It sure seems like Gritty, a national hero to millions, is starting to lose it

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 26: Adam McQuaid #54 of the New York Rangers is held by Tom Kuhnhackl #14 of the New York Islanders during the third period at Madison Square Garden on September 26, 2018 in New York City. The Islanders defeated the Rangers 4-3 in overtime.(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 26: Adam McQuaid #54 of the New York Rangers is held by Tom Kuhnhackl #14 of the New York Islanders during the third period at Madison Square Garden on September 26, 2018 in New York City. The Islanders defeated the Rangers 4-3 in overtime.(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Ice-Cold Takes is a weekly NHL humor column for hockey fans who would rather read recycled Phil Kessel jokes and Gritty videos instead of hearing any more about the Toronto Maple Leafs.

We get it. The Leafs are playing well. Matthews is tied for the league lead in goals and points. Nylander doesn’t have a contract. Rinse. Repeat. Let’s talk about team’s that aren’t getting an unintentional NHL version of Hard Knocks.

We’re not even a month into the season and the L.A. Kings are having closed-door meetings. Usually, we wouldn’t start the column with news about the Kings, because no one outside of the Kings organization really cares, but some of these stats are really, really bad.

The Kings are on a four game skid in which they’ve been outscored 21-5. This includes a 7-2 loss to the New York Islanders. THE ISLANDERS! Those Kings teams that always seems to be an outside shot at a Cup run are long gone.

Speaking of dumpster fires, this play encapsulates what the Philadelphia Flyers have looked like so far this season (and also serves as a video metaphor of this column).

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1. Kessel Kid

This kid is clearly going places. Imagine having Crosby’s leadership, Malkin’s abilities and Kessel’s scoring prowess both on the ice and near hot dog stands? Oh boy

Phil Kessel is tearing up the league right now. He has four goals and four assists through the first six games of the season. Something, something hot dog joke.

(Wait. Are we the Toronto Maple Leafs media of Phil Kessel news? Uh oh. Quick, come up with something we haven’t covered in a while!)

2. Gritty 

I get it, Philly. You finally have something we enjoy. You’ve somehow turned your city, your fan base, your culture into a persona that has taken the league by storm. Gritty is Philly, and Philly is a sh*t show.

Jesus Christ, Gritty! Who is giving the O.K. for the team mascot to treat fans like bowling pins? Someone in the organization was at the pre-game meeting like: “Ehhh, what’s the worst that could happen, a couple of kids get concussed? It’ll make ’em tougher.”

Here he is again, off the chain, crushing everyone in his path. Honestly? I love it! I can’t get enough of Gritty taking full sprints into fans.

Sure, it may cross some lines but it’s Philly. These fans are safer in the inflatable bubbles and sumo costumes getting trucked by a giant orange monster than they are sitting next to any of the Philadelphia faithful in the crowd.

3. Paul Kariya and Jordin Tootoo

Two all-time NHL greats retired this week. Paul Kariya of the Anaheim Ducks and Jordin Tootoo, most notably of the Nashville Predators. These two guys are two of the best ever in their respective styles of play and should be celebrated by all hockey fans.

Kariya had 989 points in 989 games, which is both incredible and kind of neat. Tootoo, the NHL’s first Inuk and Nunavut-born player, played a slightly different role on the ice, amassing just over 1,000 penalty minutes in 723 games. He also had 161 points during that time and was a fan favorite everywhere he went.

Congratulations to both Kariya and Tootoo on spectacular hockey careers.

(Side note: I’m currently reading Jordin’s book called “All the Way” and it is incredible. Worth the read, or listen, if you’re one of those lazy audio book people.)

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1. Toronto Maple Leafs fans 

Let me preface this Twitter post by stating that we have no issues with Leafs fans in general. Leafs fans are incredible. Their team was consistently awful for 50 years and they were as obsessed, rowdy and hopeful every single season. They are the polar opposite of Montreal Canadiens fans, who burrow into their little rat dens whenever Carey Price gets injured and the team falls apart.

This, though. This is too far.

YOU CAN’T DO THIS. You can’t just pretend the greatest player of all time played for your team. Not to mention, you are actively cheering for a rival team in putting this name on your sweater. What is the thought process here?

Coincidentally, marijuana was just legalized in Canada. Listen, buddy. Leave the stadium, grab a hot dog from that red/yellow hot dog stand in front of Union Station, get an Uber and go home.

2. Marchand Licks 

Come on, guys. He doesn’t do this type of stuff anymore!

Now, Brad Marchand only does stuff like this, which is so ridiculous that I haven’t stopped watching it since Tuesday night.

3. Nazem Kadri 

It may seem like we’re harping on the Leafs a lot in a column that swore off excessive Leafs coverage. Perhaps we skip this last trend. Perhaps we don’t berate Nazem Kadri for scoring his first goal of the season on his own net.

Perhaps we don’t show you a clip of the goal and joke about how bad it is. Then we don’t make jokes about Kadri suddenly not fitting in because the team is actually good and he has to turn to antics to keep a spot in the line up.

We’ll avoid the fact that Kadri was the one who made that “bulletin board material” claim refuting comments from Lars Eller who doesn’t think the Leafs are on the same level as the recent Cup-winning Pittsburgh Penguins.

We’ll skip all of that, to avoid more Toronto talk.

Trending. The NHL's best early season performers. light

Betting with Bruin (1-3)

We’re only two weeks into the season but anyone looking to make some extra cash could just pretend this section of the column is called “Betting against Bruin” and go with the opposite of what I say.

Lock: Flyers vs. Bruins OVER 5.5 goals – The Bruins might hit the over on their own. The Flyers goaltending is abysmal at best so hammer this over and feel free to buy yourself something nice with the winnings before the game even starts.

Upset: Montreal (+110) to beat the Sabres – Buffalo is a decent team, but the disgusting, loser Habs have actually been playing well lately. I’m not betting on this game but I might have if I didn’t hate the Canadiens so much.

Keep your head up

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