Hockey Headlines

Friday, 31 August 2007

The Rangers Hate The Sutters

If the New York Rangers were looking to ramp up the rivalry between themselves and the New Jersey Devils, they should look no further than the Canada-Russia Super Series that's going on. Canada has dominated the first two games, aside from the opening minutes of Game One. Physically, they have hammered the Russians with their aggressive play, and this is a Sutter-coached team trait.

However, the Rangers may also have another reason to be unhappy with the Sutters. Brent's son, Brandon, ended Alexei Cherepanov's Super Series with a monster check in the defensive zone in Game Two. Cherepanov will miss the remainder of the series with a concussion, and that can't make Rangers' GM Glen Sather very happy.



Now, granted, the hit by Sutter was a charging penalty, and he did spend two minutes in the penalty box for the hit. However, if you're a Rangers' fan, this may get you a little steamed. Brandon Sutter is a Carolina Hurricanes prospect, so the Rangers could get a healthy dose of Sutters next year. It will feel like the early 1990s all over again along the east coast.

Seeing as how Canada won Game Three by a 6-2 margin, it appears that the Russians may be running out of steam and running out of bodies. The Russian team is also saying forward Egor Averin is out for the remainder of the series. There's also a report that Artem Anisimov of the Rangers may be done for the series after he and Colton Gillies of Canada got tangled up. Two Rangers prospects have gone down already, one of which was expected to challenge for a roster spot.

If you're a New York Rangers fan, get used to this kind of treatment at the hands of the team from down the turnpike. Brent Sutter will have his team motivated while playing hard-hitting, uptempo hockey. It's the only way he knows the game, and the New Jersey Devils will be a reflection of him.

I'm looking forward to an exciting Atlantic Division this year. Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, the New York Rangers, and New Jersey should all provide many highlights on nights they play. Perhaps even more highlights when they play each other.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Jerseys, Juniors, And Garters

Being that today was August 29, there was another unveiling. The Vancouver Canucks showed off their new jerseys and tweaked their logo, as shown to the left. As you may know, I had written a previous article entitled Freeing Willy about the Canucks and the search for leaked images of their new duds. In that article, I had linked to an article written by Jim Jamieson in The Province about the Canucks' new look. He had suggested several changes to the Canucks' look, so I'll review these here.

Mr. Jamieson had written:

- "the new look will retain the Free Willy logo, but with fewer colours and Vancouver spelled in an arc out over the top of it. The same source said the 'hockey-stick-in-rink logo' that is the Canucks' original and adorned the team's retro-jersey will be used as shoulder patches, but with some modifications".

- "[i]t's expected the main colours will be changed to the lighter blue and green of the aforementioned retro-jersey".

I'd say that Mr. Jamieson was dead-on with his analysis of the Canucks' new jerseys. In fact, I would consider his analysis to be accurate to the point of him breaking the gag order, but that's not for me to decide.

In any case, here's my take. First, I suspect that not many people know that the Canucks are from Vancouver. In fact, the Canucks must have done research and found out that people in Vancouver don't know that the Canucks represent their city. Why else would you include the city's name on both the home jersey and the road jersey? Nashville only put it on the road jersey. Is Vancouver trying to say that they're better by putting it on both? It's twice as dumb in this case.

Secondly, I don't mind the lack of colours in the new Canucks logo. However, the old logo simply wasn't as bland and boring. While I realize that the blue-logo-on-blue-jersey may not work, the white portion of the "C" looks terrible. The thing I don't understand is that if the retro jersey was such a hot seller, why not swap the stick-in-rink logo with the Orca Bay logo on the front? Why not put the Orca Bay logo on the shoulder? Willie Mitchell is wondering the same thing.

Finally, the last thing that bothered me was the proximity of the word "Vancouver" to the captain's "C" on Markus Naslund's jersey. After hearing about how Detroit couldn't have the "C" on the right side due to the seams and the closeness to the logo, it appears Vancouver said "screw it" and did what they wanted. Is there no uniformity between the uniforms this season? Is this a Brave New NHL World?

It's not all bad, though. I am fan of the retro Canucks jerseys, so this colour scheme works for me. The stripes are traditional and look good on the new jerseys as well. The Canucks also tweaked the font on the back of the jerseys, but it doesn't take away from the jerseys at all. It's more modern, and it looks alright.

Much like Tampa Bay's new jersey, these fall somewhere in the middle of the pack. They are not outstanding, but they are not horrible. The traditional elements of the jerseys will push the value of the new look of the Canucks up, and tradition is always good on this blog.

In other news:

- Team Canada has improved to 2-0 against the Russian youngsters in the Super Series. Standouts so far include goalies Steve Mason (CBJ) and Jonathan Bernier (LAK), forwards Stefan Legein (CBJ), Kyle Turris (PHO), and Brandon Sutter (CAR). Also to be noted is the penalty killing unit of the Canadians which has held the Russians to zero goals on 19 attempts, including two 5-on-3 powerplays. Game three of the eight game series goes Friday at 8am ET from Omsk, Russia.

- I'm not sure how much you can love a hockey team, but in spending some time on Ebay today, I came across something that the most-devoted woman could ever want. I thought maybe Elly of No Pun Intended would be the only woman to want Pittsburgh Penguins garters for her wedding, but I could be wrong. Care to watch Hockey Night In Canada on your wedding night? I didn't think so. I didn't bid on them either.

- A big thank you is going out to The Yankee Canuck. I think, thanks to all the hockey fans searching for leaked Canucks' jerseys, I might have scored about 250 page hits in the last month due to his linking me on his blog. So I say, with the utmost respect and appreciation of the link, thank you. I appreciate the link, and certainly look forward to writing more articles that mat be linkable.

The next official unveiling is Calgary on September 4. Once they've unveiled their new jerseys, I'll do a recap on all of them again.

Until then, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Middle Of The Pack

As you can see to the left, the Tampa Bay Lightning rolled out their new logo and jerseys today. While I'm not overly thrilled with the new jerseys, they certainly aren't bad. The logo feels a little too simplistic for me, but it appears that the majority of the teams are cutting down on the thread counts in their logos. As we see more and more jerseys rolled out, it appears that teams are being grouped together in terms of their designs: Original Six are traditional jersey designs, while the first expansion teams in Ottawa and Tampa Bay have templates that are somewhat similar. In any case, here's are Tampa Bay's new jerseys.

Tampa Bay decided to change their primary logo. The old logo had an unfinished circle in it, and the two different fonts were questionable. Also, the Lightning had a bolt of lightning on their logo, and the word "Lightning" beside it as an example of redundancy. The Lightning's updated primary logo now looks like this. Not a huge improvement, but at least the redundancy is gone.

In looking at the jerseys, I'm not overly fond of the new looks. The white road jersey looks far too white. It's almost like one of those ridiculous pink fashion jerseys. Missing are the shoulder yokes that the Lightning used to wear, and the contrasting colours of the yokes made the jersey look much less plain than these new ones. The home jerseys suffer the same fate as the road jerseys in that they're missing the shoulder yokes as well.

The missing stripes on the jersey hemlines give the new blank jerseys a very empty feeling if it has no name or number on the reverse. The home jersey does nothing to help this problem either. As can be seen, the Lightning's font will continued to be used. The questionable move is on the front of the jerseys. Why are there only numbers on the front of the road jerseys? Is this like Nashville's placement of the word "Nashville" on the front of their road jerseys? The uniforms are supposed to be UNIFORM. Isn't that the whole idea?

One thing that the Lightning did keep from their previous look was the armpit striping that made their jerseys unique before. Despite the jerseys being a template for all 30 NHL teams, it's nice to see some of the NHL teams keeping with what made their jerseys unique in the first place.

I am happy that the Lightning broke free from copying their Florida cousins, the Panthers, in not having piping on their jersey. The apron look would have been ridiculous on the white jerseys, not unlike the Predators look.

The Lightning end up somewhere in the middle of the pack with these jerseys. Not overly great, but certainly not Islanders or Kings bad.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 24 August 2007

Elite Vs. Elite

I had decided to wait on posting anything about the upcoming Canada-Russia Super Series until it was finally upon us. Well, it is upon us with the eight-game series starting on Monday in Ufa, Russia. If this series turns out to be anything like the recent World Junior Championships, it should be fast-paced and exciting. But to be honest, should we expect anything else from the best players from the most successful hockey countries to play the game of hockey?

Both teams are fielding rosters in what could be called "the NHL of the future". The Russians have 12 NHL-drafted players, plus four players eligible for the 2008 draft, playing in the series. Canada has 22 NHL-drafted players, plus three players eligible for the 2008 draft and one player eligible for the 2009 draft, playing in the series.

A few Russians to keep an eye on in this series are goaltender Semen Varlamov (WAS), forwards Alexei Cherepanov (NYR), and youngster Kirill Petrov (2008 draft). Cherepanov will attract a lot of attention from the Canadians and scouts. Varlamov will also be watched closely by scouts as he is predicted to be the next goaltending sensation in Washington once Olaf Kolzig retires.

The Canadians to watch will be forwards Sam Gagner (EDM), Colton Gillies (MIN), and wonderkid John Tavares (2009 draft). Unfortunately, Angelo Esposito will not be playing for Team Canada as he is out with a groin injury, but Canada should have enough talent to still compete with the speedy Russians.

Another concern is goaltending. There is no concern over the talent in net, but rather who will start. Jonathan Bernier (LAK), Leland Irving (CAL), and Steve Mason (CBJ) all have the talent to be the starter for Canada. My bet is on Irving due to Sutter seeing him regularly in the WHL when he played for Everett. However, Bernier did backstop the Lewiston Maineiacs to the QMJHL Championship and the Memorial Cup tournament last season, and is certainly capable of carrying the team.

No matter who is in net, I expect this series to be up-tempo and exciting. Both TSN and Rogers Sportsnet will be covering the games live on television. Peter Loubardias of Rogers Sportsnet, who normally covers the CHL games shown on Sportsnet, will be the play-by-play man calling the games. Pierre Maguire of TSN's and NBC's hockey telecasts will be the colour commentator in the booth with Loubardias. TSN reporter Ryan Rishaug will be the rinkside reporter for the series.

Here's the broadcaster, location, and time for each of the eight games. Please note that all game times are listed in Eastern Time. If you have a broadband connection, you can also watch the games at TSN's website or Rogers Sportnet's website.

Monday, August 27 @ 9AM - Ufa, Russia - TSN
Wednesday, August 29 @ 9AM - Ufa, Russia - Sportsnet
Friday, August 31 @ 8AM - Omsk, Russia - Sportsnet
Saturday, September 1 @ 6AM - Omsk, Russia - TSN
Tuesday, September 4 @ 8PM - Winnipeg - TSN
Wednesday, September 5 @ 8PM - Saskatoon - TSN
Friday, September 7 @ 10PM - Red Deer - Sportsnet
Sunday, September 9 @ 8PM - Vancouver - Sportsnet

The 1972 Summit Series was an incredible display of hockey talent. I have no doubt that the 2008 Super Series will be much the same, and that bodes well for the game of hockey for both the present and the future.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Eureka!

It has been a while since my eyes have been as happy as they are in terms of the new Rbk Edge Uniform System that was unveiled on Wednesday at Scotiabank Place. I'm not sure if there is a competition among the NHL Divisions, but the Northeast Division is certainly heads and shoulders ahead of the other divisions. First, the Boston Bruins came out with an excellent traditional design. The Ottawa Senators, not to be outdone by their Northeast rivals, have come up with an excellent jersey design, and they have moved to the head of the class.

The Ottawa Senators decided that they would change their primary logo from the old side profile of the Roman legion to the half-facing legion known as the Warrior. As you can see, the new primary logo has been updated since it used to look like this.

In keeping with the changes, the Senators decided that traditional was the way to go, and this writer fully commends and salutes the changes. As you may or may not know, I've been very critical of some of the changes made so far by some of the teams.

The Senators did a complete U-turn in terms of their design. First, they kept the new jersey design simple. There's no piping along the seams, there's no awkward blocks of colours on the sleeves, and there's no stupid hem or sleeve striping to be found. The design is simple and elegant, and looks great on the players. The font on the rear of the jersey appears to copy that of Team Canada's old jerseys, but it doesn't detract from the jersey. I am slightly concerned about breaking up the blocks of colour on the lower sleeve, buy it hardly affects the pleasing aesthetics of this new Senators jersey thus far.

The Senators, in keeping with respecting their tradition, have honoured their teams from long ago with a classy shoulder patch. As they wrote on their gallery page, "[t]he uniforms also feature a new shoulder patch with a retro 'O' symbol on a striped background, a tribute to the original Ottawa Senators as the modern team celebrates its 15th anniversary on the ice". As you know, this writer is a huge fan of tradition in NHL jerseys, and this shoulder patch gets a huge thumbs-up for its simplicity and traditional elements.

A big "thank you" goes out to the Ottawa Senators. You've restored hope in me that someone in the NHL gets the idea of simple, classy jerseys. You don't need flash and flair to sell jerseys or make your team look modern. Both the Bruins and Senators have shown that less is more when it comes to an elegant look.

I am truly a fan of these jerseys, and the Senators certainly rank near the top with this new look. Hope has been somewhat restored.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Freeing Willy

There has been more speculation and Photoshopping of the Vancouver Canucks new Rbk Edge jerseys than any other team, from what I've seen. People have been hunting for a leaked image somewhere on the old Interweb since the Canucks allowed reporters to visit GM Place for an August 1st press conference. The Canucks, however, placed a gag order on any reporter discussing the new jerseys, let alone posting an image. If you're a hockey writer, you'd never be allowed into GM Place again if you violated this gag order, and that's bad for business. However, The Province, a Vancouver newspaper, decided to talk as much as they can in order to appease Canucks fans' needs.

Jim Jamieson has now given us a preview of what the new Canucks jerseys will look like, and they sound somewhat retro. They aren't the throwbacks that I love so dearly, but they have that feel to them. If you want to read, Mr. Jamieson's full article, you can click here. Otherwise, here are the highlights of Mr. Jamieson's article on the new Canucks jerseys:

- "[t]he Vancouver Canucks will unveil their new jersey design Aug. 29".

- "the new look will retain the Free Willy logo, but with fewer colours and Vancouver spelled in an arc out over the top of it. The same source said the 'hockey-stick-in-rink logo' that is the Canucks' original and adorned the team's retro-jersey will be used as shoulder patches, but with some modifications".

- "[i]t's expected the main colours will be changed to the lighter blue and green of the aforementioned retro-jersey".

I am interested in seeing what the new jerseys look like with this information. I am slightly disappointed that they are modifying the retro logo. That logo is perfect, and needs no modifications. It sounds like the black-gold-red is not coming back, and I'm ok with that. I much prefer the retro colours.

This leads me to needing more correspondants for two more teams. Here are the unveiling dates:

August 22 - Ottawa Senators (correspondant needed)
August 25 - Tampa Bay Lightning (correspondant needed)
August 29 - Vancouver Canucks (correspondant needed)
September 4 - Calgary Flames (correspondant needed)

If anyone is interested, please contact me ASAP! If no one responds, I'll just have to scour the 'Net for some photos, but I'd prefer a first-hand account and reaction to the new jerseys.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 19 August 2007

One Less Sieve?

There will be one less funnel to worry about this season as it appears that a former star goalie in the NHL is about to sign with a Swedish Elite League team. Ed Belfour, he of multiple mugshots and arrests, is planning on signing with Leksands after receiving no offers from NHL teams this off-season as a free agent. His former team, the Florida Panthers, landed Tomas Vokoun at the trade deadline to be their starting goalie, making both Belfour and Alex Auld expendable. Auld was recently signed by the Phoenix Coyotes, who have more goalies in their system than forwards at this point. But that's another article altogether.

The 42 year-old Carmen, Manitoba boy went 27-17-10 last season in Miami with a 2.77 goals-against average. The two-time Vezina Trophy winner is third all-time in wins in the NHL and a five-time NHL All-Star. He won an Olympic gold medal in 2002 with Team Canada, and won the Stanley Cup in 1998-99 as a member of the Dallas Stars.

Back problems have recently kept Belfour off the ice, but he did respond strongly last season in Florida. As he gets older, he has lost some mobility and flexibility, part in due to his back surgeries, but is still capabale of being a 1A goalie.

Good luck to Ed Belfour in Sweden. A potential Hall-of-Famer now moves on to a new chapter in his life.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 16 August 2007

More Heartbreak

It occurs to me that the NHL, with all its meetings and committees, is trying to rebrand itself as best it can in order to put itself on the map. The NHL has looked at ways to increase scoring, make the game faster and better, and gave the players every opportunity to skate as freely as possible. The problem is that the NHL still isn't being noticed. Like the unpopular nerd in high school, he's cleaned himself up a little and made himself better, but no one notices him. That is, until he radically changes his wardrobe. And stands out like a sore thumb. And people mock him.

This simile is appropriate today considering the looks that were shown off to a degree yesterday by the Detroit Red Wings and the New York Islanders. In following the Original Six design scheme thus far, I expected Detroit to go traditional in order to be part of their Original Six brethren. Let's check these out.

First, I'll start with the eyesores. Bad before the good, right? Well, the bad are the New York Islanders. Remember when I posted the leaked photo of their new jerseys? Well, they're real, folks, although they've been tweaked a little. How do I know? The road jersey on Rick DiPietro confirms it. Doesn't DiPietro look happy in his new clothes, like a kid on his first day of school? I guarantee you that someone was making fun of him off-ice in this photo.

Looking at the Brendan Witt side profile, the white numbers stick out like a sore thumb. And what monkey decided to make the numbers on the back of the jersey as gigantic as possible?

Ladies and gentlemen, the Long Island Broncos look horrific. Why is there so much orange? Orange was the accent colour! I admit that I like that the Islanders logo stands out and looks very sharp against the white road jersey. I just am not sold on the front numbers. I wasn't sold on it when the Barney Rubble Hairpieces did it, and I'm still not happy with it today. In fact, I think it looks worse having white numbers on the front than it does having orange numbers.

According to the Islanders website, "[i]n order to keep pace with the new times, the Islanders followed in the footsteps of the extremely popular Buffalo Sabres jerseys by including the players’ numbers on the front of the jersey. The Islanders, along with four other teams, feature numbers on the front, with more likely to follow in the coming years. Besides most fans, the play-by-play broadcasters love it."

Do you have the stats to back that little fact up, Isles? I didn't think so. I never heard one broadcaster say "you know, those numbers on the front make it easy to tell who has the puck". The only reason the Barney Rubble Hairpieces had such strong merchandise sales last season is because they were brand-new jerseys and they had an exciting team. The Islanders, like the other 29 teams, have new jerseys, but their team is nowhere as good as Buffalo. What a crock that paragraph is!

What worries me more is that there are four more teams out there copying Buffalo.

Overall, I am not pleased with the Islanders who will now be called the Long Island Broncos whenever I refer to them due to their resemblance to this uniform. In fact, I find it a little hard to stomach Ted Nolan's comment of "[w]hen you look good and feel good you work better and play better." Excuse me, Ted? I'll take this look over this garbage everyday of the week. Hell, I'll even take this look over the new look. Then again, I am a fan of the Fisherman jersey.

From bad, we go to somewhat better, but not quite good.

The Detroit Red Wings did go traditional with their jerseys, but I'm not sure they should have used a specific jersey from a specific time period. The debut of Niklas Lidstrom's jersey was quiet, but done well as the Red Wings provided good views of the new uniforms.

The front is very traditional as the Red Wings kept their simple arm stripes and hem intact. The rounded edges of the hem don't look out of place here, but I'm still not going to give them a thumbs-up. The move of the captain's "C" and alternate captains' "A"s to the right side bothers me. I understand the NHL wanted the Original Six to remain traditional in their looks, but do we have to jump back to the 1950s? While Delvecchio, Lindsay, and Howe may have worn their captaincy letters on the right-side of their jersey, today's NHL fans would have no recollection of this.

Why were they moved? It's a one-word answer: Reebok. According to this article, "[t]he letters had to be moved because the new jerseys are constructed of multiple panels, more so than the old models, and there wasn’t room for them above the tip of the Winged Wheel on the left side without hitting a seam".

"It was important to everybody in the organization that our jersey look the same," said team spokesman John Hahn. "We have an 82-year history with that jersey or something very similar to it. We wanted to make sure we kept that look moving forward."

Mr. Hahn, please think before you speak. You want your look to move forward by going backwards? Despite that comment, the Red Wings really didn't mangle anything on the front. They just moved a letter. Since other teams are putting numbers there, why not throw a letter or two there?

The back of the jersey is great except for one glaringly huge problem. What tailor or company stitches a number on to a jersey across the fighting strap? That is one of the most heinous crimes on a jersey I have ever seen. The fighting strap is there for function, not fashion. It should never be seen unless you're looking for it. Come on, Reebok, screw your heads on right.

If you were hoping for some good news, just skip this part. The Flyers, on their new jersey FAQ page, posted this message:

"What colors are available?
Black and white jerseys are available this year. A third orange jersey will be released next year."

If you're reading that correctly, it actually says "alternate jerseys will be introduced next year as a cash grab for Reebok", given my rough translating skills.

Finally, some good news. Thanks to Black Aces, who has been doing some top-notch work in his search for the Senators' new logos, we have pictures of them. This is the new side profile logo that the Senators will be featuring on their jerseys at the unveiling on the 22nd. This is the new alternate logo that the Senators will be using. Here are the colourized versions of those same two logos.

I am a fan of the modernization of the Senators' logos. They kept the modifications small, and that's always good for a brand's logo. Hopefully, their jerseys will be better than what the Islanders pulled out of their rear-end orifice.

I'm still looking for a Capital City correspondant and a Bay City correspondant. Send you applications to me via email or through the comments here.

Until the next unveiling, keep your sticks on the ice!

- a big thanks to Paul Lukas' Uni Watch blog and the readers there for some of the photos.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Help Wanted: Apply Within

I had written last week about the Ottawa Senators and their unveiling party. In there, I had said that I was looking for a correspondant to go to the Senators' party and take lots of photos and possibly write a piece that I would host on this blogsite while giving the author full credit for his or her work. Well, I still need an Ottawa correspondant, but now I'm also searching for a correspondant in Tampa Bay as they have their little unveiling party notice up on their website as well.

If you live near the Ottawa area or Tampa Bay area, please give me a shout if you can make it to one of those parties. The Ottawa party is on August 22, and the Tampa Bay party is on August 25. As I stated, full credit is given to the person who applies for the correspondant position. I'll list you under the Blog Correspondant area where I can feature your blog or profile or whatever website you like and/or endorse.

Thanks to Sage Confucius, who is officially the Music City Correspondant. The want ad is up: I need a Capital City Correspondant, and a Bay City Correspondant. Anyone that is interested, or if you know anyone who would be, get in contact with me. My email is to the right under my profile.

Thanks, and keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 13 August 2007

Not Bad For 69th Overall

Late last week, a left-handed pitcher for the New York Mets became part of the exclusive club in Major League Baseball with 300 wins as a pitcher. This leftie is none other than former fourth-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings, Tom Glavine. The six-foot American boy out of Concord, Massachusetts had the choice between hockey and baseball, and chose the latter as his professional pursuit. Hockey Blog In Canada today salutes a former hockey player who has gone on to greatness in another facet of his life.

The 1984 NHL Entry Draft gave the NHL some notable stars such as Mario Lemieux, Kirk Muller, Al Iafrate, Gary Roberts, and Kevin Hatcher from the first round. It was later in the fourth round that the Los Angeles Kings would select left-handed shooting centreman Tom Glavine 69th overall from Billerica Memorial High School in Billerica, Massachusetts. Glavine was drafted ahead of former NHL stars such as Kirk McLean, Brett Hull, Cliff Ronning, Don Sweeney, and Luc Robitaille. Of those five players, Hull and Robitaille are certain Hall of Famers, and Glavine is aware of his lofty draft position compared to them.

"That's pretty cool, to think I was drafted ahead of those guys, who turned out to be Hall of Fame players. Naturally one can only assume I would have been a Hall of Fame hockey player because of it, right?" Glavine joked.

Being a Massachusetts kid, Glavine was a Bruins fan. His scoring prowess and high academic achievements allowed him to earn the John Carlton Award in 1984 for being the top scholar-athlete in the state. The award was given to him by the Boston Bruins during an intermission at the Boston Gardens.

Five days before he was taken by the Kings, Glavine had been selected by the Atlanta Braves in the second round of Major League Baseball's draft. Glavine's final decision came between hockey and baseball: play for the Atlanta Braves, or go to the University of Lowell to play Division One hockey and Division Two baseball. The Braves' offer of $80,000 made Glavine's decision that much easier.

"I was intent on going to school," Glavine said when asked of his decision. "My dad and I talked about it, and our strategy was once we got to the point where we got them to first-round money - and it's enough money to be worth my while to give up the scholarship - then we'll think about it. But until then I was going to college.

"Hockey, they have your rights for five years, so they knew I was going to college. They called me, 'Hey, we drafted you. We know where you're going to school. We'll keep an eye on you and talk to you in a couple of years.' The Braves were, 'Hey, we drafted you. We want to sign you.'"

By his estimate, 300 victories in baseball as a starting pitcher would be equivalent to 500 or 600 goals in the NHL. When asked if Glavine was good enough to play in the NHL, he was a little confident in his abilities.

"I think I was good enough to get there," Glavine said about himself. "How long I would have lasted, I have no idea. It's hard to imagine my career in hockey would have been better than what it's been in baseball. I was small coming out of high school. I only weighed 175 pounds, so I would have had to get bigger to stick around."

Glavine spends his baseball off-seasons in Alpharetta, Georgia. He tries to attend as many Atlanta Thrashers games as possible, but normally only gets to 10 or 15 games due to spring training opening in February for pitchers.

"When I'm done playing it will probably be more, because I miss the whole second half of the season," Glavine said, referring to attending more games. "I love going. My kids love it. It's still probably my favorite sport to watch live. I enjoy going to hockey games more than anything."

Glavine's already has his two oldest sons in hockey. 11-year-old Jonathan and 7-year-old Peyton play organized hockey. He's hoping to enroll 5-year-old Mason next year.

Clearly, hockey still runs in the blood of this Massachusetts boy. Being in New York this season put him in a hockey hotbed with the Rangers and Islanders in town, the Devils just down the turnpike, and the Sabres upstate. The ceremony to honour Glavine included some hockey as well.

To celebrate his 300th victory, the Mets gave Glavine a #47 New York Rangers jersey with his name over his chose baseball number. The Mets also gave him a retro Los Angeles Kings jersey with 300 on the back to represent the accomplishment. Amongst the people to call him with a congratulations was Wayne Gretzky, a former Los Angeles King.

"Had you chosen hockey maybe the 1993 Kings would have won the Stanley Cup," Gretzky joked. "You were the missing link. Congratulations!"

Congratulations to Tom Glavine on his 300th win in his career. He may have had a long and successful hockey career, but baseball has been good to the former fourth-round pick.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 10 August 2007

It Does A Body Good

If you've been reading this blog since June, you may recall that I was contacted by Gatorade, and wrote an article concerning Gatorade versus water. A lady by the name of Katherine Stewart has written me via email regarding the testing that Anaheim Ducks' goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere had been through at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute in order to help better his on-ice performance. My conclusion was that water, for me, is still a better choice than Gatorade due to the how Gatorade erodes teeth faster than other liquids and hydrates no better, or, in some cases, worse, than water.

I'm sorry to do this to you, Gatorade, but you've taken another hit, and this one is a big one.

According to an article published by the Globe and Mail today, Gatorade provides no real benefit to helping anyone lose weight or gain muscle after activity. Nutritionally, Gatorade offers no real benefit to active people, according to the study, when compared to milk. In fact, milk is a better choice for building muscles and losing weight.

The article was written by Andre Picard. It reads:

"Want to get the most from your workout?

Then ditch the Gatorade and reach instead for a tall, cool glass of milk.

That is the message emerging from a new Canadian study that found that exercisers who drink milk after a workout gain more muscle and lose more fat than those who consume sports drinks.

The reason, researchers believe, is that, in addition to liquid for hydration and carbohydrates for energy, milk is also rich in protein, while sports drinks contain little or no protein.

'The protein in milk is high-quality,' Stuart Phillips, an associate professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton and lead author of the study, said in an interview.

'We also think the way milk proteins are digested by the body confers some benefits,' Dr. Phillips said prior research has demonstrated that what exercisers drink and eat in the one or two hours after a workout is crucial in determining muscle gain and fat loss.

The new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, involved 56 men aged 18 to 30 who signed up for a rigorous five-day-a-week weightlifting program over a 12-week period.

The participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups, based on their recovery drink.

One group drank 500 millilitres (about two cups) of skim milk that contained 17.5 grams of protein, 25.7 grams of carbohydrates and 0.4 grams of fat. A second group received a soy drink with identical ratios of nutrients, while a third group got a sports drink.

All three beverages contained 735 calories and were flavoured identically with vanilla and served in opaque containers so participants did not know what exactly they were drinking.

Over the study period, all the young men gained muscle mass and most lost fat, but the milk drinkers came out ahead across the board.

For example, the milk-drinking group lost, on average, two pounds of fat each, compared with one pound each for those in the sports-drink group. The soy-beverage drinkers neither lost nor gained fat.

The milk drinkers also came out on top in muscle gain, adding, on average, 2.5 pounds more muscle than the soy-beverage drinkers and 3.3 pounds more than the sports-drink group. 'The practical results are obvious: If you want to gain muscle and lose weight as a result of working out, drink milk,' Dr. Phillips said."


Perhaps it is time for the NHL to ditch the high-carb, low-benefit sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade after games, and start promoting the dairy farmers across North America. This study just goes to prove that milk does a body good. If NHL players are always looking for an edge, they should look no further than the dairy section at their local market.

To the NHL and NHLPA, I ask you "Got Milk?" If you don't, maybe it's time you did. It's not like both the dairy farmers and the NHL can't help each other with a little cross-promoting. Parents want to get kids off the sweets and garbage that are causing childhood obesity rates to sky-rocket. If their NHL heroes and icons start promoting milk and activity like hockey, you never know what may happen on this continent. We were always told to drink our milk - now, we have even more reason to drink it.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Buyers and Sellers

Hey everyone! Sorry for the break in my normal posting schedule. I've been busy with some stuff, and wanted to focus my attention on those needs. And I took some time off with the free agency period and jersey unveilings slowing down. I am back, though, and I have some thoughts on some recent NHL news. There have been a few things that have been happening, and this is where I chime in.

A big kudos goes out, firstly, to Craig Leipold for trying to keep hockey in Nashville. Leipold has spent a large portion of his money on hockey in the state of Tennessee, and I think the Predators need to stay in order to keep hockey growing in that part of the United States. Despite the group offering less than what Jim Balsillie did, Mr. Leipold made a good community decision to sell the team to the local group in Nashville. Economically, it makes excellent sense to keep a team in a market like Nashville for all the surrounding businesses and industries. I give this move a big thumbs-up.

In another hockey move, Absolute Hockey Enterprises, led by former Columbus Blue Jackets GM and Florida Panthers coach Doug MacLean, has reached an agreement to buy the Tampa Bay Lightning, pending approval by the NHL's board of governors. Absolute Hockey also includes Jeff Sherrin and Oren Koules. Team spokesman Jay Preble said Sherrin is a Coral Springs real estate developer and Koules a TV and movie producer. It has been reported that GM Jay Feaster and head coach John Tortorella will both keep their positions with the team after the sale is complete. I don't really have anything negative to say about this since the Lightning have been a solid team since their Stanley Cup-winning season. This is more a status quo move, but at least hockey fever in Tampa Bay will continue to grow.

In a rather surprising move, the Edmonton Oilers are off the market. EIG has decided not to sell the move to billionaire and Rexall Pharmacy tycoon Daryl Katz for a reported $185 million Canadian. Katz has promised to invest as much money as necessary to get the team up to the maximum cap value, and was interested in building a new arena for the Oilers. The 33 investors under the EIG name who currently own the team voted to remove the "For Sale" sign after voting down the offer from Katz on Tuesday. I am somewhat against this move. Rexall Pharmacies is the largest sponsor of the Oilers already, and Mr. Katz was committed to spending all that was necessary to bring a Cup back to Edmonton. Are the 33 investors prepared to do that same? Only time will tell.

In jersey news, the Ottawa Senators posted this little Flash video teaser on their website in anticipation of their jersey unveiling on August 22nd. You can clearly see the collar of the new jersey in the upper left-hand corner. Will a new logo follow? There have been suggestions that the current alternate logo has been tweaked. I am truly anxious to see what the Eastern Conference Finalists have come up with for the new Rbk Edge template.

If anyone wants to be the Ottawa correspondant, I'm willing to hear your application. I want some photos of the party at Scotiabank Place, and you'll get full credit for the pictures and, if you choose, the article that you write to accompany the photos. If you're truly interested in going to the event, email me on my profile to the right. As Sage did in Nashville, she got full credit for the excellent work she did at the Predators' unveiling party. Write me if you're interested!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!