Claude Giroux admitted to doing one thing taboo. One thing unseemly in right this moment’s skilled hockey world. One thing that many really feel tears on the very bonds that maintain collectively the delicate chemistry of groups.
Claude Giroux has … performed Fortnite.
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“I started playing a little bit last year. The boys brought Xbox on the road, and I played a couple games,” the 30-year-old Philadelphia Flyers forward told ESPN this month.
Just a little bit. Just a taste.
That’s how it starts, right?
For the uninitiated, Fortnite is a video game released in 2017 whose “Battle Royale” version — in which 100 players or so try to survive attacks from one another and a quickly closing toxic storm while using different materials to build protective structures — has attracted over 125 million users worldwide on a variety of platforms, including mobile devices. It’s a game that bursts with personality: The outfits you chose for your avatar and the quirky dances you perform define you as much as your actions, such as where on the massive game map one parachutes into for battle.
For Giroux, it’s a junkyard filled with crushed automobiles that lies on the outskirts of the map.
“Straight to the junk. [I’m] sneaky,” he said. “I’m not good enough to be in the middle and jump where everybody is, so I have to think outside the box. So I get my guns and sneak up on people. I don’t dance. I’m straight business.”
For yours truly, it’s a small collection of houses in the desert area, which is filled with treasure chests that contain items of both destruction and defense, and plenty of materials (“mats”) from which I construct the titular “forts.” Sometimes at night.
In full disclosure, I play Fortnite daily and sometimes not even on the toilet. (I warned you it was a full disclosure.) Some games last three minutes. Others last 20 minutes. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I’m killed immediately, in which case I play again in order to feel more satisfied when I’m killed slightly later. The siren song of the game — ingenuity, exploration, whimsy and violence — is undeniable. I can see how it might be addictive. I just don’t understand why the hockey world has suddenly decided that this particular obsession is one that earns young players such demonization.
The hockey vs. Fortnite thing probably began when my former podcasting partner, Jeff Marek of Sportsnet, mentioned that “a recent first-round draft pick for a very, very prominent NHL team” might not make it to the NHL because of an addiction to the game. (He has not yet been identified.)
“He’ll play until all hours of the night and into the morning, and then he’ll have no energy the next day. Like, he’ll be a write-off. And it is that bad. He has … this compulsion for playing video games till all hours,” Marek said on “31 Thoughts.”
Earlier this year in the Ontario Hockey League, a team employee told Rick Westhead of TSN that “some gamers have been suggested to clean Fortnite references from social media accounts. Some NHL groups take into account the online game a significant distraction/obsession.”
Giroux stated he thought this was “fairly aggressive” however sees it occurring as a result of the sport is “fairly addicting.”
Lately, veteran defenseman Michael Del Zotto of the Vancouver Canucks added to the cautionary story by claiming that his workforce would possibly take into account guidelines banning Fortnite as a result of it limits the workforce’s bonding time.
With the brand new age we’re in, Fortnite/video video games turned a giant speaking level round some vets and youthful gamers. Chatted with Michael Del Zotto on the topic…I do know for a truth that is turning into a difficulty league vast. pic.twitter.com/jZpP7C7XTY
– Irfaan Gaffar (@sportsnetirf) September 18, 2018
What’s actually weird about this Fortnite panic is that video video games have had their place in life on the street for dozens of years.
The Pittsburgh Penguins used to play “SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs” on the street, beginning in 2006. It is one of many methods Sidney Crosby bonded carefully with Marc-Andre Fleury. “He wasn’t a card participant and he favored to play SOCOM; we began off enjoying SOCOM fairly younger,” Crosby stated in 2010.
Watching a video of these younger Penguins competing on SOCOM on a workforce flight is hilarious. “Stallsy in these bushes!” Crosby calls out, because the digicam catches former Penguin Jordan Staal hunched over his PSP till his avatar is killed within the sport. They’re laughing. They’re joking. They’re working collectively.
Which is what you do with these video games. In Fortnite. In Name of Responsibility, which Patrik Laine and Aleksander Barkov performed collectively remotely final season. And in Mario Kart, which the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights each used for stress aid and, sure, workforce bonding throughout their respective runs to the Stanley Cup Remaining final season.
“We’re additionally targeted and dialed in and maintaining it free. It permits you to have enjoyable with it and understand it is a sport and this is a chance that you simply solely get as soon as in a lifetime,” middle Jay Beagle informed The Washington Submit.
Del Zotto stated the Canucks play Mario Kart too. However, you recognize, simply on the workforce constitution.
Del Zotto did say that among the older guys do play Mario Kart on the aircraft but it surely ends there. Staff constructing, being collectively for dinners on the street is essential to serving to a workforce develop into nearer and if you’re shut as a bunch the probabilities of profitable are increased.
– Irfaan Gaffar (@sportsnetirf) September 18, 2018
Defending the virtues of video video games looks like a rerun. Within the 1980s, it was discovering a treatment for Pac-Man Fever. Within the 1990s, it was PlayStation and Xbox taking on faculty dorms. Within the 2000s, it was the lurid elements of Grand Theft Auto. And now, it is Fortnite that is being demonized when it ought to be praised … particularly for athletes.
Take the Richmond Worldwide Soccer Academy’s method. They’ve a bit of their web site titled, “How Taking part in Fortnite: Battle Royale Will Make You a Higher Soccer Participant.” Bullet factors embrace profiting from supplies, having a tactical plan and never getting complacent after discovering success. Moderately than framing it as a time-sucking workforce destroyer, it extolls its potential virtues.
Perhaps if the OHL processed Fortnite fanciers like this, it would not deal with younger gamers enjoying video video games with the toxicity of, oh, I do not know, spending each waking second at The Roxy.
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Being a young player means being young. Learning what’s important. Understanding when to dabble in distractions and when to focus on other aspects of life. Yes, there are times when teams and leagues can nudge them on this. But it also just comes from maturity.
“We’ve all played video games. I remember Call of Duty was big when I was back playing in [OHL] Windsor, ” Adam Henrique, 28, said in a Sportsnet radio interview. “But to see how much [Fortnite] has come in and taken over … guys talk about it, guys play it, guys do the dances here. You almost can’t get away from it. Teams should monitor those things,” Henrique said. “But as a player, you have to learn how [not] to get stuck on those things. Next thing you know, you’ll be up to 1 or 2 and you have a game the next day. It’s learning how to be a professional at the rink and away from the rink.”
But for NHL teams, it’s a different concern, and I think it comes back to a generational thing. Younger players are bonding through Fortnite. Older players prefer a game they played when they were young — Mario Kart was first released in 1992; Del Zotto was born in 1990 — on a plane, then attending team dinners and hitting the bars on the ground. They don’t get the Fortnite thing, and they don’t want to. They want the young guys to conform to their norms, forgetting that rebellion and video games are birthrights of the young.
So they call on their teams to create some rule or regulation that prevents young players from spending too much free time on a video game, instead of seeing what the heck is so enticing and fulfilling about Fortnite, like the captain of the Flyers did.
“There are too many buttons. I just have to focus on the right one,” Giroux said, vowing that despite the demonization, he’ll parachute into the junkyard again this season.
“I’ll play for sure this year, for sure. Some people for sure overdo it, but a game once in a while won’t hurt anybody.”
The most embarrassing moment of Pierre Dorion’s tenure as Ottawa Senators general manager isn’t the Erik Karlsson trade.
That’s up there, to be sure: a boondoggle that saw him cling to a losing hand too far into the poker game and then walk away from the table without a blue chip in his pocket. Dorion said recently on CBC Radio that he wasn’t positive that Karlsson would opt out of their rebuild until after July 1, when the franchise defenseman’s camp responded to the team’s discounted offer with radio silence.
This claim crumbles as if Thanos snapped it out of existence when one recalls that Dorion said he was considering trade options for Karlsson as early as January. Yes, the priority was to sign Karlsson, but the Senators clearly kept their options open, and Dorion only held on to him through August because the price wasn’t met.
No, the most embarrassing moment of Pierre Dorion’s tenure as Ottawa Senators general manager was the trade for Matt Duchene.
Consider for a moment what this upcoming Senators’ season would look like had Dorion not surrendered a first-round draft pick for Duchene. It could be a traditional tank in a post-Karlsson era, in the hopes of landing Jack Hughes or Dylan Cozens or Kaapo Kakko after adding Brady Tkachuk to a not-all-that-bad pool of prospects.
Instead, the Colorado Avalanche will have the chance to add a Jack Hughes or Dylan Cozens or Kaapo Kakko, for they own the Senators’ pick. And Duchene, given his previous feelings about participating in rebuilds, is likely gone from Ottawa via trade or free agency. It’s entirely possible that the Senators will have traded a lottery pick, a third-rounder, Kyle Turris, Shane Bowers and Andrew Hammond for fewer than two seasons of Duchene. Which also completely eclipses what Dorion received for Karlsson.
Coming one goal away from the Stanley Cup Final in 2017 was, in hindsight, the worst thing that could have happened to the Senators because it led to the Duchene trade, which might go down as the worst miscalculation since the Y2K bug.
So that was the most embarrassing moment of Pierre Dorion’s tenure as Ottawa Senators general manager — until this happened:
I can not stop laughing at Dorion trying to come up with a reason that he’s optimistic about the Sens LOLOLOLOL “…..we’re a team” pic.twitter.com/4XQNLeeuoY
– Kyle (@PATSandJAYS) September 18, 2018
On nationwide tv, when pitched a softball in regards to the factor he is most optimistic about relating to the Senators, he stared into the abyss for what appeared like an epoch. One imagines visions racing by his thoughts, like these of the Duchene commerce, and the Alex Burrows commerce (by which he despatched ahead Jonathan Dahlen, a greater prospect than he acquired for Karlsson, to the Vancouver Canucks for a 36-year-old fourth-liner, whom he would prolong after which purchase out) and the Craig Anderson contract and Eugene Melnyk having him choose up the verify for dinner (one assumes). After which, after that epoch, he spoke:
“We’re a workforce.”
However this is the factor: The nadir of his tenure as basic supervisor — a second when a query asking for any hook on which to hold hope was answered with what amounted to “properly, the NHL hasn’t revoked our franchise constitution but” — may need been the second when the winds shifted on the Senators for me.
He may need uttered an insane rallying cry:
Pierre Dorion reveals as much as his subsequent media availability in my new shirt & instantly turns into the preferred GM within the league. pic.twitter.com/ENsQjzPALT
– JD Bunkis (@JDBunkis) September 19, 2018
Look, it will not get any higher for Ottawa any time quickly. The Senators have a horrible proprietor. They’ve made some horrible strikes. The sector remains to be in bumblefrack (however parking is cheaper!). It is reached some extent the place the ache is so intense for the franchise that it is inflicting delusions. Dorion lately stated that not a single fan was “mad at me” for the Karlsson commerce on the workforce’s Fan Fest and that the Senators have “the most important pipeline of expertise amongst younger gamers that I’ve witnessed for the reason that workforce got here to Ottawa in 1992,” which simply cannot be true.
However for no matter purpose, this “we’re a workforce” second made me a little bit envious of Senators followers. The best feeling on this planet is recalling how plummeting to all-time low felt in an eventual second of glory. It may possibly’t realistically get any decrease than this for Ottawa, barring relocation. The ache will probably be palpable, however I’ve all the time stated that ache is the one true approach to admire the enjoyment, at any time when that arrives.
Dorion is right: You are a workforce. A foul one. However not without end.
Jersey Foul Of The Week
The 2018-19 preseason has arrived, which signifies that Jersey Fouls are filtering by arenas. Like in Vancouver, the place a gentleman had a Brock Boeser jersey:
Brockstar?! No Circulate?? pic.twitter.com/eV7gtONVB5
– Bik Nizzar (@Bik650) September 21, 2018
It reads “Brockstar.” And as Bik Nizzar notes, the gentleman sporting it doesn’t precisely have Brock’s follicle circulation. However possibly that is why he appears to be like as much as him. Who is aware of.
The 25% Physique Fats Answer
“Too many weddings.”
That was the evaluation from a workforce official as we stood within the locker room throughout coaching camp just a few years in the past. One in all this workforce’s returning gamers had come again a tad much less match than desired. “Everybody will get married in the summertime, so he had one thing like 5 weddings to attend,” the official stated. “5 open bars.”
Each preseason, some gamers present up in lower than optimum form. “It occurs,” Los Angeles Kings head coach John Stevens stated. “I believe it occurred much more previously. Guys would come to camp and attempt to skate their manner into form.”
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Today, teams use techniques like the DEXA scan to determine how much muscle and fat are inside the body. There are hard numbers and hard science that quantify how out of shape a player is during camp. Which is why Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin’s release for a “material breach” of his contract was the talk of some NHL locker rooms in the last week, especially after Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet put a number on it: From what he heard, Dotchin was “extraordinarily off form,” with a physique fats content material of 25 %.
“From the normal sense, over 20 % is extreme for a man that is anticipated to play the sport of hockey on the tempo it is performed,” Stevens stated, with out mentioning Dotchin by identify.
Dotchin is way from the primary participant to indicate up off form and be disciplined for it. Please recall Keith Tkachuk failing a bodily with the St. Louis Blues and getting suspended throughout coaching camp in 2005. He was 25 kilos chubby. “I wasn’t as ready as I ought to have been,” Tkachuk stated.
The NHLPA filed a grievance on Tkachuk’s behalf, and Dotchin has a 60-day window to do the identical. It will be a shock if he did not, contemplating the precedent: Moderately than contemplating a suspension, the Lightning stated he breached his contract. Which was, to say the least, handy for the Lightning. Dotchin was suspended final preseason for an “inner difficulty,” was a wholesome scratch at instances final season (together with the postseason) and was buried on a deep defensive depth chart this season. Whereas he carried solely an $812,500 common annual worth, he is a restricted free agent subsequent summer season.
The cautionary story right here is not simply “do not overdo through the summer season.” It is also, “in case your workforce’s seeking to be rid of your contract, do not give it an out.”
The 2019 NHL All-Star Sport brand managed to not have any Shark iconography for a sport in San Jose, which is a neat trick.
Don Fehr on the looming CBA negotiations: “I learn that the homeowners are mainly pleased with it. However, clearly, the gamers made important concessions final time and far greater concessions the time earlier than. And escrow has not gone away, opposite to what was thought and predicted on the time. There are some actually frayed nerves over the Olympics and another issues.” Oh boy.
Mark Hunter talks about returning to the OHL after failing to get the Toronto Maple Leafs’ GM place.
“U.S. playing monster lurks underneath NHL mattress” is a very spooky headline on a narrative about how American groups can have a income benefit that Canadian groups (re: Winnipeg) is not going to by playing sponsorships. The answer: “I recommend, at this level, within the pursuits of truthful play, Canada’s NHL groups ought to battle again by instantly promoting sponsorships to newly legalized marijuana corporations,” writes Paul Wiecek.
Arguing for NHL regular-season video games in China.
Everybody nonetheless desires to see the Vegas Golden Knights, who’ve the most popular ticket within the league once more.
Patrick Kane thinks Nick Schmaltz could be a high line participant within the NHL. And he higher be, because it seems he’ll be enjoying with Kane.
I am unsure why they’re losing time with a “identify the workforce” event for the NHL’s Seattle franchise if Sasquatch is not even within the bracket.
Hockey tl;dr (too lengthy; did not learn)
Katie Strang appears to be like on the discipline of Nutrigenomics and its potential impact on the NHL ($).
In case you missed this from your folks at ESPN
Take a look at Emily Kaplan’s superior work on the NHL’s obsession with coconut water. (And thanks for her extra reporting on the Fortnite part of this column.)