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