Throughout the course of human history, there have only been two types of hockey players. You have your goons, and you have your beauties. Very rarely do you come across anybody who has the ability to merge the two together. Nobody did it better than Gordie Howe, but it's become a lost art since Mr. Hockey.
Auston Matthews is apparently trying to bring it back. Is scoring 50 goals in an NHL season an incredible accomplishment? Of course it is. I mean there's only been like 100 players who have ever accomplished that feat before. You think about how many kids throw on a pair of skates and play hockey in their lifetime. Only 100 or so of them have ever scored 50 in an NHL season at least once. But out of all those players to rack up 50 in a season, Auston Matthews now has the rare opportunity to be the first to put up 50 on the year AND try to take someone's head off in the process.
Auston Matthews will most likely end up winning the Rocket Richard Trophy this year, but there goes the Lady Byng.
I mean listen. I get why Matthews is so frustrated here. You're losing an outdoor game to one of the worst teams in the league, you get into a little back-and-forth with a fellow 1st overall pick, the Swede puts you on your ass, and then you just see red. Someone call an electrician because Matthews' wires are all the way crossed. It's not like he went full Bertuzzi and was hunting Dahlin all the way down the ice. This was more reactionary than predatory. Still doesn't mean you can try to snap your Jetspeed over another dude's skull.
I think the biggest thing Auston Matthews has going for him here is that the NHL did an absolute shit job of marketing the fact they were playing an outdoor game yesterday. Selection Sunday, Tom Brady unretiring, The Players, there was a lot of other stuff going on yesterday in sports and nobody knew there was an outdoor game until the puck dropped. So the NHL can probably just sweep this one under the rug with a quick $5K fine. I wouldn't be shocked if this gets him a 2-game suspension, but for some reason my brain is telling me he's just going to have to make a nice charitable donation to the league.
5 more to go.