Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Crosby vs. Ovechkin

Oh what a poor season for the NHL to make a big deal about Crosby vs. Ovechkin. 

HBO just spent a month following around the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, focusing on Crosby versus Ovechkin. It's the latest installment of HBO's "24/7" and it's titled Hard Knocks and the four-part series kicks off tonight. 

Then there's the appearance in the latest issue of Vanity Fair where the two are interviewed about the Winter Classic and the 'rivalry' between the two. There's also a video from the photo shoot where the two awkwardly shake hands and read a book, which can be found on


The NHL has sent the two "rivals" (and for whatever reason, Jeremy Roenick as well) to The Price is Right where they'll help showcase a trip to the Winter Classic. Throughout all the stories I'm seeing, they call Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby's 'nemisis'. 

And yet.... I'm not so sure Ovechkin is really a worthy nemesis to be honest. I would call Steven Stamkos a nemesis. Steven Stamkos tied Crosby for the Rocket Richard trophy and is at 44 points this season. Can I mention Steven Stamkos was born in 1990... 1990!!!!

I mean lets take a look at the comparison between Crosby and Ovechkin, not that 36 points on the season is chump change -- but he's not exactly on the furied pace that Crosby is. (Let's not mention the Olympic appearance - or lackthereof - of Ovechkin.)

Sidney Crosby 

Alexander Ovechkin

Crosby is on a point streak that spans 18 games, meanwhile by Ovechkin standards -- he's struggling.

How much more exciting would this "rivalry" be if it happened in a season where both players were playing at the top of their game? Don't get me wrong, I'm going to watch on New Year's Day. In just a few years the Winter Classic has become a tradition. However, it kinda seems like the NHL is forcing it just a bit.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx or find her on her blog National Passtime

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Patty Burns 1952-2010

It's a sad day in the hockey world. 

Pat Burns died at the age of 58 after a long battle with Cancer.

He was a man famous for his freak-outs. Seriously, I always thought he'd die right on the bench from a heart attack or a vein that would spectacularly pop in his neck.

But those freak-outs paid off, Pat Burns was intense and ruled his teams with an iron fist. And he was one hell of a coach. In just 14 years, Burns won three Jack Adams awards for the NHL's best coach.

After serving as a police officer in the Gatineau area, he started his coaching career in the QMJHL in 1984 with the Hull Olympiques. In his second season as coach he led the franchise to its most successful campaign where the Olympiques finished first in the league and then went on a spectacular 15-0 run in the playoffs to win the QMJHL title which earned them a Memorial Cup appearance.

"I think he paved the way for other coaches, coaches could see that coaching in the Quebec league you could move on and go to bigger and greater things," says Kim Houston with NHL Central Scouting.

The tributes poured in all over the hockey world, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper who took time while at a NATO summit in Lisbon to release a statement. 

"He was known for his tough and gritty approach to the game of hockey. He met his final and most difficult battle with that same tough and gritty spirit," said Harper. "Canada has lost a sports legend today, but Pat Burns' legacy will live on in the players and coaches whose careers he touched, as well as the young people who will skate in the Pat Burns Arena for years to come. He will not soon be forgotten."

Burns was a colourful character as well, often showing up to the arena on a motorcycle, and often seeming like a crusty, gruff man. But he also had a soft side. 

"Behind that gruff style that big growl you know it was a lovable guy," Hockey Night in Canada producer John Shannon told the Fan 590. "There was always a glint in his eye, a smile on his face and when you were one-on-one and you shared an adult beverage you had a great time and you knew he loved the game as much as you did."

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx or find her on her blog National Passtime

Friday, November 19, 2010

The trouble in Moose Country

Boy oh boy, am I getting old? Do I sound old if i say "remember the good old days in Moose Country"? 

They were heady days. The days of 7,000 average, yes average, attendance. When the team iced a team with talented players, or at least a roster who resonated with the team motto of "Pride, Heart, Determination". 

The days when The Sign Lady (the late Sue Moore) graced the seats mid-section across from the players benches with messages of inspiration on rolled up window blinds. When Lorna the dancing queen wasn't the only one dancing in the aisles. The days when there was a line snaking outside the Metro Centre and around the corner to get ahold of playoff tickets. 

The days when Jody Shelley was a fan favourite, when Jamie Brown was named all three stars, when Jean-Sebastien Giguere marched the Herd to within one game of the Memorial Cup. When the team hosted the Memorial Cup in 2000. When the Parade Square was packed for a rally before that event. When the team had stability in it's staff. (ie: They've gone through three goalie coaches in three years) 

This is the third season in a row where the team on the ice... well... they're just not very good (and that's me being nice). Who wants to drop their hard earned Loons on watching a team who's going to lose every game. And because of that it's party understandable why the air is out of the sails of Moose Country. 

But I think it started before that. Four seasons ago when the team sold the farm to get Brad Marchand and try to make a run for it all. Despite the team on the ice, the fans didn't really seem into it.

The franchise needs some renewal. And right now it doesn't help that the team owner, Bobby Smith, decided to demote Head Coach Cam Russell in favour of putting himself at the helm. Under Smith the team is 3 and 7, which is hardly something to inspire hope. In fact I hardly expect the team to do much better and I think Smith needs to find a new, QUALIFIED head coach to take the helm of the young team. 

The fans understand that the Q is an ebb and flow league where you will have that rebuilding year (usually one not three) at some point in a franchises history. But the fans are also frustrated with the team, especially when they look to the west and see franchises MUCH younger than the Mooseheads (Moncton, Saint John) who are annual contenders. In fact just this week, the NHL's QMJHL prospects rankings came out and seven Saint John Sew Dogs were in the top 25. That tells me they have their scouting ducks in a row. Do the Mooseheads have their scouting ducks in a row? I'm not so sure. To me it almost seems like the organization isn't very organized as of late.

I had said early in the season if Cam Russell didn't get a team that produced he'd be shown the door, I didn't think he'd be replaced by the owner. I think if the team keeps down this road for the next month, the fans (the ones who are left) will be asking for Smith to exit stage left as well.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx or find her on her blog National Passtime

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Subban vs. Richards: Subban takes Round 1

A lot has been made about the trash talk coming from Mike Richards of the Flyers towards Montreal Canadiens rookie P.K. Subban.

Subban is "cocky", said the Flyers captain in a radio interview and added "he thinks he's better than a lot of people."

"You have to earn respect in this league. It takes a lot. You can't just come in here as a rookie and play like that. Hopefully someone on their team addresses it, because, uh, I'm not saying I'm going to do it, but something might happen to him if he continues to be that cocky."

What's funny is most of the coverage of this hasn't mentioned the fact that the KING of getting under the skin of opponents appears to be irked to the point where he needs to air his frustrations in public.

This is a player who basically went on a media strike last season, refusing to speak after photos and stories of the team partying ways was printed in the Phillie media. So the fact that he decided to say these comments in the public, proves PK is under his skin.

If he's such a forgettable rookie who has yet to earn respect, why waste your breath?

Is Subban really cocky? Or does he just know what to say to piss you off. Not to mention, Subban had an assist in that 3-0 win over the Flyers. A shutout would make me pretty sour, too.

If I were PK I wouldn't worry too much about "something happening" and take the fact that he irritated Richards to the point of trash-talking publicly as a compliment.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx or find her on her blog National Passtime

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cole Harbour team to kick of HNIC tonight

Tonight's matchup between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Montreal Canadiens will feature some Nova Scotians besides Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.

The Cole Harbour Atom AAA Wings will be introducing the first Saturday night game. Coach Brad MacLeod says it's been a whirlwind couple of weeks.

"Yah it's probably one of the most exciting things a lot of them have been through," he says. "It all happened at once, first they found out they made the team."

And then they taped their national television debut a few weeks back, which features them introducing the HNIC pre-game show as well as tee-ing up the big game.

"They're completely over the moon about it," says MacLeod, adding that the parents and himself are equally excited.

The team, made up of nine and 10-year-olds will be getting together tonight at Gamebreakers to watch themselves and the match on a big screen.

MacLeod says it's extra special because the team will be introducing a hometown hero.

"Everyone is pretty close to Sidney Crosby, he still has a lot of roots in the Cole Harbour area," he says. "I would say there's lots of kids on the teams who still have connections with him."

Hockey Night in Canada gets underway at 7:30 p.m. on CBC.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx or find her on her blog National Passtime

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

One Frk of a strange deal....

Yesterday morning a news release from the Halifax Mooseheads came across my desk. I figured it was just another couple of roster cuts. 

Not so, in fact it was a strangely vague resolution to a very big problem for the team. 
"Halifax Mooseheads GM/Head Coach Cam Russell announced today that the Club has secured the IIHF release of Martin Frk from HC Energie Karlovy Vary of the Czech Ice Hockey Association," said the release.

Wha, wha, whaaaa? 

As of Saturday Mooseheads owner Bobby Smith had said although negotiations were ongoing and there was very little movement from Frk's Czech team. Yet four days later he's set to lace 'em up for practice this morning. Which says to me Frk was already in Halifax when the team announced the big win.
In case you've missed the beginning of this saga. The Mooseheads drafted Martin Frk third overall in the CHL Import Draft. He is touted as a possible 1st overall pick in the 2012 NHL draft, however, Frk's stock in the Import Draft decreased because he had a professional contract with Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic and his team said they weren't letting him go.

The two teams appealed to the IIHF and last week, hockey's governing body on disputes between international leagues, ruled in Karlovy Vary's favour. 

Team owner Bobby Smith said the dispute "wasn't over yet" and said the team would be appealing through lawyers. Frk signed the long-term contract, that would see him owned by Karlovy Vary until 2013, and team lawyers were expected to argue that 16-year-old Frk was too young to be held to such a contract. 

Also working in the team's favour was that Frk himself said he wanted to play in Halifax. However, there hasn't been any subsequent rulings from the IIHF.

So, how in the Frk did the team get his release secured ? The first thing I thought when I saw the release was "who's first-born was sent to the Czech Republic?" Has anyone seen Bobby Smith's kid lately?

Regardless of how it was done, however, this is huge news for the team.

"It's a great boost for our team offensively, it's a big thrill for our fans," said Coach Cam Russell.

Russell, who has never seen Frk play, says it's likely he'll play on the top line. However fans will have to wait to see the much-anticipated Czech play, Russell says he won't be in the lineup until the first regular season game September 10. 

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx or find her on her blog National Passtime

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

World Championships schmampionships.

Did anyone else not give two flying who-haws about the IIHF World Hockey Championships this year?

I mean, really, It's not something I make an effort to make sure I'm in front of the television for in any year. It was fun when it was in Halifax, but when Canada lost, well, I wasn't heartbroken. The tournament is just not something I can get into. I can't be alone here. It's sort of this odd collection of semi-good players whose teams didn't make the playoffs. Also, I'd rather watch the playoffs. The World Championships is kind of like the Spengler Cup at World Junior time. It's sorta just there in the background.

I'm especially blah about the tournament in an Olympic year. It's too soon. The women don't play a world championship in Olympic years. Why do the men? It just seems bizarre.

Who was Canada's goaltender this year anyway? (No seriously, I'm asking.) Google tells me: Chris Mason. Good lord. 

So you see where I'm going with this. This isn't the collection of the best players in the world. There are definitely some of the best players. But it just can't compare to the Olympics or the World Juniors, where it's the best players facing the best players - and there's no doubt over who the true champions are.

This is why I was truly baffled by the IIHF scolding players who don't answer the call to play at the World Championships. 

"Why is a 22-year-old Sidney Crosby tired when a 34-year-old Ryan Smyth is answering the bell for his country despite having represented Canada at the Worlds already on eight occasions?" wrote Szymon Szemberg, the IIHF's director of communications in an article titled 'Saying no to your country'.

Okay. Let's keep going. 

"Players who say no to representing their country at the World Championship without a legitimate reason turn their backs not only on the team and its fans but also to the system which developed them and made them rich and famous," wrote Szemberg. "They should pay back, but they don't."

Pay back eh. And they owe the IIHF what? These players thrilled the world at the Olympics just months ago. Boo hoo your tournament isn't very good. Don't take it out on your players.

**ring ring**

"Oh hey, IIHF President Rene Fasel? Yah. Gary Bettman here. Whatsup. Listen. Bud. I just wanted to point out that our players' contracts don't end until June 30. Yup that's right they're still under NHL contract until June 30. We could tell them they can't play in the tournament. Just saying."

I'm a fan. I don't feel unpaid because Sidney Crosby wants some time off. As a fan I would rather him rest up, and stay healthy so I can see him for 82 games next NHL season with a long playoffs.

Besides, the kid scored the golden goal.

Championships schmampionships.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx or find her on her blog National Passtime

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Biggest Playoff Surprises.

 1. Montreal Canadiens 

 Montreal Gazette

As a Habs fan you always hope. So, in round 1 it was: "Hey they beat Washington in the regular season".... "The Habs play to their opponents level... "If they had've gotten it together against the Leafs and Hurricanes they'd be much higher than the 8th seed" 

Then they did it. They shut down Ovie. They came back from a 3-1 series deficit. They won Game 7. On the road. Luck? Who cares. 

Next opponent. Penguins. 

Okay we're doomed. 

So this is where the real surprise is. After Sidney Crosby absolutely dismantled the Ottawa Senators and left Jason Spezza destined to be on a highlight reel forever sadly chasing Crosby around the net before he passes it off to Letang for a goal.... the Habs (mainly Sidney Crosby's new backpack Hal Gill) held the kid to just 1 goal.

And so the Habs, who must hold the most exciting 8-6 record ever are off to round 3.

2. To find out that other people are annoyed by that little girl in the East Side Mario's ad. 

Every year, for anyone who watches playoffs night in and night out, there's that one commercial that just grinds your gears. It's on at least 8 times during every game. In years previous I can think of the Pizza Delight - Grill your own bread commercial with that annoying little kid telling his dad how to put butter on bread. (And I know several people just groaned and thought 'why did you remind me')

But i was surprised to know that my disdain for the East Side Marios commercial and my particular disdain for the uncoordinated little girl who is dancing poorly is shared. 

Several of my friends share the hate for the little dancing girl and can mimic the uncoordinated jig to a tee. I've also come across several online forums bitching about the ad. Too funny. 

3. San Jose 

Seriously, these guys finish first (or very high in the standings) every year. Every year some poor sap is sitting at his hockey pool draft and says "this is the year for San Jose"... and then they lose in the first round. 

So, yes, I am surprised to see that they are off to the conference championships. I still don't have a lot of confidence in them. But who knows, maybe they'll surprise a little further.

4. Boston

This story is just crazy. Boston couldn't score a goal to save their life down the stretch. Their team to be falling apart at the seams. They were injured. They were a far cry from the Boston Bruins who finished first in the Eastern Conference last season. They just squeaked into the playoffs. 

Then the playoffs started. 

And they turned it on. They had a 3-0 lead on Phillie and they've squandered it so the surprise may be over soon. But it's still a surprise that they were able to pick off the #2 seed. 

5. Phoenix

Oh wait, this isn't a surprise. Even though they make the playoffs they still can't get fans in the seats. The saga continues.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx or find her on her blog National Passtime

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Does it really bother you that much?

Why has road hockey suddenly become a national debate?

Last week, some nutter in Enfield called in the big bad RCMP on a bunch of 12-year-olds playing road hockey. Apparently people have nothing better to do then scoff at children out their window.

Great -- let's encourage kids to stay inside and play computer games, become overweight, and wait until their health care bills become a burden on society until we complain that kids don't exercise enough.

Sound dumb to you?

Or perhaps you'd prefer them to use their free time to be spray painting grafitti on your fence.

Enfield resident Debbie Jefferies says her 12-year-old son Ryan and his friends had been out playing road hockey any chance they got.

But a neighbour called police and under the Motor Vehicle Act in Nova Scotia the games now have to stop. The kids were given the option to play at a dead end street, but the 10 minute strut would be difficult to haul all the gear to.

Jeffries says she doesn't know who complained, but says it's the first she's heard of the road hockey being a problem - and she wishes that person had come to her first.

Jeffries told the Chronicle Herald the ban on shinny games broke her heart.

Nova Scotia's transportation minister Bill Estabrooks called the complaint "frivolous" and says the RCMP have better things to worry about. Oh I don't know... maybe like all the recent SHOOTINGS in the city.
Many Canadian municipalities have by-laws banning street hockey, however they're rarely enforced.

But if you think the Halifax case is new, think again. One Montreal father is fighting a case in court. He says street hockey is part of Canadian culture.

During some of the fabulous weather we got in March, 42-year-old David Sasson was playing ball hockey with a group of neighbourhood kids that included his own children in the Montreal suburb of Dollard-des-Ormeaux. A neighbour called in the coppers.

Sasson told the Globe and Mail responding officers watched the game for 45 minutes and called the complaining woman twice to try to convince her to drop the matter. Apparently the complainer was tired of the noise -- so Sasson ended up with a $75 ticket. 

Again, the neighbour never bothered to complain directly.

“We live in Canada, we have the right to play hockey,” Sasson told the Globe and Mail.

Sasson even staged a protest game in the City Hall parking lot and local police and bylaw officers JOINED IN. What does that tell you?

The Wayne Gretzkys and Sidney Crosbys are born in street hockey games. Let's not let a few old bitties ruin a national pastime.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx or find her on her blog National Passtime

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

When players dish headshots to fans....

I am really surprised at the lack of attention this incident received.

Especially considered the amount of attention some other non-controversies received at the Olympics. But it appears to have been buried under Canadian victory jubilation.

This video was shot after Russia lost 7-3 to Canada in the Quarterfinals (and I'm sure Canadians remember that Ovechkin played not-so-good).

Okay so sure, maybe Mr. Ovechkin was a little upset after the loss. But he seems to have walked out of his way to push this fan. She wasn't following him, she wasn't yelling at him, she was just taping him. And apparently she wasn't wearing a team Canada jersey, because this fan was a Russian..... a female Russian who came all the way to Canada to see the Olympics.

For someone who is supposed to be one of the faces of the NHL, this behaviour is really unacceptable.

"That’s why even though I didn’t really like seeing Ovechkin forcefully push away that fan’s phone, I find it harder and harder to get upset about it. In this era of people refusing to respect others’ privacy, we’re going to see more and more of this." said Elliot Friedman in his blog.

Unfortunately I think Friedman's comments miss the mark. I'm not sure the fan refused to respect Ovechkin's privacy. If he really didn't want to be taped, he could just ask. If he asked and then she refused to stop taping -- then, and only then, would she be 'not respecting his privacy'.

But instead the big-shot -- too busy talking on his cellphone to converse with a lowly fan -- decides to push her out of the way.

Would he have done the same if the score was inversed? What if he scored a hattrick in a 7-3 quarterfinal win over Canada? I'm figuring that he probably would've been soaking up the love.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx or find her on her blog National Passtime

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

One heck of an upset.

I'm sure The Golden X Inn on St. Francis Xavier campus in Antigonish is just wild on this Tuesday night.

Second round of AUS hockey playoffs and the X-men have just picked off the UNB Varsity Reds in three straight games. This is HUGE. UNB is the defending national champions and were ranked first nationally for most of the season until St. FX managed a late season upset to spoil their perfect season — and leaving them ranked second nationally.

Seems like the X-men had their number.

I've seen some tweets already thanking X for picking off the powerhouse. But it appears the powerhouse might still be in the running.

They await the winner of the SMU-Acadia series (SMU leads 2-1 with game three set to go Wednesday at the Halifax Forum). I'm hoping for a SMU win, not because they're the Halifax team — (unfortunately my alma mater Dalhousie didn't ice a decent team this year and missed playoffs) — But because a SMU-STFX series promises to be a fantastic AUS final.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx or find her on her blog National Passtime

Storybook ending.

Could you have written a better ending?

After 17 days of fantastic competition, the most anticipated event of the Vancouver Olympics ended in a overtime goal by Cole Harbour's own, Sidney Crosby.

And the men's hockey gold medal, lifted Canada to the sole owner of the Winter Olympic record for most golds. 14.


It prompted a spontaneous celebration coast-to-coast. Spring Garden Road, the busiest street in downtown Halifax was closed down after people ran into the streets in celebration.

The cops were there, but they were handing out high-fives and enjoying the atmosphere.  Nobody got out of hand, everyone loved everyone. What a night.

The ratings were released Monday afternoon and there was an average audience of 16.6 million viewers, while 26.5 million tuned into at least some of the game -- Yes, that is 80 per cent of the country.

Only in Canada.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx or find her on her blog National Passtime

Friday, February 26, 2010

When a beer is just a beer.

Everyone needs to relax. Actually I think everyone needs a beer. Chill out, guys. I'm serious.

So the gold medal champions in Olympic women's hockey had a beer. WOOPdeEFFINdo.

One of the last things I saw before I went to bed last night was a twitter post from Greg Wyshynski, the editor of Puck Daddy hockey blog. "Marie-Philip Poulin, with Olympic gold and a Molson. Canadian bliss" (Accompanying the tweet was the the photo you see at the top of this blog post). 

I had a laugh and thought, 'well deserved, ladies'.

That tweet was followed up by "Hope all this 'Marie-Philip Poulin is underage!!!' stuff is in good fun. Otherwise, our world's been taken over by Debby Downers & Killjoys" 

I didn't think much would come of the underage stuff, but then reports that "Gilbert Felli, the IOC's executive director of the Olympic Games, said he wasn't aware of the celebration until informed by a reporter with The Associated Press"

Who is this douchebag reporter from AP who felt it necessary to be the Debby Downer? Haven't you given a glass of wine or champagne to your teenager at special events? She won a freaking gold medal... she scored the only two goals in the game. Let her have a freaking beer. I mean it wasn't even good beer. It was a Molson. 

But instead the IOC has to be all fatherly.

"If that's the case, that is not good," said Felli about the celebration. "It is not what we want to see. I don't think it's a good promotion of sport values. If they celebrate in the changing room, that's one thing, but not in public."

Hmm... okay.

What's the difference between what the girls did, and skeleton gold medalist Jon Montgomery chugging a pitcher of beer in front of a big crowd in Whistler on national television? I believe an open-liqour-in-public fine in Vancouver runs around $230. Beer chugging... sport values... right. But none of us cared, we all thought it was awesome and fun. Why? What's the difference? Why are people outraged about what the women did?

Is IOC members flying first class around the world, being wined dined and bribed a good promotion of sports values? Just sayin'.

Here's another one to chew on.

What's the difference between the girls having a beer on the ice after everyone's left. And the fans getting absolutely trashed in the stands? Did I mention that all the fans were gone?


 Ironically this is a photo by the Associated Press.

Consistantly media are allowed in the dressing room after a big win. Stanley Cup, Super Bowl, World Series... shall I go on? When have you not seen shots of players popping champagne. What's the difference there?

These athletes are people. People drink. To say that because they are athletes means they should not drink is ludicrous.

This 'controversy' if you can call it that... is ridiculous! They had a beer. End of story.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx

Monday, February 22, 2010

Walking the line.

Halifax Mooseheads 17-year-old defenseman Garrett Clarke plays on the edge. He's gritty, he hits, he digs hard and he's a pit bull around his own net. Generally, a real annoyance to play against.

The only problem — he consistently teeters over the edge.

As effective as his in-your-face style can be at drawing penalties and creating some jump for his team, he  also takes unnecessary and untimely penalties himself. The last thing a not-so-talented team needs... is penalty kills (see: Toronto Maple Leafs).

This means Clarke has found himself in the Cam Russell dog house a few times this season.

"I'll admit I've got stupid penalties this year," said Clarke while sitting out as a scratch on the team's Rimouski roadtrip a few weeks ago.

"Cam's not really disappointed in the way I'm playing, it's just those stupid penalties. I'm hearing it from him and my agent."

There's a couple recent examples that come to mind. February 5 game against the Saint John Sea Dogs. The basement Halifax Mooseheads are leading the nation-leading Saint John Sea Dogs by a goal in the third period.

Garrett Clarke takes a penalty with 1:47 to go, opening the door for a Michael Kirkpatrick goal with 42 seconds left.

You could argue the Sea Dogs would've scored anyway, with all their skill and firepower, but trying to kill off one of the more deadly powerplays can't help your chances at holding onto a lead. And once Kirkpatrick tied it up, you knew the Moose really had no chance at winning.

The next game he found himself riding the pine in the third period in a win over Cape Breton and the game after that he was watching from the press box.

Fast forward to February 19, the Mooseheads are holding on to a 4-4 tie after blowing a 3-0 lead on the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.

Garrett Clarke takes a kneeing penalty in the offensive zone at the 12:13 mark. Not that a kneeing penalty is ever necessary, but a kneeing penalty in the offensive zone in a tie game is even less so. I'm sure the veins in coach Cam Russell's neck were about to burst. Of course you can guess how the story went, the Screaming Eagles scored on the ensuing five minute powerplay and win the game.

To make matters worse, the five-minute kneeing major and game misconduct came with an automatic one-game suspension — at a time when the Mooseheads were already smarting with several injuries. Pascal Amyot out with an injury, seeing his team short-manned tried to come back prematurely and potentially made his injury worse.

"I know what I gotta do, I just got to keep playing the way I'm playing. Play gritty stay below that fine line. I just got to go out there and stay cool," says Clarke.

"It's tough for me, you get in the heat of the moment you're just trying to play hard and gritty and when I make those stupid penalties I know it hurts the team and it hurts me to see the team hurt like that."

Now forget incidents like the above and remember the Garrett Clarke who has scored some timely goals, drawn some timely penalties, and given his team that spark with a big open-ice hit. That's the Garrett Clarke the Halifax Mooseheads need, and Garrett Clarke knows that's the Garrett Clarke the team needs. And that's the Garrett Clarke I hope shows up for training camp in August. 

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A mercy rule is not the answer.

Every Olympics we have this discussion.

And every year people miss the mark.

I'm talking about women's hockey. Specifically when a powerhouse like Canada plays a hapless Slovakia and thumps them 18-0.

At the daily IOC-VANOC briefing, officials were asked if there should be a mercy rule in women's hockey.

"Clearly if you're on the losing side of a hiding, it's never much fun. But I'm sure they had a great experience and I'm sure they're thankful to be Olympians," said IOC director of communications Mark Adams.

"You know these things happen in all sports, at all levels. They're a good team but clearly yesterday Canada were the better team by a long way."

Then there was 2006.

Canada handed the host Italians a 16-0 beating in the opening game of the Turin Olympics.

"I'm upset that Canada has been running up the score, especially against the host nation," said Team USA defenseman Angela Ruggiero.

"There was no need for that. They're trying to pad their stats... Canada is running up the score for whatever reasons -- personal, short-term."

People are missing the boat here. It's not about padding stats. I don't think Haley Wickenheiser, the most prolific scorer in women's hockey, needs to pad her stats.

It's also not about mercy. I'm sure Canada would like to let up after they were certain their lead was sufficient.

But here's the problem. In international hockey, if there's two identical records in the standings, the tie-breakers are done by goal-differential.

So if Canada and USA both go undefeated through the tournament, and meet in the final. The home ice advantage is awarded to the team with the most goals scored.

That doesn't exactly breed mercy. In international play you can't control what other teams will do, so you don't want to leave anything to chance.

And this is nothing new, take the 2010 World Juniors. Latvia lost 16-0 to Canada and 12-1 to the USA.

There doesn't need to be a mercy rule -- using goals-scored as the tie breaker needs to be removed. There would still be blowouts, but I'm sure the scores would lower a bit.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bizarre press release from the Green Party

So this press release just showed up saying Georges Laraques will be making an announcement Saturday at an event in Montreal.

The only thing I can think is he's announcing his foray into politics. Stay tuned.

Georges Laraque to make an announcement in Montreal

MONTRÉAL – Montréal hockey player Georges Laraque, actively involved with a number of social and humanitarian causes, is inviting the media to a screening of TERRIENS, the French version of EARTHLINGS. Mr. Laraque, who is hosting the event alongside many prominent guests, will make an announcement.

Georges Laraque:

What: Screening of TERRIENS, the French version of EARTHLINGS narrated by Georges Laraque

When: Saturday, February 13, 2010 at 1:30 p.m.

Where: HEC Montréal, IBM Amphitheatre, 3000 Côte-Sainte-Catherine Rd., Montréal, QC, H3T 2A7; Université de Montréal metro station.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mooseheads battle back for win over PEI Rocket

The Halifax Mooseheads pulled out an exciting 5-4 shootout win over the PEI Rocket Wednesday night.

"It's nice to win a shootout, we've been in them before and struggled at times," said assistant coach Jason Troini.

The Moose were outshot 35-22, however they still managed to win with the help of goaltender Peter Delmas.

The Mooseheads pulled ahead on a pair of goals early in the second, and it appeared they might run away with the game.

However PEI's Jordan Escott decided the game wasn't over yet when he scored two goals just seconds apart to tie the game at three.

In the third PEI's Benjamin Casavant notched his 27th of the season and pulled the PEI Rocket ahead for the first lead of the night.

It wasn't until 3:20 left in the game that Mooseheads captain Tomas Knotek tied the game at four, sending the game to overtime. Knotek had four goals during the team's five-game homestand.

"Tomas has obviously struggled when he came back from the World Juniors, he's shooting the puck now, and he's more aggressive with the puck," says Troini.

Gabe Desjardins was the only shootout scorer as both goaltenders shut the door on the first three shooters.

"He's been finding his touch," says Troini about Desjardins.

"He's a big factor, when he plays well we win, and it was nice to see him put up on that top line."

The Mooseheads now head out on the road, they play the Rimouski Oceanic Saturday, with a 5pm AST start.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

QMJHL ponders what to do with Scandella

After handing out a season-long + playoffs suspension to Patrice Cormier for an elbow to the head that left the Quebec Rempart's Mikael Tam convulsing on the ice, the QMJHL has a ponderous situation on their hands.

Val-d'Or defenceman Marco Scandella, who also played with Cormier on Team Canada at the World Juniors, finds himself in a very similar situation:


Thursday the QMJHL handed an indefinite suspension while they figure out what to do with Scandella.

A few week ago, the QMJHL did the same thing and a week later suspended Patrice Cormier for the rest of the season. The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies said they plan on appealing the "excessive decision", and said that should the Huskies go all the way, the suspension has the potential to be 48 games.

To me, 48 games is not enough.

And here's where the QMJHL needs to step in. Sure Alexandre Durette walked away from this one. He has some really gross stitches on his mouth, but he walked away. He wasn't left on the ice convulsing, he wasn't taken out on a stretcher, and he didn't end up in the hospital with brain injuries.

But his visor did shatter into pieces.

He was lucky.

And this is where the QMJHL has to step in and push the common complaint out the door, that big suspensions only happens when someone is seriously hurt.

There doesn't seem to be near the outrage about the Scandella hit as there was about the Cormier hit. And yet it's equally disgusting. It's equally as dangerous. And if it shattered his visor and sent his stick flying about 30 feet in the air, then it probably could've/should've shattered a few facial bones.

There was no penalty on the call, despite there are several infractions that could've been called. Charging and elbowing would've been a good start. The kid was definitely bleeding, isn't that an extra two?

How many kids have to have luck on their side before a hit-to-the-head is an automatic suspension and a fine to the team.

That's what the QMJHL should do. Unfortunately Scandella needs to sit out the rest of the season. And grassroots hockey needs to start teaching a little respect on the ice.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A diamond in the very very very rough.

The media lounge at the Centre Bionest in Shawinigan was crammed with NHL scouts as the Halifax Mooseheads took on the Shawinigan Cataractes Saturday afternoon.

They were there to check out Mooseheads goaltender Mathieu Corbeil, who after the mid-season NHL central scouting report, is sitting third amongst North American goaltenders.

Al Jensen with NHL Central Scouting says he loves size and athleticism of Corbeil. When asked if he could compare Corbeil to an NHL goalie, Jensen said he couldn't think of one that was as big as Corbeil.

And despite losing 3-2, Corbeil put on a clinic for the scouts in attendance. He faced 28 shots which included three breakaways, one which was a 2-0 rush.

But this story isn't just about Corbeil.

In the depths of this losing season for the Halifax Mooseheads I want to point out to everyone the light at the end of the tunnel.

I know they always say don't go towards the light.... but screw it. We're going towards the light. I can't take this dark anymore, and I think I'm starting to get vitamin D deficiency.

Corbeil has been standing on his head all year. Imagine what he'll be like when there's a team in front of him.

The team's defensive core is largely made up of 17 year olds. This is a Midget AAA lineup. They will be a good team in front of Corbeil one day.

The team isn't stacked geezers either, despite being able to carry three 20-year-olds, Linden Bahm is the only over-ager on the roster.

With the trade of Spencer Metcalfe the team has Pascal Amyot, Paul Dimitruk, Gerrad Grant
Charles Bety, Matthew Stoddard and goaltender Peter Delmas, and Tomas Knotek.

It's hard to say what the team will do with this situation. Knotek would take up both a 20-year-old spot and one of the two European player spots. I think the team is leaning on keeping Peter Delmas to help Corbeil with the load. And it's a tossup between the rest, but it's likely some of them will be on the trading block during the draft.

Generally teams don't like to use up one of the three 20-year-old spots and one of the two European spots for one player. But the team will probably make an exception for Knotek. He is scoring goals, he's the captain and he has a no-trade clause.

Then there's players like Brent Andrews. Andrews played in the World U-17 Championships for Team Atlantic in Timmons, Ontario over the Christmas break. He was player of the game twice and scouts with Hockey Canada say he was one of the best, if not THE best winger on the ice at the tournament. Expect big things.

Defenseman Konrad Abeltschauser has already started to pack some pounds on the lanky frame he came to us with in August. I'm sure with a good stint of off-season training he'll be a blueline bruiser.

Bradley MacDonald who was a second rounder in 2008, had a tough go in Victoriaville and Quebec and refused to report to PEI. He finally ended up where he wanted, which despite my concerns about such an attitude of a player, it has worked out for the Mooseheads in the end. Expect some numbers from him in the future.

Then there's the fact that the Mooseheads have a bounty of draft picks this year.

The team has their own first round draft pick, and looking at the scenery right now, it's going to be the 1st overall pick. The one unfortunate thing, is this year there are no clear-cut number oners coming up through the AAA ranks.

There are also 4 more picks in the top 40.

The Mooseheads own 2nd and 3rd round pick.
Rimouski's 2nd round pick
Victoriaville's 2nd round pick

I'm almost giddy when I think of the potential of this team down the road, then I remember we still have this season to get through. Hang in there fans!

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Danton shows rust in SMU debut, but is the team's only spark

Admittedly I was not able to go to the Mike Danton Show (SMU vs Acadia) at the Halifax Forum Wednesday night. I was sitting behind the board down the street for the Halifax Mooseheads road game.

But I was monitoring the game's live stats, and from all accounts from friends and the numerous tweets from inside the Forum, Danton had a good game.

He showed some rust, but played physical, skated hard and registered three shots on net. And by the third period, with his team down 3-0 he scored SMU's only goal and seemed to provide a spark for his teammates.

He said he wasn't nervous before the game, but he was a bit anxious.

"Scoring the goal was a huge monkey off my back," Danton said after the game.

"You guys have put me on the front page for the past two weeks, so it was good to get that one away."

I will say I had concerns about Mike Danton's return to Halifax. Mostly because I wondered if we were going to get the same little shift disturber we saw in the 2000 Memorial Cup.

But after all the speculation by just about every person in Halifax, Danton spoke to the media last week — and to me (and my colleagues) he seemed sincere.

That was my concern — is this guy still a jerk? Will his attitude negatively affect the dressing room? Is he still a loose cannon? That question was answered, I believe. Danton seems cool, collected, grown up, and he even apologized for his childish antics at the 2000 Memorial Cup. Great, game on.

What I am surprised about, is the other reasons people didn't think he should be playing university hockey. People seemed uneducated about the situation and formed an opinion anyways.

Mike Danton is too old.

First of all I would like to point out that 29 is not old. 30 is. No I'm kidding.

In all seriousness I heard this over and over as an argument as to why Mike Danton shouldn't be lacing them up in the AUS.

First of all: 26, 25, 27, 26, 27, 25, 25, 28, 27, 27, 27, 26, 27, 28, 25, 29, 26, 28, 27, 25, 28, 29

That is a list of the ages of Saint Mary's University hockey players. Average age: 26.72

It's hard to argue Danton is a grandpa on the team.

It's especially hard to argue this, when you consider that people go back to university at all ages. If you've got some or all of your five years of university sport eligibility left, you can play sports. It's about ability not age, which is demonstrated by Patti Blanchard.

Forty-eight-year-old Patty Blanchard of Moncton, finished 11th in Cross Country and earned second-team all-Canadian status in 2005. That's despite running against kids who were 25 years younger. Blanchard was a bronze medallist at the first-ever CIS women’s cross country championship in 1980.

Still think Mike Danton is too old?

He's got a criminal record.

And? Criminal records do not prohibit you from going to university. In fact, I think that's called discrimination. We have that Charter thingy that protects people from discrimination.

How are people with criminal records supposed to reform themselves if we don't let them have the chance to do so. If they screw up their chances so be it. But let's let the ones who want to put their lives back on track - do it.

I've heard people say things like "I don't want a convicted criminal wandering around the same campus as my daughter" ... and yet your daughter probably goes out downtown and stumbles home drunk at 4 in the morning. That's safe, eh?

SMU coach Trevor Steinburg is the son of a Canadian parole officer. He knows all about second chances. But he also knows tough love. He's said this is Danton's second chance, but also his last. The great part about Steinburg, is he's taken Danton into his home. I wouldn't expect too many shenanigans from Danton living in the Steinburg household.

Danton has already played Major Junior and professional hockey.

I really think people have this view of a bunch of kids, straight out of high school playing hockey for their university. Like you see in other sports like soccer and basketball.

As I've pointed out with the average age of the SMU hockey team, that is just not the case. SMU isn't an anomaly.

This is not the NCAA. Canadian university just works this way. Players go to university hockey after Major Junior. Most players play Major Junior until they're 19 or 20. If they don't make "The Show" then they head to university. Major Junior requires its players to be in school while playing so the transition is usually natural.

And in fact, there have been cases of players going pro after some time in the university stage (see: Jody Shelley). There are cases where players have had chances at the professional level and didn't quite cut it, so they come back to university. (see: Dominic Noel).

And for good measure, let's go back to the example of Patti Blanchard from above. Blanchard was on Canada's national cross country team before returning to university.

I have one final point that I want to make: Mike Danton is enrolled in university classes. He's bettering his life. He wants a degree. He isn't allowed to travel to the U.S. so therefore, him using the AUS as a stepping stone back into pro hockey is not a realistic assumption.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Just yesterday Patrice Cormier made what I would consider a classy move:

"I fully respect the Quebec Major Junior League's decision regarding the Mikael Tam incident," Cormier said in a statement released by his Halifax-based agent Tim Cranston.

"I deeply regret the circumstances surrounding this event and wish Mikael Tam a speedy and full recovery."

Just over a week ago, Patrice Cormier laid out a vicious elbow on the Quebec Rempart's Mikael Tam. Tam was left convulsing on the ice and was taken to hospital with head trauma. The
QMJHL suspended Cormier for the rest of the season Monday.

After Cormier's statement we all thought this nasty incident had come to an end -- Patrice Cormier was going to accept his punishment from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Hold on a minute, gang.

The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies said Tuesday they will appeal the suspension.

Coach and GM Andre Tourigny calls it "excessive" and complains that if Rouyn-Noranda went the whole way in the playoffs, Cormier could serve up to 48 games.

I understand that the Huskies have been screwed in this affair.

They just gave up a boatload of high draft picks (17-year-old forwards Michael Beaudry and Alexandre Mallet, two first-round draft picks in 2010 and first- and second-round draft picks in 2012.) in return for Jordan Caron and Cormier.

But that is the risk this team took when they decided to go for a player like Patrice Cormier. They took the risk that he might do something untimely and stupid.

Many have complained that Cormier is being used as an example. GOOD. Hits to the head have to stop. And players don't appear to be getting the message. Someone needs to be made an example of.

To make matters worse, Cormier decided to change his statement slightly.

"I respect the decision of the QMJHL even if I find it too severe," Cormier told The Canadian Press.

The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies look silly. The entire hockey community knew that the QMJHL would serve Cormier no less than the rest of the season. An appeal just further drags hockey, the league, the team and Cormier through the mud.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx

Friday, January 22, 2010

Danton update.

Check out Mike Danton's first meeting with the press since news broke that he wanted to play for Saint Mary's University in Halifax:

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Good thoughts for Jean

From ::

Hockey great Jean Beliveau has suffered a stroke. CTV News has learned the Montreal Canadiens legend suffered a stroke last night and was transported to the Montreal General Hospital.

He is now in the neurological department and no further details on his condition are available at this time. However, a source tells CTV News that his life is not in danger.

A 10-time Stanley Cup champion and member of the Hockey Hall of Fame -- has been named an honourary Team Canada member and honourary captain of Canada's 2010 Men's Olympic Hockey Team.

Béliveau spent his entire 20-season NHL career as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, recording 1,219 points in 1,125 games. He retired from the NHL following the 1970-71 season and never had the chance to represent Canada in international competition. The first major international event involving NHL superstars was in 1972, when Canada and Russia met in the Summit Series. The IIHF World Championship did not allow professionals to participate until 1977.

"It's unbelievable to think of some of the players who never had the chance to represent Canada in international play," says Bob Nicholson, president and CEO of Hockey Canada. "Today, we bring a new member onto the Team Canada roster. It's about time we see the great Jean Béliveau in a Team Canada sweater."

Béliveau was honoured at a press conference in Montreal, as part of the Hockey Canada Foundation gala and golf fundraiser. Serge Savard and Yvan Cournoyer, honourary chairmen of the 2009 Hockey Canada Foundation gala, presented Béliveau with a Team Canada jersey, with Béliveau's name and customary No. 4 on the back.

Monday, January 18, 2010

If I were the NJ Devils I'd be a little concerned...

Patrice Cormier has never been a particularly disciplined hockey player.

But in the past two months, it's getting downright unimpressive.

Rewind to December 2009 at the World Juniors. Despite wearing the captain's C, Cormier took several extremely dumb penalties in the preliminary exhibition round.

Including an elbow on Sweden's Anton Rodin leaving him with a bloody nose. Didn't Canadians hang Jack Johnson out to dry when he did that exact thing to Steve Downie in the 2006 World Juniors?

Sure, in this case it was prelims, but an elbow's an elbow.

These games are supposed to be treated like a real game. And leading by taking, untimely, dumb, retaliatory penalties is no way to lead.

Fast forward to yesterday afternoon's game in Rouyn-Noranda. Before you hit play on the video below, a warning: it's ugly. It's real ugly. The hit occurs just after the 1 minute mark.

The hit on Quebec Remparts defenseman Mikael Tam occurred in overtime. There was no immediate provocation. No reason to throw up an elbow into someone's face. Cormier had just come off the bench.

If you keep watching, Tam was convulsing on the ice. He was eventually taken off the ice on a stretcher. He's in hospital in stable condition, however he has trauma to his skull and brain and lost several teeth.

For what?

Seriously Cormier, Keep. your. bows. down.

The QMJHL released a brief statement on the brutal hit Monday, "The incident which occurred during yesterday's game between the Quebec Remparts and the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and which involved Patrice Cormier and Mikael Tam is under review by QMJHL authorities."

Quebec Rempart coach Patrick Roy filed a complaint with Quebec Provincial Police, and really, I don't blame him. His son was taken through the legal system after his fight, and I would consider this much worse. (edit: despite reports in the Canadian Press that say Roy was the one to file the complaint, reports are now that a representative with the team say no one from the team initiated the complaint, they only provided statements)

This Cormier elbow is sickening on so many levels. I have never been so discouraged about the game of hockey as now," said TSN's Bob MacKenzie on his Twitter account.

Quite frankly I think Cormier should be out for the rest of the season -- Including playoffs.

I would think this is a very likely outcome as well. Considering the precident the OHL set in November when they suspended 20-year-old Michael Liambas of the Erie Otters for the entire season.

It's incredible that Cormier would risk such a fate on something as dumb as an elbow to the face, especially considering what the Huskies gave up in trading for Cormier and Jordan Caron (17-year-old forwards Michael Beaudry and Alexandre Mallet, two first-round draft picks in 2010 and first- and second-round draft picks in 2012.)

Cormier is a New Jersey Devils prospect, and I'm sure they're wondering if a tiger can change its stripes.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx

Friday, January 15, 2010

Your Friday haha.

Nothing to do with hockey but whatever. Jimmy Fallon does Neil Young singing "Pants on the Ground"

If this isn't funny, head here:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mike Danton is coming to town.

Merry freaking Christmas Halifax media.

Remember Mike Danton?

He was the guy who played for the St. Louis Blues who sorta, kinda, almost committed murder... well it was indirect really... clearly a smooth dude, he unknowingly hired a cop instead of a real hitman in a murder-for-hire plot against his agent and former coach David Frost. Of course some didn't really see a problem with this whole plot thingy after Frost was convicted of 12 counts of sexual exploitation related to acts on three females and four males between the ages of 14 and 16. I mean this guy sounds like a real Graham James (see: Sheldon Kennedy and Theoron Fluery).

Anyways, clearly when you hire a cop to murder someone you pretty much end up in jail. In 2009 he was transferred to Canadian prison where he was granted parole in September.

However, somewhere along the lines Danton is all like... oops, I actually meant to kill my dad... not David Frost. Dude, seriously? I was actually feeling kind of bad for you after hearing all that creepy stuff about Frost. (CBC's Fifth Estate did a doc on the controlling relationship Frost had over Danton. And backs up my theory this guy is another Graham James and a parasite on society.)

Okay now that you have the background. Mike Danton has decided to enroll at Saint Mary's University in Halifax. He's also going to play hockey for the Saint Mary's Huskies varsity hockey team.

"I'm very proud of the fact that Saint Mary's is standing behind this situation in the light that we are," says Saint Mary's athletic director Steve Sarty.

"I'm happy to be involved in the situation and Saint Mary's being the progressive university that we pride ourself on, has taken a very humane stance on this."

That's great, maybe this kid (not really a kid... he's 29) needs a second chance. Clearly he's been surrounded by crazy people his entire life. And really it's not like he's planning on heading back to The Show... he can't travel to the United States. And he did take correspondence courses through Queens while in the slammer.

So maybe this is just a guy trying to get his life in order.

And I guess he better, hockey coach Trevor Steinburg said it's good for him to have a second chance... but it's also his last. So basically: Smarten the F&^%$ up and I guess I'll keep ya around if I have to.

Anyways, from what I can tell the guy is a natural at making friends, so he should be fine in his new surroundings.

For example, those in Moose Country out there, perhaps you were around for the 2000 Memorial Cup when Mr. Danton went by the name Mike Jefferson.

Remember when he strolled into Halifax, said he wanted to spear Ramzi Abid (then the CHL's second highest scorer, and a Mooseheads fan favourite) in the face.

Then went on to taunt the QMJHL by saying the CHL's leading scorer Brad Richards was basically a pussy and wouldn't last three days in the OHL.

Like, I hated Brad Richards back then. He played for the dirty ol' Rimouski Oceanic. Despite the geographical distance between Halifax and Rimouski, I would've considered them a bitter rival at the time. Annnnnd they had just swept Halifax out of the playoffs a few weeks earlier. But HEY we were hosting the Memorial Cup so we still got to go to the tea party.

Anyways, point being, despite my hatred for Rimouski and Richards, suddenly I found myself cheering for them when they weren't playing the Mooseheads.


Mike Jefferson/Danton.

Oh did I mention Richards won the tournament MVP, and Jefferson/Danton refused to shake his hand afterwards.

Have fun with THAT one SMU. I mean, you've always been known as the school who recruits for... shall we say brawn, not brain? I can only imagine how you plan to top this one.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx

Friday, January 8, 2010


Sorry about the long break here on the blog. It's been a busy month good and bad.

Let's just say I prorogued the blog.

So a lot has happened since the last post.

First of all the Olympic flame has just crossed the Ontario-Manitoba border. Wait... really? This really is taking forever. One thing I did notice is one of the torch bearers was tackled by a protestor and the newsmedia with Olympic rights (the CTVs and TSNs of the world) kind of pretended it didn't happen.

World Juniors.

There will be no second use for any time soon. The Canadian boys failed to win a sixth straight gold, losing in overtime to the Americans.

Should they have even been in overtime? Probably not.

Besides that totally awesome (sense the extreme sarcasm?) goal that Jake Allen let in, in the third period to make it 5-3... the team didn't really give him much help.

Now I cannot blame one kid. Jordan "the babyfaced assassin" Eberle came out with yet another last minute heroic (he scored with 5.4 seconds left last year in the final). Really the Oilers should just call this kid up now -- lord knows they need it.

But in all seriousness, I think the downfall of this team was a mix of format and coaching. Looking at the roster the Canadians are extremely talented. Did they play like a TEAM in the final? Sure... for about 4 minutes at the end of the game. How many times did the Canadians try to break into the US zone by skating it in, only to be foiled. More times than I care to count. In fact it's probably around the same number as the number of odd-man rushes the US players ended up with.

The Canadians never really had to play as a team to win. Their first three games were a dance, and sure they looked good. But who doesn't look good against Latvia.

Lets throw one more problem into the mix. This is the superstitious side coming out.

Coach for gold medal 1 and 2: Sutter
Coach for gold medal 3 and 4: Hartsburg
Coach for gold medal 5: Quinn

Quinn you threw off the time-space continuum of coaching. Clearly you are being of no help to the Edmonton Oilers. Perhaps coming back for your required second gold would've been the proper thing to do.

Ok enough.

The Olympic Team.

I love it.I was at work when the team was announced. There were some surprises and my colleagues balked at the idea that Patrice Bergeron was named to the team.

But in my mind you can't just take the top 12 scoring forwards, because that will get you nowhere when the other team is killing you in faceoffs and winning the battles.

Bergeron is a faceoff man, he's used in every situation in Boston, and he's not afraid to get into the corners. I can see him doing anything that the coaches ask. And I think he would work out well on a line with someone like Mike Richards.

Anyways, I like the balance of old and young. And the choice of Scott Niedermayer as captain is appropriate.

I like Canada's chances with these guys on the ice.