Russian drama, Power to Women & D-men don't want to play anymore


This is Linechange, the weekly newsletter aiming to intelligently and respectfully inform 14,600 readers about topics that blend hockey, tech & culture.

Here's what's shaking these days:

  • The curious case of Russia at the World Cup

  • Bauer is stepping up hard for women in Hockey

  • (Almost) all NHL defensemen retired yesterday: what gives?

NHL wants Russians at World Cup, but tipsy-toeing on how they want them

So I don't think this is news to anyone: NHL executives aren't the most suave business-people this world has encountered. Well, at least they are staying true to their nature in the " Oh crap, what's our position regarding that Russia-Ukraine thing ?" department.

While the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has suspended Russia's national team, the NHL has publicly stated their wish to see "their Russian players" participate.

"We would certainly like to accommodate them in some credible way."

Bill Daly, NHL Deputy Commissioner

Is it fair to mix Russian individuals and Russia-the-country together? Maybe not completely. But then again, shouldn't the NHL stand by the IIHF in solidarity? There is no real financial upside to pushing the Russians from the NHL to play.

So why take that stance?

Not to mention, Ovechkin, the most influential Russian hockey icon of the century, already made waves in not not ( yeah, that's a fancy double negative there for dramatic effect ) supporting the Russian invasion.

Our 2-cents verdict: Seems clumsy.

Bauer gets vocal about Women in hockey

So this is one of those things that you should support, because it's common sense. Bauer Hockey recently announced a Girls Hockey Bill of Rights that focuses on equal access & opportunity for girls and women. It's not a secret, we all know that it ain't fair out there. More money is driven into boys hockey than girls, which creates a ripple effect.

As a father of two young girls, I strongly & vehemently ( oh boy, I hope I'm using that term correctly) support this kind of thing. As of today, over ( and only?!) 9350 people support it too. And so should you, so go sign it.

Yeah, that's right, I just told you what to do, what are you going to do about it? Ok ok don't unsubscribe, I'm sorry. But please read the Petition.

Then again, as a " yeah, I've heard that before" skeptic, I challenge Bauer to not use this as a cheap marketing and positioning play. It's easy to set up a petition and get all raw-raw about it when it helps sell your sticks to a new customer segment; it's less easy to consistently fund causes year in and year out to create tangible results.

So let's give them the runway to act on this, but we'll be keeping tabs.

Yandle, Subban, Chara: flood of early-ish retirements announced yesterday

Alright, I know what you're thinking, Chara is old as balls ( for those wondering, I asked my wife, and she confirmed that's not an X-rated thing to say). However, he has been consistently productive. Still. After 25 years.

Subban hasn't been, well, Subban-ish, in a while, but he'd clearly be a bonafide roster spot on most if not all teams. Terms and conditions apply, but you get the drift. He's 33, that's yooooung.

Yandle is the iron-man leader at 989 straight games played. 9 hundred-mother-trucking-89 games in a row. So he puts up with unimaginable pain & injuries to keep his streak, but decides to hang them up at the tender age of 36?

So what gives? I think we're seeing players overall get smarter about their health, get curious about not-hockey-related stuff & just flat-out understand when to tap out. That's good for players. That's good for the sport.

Players don't need to drag things out. They don't owe it to anyone.

On the news of his former star-player retiring, Michel Therrien got sassy on a local podcast basically stating that PK shouldn't have retired and how his priorities were not always at the right place.

Hey Mikey-boy, he doesn't need your permission ( anymore). Live & let live.

On that note, I truly hope that you've enjoyed this jolt of hockey-espresso in your mailbox.

If you want to share our newsletter with friends, you'll be entered into our monthly hockey jersey raffle. We've only gotten a handful of participants, so odds are pretty solid as of now.

Tom Sychterz, Founder

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