24th Nov: Sunday Overtime -Three on Three

1. The Gudas

When Radko Gudas joined the Capitals over the summer, his reputation preceded him. Known for his big hits and racking up penalty minutes, Capitals fans could be forgiven for being dubious about the addition to their blueline.

But when Gudas arrived, he was far from the towering, burly, intimidating presence we’d all been expecting, and more of a gentle giant. He took time out to greet fans after practice, was seen being soft and sweet with his young children and Capitals pup, Captain, and on the ice was an instantly solid presence that contributed significantly to the defence and near immediately solidified himself  as an indispensable piece of the 2019-20 team.

Oh. And Gudas? Has some serious style. As evidenced on the Capitals’ Hockey Fights Cancer night, where he paired an appropriately themed tie with… well. I’ll just let you take a look at his entire look for yourself.

With Gudas settling close to my heart, and quickly, and knowing that I wanted to contribute in some way to Hockey Fights Cancer – my mother battled, and beat, breast cancer years ago – I decided to participate in the Capitals auction where, much like many other teams in the NHL,  they auction off memorabilia in aid of cancer research.

I’ve always wanted to own a used stick, but felt that the logistics of getting one back to my home in the U.K. would be complicated. But with Gudas’ stick sitting within budget with ten minutes left on the clock, and a cause dear to my heart on the line, I opted to just go for it.

The Capitals, and hockey in general, has brought so many incredible people into my life, and there’s something about owning a little piece of a team that has given me so much joy, while giving back in some way, that just feels right, for a purchase as significant as this.

(Though the less we say about my slightly out of control puck collection, and Jeff Skinner specific merchandise in particular, the better.)

2. The Badass

What a difference a week makes! In last week’s Sunday Overtime we talked about how unhappy Tyson Barrie was in Toronto, and how head coach Mike Babcock was unrealistically expecting Barrie to reinvent his game to suit Babcock’s style of hockey. Since then Babcock has been fired, and replaced with the Toronto Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe. Keefe immediately moved Barrie onto the first Power Play unit, something fans of Barrie have been calling for since he moved to Toronto, and in his first game (to the surprise of no one) Barrie scored a goal. In his next game under Keefe, Barrie scored again, this time against his old team in Denver.

Tyson Barrie played 23 games under Mike Babcock and had 7 points, all of them for assists. He’s play 2 games under Sheldon Keefe and he has 3 points for two goals and an assist.

The change is remarkable. Tyson Barrie is being allowed to play Tyson Barrie hockey and it’s bringing in results. The change in him, not just in his gameplay but his demeanor too, is palpable. He’s scoring goals and he looks happy.

Long may it continue.

3. The Ugly-Ass

This week, a Washington Capitals player was suspended for three games for a particular act, interpreted as having intent to injure. If you didn’t already know the story, you might assume a head shot, or knee on knee, or a slewfoot. Definitely something ugly, right?

Yes, Garnet Hathaway was suspended for a spitting incident that occurred during the Capitals’ game against the Anaheim Ducks. The play was full of drama; Leipsic leveled a huge hit on Erik Gudbranson, which directly led to Caps possession and a goal by Chandler ‘Sniper’ Stephenson. The Ducks took exception to the hit, there was a lot of squabbling and a ref decided to cuddle Hathaway, pinning his arms. That would be well and good, if another ref had done the same to Hathaway’s prospective dancer partner, Erik Gudbranson. Gudbranson sucker punched a defenceless Hathaway and Hathaway … well. He spat in Gudbranson’s face.

It’s gross. Lindsey is the first person to say that is absolutely disgusting. Historically, socially, spitting on someone is pretty despicable. She has absolutely no objection to him being disciplined for it. Even in a game where bodily fluids fly freely around the ice, and people get punched, it is absolutely correct to discipline someone for spitting.

But for the instigating individual not even to receive a slap on the wrist for punching a defenceless Hathaway in the face? That’s where it’s hard to swallow (see what I did there?).

To put it into perspective, Hathaway received three games while the Blues’ Robert Bortuzzo, a repeat offender, received four games for cross-checking the bejesus out of the Preds’ Victor Arvidsson. To put it into further perspective, the NHL seemed willing to turn the other cheek when serial licker, Brad Marchand, was at large, until it became just too embarrassing for the league to ignore.

What really took Lindsey by surprise was the visceral response of a lot of people – particularly men – to this. The very idea that spitting is somehow a level to which we, as a society, do not stoop, when we, as a society, are presiding over some of the worst transgressions in human history with potentially civilisation-ending outcomes, is honestly laughable.

Until this league takes violent transgressions, on and off the ice, a hell of a lot more seriously, it’s hard to take this kind of discipline seriously at all.

+1 And now to the shootout

Society isn’t all bad, by the way, and it would be very remiss of one of our contributors (you know who) not to mention that Jonathan Toews was named as one of the Chicagoans of the Year, for his dedication to ensuring that children eat healthily, and grow food sustainably. While it’s not an initiative one might expect a hockey player to be involved in, we absolutely applaud this venture.

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