December 27, 2010

Americans Making Fun Of The American Stereotype

The Sleeping Giant

If you're taking this site at all seriously, then you're missing the entire point of it.

This is a USA - World Junior Hockey Championships blog. And it's run by two of the most sarcastic and caustically humored guys that you'll come across in the hockey blogging world. One is a Leafs fan who writes for Pension Plan Puppets on SB Nation, and the other has a general NHL blog, The Two-Line Pass (and contributes to Yahoo Sports' Puck Daddy blog), where he lampoons everyone pretty equally. Which should tell you everything you need to know about this blog.

This WJC blog isn't making fun of other countries. Not even close. They're making fun of their fellow Americans. They're intentionally playing up all of the bad American stereotypes and trying to be funny about it. So if non-Americans are getting all worked up over this site, then they joke's on them. That's not what it's about.

There isn't a lot of press or publicity here in the US when it comes to international hockey. So, they're working the ugly American gag to get attention. And, frankly, I think it's hysterically funny because it is so over the top.

So, sit back and enjoy Americans ripping into and making fun of Americans. And don't take it personally. Really. It's not that we're oblivious to what the rest of the world thinks of us. (Okay, some of us are.) It's just that most of us don't care what the rest of the world thinks of us. (Though, some of us do actually care.)

Have a laugh on us. Or, on the US. Either way, it works.

December 9, 2010

Welcome To Ann Arbor - Home Of The Big Chill

A fan's guide to The Big Chill At The Big House and other tidbits you may never need

University of Michigan Wolverines Hockey

Michigan State University Spartans Hockey

If I were able to go to go to one outdoor hockey game this year, this one would be it. Hands down, no question. 109,000 people in a football stadium to watch a hockey game? Between two rival teams? And college teams at that? Heck, yeah. Poor sight lines be damned - sign me up!

November 12, 2010

This Is What You're Up Against

Ryan Kesler drops pants, draws mockery from Canucks

Hockey players are not bulky guys. I think the NHL average is something like 6'1½", 205 lbs. Or something like that. It doesn't pay to be bulky when you want to be fast - it's just as simple as that.

So if you need some graphic evidence of this, here's a picture of a hockey player in, well, very little. For the men, it's something to visually compare yourself to. For the women,

Ryan Kesler is 26 years old, and is listed as being 6'2", 195 lbs.

October 25, 2010

This Guy Can Be Frankenstein For Halloween This Year

Top Five: MVP’s, Goalies, Defensemen and Rookies [Justin Bourne]

Skip the MVPs, goalies, and whatnot. Scroll down to the bottom of the post, if you dare. Talk about That's so not pretty. If people think that (American) football players are tougher than hockey players, I'd like for them to see this picture of this guy with multiple staples to his neck due to a skate blade. Yikes.

October 21, 2010

Reason #15678 Why Hockey Players Are Awesome

In which Islanders’ Matt Moulson reminds us why NHL players rule

This is awesome. Too bad none of the Lightning players are on Twitter. Although, I have to admit, I'm not really one for autographs. Oh, I have a few - Peter Forsberg, Mats Sundin, and Pavel Bure, for example - but they were sent or given to me. Sometimes by the players themselves, even when I didn't ask for them, but that's another story entirely. (No comment about the ones listed above.) Anyways, good for Moulson, you know?

October 11, 2010

Bloggers Or Media? Or Both?

This hockey season's going to be a bit crazy, I think. We - Raw Charge, really - have actually got media credentials going on, and we're using them, too. John Fontana was at the NHL Entry Draft in LA over the summer, Meredith Qualls has been to the one preseason Tampa Bay Lightning game and the season opener, and now I'm going to be going to Norfolk this weekend.

The Norfolk Admirals would be considered the Tampa Bay Lightning's AAA farm team, in baseball terminology. I figure that since I'm here in Virginia, I ought to make myself useful. I won't be doing any game recaps or stuff like that, though. I mean, I write for a Lightning blog, and I don't think many of the readers would want to see a game recap.

Instead, I'll be doing some scouting. Maybe some interviews now and then - hopefully before the game. I'd rather not have to track someone down in the locker room, if I can help it. But I will, if necessary. It's not like I haven't been in a men's hockey dressing room after a practice before, after all.

So, my first attempt at this will probably be this Saturday. It's a 3-hour drive for me one way, so it's probably best that I skip the locker room scene, anyways. Leaving right after the game, I'll still be getting home around 1 am. Which is why I'm going down on a Saturday.

I'm mostly going this time around to get an idea of how these things work. I mean, I've never done the media thing before. Hopefully, I won't make too many mistakes. Who knows what the etiquette is like in the press box, you know? I have no plans to interview anyone.

I figure that I'll go to Norfolk about once a month. I think that's often enough to get an idea of how guys are doing. Depending on how it goes, I may go more often than that, but we'll see. Right now I'm just planning on once a month.

September 27, 2010

Let's Play Favorites

What We Learned: Should NHL teams have Canadian player quotas?

I think this is wrong for a number of reasons.

One, Canadian hockey fans - with the exception of the Québécois and the Montréal Canadiens - don't really care how many Canadian players are on each team. They only care about where that team is physically located. If they cared about the players on each team, then they wouldn't be so quick to dismiss teams in the sunbelt.

Two, it's favoritism plain and simple. Why not give quotas on how many Americans and/or Europeans a team can have instead? Can't do that since that'd be discrimination - against Canadians. But, it's the same thing.

Three, it's just ridiculous. Football doesn't have restrictions on the number of players from, say, Ohio State, each team can have, right? So why are nationalities okay?

I could go on, but you get the idea. It'll be nice when people stop catering to Canadians when it comes to hockey. They may or may not have invented the sport, but really, why can't they learn to share like good little boys and girls?

September 8, 2010

Crosby goes yard - at a MLB park, no less

It's not that surprising that Crosby hit it out. Hockey players probably have better arm control/hand-eye coordination than most baseball players do. (You try deflecting a puck that's been shot by another guy going 70 mph past a moving goalie when someone else is trying to hit you - oh yeah, on ice skates - and then get back to me.) He could be a two-sport guy if he wanted to. But then most elite athletes could. That's why they're elite athletes in the first place.

So watch it and weep, haters.

August 31, 2010

Future Hockey Hall Of Famers

Ten Players and Their Hall of Fame Worthiness

Okay, I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of Adrian Dater. After seeing his Twitter escapades, it's really proved to me that he's an egotistical and unmitigated homer. So his list is a say the least.

I do agree with much of this list, however.

If Peter Forsberg isn't a first-ballot Hockey Hall of Famer, then I don't know who is. The guy was flat-out amazing. And, as always with the disclaimer: "When he was healthy." It wasn't just that he could set guys up and score (though he never considered himself to be a scorer, despite having a fantastic shot), but he was great defensively and was one of the best hitters when he played.

Pavel Bure on the other hand.... Yeah, I don't know. He was an outstanding offensive talent - definitely one of those "brings people to their feet" sorts of goal scorers. But outside of that, he didn't really accomplish much. As with Forsberg, he battled injuries as well, but he was rather one-dimensional. I guess he did win a number of NHL awards, but I watched him play for many years and he just never struck me as a HHoFer - and still doesn't.

In fact, I would put Alexander Mogilny ahead of Bure. Mogilny, at least, was the first Soviet hockey player to defect in 1989 to the US so that he could play in the NHL. He should be recognized for that, at the very least. Without him, Sergei Fedorov probably wouldn't have followed in 1990.

How quickly people forget about such things, however.

July 23, 2010

19th Century Swedish Bathing Party Care Of Henrik Zetterberg

Old-timey Henrik Zetterberg puts the 'weird' in wedding photos

This. Is. Hysterical! I love theme weddings. They're so much fun. People take some things far too seriously, I think - like weddings. It's supposed to be a celebration, and celebrations are supposed to be fun, not a all somber and serious.

July 22, 2010

Guesting instead of hosting

The Program - 18 July 2010

After my show aired, I was asked to join the Program. And, boy, did I join them, too. I talked for almost two hours with them. I come in at about 1 hour, 6 minutes and stay, and stay, and stay. Pretty much I ran the conversation for a lot of it. We got into a heated discussion for the last hour or so, and that was pretty fun.

I didn't give the other girl a room in edge-wise. Which was fine by me since I so wasn't impressed with her. She was name-dropping for all she was worth and she was far too flirty for me to take seriously. Her giggling annoyed me to no end. Seriously, if you're a woman who's going to be writing about hockey, don't act like a giggling school girl who's trying to impress the high school quarter back.

July 21, 2010

The Montréal Canadiens And The QMJHL

Crisis in the "Q": A study of Quebec-born NHL players
I thought the time was right to sit back and study the general health of the system that produces Quebec-born hockey players and that required a long, hard look at the QMJHL. To do that properly meant looking at the numbers in context. In order to achieve that, I decided to study not just the “Q” but the other North American leagues, and even the European leagues, to be as thorough as possible in order to better understand what’s happening over time within the NHL’s primary feeder leagues and the QMJHL in particular.
I found this to be interesting. The statistical anaylysis seemed pretty sound. I didn't really go over it in depth, but there weren't any glaring errors that I could see. And the conclusion was about what I'd expected, actually.

But it's hardly surprising that the Francophones are saying that Montréal doesn't have enough Québécois on their team. They've been doing that for decades. That will never stop.

July 20, 2010

Where Hockey And Geography Meet

Totally Off-Topic: Most Ironic Neighborhoods in America
I was recently in Portland, OR, and I could not believe the sheer concentration of hipsters. (If you don't know what a hipster is, consider yourself lucky.) I mean, I live in San Francisco, and I lived in the Mission for six years, so there's no lack of mustachioed, inked-up tight-jean and 80s ray-ban wearing hipster dudes riding by me on fixies on their way to the record store. One of my favorite hole-in-the-wall latin american restaurants is under new ownership and now has a ridiculously-expensive tasting menu.
As I said in the comments....

Seriously, I have no idea why Olympia, Washington, was left off of this list. That’s where Sleater-Kinney’s originally from – as it’s the name of a street there. Not to mention that it’s the true origin of Grunge. I guess the state capital part of things keeps getting in the way. (I went to high school 20 miles away.)

So not surprised by Portland. Those Oregonians are in their own little world. They do know their hockey in that town, tho. And that’s what really matters.

Gabe's a hockey stats guy - that's his deal. I believe he's even French Canadian, but I'm not entirely positive. I know that he's Canadian, anyways. We've talked about geography statistics before, so this wasn't totally surprising. But, it is an interesting topic.

July 10, 2010

Continuing Education

Former Michigan hockey defenseman Jack Johnson keeps his word, continues to pursue degree
During the NHL season, Johnson, who is 23, takes classes online, using off-days to study and complete coursework. Technology, including video conferencing and Web tutorials, has made distance learning easier, but balancing school with an NHL career isn't easy.
Good for him. I wish education was more of a priority among pro athletes, but not everyone considers it one. That's just the way it goes.

I chatted briefly with former NHLer Bret Hedican on Twitter a week or two ago, and he's gone back to school. I was congratulating him on his wise choice. He probably doesn't have to, of course - particularly with his wife being Kristi Yamaguchi, I'm sure they're doing pretty okay financially - but he decided that he should.

I found that impressive, actually. Maybe it's an American thing, tho. You don't hear about Canadians going back to college - it's usually a fall-back course of action, like if they're forced to retire very early in their careers. But, you will hear about the occasional American player going back to school when they retire from a long career - and occasionally while they're still playing. Just a different culture and world views, I guess.

If it's a priority, a person will figure out a way to make it work for them. That's the bottom line. And college is obviously a priority to Johnson. So, again I say, good for him.  :o)

Which reminds me. I have a blog idea that I need to get to researching. It's about players with college degrees in the NHL. Where is that media relations contact list again...?

July 6, 2010

Connect Community Puck Talk stuff

As if I don't plenty of other places to write, here's yet another one. This makes my fourth hockey blog now, and one personal blog. Maybe I ought to getting to write that book, huh? Of course, I'd have to cut back on where I blog....

So Su Ring and I stuck our heads together - along with some helpful suggestions from John Fontana - and decided that our online radio show had become successful enough to warrant a blog of it's own. As well as a Twitter account, for that matter. We've had a Facebook group page for a while now, however.

While neither of us are comfortable with the word "popular", it appears that certain individuals do listen to our show. Or, at least, download the podcast. Yesterday on Twitter, Sean Leahy from Puck Daddy thanked both Su and myself for the kind words we had about him on our most recent show. Well, one thing led to another and now he's one of our guests on next Sunday's show.

Not that surprising, really. I've met Leahy before, and he's chatted with Su off an on for a while. He's a Pittsburgh Penguins fans just like she is. So it's not completely out of the blue - only somewhat.

So here's the rundown:

Connect Community Puck Talk (CCPT) Hockey Show (Blog Talk Radio)

CCPT Hockey blog

CCPT Hockey Twitter

CCPT Hockey Facebook Group

Where you can find Su:

Daily Su blog

KING 5 (Seattle) Hockey blog

@dailysu (Twitter)

And where you can find me (besides here, obviously):

Raw Charge

From the Rink (post on Thursdays)

@dagmar27 (Twitter)

Hope you drop in on Sunday. If you have any suggestions for the show, feel free to share. Including if you'd like to be on, or if you know someone we'd like to tak to - which is just about anybody!

June 23, 2010

When Sexism Isn't Really About Sexism

Let's Hear It For The Girls!
If Wayne Gretzky is credited with growing the sport in the state of California and into the Sunbelt in the southern United States, James and Granato are responsible for growing the sport in two entire countries. Name one player currently in the Hockey Hall of Fame that has had that kind of effect on the game of hockey.

Bobby Orr? Wayne Gretzky? Gordie Howe? Maurice Richard?

If those four men grew the sport of hockey in North America through their skill, scoring, and charisma, then Cammi Granato and Angela James are long overdue for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Regardless of their scoring prowess, these two retired hockey players had more impact on their sport than 99% of the men currently in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
I was rather disappointed by the commentary on Twitter yesterday about the Hockey Hall of Fame selections. As expected, no one really agreed on the selections. But about a third of the total men on there were making excuses for why the women should've been left off for more "worthy" men - particularly NHLers.

And they weren't prefacing it with, "the women deserve it but..." sort of commentary, either. It wasn't flat-out disrespectful, but between the lines it was. I'm not being overly sensitive when I say this, because it takes quite a lot to offend me, but it was obvious that there are a lot of men who don't consider women to be good enough to compete directly with men in that kind of setting.

So it was a nice surprise to read this post from Teebz. There were quite a few men who were thrilled by women being included in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and were disappointed with the other selections. But even some of them were saying that the women ought to have their own category. I was, too, but I was saying that because it'd avoid things like this. Don't get me wrong, I certainly do not think all men are troglodytes. But there still is a large segment of society who are.

I've asked other women about whether they've faced this kind of thing before - blatant sexism in sports. About half have and half haven't. It usually runs along an age divide, but not always. Some of it has to do with location. But people - both men and women - get so surprised by my stories of sexist comments that I've received over the years. It leaves me scratching my head; I don't know why they're so surprised.

And frankly, they shouldn't be. From what I saw yesterday on Twitter, there are still plenty of men who view women as sub-human. They just don't voice it now; they talk their way around it so that it's not so obvious. Implication thru omission is a very passive-aggressive way to go about things, if you ask me.

June 7, 2010

This Is What I Do

Sports-Centric Web Sites Expand, and Bias Is Welcome
The popular site is just one of more than 250 unapologetically biased sports sites owned by SB Nation, most of them dedicated to a single team. The sites, written by fans for fans, do not claim to break news or have an inside scoop, but they often serve as a digital water cooler for the like-minded.

This is who I write for. I've talked to Tyler Bleszinski on the phone before - he actually interviewed me for the first posting of his "Better Know a Blogger" series for his own blog on the site, Blog Huddle. I guess talking to me is what inspired that? I don't know.

He's also a part of our SBN hockey group on Google Groups, of which he participates in the discussions often. He's a big New Jersey Devils fan, and he oftens tells us that we're the most fun out of all of the sports groups on SB Nation. Not sure if that's true or not, but it's nice to hear.

One of my co-writers for Raw Charge, John Fontana, talks to Tyler often. In fact, John was asked to be the hub manager for Tampa but turned it down. He decided that it wasn't a good fit for him, and found someone else to take his place.

I'll be attending the launch party for the Washington, DC, hub this evening. It ought to be fun. Mostly, it'll be the blogs and bloggers for the DC-based teams: Capitals (NHL), Wizards (NBA), Nationals (MLB) Redskins (NFL), United (MLS), Georgetown University and the University of Maryland (NCAA). But all of the SB Nation writers located in the DC-area that write for other sites, like me, have been invited.

Looking at that, I'm not sure why the Virginia schools got left off of that hub. I might have to ask about that tonight. Though, I guess only Virginia Tech is the only Virginia-based college or university that has a site on SB Nation right now. But still.

Oh yeah, we've added writers on our site. Mostly women, strangely: Dani Toth, Meredith Qualls, and Tina Robinson. We did add one more male writer, Nolan White. Also interesting, only John and Meredith are in the Tampa area. Two are from Canada: Dani (Vancouver) and Nolan (Toronto); Tina's in South Carolina, and I'm in Virginia. Considering that the majority of Tampa Bay Lightning fans are located in Central Florida, not to mention that any team located in the US South is dumped on by the Canadian hockey media, that's sort of odd in and of itself.

For a sport where something like 80% of the fans are male, we get a lot of women commenting, and now writing, for our site. I guess that could be my fault, but I prefer to blame it on Vinny Lecavalier. It's no secret that he's a good looking man, and there seem to be plenty of female Lecavalier fans to go around. So, therefore, it's all Vinny's fault that Tampa seems to attract female hockey fans.

May 10, 2010

Men Competing Against Women

Girl Goalies and Guys’ Egos
If I get down a couple of goals to “la fille”, the guys on my team will go like gangbusters to mount a comeback.  Conversely, the guys on her side frequently seem to be in awe of her stuff, almost letting her get more action on purpose to see if she can handle it.  Then, if they win they seem just as likely to chalk it up to their great goalscoring rather than her goaltending.
This is an interesting take - one that I would never have thought of. Personally, I've never had any problems men competing against me. But then, I wasn't a goalie, either. And I'm a tall girl, too, so that helps.

May 9, 2010

Just A Reminder....

Connect Puck Talk

Su Ring from Daily Su and I are talking hockey tonight. Join us for some discussions on the NHL, AHL, major junior leagues, international competition - basically, we'll cover whatever's going on as long as it's hockey-related. Su has already talked to some minor league hockey players that she's interviewed before, and they may stop in from time to time.

For those who are new to this, there's a chat room going on as we broadcast, and you can download the podcast later if you miss it. (The chat room is only active and available during the broadcast, however.) Right now, the show is one hour long, but we may expand to two hours if there's enough of a demand. So from here on out, Su and I will be on every Sunday at 11 pm British / 6 pm Eastern / 3 pm Pacific. See you then!

May 7, 2010

Pac-10 Hockey? Anyone?

The Straight Edge: California ripe for Div. I NCAA hockey
“The first college or university in California (to add hockey) will have an immediate pool of recruits to draw from,” [Paul Kelly] said. “Within a very short period of time, you could be competing for a national title.”
This makes me happy - for many reasons. One, I love the idea of Pac-10 hockey. And believe you me, if the California schools add it, then the Washington schools will, and so on. Two, I love the fact that sunny and warm California is such a hockey hot bed. It gives me spiteful joy. It's always annoyed me that traditionalists think that only places where it snow regularly should have hockey - when the fact is that 99% of all hockey is played on an indoor rink. Three, there just needs to be more college hockey overall. And four...well, I can keep going on, but you get the idea.

May 3, 2010

Boston Bruins Dating Advice

Boston Bruins say dating Philadelphian women is hairy situation

From the hallowed halls of Puck Daddy comes some sage dating advice for hockey fans everywhere....

It's Finally Happened

Su and I crashed Connect Community Radio a bit late last night, and did our own show on the spur of the moment. So it's completely ad libbed. And it's only an hour long, too. Sorry that it's so Pacific Northwest centric....

Anyways, we've decided - Su and I that is - to start our own show up together. Our friend Juice isn't up for doing a weekly program, and we think that we can do that. We've therefore created our own radio show, and we're kicking it off this coming Sunday at 6 pm Eastern. It's only an hour for starters, and if there's a demand or we feel we're running short on time, we might bump it up to two hours for future shows. We plan on running all through the offseason, too. So feel free to stop in and say hi on the chat room while the show's live, or call in - and you can always download the podcast for later, of course.

So here's the new site for you to bookmark:

Connect Puck Talk

And here's Su's site so that you can get to see what she's about:

Daily Su

Hopefully we'll see you next Sunday.

April 25, 2010

Hockey, Hockey, Hockey

Connect Community Radio-Playoff Extravaganza continues

Su Ring from Daily Su, Joanne Giuliano from 10 Minute Miss Conduct, and I will be hosting this week's edition of Connect Community Radio. The show's regular host, Juice in LA (from One Minute of Play) isn't able to do the whole show tonight, so Su and I volunteered to sit in for her. This is a first time for me, so we'll see how this goes. It's two hours of fun and hockey, starting at 8:30 pm Eastern. It's an all-NHL sort of show, so feel free to stop, bring your friends, and say hi.

Listen to Matt Micko/juiceinla on Blog Talk Radio

April 23, 2010

Hockey Blog Roll (AKA, Where You Can Also Find Me)

In going thru my blog roll, I had to make some ruthless decisions. Some of the people that I follow just haven't been updating their blogs all that often. So, in the interest of saving time and space, I've had to let a few of them go. Including friend's blogs, sadly. But if you haven't posted anything in the four months, then I've cut you loose - so sorry; nothing personal intended there.

Which is why I wouldn't be upset if people stopped following me. I know that I haven't been writing here much - a lot of that is because I've been writing a lot elsewhere. So, in the interest of helping people out, here's where I've been posting some hockey stuff now and then. I also hope to add more here upon occasion; hopefully more so than I have recently, too.

Raw Charge - my Tampa Lightning blog with John Fontana and Dani Toth. We hope to add another person or two in the next few months. We'll see how that goes. And we'll be covering World Championships when they get going, too.

From the Rink (on Thursdays) - Everyone's all over playoffs right now, so I hope to add some non-playoff content while that's going on. If you have any ideas or

Cycle Like the Sedins (upon their request) - Although, creator James O'Brien has been busy with other projects, I'm more than happy to help out when asked.

Connect Community Radio (also known as Puck Bunny Radio) - Some of my friends are starting this back up again. This Sunday I'll be co-hosting with Su Ring and Joanne Giuliano. Playoffs will be discussed, of course, but so will other hockey-related things like the draft, coaching changes, and more. I think we'll be starting at 8:30 pm Eastern, but I'm not sure as of yet. When I find out, I'll be posting it up everywhere. Feel free to call in - it's a good time.

So I'm still around, you've just got to know where to find me.

April 19, 2010

Puck Bunny Radio Reunion

I've been keeping a low profile lately - partly because of my traditional end of hockey season burnout, but also because I've been posting every Thursday at From the Rink on general NHL stuff. I'm slowly edging my way back into writing more.

Last night, we saw a resurrection of an online radio show by some friends of mine. Don't be confused by the name - Puck Bunny Radio - because it's about hockey, not about hockey players. Okay, sometimes it's about hockey players, but not too much. It's a co-ed kind of show, and it's a lot of fun.

I came in half an hour late - I'd forgotten that it was on and was reading a book. I ended up co-hosting, in the end. (If I'm cutting in and out, it's because I don't get the best cell phone reception at my apartment; next time, I might have to Skype it.) Next Sunday, Su and I will be co-hosting this gig. We'll see how that goes.

Last night's edition was a bit scattered, but hockey was discussed, so it was good. It's really more a group of friends talking hockey than an actual radio show, tho. So listen at your own peril!

April 8, 2010

When's That Next Tee Time?

Edmonton Oilers Draft Lottery Simulator

While this is funny, it's also very sad. I can't even believed that they put this up on their team site! You know a team sucks when....

April 6, 2010

A Pioneer In Women's Hockey

Rheaume relishes being a role model

I was playing hockey around the time that she was playing preseason games for the Tampa Bay Lightning. While I've never looked up to her as a role model, I've always thought that what she was doing was awesome and important. So good for her that she's good with the added weight of not only being a role model, but also a pioneer.

March 26, 2010

Warn The Children

Wayne Gretzky [flashback photo]

Seriously, did they have to do that? This needs a warning sign. The picture almost took one of my eyes out. It's PG, but only barely.

March 18, 2010

The Incomparable Adam Deadmarsh

I'm very surprised that they didn't interview Peter Forsberg for this piece. I mean, I know that Forsberg's back in Sweden and all, but they were very good friends. And I'm sure they still are. That's too bad, really.

You know, I always liked Adam Deadmarsh. I started watching him play junior hockey when he was 17 years old with the Portland Winterhawks. I was genuinely upset when his career was cut short - he was one of my favorite players. But I'm very happy that he's back in hockey again.

My fondest memory of Deadmarsh was seeing him play in Seattle in October 1994, only to turn around and see him play next in New Jersey with the Québec Nordiques in February (I think) 1995. Good times. New Jersey won their first Stanley Cup that year, too; 1995. My sister had wanted to go see Forsberg play because of the 1994 Olympics and Corey Hirsch, and I'd wanted to go see Deadmarsh play because I'd just seen him in Seattle a few months before, which is why we ended up at that game.

(My sister Jill and I were both nannying in the New York City area, and were watching games in New Jersey at the Meadowlands because the New York Rangers had won the Stanley Cup the year before in 1994. Getting tickets to Madison Square Garden is bad enough, but for a team who just won a championship? Pretty much impossible - so we didn't even try. And I still have not seen a hockey game at MSG to this day. I need to work on that.)

March 11, 2010

People Are Never Home When You Need Them....

So this is frustrating. Over at my Tampa Bay Lightning blog, Raw Charge, my co-blogger John has been busy trying to track down an interview with a player on their farm team, the Norfolk Admirals. So we've been going back and forth with their media relations guy, who's really come off as something of a flake. Yesterday, we'd had it all lined up when someone dropped the ball.

I was supposed to interview goaltender Dustin Tokarski by phone last night, and it never happened. The Norfolk media relations guy had emailed both John and I in the morning asking for a phone number, and that was the last we'd heard from him. He suddenly emailed us on Tuesday out-of-the-blue saying that he was available then and yesterday afternoon. So who knows how this is going to play out now.

I'm hoping that Tokarski doesn't get my Skype phone number and calls it in the middle of the day when I'm not home. What a bad impression that would be! I'm just hoping that if that does happen to call when I'm out, and he does leave a message with a phone number (fat chance, right?), that he's the accommodating sort and would be willing to reschedule. It'd be easier if I could record the conversation on my cell phone, but I can't.

There is the possibility that the fault lies on Tokarski. That wouldn't surprise me. But I'll give the guy the benefit of the doubt and blame the team for the lack of follow-thru until proven otherwise.

To be honest, tho, the problem is likely that this guy just doesn't take us seriously. That would definitely explain the lack of response at times. I can't imagine that Norfolk would be in a situation where their media relations guy was overworked, tho I suppose it's possible. But it does make me wonder if we'd be treated better if we were traditional media.


Just talked to the media relations guy, and it's a go for this evening. Apparently, they had seven transactions yesterday, and that's where the ball was dropped. So, I should be interviewing Mr. Tokarski later today after all.

March 4, 2010

The Problem With Crosby

How The Outside World Views Sidney Crosby
... I'm guessing if you took away the media and the hype, if that never existed and you just had Sidney Crosby as a hockey player, most fans would respect or like him. ...
The actual problem with Sidney Crosby isn't Sidney Crosby himself. It's all the NHL's fault. The marketing department latched on to him and then not only blew marketing him all out of proportion, but then ran it into the ground. This artificial rivalry between him and Ovechkin is taking it one step too far, frankly.

From what I've seen of Crosby, now that he's loosened up a bit in front of the cameras, he's a pretty likable guy. And he's obviously a very good hockey player - tho the longer he plays, and the more I watch him, the more he reminds me of Peter Forsberg in his prime. So it's really a shame that he's so reviled in some quarters.

This is how bad the marketing thing has gotten:
Reader "LW3H" and his discovery that "Crosby's apparently spontaneous celebration was revealed to be yet another cold, cynical marketing opportunity" by taking on the form of the Vancouver Winter Olympic logo.
"LW3H" is actually a friend of mine, but you get the picture. It's become so absurd that it's a joke in its own right. But then, I'm not sure why I'm so surprised. The NHL sucks at marketing.

I do have to admit, tho, that I'm glad that it was someone like Crosby who got the game winning goal during the Olympic men's ice hockey gold medal game. I'd rather it was a skill guy who won it, instead of like a stay at home defensemen. That silver medal that the US won goes down a lot easier when you know that the defense and/or goaltender may or may not have been able to stop him.

March 3, 2010

It's All About The Sport

What’s a Goal Between Friends?
[Ryan] Miller said: “It’s nice that the Olympics can help bring that out in the crowds here in the N.H.L. Especially out in the East Coast, you hear it a lot, and up in Canada they like to give you a hard time and it would be nice to hear a crowd appreciate your effort when you’re on the road. But I think that’s what’s good about hockey fans, too. They enjoy a hockey game. It’s not just about one team all the time, it’s about the sport.”
See? Ryan Miller gets it. He knows that hockey fans aren't like regular sports fans. Probably because he's a fan himself.

February 18, 2010

"Team USA" Means More Than Just The Olympics

Postcard from Vancouver
Each USA player has been adopted by a wounded warrior from their home town, university or NHL city. They were informed that "you are not just playing for your country, but for your warrior as well". A personal package was provided containing a letter of encouragement and various other items, even bullets taken from the soldier's bodies to be placed in the player's locker.

Brian Burke (Team USA General Manager) summed it up by saying that "the real heroes in America don't wear hockey uniforms, they wear camo".
This is very cool.

One more time before he really has to go?

As posted on Raw Charge.... 

Forsberg still hankers for NHL future
"But at this stage of my career I don't think I'm ever going to be really healthy again so I'm just going to do my best and see how it goes."
A very true, but probably very painful, admission from one of the greatest hockey players ever.

I watched much of this game, and while Forsberg is no longer the dominant player he once was, he was still quick and had some good moves. Oh, and his passing skills haven't diminished one bit - which was always one of his biggest strengths. On pretty much any team in the NHL, given what I saw, he'd still be considered a solid #2 centerman.

He didn't skate the same, tho. I'd heard prior to the Olympics that he'd has some rib problems, and he skated like it. His upper body was held stiffly and he tended to shy away from hits along the boards. He did not seem to have any problems with his infamous foot, however.

I caught the post-game interview (or maybe it was a period intermission interview - I watched online on NBC's Olympic site), and what he said there seemed to be different from what was said in the article. He didn't sound like he was going to be playing much longer, let alone in the NHL. He was thrilled to be there - on camera, at least - but he sounded like a man who was looking to retire. And sooner rather than later. Like maybe as soon as the Olympics are over, but then again, he might wait until the season's over for Modo.

So, as with all aging athletes (and I hate saying that since I'm only a few months older than he is), it'll be a wait-and-see situation. Probably even more so than it has been. While it's great getting this last chance to watch him play again, I'm hoping he decides to hang them up and move on with his life. There's a lot more out there for him to do than play hockey.

February 16, 2010

Right Or Left?

It’s Not Political, but More Canadians Are Lefties
A 2006 study found that 60 percent of all National Hockey League forwards were left-handed, as were 70 percent of all N.H.L. defensemen, but those statistics were not sorted by nationality.
I thought that that was an interesting and curious statistic.

I helped put together my own hockey team because there wasn't a woman's program anywhere near where I lived, so most of the girls were first-time players. My first hockey coach was from Edmonton, and he approached the stick thing very logically. He said to grab a broom and start sweeping. And whatever way you swept is the way you should shoot. And in doing that, most of the girls ended up being right-handed shots.

As for myself, I shoot left. But I'm ambidextrous by nature, so I do many things better left-handed than I do right-handed - despite being right-handed when it comes to hand writing. Which is my excuse for shooting left instead of right.

February 12, 2010

February 11, 2010

February 9, 2010

Washington Capitals - New Media Trailblazers

Capitals continue to reach out to fans through social networking
The Capitals have more than 95,000 fans on Facebook and more than 11,000 followers on Twitter. Players with accounts include defenseman Mike Green, who Twitters as GreenLife52 and has more than 6,000 followers, and forward Eric Fehr, who only recently began using the social networking Web site at the suggestion of the Capitals.

"The team kind of talked about maybe getting some guys on there," said Fehr, who has nearly 2,000 followers under the handle EricFehr16. "I'm always open to different ideas, so I thought I would try it out, and I like it so far."
It's been really hard for me to avoid being inundated with Washington Capitals media of all forms. Especially since they're the closest NHL team to me. They know how to work the social media system, and they're successful at it. It's rather impressive.

I probably have far more Caps bloggers on my following list on Twitter than anyone else. Not that I want to - it's just that there are so many of them! And for good reason. The Washington Capitals owner has a blog himself that he posts to regularly.
"Where we should be advantaged is our customers are younger, more educated, Web-savvy than the NFL audience, which is older, less wired. So let's pick a fight we have a shot at winning, and if our consumers are younger, and they love video games, and they have shorter attention spans, and they love interactivity, and they love social media, and everyone blogs, and everyone's on Facebook, why wouldn't we put ourselves right in the middle of that?" [Caps owner Ted Leonsis
Leonsis has been at the forefront of advancing his team into what he calls "the new world," starting with launching a Web site for the Capitals soon after his purchase and becoming the first NHL owner to make available his direct e-mail address.
Not to mention that there are a ton of hockey bloggers for other teams that live in DC. Mostly it's because there are a lot of people who work for the federal government. And a lot of military as well. People from all over move here.

The Caps bloggers are lucky. Hopefully the rest of the NHL will be so forward thinking. And some are better than others. But they'll all end up following in the steps of the Caps, since they seem to know what they're doing. For the most part, anyways.
The Capitals' growth in popularity on the Web has also triggered a spike in credential requests from bloggers. Washington's Web site lists more than 30 blogs relating to the team, the NHL or both, and while some cover the team as a hobby rather than a profession, media relations director Nate Ewell wrote in an e-mail, "Our issues with bloggers have been very, very rare."
They were willing to grant me media credentials, but as a matter of policy deferred to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning turned me down stating that they're trying the blogging thing on a case-by-case basis locally in Tampa only - which does me a lot of good. But that's for the time being, anyways. We'll see what new ownership has to say about how things go here in the future.

January 29, 2010

Can You Tell That The Olympics Are Almost Here?

Inglourious Backes Shirt

David Backes is dismantling Team Canada with his fists

We have the Team USA Olympic rallying cry. And, hey, better odds than usual for winning gold. Gotta like that.
Odds to Win the 2010 Olympic Ice Hockey Championship
Canada 1/1
Russia 2/1
Sweden 11/2
USA 7/1
Czech Republic 15/1
Finland 16/1
Slovakia 40/1
Switzerland 125/1
Germany 400/1
Belarus 500/1
Latvia 500/1
Norway 500/1

Team USA's 1998 Gold Medal Team

Impact of 1998 [US] women's team can still be felt today

Unlike with the men's hockey, where you can at least dream that you could play professionally, the Olympics are about as big as you can get if you're a woman playing hockey. So I was very interested in the first Olympic games where women's hockey was a gold medal event. I watched the gold medal game with more interest than the men's game.

When the US won, seeing the joy on their faces was almost as good as watching kids open Christmas presents. When the men win a medal, they're pretty stoic about it - doesn't really matter what team you're talking about since they all act about the same in the end. The women, tho, they lived that moment to the fullest. They were singing the anthem enthusiastically and at the top of their lungs. The shear happiness they had brought tears to your eyes.

And now, they're in the US Hockey Hall of Fame - where they should be. Even if the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada, refuses to acknowledge women's hockey, the US honors its own. You can say a lot of things about US hockey, but sexual discrimination isn't one of them.

God, I wish I could still play.

Care Of USA Hockey....

Hockey Weekend Across America

Hope you're wearing your favorite hockey jersey today. 


Oilers nearing Dirty Dozen in losses
The Oilers are one game away from doing what has never been done in franchise history before – lose every single, solitary game in a full month schedule.

It hasn't been done by an NHL team for 12 years!

They have 12 straight losses.
Uh.... Wow. Edmonton? Really? You've got to feel bad for the fans. I guess the Tampa Bay Lightning can be worse off. Sort of.

Team USA Goalie Mask

Have a look at Ryan Miller's Team U.S.A. goalie mask

I like the concept, but not sure if I like the artwork. Hmmm. And I'd like to see what the other side looks like, frankly. Let me think about this one and get back to you....

January 28, 2010

Cold War II

Michigan vs. MSU hockey headed to Big House in December?

I've been to Ann Arbor. Been past the Big House, too. It's an odd experience, tho, since only something like the top 20 rows of the stadium are above street level. You would never guess that it was one of the largest stadiums in the world if you walked past it.

January 27, 2010

Sounds Like Sour Grapes To Me

Ten Things I Hate About ... the Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Preview and Open Thread

These guys are pretty shameless and vulgar, but I can respect that. And the fact that they're Montreal fans, I guess I can respect that, too. The swearing and the flagrant sexism, well, that I'm just jealous of. It upsets my sense of propriety too much to be able to let myself go like that. However, the lack of respect is just awful. I can't abide by that. For very long, anyways.

I will be seeing Tampa Bay play in DC against the Caps on Sunday afternoon. Hopefully, anyways. There's a snow storm coming in Friday night that might stop me, tho. Which would make me very cranky. We'll see how that goes, tho.

Raw Charge has a live game thread going on tonight as well, so feel free to drop in and say hi.

Masks Aren't Just For Halloween

NHL Goalie Masks by Team (2009-10)

Oh, the things you can do with Kevlar....

January 26, 2010

Seattle To Vancouver: 140 Miles (Or 230 km), One International Border

B.C. bound? Don't forget to pack your passport
If you are a U.S. citizen driving, taking a bus or train back from Canada into the U.S., you are required to present a U.S. passport, U.S. passport card, enhanced driver's license or a trusted-traveler program card, such as a NEXUS card.

When returning home from Canada by plane you are required to present a U.S. passport.
If you're an American headed to the Olympics, you might want to read this.

January 25, 2010

A Furry Convention?! Really?

What We Learned: Sabres unleash the Furries; Kesler punked

The things you learn when you read about hockey - let me tell you! Sadly, this is pretty tame. Funny, but still tame.

Marketing? What Marketing?

Frei: Promoting game still far from done

Tell us something we don't already know. Marketing in the NHL is a travesty. Seriously, a middle schooler could do a better job of it. Not that I mean to insult teenagers, but you know what I mean.

January 19, 2010

Heads Up

I will be visiting with Jim and The Mouth on Blueshirt Banter Radio around 6 pm Eastern today to preview tonight's Tampa Bay Lighting - NY Rangers game. The show itself starts at 5:30, and Blueshirt Banter is the SB Nation New York Rangers site. It'll be fun, I'm sure. Feel free to listen in. The game will be broadcast nationally on Versus at 7 pm Eastern.
Listen to Blueshirt Banter on Blog Talk Radio

January 15, 2010

Puck Bunny Controversy

The Plight of the Female Fan: Fighting Stereotypes and Earning Respect
[The Argument]

Rabbit Stew
[The Rebuttle]

Both of these women present very valid arguments. I've seen this behavior (male and female) for myself, and I know exactly what each of them are talking about. So read them over and decide for yourself.

As for myself, no one has ever mistaken me for a puck bunny. Which is a very good thing because I'm about as far away from that as a girl can get. Hockey players are nice guys and all, but status and money really don't mean very much to me. I look for character, intelligence, and a sense of humor - not for exotic sports cars and expensive suits.

They'd have to be a pretty exceptional human being for me to consider dating one, considering all of the crap that they have to deal with in their lives.  They'd have to actively pursue me to do it, too, since I'm not going out of my way for any of them - which isn't very likely to happen. As for sleeping with one, I'm so not into casual relationships like that with anyone, thanks.

And I am genuinely offended when guys use that term, even jokingly. It's one of the few things that'll really get me going. Probably because I used to play hockey myself. It's like asking an ex-jock if they used to be a cheerleader. It's just not done.

But, you know, if a girl wants to throw herself at an athlete, she can knock herself out. That has nothing to do with me. Most men are smart enough to know the difference between a girl you take home, and a girl you take home to mom.

A certain type of guy will always think women who genuinely like sports are really interested in the players and not the sport. Because that's how guys would be if the tables were turned. It doesn't really have much to do with the girls who throw themselves at athletes. Most men don't watch women's beach volleyball to admire the athleticism and ability of the players, after all.

The NHL's Donation To Haiti

U.S. sports leagues, teams pledge cash for Haiti relief

Good for the NHL that they're making a significant contribution. It makes sense for Major League Baseball to do that - they have players from Haiti and the neighboring Dominican Republic in their league. Same goes for the NY Yankees. And Lance Armstrong probably has raced and known Haitians.

The NHL has no connections to Haiti, but they're still being generous. Haven't seen the NFL or the NBA doing anything yet as a league. I know of an NBA player who's contributing on his own, but he's also from Haiti himself.

Olympic TV Schedule For Team USA

Your Official 2010 Winter Olympic Hockey (Men’s & Women’s) Superschedule

Now you have something to plan your days around when the Olympics start, US hockey fans. Although, if anyone finds a master TV schedule for all of Olympic hockey that covers other countries as well, let me know. I'd like to watch other teams play besides the US.

January 12, 2010

So Close, And Yet, So Far

I contacted the Washington Capitals last Friday about press credentials to a Tampa Bay Lightning game January 31st in DC, and got a response back today. The Caps, while a front-runner in the NHL for allowing new media access to their team, defer to the other team in this case because I write about the Lightning. Now the Lightning are willing to grant my co-blogger John and I access, but only at home games and only a game-by-game basis. It's a trial period, I suppose, due to the fact that they're still trying to wrap their heads around this whole bloggers-as-media idea.

Now, I don't begrudge the Lightning wanting to start out with things at home. In fact, it makes sense for them to do it that way. However, the situation makes it awkward for John and I to follow thru with their offer.

John lives in the Tampa area but has issues with his hearing - and therefore his speech as well - and isn't likely to take the Lightning up on their offer. He's rather self-conscious about it, and understandably so. Unfortunately, he's going to feel guilty about that since him not following thru hobbles my chances to do anything here in northern Virginia - and it's not his fault at all.

Now, I could fly down the Tampa and do it myself...except that I don't have the money to to do that. And  right now because of work, I have limited time due to projects that I'm working on. So, no press credentials for me. Which is about what I'd expected, actually, but that's the way it goes sometimes.

It won't stop me from going to the game at the end of the month, tho.

January 7, 2010

Even Children Must Learn To Share

Demographics may be catching up to Canadian junior hockey
Consider this: The night before the Americans claimed gold in Saskatoon, their under-17 national team did the same thing in Timmins, Ont, beating Team Ontario at the world hockey challenge. America's women, meanwhile, have won three of the last four world championships by dispatching Canada in the gold-medal game. All that needs to happen now is some calamity in Vancouver, when the Canadian men face the United States, and Mr. Harper might reconvene parliament with a royal commission charged with examining why our game is no longer ours alone.
"Calamity in Vancouver"? Why is it a bad thing that Canada may no longer dominate in hockey? Because it's half of their national identity? (The other half being that they're not Americans, of course.)

It's this kind of thinking that has made the NHL into a niche sport in the US. Keep the game "pure", keep it "Canadian", because that's real hockey. Well, that's why it's not becoming a national sport to rival the likes of football and baseball.

See, Americans might've invented baseball, but we rejoice when other countries pick it up and become competitive in it. We think it helps the game, and we want it to be a global phenomenon. It's good for the sport at home because it increases the available talent and it makes games close and fun. And if we lose an international game every once in a while, so be it. At least baseball is flourishing, and that's what matters. Now if only we can get American football out there in the same way....

Canadians can't or won't think that way. They're selfish and want to keep hockey all to themselves. They don't want to share the joy of the sport with anyone unless they're in charge of it - and even then, it's only grudgingly. It's theirs and only theirs, and too bad for you if you don't like it.

Talk about taking themselves far too seriously - geez!

Do we care what Canadians do with baseball? Nope. Have fun - knock yourselves out. So it's a bit mind-boggling for Americans as to why Canadians have this problem with hockey. We don't get it.

But the fact that Canadians get all uptight over things like this, well, that's hard to resist when we have the chance to rub their noses in it. Their reactions are just too entertaining to let it pass by. But for us Americans, it's all in good fun. Now if only we can get the Canadians to realize that, too.

(And, as a footnote for the Canadians who stumble across this, not only do I know where Saskatoon is, but I've actually been there.)

January 6, 2010

Congratulations To Team USA For Winning World Juniors Gold

Some of you will appreciate this more than others, I think. But the thing you've got to love is the team spirit shown here. These guys are not only excited that they won, but thrilled that they won it for their teammates. This is what being a team is about - watch the guys, don't just listen to the words.

What It Means To Be American

Good night: Suck it, Canada, it’s our game now

Ryan, you are an American god to me. Okay, not really. Hopefully, if you're not American, you can see the humor in this post. Seriously. It's funny. Really. Even if you don't understand all of the jokes.

January 4, 2010

Now This Is Going Too Far

Monday Scramble: Golf at Fenway Park?

I guess even golf gets outdoor hockey envy. And they're already an outdoor sport! They did a good job with Photoshopping, tho.

January 2, 2010

Does This Guy Even Believe In Fire?

Too much American influence
Another indication of the Americanization of hockey comes in the proliferation of statistics. Americans are very big on stats. Tune in to any baseball, football, basketball, or hockey game these days and you'll hear averages, percentages, and "tendencies" until your ears swell.
Talk about nit-picky....

And here I thought that people who didn't want hockey in cities with warm climates were bad. Geez. This guy needs to get a grip. Seriously, nothing ever stays the same - the only constant in life is change. And no, not all change is necessarily good, but you can't ever go back once something's happened. The past is over; you can only work with the present. Deal with it

Isn't it convenient that his scapegoat for all of this horrible, awful change are Americans? I'm a bit surprised that he didn't blame Europeans as well - just because he could. It does make me wonder how many of the changes he's railing against were initiated by Canadians, tho.