Thursday, 29 May 2008

Trading Spaces

Paige Davis will not be making an appearance in the NHL next year, but there will be a venue change for one game. According to TSN, the Chicago Blackhawks will play the Detroit Red Wings at one of either Wrigley Field or Soldier Field. This hockey game, featuring two Original Six rivals, should be embraced by the city of Chicago like no other game since their heady days of success in the early 1990s. Personally, I like this choice, and commend the NHL for showcasing a model franchise, and a franchise full of budding superstars.

If the NHL is serious about garnering more attention in its flagship cities, these games should be played in the major northern cities each year. Cities like Denver, Minneapolis, Toronto, Boston, and New York should be considered for future events. The grassroots hockey in those cities will only benefit from this major event, and the NHL franchises can use the added exposure across the continent.

While I had suggested Montreal would be a good choice, the 100th anniversary of the Montreal hockey club will already be a monumental event. Adding the circus of an outdoor game would only put more pressure on the Canadiens franchise, the city of Montreal, and the broadcasters.

Frankly, I am happy with the league's decision to play the game in Chicago, especially now that Rocky Wirtz is doing all he can to revitalize the franchise and the fans that Bill Wirtz so often left out in the cold.

Devastating Loss: I'd like to take the next few minutes to remember Vancouver Canucks' defenceman Luc Bourdon, who tragically passed away earlier this morning in a motorcycle accident in northern New Brunswick, Canada. The 21 year-old defenceman looked poised to be an NHL defenceman for a long time.

Bourdon played his junior hockey in the QMJHL with Moncton Wildcats, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and Val d'Or Foreurs, posting great numbers. Impressed with his play, the Vancouver Canucks drafted the young Bourdon 10th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. His abilities earned him a spot on the Canadian World Junior Championship rosters in 2006 and 2007, winning gold medals in both years. Pictured on the left with Kris Letang, Bourdon looked to make the Canucks at the the start of the 2007-08 season, but was sent to Manitoba of the AHL after failing to earn a spot.

Bourdon played his first game in a Canucks uniform on October 10, 2006 against the Minnesota Wild while wearing #40. The Canucks, unwilling to burn the first year of his entry-level contract, returned him to the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL after nine games. Bourdon was traded from the Wildcats to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles midway through the 2006-07 season. After the Eagles were eliminated in the QMJHL semi-final, Bourdon was assigned to the Manitoba Moose for the remainder of the season.

Bourdon recorded his first NHL goal on November 16, 2007 against the Minnesota Wild. His point shot beat goaltender Niklas Backstrom, and helped Vancouver to a 6-2 over their divisional rivals. In 27 games with the Canucks in 2007-08, Bourdon recorded two goals and 20 PIMs. He also recorded six goals and eight assists in 41 games with the Manitoba Moose in 2007-08.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Bourdon family, the Vancouver Canucks organization, and his friends and teammates. Mr. Bourdon will be remembered by this writer. Having met him on several occasions, he was an upstanding citizen and well-respected individual from this writer's perspective. My condolences go out to you all.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

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