Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Are the Av's Dead?

I think reports of their demise have been greatly exaggerated.



With young talent like Wolski, Statsny, Richardson, Svatos, Leopold, Liles, Budaj, etc. coming on strong the Av's are in a good position to surprise a lot of naysayers.

Besides, the Av's have the force behind them...



You can't fight the force.



Monday, October 30, 2006

Hockey Erotica



The Five Hole: Stories of Sex and Hockey


Dave Bidini, gutarist with the canadian band, The Rheostatics, and author of such acclaimed hockey books as, The Tropic of Hockey, and The Best Game You Can Name, has a new book coming out called... The Five Hole. It's a collection of six stories all about the wild days of 1970's hockey, sex and debauchery.

What a combo, eh?
The story was a sexual awakening of sorts for Bidini, who tells me "the time has come for sex and hockey to come together."

It’s a side of hockey that hasn’t been talked about, he explains, "except under the low lights of the Tavern or bar."

Or in jokes, like: Why do Montrealers do it Doggie Style? So they can watch the game.

Or, when players are behaving badly, and sexually assaulting women, or when coaches are assaulting their young players.

But there’s a more innocent sexy side to hockey, says Bidini. Heck, when you’ve got a bunch of guys skating around with big sticks, shooting and scoring, how can there not be?

Sticks and dicks

Especially during its heyday in the ’70s, a "real wild-and-swinging-guy era for hockey, with the tight trousers and the long hair," says Bidini.

It was swinging, quite literally, in come cases.

"It was public knowledge that Bob Nevin and another player were wife swapping," says Bidini.

And back then, before hockey players were micro-managed and heavily marketed, that fast-and-hard lifestyle was more celebrated, he adds.

"There was a bit of that sweet, na├»ve, hoser-star hockey player enjoying the banquet of life," he laments. "I just think it’s an amusing era to look at in terms of sexuality."
Yes indeed, it was a very amusing era... for both hockey and sex.

The Five Hole: Stories of Sex and Hockey, goes on sale sometime in November, look for it.



Puck Pilgrims

Now this sounds like a lot of fun to me...

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - The final leg of an international tour stopped at Cambria County War Memorial Arena on Saturday night.

But no big-name rock star was in town.

No monster truck show or Disney on Ice production, either.

Instead, four hardcore hockey fans from Norway parked a RV a few blocks from the arena and marched into the building where "Slap Shot" was filmed.

These guys came for the Johnstown Chiefs' ECHL game against the Cincinnati Cyclones. But of perhaps greater significance, "The Do It Right or Don't Do It At All Tour" concluded in the Flood City after 14 days and approximately 3,200 miles at a cost of about $3,000 per man.

"It's usually 10 days, but this time it's 14 days and we decided to try to see as many leagues as possible," said Jon Manum of Sarpsborg, Norway. "Sometimes we try to do as many NHL teams as possible. This time we switched it around a little bit and this is the last game."

This fall's tour opened on Oct. 18 at Madison Square Garden as the NHL's New York Rangers played the Nashville Predators.

There were visits to cities with teams in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League, Central Hockey League and American Hockey League.
Read >>> more.



Thursday, October 26, 2006

The NHL's Worst Dressed



Here's a look at the baddest of the bad... when it comes to uniforms, past and present, in the NHL.
Today, ugly jerseys run rampant in the NHL, and with honourable mention to every European billboard jersey that comes out every spring with the Spangler Cup, and the horrific striped jerseys that Chicago and Detroit broke out in the early ’90s that featured prominently on our Pro Set hockey cards, here are the Gateway’s picks for worst NHL uniforms.
Complete article >>> here.



Looongest Hockey Fight Ever

Well, at least the looongest one I've ever seen...



...also this marathon tussle had the classiest move I've ever seen in a hockey fight happen at the very end.



Study Blasts the Drafting of Europeans

The findings by the International Ice Hockey Federation suggest both the Europeans leagues who are being drained of players and North American players who are being squeezed out of jobs here are suffering unnecessarily.
The majority of Europeans drafted by National Hockey League clubs between 2000 and 2006 didn't make an impact either at the professional or minor-pro level, and those jobs could have been filled by Canadians and Americans, a study conducted by the International Ice Hockey Federation found.

The IIHF concluded that 62.5 per cent of the 621 players drafted in the six-year period were either marginal NHL players who were frequent "healthy scratches" or were non-impact players on minor-league teams.

The IIHF said those players should have remained in Europe to develop their skills before coming to North America [...]

Fasel has long complained that NHL clubs are draining European leagues of talent, while the federations have cried foul over losing players to the NHL and minor-pro leagues, such as the American Hockey League and ECHL.

Fasel has long urged NHL clubs to let Europeans develop at home for a longer period before they join NHL organizations.
Read more >>> here.



Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Shades of Mario



The Legend of "Geno" begins.


More to come... much more.



The Hand



Hockey first... last... and everything in between.



Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Lonely End Of The Rink


The Tragically Hip

At the lonely end of the rink, you and me

Oh to join the rush
as the season builds

I hear your voice ‘cross a frozen lake
a voice from the end of a leaf
saying, ‘you won’t die of a thousand fakes
or be beaten by the sweetest of dekes’

It's Hip to love hockey
by Jody Vance...
Sunday evening, my day job took me to the Phoenix in Toronto to see the Hip meet hockey, with cameras rolling.

We were shooting a feature about how the Tragically Hip have become synonymous with the game of hockey -- so we took Leafs' Andrew Raycroft, Brendan Bell, Jay Harrison and Matt Stajan for an all-access soundcheck visit with the ultimate Canadian band.

Enigmatic frontman Gord Downie, who is typically quite camera shy, became a kid in a candy store at the sight of Andrew Raycroft [...]

Downie made it abundantly clear that he was meeting one of his hockey idols and the look on Raycroft's face said it was mutual admiration.

Raycroft and Downie could have talked all night if not for the matter of the "little show," another sellout, that needed to go on in a matter of an hour.

Hip guitarists Gord Sinclair and Rob Baker joined us for a quick chat with the whole group before we wrapped. Growing up in Kingston, the band members played hockey on any patch of ice they could find, but as they tour they always carry gear and pick up games in every town they can [...]

The band's new album, "World Container," has "The Lonely End of the Rink" as its ever-present hockey song. Here to stay is the bond between the Hip and hockey.
And so another song gets added to... The List.



Jump into the Rush



Power Rankings

This week's PROTRADE NHL rankings theme is... early surprises.

Surprises indeed...
1) (Last Week: 3) Buffalo Sabres (8-0-0, 16 points)
Thomas Vanek leads the league in +/-. Chris Drury leads in goals. Maxim Afinogenov leads in points. And Buffalo leads the league in goals by 10(!) after only 8 games.

2) (1) Dallas Stars (7-1-0, 14 points)
Brendan Morrow never struck me as the point-per-game type. That said, he is just entering his prime.

3) (2) Minnesota Wild (7-1-0, 14 points)
Minnesota's stats look exactly like Dallas', except they played more home games and scored one fewer goal. Pierre-Marc Bouchard looks like he's about to have a breakout season with that +5 and a nearly point-per-game rate.

4) (8) Anaheim Ducks (6-0-2, 14 points)
I still don't think the average Anaheim resident could tell you the Ducks two top goalscorers are Kunitz and Perry. I mean, the average Anaheim resident might not know that Kariya isn't there anymore either, but...

5) (5) Atlanta Thrashers (6-1-1, 13 points)
Does Lehtonen count as a surprise? Probably not, but maybe to some of you.

6) (4) San Jose Sharks (6-2-0, 12 points)
Who is Matthew Carle?

7) (6) Edmonton Oilers (5-2-0, 10 points)
Didn't a whole bunch of people say the Oilers D was toast after losing Pronger? They have given up the third-fewest goals in the league. They really have no breakout players, so I'll just put down Petr Sykora.

8) (9) Montreal Canadiens (4-1-2, 10 points)
That they're ranked 8th in these power rankings is a surprise in itself, but surely Chris Higgins deserves a mention.

9) (10) Vancouver Canucks (5-3-1, 11 points)
Of the Canucks first 11 games, only 2 are/were at home. As for the surprise, Naslund gets my vote for proving he still knows how to score. Maybe Bertuzzi was depressing him.

10) (14) Colorado Avalanche (3-3-2, 8 points)
Ian Laperriere, a career -40, leads the team with a +3 rating after 8 games.
Complete rankings >>> here.



Monday, October 23, 2006

Searching for Bobby Orr



A new unauthorized biography explores the life and times of this reticent NHL icon.
In the late 1960s and early 70s, Orr was so famous he didn’t even need a nickname. He was Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year in 1970, unheard of for a hockey player. But where books about DiMaggio are almost as plentiful as his World Series titles, the literature on Orr is lacking.

"There are a lot of people who’ve wanted an Orr book for a long time but there’s a really good reason why there wasn’t one," says Stephen Brunt, author of Searching for Bobby Orr. Orr, Brunt contends, doesn’t want books written about him and remains influential enough in hockey and media circles that until now, he’s been able to prevent it from happening [...]




"I think we’re all used to these hockey card portraits of these guys. Think of how managed the images are of these guys. Sidney Crosby, on one hand you’ve been following him since he was 10 years old, on the other hand you don’t know anything about him at all."

Despite a wonky knee that would eventually cut short his career, Orr was the best player on the best team in hockey, a team that won two Stanley Cups in three years, and he was named the NHL’s top defenceman eight years in a row.

But Orr’s fame, which led to magazine covers, endorsements for hair-care products and newspaper stories about his love life, far outstripped even those achievements.

"He comes along at a very significant time, when the league doubles in size, when it has pretensions of big league grandeur for the first time," Brunt says.

"The country is kind of changing, culturally, and everybody sees 1967 as a watershed year for Canada, an awakening of nationalism in this country and he’s the best Canadian athlete of that moment. He also is handsome in kind of a boy next door way, not like Namath, who was the dangerous bad boy.

"Orr’s kind of the counterpart to that, but he was also packaged. (Player agent Alan) Eagleson did things with his image that had never been done with a hockey player before. In the sense that we understood a professional athlete now, Orr’s the first modern athlete in Canada, the first Canadian to become one of those.
"
I can trace the origins of my own life-looong love of hockey directly to Bobby Orr. I can still remember the day as a young boy of around 10 years of age passing a TV with a NHL game on and becoming absolutely transfixed by the magic and talent of this kid named Orr who played for Boston. What followed was years of deep devotion to those late 60's early 70's Bruin teams and a permanent addiction to the sport of hockey.

Here's much more on Orr...



Orr was the man and as far as I'm concerned he's the best that ever played. He changed the game profoundly as a player like no other in the history of the sport.

#4



Sunday, October 22, 2006

Give Me That Old Time Hockey

...it really is, the best game you can name.

Let's use the Wayback Machine (YouTube) to visit a looong ago time of primal classic hockey where men were men and goalies didn't wear masks. Yes Virginia, as insane as that sounds, there was such a time.

Look...



"Hockey captures the essence of Canadian experience in the New World. In a land so inescapably and inhospitably cold, hockey is the chance of life, and an affirmation that despite the deathly chill of winter we are alive."

~Stephen Leacock





Friday, October 20, 2006

Movies We'd Like To See...


Attack of the 500 Ft. Goalie



"Let's kick some giant goalie butt."


Looks like a definite Oscar winner in the making to me.



NHL Public Enemy #1

Why it's Sean Avery, of course.



Avery is simply the latest in a loooong line of pest/punk type players, like Claude Lemiux for instance, that have played in the NHL and who relish having big old targets placed on their backs.
Kings forward Sean Avery skated behind the net and appeared to be tripped by a New York Islander on Tuesday. Play continued. In the same game, the Islanders' Brendan Witt leveled Avery after the whistle. Referees missed it.

This is life with a bull's-eye, the Kings say.

"It's a difficult job for anyone to go out there with a big target on their back," forward Scott Thornton said.

Avery earned such hands-on, and elbows-on, attention last season with conduct and comments that oozed controversy.

But as of yet, he does not lead the NHL in penalty minutes, and the Kings have avoided the need to write a blanket apology.

Sure, it has been only three games, but it took him only four last season to earn the most-hated-man-in-the-NHL title.
So, how's life off ice for the guy with "the most-hated-man-in-the-NHL" title?



Well, life looks pretty damn good. Seeesh, but really, a Bentley? At least he likes Neil Young.



Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hockey Rock

The Zambonis with a story about hockey, kids... and a monkey.



Here's the Oddman's current Hockey Rock Favorites ....

  • I am the King

  • I Got War, Baby

  • Hockey is Back

  • Dale Hawerchuk

  • Big League


  • Rock on...



    Wednesday, October 18, 2006

    Shootout Specialists

    A gunslinger position has been created in the new NHL.
    Ottawa Senators head coach Bryan Murray raised some eyebrows during the weekend when he sat his three star forwards during a shootout.

    With Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza on the bench Saturday while visiting the Canadiens, Antoine Vermette and Mike Fisher scored in the shootout to give Ottawa the win. Checker Dean McAmmond would have been the third shooter if needed.

    Confused? Don't be.

    "It's a different skill," Dallas winger Jussi Jokinen said. "You don't have to be a 40- or 50-goal scorer to be good at shootouts."

    The 23-year-old Finn is the NHL's shootout king. Going into last night's game in San Jose, Jokinen had 11 shootout goals in 14 attempts since the new format was added last season - only seven short of his 18 career regulation-time goals.

    He's a specialist. Like a left-handed reliever in baseball or a third-down back in football, he's found his niche in hockey.
    Read complete article >>> here.

    Here's Jussi doing his thing as the...

    Shootout God












    Tuesday, October 17, 2006

    Hockey Burlesque

    Aaaah, the good old hockey game...



    Nice to see the maple leaf flag proudly displayed on the back wall. Hey, wait just a minute, something doesn't smell right about this.



    Guinness Hockey World Record

    Here's the Hockey Night in Canada Theme Song...



    ...doing it's part in setting a new Guinness world record for most saxophones (over a thousand) playing the same song at the same time.

    In your face NFL.



    Hockey Film Planned

    David E. Kelley the offbeat producer/writer of Mystery, Alaska, will bring the story of the World Hockey Association and legendary player Gordie Howe to the screen.
    The film's story will focus on the 1973-74 season when Howe, then 44, returned to pro hockey after two years in retirement and played on the same team as his two sons, Mark and Marty, in the upstart World Hockey Assn. Howe's wife Colleen served as agent-manager for the trio, which led the Houston Aeros to the championship, with the elder Howe named league MVP.

    "The thrill of playing with my two sons that first year in Houston could only be surpassed by telling the story on the bigscreen," Howe said.

    Kelley will turn his attention to the project following the launch of "Life on Mars" for ABC.

    The Baldwins and Kelley worked together previously on "From the Hip," which Kelley penned, and on the 1999 hockey film "Mystery, Alaska," which Kelley co-wrote [...]

    Kelley's eponymous shingle currently produces "Boston Legal" for ABC, is in pre-production on "Life on Mars" and has a TV adaptation of Joseph Wambaugh's "Hollywood Station" in development. Ilitch has produced several films, including "Lost in Space."
    Complete article >>> here.



    Monday, October 16, 2006

    # 500

    Mats Big Night...



    Sundin's 500th blows teammates away.
    "Amazing," said Darcy Tucker, who had an excellent view of Sundin's shot in overtime as he sat in the penalty box. "The puck just jumped off his stick. I was out there when he scored his 400th goal and to see his 500th goal in overtime is special for everybody."

    Sundin is revered in the Maple Leafs dressing room and his penchant for coming through in the clutch is a big reason. Sundin leads the National Hockey League in regular-season career overtime goals with 15, and has 36 game-winning goals since the start of the 2000-01 season, which also is an NHL best.

    That Sundin's milestone goal also was his third of the night, and shorthanded no less, meant something more to those who wear the blue and white.

    "The whole team was rooting for Mats to get his third, but we did not say anything (for fear of bad luck)," Kyle Wellwood said. "He's incredible. I'm sure every fan in the building was elated to be a part of it. He makes such an impact on everyone around him, so it's fitting that he could do that for us."
    Congratulations to Mats, one of the classiest players in the whole NHL.



    Sunday, October 15, 2006

    Support Your Local Hockey Shops



    We return now to our regularly scheduled programming.



    Saturday, October 14, 2006

    Distant Replay

    Although I ran this Steve Carell goalie training clip once before awhile back, as far as I'm concerned, running it just once is not enough. Goalies, particularly young ones I think can always learn something new from viewing it. The man's a genius when it comes to training techniques.

    Watch and learn...



    Like I said, pure genius.

    People wonder why goalies are so good nowdays. Well, they need look no further for a reason why than to the hockey goalie training guru himself Steve Carell and to his profound impact on how goalies now approach the game.



    Thursday, October 12, 2006

    Pick a Card... Any Card

    Find the puck and score...



    Drats, another sign indicating Anaheim Ducks good fortune for this puck season. Their very own card trick. Now they have it ALL. They are the most complete team in the NHL.

    Can they be stopped?



    The Magic Golden Shovel

    This is was just too weird or I guess I should say, just too odd for me to pass up...



    Hmmmm, I don't know if these guys were on anything when they put that together but if they were... I'd like some please.



    Wednesday, October 11, 2006

    Hockey Gone Wild #9

    ...in a continuing series.

    Like #8 this one comes from merry old England where evidently the game gets just as wild and crazy as anywhere else... on occasion.

    Nottingham Panthers
    vs
    Sheffield Steelers

    This one's a real doozy that goes on and on. The benches clear at 2:10 in and a spectacle of gigantic proportions ensuses...



    I saw at least three calls the ref could've made before the fights started. Apparently this guy wasn't calling anything and things just spiraled out of control... way out of control.



    Tuesday, October 10, 2006

    Steagle Update

    along with other Hockey news and insight from...

    The Colbert Report



    "I love Hockey because it's the great American pastime. It's a metaphor for all things American... like baseball.

    ...and there are fights.
    "
    In still other Saginaw Spirit hockey news, there's no report on whether "The Steagle" is part of this investigation.



    Big Snake

    Clash of the Titans

    Ever since I did a post on Robin Big Snake (coolest name in hockey) about a year ago it seems a week doesn't go by without a few people stopping by here searching for that piece or other stuff on their hero. It may be the single largest search demographic the Oddman enjoys. Big Snake fans.

    So, this one is for you guys...

    Brendan "Butterbean" Tedstone
    Vs.
    Robin Big Snake




    Heavyweight vs Super Heavyweight


    Good Lord... 375 LBS!

    Big Snake Rules, of course.



    Sunday, October 08, 2006

    The Sunday Funnies

    The Hockey Champ



    ...see you all in the funny pages.

    My dad would always tell us that at bedtime. I love ya dad.


    R.I.P.



    Saturday, October 07, 2006

    Hockey Cribs

    Living large in the new NHL...



    Man, life sure looks good in "The Show". It always has... but somewhere Gordie Howe has just got to be shaking his head. Anyways, it's really nice to see the boys are making ends meet and are getting by under the new CBA. I was worried about them after hearing all about how the owners had taken them to the cleaners. Silly me.

    Hockey on...



    Beer Me

    OK, here, have a few...



    What? You said Bud Light? Ooooh, sorry.


    Who says "Slap Shot" style hockey is dead?

    Who dat?



    Friday, October 06, 2006

    Win One for the Steagle

    The Colbert Puck Report



    Great pep talk Stephen.... Go Saginaw Spirit hockey!!! ....it's your patriotic duty.

    Plus, God, judging from the Spirit hockey jersey he wears is a fan of yours Saginaw. So don't disappoint him.

    Hmmmm, God's a hockey fan. I always figured that was the case.



    Tuesday, October 03, 2006

    Sickest Dekes & Sweetest Goals

    ...of the recent past.



    Now, the new season of puck magic begins.

    Stanley or Bust! Good Luck to all.

    Hockey on...



    The Top 20

    ...to watch out for.


    Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson, picks the Top 20 players in the National Hockey League he thinks you should keep an eye on this season.

    Here's a look at a few of his picks...

    #7



    #20



    Personally, I only have eyes for this guy, #11 on Jim's list but...

    # 1 in my heart.


    Yeah, I love the Av's... but my passion is Hockey.

    It's going to be a great year. I can just feel it.

    Check out all of Jim Matheson's Top 20 players to watch for this season >>> here.



    Hockey Gone Wild # 8

    ...in a continuing series.

    Well, it appears that even in relatively sedate merry old England the boys there know how to "keep it real" on the ice.



    Yeah, well, things will tend to get out-of-hand when the score is 12-2... no matter where you play in the world. It's a universal law of hockey I believe.



    Monday, October 02, 2006

    Brookbank Mountain

    There's just fewer and fewer guys out there to "dance" with nowdays...



    ...what's a tough guy to do???


    Wade Brookbank's got another mountain to climb now that he's made it to the NHL. It's the one that will allow him to stay in the "new" NHL if he can conquer it. He and all enforcers now have got to prove that they can play the game... not just drop'em.

    Fighting for survival
    By Douglas Flynn/ Daily news staff
    WILMINGTON -- Wade Brookbank isn't the type to back down from a fight.

    The 6-foot-4, 225-pound enforcer has literally scrapped his way from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League all the way to the NHL, and he's hoping his fists can help him land a spot on the Bruins roster this year after signing as a free agent in the offseason.

    But Brookbank is battling the toughest foe he's ever faced in his 10-year professional career. It isn't an opposing team's heavyweight, nor the challenge from the latest young buck vying for the same job in camp.

    No, Brookbank is fighting against the game itself.

    The instigator rule and other recent legislation to reduce fighting in the NHL has put the time-honored tradition of the enforcer in peril. The obstruction crackdown that has opened up the game after the lockout has placed an emphasis on speed and skill. Size and toughness, once highly sought after commodities, are no longer in such high demand.

    (my emphasis)
    So, pay your respects and say goodbye to a "time-honored tradition" that apparently has no place in the "new" NHL.

    Or, are reports of it's death greatly exaggerated? Are we simply seeing a evolution of the enforcer taking place in a process that hasn't run it's course yet?

    I think we'll start to see for sure this season.



    Sunday, October 01, 2006

    "I Am The King"

    Hockey season begins this week...

    life is good again.


    (start this one then pause it and let the red video bar load
    about 1/4 of the way, then let'er rip)


    .... Judge Jackson and a rockin Fox hockey promo.

    My and I'm taking a wild guess here, but I believe your favorite time of the year is finally here.

    Praise the Lord... and pass the puck.