The Steelers are just fine without Le’Veon Bell

It always sucks when a game with so much potential turns out to be an absolute dud. A game between the 6-2 Carolina Panthers and 5-2-1 Pittsburgh Steelers looked like it was going to be a competitive matchup. Yeah, that didn’t happen. Even when Thursday Night Football has what looks like a good game, it still ends up sucking. And that’s why Thursday Night Football is a waste of time. 9 times out of 10, you will be disappointed. I guess watching TNF is like the equivalent of being a Jets fan.

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The Jersday Blog November 15, 2019

Jersey Round-Up

2003 Toronto Blue Jays Spring Training St. Patrick’s Day Jersey

As found in a Value Village for a crisp $5 bill, this Blue Jays jersey is quite the find. You know it’s a winner when you Google the jersey and one of the top results is Eric Hinske.

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Off the top of my head, here are all of the Blue Jays’ Opening Day first basemen since Hinske left in 2006: Lyle Overbay, Adam Lind, Edwin Encarnacion, Chris Colabello, Justin Smoak…

And survey says… I missed Steve Pearce in 2017… As Blue Jays era Steve Pearce apologist, this is a tough look for me. I guess when I think of Steve Pearce as a Blue Jay I remember him absolutely fighting for bloopers and his cement feet in left field. For the record, had Pearce been healthy and Justin Smoak not broken out at first base forcing Pearce to platoon in left, Steve Pearce would’ve been fine for the Blue Jays.

Arian Foster Houston Texans Jersey

Throwback to high school where Arian Foster was the NFL’s premier running back. In 2011 I did my first fantasy football draft and was hoping to have Foster drop to me at 4th overall. He ended up going first so I took Maurice Jones-Drew after Calvin Johnson and Ben Roethlisberger (that guy was an idiot) were off the board. That was 7 years ago… Life comes at you fast…

Chris Osgood Winter Classic Alumni Jersey

Ray brings the jersey heat once again. The Wizard of Oz was a weird goalie in the sense that he was both incredibly overrated with his .905 save percentage across 744 career regular season games, but also was underrated as a playoff performer. 74 career playoff wins and three Stanley Cups show that Osgood knew how to turn it on when it mattered most. And his funky goalie mask? Incredible.

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Jay Ajayi Philadelphia Eagles 2018 Super Bowl Jersey

Fly Eagles Fly. While this year’s poor showing probably proves that the Eagles are a flash in the plan, it was one hell of a flash. Last year’s Super Bowl run was incredible in hindsight. The Eagles were a well-oiled machine despite having Nick freaking Foles at the wheel of the offence (even if some people wildly claim that “Big Dick” Nick should still be the starter).

This Jay Ajayi jersey is especially cool since Ajayi changed his number going into year making his #36 a Super Bowl exclusive.

Isiah Thomas Throwback Detroit Pistons Adidas Jersey

Before he was a broadcaster or the failed Knicks head coach, Isiash Thomas was widely regarded as one of the best point guards of all-time. Too many think of the short Isaiah Thomas currently guarding point for the Denver Nuggets when they hear the name, Isiash was the face of the infamous Detroit “Bad Boys” Pistons of the 80’s.

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As per Wikipedia, Isaiah was actually named after the Pistons great:

Thomas was named after former Detroit Pistons Hall of Fame point guard Isiah Thomas when his father, James, bet his friend that his favorite team, the Los Angeles Lakers, would defeat the Pistons in the 1989 NBA Finals (which the Pistons won in a four-game sweep). The younger Thomas ended up being born months before the Finals took place, but James had already warmed to the name, which his mother, Tina Baldtrip, insisted on spelling Isaiah, as she desired a biblical name.

This is a very cool jersey.

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The Weekly Jersey Dump

NBA City Jersey Power Rankings

30. Memphis

Men's Memphis Grizzlies Mike Conley Nike Gray 2018/19 Swingman Jersey – City Edition

Yuck

29. Orlando

Evan Fournier City Edition Swingman (Orlando Magic) Men's Nike NBA Connected Jersey

You’d think a team with the nickname “Magic” would go out on a limb and not be so boring. For a basketball team neighbouring Disney World that hasn’t been relevant since Dwight Howard, they should be trying out crazy new designs on a monthly basis. They should be trying out as many loud looks as a 90’s expansion hockey team. Bright colours, Tie Die, comets, Mickey Mouse, anything. Let’s get weird.

28. Indiana

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Another yellow on grey. Yuck x2

27. Dallas

Dirk Nowitzki City Edition Swingman (Dallas Mavericks) Men's Nike NBA Connected Jersey

Swing and a miss Mark Cuban.

26. San Antonio

Pau Gasol City Edition Swingman (San Antonio Spurs) Men's Nike NBA Connected Jersey

Not bad, I’m just not a huge fan of replacing words on the front of jerseys with the primary logo. Just doesn’t do it for me.

25. Phoenix

Devin Booker City Edition Swingman (Phoenix Suns) Men's Nike NBA Connected Jersey

Not a tonne of wow factor here. I do like that its a louder purple like their old Barkley-era jerseys but its not different enough from their normal jerseys.

24. Pistons

Blake Griffin City Edition Swingman (Detroit Pistons) Men's Nike NBA Connected Jersey

At least the Pistons tried something different

23. Washington

John Wall City Edition Swingman (Washington Wizards) Men's Nike NBA Connected Jersey

Boring but less bad than the jerseys I ranked below.

22. Lakers

Lonzo Ball City Edition Swingman (Los Angeles Lakers) Men's Nike NBA Connected Jersey

Purple with black pinstripes just don’t pop. The Lakers have had some iconic looks but this ain’t it chief.

21. Clippers

Some people dig this jersey but I think it’s kind of a rip-off of the 76ers look. Also the LA logo on the front looks too much like the New Balance logo:

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20. Portland

Damian Lillard City Edition Swingman (Portland Trail Blazers) Men's Nike NBA Connected Jersey

This year’s take on the Rip City jersey isn’t as good as the old sleeved Adidas jersey (one of the few sleeved jerseys that were actually popular), but are better than last year’s City jerseys.

19. Charlotte

Kind of cool. I’d pop on a Kemba City jersey.

18. Houston

James Harden City Edition Swingman (Houston Rockets) Men's Nike NBA Connected Jersey

These are pretty decent. A lot of fine designs in the background of the jersey when you look closely. These will absolutely pop off in China.

17. Cleveland

I initially thought that the jerseys were fugly, but I’m actually warming up to these bad boys. I can’t wait for K Love to get healthy and zipping around the court for the 2-12 Cavaliers.

16. Milwaukee

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This is the type of weird that the lower-class NBA teams need to deploy.

15. Sacramento

Fox, Bagley, Cauley-Stein and Hield make this 8-7 Kings team kind of frisky. These jerseys are very frisky.

14. Philadelphia

Joel Embiid City Edition Swingman (Philadelphia 76ers) Men's Nike NBA Connected Jersey

These have gotten some heat in the NBA twitterverse for being kind of ugly but I like the look of these. They look like a complete throwback. These jerseys are like Rocky meets Hoosiers.

13. Atlanta

Men's Atlanta Hawks John Collins Nike White 2018/19 Swingman Jersey – City Edition

A slight OVO rip-off but these are still pretty cool. Might have to scoop up a Trae Young City jersey.

12. Golden State

Stephen Curry City Edition Swingman (Golden State Warriors) Men's Nike NBA Connected Jersey

The Warriors haven’t really missed on a jersey since the Baron Davis era

11. New York

Kristaps Porziņģis City Edition Swingman (New York Knicks) Men's Nike NBA Connected Jersey

I’m a huge fan of the stripes down the side look that some basketball jerseys use. Marquette and the Bucks uniforms are both very solid.

10. Utah

Rudy Gobert City Edition Swingman (Utah Jazz) Men's Nike NBA Connected Jersey

These are good but I docked them some spots because Utah is the only team rolling out the same City Jerseys as last year.

9. OKC

Russell Westbrook City Edition Swingman (Oklahoma City Thunder) Men's Nike NBA Connected Jersey

I like these way better than OKC’s regular jerseys

8. Toronto

These look a lot cooler than last year’s black and gold OVO City Jerseys. If they aren’t sold out yet I’ll have to scoop up a Kawhi one before it’s too late.

7. Brooklyn

Men's Brooklyn Nets D'Angelo Russell Nike Black 2018/19 Swingman Jersey – City Edition

6. Boston

Kyrie Irving City Edition Swingman (Boston Celtics) Men's Nike NBA Connected Jersey

Simple and effective.

5. Chicago

Men's Chicago Bulls Lauri Markkanen Nike Black 2018/19 Swingman Jersey – City Edition

Chicago’s city flag just looks so cool on a jersey.

4. New Orleans

Anthony Davis (NBA) City Edition Swingman (New Orleans Pelicans) Men's Nike NBA Connected Jersey

These are infinitely better than the Pelicans main jerseys. Why is tan/beige a prominent colour in their design? Give me more Mardi Gras!

3. Denver

Shout out Alex English and the rainbow era Nuggets

2. Minnesota

1. Miami

The only thing that could’ve made these jerseys more MIAMI is if they somehow included Pitbull. The King of Miami. Mr. Worldwide.

If you want to show off a sweet jersey or want to put a buddy with a jersey-buying problem on blast, be sure to send your submissions to me over Twitter @twaind4

NHL Week In Review – Joel Quenneville, The Resilient Red Wings, And The Senators Wild Ride

Hello, beautiful Bench-Lifers. I am back again for another look at the biggest NHL storylines from the past week. There was a ton to talk about during the past seven days so let’s jump right in.

Blackhawk Down

A new day has dawned for the Chicago Blackhawks. On Tuesday morning, in the midst of a five-game losing streak, the team fired long-time head coach Joel Quenneville. The mustachioed bench boss was the longest-tenured coach in the NHL at the time of his firing and had won three Stanley Cup championships over his 10 seasons with the team. Jeremy Colliton, who was coaching the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL, was named his successor and became the youngest coach in the league at 38-years-old.

Quenneville is the second-winningest coach in NHL history (890 wins), trailing only the legendary Scotty Bowman (1,244 wins). Ironically enough, the Bowman regime has a massive part to play in this whole scenario. Stan Bowman, the Blackhawks general manager (and Scotty’s son), butted-heads with Quenneville over organizational matters throughout the entirety of their working relationship. Mark Lazerus has a fantastic piece about the whole situation on The Athletic, but basically, there were three main points of contention that the article covered.

  1. In the 2011-12 season, Bowman forced Barry Smith upon Quenneville as an assistant coach. Scotty Bowman was a senior advisor in the organization at the time and Smith was an old friend who had coached with him for over 15 seasons. The decision infuriated Quenneville and started a theme of resentment between him and the Bowman clan. Interestingly enough, Smith was immediately brought back this past week as an assistant coach once Quenneville was canned.
  2. At the end of the 2016-17 season, Quenneville’s best friend/assistant coach Mike Kitchen was fired by Bowman. The two started coaching together in 1998 with the St. Louis Blues and had spent over 12 seasons alongside one another behind the bench.
  3. Bowman had made some trades that Quenneville vehemently disagreed with over the past few years, most notably, the Niklas Hjalmarsson and Artemi Panarin deals.

The way I see it is that Bowman saved his own ass by firing Quenneville. Apparently, that is how former Blackhawks’ tough guy Daniel Carcillo sees it too.

Now, the head coach was not perfect by any means. He was not some infallible deity that could do no wrong with the hockey gods. Quenneville routinely frustrated fans by showing blind loyalty to veteran players while youthful talent waited for their chance. The Blackhawks had first-round exits in both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons before completely bottoming-out last year. Due to this, changes definitely had to be made. With that being said, Bowman is more responsible for an under-performing roster than Quenneville was.

The head coach did not trade Hjalmarsson to the Coyotes nor did he make the Panarin for Brandon Saad swap. He did not trade Teuvo Teravainen, Philip Danault, or Vinnie Hinistroza in the past two years. The general manager is responsible for those moves. Furthermore, Bowman inherited his Cup-winning core from Dale Tallon when he was hired in 2009. He did not draft Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, or Corey Crawford. Likewise, Bowman responded to the Blackhawks’ worst season in a decade by signing Chris Kunitz, Brandon Manning, and Cam Ward this past offseason. Talk about some real game changers.

Negativity aside, I fully believe Bowman deserves credit for the moves he made during the 2012-13 and 2014-15 Cup wins. Players like Johnny Oduya, Michal Handzus, and Antoine Vermette were integral playoff pieces and shrewd acquisitions.

All of this adds up to the Blackhawks losing the first two games of Colliton’s NHL coaching career. Their losing streak now sits at seven games. After a 6-2-2 start, their record sits at 6-8-3. Quenneville was caught up in a power struggle, and he ultimately deserved a better fate. Regardless, he will be able to coach again any time he wants to as certain teams are likely drooling at the thought of bringing him in. Quenneville will be fine. I am not sure the same can be said about the Blackhawks.

Comebacks And Curly Fries In The Motor City

Before saying anything else, the Detroit Red Wings are not a good team. I am a diehard fan myself, and while they have been incredibly fun lately, I am not mistaking them for a team with realistic playoff aspirations.

With that being said, OH MY GOD THE RED WINGS REBUILD IS IN FULL SWING! WE’LL BE BACK IN NO TIME! IN LARKIN WE TRUST!

*ahem*

Yes, the Red Wings have won six of their last seven games after a dismal 1-7-2 start to the year. They have won three straight games despite trailing by multiple goals in each contest. It is the first time in franchise history that the team has accomplished such a feat. Up front, there have been fantastic performances from some of their young leaders. In particular, Dylan Larkin is playing like an absolute stud. He has seven goals and 10 assists through 17 games this season including the overtime winner against the New York Rangers on Friday.

Similarly, Andreas Athanasiou has been dangerous on a nightly basis. He has four points in his past two games and 10 points through 13 games this season. On Saturday, Anthony Mantha single-handedly spearheaded the comeback against the Carolina Hurricanes with two goals in the third period. Tyler Bertuzzi has shown he belongs at the NHL level and 2017 first-round pick Michael Rasmussen has delivered tantalizing flashes of his power-forward potential.

With that in mind, perhaps the best part about the whole start to the season has been 2016 first-round pick Dennis Cholowski on the back end. On draft night, many fans (including myself) were skeptical when the team traded down, jettisoning Pavel Datsyuk’s contract to the Arizona Coyotes, but passing on Jakob Chychrun in the process. Cholowski was a moderately unknown commodity at the time as he played in the BCHL during his draft year. On the other hand, Chychrun had been considered a top-10 pick early on in 2016 while playing for the Sarnia Sting in the OHL. Cholowski surprised many people out of training camp this season and ultimately wound up on the team for opening night. Since then, all he has done is impress with two goals, six assists, and a poise that far exceeded expectations.

Again, the Red Wings are not good. This is a team that was so bad early on in the season, that Arby’s changed a decade-old curly fries promotion. In years past, fans would get a free order of curly fries whenever a Red Wings player scored a hat trick. All they had to do was bring in a box score of the game. Now, Arby’s is giving away a free order of curly fries whenever the Red Wings score three goals in a game. There is lowering the bar, and then there is that. But hey, since the changeover the Red Wings have scored at least three goals in seven of eight games. All praise the power of the curly fry.

The Uber Ride Heard ‘Round The World

At this point, I hope we all know what happened. If not, here is the video. During a road trip to Arizona in late October, several Ottawa Senators players were unknowingly recorded by their Uber driver as they mocked their coaching staff in a five-minute rant. Matt Duchene was the most vocal of the bunch and continuously mentioned how clueless assistant coach Martin Raymond was while Chris Wideman and Thomas Chabot laughed at the team’s inefficient penalty killing.

Now, this is not a great situation, especially for a franchise that has had such a tumultuous year. It is embarrassing for the players and provided an unnecessary headache in an already challenging season. With that being said, I thought this whole ordeal was blown way out of proportion. I mean, who hasn’t badmouthed a co-worker, customer or boss before? The difference is, if you knew you were being recorded, you probably would have kept your opinions to yourself. Gerard Gallant, head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights, had a great take on the situation when asked by a Toronto Sun reporter.

“All the players talk about coaches all the time, believe me, and vice versa.” He paused to laugh. “We talk about them too.”

Obviously! It is cliche, but you cannot please everyone. A hockey team consists of a ton of individuals having to try and work together to achieve a common goal. Not everybody is going agree with the methods, and in return, they will vent about it in privacy. This video never should have surfaced because all it is are athletes voicing their frustrations.

Thankfully, the Senators won two of their four games this week, including a wild comeback against the powerful Tampa Bay Lightning. Things would have been brutal if they went on a massive losing streak after this media firestorm.

I will say, one positive from the whole situation is that this tweet was made (sorry Sens fans).

Fabulous Firsts

These players scored the first NHL goal of their careers this week: Denis Gurianov (DAL), Brett Seney (NJD), Jeremy Lauzon (BOS).

Quick Hits

The Boston Bruins top line of Brad Marchand (2G,3A), Patrice Bergeron (2G,4A), and David Pastrnak (5G,2A) absolutely dominated during four games this week. The trio has accounted for 58% of the Bruins goals this season (31/53). They are simply terrific.

Continuing on with the Bruins, shoutout to Jaroslav Halak who has been downright magnificent with Beantown this season. Halak has posted a 6-1-2 record with a 1.77 goals-against average, .945 save percentage, and two shutouts to start 2018-19. Aside from a five-goal clunker against the Canucks on Thursday, he has been practically unbeatable. Tuukka Rask remains on personal leave which means Halak is manning the crease for the near future.

The Minnesota Wild have been quietly formidable through their first portion of the season. They are riding an 8-2-0 record in their last 10 games and sit at 11-4-2 on the year. Zach Parise’s resurgence has been a big part of their success. He has delivered seven goals and nine assists through his first 17 games after posting back-to-back seasons with less than 50 points. Here’s hoping he stays healthy!

William Nylander continues to play the waiting game with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The slick Swedish forward has until 5PM on December 1st to sign a contract or else he will be ineligible to play this season. Both parties are apparently still quite far apart with the financials. I understand the hesitation from Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas. 1). This is his first big contract dispute as an NHL general manager. If he caves and gives Nylander a big contract, agents will prey on him for years to come. 2). He has to try his best to get Nylander signed to a reasonable contract that will not handcuff the team’s financial abilities in the future. Apparently, the Leafs have reached out to possible trade partners in recent days. Dubas has continuously stated that he will not trade Nylander, but with the clock ticking, desperation may set in during the coming weeks. Not having Nylander playing and/or not having assets in return would severely hurt the Leafs chances of getting past Tampa Bay and Boston in the playoffs this season.

A couple of streaks were extended for Florida Panthers players on Sunday evening. Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov both picked up an assist during a 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. This extended their point streaks to 12 and 11 games, respectively. The two have formed a daunting unit with Aleksander Barkov on the top line.

The Nashville Predators have become the third team in NHL history to win their first eight road games of the season. Last year’s President Trophy winners are well on their way to another magnificent campaign. They sit atop the NHL standings with a 13-3-0 record and are currently rolling on a five-game win streak.

About three weeks ago, New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle announced that his leukemia was in remission. Boyle was diagnosed with the disease back in 2017. On Tuesday, which was coincidentally Hockey Fights Cancer night in Pittsburgh, Boyle scored the first hat trick of his 705-game NHL career. Sometimes sports can be pure poetry. What a touching moment for Boyle and his family. Good luck to him the rest of the season.

Milestone Makers

San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton played in his 1500th career game on Thursday night during a 4-3 loss to the Dallas Stars.

Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise scored the 700th point of his career on Thursday night during a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.

Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Patrick Marleau picked up the 600th assist of his career on Friday night during a 6-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils.

Thanks for reading and see you next week!

The Jersday Blog November 8, 2019

Jersey Round-Up

Buddy Hield New Orleans Pelicans Alternate Adidas Jersey

Buddy Buckets baby. Is there a riskier lottery pick than the limitless range college assassin? For every Steph Curry there seems to be hundreds of busts like Jimmer Fredette, Doug McDermott and Nik Stauskas.

Buddy is still young enough that he could still figure it out and develop into a CJ McCollum type game breaker. It was probably a bit of a stretch for the Kings to make him the centre piece of the Boogie Cousins trade but the offensive upside still remains.

I’m not a huge fan of the Pelicans jerseys or colour scheme in general so for me to pick one up it would purely be because of the name on the back. The shortlist of Pelicans that move the needle for me: Anthony Davis, Demarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo, any Lance Stephenson jersey plays, Jimmer Freddette (a bust but a legend) and Buddy Hield. If you don’t think Buddy is worth your hard earned cash soak up some of these college highlights:

Oklahoma Buddy Hield was a tsunami of buckets.

Damian Lillard Portland Trail Blazers Away Adidas Jersey

I like the cut of Damian Lillard’s gib. He’s an all-star calibre point guard who is just on the outside looking in when it comes to the upper echelon of point guards. While some players would be content with that standing and the paycheque it comes with, Dame Dolla plays with a chip on his shoulder. Whether he’s spitting bars or hitting game winning jumpers, Lillard’s a fun guy to root for.

This is one of my favourite jerseys in my closet because of Portland’s unique and sleek design. Also Lillard is a good enough player that people want to rock his jersey and just fringy enough to impress some basketball fans. Plus I got this one super cheap from the NBA store when the league was shifting to the Nike brand so every old Adidas jersey was on clearance. Pro tip: keep an eye on the MLB or any team stores when the league shifts from Majestic to Under Armour in the winter of 2020.

Lebron James Cleveland Cavaliers Mid-2000s Away Adidas Jersey

The 2000’s Cavaliers jerseys are so bland and inoffensive it’s hard to really love them. The 2000’s in general were a time for pale colours, bland designs and mediocre logos. But wearing this era of Lebron jersey really shows that my boy Mikey G as a day one Lebron fan. Before Lebron gained 50 pounds, won his rings and moved to LA, he was a high-flying freak who carried the decrepit corpse of a Cavs roster to the 2007 NBA Finals. Championship Lebron had Wade, Bosh, Kyrie and Love. 2007 Lebron had Drew Gooden, Larry Hughes and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. 2007 Lebron was my favourite Lebron.

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Phil Kessel Toronto Maple Leafs Alternate Reebok Jersey

If you don’t love me at my:

Then you don’t deserve me at my:

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Phil Kessel is a Stanley Cup champion. Deal with it Steve Simmons.

Any Leafs fan with a jersey circa 2016 (the year of our saviour Auston Matthews) is a true ride or die fan.

Steve Yzerman 1984 Campbell Division All-Star Jersey

Ray continues to hit home runs with his jersey game. This Yzerman jersey brings some major heat. When Yzerman wore this jersey in 1984, he was the the third-youngest to play in an NHL All-Star Game at 18 years and 267 days old. Per Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com:

“He was the third-youngest to play in an NHL All-Star Game, after Fleming Mackell of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1947 (18 years, 166 days) and Larry Hillman of the Red Wings in 1955 (18 years, 259 days). But Yzerman was the youngest to play in an All-Star Game who wasn’t a member of a defending Stanley Cup champion, which was the old format.

Not until Jan. 30, 2011, when Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner played in the All-Star Game at age 18 years, 259 days, did someone younger do it.

He found himself in the locker room at the All-Star Game with Glenn Anderson, Paul Coffey, Grant Fuhr, Wayne Gretzky, Lanny McDonald, Mark Messier and Denis Savard, with whom he now is enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.”

Charlie Conway Mighty Ducks Jersey

The Charlie Conway jersey seen around the world:

View this post on Instagram

Collateral damage 💀💀💀

A post shared by Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) on

As someone with a front row seat to this scene, I can say with certainty that this video from the 2017 Brock St. Patties Day must be the hardest that someone has been hit by a door. Once you get past the linebacker trying to run through the door and the unsuspecting recipient of the door’s wrath, it is obvious that the star of this video is Adam AKA the laughing captain Charlie Conway.

The Weekly Jersey Dump

I had these Heat ranked as my number one in my quick hitting City Jersey Power Rankings last week. I’ll dedicate a whole blog to the jerseys once they’ve all been released.

The Cavaliers continue to be a punching bag. While I like that they didn’t play it safe with their City Jerseys… they maybe should’ve played it safe with their City Jerseys.

Pandering to the huge Chinese basketball market is never a bad idea. Money is money.

I’m not a big camo guy so these jerseys don’t  really do it for me. I’m sure the intersection of hype beasts and hoops fans will gobble these up.

 

 

Fortnite! Football! Sure!

These are actually pretty cool!

So are these!

These are not!

The Red Wings jersey is basic, the Bruins jersey has too much going on, the Leafs jerseys are rip-offs of the old Summit Series jerseys,

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the Rangers jerseys look like Tommy Hilfiger sweaters, the Black Hawks are just gross looking and Montreal…just sucks. Good for the NHL to try something new with their video game-exclusive jerseys, but the end result looks like they’re not even trying.

 

Speaking of not trying, what’s up with Tampa Bays new jerseys?

The Kings alternate is fine if not unspectacular. The St. Pats jerseys always seem to play with the hockey jersey crowd when the Leafs bring them back.

These are very sharp. My early impression is that I think that they’re my favourite Bruins Stadium Series/Winter Classic jerseys to date. Which is saying a lot because the Bruins always seem to hit these out of the park.

**Update because jersey news doesn’t rest**

The Toronto Raptors may as well just take my money right now.

These are kind of cool in the sense that you don’t see a lot of pure black with white accent colour schemes. The ones that immediately come to mind are the old Islanders third jersey and the current Brooklyn Nets look. Although these do kinda make Toews look like a bit of a jail bird.

Also shout out to my boy Mitch interning at the Brampton Beast. Meant to get this jersey in the blog earlier. These Remembrance Day jerseys are really nice.

Jersey Foul

 

 

 

These jerseys went viral last Sunday when the Packers and Patriots squared off in one of the most anticipated games of the weekend. In my mind nothing encapsulates the participation trophy generation more than these kids. Sports are about winning and being the best. Sports fandoms deal in absolutes and passion. It means participating in Lebron vs. Jordan debates and not hedging in saying “well I think they both have their merits and are certainly two of the best of all-time.”

Sports aren’t a democracy. It’s supposed to be entertainment. Have a take. Believe in something. Sports are irrational. There is no rationality in the Rodgers vs. Brady discussion. Brady has the rings. Rodgers has the arm. But if you sew together a custom combo jersey you’re an all-time cuckold. Pick a lane and stay in it. That’s true sports fandom.

If you want to show off a sweet jersey or want to put a buddy with a jersey-buying problem on blast, be sure to send your submissions to me over Twitter @twaind4

Nick Mullens had a perfect NFL debut

If you hadn’t heard of Nick Mullens before last Thursday, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard of him by now. The former Southern Miss Golden Eagle made his NFL debut for the San Fransisco 49ers on Thursday night against the Raiders, in a game where Mullens wasn’t given much of a chance. Mullens was signed as an undrafted free agent after the 2017 Draft, and had never attempted a pass in an NFL game heading into his first start. While Jimmy G is still the future of the 49ers, Mullens has definitely made a name for himself in his debut.

Read more

NHL Week In Review – Elias Pettersson, The Spunky Coyotes, And The NHL Global Series

Hello, beautiful Bench-Lifers. It has been a while. Yes, I Raymond Harrison have been a bit of a degenerate lately when it comes to producing content for this blog… BUT THAT CHANGES TODAY. I am motivated, I am keen, I am three coffees deep, and I am excited to bring you my new weekly feature where I go over the big storylines from the past week in the NHL.

This week has been a doozy with a ton of topics to address so without further ado, let’s do that hockey *insert Chance The Rapper gif here*.

Elias Pettersson And The Cardiac Canucks

I mean, sure, Elias Pettersson was one of the Calder Trophy favourites coming into the season, but my goodness, this guy is going straight for the MVP. Pettersson was downright dominant during Friday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. The 19-year-old set several Canucks franchise records during the wild win. He is the youngest Canucks player to ever tally five points in a game, the first Canucks rookie to ever have five points in a game, and the first Canucks player to ever make people forget that this team signed Jay Beagle and Antoine Roussel to multi-year deals this summer.

Pettersson has been a massive success story as he leads all NHL rookies in scoring despite missing six games due to injury. He has nine goals and six assists through nine games this season, and most of his points have come via a highlight-reel play. A further point that should be made is that he has formed a formidable duo with Brock Boeser on the top line. Boeser had a four-point game during the back-and-forth affair versus the Avalanche and the two connected on a goal that would have made the Sedin twins proud.

All of this has led to a surprising surge from the Canucks that has them sitting at second place in the Pacific Division with a 9-6-0 record. They have won three games in a row heading into a six-game road trip. The team was expected to finish at the bottom of the standings, and while it is still early in the season, there is a definite reason to be optimistic about the future of this team. Jim Benning’s faults aside, the Canucks have drafted quite well over the past half decade and are amassing an impressive collection of young talent. In the wise words of Dimitri Filipovic, you cannot spell elite without Elias Pete.

Desert Dogs Dashing Up The Standings

The Arizona Coyotes are actually good folks!!! No, pigs are not flying, hell has not frozen over, and Joe Thornton has not won a Stanley Cup (yet). The Coyotes are rolling on a five-game winning streak right now where they have outscored opponents 24-7. They have held a 3-0 first-period lead in each of the past three games. The team had one of the most offensively inept starts in NHL history to begin the season, but they have completely turned things around and sit with a 7-5-0 record.

While the offense has been producing, the defense has been even better. They are the stingiest team in the NHL as their 2.00 goals-against per game is the lowest mark in the league. They have the second-best penalty kill percentage in the NHL at 92.1% and they have scored a remarkable SEVEN shorthanded goals through their first 12 games of the season.

Perhaps the biggest reason for their success has been the play of goaltender Antti Raanta.  The Finnish netminder has won four of his last five starts, posting a 2.01 goals-against average and .942 save percentage in the process. Raanta was fantastic during the second half of last season once returning from an injury. Clearly, he has continued that success into 2018-19.

The 6-5-0 record the Coyotes posted in October was their best October record since the 2013-14 season. The win streak has allowed them to quickly gain ground in a shaky Pacific Division. The Ducks have lost seven of their last eight after a 5-1-1 start, the Kings just fired their head coach, and the Golden Knights are missing key contributors. Skeptics have wondered for years when the Coyotes would start to perform at a higher level. They have an offensive attack spearheaded by Clayton Keller and Alex Galchenyuk, a defensive core headlined by All-Star Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and a reliable goaltender with a career .922 save percentage. This is not a claim saying the Coyotes will steamroll opponents en route to a Stanley Cup, but they are actually going to be playing meaningful hockey in the second half of the season for the first time in a long time. Must be the power of the Kachina.

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The NHL Goes Global and Patrik Laine Goes Off

The Winnipeg Jets and Florida Panthers played a two-game set in Helsinki, Finland this week as part of the NHL Global Series. It was the seventh time in league history that the NHL has played regular-season games in Europe. Both games were sold out and international fans were treated to some exciting hockey.

In the first game, the Jets arose victorious on the back of Patrik Laine. The Finnish sniper had a hat trick in front of droves of roaring fans, pacing the Jets to a 4-2 win. Laine’s wicked release was on full display throughout the contest.

The Panthers responded in the second game with a 4-2 win of their own. Roberto Luongo returned from an MCL sprain and made 32 saves in his first game action since October 6. The Panthers had stumbled out of the gate without their starting netminder so his return will be a massive boost for their playoffs aspirations. The power-play also continued to dominate as the Panthers were three-for-five with the man advantage in the game. Evgenii Dadonov and Keith Yandle both had a goal and an assist in the victory while Patrik Laine scored again for the Jets. Mike Hoffman also extended his nine-game point streak with this filthy wrister.

Anytime the NHL goes overseas it is always an enjoyable experience. Seeing other countries celebrate hockey as much as us Canadians is a heartwarming spectacle. They plan to visit several new countries in future years which has me wondering when the Norwegian series pits Mats Zuccarello against Andreas Martinsen in a BATTLE OF THE AGES.

Fabulous Firsts

These players scored the first NHL goal of their careers this week: Rourke Chartier (SJS), Michael Rasmussen (DET), Alex Formenton (OTT), Jesperi Kotkaniemi (MTL), Vladislav Kamenev (COL), Sheldon Dries (COL), Nick Seeler (MIN), Mathieu Joseph (TBL).

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Quick Hits

The Buffalo Sabres (9-2 win over the Ottawa Senators, 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers) outscored the Buffalo Bills (41-9 loss to the Chicago Bears) this weekend.

The Sabres also have the new best line in the NHL. The top combination of Jeff Skinner, Jack Eichel, and Jason Pominville have more points than any other trio in the league since October 20.

Slava Voynov is thinking about an NHL comeback as he applied for reinstatement by the league this week. In case you forgot, Voynov was suspended indefinitely by the NHL after he pleaded no contest to a domestic violence incident in 2015. He reportedly choked and beat his wife with regularity, including a situation that required her to get eight stitches above her eye. I’ll keep things blunt. Fuck Slava Voynov and I pray the NHL’s moral compass is intact because he should never be able to play in the league again.

New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider made his first start of the 2018-19 season and subsequently lost 4-3 to the Detroit Red Wings. Schneider is currently riding a ridiculous 13-game winless streak when making a start in the regular season. He is 0-11-2 in that span and has allowed three or more goals in every single game. The futility is honestly kind of impressive.

The New York Islanders have produced a five-game winning streak out of nowhere. The team lost John Tavares in the offseason, but they look no worse for wear as they sit in first place in the Metropolitan Division. All five of the games were against fellow Metropolitan teams which make the streak even more important. Thomas Greiss has been remarkable with a 4-2-0 record, 1.85 goals-against average, and .944 save percentage this season. Josh Bailey has also quietly put together an eight-game point streak. The Islanders were expected to be basement-dwellers in the East, but the addition of Barry Trotz behind the bench has done wonders for the team.

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen has been magnificent in his return to the NHL. After a six-season hiatus, Koskinen has won his first three starts of 2018-19. He has produced a 2.02 goals-against average, .935 save percentage, and one shutout. Cam Talbot has been mediocre to start the campaign which should lead to more appearances for the Finnish netminder.

Milestone Makers

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury picked up the 50th shutout of his career on Saturday night during a 3-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal scored the 400th goal of his career on Saturday night during a 5-1 win over the St. Louis Blues.

Jason Pominville (BUF), Ron Hainsey (TOR), and Jason Spezza (DAL) all played in their 1000th career regular season game this week.

The Montreal Canadiens set an NHL record by scoring two goals in two seconds (!!) during a 6-4 win over the Washington Capitals. The second goal was an empty-netter, but impressive nonetheless.

See ya next week and god bless Dennis Cholowski!

The Jersday Blog November 1, 2018

This week’s round-up marks the official end of baseball with a call for MLB jerseys. I’m going to cool my jets on the whole critiquing of entire collections. It takes a lot out of you to be as critical as I am. Also late in the blog I do a very quick power ranking of the NBA city jerseys that have been released. Buckle in.

Jersey Round-Up

Mid-2000’s Blue Jays Home Jerseys

With last night being Halloween, this is a double whammy jersey post. Growing up Roy Halladay was by far my favourite athlete (again gone too soon) and I wanted nothing more than too grow up to be him. Now unfortunately I was very small with an awful arm so those dreams would’ve been better spent on a profession that I could achieve like an accountant or horse jockey. Either way, in backyard wiffle ball (against my brother who is 4 years younger than me) I may as well have been Roy Halladay. We’re talking slicing cutters, wipeout sliders and some sweet chin music to keep Phillip honest.

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Now I couldn’t find my Halladay jersey but my brother’s Wells is still lying around. While the Jays current look is the best uniform set that they’ve ever had, I kind of miss these grey and silver bad boys. The “angry bird” logo on the front evokes flashbacks of Orlando Hudson smiles and Miguel Batista blown saves. If I could get my hands on a “new” Halladay jersey in one of their old jerseys nothing would make me happier. Because, contrary to what the losers and haters may say, I can’t squeeze into a Youth Large.

David Ortiz Home Jersey

Daaaa Jankees lose.

It sounds like Cam is still a little shaken up over my breakdown of his collection but quite frankly he should just move on and get back in the gym to refine his jersey game.

While I’m pretty indifferent about the Red Sox, Big Papi and his big dingers warrant some jersey appreciation. As a retired Red Sock(x?) Big Papi certainly isn’t afraid to show his bias as a member of the media:

Who cares? Papi is the man.

Dennis Eckersley Oakland A’s Home Jersey

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Oh buddy. Here we go.

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Sweet stache, the 1992 AL Cy Young AND MVP, a 1987 World Series ring, a lifetime 3.50 ERA, 361 games started and 390 career saves. Eckersley was an absolute cowboy. After over a decade as one of the best starters in the game for the Indians, Red Sox and Cubs, Eckersley reinvented himself as one of the best closers of all-time when he was traded to the Oakland A’s in 1987.

As for the jersey itself, I’ve always thought that the A’s jereseys have a clean look. The green and yellow colour scheme is very utilized with only the Green Bay Packers coming to mind as another obvious team that rocks the look.

Another Oakland A’s great hitting the blog. There is nobody better at stealing bases. Ricky Henderson is to base stealing as Joey Chestnut is to hot dog eating. He’s the best and it isn’t even close. Henderson holds the major league records for career stolen bases, runs, unintentional walks and leadoff home runs.

Rickey is also regarded as one of the biggest characters in baseball history. Supposedly he used to practice his swing naked in front of the mirror before every game while yelling “Rickey’s the best!”.

Well, Rickey is the best.

This is a very cool jersey. I’ve actually seen this jersey pop up once or twice in a Brock Sport Management class or at a bar in downtown St. Catharines. As someone who sides with Jordan in the heated MJ v Lebron debates and as a huge fan of Space Jam this jersey speaks to me. I for one want to believe the conspiracy theory that MJ turned to a career in baseball because David Stern secretly suspended behind closed doors for excessive gambling debts.

The Weekly Jersey Dump

An Impromptu Power Ranking of the new NBA “City” Jerseys

1. Miami Heat

2. Minnesota Timberwolves

3. Denver Nuggets

4. Chicago Bulls

5. Brooklyn Nets

6. OKC Thunder

7. Philadelphia 76ers

8. Charlotte Hornets

9. Detroit Pistons

10. Milwaukee Bucks

11. Orlando Magic

If you want to show off a sweet jersey or want to put a buddy with a jersey-buying problem on blast, be sure to send your submissions to me over Twitter @twaind4

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