Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pat Maroon has been known to chirp at opponents.
He can back up his taunts, as Blues fans know from his Stanley Cup run here, and he can also deliver snappy comebacks when foes come after him. And that’s just what he did to NESN play-by-play man Jack Edwards.
Edwards mused about the Big Rig’s considerable heft during Tuesday night’s telecast of the Lightning facing the Boston Bruins.
“He is listed at 238 pounds,” Edwards said. “That was Day 1 of training camp. I've got a feeling he's had a few more pizzas between then and now.”
Well, sure, the Big Rig needs his fuel. Everybody knows that. He doesn't get the same mileage as more compact players.
“Fasting,” Edwards continued. “Inadvertent fasting for Pat Maroon is like four hours without a meal. But hey, three [Stanley Cups] in a row! Who can argue with his formula?”
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Nobody can argue with that success. Like Edwards said, Maroon won three Cups in a row – one for his hometown Blues, at the expense of the Bruins, and two more with the Lightning.
That earned him a CarShield endorsement and a chance to star in commercials with Ryan O’Reilly and the incomparable Ric Flair.
Maroon caught wind of Edwards’ barb and responded via Twitter. He announced that he had made a $2,000 donation in Edwards' name to Tampa Bay Thrives -- a nonprofit agency assisting those dealing with mental health issues – “in support of those struggling with mental health, bullying and body image.”
The Big Rig invited Lightning fans donate and, or course, they did. So did Lightning captain Steven Stamkos.
“Well done Patty,” Stamkos tweeted. “Donating now!”
THE ICEMEN COMETH
Here is what folks have been writing about hockey:
Emily Kaplan, ESPN.com: “The Blues have had a dramatic start to the season. A franchise-record eight-game losing streak was followed by a seven-game winning streak. Along the way, the Blues demonstrated some bad habits, like allowing a one-goal deficit to quickly become two or three. They've also engineered incredible comebacks, like Saturday; down 4-1 entering the third period, St. Louis stunned Florida with an overtime win . . . With an average age of over 28, the Blues have the eighth-oldest roster in the NHL. And they'll face big decisions soon: The two highest-paid players (captain Ryan O’Reilly and winger Vladimi Tarasenko, with matching $7.5 million cap hits) both become unrestricted free agents this summer. But for now, Armstrong is exercising patience -- despite his team hovering around .500 in a competitive Central Division. With tenure comes perspective, and Armstrong knows how to weather a storm. In a wide-ranging conversation, the Blues GM explained why seismic moves this season are unlikely -- and a rebuild isn't in the team's plans anytime soon.”
Eric Francis, Sportsnet: “A polarizing figure in 30 other rinks around the league, the support for (Matthew) Tkachuk was unconditional in Calgary throughout his time as one of the most unique and entertaining players ever to roll through this franchise. A unicorn who has the ability to turn a game with a hit, a goal, a setup or his mouth, Tkachuk is now officially the opposition. Still, even the multitude of fans in the stands and on the concourse wearing his no. 19 jersey arrived at the rink Tuesday night unsure how he’d be received. Or even how they felt. While none of the crowd’s reactions were unanimous, the general response was equal parts respectful, appropriate and, in the end, whimsical. Many had a good laugh at the comical, half-hearted boos many felt compelled to deliver after being stunned in the summer by a breakup many fans didn’t see coming. These weren’t furious boos like the ones reserved for Drew Doughty’s every touch, which is perfect given it was Tkachuk’s targeting of Doughty that prompted such treatment. Nor were these the kind reserved for Adam Fox, who spurned the Flames after they drafted him. These one’s said, ‘um, sorry Matthew, but you know we’ve got to do this.’ After all, this was all his doing. The Flames would easily have paid the same $76 million over eight years to keep Tkachuk and make him their captain. He had other designs. Thus, there are consequences, which the fans voiced, in their own cheeky way. Deep down, with the temperature hovering around minus-20 in Calgary Tuesday, surely most fans understand why a player like Tkachuk would exercise his ability to play in a place like Florida.”
Adam Proteau, The Hockey News: “The art of goaltending at the NHL level is a tricky thing. One year, you can look like a world-beater. The next year, you’re whiffing on 50-foot shots and digging holes your offense can’t pull you out from. Netminding in hockey is like pitching in baseball. When you have it, the world’s your oyster, and when you don’t, you’re going to lose far more than you win. Compounding the highs and lows of goalies is the NHL’s salary cap. And this season, you can see why most of the league’s GMs are loath to hand out long-term contracts, even to those goalies who have excelled for lengthy stretches. The upside may well be that you have cost certainty in arguably your most crucial position, but the downside can hamstring your franchise for years and years. For example, look no further than the Florida Panthers and veteran goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. The 34-year-old has gotten off to a miserable start to the season, posing a 3.84 goals-against average and .878 save percentage in 12 appearances. In his past four losses, Bobrovsky has allowed 20 goals, including six in Tuesday’s loss to the Calgary Flames.”
Nick Cotsonika, NHL.com: “Consider this: Roberto Luongo was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Nov. 14. He won 489 games, fourth in NHL history. Fleury has won 527. He also has done some things Luongo didn't. He won the Stanley Cup, as a starter in 2008, a backup in 2016 and in both roles in 2017 with the Penguins, and the 2021 Vezina Trophy voted as the best goalie in the NHL with the Vegas Golden Knights. Does that make him feel good? Old? Both? ‘Time flies by so quick,’ Fleury said with a laugh. ‘I don't just sit there and look at stats and see where things are at. But now that you mention it, Roberto's a guy that I loved watching, so it's a little weird being in the same category stats-wise. It is definitely weird.’ Fleury needs 24 wins to catch Patrick Roy for second in NHL history. That would put him behind only Martin Brodeur's 691. He said he doesn't think about it daily, but he's aware of it. Roy and Brodeur were his idols growing up.”
Ryan Lambert, EP Rinkside: “Just two games into the season, in which the Rangers smashed the brains out of the Lightning and Wild, people were ready to declare the next step firmly ‘taken.’ After all, they'd brought back most of the team that went to the Eastern Conference Final and kinda-sorta made it a series against the then-reigning back-to-back champions. And many of the players they brought back were either elite talents or younger guys with strong draft pedigrees. What reason could you have had for concern, especially after they combined to outscore those two highly regarded opponents 10-4, with the expected goals and territorial advantage being strongly in their favor? Well, how about the fact that they were one of the most successful power-play teams in recent memory last season, or needed one of the best goaltending runs in the cap era, to have their 110-point season? It was oft-discussed last season: Can they overcome their frankly unimpressive underlyings to become a truly competitive team, or will they continue to be over-reliant on skill that was going to be tough to follow up? But then they played four backup goalies in the first two rounds of the playoffs and everyone, I guess, forgot about that stuff. Never mind replacing Ryan Strome with a store-brand version. Never mind the increased roles for players who might not have been ready on the blue line. Never mind waiting for Godot with your Alexis Lafreniere and Vitali Kratsov types. Even if everything went exactly, perfectly right with all the players they were hyper-reliant on last season, following up a 110-point season with a run into the third round of the playoffs would be difficult for a team most people would have put a hell of a lot more faith in.”
“Roope Hintz has shown that he's a No. 1 center in the League, and those guys are hard to find. They're one of the hardest positions to find. Once you have one, you don't want to get rid of him, and that's the case with Roope . . . He can go head-to-head against the best players in the League the way he skates, with his size, his strength (6-foot-3, 215 pounds). And then on the flip side, he can kill penalties, he's on the power play. He's one of the fastest players in the League, he's got the ability to score, he's got a great touch for a big man. He competes hard.”
— Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill, on giving Hintz an eight-year, $67.5 million contract.