September 28, 2020

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Dump & Chase

Dzingel Bells, Moose players as elves, and more

Normally, our weekly digital notebook is all about ho-ho-hockey, of course. But with NHL players set to embark on their brief Christmas break starting later this weekend, we find ourselves caught up in the ho-ho-holiday spirit.

As you'll see below, we're definitely not alone.

Mike (Dump) has been following the Jets around on their current three-game western road swing which began with a disappointing 4-1 loss Tuesday in Los Angeles followed by an entertaining 5-3 victory over San Jose Thursday that reminded him a bit of his crime-reporting days, what with the Jets committing a bit of grand larceny in sneaking out of the Shark Tank with two points while being vastly outplayed, at times.

Things will wrap up Saturday with with an all-Canadian match-up on the left coast against the Vancouver Canucks.

Jay (Chase) is enjoying some well-deserved time away from the rink and the paper, so you know who to blame if you're not a big fan of this week's edition, which will be our final one for 2018.

So grab yourself a glass of eggnog, sit yourself in front of a crackling fire and maybe throw a little Bing Crosby on in the background as we take you on a virtual tour through a busy week in the hockey world.

Pre-game warmup

Let's warm up those vocal chords with a rousing rendition of the newest holiday favourite, which puts a modern twist on an old classic.

Sure, you know and love "Jingle Bells." But how about the new-and-improved version of "Dzingel Bells," which is a tribute to Ottawa Senators forward Ryan Dzingel.

All together now!

"Dzingel Bells, Dzingel Bells, Dzingel breaks away... Oh what fun, it is to play, on a line with Matt Duchene. Hey! Dzingel Bells, Dzingel Bells, Dzingel breaks away... Oh what fun, it is to go, to an Senators game today. Hey!"

(We're not sure about that last part, to be honest. Their record is kind of frightful). 

***

As adorable as that was, find us something sweeter than his little Florida fan who can't contain her excitement after the Panthers scored against the mighty Toronto Maple Leafs.

In fact, producers widely kept going back to her during the recent broadcast for reaction shots to other events.

She's definitely our first star of the week!

1st Period

Now, Mike and Jay got into a bit of a spirited debate last week while sitting high above Bell MTS Place during the first-intermission of a Winnipeg Jets home game. The conversation went something like this.

MIKE: "Elf is the best Christmas movie. I don't care what anybody says."

JAY: "No way. Love Actually, is. I've watched it like 12 times."

Naturally, they turned to the court of public opinion to settle their dispute. Now, while exactly half of the 362 people who voted said they were BOTH WRONG, Mike took some solace that at least more people sided with him. (38 per cent to 12 per cent).

Proving, once and for all, that Jay clearly sits on a throne of lies.

***

John Tortorella has a bit of a reputation of being as Scrooge-like figure, especially when it comes to dealing with the media.

"Torts" can be brash, rude and downright disrespectful at times. But he can also be a lot of fun, not to mention a tremendous quotes.

He revealed a bit of a softer side the other day when, during a media availability, a local reporter's phone happened to go off. Turns out this wasn't the guilty party's first offence either.

What followed next was pure gold. 

***

While Tortorella was trying out his stand-up comedy routine at the podium, the social media teams for both Columbus and Vegas were hard at work during a recent game -- playing Connect 4 against each other!?

That's gotta be a first, but we love the creativity that was on display.

We won't post every move of the game, but you can follow the thread to its thrilling conclusion. 

2nd Period

It has become a bit of a holiday tradition in several NHL cities. Local productions of the Nutcracker turned to their local hockey club for a cameo appearance or two from the players.

We've seen it done in the past in Winnipeg, and it became a bit of a story again this week in the centre of the hockey universe when Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner took the stage in Toronto.

But leave it to the always-funny Roberto Luongo to truly steal the show with his take on the production, one night before his Florida Panthers were set to take on the Maple Leafs.

Unfortunately for Luongo, the pair were good to go as Toronto chased Luongo from the net on their way to a convincing 6-1 victory.

***

Bonnie Marner became a bit of a sensation recently when she stole the show during a recent Maple Leafs game. Toronto brought their mother's along for a road trip, and she was a bit of a dancing machine in the crowd. This is apparently called "flossing," which means we've learned at least one new thing this week.

We're guessing she had much the same reaction watching little Mitch on stage in the Nutcracker.

3rd Period

The Manitoba Moose got into the spirit of things with a very clever holiday-themed video, in which several players took on the role of "Elves" as they performed a variety of tasks around the rink.

From Logan Stanley selling 50-50 tickets, Luke Green giving a pep talk in the kitchen and Skyler McKenzie running security, it's really well done.

But the real highlight is captain Peter Stoykewych, who get a little too comfortable in the owner's office. 

***

Dustin Byfuglien has a big personality, even if he tends not to show it very often in public. He can be quite shy when it comes to interviews and would prefer to do his talking on the ice.

Mike wrote a story about the strong play of No. 33 following a rare, lengthy chat with him the other day in San Jose.

However, Byfuglien's personality certainly came through when he recently mic'd up for a Jets practice. The team posted some segments of the video -- we're guessing just the parts fit for family viewing -- that include a number of funny moments.

Our favourite, without a doubt, is when he refers to one of his teammates as a "rockpile" during a drill.

Overtime

A couple hockey players helped mark some special life milestones this week in very unique ways.

First, Chicago's Brendan Perlini helped a fan propose to his girlfriend at a recent Blackhawks game. It might just be the best assist of Perlini's young career.

As good as that was, how about Vancouver's Sven Baertschi taking the whole "gender reveal" phenomenon to a whole new level this week as he fired a slap shot on net -- and learned he and his wife were having a boy!

Congrats to the parents-to-be, and good thing Baertschi has a pretty accurate shot.

***

Goal of the week, maybe the month, possibly the year. No, the way it was scored wasn't anything special. But check out the beautiful wordplay involved in the two assists.

The Shootout

What would happen if you crossed Connor McDavid and Patrik Laine?

Apparently, you'd get Wayne Gretzky.

Yes, that's the only logical conclusion to be found after a bizarre game of face-swap came up with a bit of a startling discovery.

***

Speaking of McDavid, he provided an Edmonton minor hockey team with quite the surprise when he showed up at their outdoor practice.

It's the stuff hockey dreams are made of, and we're guessing the kids on the SWAT 638 Falcons will never forget that special day.

***

Well, folks, that's a wrap for us on what's been an incredibly busy 2018. We want to thank all of you, dear readers, for your support and loyalty throughout the year and hope we've at least provided you with a few laughs along the way -- even if some of them were at our expense.

From our families to yours, we hope you have a safe and peaceful holiday season, and we look forward to picking up Dump & Chase in 2019 beginning Jan. 10.

***

Got a suggestion for a future edition of Dump & Chase? Let us know about it.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca and jason.bell@freepress.mb.ca

And: follow "Dump" and "Chase" — a.k.a. Mike and Jason — on Twitter.

Mike is @mikemcintyrewpg, while Jason can be found @WFPJasonBell

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