Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Lots Of News

There have been a pile of stories that have rolled across the wire over the last few days that have been small enough not to warrant an entire article, yet significant enough that I need to address them in some way. I'm going to be busy tomorrow with the start of Survivor: NHL Playoffs, so I thought I'd get these all down on paper before I miss mentioning them. Here is a quick rundown of all the stories that I believe to be important.

Survivor: NHL Playoffs

I would be remiss in not mentioning the contest that will begin tomorrow on The Hockey Show. Survivor: NHL Playoffs starts tomorrow as we assemble the sixteen people and their respective teams so that they can win some cool stuff. I know we have t-shirts, hats, DVDs, and some other hockey gear available as prizes already, and I'm working on getting more. Needless to say, the prizing will be solid for those who win via challenges as well as the overall winner. Tune in tomorrow at 6pm on 101.5 UMFM for your chance to enter the Survivor: NHL Playoffs contest!

Internationally Retiring

Three-time Olympic gold medallist Kim St. Pierre has retired from the Canadian women's hockey team, following Sarah Vaillancourt off the ice as the second major Canadian women's star to retire in less than a week.

St-Pierre has taken the 2011-12 season off in order to give birth to her son, Liam. While she played with the Montreal Stars of the CWHL this year, St-Pierre wanted to give Hockey Canada lots of notice before naming their Olympic tryout team for the Sochi Olympics.

"Being part of three Olympic teams and nine world championship teams, I think I accomplished everything that I wanted to accomplish," St. Pierre told The Canadian Press on Monday. "That's why I retire today with a big smile."

I wish Kim St-Pierre nothing but the best as she embarks on the next leg of her career and life. She was one of the best in the world, let alone Canada, and she will always be remembered for her contributions on the ice. Best of luck, Kim!

Make It Three

The exodus of former Canadian players into retirement continued as Cherie Piper called it an international career earlier this week as well! The three-time Olympic gold medalist has decided to step away from the game after finishing her education degree to become a teacher! Piper also decided that this season's efforts with the Brampton Thunder of the Canadian Women's Hockey League would be her last as well.

"I've been thinking about it for a little while now," Piper told The Canadian Press. "This season confirmed it for me. I still love the game, but your body hurts a little more at the end of weekend games and I've had a lot of little injuries over the last few years. I've given a large portion of my life to the sport. It's time to be active in the sport in another way and not necessarily playing."

Piper did not play with Canada this season while finishing her education, and I commend her for making a difficult decision when it comes to representing her country. It could not have been an easy decision for the 31 year-old to make, but she will certainly make a mark on the kids she'll be teaching in the future.

I wish Cherie Piper all the best in her teaching endeavors! She'll make a great teacher if she brings the same passion and desire to the classroom, and I have no doubt that many leaders of tomorrow will talk about Cherie Piper the teacher and how she inspired them just as she inspired many girls in the game of hockey. All the best, Cherie!

President's Trophy Curse?

With their 4-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers tonight, the Chicago Blackhawks earned the President's Trophy as the top team in the NHL. Many people view the Blackhawks as the default Western Conference representative in the Stanley Cup Final, including myself. However, the road to the Stanley Cup is filled with bumps and potholes, and that's why they play the games.

Since the introduction of this award in 1985-86, the President's Trophy-winning team has only won the Stanley Cup seven times. Because the President's Trophy winner sits atop the mountain for the regular season, that team seemingly becomes a target throughout the playoffs. This should make Chicago's playoff a little more interesting this season, especially if they meet Detroit in the opening round.

The last time, incidentally, that Chicago won the President's Trophy was in 1990-91. Things looked great for Chicago as they met up with the barely-made-it-in Minnesota North Stars. Six games later, the Blackhawks were done. I'm not saying history will repeat itself, but the similarities are a little unnerving when you consider that the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup that season. And they are a favorite for the Stanley Cup this season.

Twilight Zone?

Win. Rinse. Repeat.

I will have a full recap of the KHL's Gagarin Cup Final on the weekend, but congratulations go out Dynamo Moscow on their six-game series win over Traktor Chelyabinsk to win their second-straight Gagarin Cup!

They seemingly struggled early on in the KHL season when armed with Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, but Dynamo got things rolling and peaked through the playoffs. Dynamo became the second team to repeat as champions in the KHL, and look to become the first team to win three KHL championships next season.

My only question: do Ovechkin and Backstrom get rings?

Sled Excellence

I'll be covering this recap coming up as well, but congratulations go out to Team Canada's sledge hockey team with their gold medal victory over Team USA at the IPC Sledge Hockey World Championship!

Canada and USA renewed their rivalry in sledge hockey in the final, and the game was an incredible display of speed, skill, and physicality that only these two team seem to bring. Canada scored the only goal of the final in earning the 1-0 victory, but the Americans easily could have won by the same score if not for a few bounces.

Congratulations to Canada on bringing home the gold!

Ok, that'll do it for today. Tune into The Hockey Show at 6pm CT on 101.5 UMFM tomorrow night for Survivor: NHL Playoffs, and call in to enter the contest! We'll have lots of fun with it, so make sure you get entered by being one of the first sixteen people to call in!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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