Hockey Headlines

Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Hockey Show - Episode 196

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, returns to the airwaves and the internet stream tonight as we chat about the major stories of the week from the hockey world. Of course, that involves a Nevada city where an announcement and a few trophies were handed out, but it also involves Buffalo, New York where we'll see a number of young players join the professional hockey ranks! The Hockey Show is all over the map tonight!

Tonight, Teebz, Beans, and TJ will venture in as three GMs looking to make 30 teams better as The Hockey Show holds its first-ever mock draft on the eve of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft from Buffalo! The only difference is that we'll make 30 picks in 30 minutes or less thanks to the time limitations of our show. Yeah, we don't get a day plus a couple of hours like the NHL does. We'll also chat about Vegas and the new team, the NHL Awards, and a few of the trades and signings made over the last few days. It's another big show as we get ready for the new crop of talent to join the NHL!

As always, we're taking your calls tonight so call us at (204) 269-8636 (269-UMFM) if you wanna get in on the discussion! Make sure you tune your radio dial in the Winnipeg region to 101.5 on your FM dial or listen live between 5:30pm and 6:30pm CT on your web-enabled device at the UMFM webpage! 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. We're talking Vegas, Buffalo, awards, and draft picks The Hockey Show only on 101.5 UMFM!

PODCAST: June 23, 2016: Episode 196

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Hunting For Books

I love reading in the summer. It's always a pleasure to sit out on the patio with a cold beverage where I can read a book in an afternoon. If there's a nice breeze, it makes for a glorious afternoon where I get lost in the words on the pages. I still have a few books at HBIC Headquarters that I need to read through and post reviews for, but I'll admit that I spend time in thrift shops and old bookstores hunting for a select few books that I'd love to add to my collection of hockey stories. While you can see the vast number of books I've had the pleasure in reviewing on the right, the list of books below are the ones that I still want to find and read at some point. Yes, my library card might even get a solid workout this summer if I can find and reserve the books online through my local library's website.

In no particular order, here is the list of books I haven't been able to find yet. I'm still hoping that I'll come across these stories at reasonable prices or for library borrowing costs - free is good! - but the list is extensive. If you've read any of these books, please give me a shout and let me know what the book was like. Or, better yet, send a review into HBIC and I'll post it!

In no particular order, here is "The List":
  • The Hockey Book by Bill Roche.
  • The Puck Starts Here by Garth Vaughan.
  • Hockey Night In Canada by Richard Gruneau and David Whitson.
  • Hockey's Captains, Colonels, and Kings by Bill Fitsell.
  • The Stick by Bruce Dowbiggin.
  • Rocket Richard by Andy O'Brien.
  • Looking Out For Number One by Dave Semenko.
  • The Hammer: Confessions of a Hockey Enforcer by Dave Schultz.
  • Net Worth by David Cruise and Alison Griffiths.
  • Zamboni Rodeo by Jason Cohen.
  • I Play to Win by Stan Mikita.
  • Hockey Dreams by David Adams Richards.
  • Breakaway by Charles Wilkins.
  • The Drubbing of Nesterenko by Hanford Woods.
  • The Good Body by Bill Gaston.
  • The Last Season by Roy MacGregor.
  • Hero of the Play by Richard Harrison.
  • My Career with the Leafs and Other Stories by Brian Fawcett.
  • Total Hockey by Dan Diamond.
  • Hockey Night in Dixie by Jon C. Stott.
  • The Hockey I Love by Vladislav Tretiak.
As you can see, there is a wide-range of topics on the list. There are autobiographies, biographies, and general writing about hockey. All of these books, however, interest me in one way or another for various reasons. For example, I would love to read The Hockey I Love by Tretiak simply to read how one of the greatest goaltenders in hockey history sees the game. I was enthralled with Tretiak's previous book (review coming soon!) so I really want to get another take on the game from the Soviet puck-stopper.

Am I missing any good hockey books that haven't been reviewed and deserve to be on the list? Throw me a line in the comments, and I'll add your suggestions to the list. Good hockey literature is always appreciated!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

TBC: Number Two

It's rare that I have two books from the same author in any given week on HBIC, but you're forgiven if you mistakenly thought it was "Jay Onrait Week" like I was some sports version of the Discovery Channel. I did say I wanted to clear out some of the books that I had read but hadn't reviewed, so let's keep rolling with another book from the sportscaster. Teebz's Book Club is proud to review Number Two, written by Jay Onrait and published by Harper Collins. As we previously saw in Anchorboy, Jay's sense of humour and storytelling ability made for some hilarious moments in his life to that point. With the sequel in Number Two, we get even more stories from Jay about his life and his experiences in his not-yet-complete journey!

Jay was grew up in Athabasca, Alberta where his appreciation for sports news broadcasting was developed watching veteran broadcasters John Wells, Chris Cuthbert, Darren Dutchyshen, and Perry Solkowski deliver their magic on TV. He attended Ryerson University where he graduated, and has worked for TSN on "The Row" before getting opportunities in Saskatoon, Winnipeg, and Los Angeles. A veteran of morning entertainment news shows and two Olympic Games broadcasts, Jay Onrait's name has become synonymous with entertaining sports news reporting. He and longtime anchor partner Dan O'Toole are often credited with changing Canadian sports broadcasting during their time on TSN's SportCentre. Jay and his wife now live in Los Angeles where he can seen nightly delivering sports news on FOX Sports 1.

Where Jay's previous tome left off, Number Two picks rigt up with the craziness that has defined both Jay's career and life. In getting to read more about Jay, it's not that he's a wild child by any means. Instead, he just appreciates a good laugh and goes about finding those moments of hilarity in very unconventional means. There are dozens of examples of Jay's pursuit of finding those hilarious moments in Number Two, and you won't be disappointed with this set of stories.

In Number Two, we learn of how Jay and Dan got to the Sochi Olympics despite Fox Sports not having any Olympic rights to broadcast the Games. The experiences that Jay and his cohorts go through in Sochi are quite unique, and Jay waves a few tales of some of the funnier moments in Russia that he encountered. Jay also tells a story of a meeting with Jay-Z, getting a medical marijuana card in California, almost getting banned from the former Northlands Coliseum in the early 1990s, and, of course, more crazy stories about his rather delicate stomach. Number Two might be the most appropriate title with the amount of poop stories I've read from Jay Onrait!

There was a story told by Jay that involves a little bit of a legend in the television business in Canada. Toronto's MuchMusic developed an interesting concept called "Speakers' Corner" where patrons could deposit a dollar into the video booth for charity, and would be allowed to rant about any topic they liked for about 30 seconds. There was always this myth about Speakers' Corner that the camera actually was on all the time - it didn't matter if you made a donation, it recorded everything. Jay Onrait, as it turns out, can confirm that this was true!
"The projector turned on and a title graphic appeared on the screen that said "The Best of Speakers' Corner: City/Much Christmas Party Edition." This could be fun, I thought. I was ready to hear clip after clip of hilarious would-be comedians going off about issues in their life using language too obscene for television. Turns out I was selling the whole operation a bit short. There weren't really any rants to be seen, other than the occasional homeless person who had decided to sleep in the booth for the night and wasn't happy about the smell in the tiny confined space. For the most part "The Best of Speakers' Corner" featured a plethora of unspeakable sex acts in a tiny, confined, and rather filthy booth."
For those kids who grew up in the 1990s and always wanted to visit Speakers' Corner in Toronto, there's the seedy underbelly of what was a TV phenomenon for the better part of a decade. I won't reveal the details of what Jay saw - that's why you should pick up Number Two! - but to say that Speakers' Corner was a place you'd want to sit and rant about your life is entirely something to reconsider.

Number Two continues with Jay's excellent writing and hilarious stories of a man who has found a niche in the sportscasting world. He has seen and done enough in his 40-some years on this planet to probably have a made-for-TV movie about his life, but he's written two incredible books about these experiences for us to enjoy. Again, like Anchorboy, Number Two has some PG-rated stories so it's probably best for teenagers and up to read these stories. However, I found myself laughing at Jay's crazy antics like a six year-old again, and this is definitely his bread and butter with these books. Because of the funny stories and general craziness found on the 256 pages of the book, Number Two absolutely deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

Find Number Two at all major bookstores and possibly at your local library. For a kid from Athabasca who wanted to run the family pharmacy, Jay Onrait is doing alright in the world of broadcasting!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 20 June 2016

The New Savior?

There has been a vast number of people who have lamented the goaltending situation in Toronto over the last couple years with most pointing the finger directly at Jonathan Bernier. It was expected that the Leafs would continue the slow build as they looked to find some magic in the NHL Entry Draft and on the free agent market, but GM Lou Lamoriello decided to pull the trigger on a major move when he acquired Frederik Andersen from the Anaheim Ducks in a rather surprising trade, and then followed it up by signing the restricted free agent to a five year, $25 million contract. After having brought in goaltenders of all types and abilities in the last decade, is Frederik Andersen the long-awaited answer in between the pipes for the blue-and-white?

The move, on the surface, made little sense once Andersen signed the contract to make him a Leaf for the next five seasons. The Leafs already had a goaltender making $4.15 million per season who was eating starter minutes, but it was clear that head coach Mike Babcock wanted more out of Bernier last season who, in his defence, played behind a fantastically horrific defence. It appears that Bernier will become the most expensive backup netminder in the NHL this season with this move which may have left a few people scratching their heads.

This move seemed rushed in a rebuild that was promised to be long and hard for fans to stomach. The Leafs, despite their best efforts, will not win a Stanley Cup next season and may not even qualify for the playoffs. This is a franchise that has run through names like Raycroft, Toskala, and Reimer with no success despite these goalies' previous successes in various forms, and Bernier can be added to that list. However, Toronto hasn't iced a team with a solid blue line for a few seasons now, and it could be argued that they haven't had a legitimate top pairing of defencemen since the turn of the millennium. It's hard for the last line of defence to be stellar when they are often the only line of defence keeping the Leafs in games.

Andersen will certainly see a different type of game in Toronto after coming out of Anaheim where he found success under Bruce Boudreau's system. Anaheim is putting their stock into John Gibson at this point, and carrying two young goalies who both want starter minutes is a difficult situation when it comes to free agent value. The easiest thing for Anaheim to do was to move one of their young netminders, and Andersen was the piece that deemed expendable. That's entirely their choice, and Toronto was able to pry Andersen away from Anaheim for less than a king's bounty.

In Toronto, however, the Leafs will pose a major problem when it comes to Andersen's stats. They are, statistically, on the lower echelon of NHL teams, and we saw Jonathan Bernier's stats fall from where they once were in Los Angeles. I'd expect the same trend to happen with Andersen for the next few seasons until the Leafs have cobbled together a half-decent set of defencemen who can actually defend fairly well.

The other odd thing that this trade presents is that the Leafs will have Andersen under contract and, presumably, protected once the Las Vegas expansion draft gets the green light. Bernier, though, becomes a free agent in the summer of 2017, though, meaning he can't be the goaltender that the Leafs expose to the Vegas NHL team when the draft takes place. That means that Antoine Bibeau or Garret Sparks would be exposed, and that makes little sense when one considers that those two are the future netminders of the Leafs... or so they thought. So why make this deal for Andersen now when it seems there was no need for it at this juncture?

"The opportunity of acquiring him came now," Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello told Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star. "This will help the growth of our young players with the tandem of Freddie and Bernie."

"Help the growth"? Is that for real? After all the whining and crying over how poorly Bernier seemed to play last season, this is the line that Lamoriello delivers as his justification for making what seems to be a rather unnecessary move at this point in the rebuild?

He then went on record and anointed Andersen the starting netminder for the Maple Leafs. "I think that he has to know that he's our No. 1 goaltender and that the support is there, the confidence is there and the commitment's there," Lamoriello said on the conference call.

Geez, no pressure there, eh?

As it stands, Andersen will fall into one of two buckets when all is said and done. The first contains names like Joseph, Belfour, Bower, and Sawchuk. The other contains the names of Toskala, Raycroft, Fuhr, Ing, and, as of now, Bernier. The former are the guys whose play between the pipes elevated this team to higher ground than they would have reached without them. The latter are those who were thrown to the wolves with little protection and asked to deliver salvation for 50 years of failure.

Welcome to a whole new world, Frederik Andersen.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

TBC: Anchorboy

I decided to do some domestic work today as HBIC Headquarters needed some re-arranging and organizing. Yes, I know it's Father's Day, but some previous engagements have forced the family to push our celebration into next week. Thanks to the extra time, I was re-arranging a number of things to create some much needed room, and I came across a few books I should have reviewed a long time ago on here. Without further adieu, Teebz's Book Club is proud and honoured to review Anchorboy, written by Jay Onrait and published by Harper Collins. For those that aren't aware of who Jay Onrait is, he's a very successful sports news anchor on FOX Sports 1, formerly of SportsCentre fame on TSN. Anchorboy is an autobiographical look at Jay Onrait's life including how he got started in television and his moves between stations and provinces on his way to TV success.

Jay was grew up in Athabasca, Alberta where his appreciation for sports news broadcasting was developed watching veteran broadcasters John Wells, Chris Cuthbert, Darren Dutchyshen, and Perry Solkowski deliver their magic on TV. He attended Ryerson University where he graduated, and has worked for TSN on "The Row" before getting opportunities in Saskatoon, Winnipeg, and Los Angeles. A veteran of morning entertainment news shows and two Olympic Games broadcasts, Jay Onrait's name has become synonymous with entertaining sports news reporting. He and longtime anchor partner Dan O'Toole are often credited with changing Canadian sports broadcasting during their time on TSN's SportCentre. Jay and his wife now live in Los Angeles where he can seen nightly delivering sports news on FOX Sports 1.

Anchorboy is a hilarious retrospect at the career that Jay Onrait has made up to 2013 when this book was published. Jay includes everything in his autobiographical examination of his life, some of which includes the words "poop", "feces", and "vomit". Honestly, the chapter where he describes a Christmas dinner event had me laughing like a six year-old me. There's no denying that Onrait has an ability to entertain!

I found it interesting to see how Jay Onrait's career started and some the advice he took that, in the end, paid off in a big way for him. Anchorboy really shows that the power of networking, hard work, and creativity can take you to places that a resumé can't. That's not to say that Jay Onrait's body of work doesn't stand on its own, but his outgoing personality, creativity that bordered on insanity, and his ability to inject humour into situations have won over viewers and broadcasting colleagues throughout his career.

A lot of people wondered when Jay Onrait became the crazy and zany Jay Onrait we know from SportsCentre, and I maintain that he showed flashes of it while working for A-Channel's The Big Breakfest while in Winnipeg. However, there's a section in the book where Jay notes that he finally got his shot on SportsCentre with Jennifer Hedger where he decided to be the hilarious Jay Onrait that we know today. He writes,
"Now I was hosting with Jennifer every day and loving it. She and I were about the same age, we got along great, and we had the same sense of humour. I knew, however, that Jen was just starting to make a huge splash on the Canadian sports broadcasting scene and that if I was to work with her for several years, I was destined to be the 'guy next to the beautiful blonde on SportsCentre.' It was time to let my personality come out and do the show the way I had always wanted: with a mix of absurd humour and spontaneity, the same attributes I had admired in David Letterman all those years ago. I was going to change sportscasting, not necessarily for the better, and not overnight, but I was going to leave my mark."
Jay certainly did leave his mark. When Dan O'Toole joined the desk, TSN found a duo who enjoyed throwing pop culture and craziness into sportscasts. Along with Producer Tim who saved the pair's bacon more than a couple of times, the Pacific time zone/early morning broadcasts of SportsCentre became must-see-TV moments.
A lot of the moments you watched above are captured in Anchorboy with Jay explaining the meanings and where the ideas came from in detail. All that was missing was a traditional "BOBROVSKY!" in the clips, and we'd have Jay's career pinned down in about ten minutes! In short, Jay's brand of comedy made him a favorite in many Canadian households and, after his move to the United States, those that have FOX Sports 1 in the lower 48!

Anchorboy is a funny, entertaining autobiography from TV personality and sportscaster Jay Onrait that definitely deserves a read if you need a good summer yarn! Jay does use some language in his tales that would certainly rank it as a PG-rated book, but I'd say that the 264-page tome is suitable for teenagers and up. Be prepared to chuckle and/or giggle like an adolescent by, though, because Jay Onrait's life has a lot of stuff that would make them crack up! Because of the humour and entertaining self-deprecation shown by Jay Onrait, Anchorboy is absolutely deserving of the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

Find Anchorboy at your local library or bookstore, and enjoy the wild ride that Jay Onrait takes you through his life!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!