Ice Cold Takes is a weekly humor column focused on what is trending around the NHL. The official column of… wait, Gritty did WHAT?

I’ve been on a bit of a crusade about the NHL’s most confusing mascot lately and I just want to clarify that nothing said in this column should ever be taken seriously in any way. So a few weeks back, when I said Gritty was soft and that he should start hauling off on kids like he used to, I didn’t mean he should actually do that.

Gritty, who was still at the All-Star skills competition amidst his impending trial, is being investigated for assaulting a teen at a recent Philadelphia Flyers game. Big yikes.

I will go no further into this story because I don’t want to make jokes about how blown out of proportion the father is making this case make jokes about an ongoing investigation.


The NHL hosted its All-Star Skills Competition last night and while so much of it was great, there were a few areas for improvement. Before we get into the mistakes made, let’s kick off with the positive: The women’s three-on-three event!

Canada vs. USA

The three-on-three women’s event was awesome. Fast-paced action from start to finish with some nice goals and even nicer goaltending. The star of the event was definitely Canadian Goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens.

The announcers for the game glanced over perhaps the most ridiculously insane goaltending statistic I have ever heard in my life, which deserves repeating. Ann-Renée Desbiens has 56 shut outs in her 99 wins at Wisconsin. 56 SHUT OUTS IN 99 WINS! Apologies in advance to the American women, who are going to lose the next 15 years of international competition to this rock star!

Goals by Melodie Daoust and Rebecca Johnston were enough to beat the only American goal, scored by Hilary Knight in the second of two ten-minute periods (which was basically a bag skate, by the way – Why not have three, five-minute periods?)

From the highs of the NHL’s All Stars Skills Competition, to everything that went wrong. Let’s dive into the issues that the NHL should look to fix before next season’s event.

NHL accuracy shooting contest

The key to a god accuracy contest is … accuracy. So when your digital targets are very clearly not accurate, you’re left with a pretty glaring issue…

This could be chalked up as a simple error on a single attempt, but while watching the competition, fans and players alike seemed to think certain shots may have hit the targets sooner than they actually did. It doesn’t help that they also had to change the board out after two shooters.

Retired goaltender and Twitter expert Roberto Luongo weighed in on how to fix the competition next year:

Shooting Stars

There were several issues with the new shooting stars contest, which took a great idea, wrapped it in a beautiful bow then tossed it into the deepest depths of hell. To say this competition was confusing would be like saying the best hockey movie is actually MVP: Most Valuable Primate. Wait, is MVP: Most Valuable Primate actually the best hockey movie?

Here’s a quick recap to anyone who may not have seen the disaster that was the NHL Shooting Stars challenge:

The biggest problem was that the 10-point target was the biggest of them all. There was no benefit to shooting at any other target, because they were all more difficult to hit. If the four and five point targets were larger and closer, players could have taken different approaches to winning. Instead, every player only shot for the 10-point target. Which led to the other issue…

The top of the 10-point target was left open and some idiot decided that pucks going through the top of the target didn’t count for points. Even though hitting every other target from every other angle counted. It was confusing, players were arguing their scores and it derailed the entire competition. It also led to Kane winning and getting a healthy boo from the crowd, which almost saved this event.

As David Pastrnak will tell you, it came down to which player was most prepared. He was not that player.

Mat Barzal

The fastest man on ice is this smooth, sweet dulce de leche of a man named Mat Barzal. This man’s ability to skate (and to look like a stud while doing so) is unmatched, even by the world’s best player.

The rest of the contests weren’t overly surprising. Shea Weber won hardest shot at 106.5 mph, Jordan Binnington won the save streak after several key shots were either botched or missed in the same fluke manner that led to his Stanley Cup last season.

No matter how you felt about the individual competitions, the players or the event entirely, we can all agree that no one looked as bad as Auston Matthews, who just won’t shave that God-awful mustache. Come on, man.

Keep your head up.