I never intended to become an investigative journalist, but then again, I didn't intend for a lot of things to happen in my life.
Sure, I thought it was strange that fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs were throwing their jerseys onto the ice. Jerseys cost a lot of money and the Maple Leafs rarely do anything that would ever make their fans want to get rid of theirs. It's not like the club has spent the last decade-plus in mediocrity, and the general appreciation level of the fans for the coaching staff and management group is something rarely seen in the league today.
But still, things seemed amiss. It felt like something was up but I couldn't prove that something was up.
That is until I received a piece of electronic mail that would forever shake the league to its core.
On Monday morning, I received a piece of evidence from an anonymous tipster that implicates the NHL and Toronto Maple Leafs in a scandal that, to my knowledge, is unprecedented. The league might never be the same again.
Details below. On to this week's McHockey Watch!
Connor McStats through Oct. 22
Connor McDavid has fallen below his goal-per-game pace, which has the scouts concerned and could result in his draft stock falling. Through 10 games, McDavid has only scored nine goals and totaled 29 points. He had an average night on Wednesday, only scoring four points (goal and three assists) against the Niagara IceDogs.
The Connor McD'oh! Of The Week: Winnipeg Jets
Awarded weekly to the team trying its hardest to fall into the McDavid sweepstakes.
The Winnipeg Jets scored six goals in their first game! And then scored two goals ... over their next four games ... while allowing 13.
Surprisingly, they lost all four of those games.
A lot of people have been comparing the Jets situation in Winnipeg to a honeymoon coming to an end. Well, I disagree.
While the honeymoon comparison is an acceptable metaphor, I think the Winnipeg Jets are much more like a small child. They start out really cute and everybody is excited about what it's going to become! It's first steps are like the moon landing and every moment is a treasure.
Annnnnnd then it grows up. And it smells kinda bad. And everything it does is kinda disappointing. And you really wish it would stop using the decorative hand towels like that...
But if the Jets do draft Connor McDavid then it'll definitely be like a marriage. Because the only way this relationship is going to be spiced up is through the draft, because they sure as hell won't ever trade anyone.
The Connor McBlowout Of The Week: Buffalo Sabres
Awarded weekly to the team that suffered the NHL's most demoralizing loss.
The Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers appeared in the inaugural Connor McMatchup of the Week on Friday night. The Panthers came away with a 1-0 victory and got two points closer to drafting Jack Eichel, while the Sabres got zero points closer to becoming the worst team in the league.
Now, I know this loss wasn't a "blow out" in the traditional sense, but it was still a blow out, like in the way that it made me wanna blow out my brain--- I mean, my brazen opinion of Sabres fans.
These fine folks need to be praised for putting up with this shit, because it was rough.
Just look at this turnover by Marcus Foligno:
This was an ugly game, with awful play and a terrible goal (there was only one and it was awful). Just remember Sabres fans: There's only two or three more years of this. Tops.
*looks over at Edmonton*
Why did I watch Panthers, Sabres?
The Connor McDon't Need Him: Nashville Predators
Awarded weekly to the team that just doesn't need McDavid's help, and definitely won't get it anyway.
Well, check this out. After two frustrating years devoid of winning, the Nashville Predators have jumped out of the gate with a 4-0-2 record and lead the Central Divison.
Is it because of a healthy diet of Peter Laviolette jam? The exquisite no look passing of Mike Ribeiro? The one goal scored by James Neal!?
It's clearly because the Predators infused their stout defensive system with the beautiful flow of Olli Jokinen:
God, does that man have a beautiful head of hair.
The Connor McNeed To Rig The Draft Lottery: Toronto Maple Leafs
Awarded weekly to a bad team that's not quite bad enough to actually land McDavid in the draft ... unless of course the lottery balls go their way.
One of the strangest developments this season is that Maple Leafs fans have already started throwing their jerseys on the ice. Over the span of four home games, there have been two instances of fans throwing their sweaters in apparent protest.
Even more strange is that the Maple Leafs have more wins than there have been jersey tosses.
But still, it doesn't make any sense why Maple Leafs fans would be throwing their jerseys onto the ice seven games into the season. Except it does and I've figured it all out.
Think about this:
-- What happens when a fan throws their jersey onto the ice? Other fans start throwing their jerseys on the ice.
-- What happens when fans collectively start throwing jerseys on the ice? The players get kinda sad a little bit.
-- What happens when the players get kinda sad a little bit? They start underperforming at work.
-- What happens when they start underperforming at work? They start losing games.
-- What happens when they start losing games? They get better odds in the draft lottery.
-- What happens when the Maple Leafs get better odds in the draft lottery? They draft Connor McDavid with the first overall pick.
Hmmm. If all those fans throw their jerseys onto the ice, then I guess they'll be in the market for a brand new Maple Leafs sweater, won't they? And what better jersey to get than one with "McDavid" on the back of it.
It's all coming together. It was in front of us the whole time: The Maple Leafs organization are the ones throwing Maple Leafs jerseys on the ice. They'll get McDavid and they'll sell a boat load of new jerseys. It's a flawless plan.
Don't believe me? I think this picture speaks for itself.
Unfortunately, this scandal extends far beyond the reaches of the Toronto boarder. Based upon my sources, several other teams have already started discussing this strategy.
Even the Anaheim Ducks:
The Anaheim jersey ended up on Anaheim ice near the end of regulation on Wednesday night. Coincidentally, the opponent was the Buffalo Sabres who just happened to be HOSTING CONNOR MCDAVID THAT VERY SAME NIGHT.
Coincidence? Yeah, sure. Stay woke people.
The Ducks, Maple Leafs and NHL would not respond to my requests for comment.
The Connor McFront Runner of The Week: Colorado Avalanche
Awarded weekly to the team that, as of right now, has the best chance of landing Connor McDavid in the 2015 Draft.
I hear y'all are interested in what them fancy stats are gonna say about the Avalanche this season. Well, have I got a fancy stat for you:
That's the number of goaltenders the Avalanche have had on the active roster this season and it's why they've become the front runner for a rise to the top! Of the Draft!
Coming off a year were the metrics indicated that above average goaltending aided the Avalanche in winning the Central Division, many anticipated that the team would plummet back to reality. Well, that's been the case thus far, and boy, is plummet a great word to describe what's happened.
Semyon Varlamov injured his groin last week, which forced the team to call-up rookie goaltender Calvin Pickard. Then backup goaltender Reto Berra sustained a neck strain against the Ottawa Senators, which forced Pickard into action mere hours after joining the team. In total, Pickard spent 2:46 as a backup goaltender in the NHL before being forced to play.
No pressure, dude!
The Avalanche ended up blowing a 3-1 lead against the Senators and then went onto lose their next two games, allowing at least three goals in each contest. Fortunately Varlamov is expected to come back for Friday's game against the Vancouver Canucks, because 420 wouldn't look as good in Colorado if it started showing up as the Avalanche's goals against average.
The Connor McMatchup Of Next Week
Set your DVRs/PVRs!
Sunday, Oct. 26, the Avalanche will be traveling to Winnipeg to take on the Jets. The game begins at 3 p.m. ET (take THAT East Coast bias) on Altitude and TSN 3.
If you have / see / hear a Connor McDavid McHockey Moment this week, be sure to pass it along in the comments section, by tweeting me @mattbrigidi, or by emailing me at email@example.com.