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Welcome in to the MMA Hangout. That right there is a legend in our midst, DJ Mighty Mouse, Demetrius Johnson. Dj, first off, a pleasure to have you on, bro. You are a absolute legend, one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time. You told me you're cleaning the house right now. You're being a great dad. You're watching the stock results from NVIDIA, just trying to figure out where we're at right now. You gave me some life advice. You got to invest your money wisely. You're taking care of everything. How do you have time to do everything in your life?


Well, I have a great support team behind me. Without my wife, I wouldn't be where I'm at. Then I have three children. Obviously, schools take care of them right now. And for me, time is valuable. So I try to make sure I space out my day accordingly based on the day. So I woke up, I had breakfast, took breakfast with my dad. He just took off to Vegas, took the kids to school, went to the gym, worked out for two hours. Now I'm home cleaning the house for the wife. And we're watching the stock market to see what NVIDIA is going to do. Then we got this, then another interview after this. Then we get down to the office, start creating more content. They go pick the kids up. So you just got to manage your day. I try to fill my day to be very, very busy, and I've been doing it for a while now.


What's the most difficult part of your career? Is it Was it getting into the UFC? Was it leaving the UFC now into one? Obviously, you're the fly away champion for one Championship right now. Legend in the UFC. Obviously, 11 title defenses. You and Jon Jones, I think, are the only ones that have that number. So you've had so many transitions in your life, now transitioning to the back end of your career with one and what's looking at in the future. What's been the toughest part for you?


Honestly, just being busy and staying consistent. I've always worked my whole entire life ever since I was 15 and a half working Parkman Brothers, moving their golf course, and even up to when I thought for my first four title fight in the UFC, I was working full-time. So for me, always staying busy is built into my nature. And now, like you said, I'm on the back end of my career where I'm not competing as often as I was when I was in the primary career, like three to two times a year. Now I'm focused on just building content, building my brand as big as I can, and trying to be present with my kids, my wife, and present in building the content as well. And that's probably the hardest thing, is always trying to evolve as not just an athlete or businessman, but as a person.


What's been the funnest part of your career? When you look back and be like, damn, that was it.


Yeah, I'll play, honestly, probably creating content, hanging out with other athletes, and just travel with my wife. That was probably the best part. I'd travel with my teammates and the coaches. That was probably my favorite part of the career. I love every bit of it. And I'm still active. I would say that was right there, just the traveling, hanging out with other fighters. I don't forget me, Cody, no love. A couple of people from a MMA junkie and the UFC brass, as you can call them, we were out in Japan getting drunk. And it was pretty cool, man. That stuff would never happen if I never were competing in the sport.


Who's the member of the UFC brass that you can talk about that was drinking everybody under the table?


He wasn't drinking anybody under the table. It was Sean Shovey, though. He was out there with us hanging out, getting lit.


There must be so many great stories of, obviously, that time in the UFC that it was totally different to what it is now, right? You've seen mixed martial arts grow into such a almost mainstay worldwide sport. And obviously, Elia Tuporia just won the featherweight Championship, opening up an entire new demographic of fans in the European market, in the Spanish market, with Spain, obviously being on top with him. And I want to get to that fight in a second because I want to get your expertise on that. But isn't it crazy how when you got into the game, it was completely different than what it is now?


One thousand %. You just look at everything. Technology evolves over time. And when I mean by technology, the technology to be able to stream the fight and have high quality footage of live fights going on. And I think with Ili De Poria coming in into, not just him, but just anybody in mixed martial arts, depending on what organization you're in, you're going to get the best streaming service, as you can see. I mean, UFC is on ESPN. You have more championship that's on Amazon Prime, and these broadcasters do an amazing job to broadcast all the fights when they're going on live. So I think when Andy De Poria did what he did against Al Spokunowski and have all of Europe and Spain behind him watching, I mean, I saw In my video, it was on a screen of a huge Colosseum. So the technology has come so far, where if this was back in the early 1993, when mixed martial arts were starting to infancy stage, It wouldn't be the same.


Looking at that fight, obviously, it was a master class between Volk and between Ilia. What I was looking at, the people that I've been watching that know their shit, and obviously, I'm very interested to see what you have to say, knowing the most shit out of everybody that I would listen to is what they told me to watch their footwork. It was an elite footwork game, a game of chess between Ilia and Volk. Can you speak on some of the things when you watch fights, how you watch them differently being a fighter yourself? I know you have a ton of breakdowns on either your TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, on all those different things, and you break down your own fights. But when you look at elite level guys like that, how is it that you watch it?


First off, I watch it by the footwork and how they're going to cross the void, aka the distance, and how do they approach the fight. Obviously, with Alex Wokunowski taking on Ili Duporia, it was going to be a battle of Ily Duporia. Once he touches you, you typically go to sleep. And Alex Wokunowski has outstruck everybody. He's fought all the guys who are taller, Max Hollow, Yari Rodriguez, Brian Ortega. The list just goes on. So you had a guy like Ili Duporia who likes to wait his stuff across the void with a beautiful head movement. And when he gets to the right distance, he unloads a three to four punch combination, boxing style. And when he gets his opponents to his cage, that's when he's most successful. So when I sit back and I watch it, I'm looking at how is he going to cross the void? How is out to the rest, trying to keep him away from it? And he likes to use the moon-shaped arc. And that's how I look at it, and that's the stuff I try to bring to my YouTube channel for people who are out there who aren't keen on what they're looking at, instead of a lot of people watch it.


I was like, I just want to see who's going to get knocked out. I try to break it down to my mindset when I'm watching the bites, and a lot of the fans love to see it.


Who is the person right now across any promotion, right? Whether it be one, whether it be, obviously, PFL and Bellator together, UFC, who you watch and you go, That guy right there, or that girl right there, is Leagues above everybody else.


Oh, Leagues above everybody else? That's a hard way to say. Honestly, I haven't thought about that anybody yet. I think everybody has efficiencies, including myself, that we all can get better at doing. So like I said, I think the last person that I thought, where I was like, Oh, this person is good, was Ily Teporia when he bought Josh Imit. He did a lot of things good, correct. And now that he just beat Alex Fokunowski, I would say he's the only one. But even he has deficiencies. We just haven't seen it yet.


When you look at the spectrum of fighters, right? And you look at your own career, and you're like, oh, I see myself in that person, right? Looking at that younger generation and seeing who's next, who's the next Mighty Mouse, who's the next DJ who you're like, oh, that guy reminds me of me.


Oh, that's hard because I felt like in the beginning of my career, I was so... I think there's snippets of me in a lot of people because I felt like I have snippets of a lot of people when I was upcoming in my career, right? And And I think Sugar Shana Mallet, the way he's able to faint, the way he moves, forces people across the distance. Ily Dupori, how he stops his opponents. Isha Asana, how he's so dynamic and athletic. There's so many people out there. So for me, I'm just trying to take snippets of people who I wish I had earlier in my career, because we're not all... People are going to be better than me. I was able to put stuff together because of my structure, my size, my mentality. And I think a lot of these guys have snippets of me, which I have snippets of earlier fighters like Rampage Jackson. I love how he moved. My pressure style, Rani Couture. I mean, it just goes on, Mirko Koukop, how he would throw high kicks. So for me, it's like when I look at the younger generation, I always tell people, be better than me.


Don't be like me. And I don't see anybody who's like me, which is not a bad thing. Everybody has their own personality and their own style. Out of a fighting.


You're close to Sean. I've seen you do a lot of stuff with Sean on your YouTube channel. This fight with him in Cheeto, his only loss, avenging that, got the title, beat Aljo, when Aljo was on a tear. Obviously. How do you see Sean, his trajectory into superstardum in the sport?


Well, I already think he's a superstar. I don't think, regardless of how this fight plays out, he already lost to Chito once, and his star kept on growing, even though Chito beat him and finished him. So I think the biggest thing that Sean Amalia has been able to do is create a brand outside of mixed martial arts with his Sugar Line, his gaming, his YouTube, his podcast. So I think for him, him going out there, if he beats Chito Rivera, which is very possible. I think he's starting to keep on rising because he's going to continue to do other things that got his start even higher, which is building his brand.


Talk to me about what you're doing with OnlyFans. I know that, Obviously, you're doing content everywhere. I feel like YouTube, Twitter, across the board, you're doing content everywhere. What makes the stuff that you're doing with OnlyFans different than what people see on your regular channels that obviously you pump out a ton of content already?


Yeah, the content I put on OnlyFans is exclusive. So if you go through all of my Instagram, YouTube, and all that stuff, the one thing I do not post about is my diet, my recovery, and behind the scenes and my competition and training and archives. And when I got approached by OnlyFans, when me and my producer were searching for a platform to go to host our library of rich content, OnlyFans was the perfect place because it's for the true fans who want to see that side of things. You have YouTube, where YouTube is specific for certain niche, where it's breakdowns, the Mighty Cast, the podcast, a lot of other stuff. And then you have the Instagram, which is more family-like, and your lifestyle a little bit. You have the OnlyFans where it's truly for the Superfans, where it's like, Hey, I'm posting my diet. If I was to post the same content on YouTube, it wouldn't do it as good because people don't really care about my diet, but the Superfans do. And so we have a lot of content that we could post on there that is going to be good for the fans who truly want to see behind the scenes of stuff.


And that's a thing, too, where OnlyFans, you can do both. You can do long form content, and you also do short form content, where a lot of these places, you can't really do it. And if you do short form content, you ruin the algorithm on YouTube, essentially. So we thought that OnlyFans was the best place to build a house of this type of exclusive content.


And we're going to put all the links in the bios below on our YouTube channel, on the podcast and all that stuff. So we'll direct everybody. Go check out DJ Mighty Mouse's OnlyFans account. He's going to have a bunch of cool stuff on there. I might be out there, too. Seeing what you're eating, dude. So I We're going to replicate the same thing.


It's funny because I was literally just down in California at the Jackson podcast at the Jackson Studio. You have Rampage Jackson, Luke Rob Hold, you have Bear, you had a lot of the guys. And I took my shirt on. I was like, Dude, why do you still have abs right now. You're not in fight camp. I was like, well, I live my lifestyle as a clean, healthy lifestyle. And what I eat is very bland. It's straightforward. But for the super fan who cares about, hey, what does Mish Johnson eat? That's I'm going to show it. But if you posted a video on YouTube, say, hey, guys, this is what I eat. As you know how YouTube works. It's all about the algorithm. It's a niche platform, right? If I were to do that, nobody... We posted some amazing things on YouTube. It just doesn't do very well. And so that's when we're like, okay, let's find a platform where our fans, my fans, who are a fan of the brand of the Mighty Gaming, Mighty Mouse, Demetri Johnson, where the content can live and breathe. And that's where OnlyFans came to mind. And that's when we made that merge of bringing the content there, the exclusive content.


I love it, man. If you're a Mighty Mouse fan, go check out his OnlyFans, dude. Thank you so much. You are an absolute legend of the game. And it's such a pleasure and an honor to talk to somebody who has done all the things that you've done in the content game, just like me, and understanding how these things work. So thank you so much for hanging out, dude. Really appreciate it.


Hey, man. I appreciate you. God bless.


Later, man.


Don Levatard.


Stugatz, if you give him the choice, Stugatz, you can have the very same thing one of two ways.


You could get it honestly or you could steal it. He'll always choose stealing it. Stugatz. Well, it's the quicker path. I mean, it's just, you know.


This is the Don Levatard show with the Stugatz. Welcome to The Hockey Show. My name is Roy Bellamy. David Droke of the Hockey News is to my left. Later today, we have Mark Lazarus of the Athletic to talk about the most consequential night in recent NHL history. We also have Aaron Brown from the Hockey News to talk about the PWHL. But first, we're going to do a quick Panthers recap. The Panthers lost 1-0 to the Carolina Hurricanes last night. And what was a playoff atmosphere. It was back and forth. They played basically in a similar style house. At 16 seconds left in regulation, Sebastian Aho ended up scoring on a turnaround, Rister, that beat Bob.


It was a fun game, right? It was interesting because you heard Paul Maurice speaking after Florida's overtime win earlier this week. He was saying he wasn't particularly happy with how they played against Ottawa, but they got the two points. Then you come to this game against Carolina, they lose in regulation. The first regulation loss on the road in over two months. He's like, No, I'm happy with how he played. That's a good road game. It just shows that when the Panthers are playing their style, they're going to win more times than not. And that night, it was a combination of a great playoff atmosphere-type game and great goal-tending by Peter Kocetkov of the Carolina Hurkains.


And Serge Bermanski also played excellent. He made some great saves, but the posts got in the way of both teams in this one. It was a game of bounces in this.


Yeah, you're going to get that when you got two teams that are so good against facing each other, two top Eastern Conference teams, that they're both playing really well. We've talked a lot about how the Panthers have played excellent, excellent hockey over the last two months. Carolina is right behind them. They've only lost two or three more games than Florida has over that same span. So it was a great matchup. I hope we see it again in the playoffs. It'd be another great conference final if we get that far. But yeah, I mean, two good teams. They beat the crap out of each other.


And finally, the biggest news out of the game, obviously, is the injuries to Gustave Forzling and Matthew Kchuck. And I really don't know how this is going to affect the team, especially going towards the trade deadline. This is a big blow. We don't know how long they're going to be out. I guess we're at a wait and see approach here.


Potentially, it could be a big damage just because you got, obviously, K'Chuck. He's been on fire. He's been the NHL's best scorer over the last month, and he plays so many different crucial roles for the Panthers. Then you got Gus Forzling. He's a guy that plays penalty kill. He's a guy that eats up a lot of minutes on the top pair with Aaron Hopefully, neither of them, the inner juries, are that bad. We'll find out more tomorrow on Saturday when the Panthers have their morning skate before they face the Washington Capitals. But yeah, it's a very flex time right now for the Panthers, and hopefully for their sake, that neither player is a major injury.


Well, March 14th will be the next time the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers matchup that will be in Carolina last night ended up with some fireworks. That's how the game ended. That game should be a lot of fun. But let's switch over to the women's side of the sport. We got Erin Brown of the Hockey News. She's going to talk about the Professional Women's Hockey League. How did we get here?


That's probably too long of a story for this short amount of time. Long and short, there were two league. One league bought out the other league, and they started a league from scratch, and that is underway as of January first, and it's fantastic.


How has it gone so far? Awesome.


The quality of play is exactly what they have promised, the best players in the world. As far as the quality, the games are close. They're exciting, high skill level, just incredibly fun to watch. If you have not watched women's hockey or if the only women's hockey you've been exposed to has been through the Olympics, this is at that level. So lots of fun.


Who would you say would be the best representatives of the sport so far as far as who's more recognizable?


You're going to obviously go with your national team players, and a lot of those players are going to be with the league for at least three years because of the contracts that they've signed. If we're going off of quick names, Marie-Philip Pauline is just phenomenal, and it's actually nice to be able to watch her when she is not wearing a Team Canada jersey and not get upset when she scores goals with 16 seconds left. That's one thing. Kendall Coyne-Shofeld, Hilary Knight, Alex Carpenter, Natalie Spooner, Sarah Nurse, Erin Ambrose. Trying to think of some of the other ones. They're just a ton of national team players. Pretty much every Canadian Canadian and US national team player is in this league. If you're looking for some players that are coming from outside the country, Elina Mueller from Switzerland, Chloé Aurore from France. You've also got, oh, jeez, off the top of my head, a number of Czech players, Katerina Morozova, Teres Van der Sova. Lots of incredible talent to watch.


That's awesome. Sarah Nuss.


Yeah, that's my girl. Before I dive into the of the season because there have been some cool ones. I did just want to touch on some of the rule differences that the PWhL has. Because my favorite thing, we talked about it with a few guys at All-Star, was the jailbreak penalty rule, which I think is so cool. I would love to see something like this maybe get tried out in the AHL or the Panthers, or they tried it maybe in an All-Star game or something. I think that's really cool. They also have a different point system. So can you walk us through some of the rule differences?


Yeah. So we'll start with the jailbreak goal. So it wasn't called the jailbreak goal initially.


We were calling it the jailbreak goal.


I mean, they were, but it was one of those things that just took off where they said, Yeah, let's call this. The gist is basically, if a goal is scored during a power play, whether it's obviously power play goal, the player comes back on the ice. But the twist here is that if the team that is shorthanded scores on this penalty kill, it frees the player. There have been a couple of them. I think at the quarter point, I think I counted there were about three of them. What was interesting is that two of those really changed the course of the game, where the team that was trailing or tied, they They scored that jailbreak goal and ended up winning. It's interesting right now, I think, because one, you're getting that mentality change where you're not playing a super conservative penalty kill. I noticed, for instance, Ottawa was playing a very, very aggressive penalty kill where you had almost three players much closer to the points because obviously, if they pick off a pass, get on a shorthanded breakaway, and that changes the complexion of the game. You can start to see where just this rule change is starting to shift some strategy.


That's the first thing. Then, like I said, it's also, I think, a mental aspect for the players to be thinking about, Hey, it's not just that we're going to have a power play, but we also have to play good defensively. A whole different strategy. Exactly. It does make that... I don't want to call it a free-for-all, because it's not a total free-for-all during these power play/penalty kills for whichever team, but it's definitely making players think differently, play more aggressively, and it is very exciting to watch.


You have six teams in this league so far. Is there going to be any expansion in the nearby future?


I think right now, they are just trying to get this league settled. Right now, six teams, yes, they are going to have two appearances, one in Pittsburgh, one in Detroit. I think they're, I don't want to say testing markets, but we know Pittsburgh is a good market. We know Detroit probably is a good market, considering Michigan's got great hockey as well, but the women's hockey, there's no NCAA women's team in Michigan. I think that it's the first step. Eventually, I imagine there will be. There has to be. I think DC would be on that. They've shown incredible support. I think right now it was finding those markets that they knew they would get good responses out of. Other markets just setting a foundation like New York. I think they've said New York was going to be the market that they were going to have to work the hardest in. But all the same, it's a major media market, major sports market.


And these six teams are only named off for their location. Are they going to have nicknames?


Eventually, yeah. You know what? Right now, the honeymoon is awesome. The hockey is fantastic. The players are playing at a that is just pure joy. You can tell they are enjoying just coming to the rink and this being their number one job, their number one focus. So right now, honestly, I get it. I get the importance of branding. I get making that identity. But right now, enjoy this. You're not going to see this forever. So this first few, let's say, half of the season, maybe full season even. It's going to be something special. I don't think we'll see moving forward just because it's so new and unique and just fresh. And you see it in the way that the players are playing.


So there's a few story lines that are going on this season that have been cool to talk about. I don't have time to We went into them all. Kendall Coyne and Natalie Spooner coming back after having kids was really cool. But I did want to ask you about the goaltending just because some of the goaltending numbers in this league are pretty ridiculous. They caught my eye when I was going through them. Why are the goalies so good? I guess, why are they doing so well? Because we knew that they were good.


You know You know what? I think that one of the things is that it really is that there's a strong concentration of elite talent. This is something I've been wondering about what's going to happen when you have some of these goaltenders from college or from overseas, try to crack the lineups. There just aren't enough teams, and every team carries about three goal tenders. The third is usually the backup in case one of the first two gets injured.


I'm familiar with the third goalie role.


Yeah, okay. But yeah, it's just I think it's just a huge concentration of just the elite of the elite talent. So that's pretty much not all of the teams, but pretty much everyone, I think, has someone who starts for a national team. That right there is a key factor. But yeah, I think there are five players, five goalies, I should say, who have goals against under two. That's really impressive.


Aaron, I'm going to ask you to stand up and do a little troll and explain the jersey.


Okay, so.


Look at that.


Wow. She's wearing a... Is it a Tony Grunado jersey or a Cami Grunado jersey? No. What's the women's hockey segment? I'm just making sure.


It's a We're an American hockey family. I'll give you that. But what are we doing here?


Yeah, what's women's hockey. It is a 1998 Olympic jersey, Cami Grunado. Yes, I've had this since...


The first women's Olympics.


The first women's Olympics, yes. Cami Grunado is the first woman to have a gold medal draped around her neck in Olympic Games for women's hockey.


Yeah, that was amazing. Amazing tournament. That was cool.


We were just kids when that happened, too. We were teenagers. Yeah.


I was skipping my AP chemistry class to watch that game. Worked out okay. I'm not doing chemistry these days.


No, you're busy teaching now. The path has worked well for you.




Where can we watch the professional women's hockey league?


So if If you are in Canada, I think every single network broadcasts games. I'm not going to get into Canada. You'll find it easily. If you're in a market with a team, so between New York, Boston, and Minnesota, it's going to be your regional network, so NESA and MSG. Then I think Bally's North carries it. But otherwise, if you are out of market, you can see all the games on YouTube, and the production quality is fantastic. It's not overloaded with ads or board ads. It's just Just very high quality. I get sad when there's not a game at night. So yeah, YouTube is probably going to be the place to go for most people. Just look up the PWhL account and you will find the live streams every day.


Erin Brown of the Hockey News. Thank you for brave in traffic to get down here and talk about women's hockey.


For women's hockey, I will brave traffic anytime.


Don Levatard.


If I'm at the house with them and they're all rooting, I could just be like, Yeah, ra, ra, ra.


Go, Yankees.


Stugatz. Do you know how unsettling it would be if I attended a live sporting event and someone behind me was just going, ra, ra, ra, browns, ra, heat, ra, ra, ra.


This is the Dan Levatard show with the Stugatz. April 11th, 2023, was one of the most consequential nights in NHL history because it changed the course of three franchises. It was the night that the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2. It knocked the Penguins out of playoff contingent and sent the Florida Panthers barely into the playoff. We have Mark Lazars of the Athletic. He covers the Blackhawks. He wrote about this story, and it was really an interesting story. A good perspective from all three sides. Mark, tell us about the story.


Well, I actually wanted to write this story for opening day because the Blackhawks opened the season in Pittsburgh, and I wanted to talk about it then. But it's hard to get people to talk about a game that happened months earlier and that most people were not happy about the outcome. So it took me a little bit of time, but it's really just a fascinating thing. I know people have talked about it before, but if the Blackhawks don't win that game, a game they had no business winning, the Penguins were playing with their playoff lives in the line. They had everything to play for. The Blackhawks were this patchwork group of AHL guys after they got decimated at the trade deadline on a tanking team. The Blackhawks went into Pittsburgh and they won that game. Without that, they don't get Connor Bedard because they finished dead last and they had the wrong odds to actually win the draft lottery. The Penguins maybe don't fire Ron Hexdall and Brian Burke. Maybe Kyle Dubis doesn't leave Toronto to go to Pittsburgh, and the Panthers don't get in the playoffs. They don't make that magical run. They don't get a huge boost in attendance this year.


Matthew Kachuk isn't a huge star in this league. The ripple effect of that game, it's just always been fascinating to me.


What do you think was the most interesting ripple that came from that game? Because you just described there were so many different elements that came into it. You You got a team that probably wouldn't have made the play-off, go to the Stanley Cup finals. You had a team that was trying to get the number one pick, got him backdoorish. It fascinates me. And then you had the changes that happened in Pittsburgh. I'm just wondering, did you think there was one maybe above the others? It's just such a cool situation.


To me, being based in Chicago and primarily covering the Blackhawks, the bad art of it all is what's fascinating, because if the Blackhawks, after that just egregious, super cynical, gross tank job they did last year, if it ends without them getting bad art, if they get Fantilly or they get Leo Carlson, it's a totally different vibe here in Chicago. The franchise is like a disaster. But now that they have Bedard, they're selling out, they're making money, there's jerseys everywhere, there's genuine hope for the future. I think that maybe Chicago, of all teams, actually had the most... The ripple effect here, having the guy who's going to be one of the biggest names in the sport in one of the biggest cities in a market that desperately needed it after losing Kane and Taves, I think that might have the longest term impact. I mean, it's entirely It's possible that Ron Hexdall and Brian Burke get fired regardless, even if the penguins do sneak into the playoffs. I think most people in Pittsburgh will tell you that was probably going to happen. But how many times have we seen a team just like the Panthers sneak into the playoffs and then win a couple of rounds?


If they make it to the conference final, they're not firing their front office. The Kyle Dubas of it all is certainly interesting. But in terms of the grand picture of the NHL, where Connor Bedard landed, he's in Chicago instead of Columbus or Anaheim, I think that's going to wind up being the biggest ripple.


You speak of Connor Bedard. Obviously, he got hurt in the game versus the New Jersey Devils on that hit by Brandon Smith. Even with that hit, is he still the rookie of the year?


Oh, yeah. If he stays healthy the rest of the year, with all apologies to my friends in the Twin Cities, Rock Faber doesn't stand to chant. It's going to be borderline unanimous. But what Bedard is doing with the teammates he has, with the line mates he has, is just spectacular. He's basically a point-to-game guy. He's creating goals out of thin air, and he's the biggest star on his team. He's the only star on his team. I think what he's doing... I'm always a guy who wants to give credence to a defenseman in these debates because being a young defenseman is harder. I don't care that Brock Faber is three years older than Connor Bedard. He's illegally a rookie. He's qualified. He'd be a worthy Calder candidate. But assuming Conor Bedard stays healthy, he's going to finish with 25, 30 goals, even with missing six weeks with a broken jaw. There's no way he doesn't win the Calder.


With the trade deadline coming up, and you mentioned that he is the only star on the team, how will the Blackhawks build around him?


It's going to be a quiet trade deadline here, right? Because they made so many moves last year where they traded Patrick Cain, they traded Jake McCabe, Sam Lafferty. They made all these moves and decimated the roster. There's nobody left to trade this year. Their biggest trade chips this year are Colin Blackwell and Tyler Johnson, who are nice pieces to add for a contending team. Tyler Johnson has won multiple Stanley Cups. He can fill a role there, bring rings in the room and all that, but you're going to get a fourth-round pick for him at most. The teardown has already to happen. This is year one of the rebuild in a lot of ways. The Hawks had two first-round picks last year, three first-round picks the year before that. They got two first-round picks this year. They got two first-round picks the year after that. Oh, my God. So that's where it's going to all come from within. The Black Hawks aren't going to spend any money the next two summers. They are not going to be a Cap team for a while here.


It sounds like patience is going to need to be a virtue for the fans in Chicago for at least a little while, right?


Oh, no question. And it's hard, right? Because I know nobody in the rest of the hockey world feels bad for Chicago. They won three Stanley Cups in the Cap era. But that this is year one of the rebuild is tough to swallow because they've been bad now for four or five years, right? They were walking in the wilderness, trying to piece together a competitive lineup and finishing in 10th, 11th place. That horrible, mushy middle where you're not bad enough to get good and you're not good enough to make the playoffs.


We're familiar with that down here.


Yeah, exactly. You look at somewhere like Buffalo, Ottawa, Detroit. This is a long-term thing. Buffalo has been doing this, it feels like since the 1970s. The Detroit in year seven of the Izer plan, and they're trying to scratch and claw their way into the playoffs, they just became a team that added last summer. They were still trading. They traded Philip Hronic for a first-round pick last year at the Trade Dead line, a 24-year-old defenseman. So this is an excruciatingly long process. And Kyle Davidson, the general manager here, he has that leash, the ownership of the team. Danny works, he understands, and this is going to be a long and painful process. And having Connor Bedard makes it so much easier for fans to swallow because if you didn't have him, it It's going to be a disaster right now.


So switching gears for a second, I want to ask about something else that you wrote about recently, and it's Steve Larmer. His number is not retired in Chicago. I'll be honest, I wasn't super familiar with the details of his career before I read your story. I knew he was a very good player in Chicago that put up some big numbers. But holy shit. When I looked up his stats year over year, I could not believe. How is this guy not in the conversation of why isn't he in the Hall of Fame yet, let alone his number being retired in Chicago? So I completely agree with you. Is this going to happen sometime soon? Because based off of what I'm seeing, it needs to.


Well, it's funny. At the Athletic, we do this Shadow Hall of Fame Committee where Eric Duhatchek, who's been in that room, leads 15 of us as if we were voting for the Hall of Fame. And two straight years, I nominated Larmer, and he got zero votes every time I nominated. So it's not going to happen. He's not going to make the Hall of Fame. He's just not. He's that Hall of Very Good. Maybe his career wasn't long enough. Maybe he was overshadowed a little bit by playing with Dennis Savard and Jeremy Ronick a little bit. I got to know Steve Larmer through the EA Sports Video games in the '90s. He was unbelievable on NHL 94. That's how I got to know him. But it really is something. As for the Jersey retirement, it's interesting because the Blackhawks for years were just notoriously stingy with their Jersey retirements. But last year, when they raised Marion Hosa's number 81 to the Rafters, now, this is not trying to be smerched the good name of Marion Hosa, maybe one of my favorite players I've ever watched play hockey. But his best years offensively came in other markets.


They came in Ottawa and Atlanta. He was only in Chicago for nine years, a small portion of his career. So once they decided to put Hosa up there, how do you not put Steve Larmer up there? How do you not put Doug Wilson? They're putting Chris Chelios up on Sunday. Finally. Yeah, but he was here for Nine years. That's it. Most of his career was elsewhere, too. So he won two Norris trophies here. He's certainly worthy of it. He's a Chicago guy. Everybody loves Chris Chelios. But if you're going to put guys like Hosa and Chelios up there, how do you not put Larmer? How do you not put Brent Seabrook? How do you not put Cory Crawford? It just opens the door so wide for so many guys that have been waiting for this chance because the Hawks have been so stingy.


Yeah, you bring up them being stingy. I don't understand why Chris Chelios is waiting until now to get his number retired. Is it because he Did he go to Detroit?


That's part of it. Chris Chelios was persona non grata around here because he went to Detroit and won a couple of Stanley Cups out there. That's why it's going to be Patrick Cain's coming back on Sunday. I don't expect it to be similar. Cain's going to get showered with love here on Sunday. But There was some bitterness to Chelios, even though he didn't trade himself. They traded him.


Well, you have a list of the best and the worst outdoor game jerseys. Now, these jerseys, they haven't really been the best. But the Black Hawks have had pretty good jerseys, in my opinion. I don't think Detroit's outdoor game jersey was great. I mean, the big gothic D.


I like the '09 one.


The Hawks have had so many of them over the years. Some of them are just very variations on a theme. They're pretty boring. I love their black and white ones from the... Oh, God, I got to cover so many outdoor games. The 2019 Winter Classic, the Notre Dame game, they went black and white, and then every time they would wear them at the United Center, all the scoreboards would go black and white, and it created this really cool vibe in the arena, so I always like those.


Well, you have more on your list. What are the best outdoor game jerseys? And then we'll get to the worst.


Oh, God, off the top of my head, I got to go back and look at what I wrote. I love the crackings this year, the ones that to the old Seattle Metropolitan. I think we all come back to the original winter classic, right? That penguins game against Buffalo, Outdoors in the Snow. Crosby scores the winner in the shootout, those baby blue penguins jerseys. Don't talk about Crosby.


Don't talk about Crosby. By the way, that brings me back to the Black Hawks win last year and how happy that made me just based on the fact that we don't have to see Sydney Crosby in the playoffs. Now we won't have to see him again this year.


I thought the hockey world came back around on Sydney Crosby. Everyone Loved him when he came up. Then there was the backlash, and then he was whiny and crybaby Crosby. Now we all realize that he's literally the third or fourth best player in the history of hockey. No, he's still whiny and crybaby.


That has not reached the hockey show. No. That opinion has not made it here yet.


I have a friend who's got a kid who plays hockey, and when he was eight years old, he hated Sydney Crosby. I convinced him that, no, Sydney Crosby is actually really good, and he's a great guy. He's a model citizen. He does all kinds of work in the community without people knowing it. He talks to the media every He's like the model hockey player. Actually, the kid, he turned around so hard. He actually asked for a Crosby jersey for Christmas.


Well, my beef is on ice. It's not off ice. I know how charitable and what he does for the community. It's definitely on nice over the years. And the fact that the league shoved him down our collective throats.


Well, I live and work in Chicago. I walk by the Michael Jordan statue every day. I hate him more than I've hated any human in my life because I grew up a Knicks fan. He ruined my childhood. It's good year after year. So I understand that. I get it.


All right. So going now, sticking with this theme with the outdoor jerseys. We just found out that the Black Hots are going to be in yet another outdoor game next year. Shocking, isn't it? I was pretty surprised.


Hopefully, we'll be there.


So next year's Winter Classic at Wrigley Field. I was actually at the first one at Wrigley Field in 2009, which was really cool. I was there as a fan. We're hoping to get up there again this year. But I don't know, as a guy who's covered the Black Hots so much, this wasn't the question I was going to ask originally, but you brought it out of me. Is there overkill at this point? What's the deal with the Black Outs being in it every year? Your perspective of it, obviously, is a little bit different, but is it time for maybe other teams to get in there, or is this the deserved thing, and we need to just get used to it?


I mean, of course, it's time for other teams. And thankfully, the Hawks haven't had one since I think, that '19 one against Boston at Notre Dame, they were getting an outdoor game every year, basically, during the height of their dominance. And it's because they were a TV ratings powerhouse, right? I would like to see, personally, the Winter Classic doesn't do good ratings. It's not a big deal on TV. It doesn't look good on TV. The most recent one with the Kraken and the Golden Nights, I think it was the lowest rated one of all time. What makes the Winter Classic great is being at the Winter Classic or the Stadium Series. It's fun to go to these games. I'm pretty cynical about them, having covered six or seven by now, but I'm always like, Oh, God, I got another cover, another outdoor game. But then you get there and you're like, Oh, this is cool. This is fun. It's like the All-Star game. It's a local event. It's not really a league-wide an outdoor game. It's for the local community. When you have one at NC State, Hurricanes fans are loving it. When you have one at the University of Minnesota, Wild fans are loving it.


It's really cool when you're there. I feel like the league should stop worrying about the TV ratings and start just putting more teams in these. Columbus is finally getting one next year. It's going to be a stadium series game against Michigan, and I'm sure we'll have the Ohio State, Michigan vibe for everything. But we need to get more teams involved because it's really fun for the local fan base, and that's what you got to worry If you want better TV ratings, give me more Lake Tahoe games. That looked awesome on TV. That was cool. That COVID year where they couldn't have a fan. Put a game on the DC Mall. Put a game in Central Park in New York. Put a game on Grand Park on Lake Michigan here in Chicago. Put a game at Lake Louise. There's a million places you could do that that would look awesome on TV and would get people's eyeballs and would catch their attention, right? Yeah. So do that because you're going up against the college football playoffs now. You're not going to win that battle. If you insist on having these games on New Year's Day, frankly, I think they should be on Christmas Day, go compete against one NBA game would be a lot easier.


You'd have to negotiate that into the CBA, but that's the day to do it. But stop worrying about the ratings and just make the event really cool. That's how you're going to make hockey cool again.


Hopefully, we'll get a Lightning and Panthers were the classic. I doubt it, but hopefully, we'll get that.


It would do terrible TV ratings, and it would be awesome in Florida.


That's what matters.


Mark Lazard is at the F-Platig. Thank you for joining us.


Thanks for having me..