Days after Borje Salming was honored in Toronto during Hockey Hall of Fame weekend, the legendary Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman passed away. Tributes poured in from around the hockey world, and the Leafs created a Borje jersey patch in tribute. As classy as Salming was on the ice, he will be remembered as someone who continued to show up and persevere. The first Swedish superstar in the NHL, he was a trailblazer and an icon.
As I was watching the first of those commemorations -- the emotional night where Darryl Sittler held Salming's arm up so he could wave to the crowd -- I turned to Barry Melrose, Salming's former teammate, who was with me on In The Crease that night. I asked him about Salming. Melrose said that he was one of his favorite teammates ever. "He was fearless, no matter where he went or who he played ... even Philadelphia" (this was the Broad Street bullies era).
RIP Borje. Thank you for the memories.
Here are five things I'm looking forward to this week:
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More multi-goal comebacks!
Saturday was one for the record books: The Edmonton Oilers and St. Louis Blues were both trailing by three goals entering the third period (against the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers, respectively); both teams ended up tying their game and ultimately winning. That's only the sixth time in NHL history that kind of comeback has happened twice in one day.
It's no secret that comebacks are thrilling (unless it's against your team). The Vancouver Canucks have been on the bitter end of multiple multi-goal comebacks already this season ... that's no fun.
The two games on Saturday reignited that spark that flickers in us, the one that keep you inching towards the edge of your seat with every goal, ultimately jumping up to watch a replay after a tying or winning goal. It's that dose of happy chemicals, because that's what watching these games really gives us -- a goosebump-raising shot of adrenaline. I'll take that every day.
When will the Flyers win again?
After an encouraging start to the season, Philadelphia has now gone 10 games without a win, and seven of those games were lost by at least three goals.
This week doesn't get any easier for the Flyers, either: a five-game home stand begins with a tilt against the New York Islanders on ESPN+ on Tuesday, followed Thursday by the Tampa Bay Lightning (who have been to the Stanley Cup Final the last three years) and then a Saturday showdown against the New Jersey Devils (who are one of the best teams in the league).
Coach John Tortorella has stressed the importance of identity coming into this season, and a streak like this can test a team's identity and resolve. I'm interested to see what happens in the next few games; whether they can snag a win, or at least keep it close. That will be a pretty good glimpse into the character of the team.
A new Devils streak begins
A win on Monday against the Rangers would tie New Jersey's all time wins record in a calendar month. They are currently at 12, bolstered by their incredible win streak which was recently snapped at 13.
Following that sneak-snapping loss to the Maple Leafs, the Devs won their next two games back to back. New Jersey has allowed two goals or less in their last eight contests.
After the Rangers game, they host the Nashville Predators Thursday, and then head to Philly. It's entirely plausible that the Devils go 3-0 this week, starting them on a five-game win streak (and making it 17 wins in their last 18, by the way).
Just as everyone predicted this preseason, right?
More hockey jerseys (and gloves?) outside of hockey
This one is off the board, but every once in a while we see a hockey jersey out of the hockey bubble and it reminds you how gorgeous the sweaters really are.
This week, for instance, Benedict Mathurin of the Indiana Pacers rocked a Montreal Canadiens jersey:
This isn't a new phenomenon; there's literally a Twitter account called "rappers wearing hockey jerseys" with many examples. One of my personal favorites is Kriss Kross wearing Devils jerseys ... but forwards! Going against the gimmick! (If you remember Kriss Kross, good for you. Bonus points if you jumped.)
But whenever I see a hockey jersey worn out of context, I always ask why they aren't integrated more into regular fashion or used as statement pieces.
Seeing Canada and the USA at the World Cup
No, this has nothing to do with hockey. But the World Cup is the biggest sporting tournament in the world. If you need a hockey connection, let the drama and the emotion fuel you to get excited for the next World Cup of Hockey (2025 can't come soon enough!).
Canada is back at the tournament for the first time in 36 years -- 1986 is a LONG time ago. And they haven't looked out of place. Canada and Croatia suddenly have beef! Only at the World Cup.
Canada won't advance past the group stage, but it's been a strong showing and Alphonso Davies scored a beauty for Canada's first goal of the tourney. As for the U.S., they must win against Iran on Tuesday to move on to the knockout round.