Thursday, 14 December 2017

The Hockey Show - Episode 273

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is back with a busy show tonight as we get caught up on everything after having Josh Green and Taylor Woods on the show, and after being out in Shilo, Manitoba for a show! I literally have three pages of notes for all the major hockey stories happening in the news right now, so you know we're gonna motor our way through them while hitting on all the key points in the discussions. We already have a community event appearance booked for the new year, we have a special show next week with a special guest, and we'll fill you in on both tonight on the show! We have an hour of time and a bazillion things to go over, so make sure you tune in to see if we can actually squeeze it all in!

The International Olympic Committee, the Russian Olympic Committee, and the KHL have all ruled in what they're going to do with respect to the upcoming 2018 Pyeonchang Olympic Games, so we'll go over all the fallout over that as there was more news broken this week about Russia. We have an update on Brandon Reid and his Aalborg Pirates as they go into the holiday break in Denmark. We'll talk about the Jets slapping the taste out of the Canucks' mouths earlier this week, and their upcoming schedule prior to the holiday break. We'll talk about the Manitoba Moose being second-overall in the AHL and why this weekend is so important. We'll highlight your Manitoba Bisons women's hockey team who are ranked as the number-one team in the nation, and we'll talk about the Bisons men's team who finished their first-half strong. The World Junior Championship preparations have begun, so we'll do a quick chat about that. And we have thank yous and announcements to go over that should take us through the hour! Again, it's show jam-packed with all the good stuff from the The Hockey Show that you've come to expect, so join us for another hour this week, won't you?

Ok, so how do I check this show out, you ask? We suggest that you download the UMFM app on your phone or tablet. It's the easiest and most convenient way to listen to any of UMFM's great shows any time of the day, so go get it! Just follow this link on your iDevice or this link for your Android device and get the UMFM app! It's never been easier to tune into The Hockey Show or UMFM! Download the UMFM app today, and don't miss any of our great programming or shows! Of course, you can do the radio thing at 101.5 on the FM dial and you can always listen online via the UMFM website!

If you prefer social media, we try to remain up-to-speed there as well! Email all show questions and comments to hockeyshow@umfm.com! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show.

Tonight, we talk Russia, the Olympics, the KHL, the Pirates, the Jets, the Moose, the Bisons, the World Juniors, and more on The Hockey Show found only on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM app!

PODCAST: December 14, 2017: Episode 273

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Pure Torts

Best. Presser. Ever.

Is there anyone who doesn't love John Tortorella in Columbus? He's become a softer, gentler, less angry Torts compared to what he used to be like, but this press conference is entirely what I expect from John Tortorella after a 7-2 thrashing at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers. Short, sweet, to the point without the swearing, cussing, cursing, ranting, and raving that we probably would have seen a decade ago from John Tortorella.

Keep up the great work, Torts! These kinds of press conferences make hockey fun!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Banned From The Party

The image to the left of the Russian players celebrating a win over Germany during the preliminary round of the 2014 Sochi Olympics will have six less players if they happen to win a game at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. The International Olympic Committee announced today that six players of the Russian women's hockey team have been banned for life for being involved in the state-wide doping scandal at the 2014 Olympics. It's a significant blow to any team when it loses a quarter of the team, but a few of the players who were officially banned for life are key members of the Russian team.

The six players who were banned by the IOC today includes captain, leading scorer, and four-time Olympian Yekaterina Smolentseva, Inna Dyubanok, Yekaterina Lebedeva, Yekaterina Pashkevich, Anna Shibanova, and Galina Skiba. Further to the ban of the six players, a statement on the IOC website reads, "The Russian Team is disqualified from the Women's Ice Hockey Event and the International Ice Hockey Federation is requested to modify the results of the event accordingly."

Wow. The IOC is finally showing some teeth! So it's time to ask what this all means.

First, the statement, "The six athletes are declared ineligible to be accredited in any capacity for all editions of the Games of the Olympiad and the Olympic Winter Games subsequent to the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014" is pretty clear in stating that the six athletes are no longer welcome at any and all future Olympiads in any capacity that requires accreditation. That includes coaching had any of these women had the aspiration to move into that role once their playing days ended, as any part of the delegation of the Russian women's hockey team, or as any part of the Russian Olympic Committee. Ouch.

Second, the "Russian Team" that was disqualified was the 2014 Sochi Olympic team, and any points or standings improvement they received under the IIHF's watch would be removed. This could have major effects on the Russian team as the IIHF qualified the Russian squad for the Olympics based on their 2016 World Ranking which is calculated from their finishes at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games and the 2013 to 2016 World Championships. Russia finished in sixth-place at the 2014 Winter Olympics so I suspect there shouldn't be too much upheaval in the world rankings, but the IIHF will have to recalculate and see what happens. As you can see to the upper-right, Russia jumped up two spots to surpass Sweden. Would there be enough movement to bump Sweden into the top pool at the Olympics and push Russia down to Group B?

We'll have to wait and see what the IIHF figures out regarding the calculation of the rankings as this could potentially change the fortunes of both the Russian and Swedish teams. According to the IIHF website, the calculations for the world rankings are made as per the following rules,
The team that wins the IIHF World Championship gold medal or the Olympic gold medal receives 1200 points. In general, there is a 20-point interval between two ranked positions (for example, 880 points for the 13th place and 860 points for the 14th place). As an exception to this principle there is a 40-point interval between gold and silver, silver and bronze, the 4th and 5th position and between the 8th and 9th position in the top division. The reason for the larger intervals for these positions is to give teams a bonus for reaching the quarter-finals, the semi-finals, the final and for winning the gold medal. (The bonus formula can be changed with any alterations to the playing format).

To enable the ranking to accurately reflect current form, the greatest importance is given to results of the last year's competition. To a lesser degree, attention is also paid to results from previous years. The system uses a four-year cycle as the points earned in one year decline linearly within the next 3 years and in the 5th year results are dropped from the calculation altogether.

Example: Value of the gold medal
Year 1: 100% value = 1200 points
Year 2: 75% value = 900 points
Year 3: 50% value = 600 points
Year 4: 25% value = 300 points
Year 5: 0% value = 0 points
Where this will get foggy in terms of the algebra and calculus that the IIHF uses is that the Russians lost in the quarterfinals in Sochi whereas the Swedes lost in the semifinals. However, as the rules state above, there's a bonus for making the various levels of the medal round that the Russians will now forfeit entirely by being disqualified from the tournament. Will it be a 55-point swing? We'll find out soon as the IIHF makes its adjustments based on the findings of the IOC today. What will matter is that if the changes result in the Russians losing more than 55 points in the world rankings, Sweden would join Canada, the US, and Finland in Group A while Russia - er, the Olympic Athletes from Russia - would drop to Group B and have to finish in the top-two of that pool to advance to the medal round. Ouch.

In any event, doping is not only affecting the six cheaters listed above, but it could affect the entire Russian women's hockey program if they lose standing in the world rankings and get bumped down to Group B. That's a harsh reality for these women to face, but it's what they deserve after Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov told The New York Times in 2016 that "[t]he entire women's hockey team was doping throughout the Games."

Cheaters never win, folks. Don't be a dope by doping at the Olympics.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 11 December 2017

The Next Wave

Hockey Canada is preparing itself for another tournament that will happen from January 3rd to 6th, 2018 in Füssen, Germany at the 2018 Nations Cup. Canada will join the national teams from Finland, Germany, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland over the four-day tournament, but Canada, as it has done in the past, will send the next wave of potential female hockey stars as they look to continue their ascent towards becoming Canadian icons. Most of these players took part in the Canadian National Development Camp held over the summer, and these women should be on your radar for the coming years as they represent Canada's female hockey future!

"Following a very successful summer camp where we had the opportunity to play teams from U SPORTS and Japan, we continued to evaluate players as they embarked on regular season action with their club teams to come to this group of players who will represent Canada at the Nations Cup," said Gina Kingsbury, a two-time Olympic gold-medallist for Canada in women's hockey and the current director of national women's team programs for Hockey Canada. "These players are part of the up-and-coming Canadian talent that we are tracking as we look towards next year's IIHF Women's World Championship and beyond to the 2022 Games. To be able to provide opportunities for them to play high-level, international events like the Nations Cup is invaluable for them as players, and for us as a management group as we continue to build our pipeline to Canada's National Women’s Team."

Well said, Miss Kingsbury. There has been a concern leading into the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Games that Canada's core players were starting to hit the downward slope of their careers. There's always a question in terms of where the next wave of talent will come from, and we're seeing a good mix of players on this roster who could certainly push for roster spots come 2022 in Beijing.

With that being said, here is your Canadian roster for the 2018 Nations Cup!
  • F Lindsay Agnew - University of Minnesota.
  • F Victoria Bach - Boston University.
  • F Ashton Bell - University of Minnesota-Duluth.
  • F Loren Gabel - Clarkson University.
  • F Rebecca Leslie - Boston University.
  • F Emma Maltais - Ohio State University.
  • F Hannah Miller - St. Lawrence University.
  • F Kristin O'Neill - Cornell University.
  • F Éve-Audrey Picard - University of Vermont.
  • F Amy Potomak - Hockey Canada.
  • F Sophie Shirley - Calgary Inferno (CWHL).
  • F Brooke Stacey - University of Maine.
  • D Jamie Bourbonnais - Cornell University.
  • D Codie Cross - Northeastern University.
  • D Jess Healey - University of Minnesota-Duluth.
  • D Allie Munroe - Syracuse University.
  • D Josiane Pozzebon - Clarkson University.
  • D Ella Shelton - Clarkson University.
  • D Kaitlin Tse - Harvard University.
  • G Marlène Boissonnault - Cornell University.
  • G Tricia Deguire - McGill University (U SPORTS).
There are some absolute stars-to-be on this team, and you're going to find that at least four or five of these women will most likely be on the Canadian Olympic roster in 2022. Those five should include Amy Potomak, Victoria Bach, Sophie Shirley, Rebecca Leslie, and Loren Gabel. There may be more, but these five are absolutely tearing up their respective leagues in scoring right now, and that's something for which the Olympic team is always on the hunt.

Victoria Bach has 23 goals and 17 assists in just 19 games with Boston University this season. In the month of November alone, she tallied an incredible 21 points and 13 goals while finding chemistry with long-time friend and teammate Rebecca Leslie whom she has known since playing youth hockey in Ottawa.

Sophie Shirley is leading the CWHL's Calgary Inferno in scoring this season at the tender age of 18. Her four goals and five assists may not sound impressive to lead a first-place team, but she has yet to play an NCAA game in her life. To make the jump to the professional league from her time at a prep hockey academy and have the success she's having is something about which very few players - male or female - can boast.

As stated above, Rebecca Leslie has seen her stats explode as her and Victoria Bach rekindled some chemistry as linemates. Leslie currently has 15 goals and 21 assists in 19 games, and she has been the other half of the lethal duo that Boston University sends out to terrorize their opponents. In her fourth year at the school, Leslie has never scored less than 14 goals or 31 points, so Leslie has shown an incredible offensive talent during her time in the NCAA.

Loren Gabel is having another outstanding season at Clarkson where she's potted 15 goals and added 20 helpers in 21 goals. She has never scored less than 18 goals in any of her three seasons - extrapolating for this season, of course - and had career highs of 22 goals and 20 assists last year. She's a point-per-game player in the NCAA, and that's always something that will get a player on a Hockey Canada roster.

Amy Potomak, as you may recall, was playing with Hockey Canada's Olympic squad prior to being released from the evaluation. It was thought that Potomak would return to the University of Minnesota, but it's clear that Hockey Canada wants to keep her in the loop. Potomak is an outstanding scorer, and she'll be counted on as a leader for this Team Canada squad.

Canada is always a favorite at the Nations Cup, having won 11 gold medals in the following years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2016. Canada will warm-up for this tournament against the Austrian national team on December 30 before celebrating New Year's Eve in the Alps. Not a bad way to usher in the new year! We'll see if they can bring home the first gold medal of 2018 for Hockey Canada!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 10 December 2017

These Bars Are From Mars

I have to admit that I'm not much of a candy guy. In saying this, I had a large amount of the fun-sized Mars Bars kicking around in a box sitting atop my fridge from Halloween for which I simply had no use. The "best before" date was approaching, and I'm not one to waste money or food by throwing something out when there's absolutely nothing wrong with said food. In not being a candy guy, though, I needed a recipe for these Mars Bars to turn them from their bite-sized chocolate pieces into something else. I think I may have found a recipe that almost anyone can use!

This recipe comes from Genius Kitchen so I can't take credit for coming up with it, but kudos to whomever did because it's fast, easy, and there's almost no ingredients in turning these Mars Bars into Rice Krispie squares!

Ingredients

4 regular-sized Mars Bars or 20 fun-sized Mars Bars
1/2 cup of butter
3 cups of Rice Krispies
1 cup of chocolate chips (optional)
1 cup of chopped nuts (optional)

That might be one of the easiest list of ingredients to assemble! So let's get to making these Rice Krispie squares!

Directions

Melt the butter and Mars Bars over medium-low heat in a large saucepan until smooth for about ten minutes. Make sure you stir often in order not to burn the chocolate or caramel! Remove from the heat once the mixture is smooth, and stir in the Rice Krispies and chopped nuts (f included). While the recipe recommends pressing it into a greased pan, I opted not to use a greased pan as it seemed there was ample moisture in the Rice Krispie mixture. I'll let you decide on how you want to navigate this step.

If you're using the chocolate chips, top the pan of Rice Krispie mix with the chocolate chips and place under a broiler for thirty seconds until the chips melt. Remove from the pan from oven and spread the chocolate evenly over squares. In my photo below, you'll see I opted not to go with the chocolate topping. Place the pan in the fridge in order to have the chocolate harden in the mixture and, if applicable, atop the mixture. Serve when ready.

And the end result?
They taste like Mars Bars, but have the texture of a Rice Krispie square! Ok, that seems like a Captain Obvious statement, but they're like a crispy Mars Bar! They taste so good - as seen in the missing row of Rice Krispie squares - and they came out of the pan quite nicely without the added grease. Overall, I'll definitely make these again!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!