There really is no rhyme nor reason to this entry except that I have a few notes to pass along and a few photos I have yet to use for any purpose. Really, though, it's Christmas, and I don't feel like taking too much time away from my family or the Canada-Slovakia exhibition game tonight. I already have a very serious piece queued up for tomorrow so this will be more of a fun, whimsical effort. For everyone who has stopped by thus far, Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa or, simply, happy holidays. All the best to you and yours this holiday season, and may there be happiness for everyone on Christmas morning. Let's take a look at some notes and photos.
- Justin Pogge had himself a fabulous debut yesterday as he won his first NHL regular season game in Toronto's 6-2 victory over the lowly Atlanta Thrashers. Pogge became the first Leafs' goalie to win his first NHL game since Damian Rhodes did it in November of 1991! Pogge has played very well for a struggling Toronto Marlies team in the AHL, and his promotion looks like it might be well-worth the look that GM Brian Burke and head coach Ron Wilson are giving him.
- For all you fantasy hockey players who want more than just bragging rights at the end of the season, the Pittsburgh Penguins have a game for you. The Pittsburgh Penguins Extra Attacker game is now online in the trial period, and they are offering up some great prizes for playing. The bets part? It's free! Get in on this one - it could be your chance at that Malkin or Crosby autographed jersey you wanted for Christmas.
- Sunday, December 28 sees the Washington Capitals honour a long-time player and prolific goal scorer in Mike Gartner with a jersey retirement ceremony. Gartner ranks second in Capitals' history with 397 goals, second with 392 assists, and second all-time with 789 points. Gartner's #11 will join Yvon Labre’s #7, Rod Langway’s #5, and Dale Hunter’s #32 in the rafters at The Verizon Centre. All current players will wear special white throwback jerseys with Gartner's name and number on them for the warm-up, and they will change into their current white jerseys for the game against the Leafs, who will wear their blue jerseys - similar to the era that Gartner played in where white was worn at home. Congratulations, Mr. Gartner!
- For the second time this season, an ECHL franchise has closed its doors. The Fresno Falcons announced that they will cease operations immediately, thrusting the ECHL into a bit of a tailspin. While attendance has dropped by almost 1500 people per game, the Falcons are suggesting that the economy is to blame. However, Victoria Salmon Kings president Dave Dakers thinks otherwise: "I have no sympathy for these guys. They operated and managed things poorly in a hockey market that can be successful and they’ve left the rest of the conference just hanging." The Augusta Lynx were the other team to pull up roots this season, and the Falcons' player not under contract with the AHL's Rockford IceHogs or NHL's Chicago Blackhawks are now free agents.
- Thanks to some incredible investigative work by WorldNetDaily, we now know there was another Hollywood star who started out as a hockey player. Check out this photo. See anyone you recognize? How about that tall blond in the middle of the back row? That's Paris Hilton as a 17 year-old hockey player for Canterbury School, a "private college-prep campus" in Connecticut. Fabulous investigative work by WND, and you can read the full story here about Paris' time in Connecticut.
- A phenomenal resource from the Uni Watch Blog that I've had the pleasure to speak to is a gentleman by the name of Ricko. He and I have discussed a pile of things, but his work with hockey is why I want to speak about him today. He will be featured in an article in the new year, so stay tuned for that. He has a ton of WHA and NHL stories that we'll be exploring. In the meantime, there are a few photos he sent me that you may enjoy, so I will post them in the next few bullet points.
- Here's another picture of the Los Angeles Kings in their full yellow uniforms. Wow. I've seen some bright uniforms, but wow. Get your sunglasses out for those uniforms.
- Great photo of the California Golden Seals here. Check out the little details in this picture: green-and-yellow of the North Stars, the #16 on the North Stars player's skates, the white skates of the Golden Seals, and only one helmet being worn on the ice. Great old-time hockey photo!
- The NHL's Oakland Seals didn't last very long, but Ricko sent me a great magazine shot of what they looked like in action. Charlie Burns' helmet doesn't really match the rest of his jersey, but that blue-and-green has a bit of a Vancouver Canucks feel to it. Another top-notch photo right there. Three great photos from Ricko!
- How badly do you miss the old teams? You know, the Whalers, the Nordiques, the Jets - those teams who are no longer even known by the new generation of fans. I'd like to see those jerseys make a return to the ice for an event. As the adage says, you never know what you've got until it is gone, and I really miss these looks.
Until then, keep your sticks on the ice!