Ice-Cold Takes Summer Tournament Round 1: NHL player vacations vs. golf

OAKVILLE, QC - JULY 26: NHL hockey player Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers plays hockey during the championship pro-am of the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Course on July 26, 2017 in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
OAKVILLE, QC - JULY 26: NHL hockey player Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers plays hockey during the championship pro-am of the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Course on July 26, 2017 in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

Ice-Cold Takes is a weekly humor column diving into what is trending around the NHL. We’re in Week 2 of the seven-week summer tournament and even though  this whole thing was made this up last week, we’re already all in.

Considering we’re on the long stretch of the usually-boring road that is NHL free agency, these past couple weeks have been very exciting. #TavaresWatch was quickly replaced with #KarlssonWatch, which was exciting until the Ottawa Senators screwed it up, like they do everything.

Erik Karlsson is still on the Senators roster without a team, but other players have found their forever homes this week. The Tampa Bay Lightning inked star forward Nikita Kucherov to an eight-year, $76-million contract on Tuesday, which unfortunately did not take them out of the Karlsson sweepstakes.

The Lightning are looking like they could be very, very good next season. The Montreal Canadiens, however, decided to go a different route when they told their second best player that he would not be getting an extension and they’d be shopping him around. More Bergevin magic in Montreal!

No one is happier to see this team crash and burn than yours truly. The storied Canadiens franchise is currently spiraling harder than you do when the shots come out at the bar and you’re about ten-years too old to be crushing Jagerbombs. These players are going to be heading into games thinking the same thing as you are: Work tomorrow is going to suck.

Back to the tournament. As we all witnessed in last week’s exciting match-up, the hockey dogs ended up victorious over a handful of bad free agent signings. In week two of the first round, two historic powerhouses meet in a battle for the ages. It’s offseason vacations vs. golf. Let’s get right into it.

Offseason vacations

What do students, teachers and hockey players have in common?

An easy life

. (Kidding, teachers!) Summers off. Most students end up working through the summer and teachers earn those days off. (Imagine looking after 25 kids all day, every day? Uhh, no thanks.) But hockey players fall into a perfect niche of earning a vacation and having the means to take one.

The most recent vacation making headlines has been that of Nashville Predators star defenseman P.K. Subban, who has been enjoying his time off with superstar downhill Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn.

Who wore it better? Sorry P.K. but we’re going to lean toward Lindsey on this one. Continuing this trend of half-naked men, what better way to spend your down time than slamming some morning chicken wings on the deck in your underwear? When New Jersey Devils d-man Eric Gryba isn’t doing yoga with goats, he does just that.

Yeah, Gryba squats! We can’t talk about summer vacations without touching on the Stanley Cup champions. Rounding out the line-up for trend one is your new keeper of the cup, full-time partier and part-time hockey player, Alex Ovechkin.

Ovechkin spent his last few days with the Stanley Cup on Russian soil. He posed with fans, enjoyed (most of) a World Cup game in which his home country lost in penalties and then ate the biggest bowl of caviar we’ve ever seen, directly from the Cup.

A strong showing from offseason vacations but the competition is fierce. While half of the league are yachting, parading and being mostly naked, the other half are golfing. Golf is life for a lot of these players and it’s going to be a tough out in this tournament.


There’s a running joke in hockey that when your team loses or sucks, they get to go golfing. It’s extremely overused by hockey media and not particularly funny to begin with. That being said, it’s dead true. Hockey players love to golf.

There is a current group of NHL and ex-NHL players touring Scotland and playing right now that includes Dan Cleary, Henrik Zetterberg, Ryan Whitney, Erik Karlsson, Valtteri Filppula, Mike Commodore, Jimmy Howard, Johan Franzen, Todd Bertuzzi and Nicklas Backstrom, among others. If you think these guys aren’t having a hell of a time, you’re wrong.

I can’t even begin to imagine the Erik Karlsson trade jokes being thrown around the clubhouse after this group finishes a round. While these fine gentlemen most likely keep it civil on the course, golf could benefit from a little more hockey flare.

adam sandler GIF
adam sandler GIF /

Golf has too much etiquette. It’s the ultimate drinking sport, marred by “rules” and “common courtesy,” but hockey people are out here trying to make it more fun. Here are a few examples of hockey folks bringing a new-school flavor to the offseason golf traditions. (While I can’t confirm 100 percent that these are hockey guys and girls, it’s a pretty safe bet.)

Top shelf! Golf makes a strong push this week. Oh, and you didn’t think we were getting out of this section without the official logo of the Ice-Cold Takes column, did you?

Next: Each NHL team’s most famous superfan

Winner: Golf!

It’s extremely difficult to put golf over anything Ovechkin has done while on vacation, including this clip of him dancing to “Rasputin” by Boney M on his wedding night last year, but we did. Golf is just so intertwined with hockey that it has to take the victory here. As hockey media, what would we do if we couldn’t make golf jokes?

Here is Alex Galchenyuk (surprisingly spelled exactly how it sounds), who spent a lot of time golfing over the last couple seasons with the Canadiens, solidifying the win for golf:

Next week we’re featuring a battle of two titans in an old vs. new entertainment showdown. It’s hockey movies vs. “Fortnite” in the “what do you do with all your spare time while waiting for hockey season” section of the bracket.

Keep your head up!