Please Like My Sport: A three-on-three circus, Connor McDavid dominance and what to enjoy in the NHL
Here are some things to enjoy in hockey this week
After a brief hiatus, welcome back to Please Like My Sport, the weekly column in which we find various things that can (and should) make you excited about hockey this week. Whether you're already a hockey enjoyer or someone who is looking for reasons to become one, the goal is to deliver reasons for you to appreciate the NHL right now.
Here are some things to enjoy about hockey this week:
Jets-Maple Leafs overtime
Chances are if you've seen a three-on-three overtime, you don't need me to tell you it's one hell of a time. It's like taking regular hockey, stripping it for parts, then building a sketchy hockey rocket ship out of those parts. The resulting ride probably isn't going to last very long but it's going to be a sloppy and exhilarating experience.
But even if you already possess that knowledge, it's worth preaching again thanks to the overtime experience we got from Wednesday night's Jets-Maple Leafs game in Toronto. We've seen plenty of great overtime showcases since the league implemented three-on-three in 2015, but this has to be one of the better ones.
It has a little bit of everything that you'd hope to see:
- Nonstop end-to-end action
- Great puck movement
- Breakaways and odd-man rushes
- One-on-one skater battles
- Great saves
The only things this overtime didn't have was whistles (just one stoppage with 12 seconds remaining) and a game-winner. That last part seems like a crime against humanity, because going from that circus to a shootout (even a good shootout, by NHL standards) is not something any fan of the sports deserves.
It's been said before and it will be said again, including right now: Make three-on-three OT 10 minutes long. Anyone who still somehow likes the shootout can take solace in the fact that it'll still be there at the end, but 10 minutes of three-on-three would likely drop the percentage of games ending in a shootout significantly.
Even if you don't consider three-on-three or the shootout to be "real hockey," wouldn't you want the most entertaining form to bring you a winner? Tell me, when was the last time a shootout made you feel the feelings that Wednesday's Jets-Maple Leafs overtime delivered?
I rest my case.
Caps make history
Speaking of three-on-three overtime, the Capitals beat the Sharks via the extra frame over the weekend. Normally, that wouldn't be noteworthy enough to include here -- especially considering the Caps are great and the Sharks stink -- so what gives?
Well, Washington's victory came in a historic sort of comeback. Everyone thought the game had been put on ice when the Sharks scored an empty-netter to take a two-goal lead with a minute left in the third period. Everyone was wrong.
Instead, the Caps scored twice in 45 seconds to tie the game and Old Takes Exposed their own damn Twitter account.
Then, Lars Eller delivered the game-winner in overtime.
Credit to the Sharks for continuing to find creative and gut-wrenching ways to lose games this season, and extra special congratulations are in order in this particular instance considering it made NHL history. San Jose is apparently the first team to ever blow a multi-goal lead after scoring an empty net goal and then go on to lose.
It's been fun watching the Capitals this year and this only helped drive home the fact that you can never really count them out of a game. It also drove home the fact that you can never really count out the Sharks' odds of blowing one.
Colin White scored the best non-goal of the week when he took a page out of Andrew Shaw's book and used his head to score an illegal but awesome goal against the Lightning. Please enjoy this nonsense in all its glory:
Personally, I'm of the opinion that this should be allowed to count. Maybe you'll argue it's dangerous to be having players out there whipping their heads around out as they try to bash a puck into the net with their skull, and maybe you're right. But here's my counterpoint: It's cool as hell when it works.
Plus, we allow goals accidentally scored off a player's dome to count, and you can't tell me that this doesn't require more skill than just standing by the crease and hoping a shot from the blue line takes a fortunate bounce after it drills your body. Let the boys show off their hops and blast those goals in with their brain buckets. It's only right.
I mean, if this isn't the cutest thing I've ever seen...
Perhaps I'm just a poor who is used to living in an apartment the size of a shoebox, but it's really bothering me how far Ovechkin's couch is located from from his TV. You watch that thing with binoculars? You need an antenna extender to change the channel? No thanks, I'll happily continue to destroy my eyesight with a 60-inch TV placed five feet away from my couch.
Another Connor McDavid highlight
Connor McDavid finally scored his first goal while playing in Toronto and, man, it was a good one. Well, it wasn't particularly good if you're Morgan Rielly, who likely watched his soul leave his body after he bit on McDavid's ruthless fake to absolutely nobody. Then again, it's hard to blame Rielly -- if I saw McDavid coming at me one-on-one I would probably just pack up my s--t and move to another country.
"It's always fun to play here. It's always fun to leave here as well."
Speaking of Connor McDavid, that was his quote after this week's game in Toronto. As someone with a deep passion for Toronto burns... well done.
The Beautiful Game moment of the week
Shout out to Nic Dowd for earning himself a 10-minute misconduct after catching an opponent's flying stick and then handing it out as a souvenir in the crowd. Sure, when Marc-Andre Fleury does it, it's adorable. But when Nic Dowd does it, it's unsportsmanlike.
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