NHLers Looking To Inject Personality, Fun With Celebrations
NHLers in this season's opening week have shown off some personality during celebrations and it is "all great stuff and all welcomed," because hockey "needs this kind of stuff," according to Ken Campbell of THE HOCKEY NEWS. The "height of great theatre came Sunday night in Chicago" during the Maple Leafs' "wild 7-6 overtime win over the Blackhawks." With the score tied 5-5, Maple Leafs C Auston Matthews "got what he surely thought was the game-winning goal with 1:02 left in the game and celebrated by doing a bit of hot-dogging, putting his glove up to his ear." But just 33 seconds later, Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane "tied the score and did a bit of tit-for-tat hot-dogging of his own, raising his glove to his ear and chirping the Leafs bench on the way back to his own." Campbell: "It was absolutely wonderful." Meanwhile, a few hours prior to Maple Leafs-Blackhawks, the Hurricanes had "one of the most unique post-win celebrations you'll ever see, applauding the crowd, then skating from their own blueline to the other end of the ice and jumping into the boards." Fans have been "begging for years for players to show their true personalities and having the players do so can be nothing but good for the sport." Campbell: "Let's hope the hockey world doesn't beat this spontaneity and showmanship out ... the way it always does" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 10/9).
GET OUT OF YOUR SHELL: In Toronto, Kevin McGran writes the celebrations by Matthews and Kane were "something we don't see enough of in hockey." Players like Predators D P.K. Subban and Sharks LW Evander Kane have "stepped out of their lanes over the past few years, upsetting the conservatives within hockey." Panthers G Roberto Luongo has had "more success being self-effacing on Twitter." Wild RW J.T. Brown and Jets RW Blake Wheeler, both Americans, have "spoken out on political issues." But examples are "few and far between." If Matthews "starts showing more personality ... he could create a safe path for others to follow outside the lane." That the Matthews-Kane thing is "even a talking point speaks to how revolutionary it is" (TORONTO STAR, 10/10). Stars C Tyler Seguin called Matthews' initial celebration "great." He said, "Anything that's going to bring that kind of buzz to the sport is great" (TSN.ca, 10/9).
ROCK YOU LIKE THE HURRICANES: In Raleigh, Chip Alexander writes the Hurricanes' post-win celebration from Sunday is "still the talk of the all-too-staid NHL, which oft times seems stuck in a time warp." Hurricanes RW Justin Williams said that team management had "mentioned doing something a little different after wins at PNC Arena" this season. Williams: "Maybe the stick wave got a little stagnant, a little stale. We're trying to make things exciting here and fun." He added, "We're going to fine-tune things a little bit and make it a little more organized." But Alexander notes Williams "promised the Canes would continue" the celebrations. Williams: "It's fun, doesn't take too long and people seem to enjoy it. We're hoping people stick around at the end of some Canes wins and we can have some fun together" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 10/10). Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said of the celebrations, "The game should be fun. We want the players to enjoy winning and the fans to enjoy being here. Our owner [Tom Dundon] has been pushing that all the way. Why wouldn't you try something different?" Williams said, "We're trying to rebrand the Carolina Hurricanes into being relevant, I guess. This is one small thing. This is just a celebration after the game. But it means something to us because there hasn't been a lot of success here, and we're trying to show people that we won't stand for it" (ESPN.com, 10/8). The Hurricanes carried out their celebration again last night following their win over the Canucks (THE DAILY).