You're not going to hear me say that Jim Balsillie had the right idea when he was attempting to buy the Phoenix Coyotes. However, with the NHL footing the bills for the bankrupt franchise, the youthful Coyotes are showing the world why they might be a surprise this season. Yes, it's still very early, but to go into the Stanley Cup Champions' house, kick their dog, drink their beer fridge dry, and eat all their snacks, that shows some moxie from the upstart Coyotes. And the Penguins? They had better learn to stay on the ice and out of the penalty box. If you can't kill penalties, you aren't going to be successful. After watching the Penguins get man-handled by the faster, hungrier Coyotes, it's time to look at a few headlines from the hockey world.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs have another bill to pay after the NHL ruled that head coach Ron Wilson's comments regarding the Leafs' interest in the Sedin twins was tampering. Leafs GM Brian Burke was excused from the ruling, meaning that Ron Wilson was the only person to have his hands slapped. The NHL has ruled the matter closed, and neither team is to make additional comments regarding the findings, but I'm sure that there won't be many Christmas cards exchanged between Burke, Wilson, and Canucks GM Mike Gillis.
- Speaking of the Canucks, Darcy Hordichuk was fined $2500 by the NHL for his hit on Columbus' Jared Boll. Boll had been checked cleanly by Vancouver's Rick Rypien before Hordichuk hit Boll from behind, driving his head into the dasher. Boll had to be helped off the ice. Personally, there should be higher fines for collisions involving a player's head. But that's just me, and I don't have any jurisdiction over that.
- If you've made it this far, you have approximately 2.5 hours left to enter the HBIC "Firsts" Contest. I can assure you that no one, at this time, has gotten all of the answers right, but some of the entries have been impressive. And I want to be clear: these are hockey firsts, not just NHL firsts. Please read the questions carefully. Prizes will be awarded tomorrow!
- I have to say that the AHL's Rochester Americans do things right. First, they announced they were returning to their traditional jersey colours this season, and then they roll out these amazing throwback uniforms. The Amerks are a flagship franchise in the AHL for a reason. This helps to cement that view.
- I spoke a little about the new mascot for the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday as the team used its splash page on their website to announce a new mascot. Howler, a Yeti, was the Avs' previous furry friend who would entertain the crowd. The problem is that the mascot at the top of the page in the Coyotes uniform is also named Howler. Instead, the Avalanche went with a familiar image on mountains. They introduced Bernie the St. Bernard on Saturday, much to the delight of the crowd. I like this idea, and we'll see how Bernie fares this season.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!