Sunday, 21 April 2013

News And Notes

There's a bunch of things that have been happening behind-the-scenes here at Hockey Blog In Canada, and I feel that it's time to update everyone on some upcoming events, some on-goings, and some past things. Some of these will be of little interest to you while others may have a high level of interest. Of course, that's entirely up to you in terms of how you view some of these pieces of news and notes, so feel free to comment below if something catches your fancy. Without further adieu, let's get cracking.

Radio Playoff Fun

Every year, HBIC runs its annual playoff pool, and it's a lot of fun. I will also admit that it's backbreaking work some days, but everyone who is entered seems to have fun with it. This year, I've come up with a new format for radio! The HBIC Playoff Pool will still run, but we're holding a new contest on The Hockey Show for those of you who want to try your hand at a new contest!
I'll outline all the details for this contest tomorrow, but please be aware that this is a RADIO CONTEST ONLY. In other words, if you don't listen to the The Hockey Show at 6pm CT on 101.5 UMFM on Thursday evenings, you won't know how to enter this contest. Details will be announced tomorrow, but this contest will run concurrently with the normal HBIC Playoff Pool that will start up in just over one week. This contest, I feel, will be a lot of fun.

Why Now?

I get that the Edmonton Oilers' slim playoff chances are no longer a concern, but you have to wonder if they would have seen more out of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had he had shoulder surgery early in the season rather than waiting until now.

The Oilers decided to shut down Nugent-Hopkins and send him to Cleveland to have his shoulder examined where surgery will likely follow. Nugent-Hopkins missed time with the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons earlier this season during the lockout because of shoulder soreness, and also was held out of some of Canada's World Junior preseason games and exercises due to this soreness.

Can someone explain to me why this surgery wasn't done the moment the lockout was ended? If it was a lingering injury, as Nugent-Hopkins called it, why wasn't it fixed the moment the NHL had the injury insurance back on their side?

This just seems like more stupidity from a franchise that really is going out of its way to seem incompetent.

Retired But Not Gone

Sarah Vaillancourt, a stalwart on the Canadian women's roster, announced that she was stepping away from the game after spending the last year dealing with a rash of injuries that put her career on hold and in jeopardy. For Miss Vaillancourt, there was a great deal of personal satisfaction that came with her announcement as she was able to play and contribute in the recent Women's World Hockey Championship in Ottawa.

"It was a perfect opportunity for me to really close the deal and enjoy my teammates one last time," Vaillancourt told The Canadian Press. "It was perfect closure for me."

The two-time Olympic gold medalist had 43 goals and 98 points in her 107 games wearing Hockey Canada's colors, including two goals and five assists in the recent World Hockey Championship. She will continue playing for the Montreal Stars in the CWHL, but her decision was based on being unable to complete the grueling training camp planned for Team Canada in their preparation for the Sochi Olympics.

"I was telling the girls at worlds 'I haven't lifted a weight in two years,"' Vaillancourt said. "You can't go into an Olympic year not having lifted a weight. If I wanted to push my body one more year, I probably could have, but I don't think it would have been beneficial for my future."

All the best to Sarah Vaillancourt in the future! This writer will miss her skill and grit on the ice when Canada goes for the gold medal in Sochi, Russia.

Friend Of The Show

Big congratulations go out to Dustin Sproat of the Bentley Generals! Dustin and the Generals are this year's Allan Cup Champions after they downed the Clarenville Caribous in Canada's senior men's hockey championship!

We featured Dustin's business partner, Mr. Kyle Hagel of the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs, on The Hockey Show in 2012 where he spoke about his iPhone/iPad app called Shnarped! From what I have read, the Shnarped app is doing well, and I highly encourage you to download it if you have an iProduct.

Bentley, an Alberta-based team in the Chinook Hockey League, last won the Allan Cup in 2009, and they downed the 2011 Allan Cup winners in Clarenville, hailing from Newfoundland and Labrador. Notably, Kelly Buchberger played for the Generals in 2005-06, Darren Van Impe joined the squad in 2009-10, and they were coached by Brian Sutter for a season in 2006-07 before he returned as the bench boss in 2008-09. While neither of those players claimed an Allan Cup with the Generals, they were taken to new heights by these three individuals!

Congratulations to Dustin Sproat on winning the Allan Cup, and check out his app for iProducts in Shnarped!

That's all for today, kids, so make sure you check out the details of the new contest tomorrow. It's an easy contest to play, and both Beans and I think it will be fun and interactive with listeners. There will also be a Twitter component to the contest, so get yourself on Twitter if you aren't already there!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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