NHL Note­book: Will Sens’ Uber video see NHLers go back in their shell?

The Peterborough Examiner - - Sports - JOSHUA CLIP­PERTON

Toronto Maple Leafs cen­tre Aus­ton Matthews grac­ing the cover of a fash­ion mag­a­zine. Al­ways-inthe-lime­light Nashville Preda­tors de­fence­man P.K. Sub­ban con­tin­u­ing to be a so­cial me­dia force.

His­tor­i­cally a con­ser­va­tive sport­ing cul­ture, hockey has only very re­cently be­gun to see some of its stars share glimpses of their per­son­al­i­ties in pub­lic.

The photo shoots and In­sta­gram posts of­fer fans some­thing dif­fer­ent, while at the same time mar­ket­ing and grow­ing the sport.

But in the wake of the re­lease of a video that went vi­ral show­ing seven mem­bers of the Ot­tawa Se­na­tors crit­i­ciz­ing an as­sis­tant coach in an Uber, will some NHLers close ranks and slam the door shut when it comes to their own sto­ries?

Max Pa­cioretty thinks that, even though the play­ers in ques­tion didn’t know they were be­ing filmed, it’s a pos­si­bil­ity.

The Ve­gas Golden Knights winger also won­ders how real the re­cent shift to­ward NHLers open­ing up truly is.

“If you’re com­ing out of your shell and it’s on cam­era, I don’t know how gen­uine you’re able to be, you know?” he said.

“Just nat­u­rally you want to make your­self look good and that’s what we’re do­ing as a team when we do in­ter­views, we want to make our team look good, we want to be pro­fes­sional.

“So you can’t re­ally come out of your shell when there’s a cam­era on, that’s the hu­man na­ture of it, so I don’t know how it will af­fect oth­ers in the fu­ture. (But the

Uber video) def­i­nitely makes you think twice.”

Un­like NBA, NFL or MLB play­ers, NHLers have largely lived a but­toned-down ex­is­tence where be­ing an in­di­vid­ual or speak­ing one’s mind has usu­ally been frowned upon.

“I won­der what it is?” Pa­cioretty asked of hockey’s re­served cul­ture.

“No one can pin­point ex­actly what it is. We’re all sup­posed to be these per­fect peo­ple that have never made a mis­take, and every­body wants to see, ‘Hey, he made a mis­take, they’re just like the rest of us.’”

Speak­ing last week be­fore the Se­na­tors’ Uber video dealt that fran­chise its lat­est blow, Dal­las Stars cen­tre Tyler Seguin was asked about how the NHL has started to mar­ket its play­ers and their per­son­al­i­ties.

“Oh, they’re do­ing that fi­nally?” re­sponded Seguin, tongue firmly planted in cheek.

“We have a ways to go com­pared to other leagues and other sports, but guys are putting their foot for­ward, which is great,” he con­tin­ued.

“What P.K. does, I think is awe­some, what Matthews has been do­ing lately with all the fash­ion stuff has been great. I en­joy it. I’d like (Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers su­per­star) Con­nor McDavid to fall in love and marry some big-time celebrity. I think that would be great for our game, too.

“Guys are stepping out of their com­fort zones and show­ing more per­son­al­ity. I think that’s great for the game.”

Ve­gas goalie Marc-An­dre Fleury has al­lowed his per­son­al­ity to shine through since his days with the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins, of­ten pulling pranks on team­mates and seem­ingly al­ways play­ing the game with a smile on his face. He said open­ing up isn’t for ev­ery­one, but the 33-year-old added he hopes the trend con­tin­ues.

“You don’t want to force any­body to do what they don’t like,” Fleury said. “If guys are hav­ing fun and they’re show­ing that they’re hav­ing fun, it’s good.”

Coach­ing carousel starts spin­ning

There were no in-sea­son NHL coach­ing changes in 2017-18 for the first time since 1966-67, but it took just five weeks for the axe to fall in two mar­kets. The Los An­ge­les Kings were first up, fir­ing John Stevens on Sun­day be­fore the Chicago Black­hawks axed Joel Quen­neville, who led the fran­chise to three Stan­ley Cups, on Tues­day.

Any coach on a hot seat across the league, and there are a few, might be look­ing over their shoul­ders know­ing that Quen­neville — owner of the sec­ond-most wins in NHL his­tory be­hind Scotty Bow­man — is avail­able.

Laine off the mark

Pa­trik Laine put ques­tions about his early slump to rest with a ter­rific per­for­mance on home soil.

The Jets sniper com­bined for four goals, in­clud­ing a hat trick, for Win­nipeg in the club’s two NHL Global Se­ries games against the Florida Pan­thers in his na­tive Fin­land. Be­fore the trip over­seas, Laine had been held off the score­sheet in five straight con­tests and had just one point at even strength this sea­son.


Aus­ton Matthews in GQ Mag­a­zine.

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