Thursday, November 19, 2009

Olympic Torch Relay

It was nice to see SO many people out in Halifax last night to see the Olympic torch run by.

However, it could've used some better planning.

We showed up to Brunswick Street where Sidney Crosby was picking up the torch at Sackville Street. He would then run 300 metres to Carmichael street and pass it off to snowboarder Sarah Conrad.

There were thousands of people. People we're sitting on the wall surrounding the base of citadel hill, on walls and stairs on buildings lining the street. All up Citadel Hill. Thousands. They were everywhere you could think of. It was insanity.

No barricades along the route.

Someone tell me how that makes sense.

Anyway so Crosby jogs by and he's surrounded by this circle of security detail about 25 strong.

All you could see was an arm with a torch, and a little white toque. Then when he passed off the torch everyone tried to get closer to follow it down the hill. As soon as he passed a spot, people started walking in behind on the street.

Thumbs down.

The city's holiday parade is Saturday, I know there must be barricades that have been pulled out of storage. Did nobody think, "hey! let's use them for the part of the torch relay that days in advance we were predicting huge crowds to show up for."

Halifax Fail.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Scottie Upshall asks...

"We're here. We're not going anywhere," winger Scottie Upshall said referring to his embattled Phoenix Coyotes. "If we're winning games, why not come support a winning club?"

Answer: Because you're the Phoenix Coyotes.

In all seriousness, if I were one of the team's few fans last year, I probably wouldn't be back right now.

The summer shenanigans of "we're here", "we're gone", "we're in court", "okay the NHL is buying us", "oh wait, the NHL is buying us but has said they're going to move us next year", "maybe", would leave a bad taste in anyone's mouth.

Add in the fact Phoenix is already a fickle market, and most people in the desert would probably rather play golf then shell out for a hockey game -- you've got yourself a losing combination.

The summer's uncertainty and long, dragged out court battle has left fans saying "see ya, and good riddance"... and that means it's pretty much already signed and delivered that this team will not survive in this location. This isn't a fan base that is going to rally together and scoop up season tickets in record numbers to save the team (see: Calgary Flames 1990s).

Good.

Who cares?

Headline: FORSBERG TO PLAY REMAINDER OF SEASON WITH MODO

bah humbug.

who cares.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Thumbs up.

Halifax Mooseheads goaltender Mathieu Corbeil wins the QMJHL Defensive Player of the Week award.

Keep it up kid.

The three-ring circus known as the NHLPA

So this is a saga that's not even really funny anymore. These guys run themselves like a student society at a university. They're weighted down with infighting. Committees are performing coos on the leadership. Oh hey! that's not bad enough, let's re-write the constitution. Next comes embezzlement.

And then Buzz Hargrove quit Sunday.

I mean this guy is the former head of the Canadian Auto Workers union. If he can't put up with the shit, who can?

But this is one of those issues that I was a little confused about. How did it get to this, why/how do people keep saying they "can't do their jobs in these circumstances"? I read a fairly decent account by CBC's Elliot Friedman of what is wrong with the NHLPA. I thought i'd pass it along.

The battle raging inside the NHLPA

November 7, 2009 05:40 PM | Posted by Elliotte Friedman

To understand the battle raging inside the NHL Players' Association, you must recognize what's happening outside its walls.

Here's an example:

Last season, two players got into a heated debate about a collective bargaining agreement issue. Player A is an elite star who took a "hometown discount" to stay with his current team. Player B - very good, but not on the same level - was heading into free agency.

Every summer, the union has the right to bump the salary cap by five per cent via something called the escalator clause. It seems like a no-brainer, except there's a catch: it increases the amount players lose in escrow. So, Player A was arguing against it. For him, the discount cost even more. In addition to the money he left on the table, he was losing a larger chunk of what he signed for.

Player B argued the opposite. He was approaching his best chance to sign a huge free-agent contract. Never again, he felt, would he get this kind of an opportunity to hit the jackpot. He ferociously argued in favour of the escalator, wanting every dollar possible.

In the end, the rest of the team sided with Player B. But, there were angry exchanges and hard feelings.

On the surface, the fight inside the NHLPA is all about Paul Kelly's firing. But, it goes deeper than that. Right now, the union finds itself at a crossroads, in the middle of its most important decisions since the overthrow of Alan Eagleson. It's not only about who will lead - it's also about where to go with the next CBA, how to motivate a disinterested majority and how to rebuild an organization rife with distrust.

"I don't know how it got this bad," one player, active within the union, said this week. "We have a lot of work to do."

==

Where did it start? During the 2004-05 NHL lockout. The union usually did a great job of keeping its membership informed, but there were several major failures this time. The day before the PA made its proposal for a 24 per cent rollback on all salaries, one player called the office to find out what the new offer would include. The decision was made not to tell him, or others, for maximum effect.

You can imagine the reaction.

Days before the lockout ended, Scott Walker went on TSN's Off the Record. Asked about a cap, he said players would never accept it. Less than 72 hours later, a salary cap was in place. Same with Bryan McCabe. The FAN 590 Radio station in Toronto ran clips of him saying, "We will never accept a cap" the day the deal was announced.

It didn't go unnoticed. A lot of trust was lost. As one player said, "How about a warning?"

==

As the NHL returned to action, the NHLPA imploded. Bob Goodenow, who ruled with an iron fist, was forced out. Ted Saskin, given the throne in controversial fashion, tried to dictate in a similar manner, but never had similar respect.

Veterans were at each other's throats. It took years for Chris Chelios and Trevor Linden to make peace over Saskin's ascension. Last month, when Brendan Shanahan's name was mentioned as a possibility to run the union, one player said, "No way. Not after what he did during the lockout."

(For the record, Shanahan openly questioned whether Goodenow's hard-line stance was the right thing. Some players saw that as disloyalty. Others said it was fair comment.)

Long-time union stalwarts like Daniel Alfredsson vowed never to be active again. It was too much aggravation.

==

The lockout had another unintentional consequence on the NHLPA: it changed the makeup of the membership. The new emphasis on speed and skill, rather than obstruction, made the league younger. Some older players never returned. Others didn't last. The turnover ended careers of people who'd been through three labour stoppages. The newer players didn't have that history.

Union members were divided into two groups: those who were still militant, and those who didn't care. The second group outnumbered the first one. That led to the general apathy, but it also meant that a smaller group of players had larger control over decision-making.

Those who support Paul Kelly claim that's what happened over the past year. As concerns about escrow grew - at one point last season, players were losing a quarter of their paycheques - there was grumbling that Kelly wasn't hard-line enough to correct that in the next CBA. Make no mistake: the key issue in Kelly's ejection was the escrow tax, ironic since he wasn't even working for the NHLPA when it was enacted.

Even if there were legitimate criticisms about Kelly's work, so many conflicts-of-interest existed within the NHLPA that it's difficult to determine their real truth. At least one advisory board member, Ron Pink, interviewed for Kelly's job and badly wanted it, no matter his denials. Another advisory board member, Dan O'Neill, did consulting work for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The ombudsman, first Eric Lindros, then Buzz Hargrove, openly discussed their dislike of Kelly, which kind of defeats the purpose of being an ombudsman. Kelly's supporters accused these people of overstepping their roles, sticking their noses where they didn't constitutionally belong.

On top of all that, Ian Penny and Kelly couldn't stand one another.

Kelly didn't see it coming until too late. There were a number of things used against him: a negative workplace health survey; the fact he spoke out against staged fighting without consulting his membership; and his decision to read confidential minutes of a players' meeting. (That was a huge mistake on his part. Many players were still angry at Saskin for reading their emails.)

But what really doomed him was a perception among hardliners that he wouldn't be tough enough to fight the escrow. According to sources, one person who definitely held that opinion was advisory board member George Cohen.

Cohen, nominated by U.S. President Obama as director of the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, questioned Kelly's ability to bargain a solution. Cohen's reputation appears beyond reproach, which is why it carried a ton of clout. But the execution was butchered - the now-infamous late-night vote to fire Kelly.

"Honestly," said one retired player, "Have you ever made a good decision at 3 a.m.?"

The hardcore anti-Kelly group used the general apathy to get their way. (As the Bruins were arguing Andrew Ference's role in all of this, one player said, "Maybe we should support the guy who did all this work while the rest of us were golfing this summer." Most others thought Ference took advantage.)

However, there were two things they didn't count on. First was Glenn Healy's resignation. (Full disclosure, in case anyone reading this doesn't know: We work together. But it should also be known he thinks I'm too easy on Kelly's enemies.)

When Sean Avery ended a between-periods interview with Healy by saying, "We need you back," (or something like that), it might have been the only time anyone in the league agreed with him. Healy was - and still is - a popular figure among players. It's no surprise that his resignation became a rallying point.

The second thing they didn't count on was the agents.

==

Maybe the players don't care about the NHLPA, but the agents sure do. They are generally distrusting of one another to begin with, constantly worrying (and with good reason) about poaching of clients. But, five years after the lockout, there are still hard feelings about who sided with whom. A number of high-powered agents felt Goodenow was taking them off a cliff.

It was their feeling that ownership had changed. There were guys with more money, who didn't have hockey in their blood. They were willing to sacrifice a season to get rid of Goodenow and get cost-certainty. The big agents felt he didn't recognize that and didn't understand it wasn't the same as 1994.

Goodenow himself couldn't stand them, which is interesting, because he used to be one. He believed that the NHLPA should have more of a role in negotiating contracts - if not take over the responsibility entirely - and would put pressure on them to constantly raise the salary bar. One of his close lieutenants was Penny.

Penny played an enormous role in Saskin's dismissal, going to police with evidence that Saskin illegally read player emails. In that battle, he and Chelios were on the same side. Privately, some players accuse Chelios of being biased in this case, because Kelly was his guy. (Chelios vehemently denies the accusation.)

Many of the agents who fought Goodenow wanted no part of Penny's return to power. It was believed Penny was going to bring back Ian Pulver, another Goodenow-era ally. Pulver - who had been very successful in arbitration cases - left the NHLPA when Saskin took over to become an agent on his own. He now represents Scott Gomez, Mike Cammalleri and top Russian prospect Kirill Kabanov, among others. (Pulver denies he was going to return.)

There were some - mostly from smaller agencies - who backed Penny and didn't have an issue with Pulver. But, the bigger agencies weren't thrilled about the idea and rallied their players. When Sidney Crosby stepped up and asked Penny to remove himself from the players' conference call on Oct. 18, Penny was finished.

(The McMurtry report sure didn't help him, either. If Penny was supposed to be valuable for his long-term "institutional knowledge" of the NHLPA, his detractors said, how come he didn't realize McMurtry was buddies with Alan Eagleson?)

That leads us to where we are. The question is: Where is the NHLPA going?

"Nobody can win," one agent said about the current fight. "The association has to move on, and you can't do that without impartial people picking up the pieces and rebuilding. Right now, every move one side makes gets criticized by the other."

"We have to move forward," said one player. "No one trusts anyone else. We're always looking to blame someone."

Certainly, there must be an investigation into what went wrong. Some heads must roll. But, at the same time, you have to begin repairing your rifts. The CBA extends through next year, although the players have the option to extend until after the 2011-12 season. (It is expected that they will.)

Five years before the 2004 lockout, Goodenow was preparing for it. He had a plan, informed the players what it was, and took steps to put it together. By that measure, the players are already two years behind.

For example, it's believed they will ask for an NBA-style limit on the escrow. Right now, basketball players can only lose nine per cent of their salaries and benefits. That's a max. Last season, their NHL brethren lost 12.9 per cent. How, exactly, are they going to prepare this proposal - and others - with all of this upheaval? They can't stand this CBA, but are well aware another lockout is suicide, especially since they already caved to a cap.

So, what are the solutions?

START MAKING PEACE

This is a clear victory for Chris Chelios. He's won. All of the people he wanted to get rid of are either gone, or going. He's got an empty canvas to paint with.

What he should do is pass the brush.

This organization hasn't had peace since it capitulated to the NHL in 2005. Saskin came - and left - under a cloud of suspicion. Kelly came in quietly, but left angrily. There was collateral damage on both sides, and it's time for a reset. If the NHLPA is ever going to right itself, the people involved in fights must step back.

There is a role for Chelios in the future, when, at age 850, he decides to quit. Right now, he's a lightning rod. Already there are accusations of intimidation and bias. Even if they're not true, he's too closely aligned with one side. All of the people he wanted to get rid of - Penny, Pink, O'Neill - they're gone. Buzz Hargrove is more radioactive than enriched plutonium. No one's going to listen to him. These individuals were permanently tainted by the Chicago coup.

Chelios never rested in his attempts to get rid of Saskin. Surely, there are people now who will never rest fighting him. He should recuse himself; let Nicklas Lidstrom, Rob Blake and Mark Recchi handle this.

Other recommendations:

GET YOUNGER

Where are the young players? Crosby made his voice heard, but what about others? The current CBA ends after next season, although the PA has the right to extend one more year. (That's expected to happen.) Chelios, Lidstrom, Blake and Recchi will probably be retired by then. Those between 25 and 30 years old need to step up and show leadership. Young stars (Joe Thornton) and future stars (Drew Doughty) will be asked to take more active roles. This battle is being fought for them. If they don't, they deserve what they'll get.

FIND A LEADER, AND ACTUALLY LET HIM/HER LEAD

"You wouldn't believe how much money we're paying to people who aren't working for us," one player said.

Another player - and I stress this is someone who was not a Kelly fan - made a great analogy: "When a team hires a new GM, they let him being in his people and leaves behind the people he needs. Why can't we do the same?"

Right now, the constitution is crippling. The executive director reports to the 30 player reps. There is also an ombudsman, an advisory board and one retired player liaison for each of the six NHL divisions. I understand checks and balances, not wanting anyone to get too drunk with power, but this is too much.

Bill Gregson was runner-up to Kelly in the most recent search for executive director. Even though they were competitors for the top position, Kelly was so impressed with Gregson that he tried to hire him, anyway. (He accepted a job as CEO of The Brick and isn't interested now.)

"The players have to decide what they want," Gregson said last week. "You can't run it constantly answering to 30 people all over North America...That's a tough spot for anyone to go into. What you have to do is make sure you find the right structure, with the right person."

"Then - this is the key thing - you have to let them go run it."

"We have to spell out – clearly – what an executive director can do by himself and what he needs approval for," another player said. "That will eliminate a lot of the confusion."

FIGURE OUT A DIRECTION

Under Bob Goodenow, the NHLPA fought everything the NHL tried. It worked for a long time. He made the players a lot of money. Under Saskin and Kelly, the PA was a friendlier organization, more publicly comfortable with Gary Bettman. The right approach is somewhere in the middle - polite, but firm.

The Goodenow approach is outdated with the salary cap in place. That's never going away. But, the NHL will step up and try to hit another home run, which is its job. Maybe it's guaranteed contracts. Maybe it's longer entry-level deals. Maybe it's more buyout periods and a less-onerous formula. Maybe it's changing unrestricted free agency from 27-year-olds with four seasons of experience OR anyone with seven years (as under the current deal) to players aged 27 AND with seven seasons. That one-word change is a big deal.

If the players want to cap escrow, they'll have to decide what to give up in exchange. They'd better find someone smart to make that decision.

There are so many possible structures. Maybe a hockey guy surrounded by lawyers. Maybe a labour lawyer surrounded by businessmen (that was the Goodenow model). Maybe a businessman surrounded by lawyers or hockey people.

Whatever they choose, this is it. They've swung and missed twice, with an NHL presence looming as large as Mariano Rivera's. This is the NHLPA's last chance to get it right.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Okay seriously, what's going on.

Halifax Mooseheads won two games. In a row. Head over here for a game recap.

The team was decked out in snazzy sweaters for their Canadian Forces appreciation night. I've received rather untactful hints from man of the house that he wants one. We'll see.

Anyways....

There have been lots of encouraging things for the Mooseheads in the two wins. And, for that matter the heartbreaking 3-2 loss in Saint John Wednesday, where the Mooseheads were tied 2-2 with just 2 minutes left only to have the Sea Dogs score.

The team's secondary scoring has seemed to have shown up, and Mathieu Corbeil is playing more than okay.

Even stranger, the Toronto Maple Leafs played Friday and Saturday night as well, and THEY strung two wins together. Previous to that the Leafs also only had one win. Last night during a commercial break I mentioned to John the Leafs were winning 3-0. I then joked that the destinies of the two teams are linked. "oh dear," he said.

Yes, oh dear, is right. If the Hockey Gods have indeed linked the destinies of the Mooseheads and Leafs, I'm not sure who I feel worse for, the Mooseheads or the Leafs.

Go Leafs? (The Moose are doomed.)

Next up, the Moose host the Shawinigan Cataractes, who lost 7-0 last night. Not sure if that bodes well for the Moose or if Shawinigan will be super-mad that they lost 7-0. I'm hoping their souls have been crushed. Regardless, if Mathieu Corbeil (pictured below) can keep playing like he did in the last three games, the Mooseheads have a chance. Which is more than they had for most of the season.


Quick note, this is a screen shot from SportsandMoore.com, great website with lots of video from behind the scenes of our show. Not pictured is myself who toils away back at the studio, usually running around like a nut searching for stats, scores and audio clips.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Mooseheads win, can't compute.

Mooseheads get hard-earned second win

November 06, 2009 - 8:45 pm
By: Jennifer Casey

If the Halifax Mooseheads could play the Val-d'Or Foreurs every night, they'd probably have a better record than 2-18-0-1.

The Mooseheads one and only win this season came against the Foreur (7-13-2-0) in September.

However, after taking the Saint John Sea Dogs, the league's top team, to task Wednesday night. The Mooseheads came out flying Friday, and didn't turn back, winning the game 6-1.

"It's great to be in the room after a "W", the guys are excited," says goaltending coach Brad McCharles.

Although it was scoreless for most of the period, the Mooseheads were dominating the play. And with a few minutes left in the frame, Sawyer Hannay scored on a breakaway following a heads up pass from Carl Gelinas as Hannay was stepping out of the penalty box.

A night of firsts for many players on the team, Sawyer Hannay, Matthew Stoddard, and Pascal Amyot all got their first goals of their season.

And goaltender Mathieu Corbeil held a goaltending clinic, turning away 31 shots on the night, including a few breakaways and several close calls.

McCharles says Corbeil's timing was on and he was seeing the puck well. However, he also said the team has to remember they play again Saturday night.

"There's still some talk that we have another game tomorrow night," says McCharles.

The Mooseheads face the PEI Rocket, pregame show kicks off at 6:48 p.m. live on

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Liambus hit



If you haven't seen the hit, check it out.

Did Ben Fanelli turn into the boards? yah a little. Was he being screened by his goaltender and didn't see the hit coming? absolutely. Did Michael Liambas go in there with the intent to sent Fanelli to the hospital? I doubt it.

But I agree with the OHL's decision to suspend Liambas for the entire season and the playoffs. In my mind Liambas becomes an unfortunate example of the message all hockey leagues should be sending. Guys are not looking out for one another out there. Now, this doesn't mean guys should be prancing down the ice holding hands. But recent hits in junior hockey and the NHL have shown a disturbing amount of hits where guys are going in to injure. And I doubt the coaches will step in to halt this trend without the incentive of a lengthy suspension.

Sure, that Mike Richards hit was "legal" however, he probably should have let up a little. You can mentally and physically bruise a guy without sending him to hospital.



This is controversial, since guys are supposed to give it their all. Keep your head up, etc etc. But what does giving it your all do if you kill a guy.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What is with all the injuries?


Seriously the guys have been dropping faster than a classroom full snotty-nosed kids with H1N1.

What is going on this season?

And it's not just a bunch of fourth-line guys taking a few nights off after breaking their first on someone's face.

This is top line guys. And a lot of them are on IR, and "out indefinitely".

Evgeni Malkin, Marc Savard, Milan Lucic, Jonathan Toews, Jason Spezza, Sergei Gonchar, Alex Ovechkin, Daniel Briere, Simon Gagne, Eric Staal, Andrei Markov, Daniel Sedin, Roberto Luongo, Marion Hossa....

Just take a look at the injury report. You have to scroll down forever. It's ridiculous. The only team that hasn't been touched by injuries are the Calgary Flames. Then there's teams like, the Vancouver Canucks or Colorado Avalanche who have SEVEN guys out.

Not including the healthy Calgary Flames, the other 29 teams have an average of 3.5 guys sitting out.

How are these guys getting injured? Has something changed in the way guys are playing? Did they not do enough in off-season? Is this just fluke? Was it this bad last year and I'm just high on Clif bars and energy drinks? Are the injury gods punishing the NHL for being dummies about the Phoenix Coyotes and the 2014 Olympics?

Someone sacrifice Sean Avery to the Hockey Gods so we can get an answer.

Points for nothing.

One of the things that has really been grinding my gears lately is the points for an overtime loss. blah.

The point for an overtime loss was originally put in after they made overtime 4-on-4. It was to appease the teams who said, 'well now it's easier to score'. (I mean, no shat eh? that was the point right?)

But when they introduced the shootout after the lockout, why didn't they remove that overtime point? In all seriousness, it's overtime, it's fair hockey. If your team lets a goal in, in overtime of game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.... you don't get a point. You lose and you go cry in your beer somewhere. Why is the NHL awarding a point to team who wasn't good enough?

I think the point for an overtime loss is cheap. Get rid of it.

Now on the other hand. I do agree with a point being awarded for a shootout loss.

The shootout, as fun as it is to watch, is still a tough one to take. I still have horrible horrible nightmares about the Nagano Olympics... I'm sure the American junior team has horrible horrible dreams about Leksand, Sweden.

Shootouts are the result of the goaltenders, and usually 6 players. It's not a team thing. So a point for a loss in a shootout, yah give it to them. Because I think the shootout is more for the fans.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Headline:

"CROSBY NETS THIRD CAREER HAT TRICK AS PENS DUMP CANADIENS"

I'm okay with this.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Where the Wild Things are Dustin Byfuglien style

For the political junkies

Just read this in MacLean's Ottawa Outtakes:

"Liberal Mark Eyking was a serious farmer before becoming an MP. Now the Cape Bretoner maintains a hobby farm where, for the first time, he raised a few turkeys. They have names like "Cuzner" after Liberal whip Rodger Cuzner, and "Deepak" after Calgary Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai. On Thanksgiving, Eyking ate "Harper".

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nothing but trouble.

So the Sergei Kostitsyn saga continues.

After being assigned to the AHL before the NHL season began, Kostitsyn had a hissy fit and said he wanted a trade. Bob Gainey stepped in with an intervention and the younger Kostitsyn brother decided to go where he was told. He played five games for the Canadiens affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs.


Then he decided again this week that, nope he didn't want to play in Hamilton.


So he packed up his gear and went dark. Nobody could find the kid. The rumour mill had it that Kostitsyn was entertaining at least three offers from KHL clubs.


However TSN is reporting Bob Gainey had a second intervention last night, and Kostitsyn has rejoined the club.

Why?

Why keep forcing him back. He is clearly not dedicated to the team. It's a bad precedent to set. And with all the work the Canadiens have done to remove the tumultuous environment within the dressing room, this puts them many steps back.


Let. Him. Go. Who cares if he goes to the KHL? He's clearly not doing the Canadiens much good on the ice, if he's in the AHL. And his diva behaviour is a distraction the team does not need.
Last season, it was the Russian-Montreal mob... now it's fights and missing the bus.

Backstory from TSN.ca:


"A French-language MSN article posted Wednesday reports that a physical altercation between Montreal Canadiens players Scott Gomez and Sergei Kostitsyn during the preseason was a motivating factor that contributed to the younger Kostitsyn being assigned to the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs.
The report, written by Mario Langlois, says that the incident took place just prior to Montreal's season-opening game in Toronto on Oct. 1, as the club was preparing to depart for a team-building excursion in Caledon, ON. Before leaving, the team went out for a night on the town and returned to Gomez's house. At some point in the evening, Gomez and Kostitsyn got into an altercation that was serious enough that other players had to jump in and separate them.
General manager Bob Gainey and head coach Jacques Martin were notified about it the next day and according to the report, Gainey didn't want another off-ice distraction like the many that the team dealt with last season. As a result, Kostitsyn was sent to the minors prior to the team's departure for Caledon.
Earlier last month, Kostitsyn missed a team bus during Montreal's preseason game in Quebec City. At one specific practice, the forward was blasted a couple of times by Martin for not paying attention."

It's not like the NHL tried to make an amendment to the Canadian constitution

I'm calling you out Bob Sirois.

Your new book Le Québec mis en échec (Quebec Bodychecked).

Unfortunately since the book is only available in Quebec... the
rest of Canada doesn't really have a chance to fairly weigh in on the debate he so fervently wants to spark. But i'm going to do my best.

Sirois says it's not about bashing Canada. However, how can that be when it's only available in Quebec. If he truly believed there was something that needed to be changed, the book would be available in both French and English. Reports from the publisher are saying that no English language publisher would pick up the book. For some reason I highly doubt that. It's probably more like, they didn't try at all and don't want an English version, and that's why there's no English version.

They also say there's no real audience for the subject matter outside of Quebec. With all the hooplah this book has caused i'm pretty sure there are many a hockey fan in English Canada that would like to read this book. Myself included. At this point, you have to speak French and have a very persistant desire to read this book, because you're going to have to order it from Quebec.

Anyways, basically what i'm saying is I have to rely on what media reports say are in the book.

Here we go.

Sirous, a former Montreal Canadien, points to the World Junior teams as one of his examples. Saying sometimes as few as 2 players per year were chosen.

Brent Sutter said it best.

“As far as the world junior, there’s absolutely nothing there,” says Sutter who won back-to-back golds in 2005 and 2006.

“I know from being there for two years - you took your best players that can form your best team in your nation. It didn’t matter whether they were from Vancouver or St. John’s, Newfoundland....Never, ever, once did that cross a person’s mind.”

Columbus head coach Ken Hitchcok says he doesn't get it.

“Last I looked, they’re all Canadians,” he says. “I don’t understand that thought process or that comment. I look at the teams I’ve coached. The best leader and most-complete player competitive-wise that I’ve ever coached is Guy Carbonneau. One of the best two-way players that I’ve ever seen is Simon Gagne.”

Traditionally the QMJHL has been heavy on small, fast-skating forwards, and not too heavy on defense. Which is what Sirois is saying is causing the systematic discrimination. But if you've watched the QMJHL, which I have for many many years. It's pretty much true.

Even the QMJHL commissioner, Gilles Corteau, has stated the QMJHL in the past has battled with the problem of being the weaker brother of the three Canadian CHL leagues. He says in this season (2009-10) the QMJHL has been enjoying unprecendented levels of parity because of teams that are building themselves properly. (About 4 teams from the Q have consistantly been in the national top 10 since the beginning of this season.)

The Q-league is a fast-skating, high-flying league. You don't see too many Dion Phaneufs in the Q. And although after the lockout, the NHL has opened up for a smaller, quicker player. Teams still want someone who can backcheck.

In the QMJHL your defense is usually your goaltender. Because Quebec breeds some of the most fantastic goaltenders.

So think about that for a second. Quebec tends to produce a position that is limited. You have room for 12 forwards versus only 2 goaltenders plus a reserve guy. That puts Quebec's chances down immediately.

You can parlay that into the NHL as well. 30 teams, 2 goaltenders each. 60 spots. It's also difficult to break in at goaltender, so you usually don't see 18-year-old goaltenders busting into the NHL.


And think about the top goaltenders in the league right now. Marc-Andre Fluery, Martin Broduer, Roberto Luongo, Pascal Leclaire, Jean-Sebastien Gigure...

Of the 59 goaltenders that have gotten ice time this season, 10 are from Quebec... or 16.9 per cent of all goaltenders. The REST of Canada has 18 goaltenders seeing ice time, which is 30 per cent of all goaltenders. Quebec produces more goaltenders than the entire United States.

He's also called out specific NHL clubs for not drafting Quebec-born players. So what? Some teams have scouting patterns. Chicago Blackhawks have 12 players from the WHL. Then there's a team like the Pittsburgh Penguins. They have five QMJHL players. Including their starting goaltender and they're captain, their mixed in with quite a few Europeans. Some teams scout more in Europe. Some try to stick to CHL players, others like NCAA. It's just the way organizations run themselves.

Sirois also blames the Canadiens for not taking more Quebec-born players. Well do the Leafs have enough Ontario-born players? Earth to Sirois, it's not 1946, teams don't take hometown boys just because they're hometown boys.

You think francophone players are going to rush out to support his cause? Nope. Francois Beauchimen says he never knew a francophone player who was supposed to make it, who didn't. He said those who didn't make it... didn't put the work in.

One of the other things he points out apparently, is the whole "Shane Doan hates French people" thing. Referring to an alleged on-ice comment made by Doan. I'm pretty sure we've been through this about 8 times. And every time, the conclusion is, there's no proof that this happened.

Blois says he's just looking at the numbers. Ok well look at this number. In 2005, Hockey Canada says we had 482,483 male registered players in Canada. Of that number, 83,215 were in Quebec. That's 17.2 per cent. Now remember that number and stick with me. In that same year there were 518 Canadians in the NHL, including 91 from Quebec. So 17.6 per cent of Canadians in the NHL were from Quebec. Last time I checked, that's the same.

Someone roll out the human rights inquiry red carpet.

Barf.

Numbers are a funny thing, you can crunch them and manipulate them to make it appear to prove anything you want in this case. The NHL is huge. Minor hockey systems around the world go through ups and downs. Look at the way Hockey Canada did 10 years ago. We were all up in arms because we weren't winning, because our grassroots hockey wasn't focusing on skill. Now look at the players coming out of Canada. Now Canada's biggest problem is having all their World Junior- eligable players staying in the NHL.

Scott Morrison also points out an interesting fact on his CBC blog.

"...Fact is, hockey has become a global game with more Europeans playing, which affects the number of North American players, not just Quebecers, that wind up in the NHL," says Morrison.

"Beyond that, immigration has affected the numbers playing hockey in Canada, not just Quebec, and that has an impact on the overall NHL numbers as well. In major centers especially, cities such as Toronto and Montreal, there is such great ethnic diversity that not all are involved in hockey at the grass roots level..."

This stuff really grinds my gears. Kids growing up in Quebec are no more "discriminated against" than some kid from Russia or some kid growing up in rural Saskatchewan. Seriously Quebec, you're like that whiny kid in class who gets a 99 per cent on a test and argues for the other 1 per cent.



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Injury Gods no likey Savard

I am working on a post about crazy old Bob Sirois. Lots of numbers, should be up later today.

But in the meantime:

Bruins lose Savard to broken foot


Injuries continue to ravage the Boston Bruins as center Marc Savard joins winger Lilan Lucic on the sidelines.

Savard suffered a broken left foot and is expected to miss up to six weeks. He has been placed on the long term injured reserve list.


I've been one of the people who thinks Savard is highly underrated. And that he should be in Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics. However, he didn't get an invite to the summer evaluation camp, and those in support of Savard on Team Canada had to hope he would play an amazing first half of the season to earn a spot on the team in lieu of a player who is not producing (there are many).

Out for 6 weeks. That pretty much ends the Savard Olympic team dream.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

"___"

"If there's ever been footage that backs up getting rid of fighting in hockey...."

Craig MacTavish on seeing footage of himself fighting Keith Jones.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's like i've woken up in some sort of alter-world.

Quebec.

So the mayor of Quebec met Regis Labeaume, and former Nordiques owner Marcel Aubut met with Gary Bettman to discuss "hockey".

If I where Quebec I would run... fast. Because when you finally do attempt to get a team, there's good reason to believe you'll have a long and expensive court battle.

In all seriousness, it does appear that Quebec, amidst a strong Canadian dollar, and failing teams in the United States is putting it's hat in the three ring circus that is hockey North of the Border.

They need a rink. The aging Le Colisée was one of the reasons the the Nordiques left in the first place. There has been talk about a new 18,000 seat arena, which is promising.

I still believe that southern Ontario is the destination of a new team. At this point it appears this little meeting has usurped Quebec over Winnipeg as the #2 choice for a team in Canada. I guess.


Why are we surprised?

Can someone please tell me why you're all surprised that the Leafs are 0-5-1? Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize, that's a surprise. The Chicago Blackhawks coming back from 5-0 to win 6-5, that's a surprise. Finding out that robots can play piano, that's a surprise (see: stephen harper). The L.A. Kings sitting atop the Pacific division, yup that's a surprise.

Getting my point.

It's the Leafs. They aren't very good. And just one Phil Kessel is not going to make you good. You probably need a whole line of Phil Kessels... and some actual defense.... and a goaltender who can at least stop a beach ball.

Stop being surprised. Stop asking the coach what is wrong with the team. There's nothing wrong. This is how they are supposed to be.


Globe and Mail "journalism".

I saw the commercial for this and immediately filled with rage.

It's called the Great Canadian Journalism Dream. The Globe and Mail is giving out prizes to a photographer and writer to cover the Olympics.

Are you kidding me.

So coming out of school, the market for jobs in this profession was pretty dire. I don't know why I said "was"... "is" is more appropriate. Most of my classmates are still not working. Many Canadian news outlets are replacing real jobs with free interns. Others have laid off hundreds (The CBC laid off 800 jobs nation-wide earlier this year).

I understand money is tight. Especially in the newspaper world. But LITERALLY taking people off the street to cover the Olympics makes people who have paid good money to learn how to do this job, and can't find a job, really really sad.

Why not make the competition for Journalism students? At least it would have slight credibility.

But to make it this competition that says the to general public, "hey you can do this with no school!", further de-values the trade. Something we don't need help with when entire news outlets are being run by free interns.

Friday, October 9, 2009

In the studio on a Friday night...


Apparently you can stop him. For 4 months, actually. Torn ACL. Not good news for the Detroit Red Wings. Does this mean someone besides the Red Wings will win the division/conference. Hopefully.


Sad News

Former NHL star Theo Fluery says he was sexually abused by his junior hockey coach, Graham James. Fluery's account of the abuse is detailed in an autobiography called "playing with fire" that is set to hit shelves next week.

It's weird, I heard this news and it made me sad. But at the same time, I wasn't surprised. It's like knowing the answer to why Fluery had such a rough life.

Pat Quinn is still insane?

and is getting a $10,000 fine for his insanity?

Quinn was angry about an incident between Sheldon Souray and Jarome Iginla that lead to Souray being assisted off the ice.

"I don't understand the players of today," said Quinn.

"If that had happened in the old days he would have got hit over the head with a stick right after. It was a pretty dirty play in my opinion. He poked his feet out and then piled on top of him. Somehow they never deal with that ... and they won't let the vigilante stuff happen to deal with it. It's disappointing."

Actually I am sorta let down by the comments. I mean, that's not really that inflamatory. I'm sure if Quinn knew he was going to be fined he would've said worse.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ummm okay?

This came up in my twitter feed and I thought it was fake:

Defenceman Chris Chelios without an NHL contract, will suit up for the AHL's Chicago Wolves on Monday.

In 28 games last season with the Red Wings Celios was held pointless and had 18 penalty minutes.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Thoughts from the weekend.


Logo.


So on Friday Hudson's Bay Company released the new team Canada gear for the Olympics. Steve Yzerman was there... modelling the fancy duds. Pretty cool. So you're like... why are we talking about this.


A few hours later...



We're sitting at work and an urgent comes over the wires about the Olympic gear. Thinking that someone was just trigger happy on the urgent button I didn't read it at first. But then I heard a "are you kidding me?"


The Liberals had pointed out the new logo for team canada's gear looked similar to that of the Conservative Party of Canada.



Okay, seriously?


It's still unclear to me who they're accusing of what. Are they accusing Hudson's Bay Company of being Tory supporters? Or accusing the Tories of making Hudson's Bay Company design the logo in that way? I don't get it.

I mean sure, the logos look similar. So what?


A spokesperson from the Prime Minister's Office spokesman also pointed out that CanJet Airlines' logo is also a blue "C' with a red maple leaf.


"Somebody should tell Liberals that C stands for Canada and the maple leaf in the middle is on our flag."

No kidding.


I will file this as a "fail" for the Liberals



Speaking of the Conservatives...


who is this man dressed as our Prime Minister, singing the Beatles?





does. not. compute.



Moving on...



First Hockey Night in Canada.

and what a night! All 30 teams were in action Saturday. There was pretty much hockey on all day, with the two games in Helsinki and Stockholm.

Some thoughts:


- John Tavares gets his first goal. For some reason people were dubbing the Islanders/Penguins game the "battle of the firsts". As in first overall picks. I think that might be a stretch. But if we're playing along... Crosby also had a goal in the game, opened the scoring with a goal where he skated around the outside of the D and then cut in to net. The game went to shootout where Tavares had a less-then-stellar attempt where he shot about 2 feet wide of the net. Whereas Crosby's was pretty darn slick.

- The Leafs were eaten alive by the Washington Capitols. Why is everyone so surprised by this?

- The Habs, are playing their classic Cardiac Canadiens style. Winning both their games in extra time. Brian Gionta got the overtime winner by picking off a bounce off the backboards in mid-air and putting it in the net. He said it was luck. I call it magic.

- Sens lose 5-2. Surprised it wasn't more.

- Despite getting Bouwmeester, the Calgary Flames still can't play defense. What's up with that?




Battle of the Blades.




Oh. My. God. So I wasn't really planning on watching this. But i turned on the TV and it was what was on. And I am now hooked. It is so funny. I can't even handle how funny it is.








Thursday, October 1, 2009

Too... much... going... on.

It's been a busy week, especially with the extremely complicated, convoluted, and unfortunate story that broke yesterday afternoon.

Also spent much of my day preparing for tonight's Mooseheads game against the Rimouski Oceanic.

But most importantly...



TONIGHT IS THE FREAKIN NIGHT!

There's four games opening the NHL season tonight. And not a moment too soon.

Washington vs. Habs at 8pm AST

Leafs and Habs at 8pm AST

later tonight, San Jose v Colorado and Canucks take on the Flames.

Oh yah, then there's this other stuff happening:

Brendan Shanahan.

Weird story... apparently the New Jersey Devils and Brendan Shanahan have "mutually decided" to part ways. I'm thinking he was cut. But whatever.

I don't even know what to say about this. Actually it's kind of weird. I was reading an Olympic story the other day and it was talking about Steve Yzerman, which led me to think about Brendan Shanahan. And I did that... "Is Shanny still playing?"

Guess he was.

Sergei Kostitsyn.

Is apparently asking for a trade after being sent down to the minors by the Montreal Canadiens. There are also rumours that the younger Kostitsyn brother wants to play in the KHL.

I'm sort of hanging out on the fence on this one. On one hand he is getting demoted to the AHL, just days before the opening of the NHL season. Then there's the fact that he's being a whiny little....[insert name here]... And the Kostitsyn brothers were one of many off-ice distractions last season with their... random Russian mafia connections.... something about And one of the few distractions that are actually left on the team after the summer clearout.

In keeping with the teams cleaning house motto... might as well send Kostitsyn packing. Just start the hell over.

On the upside the team was on a "team bonding" trip for the past week, and the players are all praising new coach Jacques Martin and his system.

I'm mildy optimistic...



COYOTES SAGA



Well that was a whole lot about nothing. Judge Baum said neither children can have the candy. er... Judge Baum said neither the NHL or Jim Balsillie can have the Phoenix Coyotes.


really?


Come on man, don't you get it, sagas need endings eventually. I'm sick of this one. This is possibly longer than the famous Sundin Saga of 2008.


I won't bore with the details, (because quite frankly i don't understand a lot of this freaking crazy arse legal story) but JimBalls is saying he is not appealing.

But I doubt that will be the end of JimBalls... there are plenty of teams in the NHL that has no fans. See: 24 teams located in the United States. So I reckon he'll be after another team before 2010.

I'm now accepting bets on his next victim.


Avalanche retire Joe Sakic's #19.

thumbs up.


Michael Landsberg.

Okay so this is just frikkin bizarre. I really do think that Lansberg possibly took the good pills before yesterday's broadcast.

"So I'm going to lay it out here. Being a hockey captain is similar to leading the Jews from slavery and persecution in that they have one ultimate common goal: get to the promised land."

WHAT?! That's nothing like that at all. Are you serious? I'm speechless.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Is Preseason over yet?

What is it with the NHL and making everything super long?

The season is 82 games... the playoffs are a marathon...

I'M NOT COMPLAINING.

yet.

WHY OH WHY... do the teams have so much preseason. TOO LONG.

Play real games.

Heart-to-Heart with the moose

Okay boys.

If i'm going to sacrifice my Friday/Saturday nights... and Sunday afternoons, let's start winning, k?

I'm just going to pretend Sunday didn't happen. You're welcome.

(they lost to Victoriaville 4-2 ... and if you really need to read about it, the recap is here)

Also, here's Bobby Smith's reaction to the winless season.


On an upside, former Moosehead Jason Troini has been working with the team, we had him on after the game Saturday night and he was fantastic. He'd previously been behind the bench in the Midget AAA level. And he seems like a good addition to the staff.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Winless... forever.

The Halifax Mooseheads held on to the dubious title of being the only winless team in the QMJHL, as the dropped their fifth straight Saturday night, this time a 5-2 drubbing by the Gatineau Olympiques.
Associate Coach Jason Troini called the loss dissappointing.
"It's going to take a sacrifice to get wins," says Troini.
"I think if we understand that aspect we'll be rewarded for our efforts."
The Olympiques silenced the Metro Centre crowd early with two quick goals from Thomas Middup and Joshua Domingues.
The Mooseheads lacklustre first period effort showed up on the shot clock as well, registering only five on the Olympique's net. Spencer Metcalfe got the crowd and bench excited momentarily with a huge open-ice hit near the end of the first period.
But the momentum was short-lived when Tomas Knotek took a penalty early in the second period and Domingues put in his second of the night.
17-year-old Joel Grodin took over the goaltending duties for Halifax after Mathieu Corbeil let in the Olympique's fourth goal.
"Some times they might feel guilty for what might have happened to Mathieu and might give them a little boost," says Troini.
"I think it was the right move at that time."
It wasn't until 17:02 that Mooseheads forward Charles Bety was able to put one past Olympique goaltender Derek Tait.
The assault continued in the third as Alexandre Quesnel tallied his second goal of the night.
Many of the 5,102 headed to the exits midway through the third period. Yuri Cheremetiev scored on the powerplay with four minutes left in the third, but it was too little too late.
The Mooseheads play again Sunday afternoon against the Victoriaville Tigres, puck drops at 4 p.m. You can also listen live on News 95.7 with play-by-play host John Moore, the pregame show starts at 3:48 p.m.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Update on JimBalls

Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie pledged to keep the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale.

Lawyers for Balsillie say the club would play in Glendale for the upcoming season, which starts October 3, and then move to Hamilton for the 2010-11 season.

They also pointed to a recent exhibition game in Glendale that only attracted a meagre 400 fans (for example, the recent exhibition game in Halifax, where tickets ranged from 49-59$ attracted more than 6500 fans. The game was at the beginning of camp, so there were no stars in the lineup and the match was between Ottawa... and the Florida Panthers.... can't say there are too many Panthers fans in Halifax.)

However, Balsillie still intends to move the team to Hamilton for the 2010-11 season should he win the bid.

Judge Redfield T. Baum, called Balsillie's new proposal, "a fairly significant change."

The revised offer came during an emergency hearing called by current owner Gerry Moyes Wednesday.

Moyes asked for the hearing to argue the point the NHL should have to go into mediation about contensious issues surrounding the sale of the club.

Baum was expected to rule on the mediation issue later Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Jason Spezza's brother appears to be as goofy as Jason Spezza.

So I saw this story this morning and it's just too bizarre not to pass on.

Jason Spezza's brother (Matt Spezza) was involved in an insane car chase in Ottawa Friday night.

Apparently Matt and friend Ryan O'Connor came across a woman who had been attacked.

"I got out of the car and he was just telling her to shut up," said Spezza.

"That's when I started running towards his car — ask him if he wanted to be a man. And then he sped off."

So Spezza, O'Connor and the woman did the logical thing and jumped in their Porsche and sped after the attacker.

They called 911, and told the dispatcher they were in pursuit of the attacker and travelling at speeds up to 170 km/hr -- AND THE DISPATCHER TOLD THEM TO GIV'R!!! (well, actually i'm sure those aren't the words spoken by the dispatcher, this was in Ottawa and I doubt they speak Maritimese there... but that was the essence of the response)

Apparently police eventually caught up with the chase and charged a man in the incident.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Phil Kessel

The worst-kept secret since... well actually since Brian Burke became Leafs GM... hmmm funny.

Anyway, I'm talking about the Phil Kessel trade. It came through Friday night as we were wrapping the Mooseheads home opener. ("...John, 30 second commercial here... and Phil Kessel just got traded.)

And then I kinda forgot about it.

I had a very long day Friday, and another Mooseheads game Sunday, and Saturday is kinda a blur that included a very long afternoon nap, many Keith's White, and the inside of the Pogue Fado.

Anyways, my thoughts on the Kessel trade.

First of all, I'm thinking the Leafs sold the farm here for Kessel. A first and second round pick in 2010 and another first round pick in 2011. Wow. Hope he doesn't get injured... like he does every year. Moving on. So the Leafs have placed a lot of confidence in Kessel. (The Toronto Star headline read: "Leafs' world now centres on Phil Kessel") So, who is this supposed great player... supposed to play with?

In Boston Phil Kessel played on a line with Marc Savard. (And we all know my love for Marc Savard — one of the most under-rated players in the league — he could make Hal Gill look good.)

The candidates for linemates are looking like, Mikhail Grabovski? Matt Stajan? John Mitchell? Good God!

After fretting for the fate of poor Mr. Kessel, I then realized Kessel will fit in JUST FINE with the Leafs:

Tweet from TSN's James Cybalski: "sense in bruins room was that players had mixed feelings about kessel. some felt he was too injury prone and didn't always play hard."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Moose drop road game 6-1 to undefeated Sea Dogs

Another third period unraveling, and another turnover by rookie defenseman Garrett Clarke led to the Halifax Mooseheads dropping their fourth straight game Sunday afternoon.

Saint John Sea Dogs forward and Halifax native Steven Anthony put the Mooseheads down early, scoring two of his three goals in the first period.

Mooseheads veteran Travis Randell cut the Sea Dogs lead in half by the end of the first period.

The second period was promising for the Mooseheads, with the young team outshooting the undefeated Sea Dogs 18-6. However they were unable to capitalize.

The Sea Dogs owned the third period, with Danick Gauthier scoring four minutes in, and Steven Anthony completing his hat trick half-way through the third.

Gauthier picked up another and then 33 seconds later Tomas Jurco collected a loose puck on the side of the net to make it 6-1.

Despite the team's winless record, majority owner Bobby Smith still likes what he's seeing from the young team.

"I see we have eight and nine sixteen and seventeen years old in the lineup," says Smith

"This years team will be a very good team, we'll improve as the season goes on, we've got character, we've got lots of speed."

Moose drop home opener 3-1, honour legendary broadcaster Pat Connolly

September 18, 2009 - 10:00 pm
By: Jennifer Casey

Even though it was the Halifax Mooseheads home opener, Friday night belonged to Pat Connolly.

The 81-year-old veteran hockey announcer hung up his microphone this season, and after a 30 minute on-ice ceremony, a banner bearing Connolly's name hung next to the retired players' jersey.

"It was completely overwhelming, it was way beyond anything that I had ever expected," said Connolly.

"It was tough to keep my composure out there because there are so many wonderful memories of so many great events and so many wonderful people."

They Sydney native began with the Halifax Herald in 1945.

During Connolly's storied career his voice has boomed over the public address system in a number of arenas throughout the province including the Nova Scotia Voyageurs, Nova Scotia Oilers, Halifax Citadels and most recently the Halifax Mooseheads.
And the Mooseheads came out swinging after the ceremony.

Late in the first period Garrett Clarke capitalized on a Konrad Abeltshauser shot from the point to make it 1-0.

But it was the Titan came out swinging in the second and so did the momentum. The Titan scored minutes into the period, and followed it up by an odd-man breakaway that just narrowly missed the net.

They were able to carry that momentum into the third, when Taylor Lambke scored a big goal to put the Titan up 2-1.

And it was Lambke that iced the game late in the third when defenseman Garrett Clarke coughed the puck up and knocked it in his own net.

"Well obviously disappointed," said head coach Cam Russell who said some rookie mistakes cost the game.

"The type of team that we have we want a hard working energetic team, we want to see that honest effort. There's some players that do that and there's some that have a tough time with that."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

URGENT!!! URGENT!!!

Okay, so i'm frikkin dead. I'm creeping up on a 12 hours shift. Spent the day chasing random local stories... then over to the moose practice.... then to the film festival red carpet. I'm in the newsroom filing my stories and an urgent comes over the wire. Oh yah and i work at 8am... and there's a mooseheads game tomorrow so i will not be out of here till about this time tomorrow again...

So at this point I'm thinking it might be time to do this shit Hunter S. Thompson style... I have no way to decipher whether this is actually important... but here it is:

URGENT-NHL-Coyotes-Bankruptcy,
INDEX:Sports
Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes wants NHL ordered to mediation

PHOENIX - Beleaguered Phoenix Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes has asked
a federal bankruptcy judge for an emergency hearing to order the NHL
to mediate the `key sale issues' in the complicated case.
The request was made Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court by the
lawyers who filed for Chapter 11 protection on behalf of Moyes on
May 5.
The proposal came as Judge Redfield T. Baum considers whether to
award the team to the NHL or to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie,
who would move the team as soon as possible to Hamilton, over the
vehement objection of the league.
The filing says the NHL rejected mediation in an email to Moyes'
lawyers on Wednesday.
(The Associated Press)<

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The kids aren't alright...

The Saint John Sea Dogs suspended Nicholas Pard indefinitely after some sort of altercation that involved police at a Sean Kingston concert. The team is saying it's "conduct detrimental of the team", but won't say what he did.

Actually guys, my first question isn't: "what did he do?" -- It was: "why is he at a Sean Kingston concert?"

ANNNNND... The Halifax Mooseheads have sent recent acquisition Chuckie Schrembie "home"... That's according to a recent press release from the team.

That's literally all it says... that they're sending him home because of "disciplinary reasons".

My first question: "Was he at the Sean Kingston concert?"

hahahahah... awww I wish our Prime Minister was cool.

Or even knew who Kanye West is...

hilarious audio from President Obama

Monday, September 14, 2009

Former Moose suit up.

If you're at the Halifax Metro Centre tomorrow night, keep on the lookout for former Halifax Mooseheads... Pascal Leclaire, Alexandre Picard, and David Brine.

Weekend Moose Roadie.

So the first couple games are under the Moose's (and my) belt.

We had some glitches on the weekend which is to be expected, hopefully Friday runs a lot smoother... for me and for the Mooseheads.

The Moose were in both games Friday and Sunday... but right now it seems they have this problem of flukey goals and a third period unravelling.

Friday before the season opened, Moncton's head coach Danny Flynn called the Atlantic division the toughest in the entire league -- something the Mooseheads will undoubtedly learn this year as they rebuild. But they did look promising, and I would say they will finish higher than last year. (They finished dead last, last seasaon).

The coaches echoed that sentiment after the weekend losses.

“You’d like to come out on the other end winning two hockey games but we know this year is going to be a work in progress,” said Cam Russell.

“We have a lot of young hockey players and new guys and the positives outweigh the negatives right now.”

Friday: Halifax Mooseheads 4 -- Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 6

The Moose seem unable to stop Screaming Eagle Michael Stinziani as he got his first career hattrick. This hattrick included the empty netter at the end of the game to hault the Moosehead's near comeback in the third period.

Rookie Konrad Abeltshauser, one of the team's two European players, is looking like a fantastic pickup.

The Mooseheads outshot the Eagles in this game, but they were unable to shut down the other team. A few questionable goals (which hopefully can be written off as first-of-the-season jitters for goaltender Mathieu Corbeil) led to the Eagles win.

Sunday: Halifax Mooseheads 4 -- PEI Rocket 7

Don't let the score fool you. This was a spirited affair. The Moose had this game tied at 4 in the third period... only to have the Rocket take the lead just over a minute later on a flukey goal that hit the partition behind the net and bounced into the goal.

After that, it unravelled.

But some pluses for the Mooseheads, Tomas Knotek, who was away on NHL camp was back in uniform for the game. And he wasted no time, scoring twice. Abeltshauser also scored again.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

All signs point to JimBalls?

Over the duration of the Pheonix Coyotes ownership saga, Jim Balsillie has taken some lumps. And for a while there it wasn't looking good for JimBalls. It's clear Gary Bettman really hates the guy, so that doesn't help. The league's board of governors recently unanimously rejected Balsillie as a prospective owner.

But things have started to go his way.

Yesterday Ice Edge Holdings, the third party about to take part in Thursday's auction for the Pheonix Coyotes, has dropped out of the mix. That leaves Jim Balsillie's $242.5 million bid up against the NHL's bid of just $140 million.

There is the obvious reason Balsillie may get favourited by the judge. The judge has to choose the bid that is best for the owner Jerry Moyes -- who's lost millions during his time with the Coyotes.

I would say millions of dollars extra, are better for him.

Moyes has publically said the NHL needs to come to its senses in terms of their bid. He's says the NHL needs to add $80 million to their bid to bring it in line with Balsillie's original bid of $212.5 million.

Balsillie has put concessions in his bid package that gives $50 million to the city of Glendale, Arizona for losses incurred by the loss of the team.

Moyes is so outraged by the possibility of having to accept the NHL bid that his lawyers filed a motion to have the NHL's bid thrown out.

Another thing that should push the bidding in Balsillie's favour, is that the NHL, who despite arguing against Balsillie because he wanted to move the team, is willing to move the team themselves at the end of the 2009-10 season if the team is not making money.

I can't guarentee much. But I can pretty much guarentee that the Pheonix Coyotes will not make money this season.

I can't wait until Thursday and Friday to see what comes out of the process.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Halifax Mooseheads

Generally this blog has been mostly a general hockey blog, I kinda just speak about or cover things in a completely random fashion. It's usually based on my anger level that day, and how much (or little) coffee, beer, etc. i've had that day (also known as motivation).

But since I have now been assigned Producer to New's 95.7's Halifax Mooseheads broadcasts -- (Yes, every game. Yes, yes, I know, poooor me. haha) -- I figure I may as well start a Halifax Mooseheads component to my blog, since i'm gonna be listening to absolutely every single game (pity me, seriously...).

I may live-blog, I may do game recaps, I may just pick something I thought was dumb, weird, strange, awesome, etc. and write about it.

I apologize to those who don't live in Halifax and/or don't give a damn about the QMJHL... but don't worry... The JimBalls Saga and Dany Heatley's Saga don't appear to be very close to resolution... and the NHLPA is in shambles and is ridiculous and is going to cause another goshdarned lockout if their not careful (did I mention ridiculous?)... SO, i figure I'll still have lots of material (and ranting) to go around.

The season opener is September 11, when the Moose are in Sydney to play the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. See you then...

For fun...

you people search some whacky stuff!

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Stability is nice but...

...signing these mammoth contracts seems kind of unwise.

Yesterday Roberto Luongo signed a 12-year contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks. When the 12 years is up -- he'll be 43-years-old.


There are upsides to the long contract. You're guarenteed a world-class player for the forseeable future, letting the General Manager plan and build around him. In the end, it's probably a financial win for the Canucks because as the salary cap moves upward so do salaries, and you've got him locked into that one. He's your captain. You're giving the fans a franchise player to get behind... etc. etc.


But then there's a number of reasons why long contracts are a pain...


1. On top of the long contract you gave him a No Trade Clause. So if the team ever needs to move him, they're at his mercy. We saw how well that went with Mats Sundin.


2. Even if he agrees to be moved, he's got a giant contract dangling behind him. Most teams don't want to commit to those giant contracts for a player they haven't seen fit into the dressing room yet. Chemistry is a big part of the team. I'm not saying that Roberto Luongo wouldn't fit into a dressing room, but there's a lot of factors at play, and that long contract is certainly a deterrant.


3. What if he gets injured, and is just not as good as he used to be. If he has a career-ending injury he gets paid out by player insurance... but what if it's an injury that just makes him not as mobile, not as quick, but he still plays... eventually riding the bench more and more... or missing chunks of games here and there but not entire seasons... while you're still paying him. That sounds like fun.


4. And finally, there's just a lot of unforseeable things that a team will encounter. Like... What if suddenly there's a new coach in town and said coach and Luongo hate each other (see: Ottawa Senators, Dany Heatley).


I'm still not quite sure whether these contracts are a great idea.

Monday, August 31, 2009

You've got to be frikkin kidding me

In a follow up to my last post... I have become even more incredulous in trying to figure out why the NHL won't just let JimBalls have the Pheonix Coyotes.

This is from a Peter James filing on Canada.com:

The National Hockey League's plan to buy the Phoenix Coyotes will only ensure the team will remain in the desert for at least one season, according to court documents.

The league submitted a $140-million (all figures US) bid on Tuesday for the bankrupt team but in a court filing released Wednesday the league said it will be open to relocating the franchise if local buyers aren't found within a year.

You're willing to relocate the team? Isn't that what you were trying to avoid? Please excuse the fans if they're confused about this entire debacle. Although should the NHL purchase it's own franchise, it should prove to be a brilliantly stupid saga... Bring it on.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Short and Simple

Why does the NHL want to buy the Phoenix Coyotes. It's already losing money. Why are they so stupid?

Moreover, where was this attitude by the NHL with Quebec and Winnipeg?

I feel like punching someone in the head -- probably Gary Bettman -- but really anyone at this point would do.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Think people, think!

Let's be straight here, I don't agree with what Dany Heatley is doing to the Ottawa Senators. He's handcuffing them -- and he damn well knows it.

I really truly believe that the minute a player walks into a GM's room and says "I want a trade", that said player should have to sign a document that says he wants his stupid, irritatingly dumb, "no trade clause" waived.

It's not fair to teams that a player says he doesn't want to play here, but you can only trade me to x, y or z. What if x, y, or z don't want you Dany Heatley? What if they can't afford you? What if they're afraid you'll do the same thing to them. Love 'em then leave 'em... but only like half leave 'em. Like leave 'em but keep coming back to the apartment for your tshirt, or a pencil, or your mp3 player...

Anyway that's not what I really want to talk about today.

My concern is as the Team Canada summer evaluation camp opens this week, fans and columnists alike appear to be factoring Heatley's douche-factor into him making the team.

He's going to be on the team.

Because:

Steve Yzerman is not an idiot.

Dany Heatley has a long and loyal relationship with Hockey Canada. During the World Championships while players like Sidney Crosby sat out with a bit of an injury... or Dion Phaneuf just wanted to frolick on a PEI beach with Elisha Cuthbert, Dany Heatley was on the ice and scoring in bunches for Canada.

He's also got the Olympic experience under his belt, something that will be valuable for a team that may boast quite a few Olympic virgins.

In fact in the past nine years, Dany Heatley has played 10 tournaments for Hockey Canada. TEN!

But really we shouldn't even have to be validating this experience. Unless he starts playing like shit, or ends up not playing at all.

I would think that Hockey Canada would prefer that Heatley not have the distraction of the dispute with the Senators, but I also think they'd rather have Dany Heatley on their team than not.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Someone didn't get a briefing beforehand...

So during Sidney Crosby's Order of Nova Scotia ceremony, Lieut. Gov Mayaan Francis made a speech. And it's fairly apparent she has absolutely no idea what she's talking about.

"Whether it is a member of the National Hockey League team captain or Olympian, Mr. Crosby has always taken pride in his home country and province. Especially his beloved Cole Harbour... Dartmouth."

The clueless-ness really doesn't translate as well in print... you can listen to it here.

Crosby plays for the Pittsburgh Pengiuns.
He's never been to the Olympics.
aaaaand Cole Harbour and Dartmouth are two different places.

But nice try.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sidney Crosby got his Order of Nova Scotia today.

Sidney at Province House sporting his new medal




Sidney with Premier Darrell Dexter





Sidney getting his medal from Lt.-Gov. Mayann Francis


Santa... are you high?


someone in the Detroit Red Wings brass is smoking the good stuff.

I mean, comon guys I know that it was really sad that you lost in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final after you had the Penguins on the brink but couldn't finish...

...but this is not the way to solve your problems.

We need an intervention.

Oh sorry... I'm talking about this headline:

"WINGS, BERTUZZI AGREE ON 1-YEAR CONTRACT, PENDING PHYSICAL"

Fail. Big time.

It'd be cool on a t-shirt...

But this just seems a bit awkward to me. I guess from far away it just looks like a big maple leaf. I think I was just expecting... more.

It kinda seems like they slapped some First Nation art and some Canadiana stereotypes inside the leaf. I personally would've preferred they just go back to the 87 or 72 sweaters if this was going to be the result. Or maybe just a giant picture of Bob and Doug MacKenzie... a picture of poutine? ...interpretive drawing of how poorly Canada has treated it's First Nation peoples...

ok. i give up.

But maybe i'm wrong... seems like people seem to like it.



Friday, August 14, 2009

Olympic sweaters unveiled Monday

The Olympic hockey team will look a bit different this year.

The familiar puck carrying hockey player with a backdrop of the black and red maple leaf, is no more.

After a legnthy battle with the International Olympic Committee who just recently decided to enforce their rule that national sport federation logos cannot be placed on uniforms... (conveniently and, I say, rudely when Canada is hosting the games on its soil)... Hockey Canada relented and had to choose a new logo.

They're unveiling that new logo on Monday. Which will coincide with the launch of retail sales of the new logo so hockey fans can now gorge themselves on spending more money on keeping up with the latest logo.

yay.

I suppose the good news is proceeds of sales with the official logo go to Hockey Canada.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sidney Crosby Day in Halifax

Sidney Crosby celebrated his day with the Stanley Cup here in Halifax on his 22nd birthday! This morning he was at the Halifax Dockyard visiting with the military... he flew in on a sea king helicopter and spent some time on the HMCS Preserver before visiting with the crowd:


Friday, July 24, 2009

You are too rich when...

Someone takes $43 million dollars...

" Former Detroit Red Wings star Sergei Fedorov says a man entrusted to manage his money during the past 11 years swindled him out of US$43 million. "


... and you don't notice until now.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Not Killer!

The Montreal Canadiens are in the middle of Extreme Team Makeover... but I thought that they might try to keep a few players.

One of the players I thought they would make a bother to keep is Tom Kostopoulos. This is a guy i've nicknamed "killer kostopoulos", the guy has some grit and although he doesn't score lots of goals, the ones he did score always seemed to be well-needed, epic, game-saving goals.

Instead, they let him walk, and he signed a three-year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes. So he will undoubtedly be back to score extremely unfortunate goals against the Canadiens as most former Canadiens seem to do.


oh well.

Worth the trip.

Over to TSN.ca to check out Darren Dreger's exclusive interview with Martin Havlat.

After Havlat's his strange and cryptic quotes on twitter, the former Blackhawk offered to speak with Dreger and elaborate.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

ah yes, the beauty of twitter...

not really a huge fan of the twitter for the purpose of being like "hey i just had a sandwich", but sometimes it can be useful for keeping tabs on news.

Martin Havlat has a twitter account... and he's been busy today following the sacking of GM Dale Tallon from his former team.

starting with the oldest from earlier today:

I guess everyone saw what happened to Dale....yes, the story is starting to
come out but it's just the tip of the iceberg.

Lot's of people are telling me to stay quiet but shouldn't the fans know
the truth? It's your loyalty, season ticket money and emotions here

What do you people think? Interested to know your thoughts.

Just so everyone begins to understand, Dale was like a 2nd father to
me.

martinhavlatWant to be clear. I loved
my time in Chicago but moved on. Very excited about Minny,going to give
everything I have to the Wild.
from web

martinhavlatBy telling truth, don't want people to think I'm bitter. Everyone in Minn has been awesome, they believe in me and I won't let them down from web


Also interesting posts after the July 1 deadline where Havlat was only offered a one-year contract from the Blackhawks...

There's something to be said for loyalty and honor. from web

Hossa is a good friend and I am happy for him.
from web

Thanks to all Hawks fans for your love and support over the last 3 years.
Will never forget your generousity and the great playoff run!
from web

Excited to be in Minny where I was welcomed and appreciated by management.
The real story about what happened in Chicago to come out.
from web



Seems like Havlat knows something about why Dale Tallon was so abruptly removed from the General Manager's position.... his handle on twitter is "martinhavlat" ... he's fairly active on it, worth adding as a follow.