Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Game Needs a Little Punching Up

Kevin Paul Dupont writing for thinks so...

So do I.
Honestly, isn't the politeness of the product killing you? If you are of a certain age, maybe 30 or older, you must remember when every lineup had at least a couple of guys who showed up each night just aching for a fight. Bob Probert come to mind? Terry O'Reilly? Tiger Williams? Games had a pulse, oozed passion.

No doubt, the whole thing got carried away, to the point that we had to witness the sad spectacle of staged bouts that really had no context within the, uh, battle. The whole fight theme got beaten to death, if you will, and wasn't so much disgusting as it was downright silly and boring. A true fight was a spectacle. A staged bout was a farce. If you watched enough, you knew the difference, as sure as you knew art from pornography [...]

Skill is a great thing. The NHL today, as in decades past, is full of dazzling skaters and brilliant stickhandlers. They provide some great entertainment. But the greatest entertainment of all, which is what the NHL can be, and in fact once was, is when dazzling skill and raw passion skate side by side, on a sheet of ice ringed by boards that act as the frame of a heaving, emotional pit.

At its best, the NHL is a bouquet of both roses and thorns. Today, with the barbs plucked from the product, the scent is not nearly the same.
They've sanitized the passion right out of the game. The right balance between the incredible skills and raw emotions of the sport need to be restored to really bring the game roaring back.

In my humble opinion anyway... and that I guess of many others.

Here's a little tribute to those formerly Big Bad Old Boston Bruins Kevin Paul Dupont just mentioned in his above article... with I might add the best rockin song ever written about that town blasting in the background.
I'm gonna tell you a story
I'm gonna tell you about my town
I'm gonna tell you a big bad story, baby
Aww, it's all about my town...


...again best song ever about Boston.... in my humble opinion.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


...the band.

The Hockey Song

So there I was, over in Paris
Eating wine and drinking cheese
And this guy comes up to me and he says
“ Where are you from?”
Well, I says “Yeah, I’m from Canada”
And he says “Zoot Allure, mon Dieu, you are from Canada? Do you play hockey?”
And I says “Do I play hockey?


Well, I play Air hockey, Ball hockey, Barn Hockey, Bubble Hockey, Field hockey,
Floor hockey, Ice hockey, Kitchen hockey, Road hockey,Roller hockey, Table hockey, Twist hockey
And I play hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey,
hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey,hockey all the time!
Take shots!

So there I was way out in California
And this guy comes up to me and he says
“ Where are you from dude?”
Well, I says “Yeah, I’m from Canada”
And he says "Wow! Where are you from dude?”
And I says "Look I'm from Canada"
And he says “Wow. If you’re from Canada? Do you like, play hockey?”
And I says “Do I play hockey?


So there I was way down under in Australia
And this guy comes up to me and he says
“ Where are you from?”
Well, I says “Yeah, I’m from Canada”
And he says “Do right, honey child. If you’re from Canada? Do you play hockey?”
And I says “Do I play hockey?


He shoots. He scores

Rock on!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Zamboni Joyriding

Midnight Zamboni run prompts firings.
BOISE, Idaho - Two employees of the city's ice skating rink have been fired for making a midnight fast-food run in a pair of Zambonis. An anonymous tipster reported seeing the two big ice-resurfacing machines chug through a Burger King drive-through and return to the rink around 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 10. The squat, rubber-tired vehicles, which have a top speed of about 5 mph, drove 1 1/2 miles in all.

The Zamboni operators, both temporary city employees whose names and ages were not released by the Parks and Recreation Department, had to negotiate at least one intersection with a traffic light on their late-night creep from Idaho Ice World.

"They were fired immediately," said Parks Department Director Jim Hall. "We're pretty sure it was just the one time. When we interviewed them, they didn't seem to be too concerned about it. I don't think they understood the seriousness of it."
Busted by an anonymous tipster. Obviously not a hockey fan.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Give Me that Old Time Hockey

Hmmm, no sooner I put up The Fight Song (unplugged) in the preceding post... then we actually get a old fashion, late in the game, send a message, type brouhaha occur. Imagine that. Certainly it's rarity to see one these daze, that's for sure. I thought they had become extinct? Who knew?

However, soon this time honored aspect of the game will be gone forever. And I'm not just talking about late game stuff like this. I'm talking fighting in general will be gone... period. Even the current and finest practicioners of the manly art know their days are numbered.
Georges Laraque was lamenting the inevitable this week.

The decline of the fight game. No, he wasn't referring to the thin ranks of boxing's heavyweight class.

Laraque, the Phoenix Coyotes' winger and enforcer, was talking to Pierre LeBrun of The Canadian Press about the sun setting on the NHL tough guy.

"I know that within two years there won't be any fighters in the league anymore," Laraque said. "Within two years -- I'm serious -- because this is how it's going. More and more teams don't have fighters."

A nine-year veteran, Laraque has had a good run, but he frets over the future of his young "brothers," such as the Ottawa Senators' Brian McGrattan.
Soon these "brothers" in arms will be riding off into the sunset for good.... or to the LNAH.

I sure do miss the occasional brouhaha. Here's some classics from my yesteryears.

That first one shown between the Bruins and the old Colorado Rockies (Rocky Hockey) my future wife and I attended. It was her first game and she's been absolutely hooked ever since. Needless to say... I married her. You can't let the good ones that love hockey get away.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Hockey Fight Song


Going down to the Garden
With a couple of my buds
Wanna sit in the cheap seats
Wanna see a little blood
Wanna get my money's worth
Eat some dogs, drink some beer
Yell all night at the referees
Come on you bums, get out of here
Wanna see a hockey fight
A little donnybrook, a little brouhaha
And if my team should score tonight
We all will say hurrah, hurrah

Aaaah, the simple universal pleasures of the hockey life so neatly summed up in a song.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Glow Nets

Hmmm, maybe the powers that be feel the need to reach out to the rave generation....

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Pond of Dreams

Dream on...

Friday, November 17, 2006

South Puck

Another bloody Colorado hockey rivalry is born...

Damn those Detroit Red Wings.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

More Puck Rock

...from hockey's best puck rock band.

The Hanson Bros.

The Hockey Song

It IS the best game you can name. But of course we all already knew that.

Rock on.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Office Enforcer

Every work place needs one.

Hockey, making life better... on and off-ice.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Head Hunting

After this recent Raffi Torres hit on Jason Williams that knocked the Detroit winger out cold before he even hit the ice...

...some, most notably Bobby Orr have called for a ban on all shots to the head.

Headshots: Bobby Orr ratchets up the debate
"I don't want to see hitting taken out of the game, I love hitting in hockey," Orr told TSN, "but if someone puts his shoulder into a player's face, if he puts anything -- an arm, an elbow, a glove -- I think that player should get a penalty. Definitely, it should be a penalty. We are having players getting knocked unconscious before they even hit the ice and carried off on stretchers. How can that be legal? When did hitting someone in the head with your shoulder or any part of your body become part of the rules? Anything above the neck, it's wrong.

"Hey, I got hit a lot when I played and I didn't get hit in the head with checks," said Orr, the legendary defenceman who is now the head of his own player representation firm. "Players didn't always hit like that. To me, that's not part of bodychecking. I mean, don't you have to be responsible for your actions? If you hit a guy in the face with your stick by accident, you're going to get a penalty. Two minutes, four minutes, five minutes, something. If you go to bodycheck a guy and you hit him in the face or head, and injure him, that's legal? That's fair? That's not a penalty? I'm sorry, I don't think that is right. It should be a penalty."

In the Ontario Hockey League this season, it is. Checking a player and making contact with the head, incidental or otherwise with the shoulder or any other part of the body, is now a penalty. Two minutes for any contact with the head; five minutes if it's with intent to injure or results in injury.

"We just felt it was time to take the next step," OHL commissioner David Branch told TSN [...]

Orr vehemently maintains the types of hit that felled Letwoski, Downey and Williams weren't the norm when he played. So there is the issue of how hits are delivered. It's a subject San Jose Sharks' GM Doug Wilson has thought about often.

Like Orr, Wilson was an NHL defenceman of some note. Like Orr, he played the game for most of his career without a helmet. Wilson retired as a player in 1993 and he says he has noticed a change in how many bodychecks today are delivered. It's an "angle," Wilson said, that can't be overlooked.

"I love hitting in hockey, I think it's a critical element of our game and not one I would ever want to see minimized or taken out of the game," Wilson said. "But I have noticed that a lot of players now are hitting 'up' with their shoulder instead of driving straight through the opponent. I think any hit where a player leaves his feet, it should be penalized. And if a player leaves his feet after making the hit, well, what does that tell you? It tells you that player wasn't trying to hit through the player, he was trying to hit high. It's the elevation I have a problem with. Big hits are a part of the game, so are injuries. It's unfortunate when a player gets hurt on a hard hit but so long as a players' feet stay on the ice, as long as he drives his shoulder straight into the other player, I have no problem with that, even if there's an injury. But if the player is coming out of his skates, if he's driving 'up' into the other player, that should be a penalty."

Wilson may be on to something here. It may well be that many of the players in today's game are launching themselves at a 45 degree angle. You don't have to be a math major or geometry whiz to know what happens when a player's shoulder is rocketing up at a 45 degree angle towards a human head that is often at a 90 degree angle. It's called intersection. Violent intersection.

Certainly, in the case of the Regehr and Torres hits, the players were driving their shoulder "up" into Downey and Williams, respectively.

Hitting "up" in the NHL has become an accepted manner of hitting. Perhaps it shouldn't be. It hasn't always been that way.

Hitting in the NHL today may be analogous to boxing.

In the sweet science, body blows have always been used to wear down and weaken an opponent's will. That is the hockey equivalent of bodychecking.

But in boxing, when you want to deliver a knockout punch and put your opponent down and out on the canvas, you go for the headshot. And what punch is the most dangerous knockout punch? An uppercut, delivered at a 45 degree angle at the opponent's jaw and one that seemingly comes out of nowhere because the victim often never sees it coming. Clearly, hitting "up" in the NHL is the hockey equivalent of a vicious uppercut, designed to deliver a knock-out blow.

"I really think we have the rules in place to police this," Wilson said. "We have supplementary discipline. We also need to be looking at things like fixing the equipment, the shoulder pads, and this is an issue that we should continue to discuss and talk about."

As for this issue of hitting "up" it may go a long way in explaining why Orr believes the hits we see today weren't as prevalent in the NHL game both he and Wilson played, when bodychecking was more shoulder on shoulder or shoulder on chest.

"I saw Johnny Bucyk hit guys coming out from behind the net (like Detroit's Williams did on Wednesday) and he hit them hard with his shoulder and he didn't hit them in the head, he just went straight at them," Orr said. "I just don't know when it became okay to hit a guy in the head and call it a clean, legal hit. I really don't."
I agree completely with Orr. Purposeful shots to the head whether it's with a stick, elbow or shoulder should be banned. Even the NFL has come to realize the need to ban such hits to protect the careers and maybe even the lives of it's players. Sadly the NHL hasn't. Hopefully it won't take the paralysis or death of one of it's players for it to wakeup.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Ugliest Moments in NHL History

There's been a few....

Somehow stuff like this has always been part of the game... and probably always will.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Need Insurance?

I believe this guy will...

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Here's the early season NHL hopefuls and the hopeless according to USA Today.

Here's those who are under-performing at the moment...
Calgary cannot score and its goaltending has been surprisingly mediocre.

Philadelphia is a mess.

Boston is shuffling goaltenders with little hope of anything.

St. Louis, Columbus, Chicago and Phoenix are already in deep trouble with regard to any postseason hopes. It's tough to be thinking next year before the turkey has even been carved.

Wayne Gretzky is suffering in the desert and without goaltending help, it will get hotter.

There is the long road ahead, but the separation between the hopefuls and the hopeless is already widening.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hockey Tricks and Treats

Yeah, Yeah, I know Halloween was last week but these puck handling tricks and goal scoring treats were just too good to pass up.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

NHL Power Poll

Here's this weeks rankings with a look at each team's roster to see who has a chance to one day be honored in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
1. BUFFALO (LW: 1): Chris Drury might have the best shot. Hobey Baker Award winner, Calder Trophy winner (the first to win both) and a Stanley Cup will give him support. His stats (411 points, 324 penalty minutes) will hurt him though.

2. ANAHEIM (LW: 2): Chris Pronger is the best defenseman of his era, so he's a lock. Fellow defenseman Scott Niedermayer is a near-lock.

3. SAN JOSE (LW: 3): History will likely remember Joe Thornton, the team's best candidate, as a world-class choker.

4. DALLAS (LW: 6): Mike Modano is one of the game's very best and has been for a long time. Sadly, Eric Lindros simply has not played enough games in his career to warrant inclusion.

5. ATLANTA (LW: 5): Ilya Kovalchuck, if he continues to rack up similar point totals for the next five-10 years, is a no-brainer.

6. MINNESOTA (LW: 8): It's much too early to tell on the Wild's bounty of young, defensive-minded players.

7. NASHVILLE (LW: 12): Paul Kariya must hang on and put up 70-90 points for three more years to have a realistic shot.

8. MONTREAL (LW: 13): The Canadian-centric hockey establishment will push hard for Canadien folk hero Saku Koivu.

9. PITTSBURGH (LW: 7): Mark Recchi is a lock for the Hall of Very Good. I do not dare say anything about Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.

10. DETROIT (LW: 14): Chris Chelios? Check. Dominiki Hasek? Check. Nicklas Lidstrom? Check.
Go... here ...for the rest of the list.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Guitar Army - Drop the Gloves

I Got War, Baby!

The Hanso Bros. Rink Rat

Judge Jackson

(start this one then pause it,let the red video bar load a little bit, then let'er rip)

The Tragically Hip

At the lonely end of the rink

Dale Hawerchuk

(after the opening credits there's about 20 seconds of black before the clip actually begins. Hang in there, it's worth it)

Big League - Tom Cochran

And finally...

Hockey Night Night in Canada - Two Man Advantage

Thank you, goodnight, drive careful, see you next time.

Trophy Envy

The National Hockey League has presented evidence from a study showing that the Stanley Cup is much bigger than the World Cup.
The NHL spokesperson preceded to point out to the assembled press that actual measurements of both cups, both in English and metric units, though different, confirmed the visual evidence. And they demonstrate definitively, he repeated, the Stanley Cup is much bigger than the World Cup.

At this point the FIFA observer again said FIFA had no comment on this bogus study but noted, in passing, that a regulation-size field for soccer, which he persisted on calling football, is much larger than an ice hockey rink (which term he also noted is easily transformed into another North American term of derision "rinky dink.")

An attending NHL executive countered that "rinky dink" has no meaning in French, which is also an official language of Canada -- not just English. The NHL representative then noted that hockey, which he said should never be called "ice hockey," is played primarily indoors on an artificially frozen surface which requires more energy and technology than most "football" playing countries have or ever will have.

Further, the NHL representative continued, the Stanley Cup also weighs more than the World Cup (both in pounds and kilograms) and is much older, and has many more names engraved on it, and so there.
Yeah, so there. Our trophy is bigger, stronger and heavier than your trophy. Na, na, na, naaaaa, na.

Stanley Rules!!!

For those wondering, this story comes from... The Spoof.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The NHL on Google Video

GSPN, The Google Sports Programming Network

Interactive Cyber Enterprises (ICE), the digital arm of the National Hockey League, announced today a deal to provide video of NHL full-length games on delay to Google Video. Google also will be able to show select NHL classic games.
The National Hockey League, now in cable TV's backwaters, has tapped Google Inc. to find a larger viewing audience.

In so doing, it's giving Google an opportunity to experiment with a new way of making money from its growing collection of video-dispensing Web sites.

ESPN, the No. 1 sports channel on cable TV, used to show a lot of North America's professional hockey league games but subsequently it let the broadcasting rights expire due to bad ratings. Games are now shown on OLN, the Outdoor Life Network; which is a hockey broadcasting newcomer and with an audience that pales compared to ESPN.

In stepped Google with a way back to the mainstream. Starting Wednesday, every 2006-2007 regular-season NHL game can be watched, for free, on Google Video, the world's No. 4 most popular video-providing Web site.

Google's corralled all the NHL material onto a single Web site, which comes across as a kind of NHL TV on the Internet, where thousands of NHL games are available to view through an Internet browser, or to download onto a personal computer to watch at a later time.

The games are shown in their entirety and advertising-free. But that is likely to change, according to Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker. "We are hoping to make this content ad supported, enabling the NHL to earn revenue from online distribution of this content," he said.

He wouldn't disclose any additional terms of the multi-year deal between Google and the NHL.
I think this is a very smart, forward looking move by the league. In addition to the game content, the NHL also will work with Google to allow certain NHL themed user-generated content on their site. This is the first time Google Video has worked with a major professional sports league in such a manner.

Here's the official Google/NHL video game site.

Check it out.

6 Games, 6 Goals

Evgeni Malkin's the first player to accomplish that remarkable feat in his first six games since... 1917.

Malkin Makes History
The Pittsburgh Penguins knew they had something special when they drafted Evgeni Malkin No. 2 overall in the 2004 NHL Draft. However, they probably didn't count on him to be this good this fast. Malkin's presence has turned the Penguins' fortunes around and created a sense of hope in the franchise that finished dead last in their division last season.

The rookie is also setting records along the way. Malkin scored two incredible goals on Wednesday night against the Kings. The first put him in the history books and the second gave the Penguins a 4-3 overtime win in Los Angeles.

Malkin crushed a loose puck past the Kings' goalie with 2:45 left in the extra period during a power play situation. The goal was the rookie's second of the game and it gave the Penguins their fifth straight win.

Malkin also scored with a wrist-shot past Dan Cloutier in the first period. The goal was significant because Malkin became the first NHL player in 89 years to score a goal in his first six games as a professional. He joined Joe Malone, Newsy Lalonde and Cy Denneny as the only NHL players to score goals in their first six games in the league.
Well, it looks like all the hype about this guy is turning out to be for real. It also appears "Geno's" (his nickname) future is so bright we're all going to have to wear face shields... errr, I mean shades.

Sorry, I couldn't resist.