Ice Cold Takes: Did you know that Kevin Hayes used to ref?


Ice Cold Takes is a weekly humor column focused on what is trending around the NHL. Think of it as a weekly NHL version of those Spotify lists.

Am I bitter that I have Apple Music? No. But if you’re reading this and you work for Apple (oxymoron), please add fun features to your app. Oh, and fix shuffle because it plays the same seven songs over and over. Okay, on to NHL news.

The NHL has a culture problem. There’s a lot going on around the league right now, especially in terms of coaches being a**holes. Whether it is Peters’ racism, Babcock’s mental abuse or Crawford’s alleged physical abuse; none of this belongs in sports, on any level.

In light of all this, I’m going to get ahead of the curve here and say that maybe Gritty should lay low for a few weeks. Fighting children, attacking media members and shooting people with t-shirt cannons is met with a heightened sensitivity these days.

Biggest loser: Thornton or Mrazek?

Surely by now, you’ve seen the clip of San Jose Sharks elder Joe Thronton dropping Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek. If not, you’ll be thankful for the format of this column.

Here’s why this is a bad look for both parties:

Joe: You can’t be punching goaltenders. Maybe it’s the dementia setting in but you should know better. You’re too old to fight and by doing this, you’ll have Five Guys in your face faster than you would if you called Uber Eats drunk on a Friday night. On the other hand…

Petr: You just got dropped by a geriatric. Thornton put you down faster than you could say “ok boomer” and that is a pretty rough look considering he’s one bad shift away from playing hockey with a walker. He’s going to get a penalty regardless. Despite what the announcer said, Petr did, in fact, embellish.

Spezza walks the line

Cool move, Jason Spezza!

The Leafs are still a dumpster fire. Despite a small push in their first game with Chief Keef at the helm, they’ve looked like the same middling team they were before. Plays like this are happening regularly, especially in their game against the Philadelphia Flyers, in which they were blown out 6-1.

Six to one. Is that bad? Yeah. Does it make it any better that five of the Flyers goals came in the third after the Leafs “folded” and “kind of just quit?” (Per Auston Matthews) God, no. That is not good at all. This is supposed to be the Stanley-Cup-winning Leafs team but they’re going to have a hell of a time just making the playoffs.

Matthews has two goals and two assists in his last nine games. That isn’t going to cut it. Maybe it’s time for a coaching change. Or, maybe if they built a team around a guy like Nate MacKinnon, who said after the Leafs game that he’s going to take less money again to stay with Colorado, they would be in a better position to win. Wow, how about a little salt in those wounds, eh Leafs fans?

Jason Spezza, though. Slick dance moves, bud!

Cale Makar

Unless Cale Makar gets hurt in a car (after which he’ll call William Mattar), he’s the runaway favorite for this year’s Calder Trophy. The Avs defenseman has a ridiculous 28 points in 28 games and even though I haven’t seen enough of him to judge him defensively, the NHL doesn’t care about that anyway. Stats win trophies, just ask Drew Doughty.

The problem with someone as good and enjoyable to watch as Makar is that he’s hard to cheer against. He is currently the Baby Yoda of the NHL, so to speak. Someone needs to ask him if he knows who Van Halen is. If not, we can all hate him for it… because that’s a normal thing to do to a kid…

Kevin Hayes used to ref

The best clip to come out of the NHL this past week was the wholesome chirping of Flyers forward Kevin Hayes, who, in case you didn’t know, used to ref.

When someone who is 6-foot-5 calls you a giraffe, you know you’re up there. Anyone can say mean things or complain about calls, but this is another level of chirping — can’t help but laugh if you are anyone involved here, referees included. For everyone’s sake, let’s mic this guy up more often.

Mat Barzal

Last but not least, here’s a video of Mat Barzal, who has better cardio than the Peleton bike lady in that ad everyone is mad about (the internet is stupid).

The Coyotes are quietly having a great season. light. Related Story

Keep your head up.