: Yeah, absolutely, James, that makes you an excellent co-host [laughing].
JN: [laughs] Yeah…
RP: Oh… This is going to drive me crazy. Um… They’re always… Like Jonathan Quick, every time they play, like he’s always like getting into—
JN: David Perron for Backes.
RP: Yes! Yes, Perron.
JN: Ugh, that guy is so annoying! Ohhh…
RP: [emphatically] Jonathan Quick hates his guts!
JN : Yeah.
RP: I don’t know what he does, or what he’s done in the past because there’s some games where it seems like Perron is doing nothing—and for all we know, he could be out there chirping Quick all the time, but I mean like—Quick is always back there, trying to give him like a slash behind his knees and [trails off, chuckles]...
JN: Dude, like that… [sighs] He is just, he’s sandpaper. Like Guys like him and Brandon Dubinsky, like they just aggravate the hell out of the players who play against them. And you just don’t see it. But, whatever is happening on the ice, they are just making them so angry. And like, David Perron has a really good career. I mean, he’s been in the league for, I mean, 12 years now, 13 years; 850 career games, 550 points. Like that’s-that’s a really good career for a player and like I have never understood why he plays with the style he does. Ugh, yeah…
RP: Brad Richardson I mean he’s not anywhere near as good as David Perron but Brad Richardson’s effectiveness at who he is comes a lot from being the most annoying guy ever. That’s what Cat Silverman told me.
JN: You know, I absolutely see that. Like cuz it’s just all hustle. He doesn’t shut it off. It’s kind of like Alex Iafallo, the way he just won’t won’t quit the play when most other people would have and it’s just annoying. And like Iafallo has some hands and can finish off some plays, which is fun. And I think Kings fans can look forward to Jaret Anderson Dolan doing that, too, because Jaret Anderson Dolan does not stop when he’s on the ice. It’s very fun to watch. But… Yeah… My gosh… [sighs] I miss hockey. [Long pause] I think my all-time favorite chirp is kind of a self-chirp, though.
RP: Which is?
JN: It is Steve Ott and he’s like getting ready for a faceoff against Claude Giroux and he’s just like, “I’m so good at faceoffs, I’m number 5 in the league. Check out NHL.com, man.” [Robyn laughs] “Probably just go win this faceoff, you know, right back to my left here,” and he’s just talking so much crap. And then like they drop the puck and Claude Giroux wins it clean and it was perfect. It just, oh… It couldn’t happen to a better guy.
RP: [chuckles] You know what, actually, kind of… it’s a sort of self-own similarly but it’s a more genuine and something that you can root for—but it-it’s Pat Maroon and it came out after—well really it came out after St. Louis won but since like 90% of NHL fans who are not St. Louis fans hate the Blues, nobody really cared about Pat Maroon last year [James cackles]. But when Tampa won—when Tampa won, it was endearing and it was charming and it was um… “Chubby but effective” and it’s like I need that on a t-shirt.
JN: I mean that’s uh the headline on my resume.
RP: [laughs] “Hire me, chubby but effective.”
JN: [laughing] It got me this job as co-host of the podcast.
RP: [laughing] Oh yeah.
JN: [laughing] Alright. [Long pause] Ohhh man. Alright. Yeah. [pause] Pat Maroon is a guy who ...like, he does everything, he really does and I get why he’s so annoying to play against. But, he’s just big, he’s so big. And like, sometimes he has hands and sometimes he doesn’t have hands. [Robyn laughs] Like that play he makes in the Stanley Cup Final where he bats the puck out of mid-air, oh my gosh what a sweet play that was, oh my goodness. But then there’s other times where you’re like “why-why are you here? What is the point of you?”
RP: [laughing, mockingly] “You’re just a fourth-liner”
JN: Like, I’m-I’m looking at his career stats right now. And... like 513 career games, 229 points, like 97 goals, like a goal every 5 games from a guy who is your—in most instances—your enforcer like that’s pretty darn good production from a guy who’s a 4th liner.
RP: I feel like with the Ducks, he kind of got into that enforcer role but when he was with St. Louis and even a little bit with Tampa, he got away from that sort of typical just stand-there-and-screen-the-goalie-with-your-fat-ass type of role.
JN: When he was in Edmonton, he had 27 points—er 27 goals—one year.
JN: His playoff numbers are really good!
RP: That’s what I’m saying... I mean I feel like he can actually… I feel like when he was away from Anaheim, he could be a good player when he’s put into like a specific role other than just stand there and be fat.
JN: My gosh, the ‘14-15 playoffs, in 16 games, 7 goals, 4 assists for 11 points and only 6 penalty minutes.
RP: You know, Marian Gaborik had a really good playoffs once. Once.
JN: [chuckles] Once. I mean, yeah, he’s played almost 100 career playoff games.
RP: Gaborik or Maroon?
JN: Maroon! [Pause] 98 games, 40 points… Is this a Pat Maroon podcast now?! I think it is.
RP: No. [Emphatically] No!
RP: I’m here to steer this ship back on—[stops]
JN: Yeah, self-owns uh fights, a good one, of course, is Dion Phaneuf challenging guys to a fight and falling over backwards as he takes off his gloves.
RP: Ohhh yeah. [Pause] I think, for me, one of the most memorable fights was uhh... There’s two: there was the one where... uhhh it was a Boston player… It was Shawn Thornton, he slew-footed somebody on the Penguins because that guy had a dirty cheap headshot… Um... I forget who it was, it was one of the Penguins nasty agitator people.
JN: I think it is the next time they played after the Savard hit where he goes after Matt Cooke, if I remember correctly.
RP: I don’t think Thornton dropped Matt Cooke, though. Because it was back in like… 20… 14, I wanna say…
JN: Are you talking about when he punches Brooks Orpik and his head bounces off the ice?
RP: Y-Yeah! Okay, that’s who it was. When he… Okay, so he slew-foots Brooks Orpik and then like totally drops the guy onto the ice.
JN: Yeah… Yeah… Like, Orpik is already like laying down on the ice and then like, with his glove still on, just straight up, like he has his knee on Orpik’s chest and punches him again. And I’m like ooof, not a good look. It wasn’t a good look then.
JN: That year, I ended up talking to a Boston beat writer who... I asked him about it, and he just like was adamant that Brooks Orpik is up baby for getting a concussion from that, which is just the most Boston thing ever.
RP: Yeahhh it’s unfortunate that most of the Boston beat writers suck and one of the good ones lost her job because of the pandemic.
JN: Yeah... Yeah…
RP: I’m talking about Marissa In-In… Oh my god I’m going to butcher her last name…
JN: Yeah, she’s great and Amalie Benjamin is also a Boston beat writer who’s great but then there’s guys like Joe Haggerty.
RP: How does he have a job? Like, honestly.
JN: How does a guy like Larry Brooks have a job? Like they… Or-or Steve Simmons.
RP: Oh god
JN: They stir up controversy and it apparently… their editors think “oh, that gets us relevance for being controversial.”
RP: [sarcastically] We got noticed!
JN: [quietly] Yeah. I—ugh, yeah.
RP: There was someone who… I think—I forgot who it was. I think it was Seravalli. He’s not normally like that, but he took a Bettman quote out of context to drum up a lot of controversy and it was just like dude, you’re normally above this. What are you doing?
JN: Yeah… Yeah… Oh man, I’m just remembering Mike Richards vs Logan Couture in Game 6 of the 2014 playoff round.
RP: I don’t remember that…
JN: That one was like as the game ended, they fought.
RP: Ohhh ohhh….
JN: It was like the two of them and I think like Brent Burns and Robyn Regehr? Like those were the two fights that happened.
RP: Yes, okay, I vaguely remember that. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
JN: Logan Couture broke his wrist in that fight. And like played Game 7 with a broken wrist and like was not super effective in that game. I remember very specifically and it was because he was playing with a broken wrist cuz he broke it on Mike Richards’ head.
RP: [longingly] Ohhh, Mike Richards. But you know what? Mike Richards is happy not playing hockey because hockey was bad to him.
RP: But he’s still making a lot of money from hockey.
JN: Yeah, and good for him.
JN: I mean, goodness knows the media in Philadelphia didn’t do him a lot of favors. And… Yeah…
RP: Well, a certain GM also did him no favors.
JN: [uneasy laugh]
RP: But we’re not going to talk about that! Let’s-lets move on from something else besides hockey fights and chirps.
JN: [laughing] Oh when Alex ?? built up a bunch of snow on his stick blade to Mike Richards’ face?
RP: Oh my god. [James laughs] One fight I do remember very distinctly, though. It was Kyle Clifford. I forget who he was fighting but I mean it was just like a TKO with one punch. Like, dude knocked him out and then Clifford was on IR the next day with a concussion [laughing].
JN: Was that Kevin Bieksa?
JN: Yeah, Bieksa has that, like, they call it the “Superman Punch” where he fakes right and shoots the left. And.. Yeah… He’s taken out a few guys with that. I mean, Max Domi hit him and I mean he didn’t play again really after that. Now he’s just awesome on SportsNet broadcasts. He was so good in the playoffs. Oh! For those of you who are obsessed with Canadian television the way I am.
RP: Yeah, I didn’t see it. I was stuck with American television so I got Liam McCugh and Mike Milbury and… and… God, who else do they have on there that’s awful?
JN: Um, Jeith Kones.
JN: Keith Jones.
RP: Oh, Keith Jones.
JN: He’s pretty good, I like him.
RP: He’s okay. He’s-he’s not as detestable as Mike MIlbury.
JN: Anson Carter I feel like is always rushing what he’s trying to say and I just kind of want to remind that guy to take a deep breath.
RP: I don’t know if he can. Have you seen his co-hosts? [James laughs] They don’t exactly, like, give him time to…
JN: Yeah, no. [Gritted teeth] I-I mean, they did some good hiring with Jeremy Roenick and Mike MIlbury. [uneasy laugh]
RP: Hey, at least Mike MIlbury got kicked out of the playoffs in Toronto.
JN: Yeah, that was nice.
RP: One good thing he did.
JN: Yeah, now if we could just get Pierre McGuire out, we’d be all set.
JN: Goodness gracious.
RP: Let’s talk about some other league news.
JN: Yeah uh, it looks like we have a hockey season as of an hour ago per Pierre LeBrun and Elliotte Friedman as we’re recording this on Friday, December 12—err December 18th. Yeah, okay, looks good. Now we just have to wait on Canada’s provincial health ministers.
RP: Well the theory… The running theory is that some—and this is a conspiracy theory, so I don’t know how true it is—but, there is a conspiracy theory that says that some of the teams, some of the Canadian teams, are unhappy with their travel schedule for an all-Canada division because they won’t be able to play in the U.S. obviously. And like, Winnipeg routinely has some of the most travel heavy schedules, like always. Most of the west coast, like actual west coast teams do. I mean, Arizona, I know they’re not on the coast, but San Jose, and Vancouver, they’re almost always in the Top-5 and so is Winnipeg.
JN: The Florida teams, too.
JN: Yeah, yeah. Florida and Tampa Bay always have—cuz their division is so wacky because I mean all the teams in their division are in the northeast and Canada and they have to travel a lot.
RP: Yeah, exactly.
JN: I’ve heard about that. I’ve heard some of the players aren’t happy because, for tax reasons they get taxed—it-it, there’s like a tax law that’s really prevalent where like you get taxed off of work. Like, for your pay that game based off of the location of that game so because taxes are higher in Canada, they’re going to pay more taxes supposedly they’re mad about that, too.
RP: Something else that came out of that: Now, there’s a trade-off for the players here. They can opt-out of the season, but they won’t get paid. However, if they opt out and the team doesn’t pay them, they add a year to the contract.
JN: Yeah that is interesting and from a fan perspective, I kind of like that.
RP: I don’t….. I don’t know. I guess-I guess I don’t know if it’s the league or the team that has to pay the players. I don’t know exactly how the payment schedule works. James, you being a former NHL player, clearly, [chuckling] tell me how does it work in the NHL? Is it up to the team or is it up to the league?
JN: Payment is normally done through the team, so—
RP: That’s what I thought.
JN: Yeah, so like you have signing bonuses and things like that and the League is monitoring the cap, the daily cap situation for each team. You know, that’s like when… If you remember 2014-15 when the Kings had to play without an extra player. They played down a man against Philadelphia.
RP: Oh yeah.
JN: Because they weren’t allowed to make the emergency call-up. Because the salary cap that day, but the real dollars that the team was actually paying that day weren’t that much. Yeah, there’s things like that. Because it’s also, like, you back load or front load contracts. But the salary cap is based off the average for that contract. So, yeah, um… There’s a lot of different contract things. But, yeah. It-it… [pause] The question answered—er asked—that I’m trying to answer is yeah, the teams.
RP: Yeah, so if a player can’t come to an agreement with the team, I assume, then, I guess that would mean that the team has opted to… Take the risk on having the player around for an extra year. I mean, both options-both options present a double-edged sword in my opinion.
JN: Yeah… They do… But it’s also covid times, so everything is a double-edged sword right now. [laughing]
RP: Well, okay, yeah. But I mean, it’s going to be a sort of bubble. Like, not exactly how they did it for the playoffs, but there’s going to be like a miniature minimal bubble. Hence the all-Canada teams and the wacky divisions that are-that are now being put out there.
JN: Yeah… And, and I mean just really quickly us being here in California, uhhh who knows if the California teams… if California will be safe for the California teams in a month when play starts because things are certainly not well here. So… Yeah…
RP: Well, I don’t know they’ll even be allowed to play. Because right now, professional sports teams aren’t allowed to play. There was an exception granted to an NFL team, I think it was the Chargers because they had a Monday night football game? Or was it a Sunday night football game?
JN: Yeah, something like that. I know Santa Clara County, especially, is like no, nothing. And so I know the Sharks are not currently allowed inside their arena for sure.
RP: Yes, yeah. Um… I mean, LA County has a weak mayor, so… He says one thing and then backtracks it with the next breath… [mockingly] “No, no, that’s not what I meant. I meant something totally different.” “But this is what you just said.” “Yes, but it’s not what I meant.”
JN: Yeah, like, well, because you have city vs county. Yeah, the mayor is trying to more strictly enforce some things. Uh the county is trying to as well but that would be enforced by the Sheriff’s Department and [uneasy chuckle] the Sheriff’s Department and County Board of Supervisors super don’t get along!
RP: No, they all hate each other.
JN: You listen to this podcast for the politics, I know you do.
RP: Let’s veer away from the politics. I have no idea what’s going on in Orange County. Orange County—
JN: —is its own thing [chuckles]
RP: They live in their own bubble. Um… Anaheim… I mean, they-they depend mostly on Disneyland to exist. But the governor has overruled everybody and said, “NO!” not even the theme parks are allowed to operate right now. They weren’t even allowed to operate at all when things were open. It’s very confusing. Nobody knows what to do during covid times. There’s no… consensus among leadership about what to do. Everybody has an opinion; everybody has a butthole. That exact saying. [James cackles] You all know that one!
JN: What… Okay… I think we should wrap this up really quickly… Um… Most surprising Kings fight that you remember. [Pause] Because I’m looking at hockeyfights.com as we are speaking and I forgot that Adrian Kempe got into a fight this year—last season.
RP: Yeah, because he was really mad about a hit. I remember that.
JN: Yeah, against Pittsburgh and that’s a surprise. Justin Williams went after Evgeni Malkin once. I remember that one. That was pretty surprising. Um… [Pause] Oh! I’ve got it! When Kopitar fought against Vancouver in the playoffs in 2012.
RP: Yes. That’s-that’s gotta be it.
JN: Yeah… Yeah, he stuck up for Dustin Brown and-and dropped the gloves. And, you know, didn’t look like he knew what he was doing but, he’s just… He knew he was bigger than the guy he was fighting.
RP: Actually, okay. I think two of my... Oh my God, okay, just to bring us down the rabbit hole little bit further. MacDermid fought Lucic and Deslauriers. So… Not memorable, necessarily, but the LA connection just makes me laugh. [Pause] Wow, Deslaurier and McDermid really don’t get along.
JN: Yeah, they kind of know that’s what their jobs are. I don’t know. Maybe… They might have played with each other at one point in Manchester. I’m not totally sure.
RP: Mmm… No, because I think MacDermid was in Ontario. I don’t think he was ever in Manchester, was he?
JN: I don’t know…
RP: He’s not that old. He’s like 20… 5? 24?
JN: Yeah, and Deslauriers is a little older because he was part of the Brayden McNabb trade. Him and Hudson Fasching. Why do I…? Oh man. My brain is good sometimes. I’m proud of myself for that one.
RP: Uh one last thing before we call it a night… Um… Potentially to make some extra revenue, the League is considering adding—put ads on helmets. [Pause] What are your thoughts, James?
JN: Uhhh… That is... You know, I… I love the world junior Championship and it’s always such a bummer to see the Telus advertisement across the visor. Now, they’re not talking about doing the visor one. They’re talking about making you the sticker on either side, almost like another part of the logo on the helmet it seems… Um… And apparently, you can have a different advertiser on your Home helmet vs your Away helmet, which is super interesting… I-I guess… The NHL’s reasoning is teams need to make advertisers happy. Because a lot of advertising contracts are based off of like in-arena activations… The marketing term is activations. So, yeah, so... Getting eyeballs on your advertisement, essentially. And since fans can’t be in the arenas, the NHL, I guess thinks that this is the way to help some teams fulfill that. I don’t love it. I didn’t like seeing the Lakers win the championship and having the Wish logo be on the jerseys. It bugs me. I’m so much of a purist and it-it… I mean… [Sighs and pauses] Yeah, we’re just in the era where everything has to be monetized. And… [Long pause] It, it’s… As a fan… It just… I don’t know, right now I hate it. Who knows? Maybe I’ll just not care about it in 5 years. But… For right now, that idea seems really icky.
RP: I mean… The... The League has been trying to get um ads on like jerseys forever and they have them on the practice jerseys. And they’ve been trying to get them onto the in-game jerseys for the longest time. So, it wouldn’t really surprise me if they started adding them on the helmets now.
JN: [reluctantly] Yeah… And I think, you know… The thing they always say oh we’re not going to look like the finished League anytime soon because man, those guys look like a NASCAR car [laughing] with the amount of advertisements plastered on them.
RP: Honestly with the-with the European league teams I can’t tell what’s a name and what’s in the ad because I’m not familiar with names and ads but I mean it’s still kind of like—when I was watching Kempe over there, I was like which one is Kempe again?
JN: Yeah—that was, yeah that’s a weird one. It-it’s hard. Oh! Did you see Carl Grundstrom’s team was involved in a possible match fixing Scandal but the team was cleared of it thankfully?
RP: I did not know that they were cleared of it. I did know that there was an investigation into the team.
JN: Apparently, they’re just like “Oh, no, they’re actually very bad.” So there you go!
RP: Yeah, for those who don’t know, the coach—I think it was the coach—was accused of fixing the match and making the team lose it on purpose. Kind of like um… Um… The baseball…
JN: Pete Rose or the Black Sox.
RP: Yeah, Pete Rose and the Black Sox, thank you. James, you always know where I’m going. This is why you’re a great co-host.
JN: [laughs sarcastically] Uh Grundstrom’s good numbers, too, over there. 18 games, 13 points on a not very good team. 26 penalty minutes. Hoo boy. Uh… He must not like some guys over there. [Robyn laughs] There was one clip I saw on Twitter where he is literally shoving a dude into the bench. Like hits him; guy like goes over the bench, is coming back over the bench, and shoves him back in again. [laughs] Like, oh… Yeah. Good for Grundstrom. I wanna see that feistiness this year.
RP: Yeah. He kind of looks lost every time he plays with the Kings so I’m really hoping that a year back in Sweden really helps him solidify and he’s able to come back to LA. Although, part of me also feels like the Kings have—were like, ehhh we gave it a shot, we’re done
JN: You know I think there is value there with that player, I really do. And maybe in a very soon episode, we can speculate wildly about what we think the Kings’ lineup should be.
RP: I like it. [Pause] Alright, well, James, I think we should end this podcast. Uh… Merry Fisticuffs, Merry Fightmas.
JN: Merry Fistmas.
RP: Merry Fistmas, thank you.
JN: And don’t lift heavy things while wearing flip flops.
RP: Don’t lift heavy things while wearing flip flops, okay. [Pause] Everybody enjoy your holiday, whatever you’re celebrating, if you’re celebrating. Have a great New Year and hopefully we will talk to you safely on the other side of 2020, in other words 2021. Byyyyye.