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Welcome to The Hockey Show. My name is Roy Bellamy. Over there to my left is David Dworke of The Hockey News. The Florida Panthers came off a completely and utterly dominating the Colorado Avalanche before going to the Pittsburgh Penguins, which they had a full goal second period. They saw Antoine Lindell have two goals in that game in another multi-point game for Matthew Kchuck. Now, Matthew Kchuck's calendar year has been something that really has just been amazing, especially considering the slow start they came off of when the season started, coming off of that injury, David.


Yeah, it's been crazy. The switch flipped with Matthew Kchuck, and he's been on fire since January first, really, with all these multi-point games. He's been converting on the power play, him and Sam Reinhardt. The combination has been great. And then to Chuck and Sam Bennett on that second line. Been carrying the Panthers a lot over the last month. It's been great to see and good for Chuckie.


Back in Colorado... Back versus Colorado, I'm sorry, because that was a home game. Serge Brovowski ended up with a shutout. He was phenomenal.


Yeah, Bob actually had a shutout streak between the Washington game, the Colorado game, and then the first half of the Penguins game. He had a shutout streak of over two full games, which is one of the longest streets he's had as a Panther. And I think that Bob, he's just picking up, man. He was great. We saw him in Toronto. He was great at the All-Star game, and he's just going to carry the Panthers to the playoffs. We'll see.


So how the Panthers are doing so far?


How are they doing so far overall? Overall. I'd say they're doing great. They're playing a style of hockey that has teams scared shitless to face them in the playoffs, and they're healthy right now. That's going to be the biggest key. If they can stay healthy, then really the sky's the limit.


And the trade deadline is a couple of weeks away. Do you hear anything that's going on right now?


I think with the trade deadline, right now, the Panthers are fortunate that they don't really need to make any moves. With Bill Zito, he often has got his finger on the pulse, and he's wondering what's going on in terms of around the lead. Would not surprise me to see him maybe try to make a depth move, add somebody to that bottom six. But I mean, the Panthers right now, as full strength and healthy as they are, they're lucky that they don't have any holes.


Okay, joining us in the penalty box today for the 10 Minute Misconduct. It's two times Stanley Cup champion, Aaron Ward. He won with Detroit and Carolina, and he's played with Rob Brandemouh with the Carolina Hurricanes. They won the Stanley Cup together. Now, Rob Brandemouh is coaching the Carolina Hurricanes. How is it like seeing your former captain now coaching that team to almost victory in that situation?


Unsurprising in terms of knowing what he's about, but also shocking in the capacity that if you played with him and you truly understand him, he's not a guy of many words. He wasn't a guy of many words. You knew that he knew the moment as a captain, when to speak and when to let the moment just resolve itself. So to think about a guy that's commanding relatively young group here in Carolina and directing them from behind the bench. He has it in him. He's bred for hockey. He's the perfect, almost symbol of what a hockey player is supposed to be about, actually a little bit too much. He ashamed the rest of us that didn't have rod-the-bud genetics. But yeah, he I mean, he's a guy that loves the game. And if you get the insight in from the videos that social media puts out for Carolina, you can understand why players want to play for him.


So, Aaron, another guy that you're quite familiar with that we cover a lot here in South Florida is Paul Maurice. I know played for him two separate stints in Carolina. Also, I just really quickly wanted to say, welcome to the show as I believe, Roy, this is our first Stanley Cup champion on the show. Yes, it is. So three Stanley Cup rings. Awesome to have you. Thank you for joining us as our first official Stanley Cup champion. But about Paul Maurice. Just what Roy asked you about Rod the Bot in terms of you've played for him, you know him for a long time. Now you see the success, not only that he's had on the grand scale because he's reaching all these milestones into NHL coaching, but also the success he's had with the Florida Panthers. Just what What have your thoughts been when you watch him going through all this?


Well, I have an even better perspective because I sat beside him on the panel at TSN in Canada when I had my five years in broadcasting. And I would tell you that being a player, there's that certain established relationship that it's tough to really get to know your coach. You see him on a competitive side where he goes to battle with you, how he prepares you, all those things. But to sit beside him and to pick his brain, right? So I had been sitting in TSN on the panel for about three years before Mo stepped out of his role in Toronto as head coach and came on with us. And it was probably the most I learned about hockey because he taught me before I actually dip my toe into analytics about how to think outside the box about hockey. And so what you see from the interviews when Mo actually provides you insight into what he's thinking, it's usually deep, right? He's one of those coaches that's engaging. He'll tell you what he's thinking, sometimes on a very raw level. But when you get to behind closed doors and teach you to think about the game differently, I don't know if that's evolved into his coaching style now.


But when I sat there in the mid-teens, 2014, I think it was right about the time he was there, I was enamored. I was drawn in. I wanted to ask him more questions. And here we are waiting for the camera to come on, and we just finished watching a period, and he's explaining something philosophical or from a coaching standpoint, why you have to go on and say these things to the team, and why what my perception of the game, even as a guy who just stepped off the ice and played from '93 to 2010, why my viewpoint may not be wrong, but it's not all-encompassing. There's more to the situation. So he's the guy that broadened my horizons that allowed me now to start looking at the game from a different perspective. So he is a coach. I love him. I had coaches I didn't exactly enjoy playing for. He I love playing for because sometimes Sometimes he matched your level of willing to compete in the moment. Sometimes he overmatched it. He got really emotionally invested in the game where you look over your shoulder as a coach, you're like, this guy is about to come on and fight on the ice for us.


So he He's such a perfect coach, and he's such a perfect fit for that group in Florida. Because if you look at the K'Chuck interview yesterday on TNT, when he was talking about the fact that they're often a team that takes a different perspective on how to play the game. They'll go beat you up for the first 10 minutes of the game, run you down, and then basically dominate you. And that's Mo. Mo is a gruff guy. He's from the same hometown I am in Windsor, Ontario, very blue collar, Chrysler car dealership, building cars. And we had Hiram Walker's there. But beyond that, there's not much in Winsor. To escape, you really have to know the game of hockey. And I think he's molded this team in Florida in his design and his personality. And I think it's a perfect fit right now.


So before we move on from Mo, just do you have one really great Paul Maurice story that you could share with us? Don't mean to put you on the spot, but hard not to ask.


I don't know if it's a great story. It was my first day for a Gatorade bath, and it wasn't for victory. Oh, no. We used to have these trolleys that between periods, one of our guys would set up and there'd be Gatorades sitting on the trolley, right? And they're all phone guys to take them off. Mo decided that the yelling wasn't much of a message message, it wasn't an appropriate message for this moment. He needed to have something more impactful. He gave that trolley a boot, and I was covered in every color of the rainbow Gatorade because the direction of I wasn't insulted like, Oh, my God, he kicked it at me. He was just kicking the trolley. It was all over. And I'm not a guy that's ever done this in my career because it takes me too long to get dressed. I had to undress because colors down white jersey. We used to wear white at home. No, yeah. The Carolina Huracan wouldn't hide the gatorade. My pants soaked, my undergear soaked. So I learned to be more aware during intermission and post-game speeches when Mo was animated.




Sorry, I lost my question. I'm going to pick up here. Okay, here we go. Three, two, one. Back in January second, the Blackhawks played the Devils, and Brandon Smith hit Connor Bedard, who subsequently He accidentally fractured his jaw. Now, that hit was clean. We discussed this on X, formerly known as Twitter, that it was as clean as clean can be. Now, you played in really two errors of hockey. I would say the line of demarcation is pre and post lockout. Yes. I've noticed that body checking has taken a significant dip. So injuries have been increasing because I feel like the players now, nowadays, don't know how to defend themselves. Do Do you agree with that?


So I'll say so the line of demarcation of the lockout. So there's something that's established that the game got faster in 2005. And in 2005, it's nowhere near as fast as 2023, 2024 this season. Back in my era when I started in '93, we didn't know about CTE. When you got hit and there was a brain injury, we called it getting your bell wrong. And more or less, there was no test for it. If you could still stand, you're going back out there. 2005, 2006, you take out the red line, more room to move in the neutral zone, no two-line passes. The game rapidly increases in velocity, both in how the game is played, but the type of player that can play the game now, and you leave behind some of those underskilled guys. And that's the term I'll use for it. In 1993 through 2005, I would admittedly tell you, and I was a physical guy And my job was to counter the power forward as a large defenseman. I was 6'2, average, probably about 225, 230 as a defenseman back then. Could skate, wasn't the fastest, but my job was to be physical.


And I will admit to you that Causing damage was part of the fun, I'll put it that way, of throwing a hit back in the air. You wanted to impact the guy. You wanted to blow him up. There was Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em, Hockey, and that was not just the video Don Cheri put out, but it was also mentality of a player back then. '05, '06 season comes. You can't do those things now because with the red line gone, players are moving much faster. It's harder to make that hit. And in doing so, you have to time your hits better. And I would tell you that the stupidity of picking heads went away. They started implementing rules about picking heads, so there was a little more awareness and respect for it. Nowadays, as we go talk to the Brandon Smith, the Bedard situation, The shock and all of that hit was because, A, it's our expected Calder trophy winner, breaking his jaw in a Chicago market that is very impassioned by their hockey and their sports. And to see him go down for that period of time is a marketing fail. But Brenda Smith is not guilty of anything but actually delivering a by the book clean hit.


In fact, he stood up and stood rather than leaned in. So that's what happens when the games played at this speed. The truth is the hits are thrown by guys who are in better condition, can move faster. So I'm not going to give you a physics lesson, but in grade 13, when I rarely paid attention, object moving this speed, meeting the object moving this speed, going faster and faster, the damage is greater. So that's why we're so even more hypersensitive to the impact on the head and the impact on the body and why you see people a little more touchy about how hits are delivered.


So in terms of throwback, trying to keep with the little segue there, I saw something happen that made me feel like a throwback coaching move the other day, Aaron. Patrick Wa, recently hired by the Islanders. I'm a big Patrick Wa fan. I love my goal tenders. He bag stated him. I think it was yesterday, on Wednesday. It was yesterday. Yeah. So you don't see that all the time. The Islanders, obviously, you could argue that it's been deserving, but I just, as somebody who you've seen the lead in a few different areas, what's your take on a coach bag skating his players these days?


That should not be a habit because the problem is you only have so many times to impart on your players that that was not good enough, where it becomes, if you keep using that, it loses its message, and it serves no purpose. So I think given the newness of Patrickois to this lineup, to this organization, to this group of players, now is the right time. He was not happy with the performance. It was below standards by his standards and everybody else's standards. So to do it, it's great. Plus, it's coming at a time with the outdoor game happening in New York. I think he wants the best out of his team and a good showing. To do that over and over, it's going to lose its validity. And I've been through... Speaking of Mo, we had a game in San Jose where I took a bad penalty. Jeff O'Neill basically screwed the pooch the entire game and everybody knew it. And nick Walleen, I can't remember what he did wrong, but he bag skated the entire team, sorry, in LA. We went to LA's practice facility after San Jose, and he bag skated the entire team.


And then he took the four guys that made personal decisions, as he puts it on, like undiscipline decisions on the ice, and skated them more. I skated for 30 straight minutes back and forth at that Health South Center. And guess what? I didn't take a dumb penalty the rest of the week.


Yeah, I don't blame you.




We're happy that Aaron Ward is joining us here, and we will have more of it, Aaron, right after this.


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Don Lebatard. Were you guys building out the A-Rod bathroom of your imaginations?


Is that what I heard you discussing during the break?


Towels with an A on them.


You know the thing you slide the toilet paper on?


That's a baseball bat. Hey. I like that. Stugatz. You think he actually calls it the Throne? Probably does. It's an actual An actual throat. An actual throat? There's got to be a full-length mirror in there somewhere.


I imagine somewhere in his house, he has a replica of David, but with his head on it.


This is the Dan Levatard show with the Stugatz.


There was a rivalry game between the Maple East and the Senator's Last week, Riddly Greg on an empty net goal had a slap shot, and quickly, Morgan Rauly responded by cross-checking him in the face. Now, obviously, the response was warranted, but That cross-check to the face earned him a five-game suspension. What do you think about that incident?


So I think it's been debated and still being debated. I saw yesterday that somebody said that TSN was still running the clip on SportsCenter four days after it I think the way it garnered so much attention is because of the fact for non-Ontarians, people who aren't from Ontario, they don't understand the rivalry of big city arrogance versus smaller market capital city, newer franchise. And so they quickly established, and it got really heated for a very long time, especially in the early 2000s between the Ottawa Center and the Toronto Maple Leaps. The fan bases hate each other, even though it should be More of a Toronto, Montreal, Canadians from the original '06 era. The modern day Toronto fan, I guess if you ask them who they hate most, it's Ottawa. And if you ask any of the other 31 teams around the National Hockey League, they all hate Toronto. The fact that Toronto is who they are currently, and Ottawa has been just absolutely struggling, this is not where they thought they were going to be at this stage of the season. For Toronto to come in a rivalry game, get beat, like candidly in front of basically their own fan base, because Toronto filled the Ottawa Senator's arena with their fan base to go in.


There was a point of emphasis by really, Greg, to put that empty net goal in with, I think it's probably four or five seconds left. It gets the pocket, goes down the ice, and it decides to launch a slap shot. The problem therein lies that there's this, and we talk about the code. The code for non-hockey fans is nothing that's written. It's basically a respected number of actions versus the interpretation of disrespectful actions in the game. How do you respect your opponent? How do you respect the game? So for one, a rookie in a rivalry game to go down the ice and do this, everybody was like panties in the bunch. Oh, my God, what was he doing? The truth is there's actually a history of this in the National Hockey League. So Kelly Johansson, back in, I think, the '90s, there's no such thing as HD. So if you look at the video, actually skated a stuck in the open net all the way down to the goal line, stops, waits for the opponent to catch up to him, gets within five feet, and pokes it in slow. That is the level of disrespect of your opponent in the game.


So absorb that. It happened in a Calgary-Anaheim game where Kessler did something in an open net where it was emphatically demonstrative in a way, it was disrespecting Calgary. There was a game in which San Jose, I think in 2004, has an open net, allows his team teammate to catch up with the other player, stops in the slot, lets them go by, shoots the fuck, and there's Donny Brook. So there's a history of this. So this, from an Ottawa perspective, they're just like, what's the big deal? It's essentially a middle finger to all the fan base of Toronto that came to Ottawa to watch the game like, Thanks for your dollars. It's a we just beat you moment on our home ice and saying this is the exclamation mark. For Toronto, you don't do that out of respect for your opponent, even though it's a rivalry game. And that's what got everybody up in arms. And as you mentioned, it was an immediate response by Morgan Reilly. And the problem And the reason for that was he didn't think out his response. The proper response from a code that doesn't exist, but the code, is to go and challenge the guy to fight.


And you either clode Lemuam and have him turtle in the moment, like Darren McCarthy did in '97, or in '98, you have clode Lemuam, you have to come back and respond to his actions by actually fighting. So you call out Wrigley Grigg in the moment by challenging a fight. By cross-checking him in the head, you've now shifted the message completely to what a level of stupidity and disregard for the health of a player. And that's why the debate goes on. And you know where Ottawa fans fall, you know where Toronto fans fall, and the overall NHL fan base just says, Hey, this is just simply not good for the game. We're the fourth of the major four sports, and we need to market this, and this is not a way to market your game.


Well, John Tutterela, the coach of the Flyers, had some words about this. We just found out about this right now, and you were able to listen to what he had to say. Why don't you give us the scope of what he said?


So it took him probably a good 20 seconds. A reporter asked him, What do you think about the game now and the younger players? And he kept searching for... And he was moving, moving, and he used some word or some analogy. And finally, he got to the point of like, okay, the younger players in this league are dumb. He said it all right. I was like, oh, there we have it. I mean, if a guy is going to be honest, it's going to be torts, and you got to respect that. And that's why the guys enjoy playing for him that respect the fact that being honest is being clear and transparent and allows you to formulate decisions as a player playing for him. When he starts to evaluate, that might not resonate that well across the league when you start calling the younger group dumb. But And I went on to elaborate and clarify. What he talked about is this is a younger demographic of players that haven't established the earned process of the National Hockey League. They're getting things too quick, too soon. And they're getting respect or commanding respect where they don't necessarily...


I think he actually used the word to describe it as they don't necessarily deserve it. And I'll give you an example. When I was coming into the league in '93, when I finally established myself regularly in '96, '97, the year we were on the cup, I sat in the corner furthest down the line of the defenseman, and I got TV cameras coming in. And you can see, here I am. I've never seen a microphone I didn't like. I'll talk. So it rubbed people the wrong way. Why? Well, first off, who the hell is Aaron Ward? He hasn't got even a year under his belt. And why are they going to him? Why is his opinion matter? And for the longest time I thought, I'm like, they're simply coming to ask me questions about hockey. But then I realized there's a hierarchy in the game of hockey. You have to earn it. And it doesn't matter about the respect of the fan base being given to you. To be a successful team, you have to have that hierarchy and respect established with your older crowd, your veterans. And the onus is on them to teach you.


And the bad part is how they teach you sometimes isn't always great. Getting the knees cut off your suit on a road trip and having to walk out of locker room looking like someone from ACDC. I mean, those are the things that happen. So I think what he's saying is, now we market younger players and we put them on a pedestal, But from an internal standpoint, from a procedural standpoint, from a code standpoint, there has to be veterans who lead younger guys, and they pass on both the messages, both spoken, unspoken, learned, and applied during the experience process. That's the best way I can put it.


Now, Aaron, before I let you know, we're short on time here, so I wanted to throw you some rapid fire contender or pretender teams. I got three Eastern Conference teams, three Western Conference teams, and three Cup contending teams, all right? Okay. I'll start with the East. Washington, Pittsburgh, and the Islanders. Contenders or pretenders.


Washington is only a contender for a record and not for the playoffs. They've already come out and said they're going to help Ovi get his thing done. Kit, hard to say this, too old at this point. I mean, they're saddled with contracts, underperforming veterans. You got Malkin now for another two more years, no move clause, 6.1 million, not really that impactful, nowhere near who he was. And you really took a swing for the fences with Carlson, and it's not happening for them. Islanders, I'm actually believing because I feel like this team with raw is establishing an identity that is going I'm going to get them to a place. But I'm really telling you the factor that will eliminate them is New Jersey Devils getting a goalie, and then the Islanders are out of this conversation.


All right. Out West, I've got Seattle, Arizona, who I was loving early on, and now I'm crying my eyes out for them, and Minnesota.


So Seattle, I know they're on the cusp of the wild card. I'm still not there. I think there's too much. I believe St. Louis has figured something out almost like their Stanley Cup run. They're ascending in a way that most teams are going to struggle against them. You said what was the next one?




Minnesota, I'm buying. I'm actually buying. They've got a leapfrog Calgary three. They got to leapfrog Calgary. They got to leapfrog Nashville. And I feel like LA is on a tantanic ascension to the bottom of the ocean. So I mean, there's that's... Manny is in a three-point battle in wild card with all those five teams. And I think Manny can get it done.


All right. So the CUP teams, potentially, the Rangers, the Knux, or the Allers, who have a better chance?


The Rangers, Knux, and...


The Allers.


The Connor McDavid's.


Okay. I feel like it's the Rangers. The problem with the East, though, is this. It's so competitive. It's cannibalism. They're eating their own. You get out of the East, you are absolutely beaten up. I feel like the West has their leaders. Van clearly playing well, Winnipeg is falling off. Vegas has got some injuries to contend with. I almost feel like the competition in the East, if New York gets out of that, they're in a good place, and they're a more complete team. I was thinking about this before coming on. What does New York need? Luxury pieces. That's a good place to be in. You can stand pat. Van went out and got Lynn home, and I think it was a smart play to get him in there from a chemistry standpoint and before anybody else challenged him for it. And then you see what happens immediately, Monahan goes to Winnipeg. So Edmondson, why I haven't addressed them? It's the Skinner factor, and it's always the same thing. So Yes, change of a coach, change of a style. And if you look at the analytics, McDavid changed as a player. He was not even anywhere near where he is in zone entry with possession and establishing scoring chances off the rush since the coaching change.


But when it gets to the hard times, do you trust Skinner or whoever they throw back there to backstop them? I don't. Even though he's performed better, I just don't.


Aaron Ward, we appreciate you coming on the show and giving us your expertise and insight. This is a very good interview. I appreciate you coming on.


All right. Thanks for having me.