Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Right... blog... so...
In honour of the valiant return of James Duthie I post the first (couple of) Duthie-ism(s) of the new 2008-09 season,
"So let's see. What's changed since the last time we blogspoke? Emery went to Russia. Redden went to New York. Hossa went to Detroit. And Sundin went 'Uhhhhh, Ummmm, Uhhhhh...'"
"That leaves it wide open for....take your pick...Montreal, Philadelphia, the Rangers, Washington...
Errr...probably not. Then again, the Bills are 4-0. Nothing makes sense anymore."
I would also like to point out that I am currently enjoying a pre-season game between Detroit and Montreal. The reasons why this is much more enjoyable than the game I took in in Halifax are endless.
First of all, there are actual players out there (as opposed to the pylons that played the game last Monday) and they started a skinnier Carey Price.
Second, Pierre McGuire is back. And he hasn't missed a beat.
Third, it's actually in Montreal. There will probably be some sort of riot after the game regardless of the outcome.
Just kidding... sortof.
It appears TSN forgot how to work... stuff. Because they have the mics inside the glass turned up WAYYYYY too loud. When you can hear the players dropping f-bombs louder than the muffled sounds of Gord and Pierre, there's a problem.
I can also hear some drunk fan in row 249 better than the commentary. I'm almost tempted to watch it on mute but I fear missing some ridiculous comment from our friend Pierre. It hasn't happened yet, but I have faith. The odds are with me.
I was doing a quick one-over of the headlines. I'm completely exhausted and spent the day pouring over a television script. I just got my hands on my first coffee of the day so I figured my eyes were playing tricks on me.
Nope. Roberto Luongo is now the Captain of the Vancouver Canucks.
They announced it today. I google newsed it and sure enough it's there.
Apparently as a goaltender he is not allowed to physically wear the captain's C on his sweater (for whatever reason). Which would explain why I figured it just plain wasn't allowed.
And in fact it hasn't really been that common. The last goaltender to be the captain was Montreal Canadien Bill Durnan of the 1940s. And there were three others ever (says wikipedia).
VANCOUVER - The Vancouver Canucks have named goaltender Roberto Luongo as their new captain.
Coach Alain Vigneault says Luongo can't wear the C on his jersey because he's a goalie but is permitted to be designated the team's captain.
The team also named three alternates in Ryan Kesler, Mattias Ohlund and Willie Mitchell.
Luongo says he's ready to lead and is excited by the opportunity.
The Canucks were left without a captain after Markus Naslund signed a free agent contract with the New York Rangers in the off-season.
The Swedish forward, whose leadership abilities were often criticized, had worn the C since 2000.
Other Canucks captains have included Mark Messier, Stan Smyl, Orland Kurtenbach and Trevor Linden, who retired this summer.
Monday, September 29, 2008
STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Sidney Crosby could get used to living here.
Crosby spent Sunday as a tourist, eating dinner and checking out the sights in Old Town with his teammates.
"I walked around a bit and I think one person said hello," Crosby said after Monday's hard practice.
For someone that has trouble walking the streets in almost any hockey-loving city in North America, the anonymity was a welcomed change of pace.
"It was just cool to be with the guys and hang out," Crosby said. "I don't get to do that too often in Pittsburgh or in Canada, so it was just really nice to be out with the team and do some stuff and have some fun."
After Monday's practice, Crosby accompanied the team to lunch and a tour of the Vasa Museum, a maritime museum located on the island of Djurgarden. The Vasa is the only almost fully intact 17th Century ship in existence. She sank on her maiden voyage in 1698, and it wasn't until 1961 that the 64-gun warship was salvaged.
Crosby will play tourist on Tuesday, as well, as the team engages in a city-wide scavenger hunt.
I'm sure even Subban expected to be sent home. It is very difficult to break into the NHL as a defenseman. But the good thing is. He looked great.
The nice thing to see is he seems to think the same,
''I learned that I can play at this level,'' Subban told TSN, ''The NHL is so fast, but I learned that it's a lot easier playing at this level.
''Everyone's in the right position. You just have to move the puck, especially as a defenceman. So I'm looking forward to my opportunity next year.''
EASIER! God love the boy, you know you've got a good one when he thinks the NHL will be easier than Junior when he finally gets there!
It'll also be nice to see him destroying the other teams at the World Juniors in December. Just sayin.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
I spent about an hour on the TSN website at work today. I found a relatively recent post by Jay Onrait and I got a little excited. I immediately brought up your blog. But you're not back. I'm still stuck with memories of Free Agent Lunacy. Where are you? Did Elisha Cuthbert steal you away? I know that would make you happy... but please come back. There's hockey now. I need you. Jay Onrait is funny, but he only updates his blog like once every three months. And he has this weird obsession with baseball. And you know how I feel about baseball.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
But now i'm serious.
Check out the Montreal Canadiens locker room and you'll see ten veterans suffering from minor injuries. Because alot is a lot i'm going to give you it in list form:
hand (on someone's face in a fight)
From the Canadian Press,
"Carbonneau is loathe to pick a single reason for the run of ailments, although he said bad luck certainly played a part. Most of the players had been skating on their own or in groups at least two or three weeks before training camp began.
There is also the soft or substandard ice on some of the rinks teams have practised and played on in the pre-season."
"The question that I don't really have the answer for anyone at this point is whether or not I'm ready to play at the highest level and compete at the National Hockey League level," said Sundin. "It hasn't changed with training camps starting and all that."
Buddy, you're either up for it or you're not. As i've already stated many many times. It's simple. Players shouldn't be able to do this. You don't sit around pondering whether you're ready for university until November when school starts in September. No professor is going to let you get away with that. Why are coaches? Training camp opens: you're in or you're out. done.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Halifax Metro Centre.
What happens when you dress the Hamilton Bulldogs against the Boston Bruins? 8-3. That's what.
Alex Tanguay played his entire junior career in Halifax. He was one of the first Halifax Mooseheads to make it big (we'll say Jean-Sebastien Giguere was the absolute first). Tanguay has his jersey retired in the stands of the Metro Centre. And he still visits Halifax whenever he can.
What could have been a very nice homecoming for Tanguay turned into an ugly, ugly game. I'm not just saying that because of the score either. It was liking watching a Midget AAA game. It was just really really bad.
On the flip side of things, there was another homecoming... Brad Marchand was on tryout with the Boston Bruins. Most of the fans in Halifax, however, did not feel so warm and fuzzy about Marchand as they did Tanguay. Brad Marchand is a hometown boy. He's a hometown boy that was brought in at the trade deadline by the Halifax Mooseheads to play in his hometown. Everyone thought it was wonderful. He won two gold medals with the national junior team. But Brad Marchand is the hometown boy who actually played so awful in the playoffs, the coach healthy scratched him for the final two games of a playoff run that by all means should have gone at least to the QMJHL finals. And that's the story of why people in Halifax like a kid from Ste. Justine, Quebec better than the hometown boy.
What was I talking about?
Oh yes, that terrible preseason game. Would've been nice of the Canadiens to start a few more players that had at least a chance of making the team... Or at least starting the number 1 goalie.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
From the National Post,
NHL: Yzerman hints he may leave Wings for better job
After he was selected fourth overall in the 1983 entry draft, he spent 22 seasons with the Wings, winning three Stanley Cups. Now 43, Yzerman has spent the past three seasons in the Wings’ front office.
But the Ottawa native can see a time when he may have to part ways with the organization he’s become synonymous with.
“I guess I would just say that I’ve got certain things that I want to accomplish in hockey, and that opportunity may or may not be here in Detroit,” Yzerman told the Detroit Free Press.
Wings general manager Ken Holland has been entrenched in his role since 1997, winning three Stanley Cups as GM and another one as an assistant GM. He’s signed to a contract through 2011, as is assistant general manager Jim Nill. Holland is 52, while Nill is 50.
In other words, the Detroit GM role may not be open for several years to come.
“I’m really happy doing what I’m doing, and I’m enjoying working in the organization and trying to add value and help out,” said Yzerman. “I’ve learned a ton, and I will continue to learn just by being around. But I have goals, and because our organization is deep in the management level, and our guys are successful and they’re young — it’s something that at some point, we’re going to have sit down and discuss it.”
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin is using the fact that she's a "hockey mom" as a qualification for her to be second in line to lead the free world? And considering that John McCain is 72-years-old there's a good chance that she'll end up leading the free world, it becomes that much crazier. (If you haven't seen the Matt Damon video... do youself a favour and GO... i'll be here when you get back.)
Ok, now that i've lost most of you to that video of a 16-year-old kid doing the dance to Soulja Boy and other YouTube wonders... i'll continue...
I once saw a clip of Barack Obama sinking a three-pointer. I did that once. I'm going to start a group... people that have ever sunk a three-pointer for Obama.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Until now I've been unable to justify writing about my love for the red stuff... And then I stumbled across this at Port of Wines in Downtown Halifax. Wayne Gretzky wine. Fittingly called "No. 99" its estate is located in the Niagara growing region in southern Ontario. And of course in the name of being a good hockey journalist, I knew I had an obligation to try it.
It was damn good. We drank the whole bottle.
Now I just need a former NHLer to start making their own rum and i'm all set.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Below you will read the piece you ran that Ed Willes wrote. To be frank. You're insane. I know it's not entirely your fault, Ed Willes writes for the Vancouver Province. But you still ran it in the national paper.
"Who out there can fill Gretzky's shoes? Who has the necessary experience to step in to the most difficult job in hockey?" you say. "Sure, you hear the name of Detroit general manager Ken Holland. And Edmonton's Kevin Lowe. And Montreal's Bob Gainey."
Who will fill Gretzky's shoes? It's not really about filling them, and more about throwing them the hell through a window and finding a new pair. As I've stated before, the 2006 Men's Olympic Hockey Team was probably the worst possible team you could have chosen. (Please see: leaving Jason Spezza, Eric Staal and Sidney Crosby at home = dumb, dumb, dumb.)
As I posted already, I think we've already found a new pair of shoes. Steve Yzerman.
You're only mention of Yzerman is, "A lot of people believe Steve Yzerman has been groomed for the job." No kidding Sherlock Holmes. There's a reason for that, he's managed the past two teams for the World Championships. Both have medalled. Already a better track record then Gretzky.
Of course, you've buried Yzerman down about half way through your article. For gawdsakes, you mentioned Bobby Clarke ahead of Yzerman. How much bourbon did you down before you sat at your typewriter?
The National Passtime
Ed Willes, Canwest News Service Published: Wednesday, September 17, 2008
VANCOUVER -- Now that Wayne Gretzky has announced he won't head the management team for Team Canada in 2010, it appears Hockey Canada will be scrambling to find a suitable replacement.
Who out there can fill Gretzky's shoes? Who has the necessary experience to step in to the most difficult job in hockey? Sure, you hear the name of Detroit general manager Ken Holland. And Edmonton's Kevin Lowe. And Montreal's Bob Gainey.
But who, other than those three, has the necessary credentials to lead the Maple Leaf into Vancouver?
What's that? Well yes, one supposes Carolina's Jim Rutherford would be a good candidate. And Buffalo's Darcy Regier. And San Jose's Doug Wilson. But this is the Olympics were talking about. We can't entrust the national team to just anyone.
Well, now that you mention it, Bob Clarke has done the job before. And Glen Sather has a ton of international experience. A lot of people believe Steve Yzerman has been groomed for the job. And there's Steve Tambellini.
So maybe there are competent hockey men around who could step in to Gretzky's position. And, maybe, when you come right down to it, the job of picking a hockey team from the extraordinary talent pool in Canada really isn't that difficult.
It's just that, sometimes, the men entrusted with the task make it look that way.
While we still have a way to go until 2010, this week's developments signalled the beginning of the public watch which has been part of the Team Canada selection process since 1998.
Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson will likely have his executive director in place by the end of October. Then the coaching staff will be named towards the end of the 2008-09 season. Finally, the roster will be submitted in December 2009.
There will, of course, be a familiar sense of intrigue and drama around the proceedings. You just hope whoever Nicholson chooses as executive director will do things differently this time because there's been something amiss with Team Canada in each of the last three Olympics.
It starts at the top. I mean, do they really need four men to run the team? In 1996 it was Nicholson, Clarke, Gainey and then-Ottawa general manager Pierre Gauthier. In ‘02 and ‘06 it was Nicholson, Gretzky, Lowe and Tambellini.
Gretzky has also said he wants to stay involved for 2010. That isn't going to make the group any smaller.
The wonder, in fact, is how they can fit everyone in the team picture. In Nagano there were five coaches, led by Marc Crawford. In Salt Lake, Pat Quinn had a staff of just four but, four years later, there were six coaches in Turin.
This, we might add, doesn't include all the Hockey Canada functionaries.
So were there too many cooks for Team Canada? Well, there was a seventh-place finish in ‘06 and a fourth in ‘98. They also won the gold in Salt Lake, for which they don't have to apologize. But they also received a massive break when Latvia upset Sweden in the quarter-final round.
Somehow, those results aren't consistent with the calibre of players available in Canada. Then again, you have to wonder if the best players were taken to the Olympics.
In Nagano, the team included grinders like Rob Zamuner, Trevor Linden, Shayne Corson and Keith Primeau. Not surprisingly, they had trouble scoring goals.
The ‘02 team, admittedly, was better. But in ‘06 they eschewed young flyers like Jason Spezza, Eric Staal and Sidney Crosby for players like Todd Bertuzzi, Ryan Smyth and Kris Draper, and were shut out three times.
Were there other issues? Of course. But you wonder if they would have been as significant if we'd sent our best. Instead, the selectors seemed more concerned with filling roles and manufacturing chemistry than picking a team that would kick butt and take names.
This time around, you'd like to see the best GM, Holland, pick the best coach, Detroit's Mike Babcock, and the 23 best players.
It's a crazy idea but it might just work.
Luc Robitaille is suing the former minority owner of the Nashville Predators. The story almost doesn't sound real.
Robitaille said he was left in debt by $2 million in a joint line of credit. Wait, what? Luc Robitaille had a joint line of credit with a guy named William (Boots) Del Biaggio? And now your sad it's gone? I don't even suggest joint line of credits for married people. It never ends well. Apparently the line of credit was intended for real estate deals.
According to the Toronto Star, the former Los Angeles Kings star alleges Del Biaggio transferred the money into his own account. And alleges the funds were used to to fund "fraudulent" schemes and "failing business ventures," and to "continue an extravagant lifestyle."Del Biaggio filed for bankruptcy in June that included more than $67 million in debt.
Not a huge surprise, since he just signed a 12-year contract with the team. And the team's latest captain, Jason Smith, is now in Ottawa.
Oh yes, and Richards is also a former Captain Canada, leading the team to gold in the 2005 world juniors. (For the record, teammate Scottie Upshall, who started to really light it up since getting the trade to the Flyers, is also a former Captain Canada circa 2003).
Richards, has found his scoring touch, is tough as... hmm a dump truck? And seems wise beyond his years. Good choice Flyers. (I can't believe i just said that.)
"It's obviously a privilege to be part of such a prestigious organization and now be captain of it," ... "I am going to do my best" - Mike Richards.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Probably a pretty good call on Hockey Canada's part. Since the team that Gretzky left home in 2006 was the team that would have medaled. (Who leaves home Sidney Crosby? And takes Todd Bertuzzi instead... i could go on forever about the debacle that was the 2006 Canadian Men's Olympic Hockey team, and I probably will one of these days.)
Sources tell TSN Wayne Gretzky has indicated to Hockey Canada that he is willing to be part of the management team for 2010, he has made it clear he is not interested in reprising his role as executive director.
Sources tell TSN that Steve Yzerman is expected to be named executive director of the Canadian Olympic team. Gretzky himslef said he would only be interested in an advisory role although it is still possible emerge as one of any number of candidates to be head coach of the team.
In 2000, Gretzky was named Executive Director of Canada's 2002 men's team. His duties included overseeing all hockey operations, and making the final decision on all personnel and player selections. Team Canada won its first gold medal with a 5-2 over the host Americans, ending a 50-year drought for the country's men's hockey teams.
Gretzky was also Executive Director for Canada at the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy, where the team finished seventh.
Yzerman, who works in the Detroit Red Wings' front office, was general manager of Team Canada for the 2007 and 2008 World Championships and put together silver and gold medal-winning squads over the last two springs.
Monday, September 15, 2008
To me, each one has its own vibe. The game in Edmonton was very... magical. It was -40 out there and Edmontonians stayed for the whole game. There wasn't really any ice issues because it was so damn cold. And that picture of then Montreal goaltender Jose Theodore with that toque over his helmet, frozen breath streaming out of the front of his mask will stick with me forever.
That doesn't mean that watching Sid Crosby take his touch at drama to a new level (while fluffy snow fell lightly) wasn't enjoyable. But put a game in Montreal and not only will you see good ice (see: Tragically Hip, Courage on Live Between Us, "The snow is so merciless, poor old montreal!") but i'm sure you'll see a good show. Montreal is a place meant to showcase the game outside.
And so the NHL dropped the ball this year. Chicago? Is Chicago having its 100th season? (that's a rhetorical question, the answer is "no".) I understand that the NHL didn't want to load everything to Montreal in one year (The 2009 entry draft and All Star game are there). But I would certainly give up the all star game or the draft... or both, if the official outdoor game was in Montreal.
But in true Quebec style, they're flipping the NHL the bird and having their own (god love Quebecers...) Yes, my friends, they will lure some sucker of a team to play outside... in Montreal. I've got my fingers crossed for one of the Florida teams.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
They signed Robert Lang to a contract yesterday.
Lang played for the Chicago Blackhawks last year and had 54 points, good for fourth on the young team. The Blackhawks found themselves over the salary cap and needed to move a player. They will receive a second round draft pick from the Canadians in the 2010 draft.
With the signing, General Manager Bob Gainey says he's done waiting for Sundin. He said he was not confident he would have Sundin in a uniform before training camp. (see: Jenn says get to training camp you lazy oaf.)
Overall i think this is a good pickup, I have lofty dreams of the magic from days gone by when Lang and Alexei Kovalev played in Pittsburgh. Of course there's the distinct possibility that the two will combine to create some sort of super-euro, ten times more lazy than the lazy Kovalev of two years ago. But let's keep the good thoughts for now... at least until about October 10 when everyone starts complaining about how bad their team is doing. (see opposite: Leafs win one game! Will win Stanley Cup!)
The Canadiens also signed Patrice Brisebois to a one-year deal. It's all coming together nicely. And now Sundin is someone else's problem
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
NHL 2009 has been shipped to retailers! Electronic Arts released today that the games for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 are on their way to retailers. They will be available for sale Thursday (Sept 11).
What makes this game better than before? Well, i'll tell you! (did you expect anything else?). To celebrate the Montreal Canadiens 100th season, they have compiled the Habs dream team. Yes, my friends, that means 21 of the best players in Candiens history. Yes, my friends, that also means Maurice Richard is going to be flying down the ice helmet-less with numereux neuf on his back.
Remember the 2006 Olympics in Torino when an outspoken member of the United States women's hockey team (*cough cough* Angela Ruggiero *cough cough*) complained that Canada was being unsportsmanlike by running up a 16-0 score on the host team, Italy?
Remember how it sparked a debate over embarrasing a team? In the end Team Canada's defense was that home-ice advantage in the final is determined by goal differential and they needed to take the goals when they came. How could Canada know that the Team USA was going to choke and bow out in the Semi-Final?
Anyway I'm just setting the scene for this next story... Because if 16-0 sparked a bit of a debate... what will this do?
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - With more goals than minutes in the game, Slovakia's women's ice hockey team claimed an amazing 82-0 victory over Bulgaria in Olympic qualifying.
Slovakia outshot the Bulgarians 139-0 during the 60-minute game, played in Latvia. The margin of victory is a record for a women's International Ice Hockey Federation-sanctioned event.
"We took it as training," Slovakia coach Miroslav Karafiat said after Saturday's game.
Janka Culikova led Slovakia with 10 goals, while Martina Velickova scored nine. Fourteen different players scored at least one goal.
Slovakia, which also beat Croatia, Latvia and Italy, advanced to another qualifying group with Germany, Kazakhstan and France. The winner will secure a spot at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Bulgaria was eliminated after scoring one goal and conceding 192 in the tournament.
The Slovakian men's team clinched its biggest ever victory against the Bulgarians 14 years ago when they won 20-0.
Monday, September 8, 2008
And therefore favourite hockey boys Sidney Crosby... and all four of the Staal brothers find themselves on a five-page spread with the likes of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Pamela Anderson and Mary Walsh. Check it out:
Friday, September 5, 2008
"NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in the Radulov case, the IIHF, “lacked the courage and conviction to do what’s right,” by not ordering Radulov to fulfill the final year of his contract with the Nashville Predators. Despite still being under contract to the Predators, Radulov signed a three-year deal worth $13 million with Salavat Ufa of the KHL and has already appeared in several games."
For those of you who thought that the Russians starting their own league wasn't going to be a problem. Case and point. I think the NHL is in for it, especially when the KHL starts expanding into hockey-mad countries like Czech Republic, Sweden, etc. It's also going to be interesting to see what the KHL does to the Elite leagues in such countries.
I'm always down for a good Russian soap opera... especially the kinds that don't involve the demolition of humanity.
Hockey Canada named Pat Quinn the new head coach of the Canadian Junior hockey team. I like it. He's got Olympic experience. If anyone can whip those long haired hippies into shape, it's the curmudgeonly Patt Quinn. What do you call a 5-peat anyway? Oh yeah... Awesome.
Carey Price has dropped 25 pounds, the impressive thing is he still weighs 200. Apparently he managed the feat by giving up chocolate bars...
Thursday, September 4, 2008
The Canadian Press
HALIFAX - NHL star Sidney Crosby leads the list of Nova Scotians honoured Thursday with the Order of Nova Scotia.
Crosby, who recently turned 21, is the youngest person to receive the award which recognizes those who've made "significant contributions to the province and the country."
Premier Rodney MacDonald has also posthumously named Nora Madeline Bernard, a Mi'kmaq elder who died under tragic circumstances last year.
Community activists Ruth Miriam Goldbloom, Michael Dan MacNeil, and doctors Thomas John "Jock" Murray, former dean of Medicine at Dalhousie University, and Mahmood Ali Naqvi round out the list.
The recipients were selected by the Order of Nova Scotia Advisory Council from 68 completed nominations from across the province.
The 2008 recipients will be recognized at an investiture ceremony on Oct. 8, at Province House.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
The defenseman, who waived his no-trade clause in his contract, will be heading to the Panthers to join other former Leaf Wade Belak.
Overall I think this is a good thing for the Leafs, as now when a defenseman coughs up the puck at an inopportune time, at least you won’t be paying him $4.5 million a season.
One more step by Cliff Fletcher to try and put the past years behind them, where they belong.
And since it’s still a slow time for hockey I thought I’d send you this tidbit.
To tell you the truth I spent the first little while trying to figure out how drugging a jockey would benefit in some way… is there such a thing as an “anti-groth hormone” what kind of pain are these people in.
Oh what’s that? They’re drugging the horse? Wait, even stranger, they test the horses? And my last question, is one I just don’t understand, and probably never will. It’s the Olympics. You know you’re going to get a drug test… why do you morons still take the drugs?
LAUSANNE, Switzerland - Brazil's Rufus became the sixth horse to test positive for doping during the Beijing Olympics. Rufus, ridden by Rodrigo Pessoa, tested positive on Aug. 23 for nonivamide, a substance prohibited for its pain-relieving properties, equestrian's governing body said Monday.
Pessoa was fifth in the individual jumping final. The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) said it suspended him Friday after an initial hearing, and added that the backup "B" sample will be tested Tuesday in Hong Kong - the site of the Olympic equestrian competition. The FEI said Rufus' test is the last of a series of probes at the games.
Four horses were previously found to be positive during the games, and a fifth positive test was announced last week. The six horses match the number of doping cases among athletes in other sports during the Beijing Games.