Ice-Cold Takes (playoffs edition): Fortnite addiction, Vegas and Bryce Harper

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 21: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals warms before the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers up wearing a NHL Vegas Golden Knights t-shirt at Dodger Stadium on April 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 21: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals warms before the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers up wearing a NHL Vegas Golden Knights t-shirt at Dodger Stadium on April 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

Ice-Cold Takes is a weekly NHL humor column discussing the current trends around the league. Like the Vegas Golden Knights, Ice-Cold Takes has made it to the Stanley Cup in its inaugural season.

“Yeah, right,” is what hockey fans would have said if anyone in the hockey world would have predicted the Vegas Golden Knights to be in the Stanley Cup before this season started. No one said that because it would have been an outlandishly dumb thing to say — but alas, here we are!

The Knights clinched their Cup Final berth on Sunday, defeating the Winnipeg Jets in five games and earning their third straight extended rest of these playoffs. They did this all while the league’s best player, Marc-André Fleury, has been acting more casual than your rec-league goalie.

Anyone with a “Vegas winning is bad for hockey” take can kindly exit right here, because that is nonsense. Sports thrive on underdog stories and we’ll all remember your negative Nancy attitudes when this story is made into the next great sports movie.

To put into perspective how insane this story is: If you were to pitch both The Hangover and this Vegas Knights season to movie executives, 100 percent of them would think the plot of The Hangover was more believable.

Speaking of The Hangover, what is the over/under on Vegas locker room references to the movie over the length of this season? I’d put it somewhere around 99.5. Could you imagine William “Wild Bill” Karlsson giving the “one-man wolf pack” speech?

“How ’bout that playoff run? I guess that’s why they call it Sin City.”

Trending Up

1. Patrick Laine’s beard

More accurately, his face, which you will see on Friday when he finally gets rid of that horrendous(ly awesome) beard.

As the official column of Patrik Laine’s beard, you know we have to update you on the biggest Jets news this week, maybe of all time:

He looks upset about it, but he shouldn’t be. The Jets will be right back in the Stanley Cup mix next season. He can revive the billy goat look while he’s in the process of scoring 60 goals. Hopefully it fills in a little more by then.

2. Vegas, baby!

Vegas is all over this week’s column. One of the many things that people questioned about this Vegas team was its fan base. Many said that the Vegas fans would just be tourists in the city to catch a game between casino visits and shows. They were so wrong.

Hockey fandom in Vegas is next-level. More than 150 people stood in line at a Knights pregame to get ACTUAL Vegas Knights tattoos. When is the last time you saw this at a Predators or Penguins game? You think your fan base is cool? Talk to me when you have pregame tattoo booths.

The Knights have a plethora of celebrity fans, but perhaps the most die hard is Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper.

Harper has gone head over heels for hockey since his hometown got an NHL franchise. If the Washington Capitals win tonight (they won’t) and Harper is presented with a Sophie’s Choice situation between his Knights and the Capitals (yeah, right), you know Harper isn’t taking his current playing city. This guy is a true hockey fan and he bleeds Vegas gold!

The Vegas Knights have also done a number on the L.A. Kings this postseason, both physically (when they swept the Knights in the first round) and mentally, when they do things like this:

Wild. We love you, Vegas!

3. Fortnite!

The obsession with Fortnite continues into the offseason for some hockey players, including this one, who found a way to train for next season without slowing down his Fortnite progress.

What a genius! This made me want to buy a treadmill. Only for a second, before I remembered I have no reason to do cardio and I could just as easily play whilst sitting on my couch. But still, the initial excitement was there.

Fortnite continues to dominate NHL downtime. For most NHLers, this is not a problem. Play until your wife or kid gets a little upset with you, then tell them you’re just going to play

five more

one more match then take a break. But for some, it isn’t that easy….

Trending Down

1. The Fortnite Flu

The game itself isn’t trending down, but one young prospect’s career may be! CBS Sports reported last Friday that an unnamed first-round draft pick was “ruining his career” by playing too much Fortnite.

The article states that the unnamed player will play for “hours into the night” and be useless the next day. He’s throwing away his career, which begs the question: How good is he at Fortnite?

Seriously. If he is a top prospect, chances are he carries some name recognition. If he’s a decent person, funny and good enough at the game, he could just skip the whole NHL career and stream Fortnite games for a living. The top few pull in a ridiculous amount more cash than NHL hockey players do anyway.

Go all in on Fortnite, unnamed player. You can do it! We probably shouldn’t be encouraging this kid’s addiction, but remember when hockey players were addicted to things like cocaine and ladies of the night? Could be worse.

2. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays

The work week, am I right? What a drag. Thursday is cool, because it’s neighbors with Friday and the weekend, but those first three weekdays are a nightmare! This kid here sums up how we feel about the boring weekdays:

Did the other little guy really need that much of a wind-up on that slap shot? Rude. Go high, buddy, he’s leaving most of the net open!

This kid is all of us at some point through the week, though. He’s just done with everything and he doesn’t have a care to give. We can relate, little guy. You’ll get ’em tomorrow.

Also, he still made the save, so you can’t really be mad at him.

3. Connor Hellebuyck’s backup mask

In Game 5 of the Jets vs. Knights series, a James Neal blast broke one of the clasps on Connor Hellebuyck’s mask. He switched the mask out for his back-up mask and was scored on by Ryan Reaves 15 seconds later. No, that wasn’t a typo. Yes, that Ryan Reaves.

Here is the full summary of the mask that cost the Jets their season:

I’d be shocked if that mask isn’t smashed into a million little pieces right now. Goalies are

weird people

particular about things like this and there’s no doubt that Hellebuyck immediately regret his decision not to wait for the repair.

While Reaves’ game-winning goal was a

complete fluke

nice tip-in from a point shot that likely had nothing to do with bad juju, it’ll still go down in Jets lore as one of the deciding moments in this season.

Apologies to Ryan Reaves for making fun of his goal scoring abilities because I know he reads this.

Bonus Coverage

Once again, we’re going to stay out of the betting this week. Although if you were a smart bettor, you’d take every dime you had and put it on the boring Tampa Bay Lightning to put a beat-down on the Washington Capitals tonight.

I’ve never wanted to be more wrong in my life, mostly because my ears and eyes bleed every time I have to watch an NHL team skate onto the ice to an Imagine Dragons song, but it’s the Capitals. They are going to lose.

Please, PLEASE hockey Gods. Let this tweet come true and give Bryce Harper his Capitals vs. Knights Stanley Cup final.

Next: The gnarliest playoff beards in the history of every NHL team

Until next week, friends. Keep your head up.

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