December 31, 2009

Oopsies

NHL, NHLPA write to IIHF about Team Russia

If this is true, this just totally negates Hockey Canada's grotesquely overdone introduction of just a roster yesterday. On the down side, it complicates things for every hockey league that's contributing players. Not to mention the respective national team's general managers. Trust the Russians to know the loopholes, tho.

Now the rosters might not have to be finalized until February. Think of how much fun that'll be. Gotta love soft deadlines, huh?

December 30, 2009

Hockey + Commercials = Fun

I love hockey commercials. They're just so much more fun than any other sport. Football and basketball are far too serious. Baseball commercials - particularly the infamous Seattle Mariners commercials - are a little more lighthearted. But hockey commercials are the best. Even if they are over two minutes long like this one.

This will appear during the Winter Classic on Friday. Of course it's the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, and of course it's Sidney Crosby. But you've got to like Max Talbot, too. (Thanks to Pensburgh for posting this.)

Captain And Parent

Lecavalier's play of late has been a driving force
Perhaps the notion of being a parent, as longtime girlfriend Caroline Portelance is expecting the couple's first child in May, has given the 29-year-old a new perspective on life off the ice. Or maybe he finally started relying more on his natural abilities to help snap out of a scoring funk.
And here I thought the good news going around was just on the ice with Vinny getting back his game. Congratulations to them both! I'm genuinely very happy for them. And I'm positive that Vinny will be a fantastic dad.  :o)

Two - No, Four - More In The Can [UPDATED]

Selanne, Kiprusoff highlight Finnish roster

Jagr returns to Olympics with Czechs

Selanne & Jagr, too, huh? Now the selections of Forsberg and Fedorov don't seem quite so unusual. Makes me wonder if the US & Canada will take that route, too.

Hockey Canada will announce their roster at noon o'clock Eastern today. Well, that's when their roster naming ceremony/event starts. They probably won't actually announce any names until like 12:30 pm, tho. They will be naming the roster while at the World Junior Championships tournament.
The one-hour special from Saskatoon, Sask. will be hosted by Olympic Prime Time host Brian Williams. Olympic analysts Daren Millard, Gord Miller and Pierre McGuire will join him while a panel of Nick Kypreos, James Duthie and Bob McKenzie will provide instant analysis and reaction.

The announcement will air exclusively on CTV, TSN, Rogers Sportsnet, OLN, OMNI, APTN, ATN, /A\, CTV News Channel, CP24, CP24 and NHL Network. The FAN 590 Toronto, The FAN 960 Calgary and Corus Quebec's CKAC Sports will air it on the radio.
...Yawn....

USA Hockey will announce their roster immediately following the Winter Classic at Fenway Park on Friday.

Can't forget these ones:

Switzerland names Olympic roster

Germany names Olympic roster

December 29, 2009

Three More Olympic Rosters

Latvia names Olympic roster

Norway names Olympic roster

Slovakia names Olympic roster

Canada will announce their roster at noon Eastern tomorrow. With all of the pomp and fanfare they think it deserves. Guaranteed that it'll be on the cheesy/hokey side - because that's how Canada likes it best.

December 28, 2009

A Winter Scene

On the Ice, By Verlyn Klinkenborg
Published: December 27, 2009; New York Times

The school buses have already left, and now the first teachers are heading for their cars and trucks, the day over, the afternoon thick with relief. The bitter cold of the weekend has lifted. Out on the ice, just past the school, there is a precise rectangle of banked snow, the outline of a skating rink that was carefully shoveled and swept clear when the snow was deep. But now, after a few warm days, the entire pond is clear of snow, all but the boundary of the rink, where a solitary man is lacing his hockey skates.

He skates away from his shoes, stick in hand, puck before him on the ice. He isn’t thinking about speed or a slap shot. He skates just bent enough to clap the blade on the ice, urging the puck forward and yet boxing it in. The whole pond is his. He is holding himself in, making the ice last, measuring his possession of it by the slowness and grace of his movements. Behind him the snow peaks rise, for this is Livingston, Mont.

He worries the puck a little — chivying it from side to side, like a fox toying with a vole. Or perhaps it’s a gentler motion than that, as though he were domesticating the puck, showing it the limits of its freedom. You must imagine the slow sweep of his legs, the clacking of the stick, the deep-night blackness of the puck itself on the dull gray ice, which is soundless except for the gnashing of his blades.

Now he skates down the pond, and now he rounds back, as if to revisit his shoes. I think of Wordsworth’s midnight ecstasy on the ice. But this is a spot in time every bit as moving. The light is tumbling out of the sky like a snowfall of dusk. The school buses are turning homeward again. Before long, the houses along this pond will spill an amber glow through their windows into the night. But for now there is more than enough light — reflected by the ice — to keep skating. There is nothing prepossessing about the man out there except the grace of his movement and the way he keeps house with his hockey stick.

To be walking past a pond while a man skates across the afternoon is to feel suddenly stiff-gaited and woefully destination-bound, even though this is just a leisurely walk. The best I can hope for out here, on the pavement, is a stone to kick ahead of me. But inside I am skating through the fading light too, feeling the depth of the ice under me, the poise of my blades. Like the man on skates, I know that now is the precious time. Out on the ice, he is guarding the moment, keeping it close with his stick.

December 27, 2009

Now It's Tre Kronor's Turn

Forsberg, Lidstrom headline Sweden selections

Just yesterday I was complaining bitterly about the lack of respect in sports. The World Junior Championships are going on, and Canada ran up the score against Latvia 16-0. And people wonder why head shots are a problem in the NHL these days....

On the flip side is this - Peter Forsberg being named to the Swedish Olympic team. To be honest, I'm not at all sure how he's playing right now. I was at Modo's website just last night, but I'd gotten distracted before I looked up statistics. I'd gotten as far as the roster, and that was about it.

Still, I'm not sure that having Forsberg on the team is a good call. If he's playing well, then obviously it is. Forsberg is still a great player when on his game and healthy. However, if he's not, and this is simply a gesture of respect, then maybe they're being too respectful.

He's done some fantastic things for Swedish hockey on the international stage. He scored the gold medal winning goal in the last Olympics when it was amateurs-only in 1992, putting Sweden on the map as a force to be reckoned with. And he was a part of the gold medal winning team (when perhaps he shouldn't have been) in 2006. He's won just about every trophy there is between international hockey tournaments and the NHL

The only current NHL player that could perhaps compare to Forsberg in his prime is Alexander Ovechkin.

But there is such a thing as being too respectful. If having an aging player on your team is a detriment, then he shouldn't play. Which I am not saying that Forsberg is right now, since I just don't know, but in the last Olympics he kind of was. He shouldn't have been named to the team then, and he shouldn't have been played - and that was four years ago.

Don't get me wrong. I respect the hell out of Forsberg and his ability. But it's time to face facts. Dude, you're old for an athlete (but not old for the average person - nice double standard there, huh?). You should've hung them up years ago. Seriously. Move on.

Not that he will. He'll play in the Olympics with something to prove. And he should. Because he does have something to prove - he has to prove that Sweden didn't only pick him out of nostalgia and respect.

Regardless, it'll be good to see him play again - if only for this tournament. And in Vancouver, no less. Funny how things turn out, isn't it?

But then, I guess Russia did name Sergei Fedorov to their roster. But Fedorov's just old, not perpetually injured on top of that. Still, I'll be glad to see him play again, too. Fedorov & Forsberg are two of my favorite players.

Official Olympic rosters that have been released for all of the participating countries can be found HERE.

December 24, 2009

For The Canadian Hockey Fans....

'Twas The Night Before Christmas
'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the league
Not a player was stirring, not even Kris Versteeg.

The jerseys were hung in their lockers with care,
In hopes that Lord Stanley would soon be there.

The fans were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of Cup parades danced in their heads.

And Gary in his office, and I near my tree
And just tuning in for the World Junior Tourney.

Back in Regina there arose such a rattle!
I turned on the TV to see who was in battle.

Off to the sofa, I flew in a dash!
TSN has the feed; it starts in a flash!

The lights on the sheet of the freshly-laid ice
Gave way to red shirts and Canadians scoring twice!

When, what to my Canadian eyes should appear,
But 23 junior players, complete with hockey gear!

With a little coach deciding who is startin'
I knew it must be Willie Desjardins.

More rapid than eagles his players they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

"Go, Caron! Go, Brayden! Go, Teubert and Allen!
Go, Kadri! Go, Kozun! Go, Ellis and Cowen!

To the top of the pool! Be a defensive wall!
Now score a goal! Block a shot! Defeat them all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, raise their game high,

So up through the standings the players they flew,
With a slew of big goals, and defensive play too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard the crowd roar,
Five straight gold medals, and we want more.

As I drew in my head, and the excitement grew,
Down the length of ice Taylor Hall flew.

He was dressed all in red, from helmet to his skates,
The Hockey Canada logo on his chest looked great.

A big defenseman he carried on his back,
But with his speed and strength broke away from the pack.

His eyes - how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And his teeth were clenched, as white as the snow.

The shaft of the stick he held tight in his hands
As the cheering grew from the crowd in the stands.

He had a gleam in his eye as he deked to the left,
before juking to the right with a move so deft.

Hall was alone by himself with a wide-open net
As the goalie guessed wrong, his fate having been met.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Hall scored the goal, and put this game to bed.

He spoke not a word, but thanked his teammates roundly,
A sixth gold medal after beating the world soundly.

And laying his medal inside of his stall,
He was thankful to be a part of it all.

This is my guess, and with solid reason,
A sixth gold medal in this holiday season.

So get ready for hockey for the next two weeks,
World Junior Championships are so sweet!

December 23, 2009

Is This Going Alphabetically?

Belarus the first nation to name is hockey roster

And so it begins....

Canada will be announcing their roster on 30 December at the World Junior Championship tournament in Saskatoon. The US is announcing theirs immediately following the Winter Classic at Fenway Park on New Year's Day. The US named their women's Olympic hockey team roster 17 December, while Canada named their women's team roster 21 December.

The Infamous Shoe Incident At MSG

Over the Glass and Into Hockey Lore

This is probably my favorite hockey story of all time, and just because of the whole shoe incident.
Eighteen Bruins went into the stands. Milbury said, “If you watch the tape — and I can freely throw my teammates under the bus now after 30 years — people were throwing some serious shots down below us that were obscured by the fact that everybody was focusing on the idiot highest up in the stands hitting somebody with a shoe.”

December 22, 2009

More Men In Suits

Leafs In Suits! Vs Sabres
Ok, here's the thing you need to understand about Mike Komisarek; Do you see the little smirk on his face? He's smirking because seconds before this picture was taken, he said "I feel like it's a fashion show every time you guys are here." Seriously. THAT'S WHAT HE ACTUALLY SAID. Mike Komisarek GETS it. That's why I love him. In the last L.I.S. post, Komisarek actually said "I'm glad I have so many different suits for this." Please never leave, Mike. Seriously.
Now THIS is what I'm talking about. Why can't we see a little more of this around the hockey blogosphere, huh? NHLers + suits = WIN. Seriously, I want to do this, too. Why won't anyone let me do this?!

Oh yeah. That's right. I'm a serious writer. I know things and stuff. Hmmm. I might have to re-evaluate that whole persona. It's a bit...restricting.

Wait - I bet the Caps would let me. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, now that I'm thinking about who plays there. Although, I'd like to see the visiting team, too. Seeing the visiting team would be essential, in some cases. Someone needs to make this work for me.

...Somewhat disturbingly, I have to admit that seeing a guy in a suit who has a shiner is something of a turn on. I didn't realize that until I saw Colton Orr's picture, and I don't find Colton Orr all that attractive. Huh. Go figure....

Actually, while looking is nice, I'm not sure sure I want to be going out of my way to do any talking - hence being unsure about the whole interviewing thing. They're nice enough guys and all, but it's just better that I don't. Trust me. I've gotten into quite enough of that kind of trouble as it is - and it's not at all what you're thinking, either. I don't need any more.

Still - there definitely needs to be more pictures of NHLers in suits. With ties. Ties are essential, unless you're wearing a sweater. It just finishes off a suit nicely is all. Again, if you don't like wearing ties, try wearing high heels sometime. Then get back to me.

December 21, 2009

College Hockey - Sort Of

Western Washington University Hockey 2009-2010 Game Schedule

Having an NCAA team isn't a matter of interest, it's a matter of funding. And since most schools don't have a lot of funding, they don't have an NCAA ice hockey team. Which is why, when you look up the college ice hockey leagues, there really aren't that many of them.

But that doesn't mean that a school can't and doesn't field their own ice hockey team, anyways. Ice hockey is played at most universities here in the United States. It's just not all NCAA sanctioned.

My alma mater, Western Washington University (link is to the athletics website), is an NCAA Division II school that's a member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC). Last I'd looked, they were ranked #17 in the country for men's basketball. Usually, the women's basketball team is much better than the men's, but the basketball program there is pretty good, regardless. We'll just conveniently ignore the fact that they've been without a football team now for almost a year...weasels....

Anyways, they do not have an NCAA hockey team, but they do have a club hockey team. I was asked to play for them a couple of times when I was in college, but I'd turned them down both times due to my bad ankle. Because it isn't an NCAA team, it's been co-ed at times - tho not many women have played at any one time. Three at most, I think.

The difference between an NCAA team and a college club team isn't just money, but rules, method of operation, and stratification. They are also typically run by the students themselves. A club team has a lot more leeway in what they want to do and who they want to play. Not only can they be co-ed, but they can play against bigger schools.

Western Washington University (link is to the school's official website) has approximately 13,000 students, and does not have a doctoral program. Obviously, it's a small school. But they play against the University of Washington, which has 40,000 students and is a NCAA D-I Pac-10 school. At the other end of the scale, Walla Walla University isn't even NCAA - they're NAIA. Interestingly enough, Western doesn't play anyone else in their own NCAA athletic conference at this time, tho the participating universities changes from time to time. When I was in school, they were playing USC & UCLA as well. Now, it's just Washington State universities (not WSU, but the list of them all) with a few just outside of the state borders.

This hockey association covers the following athletic conferences: Pac-10 (NCAA D-I A), Big Sky (NCAA D-I AA), West Coast (NCAA D-I AA), Great Northwest (NCAA D-II), Northwest (NCAA D-III) Independent (NAIA II), and Canada West Universities (Canadian Interuniversity Sport).

They don't do this to prove that they're worthy of an NCAA sanctioned hockey team. They do this simply because they want to play hockey. And I think most hockey fans can relate to that.

December 20, 2009

To Buy A Jersey - Yea Or Nay?

It occurred to me that I should get a Tampa Bay Lightning jersey. Not for any great love of the team, necessarily, but I have been blogging about them for the past two and a half seasons. It'd be more in way of a memento than an actual fan kind of thing. I'd probably never wear it to a game - probably - that's just not usually my thing. Tho you never know when the mood might strike me.

My first thought is a game worn jersey - but those can be pretty pricey. I like game worn jerseys because, well, if you're going to get a jersey with a player's name and number on the back, you might as well get the one that's actually been on their back. Go for the real thing instead of a copy, you know?

The problem with that is narrowing it down to a specific jersey. I like the blue third jersey - it's a very nice color - except I really hate the word "Bolts" diagonally across the front. If it weren't for that, I'd get that jersey in a heartbeat. I've always thought that they should've gone with a 1930s-esque "retro" lightning bolt look for the crest of their third jerseys.

Anyways, I think that the current black home uniforms sort of look like pajamas. I don't know why, but I always have. So I guess I'd end up getting their away white jerseys sort of by default. Which isn't a bad thing since I only see them live on the road these days. Besides, I don't look that great in black.

As for players, Vinny Lecavalier would definitely be my preference, but there's no way I can drop a couple thousand dollars on a game worn jersey of his - regardless of the team. Victor Hedman would be my second choice, but he hasn't been around for very long so there's probably nothing out there of his just yet. After that, I'm not sure who I'd choose. There are a few other players that I like, but no one that I'm really all that interested in wearing their name and number for. I'd seriously think about a Mattias Ohlund jersey, but he hasn't been with the team for very long.

So then you go for the next best thing - the authentic jersey. Which is $300 - still a nice chunk of change for a shirt that I'd probably only wear a few times a year. Besides, the retail Lecavalier jerseys don't have the captain's "C" on them. What'd be the point?

There's the thought of customizing it by putting my own last name and number (which would be #27, for those playing along at home) on the back. That could be fun. Especially considering that there aren't any #27s on the team currently. It'd almost be like I was one of the players on the team. Or something.

What I'm really leaning towards, tho, is a practice jersey. My Raw Charge co-blogger, John, asked me if I'd customize it, but I don't see why anyone would want to. The players themselves don't wear customized practice jerseys at practice. Mostly, tho, I'd want the practice jersey because I have some good memories of watching practice in Brandon, Florida.

Ideally, I'd like both a game worn jersey (preferably autographed) and a practice jersey. But the game worn thing will probably never happen. Still, a girl can dream, can't she?

December 11, 2009

Interesting Read

Hardest Shot Ever?

What I find interesting is that no one's seemingly made mention of this kind of stuff in the mainstream hockey media since apparently 1968. Okay, that's probably not true, but this is a pretty extensive sort of study. And no one's improved upon that since?

December 9, 2009

The Entitlement Of Talent

Justin Bourne's Blog: Entitlement vs. reality [The Hockey News]

I've really enjoyed this guy's writing. The problem is, he posts stuff all over: USA Today, The Hockey News, his personal blog. I feel like I'm missing something somewhere.

We've all known people like this. In high school, it was the talented football player who always got the touchdowns and the girls. In college, it was the same kind of guy. And then, when they didn't make it to the big show, they fell off the face of the earth, constantly reliving their glory days. Sort of sad when a person thinks their peak in life was at 17 or 22-years-old, huh?

It's guys like this that annoy me - the Steven Stamkos's, Patrick Kane's, and Dany Heatley's of the hockey world. Most of the time, it wears off - eventually. Or at least they're able to hide it better. Usually it's right around the time they have an awful season or two, or someone bigger than them beats it out of them somehow. Sometimes, tho, it doesn't change - like with Patrick Roy. But then, it's kind of hard to beat the attitude out of a goalie.

Must be nice to live in a bubble where people always cater to you because you are who you are, huh?

December 2, 2009

Women Against Boys

Canadian women rely on men's midget teams

As mentioned in a previous post, this is commonplace - it isn't just the national team that does this. All women's teams do this. Playing against boys was always fun. Playing against other women could get pretty nasty sometimes.

Hockey Players Are Awesome

Puck Daddy chats with Junior Seau of 'Sports Jobs' about being a hockey equipment manager and the NFL vs. NHL
Hockey players have this reputation for being blue-collar guys, low key. Was this your first interaction with players like this, and how did you find them?


I found them as cordial, laidback and tough. All in one. You see a hockey player, you'd never know he's a professional athlete. But you put the skates on him, and he becomes a beast. That was something I recognized from the start. You better watch out if you're ever walking into a bar; never judge a book by its cover.

They definitely have a linebacker mentality. But these guys are crazy. They're nuts. They really enjoy their sport. And because they have so many games, they really can't treat it, as far as intensity or total focus, like we do [in football]. Ten games for them is one game for us.
And this is why we all love hockey players.

December 1, 2009

Hockey Quote Of The Day

It's a little old, but it's still good.

"If you want money, go to the bank. If you want bread, go to the bakery. If you want goals, go to the net."
-Brooks Laich, Center, Washington Capitals

November 28, 2009

The Brashear-McSorley Incident



Puck Daddy has been counting down the top ten of the decade, and this video clip was on their list for The 10 biggest NHL stories of the last decade. Technically, the decade isn't over until 2011, but whatever. Most people don't realize that, anyways.

I was at this game with my sister Jill. We were sitting in the corner where the fights ended up - the entire opposite end of the ice from where Donald Brashear was hit. I didn't see the hit itself, but immediately after it happened, the entire arena went absolutely still - the players, the fans, everyone. It was totally quiet in that way that you knew something awful has just happened, even if you didn't see it. And then Garth Snow came barreling out of his crease to take Marty McSorley and all hell broke loose.

I want to say that they were still doing in-house replays of bad hits at that point. It seems like we got to see the replay after it happened on the big screen. I don't remember being frustrated because I had to wait to find out. Now, if a player goes down injured, the arena won't show the replay of what happened. Which is for the best, really. But if you didn't see what happened - which is usually about half of the arena - it kind of sucks that you won't get to see it until you get home.

I've always liked Garth Snow. He was one of the few goalies who always had as many penalty minutes as games played. That oversized gear he used to wear was a bit over the top, tho. But he was always the first to stand up for himself and his teammates. And, since he was the goalie, he was never off the ice during his penalties so he could acquit himself.

And now Garth's the GM of the Islanders. Funny how things turn out. Good for him, tho.

I think he was one of the few hockey players who had a masters degree. I've always found that interesting. Sort of like George Parros for the Anaheim Ducks. The guy's a total bruiser and he so rocks the 70s porn star look - but he's got an economics degree from Princeton. I find that to be very interesting.

Anywho, we all know how the Brashear-McSorley thing turned out. Brashear ended up being fine, thankfully, but that hit essentially ended McSorley's NHL career. Which wasn't that great a loss since he'd played something like 19 seasons in the NHL before that, and was at the end of his career, anyways. Still, not a good way to go out - or to be remembered for.

November 24, 2009

Define "cougar" for me again?

Now this is too funny.



And HERE is Puck Daddy's take on this.

Okay, so here are the rules for women's hockey. When women's teams play each other, there's no body checking allowed - it's actually a two-minute penalty. But, because there aren't many women's teams around, they have to find other people to play. And often it's boys midget teams (15-17-year-olds).

Before the game starts, both teams are asked if there's going to be hitting allowed. Usually the players vote first, and then the coaches tell the officials if there's going to be hitting or not. Because it's not an all-women's game, both USA Hockey and Hockey Canada will allow hitting if both teams agree to it. And, almost always, both teams do.

Women are bitter that they aren't allow to play like everyone else - just because they're female - so they never pass up an opportunity to play what we always thought of as "real" hockey. And the boys.... Well, if you're a 16-year-old guy, wouldn't you want to be body checking women? Of course you would. C'mon now. Ask a silly question....

So the hitting was obviously agreed upon from the beginning - as is usual. What's funny is how Wickenheiser jumps this kid after the hit. I can (kind of) understand why she did it, but what I don't get is how she went about doing that.

What's the story with the wrestling action? That just makes no sense to me whatsoever. If you're going to try taking a guy, you don't start with a strangling move. Seriously. That's just lame and pointless - as is painfully shown in the video. If it were me, I probably would've taken him hard into a wall and shoved my elbow into a kidney - just to make a point.

Yes, I know exactly what that sounded like - "taken him hard into a wall". Now you have an idea of how homoerotic hockey games sound like when they're being called on the radio and tv. Some announcers are worse than others, tho. And it's the bad ones that make me giggle the most.

November 23, 2009

For Loyalty Of The Game

Naslund ending retirement

Only Forsberg could talk Naslund out of retirement. And to play for nothing, too. Good for them that they want to help out their hometown team.

However, I can't help but feel that the reasons in Forsberg's case are just a little bit more selfish than altruistic. Which isn't to say that what they're doing isn't a good thing, but still. Forsberg has made no secret of the fact that he wants to play for Sweden in the Olympics, after all.

My only real complaint about this, tho, is that I don't know of a way to watch Modo games online.

November 17, 2009

Life, Death, And Hockey

'Will to win' drove Penguins fan's recovery
What nobody was prepared for was when Celesnik awakened from her coma April 23, and her first words were: "Is there a hockey game tonight?"

I'd probably do that, too, if I just came out of a coma. Sad, but true. I can totally identify with that kind of thinking.

While I've never been in a life or death situation like this woman, hockey has gotten me thru some really tough times myself over the years.

Maybe it's just being in a rink, or the fact that I sort of equate fans as part of the team - so you feel like you're with teammates, is where I'm going with that - I don't know. My first instinct is to go watch practice, not necessarily go to games or watching them on tv. I crave that camaraderie that you get when you watch practice, not the competition of a game.

And it's not the distraction value that makes it worthwhile. It just feels like you're home. It does to me, at least.

So thank you for being there, those teams that I've followed. You've really helped me out a time or two, even if you haven't realized it. And I really appreciate that.

Why The Name On The Front Of The Jersey Doesn't Matter

Players less safe in era of salary cap, instigator penalty

I totally agree with this - most of it, anyways.

Well, except for the salary cap part. Especially since GMs were trading players like 9-year-old boys trade hockey cards long before the salary cap was implemented. For instance, when the Vancouver Canucks made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1994, only two or three guys were still there five years later. And that was - still is - pretty common. In fact, I would argue that the salary cap has increased the likelihood that more players will stick around instead of be shuffled away.

The part that I have a problem with - tho I also agree with to an extent - is this concept of team loyalty. Bourne argues that since players don't get to stay long with a team, they can't develop team loyalty. But he's talking about the crest on the front of the sweater as well as with teammates. And while I can see that, at the same time, that shouldn't matter.

See, I'm a big believer in the idea that it doesn't matter who's on your team, or what team you're playing for, you should always stick up for your teammates. Always. I don't care if you don't like or know the guy - if he's your teammate, that's all you need to know.

Zenon Konopka on the Tampa Bay Lightning is a great example of this kind of thinking. And NHL rookie Victor Hedman is like that, too. Maybe a guy can take care of himself, and maybe he can't, but that's not the point. The point is, your teammate is your family member - and you don't allow people to mess with your family. It's just not done. You don't have to fight to make a point about it, but you can't stand around and just let things slide, either.

And that's what being part of a team is about. It's not about winning championships, and it's not about making money. It's about family, and you want to do your best by them whenever possible. Even if you don't like or know the guy. It's as simple as that.

Now, I realize that that's a personal perspective. But the guys in any lockerroom can foster that kind of environment. If they choose to. Some either don't bother or don't think about it.

But that's a hockey culture issue, not a rule issue. The instigator penalty is exactly what's keeping guys from jumping in and taking care of dirty players. That I can agree with 100%.

Although, I'm the type of person where I'll only let something slide for so long before I have to deal with someone who's a jerk. So that wouldn't stop me much - unless, of course, the game's on the line. Then I'd get back to them another time.

November 11, 2009

So The NHL's Punishment Guidelines Aren't Actually Astrology?

The NHL's top secret flow chart for handing out suspensions

This makes soo much sense. I just thought that they threw darts at a board, drew punishments out of a hat, took too many drugs, played paper-rock-scissors, or had a special magic 8 ball made for their use to determine suspensions. So there's actually a method to their madness? Who knew?

LOVE. THIS.

Seattle Soccer - A Lesson For The NHL

How Sounders FC turned 2009 into Seattle soccer celebration

The NHL would do well to follow this team's example. This is how you market a team - and a sport - in an area. Seriously. Do this. Talk to the Seattle Sounders FC. They'll probably be more than happy to help. And try the Seattle Mariners while you're at it, too.

November 5, 2009

Raw Charge Internet Radio Interview

Raw Charge on JabberHockey, Sunday, Nov 8th @ 5.30PM EST

I'll post up a reminder on Raw Charge probably early on Sunday - and maybe here again, too - as well. If you want to hear me BS...I mean, chat about hockey, then tune in. Otherwise, ignore this and move on with your life as if this never happened.

Which, maybe it didn't. Depends on whether you buy into denial or string theory, I guess. Somehow, I'm almost positive that my reality is far different from your reality.

November 4, 2009

Now In Goal...Sidney Crosby?

Love him or hate him, but you've got to admit that this is pretty impressive.



By the way, did I forget to mention that he's played goalie in street hockey?

November 3, 2009

Stephen Colbert And The 2010 Olympics

Colbert goes for gold with U.S. Speedskating
"It still tragically involves a lot of Canadians,'' [Stephen Colbert] said.
"It's kind of unseemly how many Canadians I'm going to have to be dealing
with.''

I so feel his pain.... ;o)

The US hockey team ought to get in on this Colbert-Olympic action. Seriously - Tortorella's an assistant coach for Team USA, and he's in New York. He should try to swing something. The more exposure (of the media kind), the better.

Homosexuals In Hockey

It's time to end the use of gay slurs in hockey
Hey, hockey players: not knowing doesn't change the reality that there are gay
men in the professional ranks today.

Just so you know, the general population statistic is somewhere between 1 in 7 and 1 in 10 people are homosexual. Given that that's the statistical average, the likelihood is that there are between 2-3 gay men on any given hockey team. But, like I said, that's an average - there could be more or less depending on the team. In the entire NHL, that means somewhere between 75 to 110 hockey players are likely gay. And that's just in the NHL.

The more I read from this guy, the more I like. I just wish hockey players - and athletes in general - would be more forthcoming in their opinions while they're playing, tho. I completely understand why they're not, but still.

When I played hockey, the woman's team that I was on - we all knew who the lesbians were. And it was never a problem. Not even in the dressing room. But they didn't try to hide it, either.

Same thing in softball, flag football, and basketball in high school. In softball, it was well-known that a couple of coaches were lesbians. And that wasn't ever a problem, either. Maybe it's because it's women instead of men, but no one ever really cared - and I grew up in the sticks and went to high school 20 miles away from my house in a logging town.

I think that if athletes were honest with themselves, they'd probably have a pretty good idea as to who is and isn't gay. And they'd probably realize that it's not an issue. And, seriously, who cares as long as the guy can play, right?

November 2, 2009

Naslund Interview

Markus Näslund Interview in Örnsköldsvik

This is a very good, tho very long, interview of Markus Naslund. I still regret not getting to see him play when he was with the Rangers. Oh well. What can you do, right?

The Power Of Twitter

Twitter Lists in Action: NHL Builds a Social Network for Fans

What I think the most interesting thing to come of this will be the amount of fans each team has on Twitter. I think most people have a pretty good idea of how that will turn out. But you never really know until you see the actual numbers, right?

What I'd really like to do is to map out NHL team fan bases. But I could only do that with the help of the NHL. And even then, there's the prickly issue of individual privacy involved. Which is too bad, really, since that'd be very helpful in overall team and league marketing.

October 31, 2009

October 23, 2009

Sidney Crosby - Union Guy

Cox: When Crosby speaks, NHLPA listens
It was the 22-year-old Crosby, arguably the highest-profile player in the sport
today, who raised his voice last Sunday on a union conference call and firmly
told interim executive director Ian Penny to hang up the phone because union
members wanted to have a players-only discussion. Penny, who had first been
rebuffed in his efforts to have baseball union leader Donald Fehr speak to the
NHLPA team representatives, finally had to relent and get off the line.

Good for him.

Frankly, I've always been one of those people that, if I see something wrong, I'll say something about it. I have no qualms about throwing something out there if I think it's necessary. But the reality is that most people don't want to speak up. They'd rather go along with the crowd and complain bitterly about how things are going instead of trying to do something about it themselves.

So good for Crosby that he's not afraid to speak up. It'd be easy for a younger guy to be intimidated by older players - particularly in regards to something that's not directly about the game of hockey that he may or may not know much about. And also about something that he probably shouldn't have to worry too much about for a while because others with more knowledge and seniority can take care of it for him.

More guys should be doing that - and taking an active interest in how the players association is going about its business. Because it does affect them. In more ways than just one. However, as about half of any given population are sheeple and don't want or like to think for themselves, it's understandable that fewer players are taking an interest than perhaps they should. Add to that that there's also a large chunk of humanity that doesn't want any kind of responsiblity for much of anything, and...well, you get the picture.

The one thing that they should all keep in mind, however, is that they shouldn't care what things look like to the public. They need to focus on what they want to accomplish with the union, get it going in that direction, and not worry about anything else. Being concerned with what the general public thinks about it is just an unnecessary distraction. If it's a true PR concern, then assign some people to deal with that - don't let it become a general priority.

October 20, 2009

Working For The Tampa Bay Lightning...?

Staff Writer - Tampa Bay Lightning/St. Pete Times Forum (Tampa, Fl)

What do you think? Should I apply? Can't hurt to just apply, right? I wouldn't have to take the job even if it were offered. Not that it would be, of course.

And if I were to be offered said job - which is probably a long shot since I don't have a business, marketing, or an English degree - most of my stuff is still in storage there. Talk about an easy move. I most likely wouldn't be able to date any of the players off the team, tho, but I probably wouldn't be able to do that if I moved back or still lived there, anyways. So that's sort of a moot point right there.

I think I might just do that. Apply, I mean. Why not?

October 14, 2009

The Five Stages Of Maple Leaf Fans Grief

An Ambulance Only Goes So Fast

I never got past stage two with the Lightning last year. I was furious the entire season. Still kinda am, actually.

Bloggers Or Media?

The Fallacy of “Blogger Relations”

The above link was posted on Twitter by the Washington Capitals PR guy - who was all for it, and said that bloggers were media, too.

October 10, 2009

CLS NHL Re-Draft: The Results

As posted on Raw Charge....

So here's what I got. The lines are just preliminary - I just threw them together without thinking about that much. Once the season started, people were pretty much done doing the re-draft. And it was the middle of the 20th round, too. Things sort of ground to a halt at that point.

I suggested a free-for-all format, which was accepted, and so I hurried up and got mine all done. I'm hoping I didn't pick a player that someone else already has**. I don't think so, but we'll see if anyone says anything. I'll probably post something more on this, but here's my team:

Total cap hit is $52.209m (out of the $57m allowed).

Forwards:
Ryan Malone | Mike Cammalleri | Milan Hejduk
Dustin Penner | Matt Stajan | Guillaume Latendresse
Kyle Calder | Maxime Talbot | Blake Comeau
Eric Nystrom | Jamie Lundmark | Jannik Hansen

Patric Hornqvist
Ashton Carter

Defensemen:
Mark Streit | Brent Burns
Andrej Meszaros | Michael Del Zotto
Brad Lukowich | Matt Smaby

Jay Harrison**

Goaltenders:
Henrik Lundqvist | Antero Niittymaki

Once the draft has been completed, I'll put up the list of where the Lightning players ended up.

**Jan Hejda had been previously picked by someone else, so I had to choose again.

The Meaning Of Hockey

Five Reasons Blogger Justin Bourne Loves Hockey

There is nothing else to say to this but...exactly.

October 9, 2009

Life Imitating Art

So my friend Su posted this classic clip on Facebook. And we all got a kick out of it, of course. If you don't know what movie this is from, and if you're reading a hockey blog so I would think you probably do, it's from Slap Shot.



Then one of her friends posted the following clip. I've seen it before, but had totally forgotten about it. It's Eric Nystrom, now of the Calgary Flames, re-enacting the above clip during a jersey give away while he was in the minors. It's almost move for move. Obviously, this guy has watched that movie far too many times.



Pretty funny stuff! Athletes are so shameless sometimes. Okay, most of the time.

NY Rangers at Washington Game Recap

I've been reading up on last nights Rangers-Caps game, and it just sort of confirmed a couple of things for me that I saw. I don't follow either team, so I could only guess if people were playing like they usually do. And some weren't.

Top of the list is Ovechkin. He just did not look happy, and he wasn't finishing plays. He'd pass rather than take the open shot - which was crazy since he had nine recorded shots on goal for the night. He could've easily had two or three goals against the Rangers, but didn't. I mean, the guy had five goals in three games, and then he had nothing last night. That's like night and day.

I was just going thru the game thread comments on Japers' Rink, and it confirmed what I was thinking last night - Ovechkin was just not himself. The odd part about all of that was that he was just like he was when I saw him at training camp almost a month ago - exactly like he was at training camp, in fact. He didn't look very confident in himself, and seemed a little down - like he felt he couldn't do anything right, no matter how hard he tried. And that's just completely out of character from everything I've seen and read about him. It's really hard to say what's up with that. There were a few others that seemed a bit off to me, and apparently were according to other people, but Ovechkin was by far the most unusual.

Other than that, it was a great game. Timing and positioning were both still a little off, passes were really sloppy, and goaltending was sometimes inconsistent - for both teams - but the pace and the intensity was there. It had a playoff atmosphere going on, despite the game not being anywhere near a sellout. I walked up to the box office 20 minutes before game time (caught the last five minutes of warmups, tho, so that was nice) and got a fantastic seat. It was end to end red.

I was rooting for the Rangers, of course. On top of the Caps being a Southeast Division team - as is the Tampa Bay Lightning, who I write about - I just don't like the team. I do like a lot of the players on the team, tho. It might seem a little complicated, but that's how it works in my head, at least.

So is it a bad thing that I may never ever root for the home team while I live here?

Each team took its turn doing something absurd. Both took a too many men on the ice penalty. Both goalies let in soft goals that they should've had but weren't ready for. Both had outstanding chances to go ahead or win the game. Both didn't play much, if any, defense. I thought that it was fairly equally matched, honestly.

Poor Lundqvist, tho. The unspoken, and probably understood, part of me wanting to go to this game was to see Lundqvist play. I did pick him third overall in that Cycle like the Sedins NHL Re-Draft (more on that another time), and I hadn't seen him play live before. In the second period, when he was down in my end, the Caps decided to run him two or three times in a row. Pretty hard, too. Tortorella wisely took his team's timeout to help Lundqvist shake it off. He had a really solid first period, but after being run he was still a little shaky for the rest of the game. As seen by that Backstrom center ice dump-in shot he wasn't ready for during the third period.

All in all, it was a good time. I'm very glad that I went. I wish it could've been on a different night from the Lightning's home opener, but that's the NHL schedule for you.

October 6, 2009

Hockey Is Life

Justin Bourne's Blog: Life after hockey

It's not exactly the same, but.... I know how he feels. I've been there. Still am there, I guess.

Throwback Coach: John Tortorella

D-Men Del Zotto and Gilroy lift NYR over Devils

I love the kind of coach that Tortorella is. I really do. He calls it likes he sees it, and doesn't really care if people like it or not. And the passion this guy has for the game is fantastic. Sure, it can get old at times - and he can say some wildly inappropriate things, but you've got to respect him for it.

He really reminds me of some football coaches that I've known and seen. He's just such a classic American coach. Hard-nosed, unforgiving, his way or the highway. I really hope he can get Team USA going this Olympics.

There are only two NHL coaches that I'd pay money to watch - even if there's no one on their teams that I'd want to see. John Tortorella is one. Jacques Lemaire is the other. Jacques is a whole 'nother story, but I don't think I'll get into that right now.

Stupid NHL schedule. The Rangers play in DC Thursday and again in March - when the Lightning visit twice - and that's it. And of course the Tampa Bay Lightning have their home opener on Thursday as well. Live hockey or hockey on tv...which would you choose?

I think I'm going to have to go watch the Rangers play at the Washington Capitals on Thursday after all.

October 5, 2009

Washington On Washingon: Capitals Interviewing Redskins

SportsBog: Green and Backstrom interview Skins

Remember that story where two Washington Capitals hockey players were doing legit post-game interviews of the Washington Redskins football players? Well, here's the post. They didn't write it, unfortunately, but there is video. Enjoy.

(Just so you know, the end of the video is the best part. You can't trust them hockey players for nuthin'. You see how they are?)

The road to Vancouver 2010 - literally

Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics [Seattle Times]

2010 Olympic venues and Vancouver sights [interactive map - Seattle Times]

For those of you who are going to the Olympics in February, keep these two facts in mind: It's a two-hour drive from downtown Vancouver to Whistler (in the summer), and it's a three-hour drive from downtown Vancouver to downtown Seattle (after slogging thru Vancouver's residential neighborhoods, and if the border's clear).

I'm sure they've fixed the road from Vancouver to Whistler. At least, you've gotta hope. It's a beautiful drive - one of the prettiest I've ever been on, in fact - but the road is just damned awful. Last time I was on it, it was only a two-lane road, too. So good luck with that.

October 4, 2009

Washington Capitals Turned...NFL Bloggers?

Green and Backstrom Talk Redskins

The Cooley Zone

Now here's something you don't see every day. A couple of NHLers with press credentials via an NFL player's blog with access to an NFL game doing locker room interviews. Good for Chris Cooley and all to swing them some press credentials, but I'd be more impressed if they actually write something up and post it on his blog. Although, how he got the press credentials themselves would be an interesting story all by itself.

What's truly interesting is that they were seriously askingquestions, and not just using it as a free pass to BS with people. So it wouldn't surprise me, actually, if they did write a blog for him. Those crazy Washington Capitals are pretty tech savvy, from what I can tell. Still, I'm not holding my breath.

I wonder what it'd take to get an NHLer or two to write a blog for me...? On Raw Charge, I mean. Anonymously, or not, it wouldn't matter. It'd be nice if people would volunteer, but I don't see that happening - ever. I'll have to think about that. The real problem would be contacting people outright to even just ask. Hmmm.

September 30, 2009

Martin Havlat - NHL Twitterer Extraordinaire

Twitter is slowly catching on with the NHLers. It's been popular with other sports, such as college football, the NFL, and the NBA, but the NHL players aren't sure what to make of it, I think. Martin Havlat has just become their poster boy.

Oh, a few of them have Twitter accounts. Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Dan Boyle, TJ Oshie, Mike Commodore, the newly retired Bret Hedican, and former player Dave Andreychuk - among others. Some do it more than others, but few are as prolific in his tweeting as Martin Havlat.

Today, for instance, he decided to field questions from the people who follow him for about two hours. He said he'd answer the best ones, and he answered quite a few. It really looked like an independent thing on his part. The team Twitter person didn't announce anything for a while after Havlat did. So, you know, good for him that he took that initiative to connect with the fans of his new team.

The best quote of the day about that I saw was "is Havlat the anti-Gaborik?"

It's nothing terribly exciting, but it is interesting. Havlat is using Twitter as a tool to get his own message across directly to his fans. That can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how one uses it, but he seems to be taking it in the right direction. Hopefully he can maintain what he's doing and how he's going about doing it.

A word on Twitter.... What you see on people's pages - if they're public, which mine's not unless you follow me - is what they send out, not what they receive. When you log on in your home page, you can see the messages of everyone that you're following. And if you're following someone, and someone is following you back, you can send direct messages that are private. So what you see isn't always what you get with Twitter.

It's never dull, tho, that's for sure.

September 26, 2009

Forsberg interested in Washington?

A report from Sweden on Foppa
...I’ve heard Foppa does NOT have Colorado at the top of his wish list should he return to the NHL. I’m hearing that he’d rather play in Philly or Washington. But a Philly source I trust told me the Flyers have “moved on” from Foppa and won’t be signing him. But the Caps? I have to believe they might be intrigued.

I was afraid this might happen.

September 25, 2009

Hockey Road Trips And Twitter

The Bolts and Yotes.

Ah...road trips.... I was following this one on Twitter Tuesday. As well as a few others. I couldn't figure out for the longest time why they were driving thru Wenatchee, tho. Sad, but true. (The road over Stevens Pass goes from Wenatchee to Everett.)

Okay, of course I like road trips. I'm biased. I practically grew up in a car. But there's a difference between going for a drive to see what you can see, and going to see a game with friends. A big difference.

When I was like 20, a friend of mine and I went on major junior road trip across the state of Washington. That was fun. We actually followed the bus for a time. We did not stay at the team's hotels, however. And that was completely intentional.

In college - about 7 years ago or so - friends and I would take road trips for football games and men's basketball games. Those were always a lot of fun - especially if we were going to go see football at our rival's field. Of course, the visitor's bleachers were literally right behind the visitor's sidelines. And when I say "right behind", I mean right behind. You had to squeeze past football players to get to the concession stands. Oh, the memories....

On an entirely different note, for those that do the Twitter thing, here's a list of NHL players current on Twitter. It's not a complete list, but it's a start. Don't expect them to write much, because they don't. Enjoy.

NHL Players on Twitter

September 23, 2009

Yet Another Forsberg Comeback Has Started

"Foppa" spelar – redan i morgon

Please, no. Someone tell him to stop, okay? Like, now?

(And yes, I do read a bit of Swedish. How do you think I survived thru the last NHL lockout, anyways? Hänger med en laget på Elitserien. Or something like that. Can't really speak it, tho.)

UPDATE: Here's the English version of that:

Forsberg Ready for Another Comeback in Sweden

September 22, 2009

Preseason NHL hockey in the Seattle area

Peter Mueller returns to Everett for NHL exhibition

This is pretty typical.

Tonight, the NHL visits the Greater Seattle Area for the first time in years, and this is all the Seattle Times - the now lone print newspaper in the city - has online about it. The Tampa Bay Lightning are playing a preseason game against the Phoenix Coyotes in Everett, Washington, in case you missed it. It's only because of the WHL teams in the area (the Seattle Thunderbirds and the Everett Silvertips) that a few people know anything about the sport at all.

Thank you, Vancouver Canucks, for not even bothering to try to grow the game in the US.

At least the local newspaper, the Everett Herald, has something that sounds a bit more knowledgeable about tonight's preseason game.

September 16, 2009

Lecavalier's Fall From Grace

Yesterday, my friend Thomas (a Rangers fan in England) found out that Vinny Lecavalier stopped by Manchester, England, over the summer. So he sent out this message to Kate (who's a Pens fan from London), Katerina (who's a Lightning/Flyers fan - and has a huge crush on Vinny - in the Czech Republic), and me. The whole thread is pretty funny, as we were bashing Vinny's choice in being a Man United fan. I wish I could post it all up here, but I haven't asked everyone if it was okay.

My response to the whole thing was this:
I was seriously disappointed to find out that he's a Man United fan. And then, as if that weren't bad enough, he likes the Kansas City Royals?! I thought I knew you, Vinny! I'm terribly disillusioned by all of this. I think I need to go lie down for a while....
Thomas, who actually lives in Manchester, isn't a Man United fan. That should tell you something right there. Of course, he's not from there, tho. He's from elsewhere in England. I'll probably be hearing more of this when I see him in DC next month.

But even Katerina, who thinks Vinny's to die for (while he is good looking, she is also 22 years old), said that she didn't think he knew much about football (soccer) if he's a Man United fan. I can almost forgive him for the Kansas City Royals - since that's family, and that's how it should be - but even I know better than to root for Man United. And I'm from the West Coach of North America where I grew up closer to Tokyo, Japan, than I did to Paris, France.

So here's the comparison. Or, comparisons, as it were. It's like a German deciding to follow American footall, and decides to pick the Dallas Cowboys or the New England Patriots as his team. Or a Japanese person deciding to follow American baseball and going with the New York Yankees. Or a Frenchman deciding to follow American college football and picking the Notre Dame Fighting Irish or the Florida Gators. Or a Ukrainian deciding to follow N American hockey and going with either Montréal Canadiens or the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Are you getting the picture here?

I mean, seriously, not only are there 19 other teams to choose from in the English Premier League, but there's the rest of Europe, Africa, Asia, and S America as well. No Real Madrid? No FC Barcelona? No AC Milan? No Bayern Munich? Not to mention Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool of the EPL. And that's just off the top of my head - and I don't even follow soccer.

Manchester United? Really? You couldn't do better than that? I don't know if I can blog about the Lightning after this. Wow. How terribly disappointing.

September 1, 2009

Hockey In Seattle? Why Not Portland (Ore.)?

NHL in Seattle? It Could work

Okay. I'm going to go over this yet again. Tho I don't know why I bother since no one bothers to listen to me. I've only been singing the same old song about it for the last 15 years or so. And, you know, I only grew up in the area.

In small, simple words. Seattle has no building. Portland has a building. End of story.

The one factoid that the NHL is missing is that distance doesn't matter. Not in that area. I can't tell you how many times I've sat next to people from Alaska or Montana at Seattle Mariners games. The Vancouver Canucks can have their lock on British Columbia - whatever. They can do what they want. However, a team in Seattle would have a fan base that covers Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Here's your comparison, for those of you playing along at home.

Seattle Combined Statistical Area
Distance to drive from downtown Seattle to downtown Vancouver, BC:
140 miles (225 km) or 2.5 hours - plus an international border crossing
Total Population: 3.3 million
Counties: Island, King, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston
Major cities: Bellevue (King Co.), Bremerton (Kitsap Co.), Everett (Snohomish Co.), Lacey-Olympia-Tumwater (Thurston Co.), Seattle (King Co.), Tacoma (Pierce Co.)
Seattle Population: approx. 600,000
Tacoma Population: approx. 200,000
Bellevue Population: approx. 120,000
Everett Population: approx. 100,000
Companies: Alaska Airlines, Amazon.com, Boeing, Costco, Expedia.com, Microsoft, Nintendo USA, Nordstrom, REI, Starbucks, T-Mobile, Washington Mutual, Weyerhaeuser

Portland (Ore.) Combined Statistical Area
Distance to drive from downtown Portland to downtown Vancouver, BC:
315 miles (500 km) or 5 hours - plus an international border crossing
Total Population: 2.5 million
Counties: Clark (Wash.), Skamania (Wash.), Clackamas, Columbia, Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill
Major Cities: Portland (Multnomah Co.), Vancouver (Clark Co., Wash.), Beaverton (Washington Co.), Gresham (Multnomah Co.), Hillsboro (Washington Co.)
Portland Population: approx. 550,000
Vancouver (Wash.) Population: approx. 160,000
Beaverton Population: approx. 86,000
Companies: Adidas, Columbia Sportswear, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Linux/IBM, Nike, Tektronix, Yahoo!, Yakima Products

My Other Hockey Blog....

I haven't been posting much of anything anywhere lately. I haven't had a lot of motivation to write. Not for any particular reason, it's just one of those phases. I'm sure that'll change next week when the buildup to NHL camps starts up in earnest. We'll see how that goes, tho.

I should at least be making more of a concerted effort on my other blog, however. Part of the problem with that is that Raw Charge is so public. I mean, 10 hours of my day is dedicated to work (including commuting). I could post things up while work on that blog, technically, but I'd rather not. And that really handcuffs me when it comes to writing.

Currently, content from that blog is published, linked, or syndicated by Yahoo Sports, Google News, the NHL, USA Today, Sports Illustrated's FanNation, CBS SportsLine, and some random small aggregators. And since we also have a Twitter account for the blog, links to our content go out on Twitter as well. So I'd rather not have my boss checking out sports pages and accidentally running across my stuff noticing that the time stamp for it being published was during work hours. I'm funny that way.

Of course, I have a separate Twitter account. I only plan on using the Raw Charge Twitter for when I go to games - assuming I remember to do that, of course. When I go to games, I'm usually focused on the game, so any random stuff like picture-taking and twittering don't really enter into my head. Anyways, my personal Twitter is more for me to keep up on hockey headlines and news than anything else.

I don't feel too bad about not posting anything up on my other blog as much, tho. The reason being is that about half of the stuff my co-blogger John puts up are things I've thrown his way or have edited or touched in some fashion. Many of the posts are really collaborations. But only one person can post it, and that's usually him - so he gets the credit for it. Not that it matters, really.

The topic I'd like to blog about today is the NHLPA firing Paul Kelly, but I just don't know enough about it to really write an educated opinion. But from the outside looking in, it looks like a seriously bad move. The players need to think about this kind of thing logically instead of emotionally. Otherwise, we're almost certainly heading for another lockout. And if that happens, this one is going to be ugly. Not from a player/owner perspective, but from a fan perspective. Good luck with selling tickets after that.

NHLPA fires Kelly: Picking through the rubble

August 28, 2009

Yet another Forsberg comeback

Forsberg among 69 looking for roster spot

Ice time for Forsberg
Wearing No. 7 instead of his usual number 21, the 36-year-old Forsberg played center on the first line. He didn't produce any points, but was on the ice when Modo scored the first goal of the game. Modo eventually won 2-1.
The number change is kind of weird. I wonder what that's all about. If anything. And I was pretty much kidding when I said I was waiting for his next comeback to start.

Peter Forsberg is one of my favorite hockey players, but he really just needs to stop. I can understand wanting to go out on your own terms - I really can - but someone needs to tell him no and mean it. He's been struggling with this foot problem for seven or eight years now, and it just needs to be over.

Tre Kronor isn't helping matters much, either. They've just named him to their 69-man initial Olympic roster. Way to encourage him to try to play in the Olympics again, Team Sweden. That's all he needs - encouragement to try to play.

If he decides to come back to the NHL - which you know he'll try to do - I hope that Colorado picks him up. I'd rather not see him in the Eastern Conference. And I don't want Tampa Bay to even think about picking him up - which I can totally see them trying to do. The whole thing just makes me sad, and I don't want to have to watch Forsberg up close in his "twilight years". I'd rather remember him as he was in his prime, thank you.

August 27, 2009

Five Reasons Why I Love Hockey

As posted on Raw Charge....

Over at Puck Daddy, they're doing a series on why various people love hockey. So I thought I'd throw in my two cents worth. Which, with the prices of copper these days, is probably closer to being worth a dime or so, but I digress. I figured, why not join in on the fun?

So, here you go - five reasons why I love hockey.

1. Tacoma, Washington, and the WHL

I'd always known that I'd like hockey. Even as a kid. It wasn't something I grew up with, but I knew that if I took the time to sit down and watch it, I'd probably love it. Well, it wasn't until the WHL came to Tacoma that I got a chance to sit down and watch it. Sure, the Seattle Thunderbirds have been around for decades, but I was rarely in Seattle - it was an hour and a half away. My family is from Tacoma, tho, and I was always there for one reason or another.

At 19 years old, I went to my first hockey game. It was in the Tacoma Dome, and it was a playoff game between the Tacoma Rockets and the Spokane Chiefs. My friend and I ended up sitting behind the Tacoma bench - which became our regular seats for the following two seasons. Not season tickets, but just as a preference. I don't remember who won that first game I went to, but it didn't matter - I was hooked.

So hooked, in fact, that a group of girls I'd met while watching hockey and I got together and started up our own team. We figured that since it was so fun to watch, it must be fun to play. At the time we were told, in the early 1990s, that it was the largest women's ice hockey group on the west coast of North America. And we were right - there is no better sport to play. I've been a diehard fan of the game ever since.

2. Hipchecks


Weird, I know, but true. A well-thrown hipcheck is a thing of beauty. Unfortunately, it's a dying art. No one does open ice hits anymore. Which may not be a bad thing since most guys probably don't know how to take an open ice hit and not get hurt. You've got to know how to land after receiving a hip check, after all.

I saw only one all last season. Anton Stralman of the Toronto Maple Leafs threw a hip check on Tampa Bay Lightning captain, Vincent Lecavalier. It was a clean open-ice hit (see video HERE), but Vinny came up spitting nails - I guess he didn't care for it. Maybe that's why nobody does them anymore.

3. Atmosphere

I grew up watching football. Football is my first love, but hockey is my true love. And the atmosphere during a hockey game is comparable to the atmosphere of a college football game - only without the annoying cheerleaders - but in an entirely different way. It's hard to describe, but if you've been to both, you probably know exactly what I'm talking about.

4. Practices

I love going to games, but sometimes going to practice is far more interesting and entertaining. Seeing how the coaches and the players approach the game, the work ethic the players put into a practice, and the odd little things they throw in to a practice are what make it interesting. I wanted to throw training camp in on this, too, but that's not really the same thing.

At practice, for instance, the casual fan probably has no idea that individuals will practice how to fight. It's not so much the throwing punches part that they're working on as it is working on their balance on skates while throwing punches. And occasionally a forward or defenseman will borrow goalie gloves and sticks and practice goaltending after regular practice. That kind of thing is usually accompanied by a lot of joking, laughing, and hamming things up for effect. It's a good time, actually. Both watching and participating in, if you play yourself.

5. The Players

As a woman, I can take this one of three ways, so I'm going to make this a three-part answer and cover everything.

A. In most big league sports, the athletes tend to cruise a little bit. For many individuals, getting to the Show and collecting a hefty paycheck is pretty much all they had ever hoped for. Not many of them still have that fire in their belly to win a championship after that, sadly. And quite a few of the most talented players exert just enough effort to get them by, instead of truly competing.

Hockey players are typically the lone exception. Maybe it has something to do with the ingrained philosophy that hockey is a team sport first, last, and always - or maybe it's because a lot of hockey players are small town guys who have their heads on straight. I don't know. But come around playoff time, you have to be dead to not get on the ice to play. And even teams who aren't in the running for playoffs still put in a good effort down the stretch. That's almost unheard of in the NFL, the NBA, and MLB. The individual and team efforts in hockey is what puts the entire sport head and shoulders above the rest.

B. The players themselves are the most normal guys you can come across in professional sports. (They're still not exactly "normal" - whatever "normal" means - but as compared to the rest of professional sports, it's close enough.) They take time to talk to the fans, they're involved in the community, and most of them are totally unpretentious. There are always exceptions to every rule, of course - Dany Heatley sort of comes to mind for some reason. But, for the most part, they're genuinely good guys - including the star players. The time they'll take to patiently do autographs and pictures for everyone, especially for kids, is just amazing. You don't get that with any other sport these days.

C. Hockey players are the best looking crowd of athletes - after soccer players, of course. (On the hierarchy of attractiveness for most female sports fans, no group of athletes can compare to soccer players.) Some might argue that baseball players are better looking than hockey players, and that'll always be up for discussion, but there's no disputing that hockey players are a good looking group of men. After soccer, hockey, and baseball, tho, the attractiveness quotient drops significantly for the rest of the major sports. Which is sad, but true. Women don't typically watch football for the players, unless it's maybe college ball - and that's a big maybe. Sorry to disillusion all of you men out there.

August 26, 2009

Hockey Season Is Coming

Team Canada no longer has room for Lecavalier and Thornton
"This year we're going to get to know each other better. That's why we're doing this here -- getting to know each other. That's how you get to be a team, how you gel." -Vincent Lecavalier
Seriously, Vinny? Really? It took you this long to finally figure that out? Come here so I can kick you in the shin. Hard. With very pointy shoes. Normally, I'd kick you in the ankle, but since you've got the season to play, I'll make an exception just this once so you won't get seriously injured. Considerate of me, I know.

Sorry if I'm a little bitter about how last season turned out. I don't hate anybody or anything like that, but thinking about it still doesn't make me very happy. So why pretend? We're all friends here. Or something.

[...deep breath....] Okay. Well. Back to the topic at hand....

Hopefully that kind of thinking will at least do the Lightning some good this season. God knows they need it. They need something, anyways. Although, to be honest, I think they'll be pretty decent - and possibly make playoffs, tho that might be a close call.

I believe that the determining factor will be coaching this season, more than anything else. I have nothing against Rick Tocchet personally, but to me, he didn't really get the job done last season. I realize that it was a difficult season in terms of on-ice personnel changes, but usually there's at least a minimal improvement once there's been a coaching change, and last season their record actually got worse. That doesn't really inspire confidence in me.

The current ownership thing just won't even compare to the revolving locker room door of last season. Luckily, most of the team is still intact, so they'll have experienced worse than ownership problems. Just about anything will be better than last season, so it should be easier on the players almost regardless of what happens. So that's something at least.

But I have to wonder - what's up with the five games in five nights in five different cities? I would think they'd split up the training camp attendees into two squads and go about things that way, but that'd probably make far too much sense for them to do. I was seriously considered flying back to Washington State for that game in Everett. I really want to go to that, but I probably won't.

I do plan on going to the game in Norfolk, Virginia, tho. A co-worker of mine, maybe two, will probably go with me to that. It's the Tampa Bay Lightning versus their farm team, the Norfolk Admirals. Norfolk is only about a 2½-hour drive, which is no problem for me. It's convenient for me that they decided to book a game in Norfolk, isn't it? After that, the Lightning won't be back up this way (DC-area) until January, I believe.

I was also considering hitting up Washington Capitals training camp, and maybe a preseason game of theirs as well. And I still might be hitting a couple of Caps games in October when a friend from out-of-town visits. So we'll see how that goes. Not that I'll ever become a Caps fan, but they are the local team, after all.

Am I looking forward to hockey season, do you think?

August 24, 2009

Facebook Hockey Survey

It's another one of those random Facebook surveys that I thought I'd post up. This is hockey-centric, of course. Otherwise, it probably wouldn't go up on my blog, right?

1. Who is your favorite NHL team?:
The Tampa Bay Lightning, I guess. I write about them, anyways.

2. Who do you think is the all time greatest hockey player?:
Bobby Orr.

3. Who do you think is the all time greatest goalie?:
Right now, Patrick Roy - at least until Martin Brodeur breaks all of his records.

4. What team do you think is or was the greatest ever?:
The obvious would be Montréal and their 24 Stanley Cups, but I think I'll go with the 1917 Stanley Cup Champions, the Seattle Metropolitans - just because I can - who beat Montréal to win it all, incidentally.

5. How many NHL games have you attended?:
Was I supposed to have kept count? I don't know. 50-60 or so, maybe?

6. Have you ever seen a team win the Stanley Cup live?:
Nope.

7. If you could see one player return to hockey in his prime, who would it be?:
Peter Forsberg again.

8. How many hockey jerseys do you own?:
Two: an old practice jersey of mine, and a '91-'92 Toronto Maple Leafs game-worn jersey that belonged to Kevin McClelland - for obvious reasons. (Similar last name, in case you missed it.)

9. Ever get hit by a puck?:
Yes. A few times. Last one was Jeff O'Neill when he played for Carolina. Flipped a puck at me at a practice in Vancouver just to be funny. And it wasn't.

10. Gary Bettman: Hate or like? Why?:
Neither. I am ambivalent. To hate or like the man would require more energy then he deserves.

11. What city would you like to see a hockey game in?:
Montréal, Prague, Göteborg, Örnsköldsvik, and all the other arenas that I haven't been to in the NHL.

12. Who do you think are the best NHL fans?:
I think they're all about the same, really.

13. Who do you think are the worst NHL fans?:
See above.

14. Do they even have fans?:
I plead the 5th. Anything I'd say would be too incriminating, speaking as a Tampa Bay blogger.

15. Do you like the newest NHL rule changes since the strike?:
At first, yes. But now that it's been a few years, it's going back to how it was before.

16. Who do you want to win the Stanley Cup this year?:
The underdog - whoever they might be. Washington or Chicago, maybe?

17. Who do you THINK will win the Stanley Cup this year?:
Either Pittsburgh or Detroit. Again.

18. What was the best NHL game experience for you?:
The last game I went to at the Meadowlands during the middle of the '06-'07 season - the season before the Devils moved to Newark - Philadelphia at New Jersey. It'd take far too long to explain, but it was a good time. Except for the drive up from Philly, which is where I flew in to, that is.

19. What was the worst NHL game experience for you?:
The first game I went to in DC, end of the '07-'08 season - Tampa Bay at Washington.

20. Do you prefer upper lever seats or lower level seats at a hockey game?:
I prefer the lower level, about halfway up (15-20-ish rows up from the ice), in the corner or end.

21. Ever been to the Hockey Hall of Fame?:
Nope. And I'm not sure I want to go, either. At least, not until they decide to start inducting women in.

22. Who is the dirtiest player in the NHL?:
Currently? Chris Pronger, by general acclamation.

23. Who is the cleanest player in the NHL?:
Probably Henrik Zetterberg.

24. Don Cherry? The man, or a jerk?:
I vote in favor of "senile" myself.

25. Ever been to an NHL All Star Game?:
Nope - and I would prefer to see the Skills Competition, anyways.

26. How far have you driven to see a hockey game?:
Tallahassee to Nashville - 500 miles-ish.

27. How far have you flown to see a hockey game?:
Tallahassee, FL, to Philadelphia, PA - 950 miles-ish.

28. What was the funniest moment for you at a hockey game?:
There have been far too many. I have to pick out just one? Ummm...'95 partial lockout season, Québec at New Jersey, warmups was a hysterical! (It'd take far too long to explain....)

29. What was the scariest moment for you at a hockey game?:
Seeing Marty McSorley take a baseball swing at Donald Brashear's head in Vancouver. (Yes, I was really at that game.)

30. If you were a penalty, which one would you be?:
Double minor for roughing.

31. Do you think someone from the NHL should be banned from the game? Why?:
Can't say I've thought about it. The flavor of the moment would probably be Heatley, tho.

32. If you could see ANY moment in NHL history live, what would it be?:
Colorado's 2001 Stanley Cup win over New Jersey.

33. Did you used to like a different NHL team? Who was it?:
A few. Vancouver, and then Philadelphia for a time. But then I tend to follow players and not teams.

34. If you could bring back any defunct NHL team, who would it be?:
Maybe the Québec Nordiques? But only if the Avs stay in Colorado.

35. If you could put a NHL team anywhere, USA or Canada, where would you put them?:
Portland, Oregon. The fans are so great there, and they already have an NHL arena (The Rose Garden). They should get a team.

36. Who is or was the greatest NHL coach?:
I don't know about "greatest" - as in "ever" - but I really like Jacques Lemaire and John Tortorella.

37. Which arena, new, old defunct, was or is the best place to see a hockey game?:
I've really enjoyed watching games in Atlanta so far. Their arena is unconventional, and I kind of like that.