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. 

'Oh-fer-January?'

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.