Saturday, September 30, 2006

Fantasy Hockey

I have to admit that's a fantasy quite similar to the one I've had a time or three over the years, especially in my younger daze. I think most guys have probably had that one too... but with better "fantasy" endings. I mean, come on, what guy hasn't at one time or another fantasized about being the big stud player all the girls were after? Correct me if I'm wrong.

As far as those interested in the other kind of fantasy hockey, Sports Illustrated has a pretty good article by Ian Gooding on how to build competitive fantasy hockey club.
Just what strategies go into drafting a winning team? The most obvious one is to do your homework and determine which players will be the most successful based on past statistics and future projections. If you are on a Web site or using an offline publication that uses player rankings, it is always recommended that you create your own rankings. Because of the changes made to the game in the post-lockout era (the new NHL), many fringe players or players who had seen better days have now become fantasy superstars [...]

In what follows we will lay out a few different blueprints that you could choose to follow in your draft this season. The following tips are based upon a standard starting lineup which includes: two centers, two right wings, two left wings, four defensemen and two goalies.
Read more >>> HERE.

Personally, I prefer my kind of fantasy hockey better. But hey, whatever floats your boat. If it's about hockey... it's all good.

  • How to Play Fantasy Hockey
  • 2006-07 Fantasy Hockey Players on the Rise
  • NHL Fantasy: Breakout Candidates

  • Wednesday, September 27, 2006

    The Power of Hockey

    This coool little hockey promo comes from England and...

    The Manchester Storm

    I think it's one of the best I've ever seen. Just a touch of euro-weird but still better than anything I've come across on this side of the pond... so far.

    I'll be on the road and thus offline for a bit.

    Keep the faith. Hockey on...

    Puck Rock

    ...Crank it up!

    This blast of raw Hockey Rock & Roll comes from Norway and the band... Gluecifer.
    I Got War, Baby!

    Here's the rest of the... Puck Rock Videos ...collected here at Odd Man Rush so far.

    Another Big Wave of NHL Rookies Coming

    Because of the large number of rookies entering the league last season after the lockout year (2 years worth) it caused a log jam and some of those who would've naturally entered the NHL in 05/06 had to be sent back to the minors (or where ever) for another year of preperation. Thus the league this year will most likely be seeing another large influx of young puck talent.
    Last season, the NHL's rookie class was arguably the best ever, featuring an impressive combination of toptier talent and tremendous depth. From forwards Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin to defenseman Dion Phaneuf and Andrej Meszaros to goaltenders Henrik Lundqvist and Cam Ward, rookies stole the show from start to finish

    Of course, this plethora of stellar rookies arriving all at once was due in part to the 2004–05 lockout, which kept the league shuttered for an entire season. Essentially, two years' worth of rookies crowded into one freshman class, including Crosby and Ovechkin, two of the NHL's most highly touted prospects of all time. There were no fewer than 10 rookies who would have been worthy of Calder Trophy consideration in any other season [...]

    With so many talented rookies crowding the playing surface in 2005–06, there were a number of excellent prospects who were sent down for another year of seasoning. So it's quite possible that this year's freshman class will be nearly as impactful as last year's.
    Here's a look at one such rookie profiled in the above article that could be making an impact in the NHL this year after the extra year of "seasoning"...

    ALEXANDER RADULOV of the Nashville Predators

    With so much hockey talent having been blocked from entering the NHL because of the lockout year, this resulting wave of young players now coming in I think could very well further help the NHL successfully enter it's new era.

    Attack of the Zebras

    Part 2

    For those wondering how the NHL referees will be officiating this season after the league aggressively cracked down on obstruction last year... expect more of same, they will not be backing off the new standards.

    "Maintaining the standards of enforcement and continuing to improve officiating is a big focus this year," deputy commissioner Bill Daly told

    Here's why it shouldn't be as hard as people might imagine.

    First of all, NHL officials have never received as much praise as they have in the past 12 months.

    "Gary Bettman, [director of hockey operations] Colin Campbell and [director of officiating] Stephen Walkom, they get straight 'A' marks from my perspective," Anaheim GM Brian Burke recently told "It won't be hard to get people to buy into it this year. The game's gotten better. The fans like it better." [...]

    "We've got to stay the course. We've got to be as good or better as we were last year," Walkom said. "I was real pleased for the game. To see the game roar again was great."
    About the only change that will be made in the officiating this year will be an increased focus by the refs on penalizing diving.

    Oh, by the way the Zebras do actually attack sometimes, as this clown found out...

    I guess that could've been considered a boarding penalty.


    Tuesday, September 26, 2006


    ...not forgotten.

    Every year brings some retirements from the game and this year certainly is no exception.
    Robitaille and Detroit Red Wings legend Steve Yzerman are the most prominent among the players who won't be back on the ice for the 2006-07 campaign.

    Also retired are Keith Primeau and Eric Desjardins of the Philadelphia Flyers, tough guy Tie Domi of the Toronto Maple Leafs, winger Brian Savage of the Phoenix Coyotes and defenceman Eric Weinrich, who ended last season with the Vancouver Canucks.

    Goaltender Garth Snow retired as a player to sign on as general manager of the New York Islanders, while defenceman Bob Boughner left the Colorado Avalanche to concentrate on his ownership of the junior Windsor Spitfires with former teammate Warren Rychel.

    And journeyman Brad Bombardir has gone from playing defence to being director of community relations with the Minnesota Wild.
    Here's a look at a few of the notables we won't be seeing on the ice anymore in the NHL.

    Steve Yzerman

    Luc Robitaille

    Tie Domi

    Good luck and thanks for all the memories boys.

    Monday, September 25, 2006

    Puck Prospecting...

    Here's a look at a few of the top Hockey prospects out there and also a complete rundown on how the Top 50 are doing according to the experts at... Hockey'


    #6 Columbus Blue Jacket prospect Gilbert Brule.


    #15 Boston Bruin prospect Phil Kessel.


    #32 New York Islanders prospect Robert Nilsson
    (with a pretty freakin amazing shot)

    How's your team and it's prospects doing?

    Sunday, September 24, 2006

    Super Stanley

    The further adventures
    of the world's cooolest trophy

    "It's" in Stanley. Is it in you too?

    Man, I don't know how he does it? Party's hard with the NHL Champs half the year, public appearances for the rest... and still he finds time to rescue damsels in distress. The greatest trophy in ALL SPORTS I tell you. Don't even think about debating it because...
    "If you want greatness you've got to do whatever it takes."
    Stan the man
    ...and Stanley does whatever it takes... and more.

    He Always Has

    The evil cup (on the left side of the picture above) that throws Veronica off the building looks vaguely familiar ...but I'm not quite sure. Maybe it's the mustache.

    Nnnaaaaah, it couldn't be.

    Could it? Cup envy is a very powerful motive that has driven a lot of sport trophy's to try and become #1... by whatever means necessary.

    All have failed, just like this one will.

    Loooong live the King!

    Saturday, September 23, 2006

    The Fight Club

    ...on ice, is being shutdown.

    I'll let John tell you about his thoughts on the matter...

    The Vanishing Breed
    By John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting for

    I named my band after a hockey fight. Of course, that was more than 10 years ago -- the Golden Age.

    You remember the names ... or at least the nicknames: Rob Ray, Shane Churla, The Twister, The Grim Reaper.

    Every team had one, and on their respective slabs of ice these men were kings. They were more adored and despised than any Great One, Super Mario or Dominator perched between the pipes.

    My defining moment came hours after a Marty McSorley vs. Bob Probert classic...

    ...when a record-company president asked me to forsake my birth name for a band name. (Singer/songwriters were the kiss of death, he poked.)

    So came Five for Fighting. But that was then. Where has the goon gone? [...]

    Truth is, more than 260 NHL players got into at least one fight in 2005-06. But fighting is fading out of hockey, fading fast. Is this a good thing? Is it long overdue? It depends who you ask.

    This guy with the halo sitting on my right shoulder thinks so. He has to deal with his five-year-old son on game night.

    "Daddy, why are those players hitting each other?"

    "Uhh, they're just playing, Johnny. It's not real."

    "I thought fighting was bad."

    "It is, son. But this is different."

    "Why, Dad?"

    "Uhh. Come on, I'll buy you another puck."

    But the guy with the pointed tail perched on my broken left collarbone is steamed. He's the imp who gets caught up in the buzz when the coach sends his rough boy out to dance. He lives for, and through, a gladiator with an honor code who erases the pain of a bad game, allows a temporary respite from another losing season, or rips us away, if only for a minute, from the inevitable screws of life.

    And while we're at it, for some, that goon thing was a bum rap. Many of these heavies could play. Most were among the most articulate individuals the league had to offer. They were labor reps turned commentators, tireless leaders in charity and team outreach, and always, for what it's worth, the recipient of the most popular player award.
    Well John, you can tell your little boy that the guy with the halo on your right shoulder has won and at least as far as the NHL is concerned the days of the hockey enforcer are going, going... almost gone.

    But not forgotten.

    Friday, September 22, 2006

    Zen and the Art of Hockey

    ...with some sex and mystic mumbo jumbo thrown in too.

    A hockey mini-movie...

    Most of this film had been cut up and run as 30 sec. commercials during last season none of which I ever really cared for. Shown complete however, I'm pretty surprised because it's really not too bad, except for the chick locker room attendant/sage/sex object. But, then again that probably makes about as much sense as me throwing the maple leaf bikini clad babe into the story below. None. So call me a hypocrite (won't be the first or last time) but I'm leaving her in because as I've now learned from the locker room attendant/sage/sex object...
    "If you know the enemy
    and you know yourself need not fear."
    Thank you My NHL.

    Back to the Great White North ?

    Count me in...

    Is it time for the NHL at loooong last to return at least a couple of clubs to the games' ancestral Canadian home where love and support for the sport rules the land ?

    Alan Adams writing for thinks so and I tend to agree BUT I don't agree with which clubs he considers movable.
    ...the NHL should play to its strengths and move a couple of franchises north of the border. The NHL has nothing to lose and much to gain by going back to its roots.
    Consider the following:

    The Calgary Flames had 19,289 fans for their first preseason game last weekend. The Flames packed the Saddledome tighter than a sardine can on same day they depleted their stock of single seats for their 42 home regular-season games.

    The very next day in Winnipeg, the 15,000-plus seat MTS Centre was jammed full for an exhibition game between the Phoenix Coyotes (formerly the Winnipeg Jets) and Edmonton Oilers. The Jets moved to Phoenix in 1996, ending 17 years of NHL hockey in Winnipeg. There have been three other exhibition games in the city, but this was the first time the Coyotes have played in Winnipeg.

    The Toronto Maple Leafs players were in the midst of having their pre-camp medicals when the airwaves in the unofficial hockey capital of the world were buzzing with speculation whether the blue and white had what it takes to make the Stanley Cup playoffs next April.

    It's the same story in Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal.

    It's hockey, hockey, hockey, all the time.

    Raise your hand if you can guess which sport leads off the highlight package on the sports channels on televisions across the country night after night.

    Not baseball. Not football.

    Sports fans in Canada just aren't paying as much attention to NCAA football, MLB's playoff races, the NFL, golf, you name it, as they are paying to hockey.

    And the NHL won't be on the radar screens in the United States until the Super Bowl is over. League executives will argue otherwise, but...

    That's why the NHL has to look north and the sooner the better.

    (my emphasis)
    That being the case, the question now becomes: Which clubs do you move and where do you move them to?

    As hard as this may be for US hockey fans in some of these markets that might move to accept, it's an issue Canada (the home of Hockey) has had to deal with for quite some time now.

    I for one would love to see a couple teams make their way back home to the land of Hockey. I mean, come on, it is their game after all. It belongs there.

    As God intended.

    Winnipeg and Hamilton sound like good candidates at the moment to me. Although I'm real partial to the idea of Quebec getting a team back.

    Hockey Gone Wild # 7 a continuing series.

    Here's a classic NHL Gone Wild moment. Maybe the last one we'll ever see.

    Ottawa vs Philly 2004

    It was... a record setting night ...with bad blood that lingers to this day.

    Thursday, September 21, 2006

    Flames Win the Cup


    A renown computer simulation has the Calgary Flames downing the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup finals.

    The Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens are headed for the playoffs. The other four Canadian teams are not.

    Sports Interactive, a leader in the field of sports management games, simulated the 2006-07 NHL season for The Canadian Press using its NHL 2007 Eastside Hockey Manager PC game.

    The simulation game suggests it could be a special year in Calgary, where the Flames finish second in the Western Conference before a magical playoff run ends with them beating the New York Rangers to win the Stanley Cup.

    Newcomer Alex Tanguay wins the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP but it's captain Jarome Iginla who really makes the Flames burn.

    Iggy scores a league-best 63 goals and 125 points in the regular season and ensures this trip to the NHL final didn't end in heartbreak, as it did in 2004.

    It's enough to help rookie coach Jim Playfair win the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year at an NHL awards ceremony high on Calgary content. Tanguay (Hart Trophy, Lady Byng), Miikka Kiprusoff (Vezina Trophy) and Robyn Regehr (Norris Trophy) are all finalists for major trophies.

    The Habs are the best of the rest in Canada, finishing seventh in the Eastern Conference thanks in large part to a strong performance by captain Saku Koivu, bouncing back from a serious eye injury.

    Montreal loses in a seven-game first-round series by the Buffalo Sabres.

    Ottawa, Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto don't make the playoffs.

    Hmmmm, well it looks like it might be a big year for the Calgary Flames. If things do turn out well I wonder if they'll be putting together something as coool and hip as this again...

    I really hope they do. That's classic stuff. Man, I can't believe they got Tim Hunter to play along. It's so bad... it's kind of cool.

    Well, kind of... sort of.

    Naaaaah, what am I saying and who the hell am I kidding? But it is pretty freakin funny.

    Who says hockey players can't groove ? Who?


    hockeygirl (a Flames fan) sends along this inspired response to the above video.... (stay with it till the 1:05 mark then it gets good, although I'm sure hg would probably say the whole clip rocks).

    Muchas gracias hockeygirl.

    Wednesday, September 20, 2006

    Unemployment Line Grows For Enforcers

    Some teams are now going without any.
    CALGARY, Alberta — The days of Paul Laus, Peter Worrell and Darcy Hordichuk are no more. For the first time in their 13-year history, the Panthers have no enforcer on their training-camp roster. And they're not alone.

    The Philadelphia Flyers, who had as many as a half-dozen tough guys during their "Broad Street Bullies" era 30 years ago, let Donald Brashear sign with Washington this summer. Edmonton let Georges Laracque, reputed to be the best of the breed, sign with Phoenix, even though Laracque said he would take $200,000 less to remain an Oiler.

    Why the trend? Many general managers believe that the speed and skill of the so-called "new NHL" makes it impractical to reserve a spot - even on the fourth line - for a player who can fight but can't contribute offensively and keep up defensively.

    "If you're going to have a guy on your team he's got to be able to play," Edmonton GM Kevin Lowe said. "We have team toughness, so we think we'll be all right."

    The Panthers' coach and GM, Jacques Martin, feels the same way. "I don't think our team needs one," he said.

    Some of his players aren't so sure [...]

    Gratton favors having an enforcer whose main responsibility is standing up for his teammates.

    "It allows everyone to play bigger," he said. "During the course of an 82-game schedule you're going to get in certain situations and create certain rivalries, and it's always nice to have it."

    Now, having an on-ice policeman is considered a luxury.
    "It's frustrating when you go into games and guys are challenging you because they know they aren't going to have to deal with anyone else," Gratton said [...]

    ...Just Tuesday, longtime Toronto tough guy Tie Domi, 36, retired after finding no work this season. Calgary has let go of Chris Simon, and Chris Dingman, whose role in Tampa Bay last season included protecting Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards, is unemployed, too.

    "If you're going to have a tough player, he's got to be able to play," Dudley said. "Because in today's hockey, you really don't need to fight if you don't want to."

    Statistics bear that out. In 2003-04, before the rules changes that put an emphasis on skill and speed, there were 0.64 fights per game. Last season, that number fell to 0.38. The number of games with fights fell from 506 in 2003-04 to 357 last season. Games with more than one fight dropped from 172 to 80.

    Still, as Jokinen said, every team has to decide whether it has room for an enforcer. Not having one, he said, "puts a lot of pressure on our bigger guys, the guys who can fight but who aren't known as fighters.

    "You want to keep your best players on the ice. When your toughest players are also your best players, that's tough."

    (my emphasis)
    Enforcers, going... going...


  • Tie Domi Drops Gloves For Good
  • Old-school enforcers a dying breed in NHL

  • A Puck Promotion Gone Bad

    ... very ...very ...bad.

    Hey, I'm as much a hardcore hockey fan as the next guy but even the oddman has his limits. Urinal diving for pucks is one them.

    EARLIER THIS YEAR, GREENSPON ADVERTISING Southeast created and executed an ad buy in men's urinals throughout 50 bars and restaurants in Charlotte, N.C. promoting the ECHL hockey team, the Charlotte Checkers. The campaign simply featured a Charlotte Checkers branded hockey puck in the urinal. That's all. Nothing more.

    The campaign got out of hand, however, and made its way into dirty hands when the hockey pucks started disappearing.

    That's right; people were stealing the hockey pucks. This is disgusting on so many levels--but the agency didn't skip a beat and launched a mock PSA playing off the dirty puck thefts. Interestingly enough, the agency had trouble getting the pucks placed in the urinals in the first place. But no trouble getting them out.

    (my emphasis)
    Now THAT'S some very hardcore hockey fans. Like I said it's not the kind of opportunity I would reach (in) for but it's good to see there are some crazy puck fans down there in NASCAR country that would.

    I guess it's a good sign for hockey.

    Tuesday, September 19, 2006

    Puck Rock

    In a perfect world where I was programming Mtv the music selections would all be about...

    (come on, what else is there?)

    Alas, this ain't no perfect world. However, in the alternate hockey reality of this blog... Puck Rock Rules!

    and always will...
  • Greatest Hits - Songs of Hockey
  • Forest & Crispian - The Goalie Song
  • Dale Hawerchuk
  • Big League - Tom Cochran
  • Here's Tom doing "Big League" live for a ESPN awards show...

    (it's the same with this one... if you have trouble with the video stopping & starting, pause it for a little bit and let the red video bar load about half-way, then play it)

    My search for the finest videos (actually any will do) in Puck Rock continues...

    Rock On!

    ...and on.

    Monday, September 18, 2006

    Dangerous Curves Ahead...

    for goalies and their GAA's.

    By changing the curvature rule on sticks the NHL just made it legal for many european players, like Alexander Ovechkin for instance... to now use their #1 offensive weapon of choice. The one they're most experienced, comfortable and talented with. All I can say is...

    It's just a fraction of an inch. But the difference for Alex Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals' star winger, could be immeasurable.

    On Thursday, the NHL approved a rule change that increases the maximum curvature for players' stick blades to three-quarters of an inch, up from the traditional half inch.

    Although it may not sound like much, Ovechkin predicts it will give him and other Europeans an edge. They grew up playing under International Ice Hockey Federation rules, which permit a curve close to the NHL's new standard. (The IIHF measures in centimeters.)

    "You will see this season when my new sticks come," Ovechkin said, grinning mischievously.

    Increased curve allows Ovechkin to put more velocity on his already hard shot, launch the puck higher from close range, and control it better in traffic [...]

    Capitals General Manager George McPhee also welcomed the increase, saying it was the fair thing to do.

    "It's good for Alex and it's good for European players because that's what they grew up with," he said. "It didn't seem fair to have these players, as kids, get accustomed to these sticks, grow up with them, develop with them, then come here and have to cut back. We want more scoring in the game and it didn't seem right that we would penalize players like Alex."

    (my emphasis)
    Yeah, right on dude, we don't want to be doing anything to penalize or hold back the Michael Jordan of Hockey. Smart move... good call.

    Man, I can't believe how exciting it could be this year with players like Alex using their natural sticks. It might even top what we saw last year now that he and others have even more control and velocity on their shots...

    With changes like stick curvature happening it's goin to be hell on the goalies again this year.

    Poor goalies...

    ...sniff, sniff.

    Saturday, September 16, 2006

    The Odd Man Rush Film Festival

    ...comes to a end.

    I don't believe it's legal to throw a puck film festival, especially an inaugural one, without honoring the following film. So, with that in mind, we bring this first festival to a close with a few clips from that much beloved all time puck classic...

    Slap Shot
    ...a 1977 Hollywood film starring Paul Newman and Michael Ontkean and directed by George Roy Hill. The film is based on a book written by Nancy Dowd, based in part on her brother Ned Dowd's experiences playing minor league hockey in the United States in the seventies, during which time violence, especially in the low minors, was the selling point of the game.

    The movie has had an enduring impact on hockey culture. Key lines of script are frequently quoted, some of its terms entering the hockey lexicon outright. Its enduring popularity can be seen in the fact that replica Chiefs jerseys from the movie remain popular sellers, and that the "Hanson Brothers" (hockey players Steve Carlson, Jeff Carlson and Dave Hanson) have made permanent careers out of touring as their personas from the movie.

    more >>> here.

    So, with the cheers of those hockey loving fans from that last scene still ringing in our ears we bring to a close the first Odd Man Rush Film Festival . Most likely we'll do it again sometime down the road. I must say though, this first one seemed to go quite well. I hope to see you all at the after-party to celebrate. It promises to be a blast, everybody will be there (except Paris). Please try to stop by...

    If they hassle you at the door just tell them your invitation comes from Keyser Söze. Those are the magic words.

    *** If your interested...Here's a fairly comphrehensive list of all the hockey movies ever made (I didn't spot any they missed, maybe you can) ....We featured a few of them this time around but as you can see we got a loooooong way to go and a lot of Hockey films out there to track down for future installments of Odd Man Film Fests. If you find any clips out there in your travels through the internets let me know. I'd appreciate it greatly.

    The Rocket

    The inner hockey muse suggested to me this afternoon over several pints at the local micro-brewery that a triple feature would be a most excellent way to wrap up our little puck film festival here. So, who am I to argue?

    We'll start with honoring a recent film that looks at a controversial hockey hero and a personal favorite of mine. These are scenes from that movie... The Rocket: The Maurice Richard Story.

    ... the film recreates the brutal atmosphere of pre-helmet, tiny-equipment 1950s professional hockey, akin to what Martin Scorsese did with 1950s boxing in Raging Bull. You get the same isolated sounds and images of violence in the crushing body checks and on-ice fights as you do in the boxing scenes in Raging Bull.

    Ultimately, however, The Rocket shares more in common with films such as Cinderella Man or Rocky in the sense the protagonist becomes a symbol for the working class
    Full review >>> here.

    Speaking of Maurice "the Rocket" Richard, here's a classic canadian hockey story that's been masterfully animated in which the Rocket plays a central role... The Sweater. has become one of the best known works of literature in Canada. It was made into a National Film Board of Canada (NFB) animated short in 1980, known as The Sweater, or Le Chandail. The short is often shown, in both French and English, to elementary school students, making it very well known amongst Canadian youth.

    The story is widely considered an allegory for the linguistic and cultural tensions between anglophone and francophone Canadians, and an essential classic of Canadian literature. An excerpt from the story is now also commemorated in both official languages of Canada on the back of the Canadian five-dollar bill
    We'll be back with the final presentation of the First Odd Man Rush Film Festival after a short intermission...

    Friday, September 15, 2006

    A Short Film

    involving Hockey ....of course.

    Well, it looks like a hockey film festival is what's taking shape here this weekend at Odd Man Rush. At least that's the direction my inner hockey muse seems to be pointing me... I think. It certainly wasn't planned (nothing around here is) it's just the way things are headed. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow of what "the internets" mysteriously drop at your feet. This seems to be such a time. Plus, I got nothing else to blog about. Anyways, it started the other day with a post of the classic "Hockey Homicide" cartoon and I thought that was that, but today, out of no where (well Minnesota actually) drops this fascinating trailer for the hockey themed short film called.....


    I think it's a pretty coool short hockey film/trailer with a classic song and some very, very well shot puck action. And when you think about it, what else do you really need in a movie?
    The movie is about a hockey player whose coach helps him realize he must reestablish a relationship with his alcoholic mother before he can expect success on the ice.
    First thing I remember was askin papa, why? ,
    For there were many things I didnt know.
    And daddy always smiled; took me by the hand,
    Sayin, someday youll understand
    Michael James Anderson '03 is the producer for Stillwater, his thesis project for a master's program at Chapman University's Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts near Los Angeles.

    More >>> here. (scroll down)
    Good job Michael, I give it two thumbs up.

    Ok, so now we have a short film to go with the cartoon. We have to have one more to complete the hat trick... the feature.

    Any thoughts out there from anyone on what we should finish off this hockey film mini-fest with... _______ ? If not I'll leave it up to the inner hockey muse to make the call. It makes a lot of decisions for me these days and in general seems to be taking over more and more of my life again as we get ever closer to the new season. Soon I'll be totally consumed.

    Ahhhh, the bliss.

    Thursday, September 14, 2006

    Puck Toons

    Old Time Hockey... Disney Style.

    Hockey Homicide (1945)

    Hockey Homicide” might be the most accurate and faithful recreation of the sport ever put on film.
    Outside of “Slap Shot”, of course

    The names of all the players are named after various members of the Disney production staff who worked on the film.

    Referee - Scorer
    Clean Game Kinney - Myron Nelson

    Moose Roster - Pelican Roster
    Kewpie Nichols - Zip Zinnen
    Slugger Hannah - Tiger Adelquist
    Swede Larson - Bullet Sibern
    Catfish Nolley - Lightning Shaw
    Ice Box Bertino - Fearless Ferguson
    Moose Williams - Wildcat Karpe
    Killer Kahl - Iron Pants Dunham
    Hurricane Smith - Butch King
    Terror Sibley - Bomber Nordberg
    Jack Boyd - Speed Peed
    Spike Riley - Dippy Dynan

    "Here come Bertino and Ferguson out of the penalty box.... and there go Bertino and Ferguson back into the penalty box."

    A true classic.

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    Hockey Season Has Begun

    In the parrallel puck universe of virtual reality hockey... the contest is on.

    NHL 2K7 vs NHL 07
    Combo Launch their new Hockey games
    I'd like to take a moment to personally thank 2K and EA, for not putting us through the horror of posting two news items about the latest installments in their respective NHL series. Although we could have separated them, NHL 2K7 and NHL 07 were both released yesterday in the US, so we might as well save us some time here.

    Here's a review of NHL 07.
    As current-gen sports titles are devolving into budget titles, it's clear EA has its focus set squarely on its 360 hockey title. But even though NHL 07 looks and feels nearly identical to NHL 06, it remains a fun hockey game, if a bit on the arcade side.

    The controls are tight, especially shooting. We would like to see the checking system tweaked a bit so players aren't so magnetic. Great puck physics make for exciting, organic goal scoring.

    The Dynasty mode has nice depth but the online options are still not where they need to be for sports fans. The franchise's strength is still in a multiplayer game with you and a friend, head-to-head, like old-school NHL 94.

    (crazy delicious gameplay?)

    Here's a 2K7 review.
    NHL 2K7 is the total package. The gameplay is solid and smooth even if it is still very similar to older titles in the franchise. Visually, 2K Sports harnesses the power of the 360, resulting in excellent animations, frame-rate and great-looking cutscenes. The new Cinemotion presentation, while not a giant leap forward, is a great touch that gives you the choice between TV broadcast and inspirational hockey movie. The dynamic score works well enough, although it could be a bit louder. The crowd noise is a bit of a disappointment and hurts the overall atmosphere. Online, 2K Sports continues to lead the pack with online leagues and franchises and stat tracking. While NHL 07 features an excellent gameplay innovation with the skill stick, NHL 2K7 is the most complete, all-around hockey title on the 360.
    Although I'm fascinated by the new stick control system of NHL 07 my pick of the two would have to be NHL 2K7. I've played the other recent installments of this series and have had a blast... and I'm not even into video games nor am I what you'd call a traditional "gamer". Although I will "play" hurt, if your talkin old school definition of the word.

    Here's another pretty good 2K7 preview.

    If your looking for a really, really in-depth look at and a demonstration of NHL 07 and it's many innovations. This is it...

    Game on...

    ...and on.

    The Unknown Enforcer... Identified

    Finally, mystery solved. After more than a month of being on the run from a assault on a BC security guard the identity of the former NHL enforcer has been released. However, Sasha Lakovic, the accused, is still loose and on the run.
    A former NHL tough guy, who has been charged in a high-profile assault in the Vernon Best Western Lodge, has yet to turn himself in.
    On Aug. 8 a hotel security guard was attacked. A day later, police said a former professional hockey player was suspected in the assault but did not release his name - fuelling speculation in the media across the province as to the identity of the mystery player.
    Police have now announced they've issued a warrant for ex-Calgary Flame and current Kelowna resident Sasha Lakovic, 35, and charged him with assault causing bodily harm and uttering threats.
    Vernon RCMP Cpl. Henry Proce said that police have yet to talk to Lakovic.
    Proce said police have made attempts to contact him, but is unsure if they've gone and knocked on Lakovic's front door.
    "He's aware police are looking for him," Proce said. "He's probably gone to whatever team has hired him for the season."
    In early August a guest at the Vernon Best Western Lodge grabbed a security guard, pulled him into a room and punched him repeatedly in the face. Proce said the 43-year-old security guard suffered minor injuries, including a black eye.
    Police said the beaten guard had gone to Lakovic's room twice to ask him to keep the noise down or he would be thrown out of the hotel. Lakovic's girlfriend and children were in the room with him, police said.
    Lakovic spent parts of three seasons in the NHL with the Calgary Flames and New Jersey Devils, racking up 118 penalty minutes in just 37 games.
    Here's what I believe is Sasha's most famous NHL moment where he dives over the glass to get at a fan that had just dumped a brewski on Calgary assistant coach Guy Lapointe's head. Sounds like from the commentary that the obviously over served Edmonton fan had telegraphed this move from the first period. I believe Stevie Wonder could've seen this one coming.

    Hmmmm, maybe the guy Sasha went after in that clip is now the security guard he nailed in BC last month. Enforcers have damaged but very looooooong memories of past slights and infractions... they never forget to settle accounts.

    The police say they are unsure if they've gone and knocked on Lakovic's front door.
    "He's aware police are looking for him," Proce said. "He's probably gone to whatever team has hired him for the season."
    Gee guys, although I'm no professional police officer (but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night) two ideas immediately come to my mind as to how to locate him. Try knocking on his freakin door OR contact teams that might be interested in hiring him.

    Feel free to contact the Oddman if you need any other pointers. I'm full of them.

    Actually, come to think of it, friends and family have always said, I'm just full of it... period.

    But, I got to tell ya, seriously, God Bless Canada, where for a minor assault they keep your name secret for months, then leave it up to you to come on in to the community sin bin... at your convenience. They don't even come knock on your door or check for you at work.... AND their national sport is Hockey.

    It's the last civilized place on earth.

    Tuesday, September 12, 2006

    The Bigger Nets Experiment

    The NHL toyed a little with some different versions of larger nets during last seasons pre-camp sessions and this year they're back at it again.
    The future has been on display at the Ricoh Coliseum for the last few days -- and not just in the form of players.

    Granted, the rookies are there for a four-team tournament, but perhaps more importantly, the games are being played using the wider net that is almost certainly destined to come to the National Hockey League [...]

    So, if you believe that after a full season, the players finally have realized that the crackdown is here to stay, then you also have to believe that there will be fewer power plays. And therefore, the scoring drought will once again be a problem.

    Anticipating this development, the league is evaluating further changes that will improve the offensive aspect of the game. That is why the experiment with the larger nets is under way. They are eight inches wider than the standard six feet, and are six inches higher.

    That extra six square feet should provide the scoring increase that most fans covet. But if the league decides to make these nets a part of the regular season, there will be an inevitable backlash from the purists. Although roughly 80% of the fans approved of last year's rule changes, there were still some vocal critics.

    (my emphasis)
    You betcha there'll be some vocal critics. Lots of them.

    But I won't be one of them. Personally, I feel the time has come.

    A Message of Thanks...

    from some people with a real puckish sense of humor.

    Oooouch, that one's got to hurt, it may have even left a bruise.

    However, on a related note that should be filed under... he who laughs last, laughs best.

    NHL Owners Owe the Players Money
    One year into the new economic order of the NHL and it's the league that owes money to the NHL Players' Association, not the other way around, as was initially expected.

    Sources tell TSN the league did not spend 54 per cent of hockey-related revenue (HRR) in the first year of the new collective bargaining agreement and must now make up the difference to the NHLPA, as per the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement.

    While the final calculations have not yet been done, sources suggest the amount could be in the $35 million to $40 million range, although the precise amount will depend upon the final calculation for HRR for the first year [...]

    The fact the league owes the players money, and not the other way around, comes as a surprise only because in the midst of last season it looked as though the players might be owing a considerable amount - between 10 and 15 per cent of their salaries - as part of the escrow that is established if it looks as though the league is spending more than 54 per cent of HRR on player costs.

    But because the revenue by season's end was much greater than originally pegged coming out of the lockout, the league ended up spending less than 54 per cent. Just as the players must pay escrow if the league overspends, the league must provide a "top-up" payment if it falls short.

    Who's laughing now?

    Monday, September 11, 2006

    9-11 and Hockey

    Today we here at Odd Man Rush remember those who lost their lives on that terrible day five years ago who either played or were associated with Hockey.

  • Ace Bailey

    "He was such a unique guy, and it was a unique experience playing for that team," said Roulston, a financial adviser in Wichita. "We were so laden with talent, a little bit larger than life. And that was Ace, too, a little bit larger than life."

    "Ace was full of life, and that's what made it more painful," Roulston said. "You want to have someone like that around as long as possible. That's someone you just don't want to lose."

  • Mark Bavis

    Mark Bavis, 31, was heading from Boston to the Kings' training camp in El Segundo to begin his second season with the organization. Three months earlier, on his recommendation, the Kings had drafted Mike Cammalleri, whose feistiness echoed Bavis' tenacity as a college and minor-league player.

    "Mark was very professional, very focused, very determined," said Dave Taylor, then the Kings' general manager, now involved in player development. "I know he'd attended a lot of leadership conferences and had mentored kids in high school, and also at Boston University."

  • Members of The FDNY Hockey Club

    Sports isn't supposed to be life and death, but players in the 26-team Remembrance Tournament, in Hackensack, N.J., know it can be. Hockey saved some of their lives.

    An untold number were scheduled to work Sept. 11, 2001, but swapped so they could attend the start of hockey practice and tryouts that morning. Even though none made it to practice, instead responding to the emergency, many arrived after both towers collapsed.

    By then, some of those covering their shifts had died.

    "There are guys that carry that around with them, guys that feel the 'it should have been me' type of mentality," Fortunato said.

    For all the firefighters, this tournament was a chance to "turn the corner" after years of grieving, Fortunato said.

    "It also brings back memories of the guys that used to skate with us that were lost five years ago," he said. "As we gather back together, the stories surface again and we kind of resurrect them - now I guess with smiles instead of the tears we shed a few years back."
  • May God bless and bring peace to all those who have suffered so much.

    Sunday, September 10, 2006

    Grapes of Wrath

    Mr. Non-traditional, Don "Grapes" Cherry is still going strong.

    Don Cherry refuses to be predictable
    by George Gross
    Controversy has followed Cherry all the way into the television booth. Last year, when it appeared the CBC might not renew his contract, thousands of e-mails and phone calls made the network brass aware that Grapes was indeed a valuable commodity when it came to the ratings.

    Even early in his contract with Hockey Night in Canada, the brass objected to his language and asked Ralph Mellanby, then executive producer of HNIC to drop him. Mellanby, who discovered Cherry, told his bosses: 'If you want to drop him, you might as well drop me.'

    The CBC brass retreated that time, as well.

    And if it hadn't, the late Harold Ballard would have gotten into the act, too. He told the CBC: 'If you fire Cherry, don't bother setting up for Saturday's broadcast at Maple Leaf Gardens."

    Today, at 72, Don Cherry is looking forward to the season's first installment of Coach's Corner [...]

    Everybody is in love with the new NHL hockey," Cherry said. "I'm sure that love affair will not only continue, but may intensify. If I was still coaching, I would practice only special assignments -- killing penalties and setting up power-plays. That is all that is needed."
    On a personal note, Don Cherry has taught me all I need to know about fashion. The man is simply a genius.


    Long live the King!

    Saturday, September 09, 2006

    The Super League

    ...and it's super players.

    The Russian Super League is considered by most, if not all puck experts to be the #2 Hockey league in the entire world. Here's a look at some of the world class puck action that you can find there...

    In recent years there's been a noticeable decline in the number of Russians entering the NHL due to the Russian Hockey Federation's refusal to sign the IIHF transfer agreement and due to changes which were made in the collective bargaining agreement. Nevertheless great hockey talent continues to come out of Russia and the Super League. has a great look at some of that young Russian talent. Some of which will be entering the league this year AND some of which are deciding to return to Russia from the NHL. Yeah, it's a two way street.

    Here's some of that young Russian hockey talent mentioned in the article that will be making it's way to the NHL this year.

    Hopefully the many issues and problems between the Russian league and the NHL will be solved so that the North American league continues to be the premier showcase for the best hockey talent in the world. Personally though, I think a war for players is developing between Europe and the NHL that's being helped along by the new CBA that's forcing a lot of top flight talent to either flee the NHL or stay in Europe to begin with. It's definitely a developing trend. How it all shakes out long term obviously remains to be seen but as of now I don't think it's good trend for the NHL. It only helps the challengers to the leagues' prominence grow stronger and it also helps those rival leagues to be increasingly seen by NHL players squeezed by the new CBA as attractive and lucurative alternatives. The leagues in Europe are loooong established and fairly solid. They're not like the upstart expansion leagues that tried to challenge the NHL, NFL and NBA and failed... or succeeded, depending on your point of view in that a merger eventually happened. Because in the end it was about those major leagues retaining the talent that was leaving for their rivals and hurting their "product". That's what I see happening here eventually, a merger leading to a... NHL Europe ...someday. With a Stanley Cup Playoffs and Finals that would bring world wide interest, sponsors and media coverage to the league... every year. Like they've never seen before.

    Hockey Rock

    .....I want my mullet back.

    With special guest appearances by... the Hanson bros.

    The official haircut of puckheads everywhere.

    I'm growing mine back.

    Friday, September 08, 2006

    Hockey Gone Wild #6 a continuing series.

    A few old time classics from a bygone era.

    Speaking of fighting and enforcers, the Unknown Enforcer who is wanted by the Canadian police for beating up a security guard in BC last month is still unidentified... and still on the loose. There's some entertaining discussion and speculation going on over at as to who it might or might not be.

    Thursday, September 07, 2006

    The Meat Market

    Well, that's what some call this youth hockey system... the meat market. Others call it child labour. Still others are calling it indentured servitude.

    However, most of us only know it by it's given name.... Canadian Junior Hockey.
    The shock is that the Canadian junior hockey system continues to be a haven for predators bent on exploiting the boys and girls growing up in this hockey-mad country [...]

    In Canadian minor hockey, the most talented -- or fastest maturing -- players are separated from their peers at a young age. By 10, the elite players are elevated above those in house league and by 14 and 15, the best players are drafted and sent away to junior teams far from home.

    For example, this year Landon Ferraro from Vancouver was drafted by the Red Deer Rebels. His hockey career is now essentially owned by the managers of a team located more than 1,100 km from his home. At the time of the draft he was 14 years old.

    Removed from their families, elite youth players are lavished with attention by local, and sometimes, national media, fawned over by adoring fans, and immersed in a male-dominated culture where older men control their lives. Former sportswriter and current Globe and Mail columnist Roy MacGregor calls it "child labour."

    "Canada bans rugs from Persia, for example, because those very expensive rugs can only be made by children with their small hands being able to tie those very tiny knots," MacGregor told me in a recent interview.

    "Tell me what the difference is between that little kid in old Persia and a 14-year-old kid who has basically been taken away from his parents, is now subject to being traded, can be sent away, and works essentially for no pay or for basically pocket money for a profit-oriented business. That's junior hockey."

    (my emphasis)
    Many believe it's loooong past time for this system running and in some cases ruining young hockey lives with various abuses, needs to be reformed. I agree. Read the complete article by Andy Prest, writing for the Vancouver Sun.

    Greatest Hits - Songs of Hockey

    "Body Check of Love"
    ... and more.

    I know that there is a woman just for me
    A girl, who likes to play hoc-key
    Six-foot-five and really tough
    She likes to slap me with her stick, she likes it rough
    Body check of love
    Ohhh, I just can't get enough
    Oh, when ya, you do it nice
    Break my butt upon the ice
    Body check, body check of love.

    Hey, it's a slow news day.

    Odds & Ends

  • Fewer Quebecers Playing in the NHL

  • New NHL 2K7 Details Emerge

  • Montreal Canadiens Planning Feature Movie

  • Eastern Conference Preview

  • Think you know Hockey?

  • OLN is Changing it's Name

  • Wednesday, September 06, 2006

    NHL Rookie Race 2006/07

    ...for the Calder Trophy

    Most think this guy in the video below will be the runaway winner. You might have heard of him. He's been in the news a lot lately.

    Yeah well, most last year thought Crosby would be the runaway winner. So, I'm not sold yet on Evgeni, as good as he is, running away with it. Especially with others on the list below having stronger supporting casts helping them than he has.

    Hockey Futures has a breakdown and analysis of the 2007 rookie class and the players they think will give Evgeni a run for the Calder.
    2. Wojtek Wolski (COL)
    3. Patrick O’Sullivan (LA)
    4. Hannu Toivonen (BOS)
    5. Matt Carle (SJ)
    6. Gilbert Brule (CBJ)
    7. Alexander Radulov (NAS)
    8. Dustin Penner (ANA)
    9. Jiri Hudler (DET)
    10. Robbie Schremp (EDM)
    For a in-depth look and analysis of these Hockey Futures top picks in the race for the 2006/07 Calder Trophy go >>> here.

    Personally, I'm pulling for Wojtek Wolski... but then again I'm biased.

    Monday, September 04, 2006

    Apuckalyse Now

    (yeah, I changed the original title upon suggestion)

    This one's a homegrown music video done to the punk tune... Justifiable Fisticuffs by Street Dogs. It's a good one to slam dance with your "partner" to... as you'll see.

    I'll give you just one guess as to what's it about.

    This one goes out to my friends over at, especially the guys helping me (slapz) plan a hockey trip to Quebec this fall to see the running of the bulls... aaah, no, I mean the fighting of the bulls in the LNAH. Some (family & friends) I know are calling this trip of mine to... "the roughest hockey league in the world" simply a journey into hockey's heart of darkness. My wife (puck fan, expedition supporter, movie buff & comedian) has recently taken to calling it my Apuckalyse Now, this journey into a foreign land in search of the now bald little guy who once took on the best the NHL had to offer and more than held his own (at least he faired much, much better than the dude the "boogieman" layed out in that night club parking lot in Regina earlier this month, but I digress),... he's the one they referentially call... Mirasty ... the "Nasty". He's up there somewhere (Sorel ?). So yeah, I guess she's right, like Cpt. Willard heading up river in search of Kurtz in Apocalyse Now, maybe this is my Apuckalyse Now. My journey. But hey, so what, we all should take a journey now and then... it's healthy.

    Pick your passion.

    Anyways, ever since seeing the DVD Les Chiefs I've wanted to make a pilgrimage to this region to catch a Habs game, see the Quebec area and experience the LNAH. The primal, elemental and yes brutal ancient subculture of old time, small barn hockey that I grew up with back in the 60's and 70's with the old eastern leagues but whose style has faded from much of todays game.

    CLICK the Pic ^

    Yeah, it's one of my guilty pleasures. Everyone's got one, right ? At least one. Don't you?

    Come on, I bet you do.

    Sunday, September 03, 2006

    Hockey Rinks as Huge Video Screens

    You got to check this out. It's pretty crazy... but kind of cool.

    With the way many of the NHL franchises continue to push the envelope with the high-tech video and light presentations at their rinks these days, this idea demonstrated in the video below, isn't all that far-fetched. No, we're not talking about glowing pucks here folks, we're talking about ........glowing ice.

    The narrator is kind of a hoot in this too... "tragictory of the puck" ?

    I don't see how it could work considering the ice gets all chewed up pretty fast after the start of each period and looses it's translucence AND the goalies would scream bloody murder saying it would distract them... BUT does show the direction things are headed with high-tech hockey game presentation in the 21st century.

    Video hockey games looking more and more like real hockey games... Real hockey games looking more and more like video hockey games. Eventually I guess, the way things are headed... the two will merge.


    NHL Arena Rankings

    A few years back a couple of good buddies, who are sports nuts, Peter Farrell and Andrew Kulyk, decided to roam the land far and wide to visit every NHL venue (actually every sports venue period) and report on what they found. They judged and ranked the arenas according to a number of categories....
  • Architecture
  • Concessions and team store
  • Scoreboard and electronics
  • Ushers and game day staff
  • Fan enthusiasm and support
  • Location
  • Retired numbers, banners and history
  • Event presentation
  • Fan comfort and concourses
  • Extra bonus points
  • Here's some of the results...




    I think you might be surprised who they chose... #1.

    Check out their complete NHL rankings >>> here. If you want to read Peter's and Andrew's complete and in-depth reviews of individual arenas, click on the team logo after you link to the rankings page.

    Saturday, September 02, 2006

    Do You Live in a Hockey Town?

    A lot of people think they do but do they really ?

    Terry Frei writing for looks into this question of much debate and gives us his own thoughts and criteria on the subject of... What's a Hockey Town ?
    So, many years after first pondering the subject, here are my additional standards for what constitutes a (good) hockey town:

    -- At least one radio sports talk show host in town can discuss who should play the point on the power play [...]

    -- The fan next to you who knows the life story of every player, can give you the rundown of the organizational prospects in the AHL and in college, and perhaps can excoriate the opposing winger in a voice that can peel paint, is just as likely to be female as male. Or maybe more likely.

    -- The hats are thrown on the ice before the puck is fished out of the net.

    -- Fans have come to understand the differences between Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. And when a writer or broadcaster is stupid enough to call a Slovak a Czech, the e-mails pile up [...]

    -- Fans spot the too-many-men-on-the-ice infractions, even the non-obvious ones, and are pointing and yelling before the calls are made.

    -- No one is surprised when the anthem singer first breaks into "O Canada" before the game against Edmonton.

    -- Fans care not only because they're in fantasy leagues and/or otherwise gamble on the games.

    -- Kate Smith is be best remembered for "God Bless America."

    -- A bar with a current or former hockey player's name on the sign can be a popular hangout, rather than a one-way ticket to failure.

    -- "Shut-ins" who haven't been to a game for years, if ever, circle the games in red on the TV schedule, watch every darned one and come to feel as if they know the fourth-line winger because he's always willing to talk between periods with a towel around his neck.

    -- The goalie can't go to the mall … or if he does, he signs autographs before heading into the Sharper Edge.

    -- If a disc jockey says "Five for Fighting" or "Barenaked Ladies" is next up, hockey fans get excited, and not because two enforcers brawling or a soundtrack from the Folies Bergere is on tap. They're about to hear from some of their own.

    Yeah, I tend to agree with Terry's criteria. How's your town rate? Sadly my own town is not a Hockey Town BUT Hockey in general is very much alive and well out there and there's an ever growing number of places becoming Hockey Towns throughout the land. For instance did you know that for awhile there were more minor hockey league teams in Texas than in Canada? Yep, and now it's even spreading to the traditional football colleges deep in the heart of the lone star state.

    The spreading of Hockey... it's a beautiful thing.

    Friday, September 01, 2006

    Hockey Gone Wild #5 a continuing series.

    In this installment of HGW Toronto enforcer Tie Domi hosts a impromptu fan appreciation get together when one nutball from Philly decides to drop into the penalty box for a visit.

    Speaking of Tahir "Tie" Domi , it appears he's going to have to hang up his skates. It seems the new NHL doesn't have the need anymore for a aging player of his very limited and now apparently outdated hockey skills.
    Domi, who celebrated his 1,000th game in the league last season, is third amongst the all-time penalty minutes leaders. But in a new NHL that rewards skill more than skirmishes, his US$1.5-million price tag was too high for a fourth-line checker.

    "The change in the game, the rules, the way it was going to be called, the transition game the speed, those things didn't play to his strength," Leafs general manager John Ferguson said when he bought out the fan favourite for US$833,333 over the next two years.

    Domi had just five goals and 16 points last season and was benched for the first time in his 10 years as a Leaf. His 109 penalty minutes represented his lowest total since the 1989-90 campaign.

    "In the new NHL, there's less enforcing and less fighting," said Morris. "It was the coach's decision to play younger guys and faster guys."
    Here's a video put together by tommygrenierbeland as a tribute to one of the toughest small men to have ever played the game. Over the years I've often referred to him as Hockey's version of Mike Tyson. A small guy that packed a BIG wallop.

    Did I mention he also had the hardest head in all of hockey? Well, he did. I think you could take a sledgehammer to it and not do too much damage. Of course there are some (many) who would say, that's because there's nothing in it to do any damage to.

    Well, anyways, bye, bye Tie, it's been a looong entertaining and strange trip.

    Top 10 Goals 2005-06

    ...with some great honorable mention goals thrown in there too.

    Even the music is good on this clip,
    which was put together by blueline27 .

    Man, there were some sweeeeet goals in there,
    especially those end to end jobs. Great job, blueline27.
    I can't wait for the season to begin.

    "The most ephemeral and intriguing aspect of hockey is its spontaneity; each rush down the ice blossoms into something different, a new constellation of passes and positioning that happens only once and then melts away, like a snowflake".
    Jay Atkinson

    The $in Bin

    Under the new CBA free agents that are still on the market find themselves possibly being financially penaltized for not having found any takers by now. This is not the situation many of these players ever thought they'd be faced with. The playing field for acquiring these FA's has now turned into a buyers market out there... Wes Goldstein gives us the lowdown on the situation.
    Under most circumstances, getting to the open market is a good thing for NHL players, especially in the rare instances when they are still in their 20s. But by the time Dumont and Tanabe were freed earlier this month, few NHL teams had open roster spots or much cap room. It meant lowered-than-expected paydays for both, and it was an indication of what lies ahead for many of the players out there and still looking for deals.

    Heading into the Labor Day weekend, some five dozen jobless unrestricted free agents, many of whom you've never heard of and probably never will, remain available. Some, like 36-year-old Tie Domi and 37-year-old Tom Fitzgerald have hinted they'll retire rather than move to a new city. A few Europeans might go back home to play, and most of the others will either scramble for a job offer they can live with or quietly fade away due to a lack of interest.
    Here's a look at some of Wes's top free agent picks still available in the current NHL buyers market that at the right price could be great bargin pickups for your team.
    1. Anson Carter, RW, 32: Carter was a bargain for Vancouver last season at $1 million because he had a career year and teamed with the Sedin twins to form the Canucks' best line. It just hasn't translated into the dollars he expected. Not yet, anyway, even though Carter is a good fit for several teams.

    2. Brian Leetch: D, 38: Leetch got a $4 million deal from Boston and was thrown into a mess. But injuries and age hindered him as well. He can still contribute in a reduced role and remains effective as the power play quarterback. Last season, he picked up 17 of his 32 points on the power play, including 13 assists.

    3. Viktor Kozlov, C, 31: He has never lived up to expectations of a sixth overall pick, but Kozlov has found a way to utilize his size and finesse effectively in supporting rather than scoring roles since getting to New Jersey. His $1.75 million price tag last season was reasonable, but the Devils are capped out.

    4. Peter Bondra, RW, 38: At $3.4 million, Bondra was an underperforming luxury for Atlanta, although he did score 21 goals playing fewer than 16 minutes a night. But he can still skate and might help some teams on the power play and maybe the second line.

    5. Jason Allison, C, 31: Allison was a major disappointment in Toronto last season, his first on the ice since 2003 because of head and neck injuries. The Leafs signed him for $4.5 million, but Allison looked lost in the new NHL and contributed almost exclusively on the power play. Teams looking to improve that special team might take a look at him.
    Good luck getting out of the $in bin boys.

    For a look at the rest of Wes's bargin FA picks go >>> here.