The NHL’s Calgary Flames came into Thursday night’s road tilt against the Vancouver Canucks riding a ten-game winning streak. But almost nothing went right for the Flames at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on February 24, and by the time the third period was seven-and-a-half minutes old, Calgary was behind 7-0—or a touchdown and an extra-point, in football vernacular.
It was shortly afterwards that Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool was given an official welcome by the Canucks, at which the Abbotsford, B.C. native was shown on the jumbotron over center ice, prompting him to chug the beverage he was holding in his left hand.
Claypool: ‘7 to 0 is a Touchdown Score!’
Shortly afterwards, the 23-year-old wideout was given a microphone so he could address the crowd of 18,857 at the arena.
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“7-0 is a touchdown score and I just want to say the Calgary Flames suck so bad,” intoned Claypool, before flashing the crowd a thumbs down.
According to Yahoo! Sports, that sentiment was met with full-throated approval by the assembled Canucks fans, who were inspired to begin a chant of “Calgary sucks!”
It was also met by a certain amount of criticism on social media, with one Twitter user pointedly referencing Claypool’s ill-advised first-down celebration against the Minnesota Vikings back in December 2021, in which he wasted precious seconds that might have allowed the Steelers to tie the game and send it into overtime.
2022 Will Be Pivotal for Chase Claypool
The 2022 season will be critical for the former second-round pick, who the Steelers selected No. 49 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame.
Claypool had a strong rookie season in which he recorded 62 receptions for 873 yards and nine touchdown catches, with another two TDs scored on the ground. His coming out party came at Heinz Field on October 11, 2020, when he scored four touchdowns in a 38-29 victory over the Eagles, which earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career.
But followed that up with a somewhat disappointing sophomore campaign in which he caught 59 passes for 860 yards but only two touchdowns, prompting questions about his performance in 2021.
Claypool has also been criticized for statements he has made in the media, including a back-and-forth dialogue with Cleveland players in the wake of Pittsburgh’s post-season loss to the Browns in January 2021.
But the Steelers will likely be counting on Claypool to produce in a big way in 2022, as three of the team’s top five wide receivers are unrestricted free agents: namely, former second-round picks JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington, as well as slot receiver/kick returner Ray-Ray McCloud.
As for the rest of Thursday night’s hockey game, the Flames avoided a shutout by scoring with 2:07 to go in the game, making the final score 7-1. The win raised Vancouver’s record to 25-22-6, good for sixth-place in the NHL’s eight-team Pacific Division. The loss lowered Calgary’s record to 30-14-6, yet the Flames remained in first place in the division.
Abbotsford is approximately an hour southeast of Vancouver.
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