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  • In the latest edition of the Weekend Read, we dive into the pleasures of junk food for NHL teams on the road, unearth a photo from Michael Jordan's college years and run down our favorite stories of the week.
By The SI Staff
February 14, 2019

No one told the rookie about the hot dogs.

Then again, maybe Stiles Burr should’ve known better. Steamed and served in the press lounge at Montreal’s Bell Centre, these chiens chauds are wildly popular among NHL circles, not only devoured by hungry scribes, scouts and scratches during intermission but relished (sorry) by visiting teams as a delicious postgame snack (it's all about the toasted bun).

But this was Burr’s first trip to Montreal as the Florida Panthers’ new manager of team services.

And he ordered pizza.

“Players were just in shock,” Burr says. “One guy was like, ‘I’ve never not had hot dogs after a game here.’”

Even in this grass-fed, farm-raised, gluten-free sports world, there is still a special place for the simple pleasures of junk food inside NHL locker rooms. Between packing up their gear, working out, receiving medical treatment, showering, dressing and bussing to the airport, players don’t have time for a full postgame meal until after boarding the plane. But hot dogs and pizza offer quick—and, perhaps more importantly, portable—calories. “When we went to Canada it was always Harvey’s Burgers,” says Panthers coach Bob Boughner, the ex-enforcer of 11 seasons. “That’s what we always cheated on. We cheated a lot more than these guys ever cheat now, back in the day.”

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Maybe. Turns out the guys cheat plenty nowadays, too. Indeed, it would be a waste to visit all those great cities on the league circuit and not sample the local cuisine. Like cheesesteaks in Philadelphia. Or wings in Buffalo. “Usually we’re finishing off a road trip in L.A. or Anaheim, so we end up getting In-N-Out after the game,” says Toronto’s Auston Matthews. “It’s a little treat.”

Indeed, the burger chain is a recurring favorite. When the Nashville Predators roll through California next month, for instance, odds are that one day they’ll come off the ice to find a surprise spread of some 50 double-cheeseburgers and hamburgers, and 50 orders of fries. Occasionally the team enjoys more involved options at the rink, like St. Louis toasted ravioli or Vancouver sushi. Equally common, though, are platters of wings from Anchor Bar or a couple greasy New York pies. “Pizza is a hot topic for us,” manager of hockey operations Brandon Walker says. “One thing that always pisses the guys off is if it’s cut into squares as opposed to slices.”

Seeing as great barbeque is available all over the team’s home city, Nashville doesn’t bother indulging on road trips. The same could not be said of the Florida Panthers earlier this season, when a few players were so tempted by the post-practice Dinosaur BBQ buffet of ribs, brisket, cheesy mac and cornbread in New Jersey that they loaded plates while still wearing their skates. Similarly, on the recommendation of former Blues winger T.J. Oshie, the Stanley Cup–champion Capitals crush Sugarfire Smokehouse if the schedule allows in St. Louis. Dallas captain Jamie Benn holds a sweet spot for “skillet cookies in Denver," while Minnesota center Eric Staal enjoys trips across the border, if only for Mr. Big candy bars and ketchup chips.

“Out in Vancouver, they usually leave us some beef jerky,” Staal says. “Then the hot dogs in Montreal …”

Ah, yes. The famous franks. Just ask Roberto Luongo. As it happens, he was also the Panthers goalie on the night of Burr’s grave omission in November 2016, backstopping a thrilling overtime win against the Canadiens and then bounding into the locker room, salivating over those toasted buns. After getting caught up to speed, Burr tried to place a rush order but the press room had ran out. Fortunately for everyone involved—especially considering that Florida and Montreal both compete in the same division—Burr has learned his lesson. Now he makes sure 100 hot dogs are delivered halfway during the third period. Just in case Luongo and the other players want to get a head start. — By Alex Prewitt

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Illustration by Oliver Mundy

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• Superstar trades can be inflection points for a franchise. They can also prompt awkward press conferences for the role players included in those deals, who are basically ignored—on stage—in front of an entire room. (By Jake Fischer)

• Ranking the NFL's neediest teams heading into free agency and the draft. (By Andy Benoit)

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• Presenting the Magic Eight: One of these teams will win the NCAA tournament in 2019. (By Dan Greene)

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Photo of the Week: Happy Birthday, MJ

We have a lot of photographs of Michael Jordan. A lot. Not to mention 50 covers, too. But for his 56th birthday this Sunday, let's roll it back to perhaps our most fun work with MJ. SI photographer Lane Stewart shadowed North Carolina star Michael Jordan around Chapel Hill's campus, into coach Dean Smith's office and ultimately ... to Jordan's dorm room, pictured above.

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There is a lot to break down here, from the opened umbrella indoors to his elaborate boombox setup to the giant CBS Sports ad plastered on the wall. Then there is the awkward dance pose he's striking for the camera. We're open to any guesses of what he was listening to.

Best of the Rest

Editor's note: Below are some of our favorite stories of the week not published by SI. This week's list is curated by Alex Prewitt.

• Joe Coscarelli and Melena Ryzik of the New York Times detail the "pattern of manipulative behavior" exhibited by singer-songwriter Ryan Adams toward female aspiring musicians.

• In the ongoing fight for pension reform among retired NFL players, lawyer Lisa-Marie Higgins—wife of legendary Washington running back John Riggins—is leading the charge, writes Patrick Hruby in the Washingtonian.

• Twelve women chronicle their first crushes for The Cut, resulting in a delightful list that ranges from ALF (twice) to a 5-year-old named Dougie.

• Read these horrifying eyewitness accounts from staffers at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the night that publisher John Robinson Block stormed into the newsroom. Then remember the indispensable importance of unions, guilds and labor empowerment.

• Over the past 12 months, at least 1,200 kids and teens have died in the U.S. due to gun violence. Their obituaries were written by more than 200 young journalists and compiled for the Since Parkland project, which went live two days before the anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Editor's note: What kind of stories and content would you like to see in the Weekend Read? Let's chat at SIWeekendRead@gmail.com.

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