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Enshrined at last, Class of 2020’s induction didn’t lose its lustre with delay



TORONTO – The “Ig-gy! Ig-gy! Ig-gy!” chants began before his dress shoe had made an imprint on the red carpet.

The Jarome Iginla fans warmed a cold November night, be it teammate Mike Cammalleri calling him “a better friend than he is a player” or a diehard rocking a No. 12 Kamloops Blazers throwback sweater just looking for a photo op.

No, an honour delayed doesn’t lose its lustre.


So, while the 2021 Hockey Hall of Fame class was intended to be the 2020 Hall class, the six new inductees’ patience paid off Monday night inside Meridian Hall, just an Iginla slapshot away from the Hall itself.

“The words ‘welcome back’ have never meant so much,” Hall chair Lanny McDonald announced, after the pandemic postponed one of the brightest stars on the hockey calendar.

Although the location was changed and facemasks emblazoned with an HHOF logo were worn by the honourees between speeches, their overdue induction was still meaningful.

Honouring the Class of 2020
A one-year delay doesn’t dim the shine of being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Learn more about some of the greats who were enshrined on Monday.

Iginla — the son of a Nigerian immigrant and an Edmonton native who grew to be a Flames legend — captured the surrealism of it all when he flashed his trademark smile and accepted his plaque from Mark Messier.


“He was one of my all-time favourites growing up. I need that picture later,” Iginla said. “This is so cool.”

The author of the Golden Assist reflected on Grant Fuhr and Willie O’Ree and Herb Carnegie, Black players who made his dream more attainable.

“Why are you playing hockey?” Iginla remembers a white kid saying to him.

Look at him now.

Kim St-Pierre, 42, became just the eighth woman and first goaltender to gain entry.

Canada’s three-time Olympic gold medallist and five-time world champion spoke of the power of shattering glass ceilings, competing against men, and looking up to fellow Quebec goalie Manon Rhéaume — who played pre-season games for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992 and ’93.

A crowd of St-Pierre’s national teammates came out to support her induction, and Caroline Oulette received a special shutout: “Being friends with a goalie is not easy.”

St-Pierre credited the women who are making in-roads in the game and called for a single professional women’s league.

“We have the power to achieve anything,” St-Pierre stated.


The crowd rose to applaud.

Decked out in a shiny black three-piece tux, Marian Hossa revealed that he had invited Nick Lidstrom to fly from Sweden and present him his plaque, which will now stand near those of fellow Slovak legends Stan Mikita and Peter Stastny.

Hossa thought back to getting his hands on a VHS tape of Wayne Gretzky highlights as a young boy: “It inspired me to get on the ice and try impossible things.” And later trying to mold his approach as a pro to Mario Lemieux: “He let his play do all the talking.”

When legendary Chicago Blackhawks defenceman and current San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson received the call from McDonald, he replied: “I’m not even a Hall of Famer in my house. It’s my wife.”

Wilson continued that theme from the dais, looking at wife Kathy, surrounded by some of their six grandchildren (a seventh is on the way), and calling her the heartbeat of a swelling family.

“This weekend is more about you than anyone else,” Doug said.

Wilson — the 1982 Norris winner and most prolific blue-line scorer Chicago has produced – thought back to the people who helped him but could not be here: mentor Tony Esposito, first roommate Stan Mikita, and his father.

Growing up in Ottawa, Wilson’s parents encouraged him to play all sports and “find the one that you love.”


A love for the game was instilled in Kevin Lowe from a boyhood spent in Lachute, Que., where there were only four pursuits.

“Church, work, school and hockey — and not necessarily in that order,” Lowe explained.

Lowe, 62, too lamented the absence of his late father, Clifford, who once instructed his son that pucks would never hurt him: “They’re made of rubber.”

But a few ’80s Oilers — Paul Coffey, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri (jetting in from Finland) – did roll out to support the six-time Cup champ.


A raspy Lowe earned one of the gala’s biggest laughs when he cracked that, sadly, his strained voice was due to a cold and not due to a throwback night of Boys on the Bus partying.

With Lidstrom and Mike Babcock in the theatre, Steve Yzerman presented Ken Holland with his builder plaque, praising the four-time championship architect GM’s “honesty and personal approach” to the job.

Holland kicked off his speech with the tale of his NHL debut, as a 25-year-old in net for the Hartford Whalers, 41 years ago this month.


When he gave up five goals to the Rangers in the second period, he thought to himself: “Ken, you’re never going to be in the National Hockey League again.” (Not quite true: Though banished to the minors, Holland the goalie did resurface two seasons later for three more NHL games — and a .811 save percentage – with the Detroit Red Wings.)

Fair to say, Team Canada’s 2010 GM and the man currently building around Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl fared a little better on the other side of the glass.

Quipped Holland: “Hockey’s been very good to me after I stopped trying to play it.”

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Seven-time Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green retires after 12 season



PHOENIX — Seven-time Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green retired on Monday after 12 seasons in the NFL.

The 34-year-old spent a decade with the Cincinnati Bengals before signing with the Arizona Cardinals for the last two seasons of his career.

Selected by the Bengals with the No. 4 overall pick of the 2011 draft out of Georgia, Green was a Pro Bowl selection in each of his first seven seasons, topping 1,000 yards receiving six times.


The 6-foot-4, 207-pounder had a rare blend of size and speed and his low-key personality made him a favorite among teammates. He teamed with quarterback Andy Dalton to lead the Bengals to the playoffs every year from 2011 to 2015, though they never won a game in the postseason.

“I’ve never been a man of many words, so I’ll keep this short,” Green wrote in an Instagram post. “Thank you. Thank you to all who have supported, encouraged, and inspired me throughout my career.

“Special thank you to the University of Georgia, Cincinnati Bengals, and Arizona Cardinals for the opportunity to pursue my dreams. I’ve stayed true to the game and it owes me nothing. Be blessed.. Love y’all! The next chapter begins?”

He missed the 2019 season with an ankle injury, but returned to the Bengals in 2020.


Green was solid in his first season with the Cardinals in 2021, catching 54 passes for 848 yards and three TDs. His production dipped to 24 catches for 236 yards and two TDs this season, though he remained a popular presence in the Cardinals locker room.

He finishes his career with 10,514 yards receiving — which ranks 44th in NFL history — and had 70 touchdown catches.

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The Cardinals Were Wise To Avoid Trading For Frankie Montas



(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)


At the trade deadline in 2022, the St. Louis Cardinals made some key moves to strengthen their starting rotation, adding veterans Jordan Montgomery and Jose Quintana.

Both proved to be solid pickups, with Quintana ultimately drawing the start in Game 1 of the Wild Card series against the Philadelphia Phillies and Montgomery pitching a few solid innings out of the bullpen in Game 2.


But there was another starter that the team had eyes on.

Frankie Montas was that starter.

He was ultimately acquired by the New York Yankees before the Cardinals added Montgomery.

However, Montas has struggled with his health recently, meaning the Cardinals were smart to not make a move for him.

The 29-year-old finished the 2022 season with a 5-12 record and an ERA of 4.05 in 27 starts.

Now, the veteran right-hander may miss the entire 2023 season due to a shoulder injury.

Meanwhile, Quintana went 3-2 with a 2.01 ERA in 12 starts with the Cardinals, while Montgomery went 6-3 with a 3.11 ERA in 11 starts with his new team.

Montgomery is also a potential candidate for a contract extension, which could help ease the burden on the Cardinals, who currently only have one starter under contract for 2024.

The Yankees, despite having signed Carlos Rodon to go along with Nestor Cortes and Gerrit Cole, find themselves in a difficult spot with Montas.


They now have an open spot in their starting rotation that will need to be addressed at some point during the season, if it is not addressed soon.

Ultimately, the Cardinals dodged a bullet by not going after Montas, which made a key difference down the stretch in 2022.

The post The Cardinals Were Wise To Avoid Trading For Frankie Montas appeared first on The Cold Wire.

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The Eagles Have An Elite Advantage Up Front



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The Philadelphia Eagles are in the Super Bowl because of their elite roster.

They have Pro Bowl players all over the field, and that has been their big advantage over most of their opponents.


In the Super Bowl, the Eagles will have the same advantage over the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Eagles roster is stronger than the Chiefs in just about spot on the field, except quarterback.

One spot that could decide this game is in the trenches.

The battle of the offensive and defensive lines of each team will play a massive role.

Luckily for the Eagles, they have the best offensive line in the NFL.


There may not be a team that is a close second either.

According to PFF, the Eagles have elite players in all five offensive line spots.

As you can see they are the only team in the NFL with a player ranked in the top 10 at each spot.

You can bet the Eagles will try and use that to their advantage in this game.


They enter with the top rushing attack in the NFL and led the NFL in rushing touchdowns this past season.

Expect to see them run the ball early and often, to try and control the clock and keep Patrick Mahomes off the field.

It will be interesting to see if the Chiefs have any answer for the Eagles’ rushing attack.

The Chiefs allowed 107.2 rushing yards per game this year.

If they can keep the Eagles around that number, the Chiefs will be in a great position to win.


For those that love trench warfare, this will be a game for you.

The post The Eagles Have An Elite Advantage Up Front appeared first on The Cold Wire.

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