NHL Mad On-Line: Josh Ho-Sang deserves respect for wearing Mario Lemieux’s number

Welcome to SB Nation NHL’s new “Mad On-Line” series, where we find something trivial the hockey world is mad about and tell you whether you should be, too. Usually the answer is no. Spoiler alert.

Josh Ho-Sang was controversial before his NHL career even began. At one point in the Arizona State game, he tried a nifty but ill-advised behind the back pass to save the ball underneath his own basket, and it led to a pair of Sun Devil free throws. Seconds later, he stood with his foot over the lane line, daring an official to call a lane violation.

He gets away with these things because he’s Lonzo Ball, the best player on one of the best teams in the country. You may have seen him pulling up from 30 feet to hit a dagger three-pointer, or flying high for alley-oops once not thought to be possible.

He was widely considered one of the best players in the 2014 NHL entry draft. And yet, 27 teams passed on him before the New York Islanders took him at 28th overall. Why?

Because he’s flashy … to the point that his maturity came into question. The NHL’s culture is sort of archaic. The NBA and NFL are wildly popular because they embrace the personalities of their star players. Hockey people boast about it being the ultimate team sport. Which might be true. But that doesn’t sell tickets.

Bill Daly says the NHL has learned about not marketing individual rivalry since Sid/Ovi: “Our sport is the ultimate team sport.”、

The city of Los Angeles loves a winner, and the legendary Pauley Pavilion — notoriously tough to fill when the home team is struggling — has been hopping since December.

The Bruins are averaging more than 10,000 fans a game at home, and the fact that they lead the conference in road attendance is evidence that their brand is just as strong as it used to be.

To watch a UCLA game now is to watch any UCLA game ever. The Bruins play in the same arena, in the same neighborhood, wearing the same uniforms they have since the 1960s.2

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