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Karlsson’s Speech and 8 Other Times NHLers Acted Unprofessionally

Did William Karlsson go too far with his Stanley Cup speech? Maybe not, but here are 7 times other NHLers might have crossed the line.

This weekend, Vegas Golden Knight forward William Karlsson delivered an unforgettable and legendary speech in the midst of the post-championship Stanley Cup parade. The celebration in Vegas reached epic proportions as Karlsson channeled his inner “Frank the Tank,” with microphone in hand and hilariously made a fool of himself. Karlsson’s address during the Stanley Cup parade will be etched in history and while many are embracing the lightheartedness and humor of the moment, some question its professionalism.

Was it all a bit too much? Was it funny and no big deal? Different fans have different opinions.

While this might be little more than a player having his moment after winning in a big way, it seemed somewhat appropriate to take a look at eight other times players or members of the NHL seemed to act inappropriately. In some cases, these players, coaches, or analysts simply lost their minds and behaved in a way the NHL might not think back too fondly of.

Nikita Kucherov Drunken Post-Conference

In 2021, after the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup, Nikita Kucherov made quite the impression during his interview at the media table, opting to go shirtless and indulging in Bud Light, clearly displaying signs of intoxication. In his spirited speech, he passionately celebrated his teammates while simultaneously criticizing other players and teams. The interview was hailed by some as the greatest athlete interview ever, as Kucherov’s unfiltered remarks and unabashed honesty struck a chord.

He spoke candidly about the underappreciation of goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and took a dig at other past Vezina candidates and winners, as well as jabbing at the Montreal Canadiens who he felt celebrated a win earlier for no good reason. Kucherov boldly asserted that Vasilevskiy would dominate the Vezina Trophy if he played in a different market, emphasizing his belief in the goaltender’s exceptional abilities.

In the days that followed, Kucherov appeared all over social media, still clearly celebrating and intoxicated. No one was hurt, but the league probably wasn’t too thrilled with Kucherov’s state as he spoke with members of the press and repeatedly called things “No. 1 bullsh–.”

PK Subban “Lizzo-Sized Lunch” Comments

Former NHL player turned media analyst for ESPN, PK Subban got himself in hot water when made fun of Lizzo’s obesity on live television, telling the Maple Leafs to pack a “Lizzo-sized lunch”. Clearly fat-shaming the music entertainer, some called it wildly inappropriate on Subban’s part.

The comments came when he was describing the Toronto Maple Leafs’ lack of effort or inability to get to work versus the Florida Panthers in the 2023 playoffs. He used the phrase as a way to suggest the Leafs needed to get prepared to work if they want to compete in Game 2. It was a bit surprising the comments didn’t resonate more with the league or ESPN, but social media was all over it.

Sean Avery’s “Sloppy Seconds” Remarks

Known for his controversial antics, Sean Avery was involved in several incidents throughout his NHL career that were widely considered unprofessional. He often made inflammatory remarks about fellow players and opponents, both in interviews and on the ice. One notable incident occurred when he waved his stick in front of the face of New Jersey Devils’ goaltender Martin Brodeur during a playoff game, which led to the implementation of the “Avery Rule” to prevent similar actions.

But, his “sloppy seconds” comments really got the ball rolling when it came to his departure from the NHL. He made the offensive remarks in 2008 during an interview to refer to his former girlfriends dating other NHL players. Specifically, it was directed at Dion Phaneuf and actress Elisha Cuthbert. Avery’s comment was widely condemned as disrespectful towards women and sparked a significant backlash within the hockey community. The NHL took swift action and suspended Avery, emphasizing their commitment to promoting respect and professionalism in the league.

Patrick Roy Tells Canadiens to Trade Him Mid-Game

During a game in 1995, goaltender Patrick Roy had a heated exchange with Montreal Canadiens head coach Mario Tremblay. Roy allowed nine goals and was left in the net despite his poor performance. After finally being pulled from the game, Roy skated past Tremblay and made a comment to the President indicating that it was his last game for the Canadiens. This incident marked the beginning of the end of his tenure in Montreal. He was traded four days later to the Colorado Avalanche.

While it was a clear moment of frustration and other players have requested or demanded trades in the past, it certainly wasn’t the way the NHL or anyone else would have wanted that situation to unfold.

Mike Milbury Climbs Into the Stands and Makes Comments About Women in the NHL Bubble

Although primarily known as a former player, GM, and NHL analyst, Mike Milbury was also known as someone who often crossed the line. In one instance, sa a player, he climbed into the stands during a game in 1979 and assaulted a fan with the fan’s own shoe. From that point on, it was story after story of things Milbury did and said that crossed over the line.

In 2020, as the NHL was operating in a bubble amidst COVID concerns, he noted that the players should be more focused because there weren’t women in the bubble to distract the men. The NHL released a statement and noted that they condemned Milbury for his comments and that they reached out to NBC, who almost immediately took him off the air.

John Tortorella’s Many Out Of Line Moments

Now a coach with the Philadelphia Flyers, John Tortorella has both the reputation of being a coach players like to play for, but also a person that lacks any sort of filter. He’s an accomplished coach but has had more than a few instances of unprofessional behavior, sometimes while a part of the NHL and sometimes as an analyst.

Outside of saying that the NHL game has gotten ridiculous with all the skill demonstrated on the ice, he has engaged in heated arguments with reporters and was once suspended for 15 days after an altercation with the opposing team’s coach during intermission. His confrontational demeanor and occasional outbursts have drawn criticism, even though he’s still an active part of the league. Some call it a throwback mind staying old-school. Others think he’s just a jerk.

Jeremy Roenick’s Inappropriate Comments on a Podcast

On December 19, 2019, the Spittin’ Chiclets hockey podcast by Barstool Sports aired an episode that featured Jeremy Roenick as a guest. During the podcast, Roenick discussed a vacation he took to Portugal, where both his wife and Kathryn Tappen were present. In a joking manner, Roenick made a comment about the possibility of a threesome involving himself, his wife, and Tappen. He also made several remarks about Tappen’s appearance.

From there, Roenick made comments about Patrick Sharp, complimenting his physical attractiveness and suggesting that he would consider an invitation from Sharp if it were ever presented to him. These comments stirred controversy due to their suggestive nature and objectification of individuals. He was quickly fired by NBC.

Patrick Kane’s “Cab Driver” Incident

In 2009, Patrick Kane, a star forward for the Chicago Blackhawks, was involved in an altercation with a cab driver in Buffalo. During the incident, Kane allegedly used derogatory and offensive language towards the driver. Kane later pleaded guilty to a non-criminal charge in relation to the incident.

His career didn’t suffer much, but for some time, Kane was seen as someone that may not be the best leader. The incident drew significant attention and raised concerns about Kane’s behavior and judgment off the ice.

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