NHL’s rotten eggs shine light on the league’s best

There were 18,014 in attendance Wednesday night at T-Mobile Arena, where the Golden Knights routed Pacific Division foe Calgary 7-3 to reclaim the NHL lead in points with 84.

And within such a crowd, among all those screaming and dancing and euphoric hockey fans, existed a percentage of folks with the same prejudicial thoughts that cost some their seats in Chicago this week.

You might not have heard them or known them Wednesday, but they were there.

Numbers bear it out. It’s just that way.

The league promotes February as Hockey for Everyone Month, a way to drive positive social change and encourage inclusive communities, a time for encouraging groups to embrace the game regardless of race or color or gender or sexual orientation or socioeconomic status.

It’s hockey’s way of stating all levels of the sport should develop such ideals.

How ironic, then, this happened Monday: The Blackhawks banned a few fans from team home games after their involvement in directing racist chants at Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly during a game Saturday.

Smith-Pelly was serving a five-minute major for fighting when, according to the Washington Post, a fan next to the box was chanting, “Basketball, basketball, basketball,” toward Smith-Pelly, who is black.

I’m not writing 800 words on race relations in this country, about whether or not public views on such things have improved markedly in recent years.

Political lines will be drawn. The message will seem commonplace. An issue we as a nation have never known what to do about will remain as debatable as ever.

It’s an argument with no visible end.

The incident in Chicago never gained much national traction beyond the 24-hour news cycle that followed it, as predictable as that is disappointing. Such tales have become far too easy to expect and, for many, accept.

But this is worth exploring for reasons to be explained: “There are always going to be a few bad eggs,” said Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt. “People that take things over the line. It’s unfortunate, but that’s where we are on all spectrums. There are always going to be people like that.”

He’s right, of course, and for this, we thank those bad eggs.

Without their ignorance, we couldn’t recount inspirational stories offered by NHL players of color.

The Knights have two in goalie Malcolm Subban and forward Pierre-Édouard Bellemare, both on injured reserve, and players in such standing normally don’t address media until back on the ice.

But the Chicago incident allows us to remind folks that it was Bellemare who represented Vegas as player ambassador for February and recently when the team hosted the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada. That before the game Wednesday, the team honored those from Opportunity Village, which works with men and women of all levels of disabilities.

It brings to mind the wonderful story of Subban and his family, of his pro hockey brothers P.K. and Jordan, of his father Karl and the book he wrote, “How We Did It: The Subban Plan for Success in Hockey, School and Life.”

It was in 2014 when P.K., then with Montreal and now an All-Star defenseman for Nashville, was the target of vicious racist taunts across social media from Boston fans.

But back then, like now, stories of inspiration and inclusion emerged from all the hate.

See. There are advantages to bad eggs. They help shine a light on all the good ones.

Schmidt played 200 games for the Capitals in a diverse, eclectic, cosmopolitan city. He was never a teammate of Smith-Pelly, but he found it more than a little incongruous that the taunt was aimed at a guy from such a place.

“It’s disappointing it has to happen to a guy in our league, but to one in a town I played, it’s tough,” Schmidt said. “Hockey aside, you never want to hear that about anyone. There are a lot of ways to chirp at a guy — at his skating, at how he plays, at just being a visiting player. Lots of ways to go, but not the way they did.

“I think it’s one reason the (NHL) has really tried growing hockey for everyone. We did so at local rinks in Washington and are doing in here now in Las Vegas. The more people we get interested in our game, the better.”

Nate Schmidt is a really good egg.

Vegas has a locker room full of them.

Let the few bad ones chirp from the stands.

They will always remind us of the other, better, incredibly inspirational ones on and off the ice.

Contact columnist Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Edge: Golden Knights are Shut Out in Columbus
The Las Vegas Golden Knights were shut out by the Blue Jackets and Max Pacioretty leaves the game early. David Schoen reports from Columbus, Ohio at Nationwide Arena.
Gallant on injuries
Gerard Gallant talks about injuries affecting the Golden Knights. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gallant says Subban was outstanding in loss
Gerard Gallant talks about Malcolm Subban's outstanding play in the Golden Knights' 1-0 loss to Columbus. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights Beat The Rangers 4-3 - Golden Edge
Vegas Golden Knights win against the New York Rangers 4-3 in overtime. Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen goes over the the teams win.
Gallant NY 4
Gallant NY 3
Gallant NY 2
Gallant NY 1
Golden Knights Fall to Devils 5-4 in OT
The Golden Knights surrendered a 3-0 lead as the New Jersey Devils comeback to win 5-4. David Schoen discusses the game.
Gallant NJ 3
Gallant NJ 2
Gallant NJ 1
Golden Knights center Paul Stastny on rejoining the lineup
Golden Knights center Paul Stastny on rejoining the lineup. David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Golden Knights center Paul Stastny discusses his injury
Golden Knights center Paul Stastny discusses his injury. David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Knights center Paul Stastny discusses his return to the ice
Knights center Paul Stastny discusses his return to the ice. David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Golden Knights Outshine Stars 4-2
The Golden Knights take down the Dallas Stars for their 8th win in their last 10 games. David Schoen discusses the victory.
Golden Knights prepare for road trip after 4-2 win over Stars
Vegas Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant and team players talk about carrying the momentum off their 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars into their 4-game road trip.
Golden Knights Suffer Heavy Loss To Kings - Golden Edge
Vegas Golden Knights lose to the Los Angeles Kings 5-1. Review-Journal sports writer Adam Hill goes over the Knights loss.
Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant On Loss To Kings
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks to media about the Knights 5-1 loss to the Kings.
Golden Knights on their 4-3 victory over the Blackhawks
Players from the Vegas Golden Knights reflect on their third period surge and what else led them to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Deryk Engelland at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas was a new experience for Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland on Wednesday night. He said he was looking forward to spending time with family and going for a skate, as well as lighting the Christmas tree for fans.
Golden Edge: Ryan Reaves will face no further penalty for hit
The Golden Knights' Ryan Reaves will not be suspended following a hit on the Washington Capitals' Tom Wilson on Tuesday night. David Schoen and Adam Hill report from team practice at City National Arena.
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Golden Knights Avenge Final Loss, Top Caps 5-3 - Golden Edge
The Golden Knights rally to defeat the Washington Capitals in a rematch of last year's Stanley Cup Final. David Schoen and Adam Hill discuss the win and Ryan Reaves big hit on Tom Wilson.
Golden Knights, Schmidt on their emotional win over the Capitals
The Vegas Golden Knights talk about their emotional victory and playing physical against their 2018 Stanley Cup opponent, the Washington Capitals.
Golden Knights head coach happy with team's effort in win over Capitals
Vegas Golden Knights' head coach Gerard Gallant says he was happy with the team's effort in their 5-3 win against the Washington Capitals, the 2018 Stanley Cup winners.
Golden Knights License Plate Sales
Twenty-Five year Las Vegas resident, Bernard Turner, loves the Golden Knights and couldn’t wait to get the team-inspired specialty license plate on his new vehicle. Over 11,000 of the plates have been ordered since becoming available in October, according to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Fall to Oilers 2-1
The Golden Knights come up short in Edmonton against the Oilers. David Schoen discusses the game.
Alex Tuch on Golden Knights' 2nd line
Alex Tuch talks about the chemistry between players on the Golden Knights' second line. (David Schone/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights Win Five Games Straight, Beat Canucks 4-3
Golden Knights win five games straight after beating the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen goes over the Knights win.
Gerard Gallant on Marc-Andre Fleury
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant talks about Marc-Andre Fleury af the Knights win in Vancouver. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Reaves faceoffs 3
Reaves faceoffs 2
Reaves faceoffs 1
Gallant pre Vancouver
Golden Edge: Knights Have Strong Game Against Chicago
Golden Knights get strong win over the Chicago Blackhawks with an 8-3 victory. Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen breaks down the knights fourth straight victory in a row.
Golden Edge Mailbag
Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer all your burning Vegas Golden Knights questions and comments
Golden Edge: Golden Knights defeat Sharks 6-0 for 2nd straight shutout
William Karlsson scored the fastest goal in franchise history, and the Knights finally looked like the team that advanced to last year’s Stanley Cup Final with a 6-0 shellacking of first-place San Jose. Adam Hill and Dave Schoen report from T-Mobile Arena.
William Carrier Talks About the Knight's Win
Golden Knight's forward William Carrier scored his fourth goal of the season to help the team beat San Jose 6-0.
Marc-Andre Fleury Speaks After Shutout
Golden Knight's goalie Marc-Andre Fleury puts up his second shutout in back to back games. The Knights defeated the Sharks 6-0.
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Shut out Calgary
Golden Knights shutout the Calgary Flames 2-0 after coming home from their three game road trip. Adam Hill and David Schoen recap the Knights victory over the Flames at T-Mobile Arena.
Gerard Gallant says team's play is improving after win over Flames
Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant discusses the team's play and credits Marc-Andre Fleury's performance in their 2-0 shutout win against the Calgary Flames.
Golden Knights talk about their 2-0 win over the Flames
Vegas Golden Knights Nate Schmidt, Colin Miller, Marc-Andre Fleury and Alex Tuch discuss the team's 2-0 win over the Calgary Flames.
James Neal Talks About Being Back In Vegas
Former Golden Knights forward James Neal talks to media about playing his former team in Las Vegas.
Golden Edge: Pacioretty and Knights Come Away with Two
Max Pacioretty scored his second goal of the night in overtime to defeat the Arizona Coyotes as the team takes two points. They got 3 of 4 points overall on this road trip putting them at 21 for the season. Adam Hill reports from Arizona.
Coach Gallant Talks with Media After Win
The Golden Knights defeated the Arizona Coyotes in overtime with a Max Pacioretty game-winner. Coach Gerard Gallant speaks on the teams performance.
Max Pacioretty Talks After Scoring Game Winner
Golden Knights left wing Max Pacioretty scores in overtime to defeat the Coyotes.
Golden Edge: Knights In Flames After Loss To Calgary
Golden Knights fall to 7-2 to the Calgary Flames. Review-Journal sports writer Adam Hill and columnist Ed Graney go over the Knights loss before heading to Arizona to play against the Coyotes.
Gallant on Toronto loss
Gallant on Pacioretty
Gallant on how season has gone
Pacioretty on possible return
Gallant and Marchessault on Perron
Coach Gerard Gallant and Golden Knights Jonathan Marchessault comment on former Knights player David Perron (Dave Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Coach Gerard Gallant on former Knights player David Perron
Coach Gerard Gallant on former Knights player David Perron (Dave Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marchessault on Perron
VGS themed games from AGS at G2E Global Gaming Expo
A Golden Knights-themed slot machine was on display Tuesday at the G2E Global Gaming Expo as AGS showed two products that came out of a 3-year contract with the Knights. A video roulette game featuring a Knights helmet and an enormous slot machine were on the floor along with Knights cheerleaders, the Drumbots and Chance, the Knights' mascot. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights talk after practice
Marc-Andre Fleury, Max Pacioretty and Cody Eakin in the locker room on Wed. October 3, 2018.
Vegas Golden Knights show support at blood drive
Members of the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team showed up for a community blood drive on the first anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting, Oct. 1, 2018. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like