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: Knights Rally To Win During Shootout
Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen goes over the Golden Knights shootout win against the San Jose Sharks.
Golden Edge: Knights Win Third Preseason Game
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen go over the Knights 7-2 win over the L.A. Kings.
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Golden Edge: Vegas Fans Show their Love at Fan Fest
Bryan Salmond is on the red carpet at the downtown Las Vegas Events Center as the 2018-2019 Golden Knights show up for Fan Fest.
Golden Edge: Knights Back From Colorado
Golden Knights reporters Adam Hill and Ben Gotz talk about Knights preseason training camp and how Max Pacioretty is fitting in with the Knights.
Golden Edge: Mailbag — September 17, 2018
Ben Gotz answers questions submitted from Golden Knights fans.
Golden Edge: Knights Win First Preseason Game
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond, David Schoen, Ben Gotz and Adam hill recap the Golden Knights first preseason game win against the Arizona Coyotes.
Golden Edge: First Practice
Adam Hill and David Schoen discuss the first day of practice for the Golden Knights.
Golden Knights Presser Max Pacioretty
Max Pacioretty speaks about his first impressions coming to the Vegas Golden Knights.
Golden Edge: Mailbag
Ben Gotz answers questions submitted from Golden Knights' fans about recent roster changes.
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Rookies Faceoff Against The Sharks Good
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond breaks down the 5-4 loss the Golden Knights rookies had against the San Jose Sharks.
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects after a breakout season in Sweden. He slid to the fifth round in the 2017 draft after being projected to be selected much higher. “I wasn’t happy about being a fifth-rounder. But it was good for me, too, because I didn’t have so much pressure when I came here," Elvenes said. Elvenes posted five goals and 16 points in 28 games while playing in the top league in Sweden. The Knights signed Elvenes to a three-year, entry-level contract in June.
Golden Knights rookie camp - Day 2
The Golden Knights held their second day of rookie camp at City Arena in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Golden Edge: Deryk Engelland Rides With Kurt Busch
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond heads to city national arena and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to see Kurt Busch attempt to learn how to play hockey, and Deryk Engelland hop in a race car.
William Karlsson and the Golden Knights are headed to arbitration
Of all the salary arbitration cases in the NHL this summer, none is more compelling than the one involving William Karlsson and the Golden Knights. Karlsson is seeking $6.5 million annually in arbitration. The Knights countered with an offer of $3.5 million annually. Karlsson's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Saturday in Toronto. During the hearing, the player and team present evidence. The arbitrator then has 48 hours to render a decision, and the team decides on a one- or two-year contract. Karlsson’s agent and the Knights can continue to negotiate a new contract prior to the hearing.
William Karlsson and the Golden Knights are headed to arbitration
Of all the salary arbitration cases in the NHL this summer, none is more compelling than the one involving William Karlsson and the Golden Knights. Karlsson is seeking $6.5 million annually in arbitration. The Knights countered with an offer of $3.5 million annually. Karlsson's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Saturday in Toronto. During the hearing, the player and team present evidence. The arbitrator then has 48 hours to render a decision, and the team decides on a one- or two-year contract. Karlsson’s agent and the Knights can continue to negotiate a new contract prior to the hearing.
Golden Edge: Floor Hockey Clinic
Bryan Salmond travels to the Paradise Recreational Center for the Las Vegas Golden Knights floor hockey clinic with special guest Golden Knights defenseman and Mark Messier Leadership Award winner Deryk Engelland.
Golden Edge: Off Season Update
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and sports columnist Ed Graney go over the Knights free angency and signing Marc-Andre Fleury.
Fleury on his three-year extension: To stay in Vegas a long time was big
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said he's glad he'll be a part of the team for a long time. Fleury spoke about signing a three-year contract extension at a news conference at the City National Arena in Las Vegas on Friday.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Thursday, July 5
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Golden Edge: Free Agency Update
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Golden Knights beat writer David Schoen go over the latest free agency news from the Vegas Golden Knights.
Golden Edge: Knights Host Scrimmage
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Knights second day of scrimmage at City National Arena.
Golden Edge: Prospects Prepare For Scrimmage
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Knights getting ready to participate in a scrimmage for the next few days.
Golden Edge: Previous Prospects Fight For Spot
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over day two of the Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Edge: One-On-One With Reid Duke
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond interviews Golden Knights prospect Reid Duke.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Wednesday, June 27
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Development Camp
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Golden Knights development camp and how the prospects are looking to improve their game.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, June 26, 2018
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like