The Calgary Flames finished first and took the West's third seed by a comfortable margin, but the remaining playoff spots weren't decided until the last weekend of the season because only three points separated the three teams. It shouldn't be much different this time, although the faces might ultimately be different by the time the postseason rolls around.Here's a closer look and a breakdown by Wes Goldstein for CBS SportsLine.com of what all the Northwest teams have done during the off-season and what their prospects are for the upcoming NHL season.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Since the strike ended, hockey fans have witnessed some breathtaking play, but now the excitement moves to the Xbox 360 when NHL 07 is released this September.So, if you want to know what the Cyber Puck experts (ex-NHLers) over at EA Sports think about your favorite teams and/or players for the upcoming season.... check out their ratings and attributes for every player in the game for 07.
But what's the first thing fans and players do when they get the game? Forget playing, they all go to the roster screens and debate the ratings. But why wait until September, let's start the debate right now.
Also, here's a very in-depth and informative look at EA's NHL 07.
The 2K Hockey series of Hockey games developed by Kush Games have dominated the market in recent years and EA is hoping the new innovations they're introducing with NHL 07 will put them back in favor with Video Hockey Gamers. We'll just have to wait and see if their plans work out.
So, until then... game on... and on.
Pro baseball has the Grapefruit League, Florida’s famous spring training destination, so why can’t the Maritimes have something similar for professional hockey? Perhaps something called the Bluenose League, the Southwest Shore Development Authority has suggested [...]Sounds like a great freakin idea to me. I hope it becomes a reality. Imagine being able to catch up to 8 NHL squads getting ready for the regular season within relatively close proximity to each other AND then finishing off their training camps by playing a local exhibition tournament. Sounds like hockey fan heaven to me. Hell, I'd gladly make a pilgrimage to the Martimes to experience something like that. Eight training camps... and a tournament. Yes please, count me in.
Now the people who worked to bring a very successful 2005 Islanders training camp to Yarmouth are working to put a league of their own together.
Under the plan, eight NHL teams would bring their fall camps to various Maritime towns or small cities, said Frank Anderson of the development authority.
The training camps would end in a pre-season exhibition series in Halifax over a few days.
"It’s not that far-fetched," Anderson said. "If Florida can do it with baseball, why can’t we do it with hockey?"
The development authority has hired former Halifax Mooseheads president Kevin Cameron to work with the agency to bring what Anderson calls the Bluenose League to fruition.
"We’re hoping for 2007 to have three of these teams on the ground," said Anderson.
That’s because three NHL teams have already been in touch with the development authority, and the Islanders would be back, making four teams.
Corporate sponsors are also a help and more are becoming interested in the concept.
...gathering on the horizon.
I usually stay away from this kind of stuff like the plague and leave it to those with much more knowledge and stomach for it than I do to tackle it, like Tom Benjamin for instance, but a little factoid in Big Al's column today that heretofore had escaped my attention caught my eye.
After shutting down for a full season, the National Hockey League managed to avoid any serious labour unrest last year.Yep, there it is, that's the little bugger that got my attention. Could we be possibly looking at a replay of the horror we just suffered through? In just ONE more year? Of course we could be, I put nothing past this crew that is running (ruining?) the game.
But player agents see the storm brewing once again.
In theory, it's the duty of the NHL Players' Association to crunch numbers but these days, the PA doesn't do much unless it first gets the approval of NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly.
So the agents did it. And they don't foresee the kind of escrow payments Daly would want to bring to the fore.
The escrow payments, for those who didn't memorize all 15 volumes of the collective bargaining agreement, are the amounts deducted from the players' salaries to cover the owners' over-spending.
Last year, the escrow payments were 12 per cent, but because the PA allowed the league to plug in an almost-random number that was easily surpassed, those payments were refunded.
This year the agents are convinced there will be no refunds. And the players can expect to pay how much?
"According to our calculations, it's going to be 17.5 per cent," one agent said. "That might be a bit high," said another, "but it's definitely going to be in double digits. There's no way to know exactly until the season opens, but it looks like somewhere between 12 per cent and 14 per cent."
Most fans don't care a lot. They see projections like this and they shrug. They feel the players are well paid and if they have to give some of it back, so what?
After a year of reading about labour negotiations instead of hockey, they're sick of the turmoil.
But the fact remains, if this season turns out to be the kind of economic kick in the tender parts the agents predict, there will be even more trouble on the labour front. This is the second year of the deal and after three years, the players have the right to terminate it.
I recently read The Rebel League: The Short and Unruly Life of the World Hockey Association. It's a good, entertaining read and I highly recommend it. It's pretty amazing the number of innovations that came from the WHA that we still see in the game today. I'm beginning to think the time is coming for another hockey insurrection/revolution like the WHA one to take place. Particularly with the continuing threat of NHL labour strife hanging over the heads of all us fans.
Maybe it's it's time for someone or ones to step up and really challenge the NHL monopoly that holds us fans hostage to their nonsense before they take their puck and go dark again. A lot of good came from it the last time it happened.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Well my worldwide search for that elusive and rare breed of music video known as... The Hockey Music Video ...took me to Quebec, Ca. last week for the Dale Hawerchuk video, this week my search took me to Sweden for this wacky tune about falling in love with a female Hockey goalie.
Well, that certainly was a bit, how should I put it... odd. What can I say? The Hockey Music Video pickings are pretty slim out there. But hey, what the hell, it does involve Hockey, so in my book it... ROCKS! (in a weird Swedish kind of way... I guess)
Anyways, please let me know if you come across any Hockey Music Videos out there. I'm always looking for them.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
A largely unknown and traditionally hidden part of Canadian Hockey history is finally getting some of the proper respect and honor it deserves.
Almost thirty years before Montreal Canadiens star Bernard Boom Boom Geoffrion was born, a black Nova Scotian named Eddie Martin was firing off slapshots in the little-known Colored Hockey League, says hockey historian George Fosty.Here's more on the book.... Black Ice.
Martin, a baseball player-turned-skater for the Halifax Eurekas, was known for his vicious, full-windup shot in 1903 - long before Geoffrion claimed to have invented the slapshot as a youngster.
"We're looking at (Martin) as maybe one of the early innovators of the slapshot," said Fosty, co-author of Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, 1895-1925.
It's a suggestion that would be met with surprise - or maybe cries of blasphemy - by the average die-hard hockey fan. But it's just one nugget that Fosty, a British Columbia-born writer and historian, uncovered as he dug into a dusty corner of hockey history that has gone largely unrecognized.
"There's 300 (black) players that played serious hockey prior to 1958 that nobody knows about," said Fosty. "It's time to say, Hey, we've missed something here."
Fosty and others hope to bring some of that history to light with the first Black Ice Hockey and Sports Hall of Fame conference, running today through Sunday at Dartmouth Sportsplex [...]
Besides Martin and his slapshot, a three-foot-six goaltender named Henry Braces Franklin of the Dartmouth Jubilee is the first documented goalie to play a down-on-the-ice style, Fosty said.
The historian admits he was skeptical of some of the stories he uncovered. But as he dove deeper into black history - the kind unrecorded by most mainstream, white historians - his outlook began to change.
"(At first) I believed it had to be wrong because it didn't jibe with the modern interpretation," Fosty said. "But I've learned it's often our traditional history that we've accepted that is wrong.
"I thought, I'm going to start looking at this a lot more seriously. There's obviously something here that hasn't been addressed."
Combining their research with newspaper accounts of the games and old posters hawking the contests, the brothers tell the story of a league made up of the sons and grandsons of runaway American slaves who settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia in the 1800s and built a small but thriving community. The teams had names that reflected black pride and self-determination -- The Halifax Eurekas, the Dartmouth Jubilees, and the Africville Sea-Sides. Others had religious names, a nod to the role the black church played in forming the teams and the league. "It would be the ministers and the deacons of the area Baptist churches who would, by their very presence, give the black community and the Colored Hockey League upstanding role models and organizational talent, never before seen in black sport," the Fostys write.I think it's great to see these trailblazing black athletes of Canadian Hockey finally beginning to be recognized and saluted for the many contributions they made to this great sport.
"We personally think that the league was on the verge of a major breakthrough around 1905-06," George Fosty says. "You've got games with 1,500-1,600 fans, for the black games. It was mostly whites who went to the games. That was seen as threatening to the status quo. By 1911, the league basically began to crumble."
Boy, I sure hope some more Jonny Voss Hockey Adventures surface out there on video file share. IF they do the oddman will bring them to you. Hey, it's the least I can do.
I mean, come on... Hockey! ...what else is there?
Yep, sure enough, found some more Jonny Voss gonzo Hockey coverage out there on the "internets" from the year Hockey died... and was resurrected. You remember those dark days, right?
Yeah, the NHL's back, may it never go dark again.
Well, lets's stick a fork in this Jonny Voss Film Festival, it's done.
We'll finish with Jonny talking to a couple of Flamers...
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
in the NHL off-season players market...
With the salary cap now in place, hockey fans were finally able to head into the offseason with the optimism that NFL fans do each season. Even if your team was out of the playoff picture last season, there's more of a chance for a quick turnaround in today's game because of how many skilled players seemed to be hitting the market because of cap constraints. With just $44 million in cap space, extremely talented stars both young (Martin Havlat/J.P. Dumont) and old (Brendan Shanahan/Rob Blake/Jeremy Roenick) will be changing uniforms in the 2006-07 season.To see what teams won and who lost this offseason, at least according to James Meyerriecks of FantasyInfoCentral.com go >>> here.
Here's James thoughts on the...
Chris Pronger traded to Ducks for Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid, and draft picksOn a unrelated note, if you think you're really hockey smart you can now verify that by checking out your... Hockey IQ.
Pronger's impact will be immediately felt in Anaheim, where they now boast the best 1-2 punch in terms of defensemen in the league (they already had Scott Niedermayer). As they're both tremendous offensive forces on the blueline, it's unlikely that they play together on a pairing, though they should share the Power Play quite a bit. He goes from one stacked young team to another, and his numbers shouldn't change much this season.
In forcing his way out of Edmonton, you would think that Pronger would have hurt their return a little bit. That certainly wasn't the case, though. The Oilers did better than anyone could have hoped in this deal. Lupul emerged as a star last season, scoring 28 goals and adding 25 assists during the regular season. It may have been the playoffs where he shined brightest, though, as he added nine goals in just 16 playoff games, including a four-goal performance in a 4-3 win in the second round. Throw him on a line with Ales Hemsky and watch the sparks fly!
Smid, another top ten overall pick (Lupul went seventh overall in 2003), will ease the loss of Pronger a bit. The Ducks' former top prospect is developing into a terrific all-around defenseman who is strong in his own zone as well as the offensive zone. His height is ideal, though we'd like to see him add a little more bulk up top. He's probably a little closer to the NHL with the Oilers than he was with the Ducks, though I'd be surprised to see him break camp with Edmonton.
Throw in two more first rounders (2007 and a conditional pick in 2008) and a second rounder, and the Ducks mortgaged their future for a shot at glory with Pronger. While I'd love to have Pronger on my team, I'd deal him for four first-rounders and a second-rounder in a heartbeat, particularly in the new NHL.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
The NHL has won some and they have lost some recently in it's battles with Russia over hockey players for their respective leagues. Some players are fleeing Russia for the NHL... BUT ...some are fleeing the NHL for Russian or European leagues.
While Evgeni Malkin's flight to the National Hockey League has incensed Russian hockey officials, some NHL executives are growing hot under the collar at watching their players abandon North America for greener pastures in Russia.Hmmm, more casualties of the new CBA. This is starting to remind me of the old battles for players between the NFL and the AFL before they merged. MAYBE that's what should happen here at some point. MAYBE it's time for the NHL to start at least thinking about a NHL Europe.
Already the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders have lost three players to Russia this summer. Mark Gandler, the agent who represents those players, says Russia is an attractive option for "young, vibrant talent which is not properly treated [by NHL teams]."
Winger Eugeni Artukhin rejected Tampa's last offer and has signed on for more money in his native Russia. The same goes for Russian defenceman Denis Grebeshkov and Finnish winger Sean Bergenheim of the Islanders.
All three will earn more money this season playing for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl [...]
The Vancouver Canucks lost backup goalie Mika Noronen to Russian league club Ak Bars Kazan this month while star winger Nikolai Zherdev has also threatened to stay in Russia this season if the Columbus Blue Jackets don't pony up.
Zherdev is the only first-line player among them. The others find themselves squeezed by the NHL's salary-cap system in which most of the money goes to the marquee names.
They seem to love hockey so over there...
Instead of fighting each other over players maybe they should join with each other like the NFL-AFL did. With interest in hockey so high in Europe I think a NHL World league would be a great idea for developing a future interest in, and thus the success of the NHL by bringing all the players and fans of the hockey world together under the one umbrella of the NHL. I think it'd create HUGE interest in the league with NHL North America going against NHL Europe for the Stanley Cup in the finals. Kind of like a World Cup atmosphere... but each year.
It sounds good to me.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Russia says it's ready to go to war with the NHL over losing their star players like Evgeni Malkin to the North American league. Well, I don't know if it's fair for them to call that a war.
Now this was a... war.
That 1987 game between Canada and Russia in the World Junior Hockey Championships which involved future NHL stars like Fleury, Fedorov, Sakic, Turgeon and others was probably the wildest International Hockey Gone Wild incident that has ever occurred.
Hot tubing with the cooolest trophy in all of sport on the very edges of the Artic Circle with Sweden's Niclas Wallin of the Carolina Hurricanes.
For those of us not from areas neighboring the Arctic Circle, it is difficult to comprehend the fact that at 4 o'clock in the morning the sun is still very bright. At this time of year, in fact, the sun briefly sets for an hour or two, but shines virtually all day and all of the night. The sunlight certainly is condusive to an all-night Stanley Cup celebration. Wallin's wife Louise and their children Linn, Marcus and Alexander were all there, as were his mom and dad. Numerous other family members and friends were also on hand to celebrate with the Stanley Cup. A fire-heated hot tub was enjoyed by several guests, while Wallin was in and out of the sauna, de rigeur for homes in that area of Sweden.Read more >>> here.
As a Av's fan Milan Hejduk's celebration brings back fond memories and I would've loved to have seen more of Alexi Kovalev's moon walk. But I have to honestly say none tops T.W.'s.
Opinions probably will vary.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
"What's happened in the licensed category is a significant increase in items that are not necessarily athletic, but a fashion item," said Ross McCracken, director of league partnerships at Reebok's Montreal office.Tia Carrera (apparently a Leafs fan) models a design I certainly hope is one of the ones to be offered....
Oddly enough, hockey's new pastel tinge -- the jerseys will also be available in pale blue -- is because the NHL is getting more aggressive about marketing and is targeting the estimated 40 per cent of hockey fans who are women.
Hmmm, now what's that word Tia is making me think of? Oh yeah, now I remember...
Well, yes indeed, that little number certainly did look smashing on Tia and like I said, I hope (and pray) it's what the designers have in mind for the new apparel. Certainly it's much more flattering than those bulky traditional jerseys. All the puck bunnies out there must be getting very, very excited about these latest hockey fashion developments. As a puck bunny watcher I know I am.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Anyways, it's not often nowadaze one finds a hockey themed music video, which as far as I'm concerned is a crying shame.... a crime actually in my parallel puck universe. This one I was lucky enough to come across is about that former NHL great Dale Hawerchuk. It's visual slap shot style and over-the-top puck wackiness earns it two enthusiastic thumbs up from me. Plus, it's got a good beat (more on that later). In a way I think it captures a large part of the essence of what being a fan of this crazy sport is all about. Friends, drinking and rough housing, right? OH yeah, and pucks. Well, it does for me anyways and for most of the hockey nuts I know, and since it's my blog...
...without further ado here's Dale Hawerchuk... the music video.
Yeah, yeah, I know, I know, it's not the greatest video since sliced bread (but close). I don't even know who it is performing it OR what the hell they're saying except... Dale Hawerchuk ...but it doesn't matter, it's got hockey in it, so in my world it rules. PLUS, the wife (yeah, I got lucky and married a puckhead. It's the ONLY way to go guys) and I found out we could crank it up, get a little crazy and slamdance to it, so as far as we're concerned it ... ROCKS!!!
Four thumbs up!
Wish I could speak French so I could understand it. If they're any french speaking fans that could tell me what they're saying about Dale Hawerchuk, it'd be greatly appreciated. I also wish there was more hockey video stuff like this being done and put out. Hopefully with the advent of YouTube and other video file share sites we will be seeing more.... soon.
If anybody knows of any more hockey music vids out there please let me know, I'd love to play them.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Here's a sneak video peek...
...and here's a sneak preview from IGN.com.
Thanks to the power of the 360 and PS3, the new skating engine really shines. Momentum is much more true to life and skaters will really dig into the ice to get going. On offense, there are a lot more transitions between skating forward and backward, so wingers on a power play can really probe the defense by inching forward, skating back and circulating the puck. All the while, you can spray ice into your opponents face, the boards rattle on impact and the arena lights reflect off the ice below. Don't believe me? Click on the image link below for exclusive new screens.Not to be outdone EA Sports has revamped their hockey offering also as NHL 07 looks to keep pace with new innovations and gameplay.
Another interesting change that 2K is making is with the presentation, an aspect of sports games that has remained largely untouched for some time. Yes, the traditional broadcast style is still there, complete with commentary from Bob Cole and Harry Neale (the sublime Gary Thorne and Bill Clement of ESPN are now working on NHL 07). But 2K wanted to give a more cinematic experience, like you're playing through the final scene in Miracle. With the new Cinemotion presentation, there's no commentary. Instead, a musical score drives the action, reacting dynamically to the action, picking up during tense moments and slowing down during lulls in the action (if there is such a thing in hockey.) 2K also added in a lot of on-the-ice chatter and the coaches bark orders, making for a more immersive experience. You can also blend the Cinemotion and Broadcast styles for a Cinemotion-with-commentary style, if you so choose.
Probably the best presentation is the new default camera angle, which has been lowered and pulled back. This allows for improved vision on the ice compared to the old-school top-down camera angle. You can usually see the entire offensive side when circulating the puck and, on breakaways, it's easy to spot the open man for a long pass. By lowering the camera, the new angle continues to feel close to the action.
Here's a look...
David Littman, the producer of NHL 07, talks about EA's new video hockey game...
What are the elements you added to make this game authentic?As of now both games have release dates of mid Sept. 2006.
David Littman: The control system is just one part of the gameplay that has been designed specifically to give the user the most authentic hockey experience possible. Another huge area was our goalies. Alex Auld now of the Florida Panthers did our goalie mocap this year, so we really put some time into it. Goalies will come out and challenge and then back in on breakaways making saves that depend on their real life playing style. When a goalie butterflies, his pads move independent of his legs, so they will stay facing the puck instead of the ice for more realistic saves and rebounds. I particularly like that goalies have to close their hand on the puck to catch it or cover it and you will actually see the goalie look into their glove.
In terms of presentation, how does the next gen console change what you can create?
David Littman: With the next gen console we are able to push higher polygon models as well as higher res textures, making the players, equipment, ice surfaces and arenas look that much better. You will notice the different things on the jerseys like the perforations and stitching and on the equipment the different types of leathers and nylons. In the arenas we have modeled everything from the penalty box phones to the little screws along the boards. It's all the little things that current gen just could not do, that change the way we present our next gen games.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
...and finally, the rockin hockey tune used appropriately enough below on this Crosby-Ovechkin-Kessel highlight video, written and performed by the artist many consider to be Canada's Bruce Springsteen.
I Wanna Drive the Zamboni - Gear Daddies The Hockey Song - Stompin' Tom Connors The Ballad of Wendel Clark - The Rheostatics Hit Somebody - Warren Zevon 50 Mission Cap - The Tragically Hip
Crank it up...
Big League- Tom Cochrane
My boy's gonna play in the Big League
My boy's gonna turn some heads
My boy's gonna play in the Big League
My boy's gonna knock 'em dead
Never can tell what might come down
Never can tell how much you get
Just don't know, no you never can tell
Sometimes at night I can hear the ice crack
It sounds like thunder and it rips through my back
Sometimes in the morning I still hear the sound
Ice meets metal...
"Can't you drive me down to the Big League?"
Have you got any puck tune favorites ? Let me know and I'll try to find and post them.
Rock on ...and on.
Friday, August 18, 2006
Phil the Thrill Signs With Boston
Well, I don't know about the TO comparisons but some think Phil Kessel, the highly talented and highly confident rookie of the Boston Bruins, will bring a bit of controversy and flair to a league badly in need of interesting characters both on and off-ice to create a buzz about... particularly in the American market.
Allan Muir writing for Sports Illustrated explains how Kessel just might fit that bill.
There's no arguing that the kid has all the physical tools to be a star in this league. He may not be polished yet, but Kessel's a gem.Here's a little of that Kessel on ice talent and crowd baiting panache that many hope he's able to bring to the Bruins and the league.
Kessel is also well aware of his gifts, and that has led to more than a hint of hot-doggery on occasion . . . which brings us back to Terrell Owens.
Like the Dallas Cowboys' controversial wide receiver, Kessel has had trouble with teammates in the past. He can be a me-first player who sometimes neglects the other four skaters on his side. He's been dogged by allegations of underage drinking, and he has a tendency to talk first and think later in front of the cameras.
And like Owens, he's a player who, love him or hate him, people won't be able to get enough of. And isn't that exactly the type of young player the league needs? [...]
America loves the bad boy almost as much as it loves the homegrown star, and that's where The Thrill comes in. He'll be cocky. He'll make capital M mistakes. And every now and then, he'll do things on the ice that will drop your jaw. He's the poster boy for sports in the Aughts [...]
Two years ago, Kessel was called America's Sidney Crosby. He's not.
Realistically, the B's have to be hoping to get 50 points out of him this season, and that's if all goes well. But style counts these days, too, and Kessel has that in spades. Just like Owens. And that's big news for the NHL.
Personally I think the kid's a bit overrated, which probably means he's going be a huge success. Which actually would be fine by me.
It looks to be another fun year in the league with rookies like Malkin, Kessel and others bursting onto the scene. I can hardly wait.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Malkin surfaces in L.A. as...
LOS ANGELES (CP) Star forward Evgeni Malkin surfaced in Los Angeles on Thursday and skated with some NHLers after an anxious four days of intrigue reminiscent of Cold War-era player defections.WOW!!! In Russian even if your under contract, a employee, even a professional athlete, can simply give two weeks notice and... presto ...your free. You basically can tell the boss to... "take this job and shove it" ...to coin a phrase. Now that's pretty damn coool... and pretty damn ironic, considering Russian workers seem to have freedoms unheard of here... and we have the nerve here to say that we're the home of the free. But I digress. Anyways, where was I? Oh yeah, if that's the case it seems pretty cut and dry. So, get ready for the Sid and Evgeni show. WOOHOO!!!
Pat Brisson, who represents the Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick along with J.P. Barry, said Malkin arrived in L.A. on Wednesday after sneaking away from his Russian league team Saturday once he obtained his passport and hiding out with Barry in Helsinki, Finland while awaiting a visa.
"In Russia they're using the word defection," Brisson told The Canadian Press from Los Angeles. "He hasn't done anything wrong.
"He's not defecting. Basically he said, 'It's my right, this is what I'm doing."'
Malkin's stint on the ice with players like Rob Blake, Glen Murray, Chris Drury and Anson Carter was a welcome relief for the 20-year-old, caught in a tug of war between his Russian Super League club, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, and the Pittsburgh Penguins[...]
The key question before them is when the letter of resignation Malkin filed Monday with Metallurg Magnitogorsk terminating his contract takes effect. Russian law permits an employee - even an athlete under contract - to leave his job by giving two weeks' written notice[...]
The NHL has not publicly stated its support for Malkin and his desire to play in the league, but deputy commissioner Bill Daly has said the league believes any player should have the right to choose where he wants to play as long as he is legally free to do so.
Here's a little promo video the excited folks in Pittsburgh put together in anticipation...
...and excited they should be.
Should be very interesting... I can hardly wait.
Possibly the most famous, or actually I guess I should say, most infamous Hockey Gone Wild episode of them all. At least as far as the National Hockey League is concerned. A true classic of the Hockey Chaos Theory at work.
Like I said, arguably the wildest NHL Gone Wild incident ever. I mean, come on, how often have you seen opposing players go into the stands and proceed to beat a fan over the head with his own shoe... in Madison Square Garden ...New York City?
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Out on the road with the cooolest trophy in all of sport, Lord Stanley.
Over the course of an average summer, the Cup will travel some 60,000 miles and will bear witness to graveside visits, drunken revelry and tearful family reunions. It is an odyssey that is unique in the world of sport, a journey that pays special tribute to the very personal journeys of each of the men whose name is inscribed on the side of the trophy.
Here are two examples of that journey:
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
This ain't your dad's NHL, folks. It's not even your older brother's.Let's take a look at a few of Wes's picks...
Whether that's good or bad depends on your point of view, but there's no arguing the year-long lockout and resulting salary cap has changed the NHL's look and feel. Major annual roster shakeups are now a fact of life in all precincts, and those preaching the new-age wisdom of speed, offense and youth have taken on an air of genius.
The dynamics around the league have been altered so dramatically, last year's conference finals featured four teams that didn't make the playoffs in the previous season. It was a changing of the guard, not only among teams, but among players as well.
For most of the season, the leader boards around the league required a double take as a new generation of stars and potential stars emerged. That's what happens when two years' worth of draft classes arrive at the same time, and several younger, inexpensive players get their shots.
Of course there were some familiar faces making their presence felt, many of whom continue to be mainstays on any list of the NHL's best players.
#17 A personal favorite of mine.
#50 Last, but definetly not least.
I think I would've moved him up some and dropped a few others.
For the complete list of Wes Goldstein's Top 50 NHL Players head over >>>>>> here.
I have a few quibbles, like I'm sure a lot of fans will with any list attempting to rank players. The major one for me is Wes leaving Martin St. Louis completely off this list. One season removed from league MVP and he doesn't even make the Top 50? Sorry Wes, that ain't right. He might not be Top 10, but Top 50, you bet.
Monday, August 14, 2006
If your interested in more on Evgeni Malkin or other doings this week in the NHL check out.... The Puck Podcast Internet Radio Show.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
I'll give you just one guess as to... where he's going to reappear.
A source with Russian club Metallurg Magnitogorsk told Russian news agency Itar-Tass that Malkin has fled from the team's training camp in Finland.Man, the dude sure can play hockey as the video, complete with cheesy Russian heavy metal music below attests. Size, speed, shot, puck handling and toughness, Malkin appears to be the complete package. Apparently he even has the ability to... disappear.
"Malkin secretly left the club, taking his belongings and his passport," the source said.
Earlier in the week, he and Metallurg annulled a previous contract that would have had him play through April 2008. He instead signed a one-year deal.
The talented Russian, 20, has often stated a desire to play in the NHL. But the Russian club refused to sign a transfer agreement with the NHL earlier this month.
"His wish is to play in the NHLand in Pittsburgh, ," his agent J.P. Barry said earlier this week.
"We will continue to talk to him about his future, and we will decide the best course for him at this time."
Malkin was the second player selected in the 2004 draft, behind fellow Russian Alexander Ovechkin, who beat out Canada's Sidney Crosby to win the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie.
If Malkin is attempting to defect, he would be the best-known hockey player to do so since Alexander Mogilny left the Soviet team following the world junior championships in Sweden in 1989. Mogilny defected to the United States and joined the Buffalo Sabres.
If he is indeed headed to Pittsburgh and the NHL as all signs seem to indicate in this very convoluted saga then the Pens have one hell of a young team forming with the likes of Crosby, Malkin and Staal all coming in at relatively the same time. Obviously they could be a real exciting team here very shortly.
Then again, this Malkin saga could very easily have many more twist and turns left in it before it's all over. So, stay tuned.
The skaters, mostly hockey players, fly down the track and at times hit speeds of over 50 kilometres and hour, as they fly around corners and over bumps.
The Red Bull Crashed Ice race will return to the U.S. this November 11 in downtown Boston's City Hall Plaza.
It will mark the first time this frigid downhill race has graced an urban U.S. location, having previously taken place in Duluth, Minn., in 2003 and 2004.
Beginning at 7p.m., competitors will race in full hockey gear down a 1,100-foot manmade ice course riddled with whoops, berms, a gap jump and even an uphill portion. They will need to combine their ice hockey, skating and boardercross skills as they scramble for the finish line in heats of four, with the top two advancing until a champion is crowned. Still can't picture it? Imagine a cross between luge and roller derby...on hockey skates.
GUTS TO GLORY
All hockey players, adrenaline junkies and action-sport fanatics who think they've got what it takes are encouraged to register online (www.redbullcrashedice.com) for one of the 19 tryouts to be held throughout the U.S. and Canada between August 27th & October 7th.
There will be a separate Men's, Women's, Collegiate and a "BullPot" bracket -- the last of which will include one student from each of the Beanpot schools (Northeastern University, Boston University, Harvard University and Boston College) in an all-out battle for campus pride. The winners will split a prize purse of almost $16,000.
KINGS ON ICE
In Red Bull Crashed Ice's six-year history, an American has never won. Sweden's Jasper Felder dominated the first six events beginning in Sweden in 2000. His winning streak came to an end just this past spring when three Canadians, led by Gabriel Andre, reached the podium above him in front of 35,000 screaming spectators as Red Bull Crashed Ice made its debut in Quebec City.
It's the first time I seen any footage of this ice race... it looks like a blast. I think they ought to make them carry hockey sticks and have them have to bring a puck down the course with them also. Now that would be crazy.
Friday, August 11, 2006
I grew up in upstate New York not too far from the Canadian border and Hockey Night in Canada on the CBC was a weekly experience that I couldn't begin to put a value on as to what it meant to me and to my life-long love affair with Hockey. Priceless is as close as I can get to a estimate.
Bell Globemedia however has come up with a slightly different figure in a effort to grab it away from the CBC... a $1.4 Billion dollar figure to be precise.
The Toronto Globe and Mail reported today that Bell Globemedia is likely to offer a bid to Hockey Night in Canada worth $1.4 billion over ten years.I'd hate to see the CBC lose Hockey Night but with all that money being offered that looks to become a likely possibility.
The CBC's rights for Hockey Night in Canada will expire at the end of the 2007-2008 NHL season. Hockey Night in Canada has been airing on CBC since 1952.
The Globe and Mail reported that Bell Globemedia would offer $140 million a year for ten years. The deal would include Canadian English-language broadcast rights, cable rights, French-language rights and ownership of Internet streaming.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
A unknown (as of now) former NHL enforcer is on the run from the looooooooong arm of the law.
VERNON, B.C. (CP) - A former NHL enforcer is accused of being involved in an assault at a Vernon motel Tuesday night.So, be on the lookout for a mystery enforcer who, "played in the late 1990's" and likes to make a lot of noise. Hmmmm, that doesn't really narrow it down too much now does it. So I won't even hazard a guess about who to be on the outlook for. So approach all former NHL enforcers who played in the late 90's and like to make a lot of noise with caution. God help us all.
Police were called to the Best Western Vernon Lodge after a security guard said he'd been attacked while asking a hotel guest keep the noise down.
The guard says he was pulled into the suspect's room and beaten in the face before the man fled on foot.
The RCMP found the suspect's girlfriend and children in the room and determined he was an enforcer in the NHL who played in the late 1990's.
Police say they will get an arrest warrant for the man if he doesn't surrender.
His name won't be released until he is charged.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Here's a little tribute video to some of the great Russian Hockey players that yureeka posted over on YouTube recently...
Man, those guys can play. It's like they got rockets on their skates. However, there's one truly great Russian player highlight clip the director of the video admits is missing only because it occurred after he put his collection together.
So, here it is...
Truly one of the most amazing goals I've ever seen. This guy is going to the Michael Jordan of Hockey. I can only hope he does a fraction for the NHL as MJ did for the NBA. If anyone could do it... it's Alexander the Great.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
While contract negotiations between the Flyers and star winger Simon Gagne are going slowly, Flyers general manager Bob Clarke is confident something will happen well before training camp opens in five weeks.For all the Truth & Rumors from SI go >>> here.
-- Trenton Times
Now with six experienced defenseman under contract, the signing of Fedor Tyutin and Michal Rozsival likely puts to rest any hopes of a Brian Leetch return to New York. The 38-year-old Leetch, who played for the Bruins last year, hasn't made clear his intentions for next season.
-- The Journal News
Bad news for the Penguins coming out of Russia yesterday was overshadowed by Evgeni Malkin's agent saying last night that he expects the prospect to play in the NHL this coming season. Don Meehan, who represents Malkin, said he is about to begin contract negotiations with the Penguins and expects the 20-year-old center to head to North America soon.
-- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Jonathan Toews, whom the Blackhawks selected with the No. 3 pick in the draft, has decided to return to North Dakota for his sophomore season. Toews, whose rights remain with the Hawks, reportedly turned down a $935,000 offer.
-- Chicago Sun-Times
Monday, August 07, 2006
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Two former Edmonton Oilers, Cory Cross and Sean Brown, have joined the ever-growing wave of NHL players heading to Germany.As Europe becomes more and more attractive to the minimum wage NHLer's under the new CBA I think the quality of play in the league could suffer some from the lack of NHL quality blue collar hockey workers staying here in North America. I guess time will tell.
"I'm really looking forward to it; the whole experience," said Cross, who signed a one-year contract with Hamburg Freezers, a team name that had him chuckling.
The Freezers are one of 14 teams in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL). Amazingly, 91 players with NHL experience or drafted by NHL clubs, played in the DEL last year alone.
The number even surprised Cross, who said he had no idea the German league was so filled with NHL players. But he can understand why.
"Every time I've gone to play in Europe I've enjoyed it and just about everyone I've talked to have said they had good experiences," said Cross, who was part of three world championships, including 1997 and 2003 Team Canada gold-medal victories.
"It's such a different atmosphere."
Most attractive to Cross is that having played 659 NHL games -- including three seasons with the Oilers -- and not having a contract for the coming season is "the life experience.
"How many chances do you get to do something like this?" he asked. "I've done the same route here for 12 years. Why not change things up?
"They set you up with an apartment. They give you a car. The salaries aren't comparable to the NHL. But the money is tax free.
"When you add up the bonuses, the apartment, the car and the tax-free salary it's comparable to the minimum NHL salary ($450,000 US last season)," Cross said [...]
Yet even if an NHL team had signed Cross for the coming season -- minimum wage; two-way contract -- he said he'd probably opt for Germany anyway. Then again, Cross said it isn't about money.
"I'll be able to be with my family a lot more," said Cross, 35, who will be joined by his wife Shannon and five-month-old daughter, Ayla.
"They only play 52 games, mostly just two games a week and, as I understand it, most of the games are on Fridays and Sundays. So the most you are going to be away is a weekend. And even then you won't be far because all the games are in Germany."
Saturday, August 05, 2006
The Neil Little flying leap I think is my favorite. Here's the complete brawl surrounding that leap. The replay of the leap itself is at 2:45 in. It's pretty crazy stuff.
"Half the game is mental; the other half is being mental."Jim McKenny
No truer words were ever spoken regarding Hockey.
I'll let Mike explain...
First and foremost under no circumstances should a team be rewarded for losing a game. No matter if the game is lost in 60 minutes or 65 minutes. One point doesn’t seem to be a lot, however that one point may be the difference between making the playoffs or golfing for the summer. The Edmonton Oilers made the playoffs by virtue of this system. They finished the regular season eighth place in the Western Conference (the last playoff spot) and had 41 wins. However, both the Los Angles Kings and the Vancouver Canucks had 42 wins but missed the playoffs in favor of the Oilers. Yes, the Oilers did make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, however; who’s to say the Kings or Canucks wouldn’t have made a similar run?Complete article can be found >>> here.
Many people in favor of the overtime loss point suggest that guaranteeing a point to the losing team encourages both teams to fight for the victory in overtime in order to gain the extra point. That was the original reason the league implemented the overtime loss point. A few seasons ago, when two teams would go to overtime, they would generally play for a tie, assuring they left the game with a point. When the league added the overtime loss point teams became much more aggressive in overtime which resulted in more exciting hockey. However, now the NHL has eliminated ties. Therefore if the overtime loss point was removed, teams would still be unable to play for ties, because they no longer exist.
It is unfair that certain teams in the NHL are higher in the standings than others with less wins. Points can be precious in the NHL regular season and they shouldn’t be given for losses. These extra points may be the deciding factor in some teams making or missing the playoffs. So why should a team that lost a few extra games in an overtime format that will not be used in the playoffs make the playoffs over a team that has more wins, but just happens to lose in regulation more often?
Friday, August 04, 2006
that doesn't exist.......................... YET.
But as Grant Nolin explains, with your help with his petition drive, it could happen....
Check out his pilot episode, it's really quite good.
"If you like it, sign it and tell us what you think of it. If you don't like it, and shows about swearing and farting (and hockey) aren't your bag, we suggest you go rent the extended version of The English Patient, 'cause you're probably not our viewer."
Grant Nolin, Director
So, what are you waiting for ???
Sign >>> the petition.
Real hockey. No chimps A Canuck show aims to capture our game's sweaty essence But networks aren't biting, so the creator is pitching it onlineSo what makes Beer League different from all previous attempts to put hockey on film?
The secret, Nolin says, is that he's not using actors, but hockey players who can act.
"I think I worked the lights on some play in high school once," says cast member Brandon Gallagher of his acting experience. "But I was born and raised on Slap Shot. I think Grant wants real hockey guys so their passion comes through."
And Gallagher is a real hockey guy, all right. The life-time beer leaguer has a tattoo on his back of the Tasmanian Devil holding two hockey pucks for his favourite teams: the Boston Bruins and the Unionville Jets, for which he once played.
The characters are based on the prototypical players on a real beer league team. There's the meathead, the mouthpiece, the flaky goalie, and the weirdo who won't shower with the team. Steve Major, who plays the lead and is a civil lawyer by day, says the similarities between the hockey-mad cast and their characters aren't hard to pick out.
This particular Top 10 listing of nicks is brought to you by Tom Layberger of Sports Illustrated.
My personal favorite...
Here's some that were left off that I would've included...
Pike's nickname was to be taken literally: he was a licensed mortician. He played six seasons with the Rangers and was a rookie on the 1939-40 squad that won the Stanley Cup. It was Pike's OT winner that downed Toronto in Game 1. He eventually turned to coaching and went behind the Blueshirts' bench during the '59-60 season, a post he maintained only through the following year. Many players considered Pike, who turns 89 in September, too nice to be a coach
Punch (George Imlach)
Dipsy Doodle Dandy (Max Bentley)
Toe (Hector Blake)
One Eyed Frank (Frank McGee)
Red Light (Andre Racicot, a goalie)
Boom Boom (Bernie Geoffrion)
King (Francis Clancy)
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Jason Allison: Netted 60 points in 66 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season, but his lack of speed made him an even-strength defensive liability (minus-18). He could, however, prove valuable in power-play situations.Complete list can be found >>> here.
Peter Bondra: Scored 21 goals in 60 games with the Atlanta Thrashers last season but missed considerable time to a groin injury. There's some talk the 38-year-old winger might retire but it's possible a team seeking offensive depth might offer up a one-year contract.
Anson Carter: Has had interest from several teams, including the Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and even his former team, the Vancouver Canucks. Unfortunately, his demands for a three-year, $9 million contract has cooled that interest, and unless he significantly lowers his asking price he faces the possibility of remaining unsigned when training camp opens in September.
Radek Dvorak: Hoped to remain with the Oilers but the club passed due to the improvement of several of their young players. He has terrific speed and is a nifty playmaker but lacks consistency and is also considered brittle. The St. Louis Blues are reportedly interested in him.
Mike Dunham: Was once earmarked as a goaltending star, but nagging groin injuries have limited his effectiveness. No longer consider a starter, he's generated some interest from the Devils and Islanders as a backup and could land with one of those clubs in the coming weeks.
Sean Hill: Had a decent year with the Florida Panthers in 2005-06, but there's a perception that he's getting a little long in the tooth to play the faster-paced game. It's believed he's willing to sign a one-year contract for the league minimum, which could go a long way toward making him an affordable pickup for teams still shopping for defensemen.
Greg Johnson: Is perhaps one of the most underrated UFAs still on the market. He was a good two-way center and faceoff man during his years as captain of the Nashville Predators, and those skills could come in handy on almost any NHL team's checking lines. He probably could be had for around $1 million per season.
Viktor Kozlov: Has seen his stock drop noticeably from his career best 70-point season in 1999-2000 when he rode shotgun on Pavel Bure's line. Dogged by injury and inconsistency, it's unlikely he'll find any takers in the NHL and could wind up playing in Europe this season.
Manny Legace: Has received little interest around the league thus far, although he's believed in talks with the St. Louis Blues. While he's posted very good statistics in recent years, his outspokenness and his meltdown during last spring's Detroit-Edmonton playoff series are probably why he's had a tough time finding a new team.
Brian Leetch: Has yet to make up his mind if he'll return for one more season or bring his illustrious career to a close. Speculation suggested a possible return to the Rangers, but reports out of New York on Wedneday claim the Blueshirts recent re-signing of Michal Rozsival leaves no room for Leetch. The Bruins, for whom he played last season, have also improved its blueline depth this summer, which could rule out a return to Beantown.
See anyone you'd like your team to take a chance on? Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing the Av's go for Leetch. It worked out well for them the last time they brought a Hall of Fame D-man at the end of his career in from Boston.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
The folks over at Sports Illustrated have put together a list of what they consider to be the most humiliating modern era NHL moments. Check it out here, see what you think.
A personal favorite....
#9. "Have another doughnut": May 1988Let's go to the videotape hockey fans and take a look...
Caught on videotape and later paid homage in the form of cruller-crunching Officer Koharski in Wayne's World, the Jim Schoenfeld-Don Koharski contretemps in the 1988 playoffs was the China Syndrome of lows during John Ziegler's tenure.
Ah, the inhumanity. On May 6, 1988, after a Bruins-New Jersey playoff game, an incensed Schoenfeld, the coach of the losing Devils, confronted Koharski, the ref, in the runway that leads to the dressing rooms in the Meadowlands arena. His famous utterance, without the expletive, was: "Have another doughnut, you fat pig." (For five bonus points, next time you see the video, see if you can spot Larry Brooks, the estimable New York Post columnist, who was working for the Devils at the time.)
The NHL decided to suspend Schoenfeld for one game, a ruling that sent the Devils scurrying to court to seek relief. The court indeed issued an injunction that allowed Schoenfeld to coach, and the infuriated officials decided to stage a one-game strike.
But that was hardly the end of the story. Facing his biggest on-ice crisis -- as you might recall, the 1980s were a heady time of goals and glory -- Ziegler was nowhere to be found. He was AWOL for three days before finally resurfacing in Boston, holding a press conference in a Boston hotel in which he left no clues to his whereabouts while looking and sounding utterly -- to borrow a Schoenfeld reference -- glazed.
Here's some of the other embarrassing NHL moments that didn't make the Top 10. The dishonorable mentionables, I guess you could say.
And as much as it pains us to exclude them, the Oakland Seals' white skates, the expansion Washington Capitals, the track suit New York Rangers coach Jean-Guy Talbot wore behind the bench, the Hartford Whalers' Brass Bonanza theme song, pretty much the past 10 seasons of the Chicago Blackhawks, the Vancouver Canucks' Crayola V jerseys, the foot-in-the-crease rule, the Rodmanesque photos of Alexandre Daigle in a nurse's uniform and Doug Carpenter's incorrect lineup in his first game as Maple Leafs coach -- a sign in the Gardens that night read "Wait Til Next Year" -- also didn't make the cut.Any you'd like to add?
The very first hockey game I went to as a kid erupted into a chair throwing spectacle when things got out of hand on the ice. It blew my mind. Even though I've grown to passionately love the sport with all it's other unbelievable aspects of play it's that dangerous balancing act between violent order and violent chaos that has captivated me just as much about the game. No other sport I believe has the raw emotions and passions so close to the surface for both the players and the fans. It's well documented. Let's begin.
This one from Europe really gets out-of-hand at about 1:20 in, just when it appears everything dies down. Then, pretty much hell breaks loose. Which will happen from time to time at hockey games. It's part of the attraction.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
I have to admit though, the dude had a incredible knack for lining people up and delivering the devestating blow. Unbelievable timing.
All the clips used in this piece are just hard, clean, legal hockey hits. Except that one on Karia. He'd given up the puck and had taken two or three strides before Steven's unloaded on him. That one I'd call a cheapie. The rest I had no problem with.
But, I still don't like the guy or his team. Somethings, for some reasons, never change. Others do. It's a mystery to me, why?
For instance, I used to HATE the Canadians... now I lOVE them. Go figure and ...