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The one thing most hockey players are missing

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WHEN Brent Burns packs his bags for road trips, the San Jose Sharks defenseman often leaves something behind: His cosmetic teeth.

“I don’t wear them often,” he said. “I usually find them in a drawer a couple months down the road and put them somewhere safe, forget where that is, and find them a couple months later.” Burns, a happy-go-lucky guy, said he is missing three of his real teeth and a fourth is “hanging on by a thread.” He is holding out hope it won’t join his other missing Chiclets.

“I need that one for corn on the cob,” Burns said with a gap-filled smile.

Missing teeth have been associated with hard-nosed hockey — for better and for worse — for decades, becoming a stereotype of the game even with some players, like Burns, embracing it as a rite of passage or badge of honour. Gordie Howe, Bobby Clarke, Ken Daneyko, Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull — all have grins famous for what’s not there. Chicago’s Duncan Keith had seven teeth knocked out by a puck in the Western Conference final-clinching game in 2011 against San Jose and quipped afterwards: “You’ve got leave it all on the ice.” Many casual fans might assume all players are missing a few teeth — not true — but there is far more interest in keeping the originals than there was in the 1980s, a time Kings coach Darryl Sutter recalls seeing players writing their numbers on coffee cups, putting their teeth in the cups and setting them on a shelf before games.

“The joke was switching teeth around,” Sutter said with a sly grin.

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NHL 2020: Draft lottery, New York Rangers, Alexis Lafreniere

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There might not be a frozen envelope involved, but conspiracy theories abounded after the Rangers won the NHL Draft lottery Monday night and with it the right to select consensus top pick, heralded Canadian left winger Alexis Lafreniere.

The Rangers and the seven other teams eliminated from the NHL playoff qualifying round this past week were entered into a live televised lottery for the top pick in October’s draft, held pingpong-ball style.

Normally the NHL conducts its lottery process behind closed doors and reveals the results afterward, as was the case during the first phase of the lottery in June, when it was determined that the top pick would be awarded to a team involved in the league’s restart.

With commissioner Gary Bettman looking on, an unidentified and masked NHL employee was to remove each ball from an attache case, show it to Bettman who verified the logo, and then place it into the lottery machine.



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NHL news: Seattle Kraken, reaction, Washington name

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Owners of the National Hockey League’s Seattle expansion team unveiled Kraken as the club’s nickname on Thursday, the mythical sea beast having been a fan favourite in marketing polls.

The NHL’s 32nd team, set to take the ice in the 2021-22 season, will feature dark and light blue colours and an S-shaped logo that pays tribute to the 1917 Stanley Cup champion Seattle Metropolitans but adds a red eye and tentacle.

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And while most seemed to get behind Kraken, Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser unleashed on Pardon The Interruption.

“My instant thought was this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” Wilbon said. “And I started just running through all the nicknames of all the teams in the NHL, NBA, MLB, and NFL, and this is the worst.



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Colby Cave dead at 25: NHL, Oilers star suffered brain bleed

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Edmonton Oilers forward Colby Cave died Saturday morning, days after undergoing emergency surgery for a brain bleed, his family announced.

He was 25.

“It is with great sadness to share the news that our Colby Cave passed away early this morning,” Cave’s family said in a statement.

“I (wife Emily) and both our families are in shock but know our Colby was loved dearly by us, his family and friends, the entire hockey community, and many more. We thank everyone for their prayers during this difficult time.”

On Tuesday, Cave had emergency surgery to remove a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on his brain.

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