Hockey Headlines

Friday, 30 September 2016

I Saw Nothing

It's funny how some towns show their allegiances. Being from a hockey-mad city, I see logos, hats, and jerseys everywhere in the city regardless of where I go. Having spent the week in Toronto, it was a completely different story. The Centre of the Universe was playing host to the World Cup of Hockey Money and had the Maple Leafs opening training camp and preseason games, and yet the entire city is fixated on the Blue Jays. The Jays lead every newscast, they are talked about all over the city, and they dominated the sports radio chatter. The Big Smoke has the Leafs, but also plays host to the AHL Marlies, the OHL Steelheads, the CWHL Furies, and a pile of CIS teams. So where were all the hockey die-hards this past week?

I get that it's baseball playoff fever and the Jays are battling for their playoff lives. The series against the Yankees and Orioles were huge for the club this week, and the fans responded in a big way. In fact, the hottest ticket in town wasn't the World Cup final between Europe and Canada judging by the number of empty seats in the stands and tickets available online. No, the harder ticket to acquire was for the Blue Jays-Orioles series at Rogers Centre this week.

Perhaps I put too much faith in Rogers Sportsnet selling the World Cup to the city hosting the tournament. Perhaps the dream match-up of Canada and Europe just doesn't have the cachet as a Canada-USA or Canada-Russia final. In any case, the lack of Canada jerseys where I was located was pretty evident, but there weren't a lot of other hockey jerseys or logos being worn either.

Everywhere I went, the Blue Jays logo and jerseys were worn proudly. People talked Blue Jays. People were looking for Blue Jays gear. It wasn't an Auston Matthews or a Team Canada craze. Toronto is definitely in the baseball moment for this past week. So it begs the question: will the city turn out to see the Leafs play if they steamroll through another bottom-five season?

For a city that boasts about having the best fans in the world, it's hard to see that fact when no one wears their Maple Leafs logo proudly. Personally, I'd love to see more love for the CIS teams and the CWHL's Toronto Furies and Brampton Thunder, but that's just me. For a city that has seats available at the biggest tournament in their city's history featuring the world's best players, it's hard to imagine "the best fans in the world" leaving seats open for that tournament. Would it be fairer to say that Toronto fans are fair-weather fans?

Look, I'm not here to rip on the die-hard Leafs fans. I know you exist out there, and to hell with all these other teams. The same goes for the die-hards for the Marlies, Steelheads, Furies, Thunder, and all the CIS teams. I've harped on the World Cup of Hockey for the insane cost of the tickets as well, and the final few games of the tournament with the Blue Jays in town certainly was evidence that Toronto is pouring their support behind the Blue Jays in their playoff race. I understand the excitement of a playoff race, but it might be something the NHL looks at if there is to be another major September tournament in Toronto.

No one is blaming Toronto fans for not going to hockey games when there's an exciting baseball race happening, but it should be telling that there are limited ticket dollars available - even in a large market such as Toronto - and the NHL should look at other venues for any additional September events. The poor attendance figures in the World Cup final games should come as a bit of harsh reality for the NHL when it was trying to make this a marquee event.

Keep supporting your teams, Toronto fans. I am into the Blue Jays' battle for the wild card spot as well, and I would have gone to the Jays-Orioles game over the World Cup games as well.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 29 September 2016

The Hockey Show - Episode 210

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, is back tonight with a live show from The Hub Social Club on the University of Manitoba campus! The only problem? I'm not there! For the first time in 210 shows, I will not be appearing on the show in any form thanks to their remote broadcast coupled by my invasion of The Big Smoke. The whole phone thing doesn't work so well when TJ and Beans are nowhere near the studio phone, so the two men will break into hockey news and stories tonight without me!

So what will the boys be discussing? I have no idea. TJ is the man who is organizing the show tonight, and he's been keeping his cards close to his chest. I suspect the Oilers will get some good mentions tonight, but I can't guarantee anything tonight. I do know that the Winnipeg Jets will meet the Minnesota Wild in preseason action following the show, so you should get down to The Hub for the show and for the preseason game! Get going!

If you're like me and can't make it to The Hub for whatever reason, and you're a proud owner of an iPad, iPod, or iPhone and want to listen to The Hockey Show, you can easily listen to the show by downloading the UMFM app! Just follow this link on your iDevice and get the UMFM app! It's never been easier to tune into The Hockey Show!

If you're an Android user, we've had the app out for a few weeks already so you should already have it on your phone or tablet. You do have it, right? What do you mean you don't have it? Why not? Look, get yourself on the right path by following this link and getting the Android app!

You can also email all show questions and comments to hockeyshow@umfm.com! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show.

Tonight, TJ and Beans are on their own from The Hub doing a live version of the The Hockey Show only on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM app!

PODCAST: September 29, 2016: Episode 210

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The Annual Review

While the publication has been out for a couple of weeks now, I ha the chance to relax and read through The Hockey News' annual publication called the Yearbook. As you can see to the left, there are two players featured on the cover that represent the "prairie" region in Canada despite there being three teams in that region. There were eight different covers produced this season, and the same two teams that The Hockey News conveniently forgets about every year were forgotten about again this season. In other words, it just feels right when it comes to the annual Yearbook! Let's work through the pages and discuss the highlights and low points of this season's hockey bible.

The magazine starts with its annual greeting from the editor-in-chief, Mr. Jason Kay, who highlights some of the big things to expect in 2016-17. I skipped most of that to get to the first article. It was contributed by Ken Campbell, and it's an article on Connor McDavid's growing value to his team, his sport, and himself. While Mr. Campbell puts forth a decent argument, I disagree with his assertion that McDavid will become the face of the league as long as Sidney Crosby is still playing the game. To each their own, I suppose.

I always like the fan survey results that The Hockey News publishes, and this year's results were very entertaining. According to fans, 22% believe the Penguins will repeat as Stanley Cup champions with 16% believing Chicago returns to the promised land while 14% selected the Tampa Bay Lightning. 21% of fans believe that the Capitals will repeat as the Presidents Trophy winners, and 29% believe that Connor McDavid will win the Art Ross Trophy. 27% believe that Sidney Crosby will be named as the Hart Trophy winner, 22% believe that Erik Karlsson will capture another Norris Trophy, 41% believe Alex Ovechkin will have another Richard Trophy on his mantle, 34% believe Carey Price will pick up the Vezina Trophy, and 32% of readers selected Patrik Laine as the Calder Trophy winner. Some interesting results there, to say the least.

In other articles, Down Goes Brown's Sean McIndoe looks at five NHL legends who waited a long time to win the Stanley Cup. Uffe Bodin takes a look at how Victor Hedman is becoming one of the most dependable defenders in the league. Ronnie Shuker has an in-depth look at PK Subban at a personal level and as one of the best defenders in the NHL. Randy Sportak introduces TJ Brodie to everyone who wasn't aware how good he is.

In his annual rating of the top-50 players, Ryan Kennedy breaks down which players are the best at their position and in the league. I'm not going to reveal the list, but the top goaltender is ranked at #3, the top defenceman is ranked at #6, and there are a lot of rankings with which I don't agree. While it's hard to suggest that John Tavares, Alexander Ovechkin, and Steven Stamkos should bump anyone out of the top-ten, you have to wonder how Logan Couture (#23 and just behind Stamkos), Ryan Getzlaf (#21 and just ahead of Stamkos), and Connor McDavid (#9 and ahead of all three) are ranked. I'd like to see the criteria on each of these players.

We jump into more articles as Pat Hickey writes a nice article about Brendan Gallagher, Ken Campbell looks at Joe Thornton's season last year and why the big guy in San Jose is one of the more unique guys in the game, and Jason Buckland scribes a quick piece on Jack Eichel. From there, we get to the reason why I purchase the annual examination of the league as The Hockey News presents its annual team reports.

Before we get to that, though, let's take a look at those eight covers.
Notice who is missing? Vancouver is on the west coast version, Calgary and Edmonton are on the prairie version, Toronto's Auston Matthews gets the Ontario version, and Carey Price gets Montreal and the Maritimes. If you're counting, there's no Ottawa and no Winnipeg which seems to happen EVERY SINGLE YEAR. Honestly, I'm tired of seeing the covers with Craig Conroy, Jordan Eberle, Jarome Iginla, and Taylor Hall every bloody year! Throw a Jet into the mix on that cover, and we'd be talking even coverage. Instead, those in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and northern Ontario are force-fed Johnny Hockey and Connor McJesus once again. That's ridiculous.

As for the team reports, The Hockey News has never once predicted the Stanley Cup champion and finalist correctly for as far back as I can remember. They do make some bold predictions in this edition of the Yearbook, though. For example, Vancouver ends up on the bottom of the Pacific Division, Toronto's rebuild continues as they finish last in the Atlantic Division, and the Central Division sees the entire division shuffled. Again, I'm not going to reveal the two finalists and the winner chosen by The Hockey News, but remember their continued success in picking the wrong finalists.

Overall, another interesting and informative look at the world of hockey through the eyes of some of the most-respected men in the business. Juts don't put money down on their picks unless you have money to burn. I'm not even sure it will burn with Canadian money be plastic.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The First Call To Player Safety

There were concerns when Montreal acquired Andrew Shaw in that they were acquiring a player who had the potential to be reckless on the ice. Shaw, to his credit, said all the right things following the trade that brought him to La Belle Province, but his play tonight in a preseason game against the Washington Capitals was anything but "belle". Andrew Shaw will be the first player to stand in front of the Department of Player Safety this 2016-17 season after he decided to paste a vulnerable Connor Hobbs along the boards.

There's no denying that Montreal wanted a scrappy player to bolster their skilled forward group, and Shaw was to deliver that tenacity and grit that was so evidently missing last season. Shaw also has a bit of a scoring touch, so Montreal did well in acquiring the scrappy power forward who should make them a little more sandpaper compared to the tissue paper they were last season.

Unfortunately, this doesn't help.
The NHL has been preaching it for a long time. The officials have been calling it since the rule was instituted. The players have been reminded over and over again about it. What is "it"? If you see a player's name and number clearly as you drive that player into the boards, you're going to be ejected for boarding. It's a blatant hit from behind, and Andrew Shaw knows this.

It was a relief to see Hobbs return to the game a few minutes after being taken off the ice to the dressing room area, but Shaw has to know better. My guess is that Shaw will be fined and possibly suspended for his indiscretion, but I can't see him getting any more than a game at the most. It should be a wake-up call for the veteran player that he needs to play on the edge, but avoid stepping over it. Especially in a preseason game where he's guaranteed a roster spot and the Canadiens are up 4-1 at the time.

Simply unnecessary and stupid.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 26 September 2016

Edmonton Mascot Will Haunt Nightmares

Was anyone aware that the Edmonton Oilers needed a new mascot? I wasn't aware. It's always a roll of the dice when it comes to designing a mascot that captures the essence of your team's image and brand while balancing the need for that mascot to be loved by the children of the community. In other words, the Oilers probably shouldn't model their new mascot after Gary the No-Trash Cougar, yet it seems that the team is fine with frightening children and some adults with its newest brand image. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Ladies and gentlemen, I don't mean to do this to you, but I want to introduce you to Hunter. Again, you were warned.

Click Here For Hunter


Holy moly, I was not ready for that. Apparently, Hunter is a Canadian lynx - not be confused with the Irkutsk lynx from Russia - that was named after the first owner of the Oilers, "Wild" Bill Hunter. Wild might be the only thing that Hunter and Bill Hunter have in common. Honestly, how many five year-olds are going to wail when Hunter bends down for a hug? That cat will haunt the nightmares of those kids for years to come.

Reactions have been varied as you may imagine. For instance, the always-popular tweeting sensation known as Roberto Luongo weighed in with his thoughts.

Others, however, were not as kind as Luongo.

Some fans did show support for the first mascot in Oilers history.
In general, the sentiment seems to be that the Oilers missed the mark in introducing Hunter to the world. What do you think? Have your take in the comments below. I'd like to see what readers of HBIC think considering some of the mascots we've seen over the ages. Is Hunter better than any of the current NHL mascots? Sound off below!

I have to get some more work done, so I'll respond to any comments when I can!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Tomorrow, I Invade

I will be off the grid for the next week as I need to tend to some business in the Centre of the Universe. I will be able to answer emails and tweets later in the evenings, but there will definitely be very little action on HBIC and on social media from me this week as I look to take the next steps in my chosen career. No, I won't be moving to the Big Smoke anytime soon, but my journey on this trail takes me to Toronto for the next week.

For those that are thinking I may have ulterior motives, I can assure you I will not be taking in any of the World Cup of Hockey Money games despite Canada being in the three-game final series. I will not be seeing the Toronto Maple Leafs play any preseason games live in person, but I may catch one on TV if the hotel lounge has it on. I won't be visiting any OHL teams, and I don't believe I'll have enough time to get down to Rogers Centre for a Blue Jays-Orioles game either.

No, this trip is being taken for one reason, and I plan on ensuring that my employer is getting 100% from me every day. I will be doing some reading in my hotel room as I've brought a book and a magazine, and I'll post reviews of both as the week progresses. If I see something in my travels that deserves a push, I'll mention it as well, but hockey is taking a backseat to work this week. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Tomorrow, I'll be in the heart of Leafs Nation. I'm hoping the city of Toronto is in the midst of changing seasons from baseball season to hockey season, but I expect the Blue Jays to dominate any and all sports conversations for the immediate future with the tam barreling towards a wild card playoff spot. I'm good with that chatter, mind you, because it means less chatter about Auston Matthews and the Leafs while I'm there.

Now that's a holiday!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Ticket Out Of Town

For the next few months, this might be the only jersey we see defenceman Jacob Trouba in after he announced today that he will not be attending Winnipeg Jets training camp after demanding a trade from the team. This is a bit of a head-scratching move when it comes to the reasons why Trouba wants out of the prairie city, but he has stated his case and left the ball clearly in GM Kevin Cheveldayoff's court as he skates in Michigan to stay in shape for when he is finally traded. While I respect Trouba's wishes to play elsewhere, I find this move by a player who has little to no leverage to be rather shortsighted when it comes to his long-term career. If we see Trouba in the NHL this season, it will only be because he has come to his senses.

To set the scene, here is the statement released by Trouba's agent, Kent Overhardt.
"Our client, Jacob Trouba, will not be attending the Winnipeg Jets NHL training camp. Since May, we have been working with the Jets management in an effort to facilitate a trade of Jacob's rights. Both parties continue to work on this matter.

There has been no negotiation regarding the terms of a contract between our client and the Jets over the course of the last several months. The situation is not about money; it is solely about our client having the opportunity to realize his potential as a right shot NHL defenseman.

To the Jets credit, the club has two outstanding right shot veteran defensemen and our client simply wants the opportunity to have a greater role. As a consequence of the Jets depth on the right side, we believe it is in both parties’ best interest to facilitate a mutually advantageous trade.

Our client has nothing but respect for the people and City of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Jets, its fans, management and ownership - our desire to get him moved has everything to do with opportunity. We will continue to work with the Jets in good faith to achieve this end."
The initial shock wasn't that great to me because I had called for Trouba's trade during the Travis Hamonic trade party last season. Reportedly, the Jets were not interested in dealing Trouba and parts for Hamonic to the New York Islanders despite it making good economical and roster sense for a team desperately looking to upgrade its blue line. In reading the statement above, though, it appears that Trouba and his camp have a different opinion about his growth and progress as a player in Winnipeg, and he would like to explore those options elsewhere.

C'est la vie, I guess.

It's hard to defend Trouba's stance when he played the third-most minutes on Winnipeg's blue line last year of all their defencemen. Trouba didn't put up all-star numbers when it came to goals and assists, but he certainly was one of Winnipeg's better defenders down the stretch as they battled for a playoff spot. He was physical when called upon, blocked shots, and moved the puck which is exactly what Winnipeg needs from their blue line.

What he sees, it seems, is that he played the third-most minutes behind the other two right-hand defenders in Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers. In other words, two guys are eating into his minutes where he could show more offensive ability, and he had asked in May that he be given the opportunity to ply his trade with another NHL club. As I looked more at the numbers, I can understand that Trouba wants top-four minutes on the right side, shouldn't one have to earn those minutes by outplaying one of Byfuglien or Myers? Trouba didn't do that last season, and Trouba's level play has plateaued hard in the last two seasons. This leads me to believe that he's a bottom-four defenceman at best unless he either gets faster, stronger, smarter, or a combination of the three. With him not attending training camp, we won't know if he improved in any of those three departments.

As I read Overhardt's words over and over tonight, one thought swept over me that would give Trouba the fresh start he desires and the minutes he feels he deserves. In fact, it would be the best of both worlds for the Jets and Trouba if the Jets really wanted to send a message to the unhappy youngster.

Trade him to Las Vegas.

There's no reason why Las Vegas can't make a trade for Jacob Trouba right now. Sure, he won't play all season, but that's currently where he's headed if he doesn't step back from his self-imposed holdout. The longer he doesn't play, the less likely it will be that he's traded at all since teams are routinely in the practice of employing NHL-ready players. Jonathan Drouin learned this the hard way last season, and once he got himself rolling he became a fixture in the Tampa Bay lineup. All it took was the realization that holding out is worse than playing poorly.

In Las Vegas, Trouba would be the face of the franchise - a top-pairing American defenceman with unlimited potential. He would get a chance to help mold that franchise into a winner while playing top minutes on the right side for a team needing NHL-ready defencemen. With the potential new contract Trouba would sign, he'd also get to keep more of the money with Nevada having state income tax, but we should be aware this was not about the money (because if he had gotten his $6 million-per-season deal, he'd still want out, right?). In all honesty, Trouba should be begging to be traded to Vegas where he'd literally be "the man" on the WhateverTeamName's blue line.

The Jets could call in a few favors from the Las Vegas franchise with this trade such as selecting no rostered players off the Jets' roster or by delivering future considerations off their expansion roster. They could deal draft picks to help sweeten the deal in future years. They could combine any or all of these options in securing Trouba from the Jets, and both parties would come out better off than just watching Trouba sit until he decides he's ready to play.

"But Teebz," you say, "the Jets still need a defenceman!" I hear you, and I suggested this early on in free agency that they sign long-time NHL rearguard Dennis Seidenberg to a contract. Seidenberg, for those that haven't been watching, is having an outstanding tournament at the World Cup of Hockey Money, and Jets head coach Paul Maurice has had an up-close look at the former Bruins defenceman all tournament long. I'm quite certain that Seidenberg would come in for a season or two under Trouba's asking price, so getting an NHL-ready defenceman for the next season or two would be an easy play until one of Josh Morrissey, Brenden Kichton, Jan Kostalek, or Julien Melchiori are ready to jump into that top-six spot.

Whatever happens, I doubt we'll ever see Trouba in a Jets uniform again unless he does a major 180-degree turn like Drouin did. While I'm not blaming agent Kurt Overhardt for the trade, there are some striking similarities between the statement released today and the one that Overhardt made to ESPN when Kyle Turris requested a trade from the Arizona-then-Phoenix Coyotes.
"This has never been about money, we've been upfront with the club from Day 1," Overhardt told ESPN.com Thursday. "We've respectfully requested that the player had the opportunity to move forward in his career by having a fresh start."
Is this some sort of form letter than Overhardt has ready for any disgruntled player? The wording is almost eerily the same in his statement to ESPN in 2011 and the written statement released today. Wow.

In any case, questions will be raised about Winnipeg's development system once more with Trouba's trade demands. People will point at how they mishandled Evander Kane and how they are holding back Connor Hellebuyck, but there have been some young players who have accepted the challenges and used them to get better. Mark Scheifele has emerged as a top-flight centerman in the NHL, and we're seeing the likes of Adam Lowry, Brenden Lemieux, Andrew Copp, and Joel Armia begin to get a handle on their futures. The sky's the limit for Patrik Laine, but he's going to have to work hard in his first season if he wants to move into the superstar tier of players.

Normally, when a company's stock levels off, the company has to do something drastic like re-invent itself or release a new product. Jacob Trouba's stock has leveled off, so he needs to re-invent himself by being better than what he had been in the last two seasons. He still has a ton of untapped potential to draw upon, but he needs to work hard to bring that potential to light. If he thinks that a change of scenery will help, he's under the same fallacy that Jonathan Drouin was under last season before he bought into the hard work and discipline needed to be a dynamic NHL player.

As any young person or businessman will tell you, changing locations doesn't eliminate your problems as they always follow you to wherever you land. The only place where Trouba could be considered a top-four defenceman is a place where they have no top-four defencemen such as Las Vegas. And if it's truly not about money, he'll always be looking at the next opportunity unless he improves his on-ice product past the point of where it has stagnated for the last two seasons.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 23 September 2016

Starting Shorthanded?

I admit that I'm a fan of CIS hockey. The Canadian university system hasn't produced a vast number of NHL stars, but it is constantly restocking the CWHL on the women's side. However, a number of former CHL players are signing up for university degrees after their junior hockey careers have ended, and the results have shown that CIS men's hockey is becoming far more competitive and far more entertaining. With that, however, comes a junior hockey mentality where fighting still happens. Tonight at Wayne Fleming Arena in Winnipeg, that mentality spilled over onto the ice when the Manitoba Bisons hosted the Regina Cougars.

In 2013, the CIS increased the penalty for fighting in Canadian Interuniversity Sports men's hockey. The rules are pretty much identical across the Canada West, Ontario, and Atlantic conferences where fighting is an automatic game misconduct and a one-game suspension. A second fight gets you a game misconduct and a two-game suspension. A third fight gets you a game misconduct and a three-game suspension. You see where this is going based on the trend, right?

The more interesting rule to me, however, is the instigator rule. If a player is given an instigator penalty, that player suffers the game misconduct and the suspension while his combatant simply serves the five-minute major penalty for fighting and the game misconduct. In other words, those that have the inkling to pick fights at the CIS level get punished more severely that those that he draws into the fight. With less goons and less idiots on the ice looking to start a scrap, the game has benefited immensely as the scoring and entertainment levels have gone up.

But there are still fights that happen as we saw tonight. Here's a tweet from ChrisD.ca who caught the second round of fights in the third period between Regina and Manitoba.

According to the boxscore from the game, it appears that the first fight kicked off the rough stuff at 13:06 of the third period when Manitoba's Jesse Paradis and Regina's Brody Luhning dropped the mitts to solve their differences. Minutes later, Manitoba's Rene Hunter delivered what appears to be a vicious cross-check that earned him a five-minute major and a game misconduct which led to the video captured above of the second donnybrook between Manitoba's Jonah Wasylak and Regina's Tyler Bell.

Looks like the CWUAA disciplinary committee will have some work to do early in the 2016-17 season.

I expect all four players who fought to be suspended for the opening game of the season for their respective teams. I also expect Canada West to investigate the cross-check by Rene Hunter and the actions of Regina's Austin Bourhis who was given a game misconduct at the 17:05 mark. I would not be surprised if all six players were given the night off on October 7 when the season opens. After all, this is preseason CWUAA hockey where fights should almost never be seen.

I am rather shocked that these events happened in a preseason CWUAA game whose result was never in doubt once the midpoint of the third period had passed. The Bisons led 7-0 at that point, and I realize and understand that there's a pride factor that the Cougars want to uphold, but it's a preseason game. Neither head coach spoke to the media following the game, but I truly believe that neither head coach would want to "send a message" to the other team when it means that players will be suspended. That's the definition of "cutting one's nose off to spite one's face".

You hope that both teams got this rambunctiousness out of their systems in this preseason game. They meet in Regina on October 21 and 22, so let's hope that the Bisons come back to Manitoba with a couple of wins and a full roster for the following week. As much as I like a good hockey fight, the action on the ice tonight seemed to be entertaining enough for those fan who attended. Instead, they got to witness what will likely be the first suspensions in the CWUAA this season.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

The Hockey Show - Episode 209

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, is back to kick off YEAR 5 of the greatest non-affiliated hockey show on the planet! As we do with any birthday, we are going to have some fun, give away some cool stuff, and chat some hockey on tonight's show. Why? Because we appreciate each and every one of you who have been listening all this time. To show our appreciation, we're giving you the presents! How cool is that?

We have some autographed stuff to give away. We have a few books for your reading consumption. There are some clothing items that can be won. And there are chances for you to jump into the hockey chatter with your phone calls! Among the hockey topics we'll discuss will be the white pucks used by the Florida Panthers, Sergei Mozyakin breaking the KHL record for career goals a week or so ago, Brandon Reid and the Aalborg Pirates kicking off their season against the Odense Bulldogs on Friday, and the Manitoba Bisons women's team heading to Regina for the Mandi Schwartz Tournament and what TJ and Teebz saw from the team in their preseason games against the Winnipeg Avros. We're giving away a bunch of stuff tonight while we chat hockey, so make sure you tune in and listen for your chance to win!

I can already hear a large portion of those reading this preview saying, "I don't get your radio station in my neighbourhood." Believe me, we're very cognizant of how far we reach at UMFM, so we're pushing forward into the digital age like a charging bull in order to give you more options and better options for listening to The Hockey Show and all the other great UMFM programming. Ladies and gentlemen, there's an app for that.

If you're a proud owner of an iPad, iPod, or iPhone and want to listen to The Hockey Show, you had to go to UMFM's website and listen via the stream and it was a pain in the butt because it only played a couple of ways and tuning in was a big hassle. I get it. I've been there. That's why UMFM went ahead and made an awesome new app for you to download that will allow you to listen to UMFM with ease! Just follow this link on your iDevice and get the UMFM app! It's never been easier to tune into The Hockey Show, and we're giving away prizes tonight so you can win as well!

If you're an Android user, we've had the app out for a few weeks already so you should already have it on your phone or tablet. You do have it, right? What do you mean you don't have it? Why not? Look, get yourself on the right path by following this link and getting the Android app!

As a small hint, there will be a prize available for someone who has downloaded the app as there will be a question posed that relates to the app, so you'd be wise to download the UMFM app and get familiar with it prior to the show. It'll also be valuable for listening to CIS sports, a ton of great shows and music, and some fun talk shows outside our little hour!

Email all show questions and comments to hockeyshow@umfm.com! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show.

Tonight, we're cleaning out the prize closet and chatting about white pucks, Russian goals, Danish starts, and women's hockey on The Hockey Show only on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM app!

PODCAST: September 22, 2016: Episode 209

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Recycling Is Good?

I appreciate people who recycle, re-use, and reduce their footprint on this planet. I recycle all that I can, and I have a compost receptacle that receives all of my vegetation waste from my kitchen and garden. In other words, I do my part to try to reduce my footprint on this planet. I never expected the NHL to have a team who would do the same by re-wearing jerseys, but it seems the Los Angeles Kings opened up the jersey trunk in the attic and found something they wanted to wear again. The jersey pictured above is the Stadium Series jersey that the Kings wore against the Anaheim Ducks in 2014, and their new 50th anniversary jersey that was unveiled yesterday looks similar.

The image to the right? That's what the Los Angeles Kings will wear to commemorate this historic season. There are a pile of features that the Kings have rolled into this jersey, but it looks an awful lot like the Stadium Series jersey posted at the top of this article, doesn't it? I get that the Kings want something different for this jersey than the usual black or white jerseys they wear, but they have a rich history of jerseys, colours, and designs that they could have used over this rather blasé uniform. A lot of the features on this jersey are what bother me if we're being totally honest.

According to the Los Angeles Kings, the following are features found on this 50th anniversary jersey:
  • Striping along the arms represents two Stanley Cups.
  • Striping along the bottom matches 1967-68, the first on-ice season in Kings history.
  • Purple embellishment within the neck containing five Gold Diamonds represents the five decades and pays homage to the club's historic Purple/Gold years.
  • Gold added to the Kings primary logo represents 50 years.
  • Special Font with Gold for player names and numbers.
  • Gray color is the same as the Dodger Stadium Series.
Wait, they admitted it - "Gray color is the same as the Dodger Stadium Series"? It seems odd to me that they would trot out a similar jersey they wore two years ago for a special game, but the Kings are doing that. Hey, at least they admitted it and didn't pass it off as some new colour. Nod to the Kings for the honesty.

However, this garbage about the striping along the arms being representative of the two Stanley Cup wins - is anyone buying that? They're hockey stripes, and they've been on hockey sweaters and jerseys for years. They're a little thicker than normal hockey stripes, but they follow the same width as the hem stripe which is exactly what the stripes should do. They should be uniform on a uniform!

While I like the idea of throwing back to the 1967-68 Los Angeles Kings, just doing the hem stripe is a huge miss when the gold jerseys worn in 1967-68 would have been nearly perfect for the team's Golden Anniversary. How could a team with gold in its colour scheme history miss out on this? If they wanted to go all out, make the jerseys out of a material that shimmers as well. I'm not suggesting that Reebok bring in a bolt of durene fabric, but they should be able to make something up that catches the light of the arena and makes the jerseys somewhat reflective like a brick of gold.

Now, some will point out that the Kings wore the gold jerseys as a throwback jersey in prior seasons. I'll grant you that, but we're already talking about recycling the Stadium Series jerseys so why not wear an appropriate jersey for your Golden Anniversary?

Hiding the purple inside the collar and inside the jersey? Utter stupidity. I hate this idea. I have hated it since it was introduced, and I still hate it today. End this "feature". It's not a feature if no one sees it.

The gold-outlined logo, name, and number are the same as what the Philadelphia Flyers did, and I'm fine with that. It might have looked much better if the gold-lined logo was on the gold jersey, but I digress. Instead, when you see the gold-infused jersey from a slight distance, everything they attempted to highlight with this gold disappears due to the white in the logo.
If the gold disappears, why bother at all? This is extremely poor execution of an idea, and I'm already disliking these jerseys. Had they lined the shoulder yoke to contrast against the black and gray, we'd be talking about a golden anniversary jersey. Instead, we barely see the gold embroidery which is an epic fail. It's your Golden Anniversary, yet there is little to no gold seen. Disappointing.

I would have rather seen the Stadium Series jerseys re-used entirely with the gold added into it. This jersey is a mess in its design, its execution, and its final product. I would rather see the Burger King jersey brought back and worn for the anniversary over this new design. It doesn't come off well as the gold is rather invisible, so congratulations on re-introducing another gray jersey, Los Angeles.

The only problem? That's not what was asked for. Complete fail. Simply awful.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Your Team For A Song?

Music is a common bond among people everywhere. While tastes and genres may vary between those people, music is played in every part of the land across this marble in space. In saying that, it seems that musicians are putting together a very nice wardrobe of hockey jerseys as they tour the world and play in rinks in every city, town, and burgh. The Pittsburgh fan to the left, for example, is a big fan of Snoop Dogg based on his jersey. That being said, we're back for another installment of musicians who wear hockey jerseys, and we have some repeat offenders once again. Let's break into some more closets and find out who sang where on this installment of musicians in jerseys!

Before we get started, the full database of images is linked here. Feel free to click through to find your favorite team and find out who has worn those colours. Of course, if you have additional images of musicians in hockey jerseys from a concert, feel free to send them here and I'll credit you on the main page! Without further adieu, though, let's start the show!

We'll start with a band that was huge in the 1980s. They've sung a James Bond theme song, they've sold some 70 million records, they've won Grammy Awards, and they have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Needless to say, Duran Duran are recognized worldwide wherever they go and their concerts are still popular today. Duran Duran was recently in Calgary, Alberta where they played a concert, and the Flames did their thing by giving the band jerseys from the team!

Members of the band have been seen individually or in pairs in jerseys, but it's rare that all four members of KISS are in the same photo with hockey jerseys! Obviously, Gene Simmons is the most prolific member of KISS in terms of being in the public eye, but it's nice to see KISS being recognized by the ECHL's Missouri Mavericks as KISS passed through Independence, Missouri!

I'm not a fan of his music, but Armando Christian Pérez was born in Miami, Florida before assuming the name Pitbull as his music career exploded. He's hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and he's been a part of FIFA lore when he, Jennifer Lopez, and Claudia Leitte wrote and performed "We Are One (Ole Ola)" as the main theme for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Clearly, the man has talent, and Pitbull is also the owner of a new Florida Panthers jersey after stopping in Sunrise!

Speaking of rappers, Drake has certainly been a sports fan for his entire life. He's a major part of the Toronto Raptors and the NBA scenes, but he's not afraid to show off his Canadian roots by throwing on a hockey jersey as well! Drake toured through Tampa Bay where the Lightning gave him a BOLTS jersey and Stamkos' captaincy for one night, and he was recently in Vancouver where he was also given the captaincy of the Canucks. How does Drake keep being named captains in these cities?

When you're the first concert in a band-new stadium or arena, there's a good chance you'll want to endear yourself to the crowd that turns out to see you perform. That's exactly what country music superstar Luke Bryan did when he took the stage in Minneapolis' new US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings. Except Bryan didn't wear Vikings purple. He instead took to the stage in an Erik Haula Minnesota Wild jersey! Minnesota is a bit of a hockey state, and it appears that Bryan is a hockey fan! Haula, of course, played for the Minnesota Golden Gophers and is a current member of the Wild, so he pretty much hit the Minnesota hockey nail on the head with that jersey!

Another country singer whose wardrobe seems to be filling up with hockey jerseys is Garth Brooks. Garth recently showed off his hockey knowledge by wearing a Gordie Howe jersey in Saskatchewan and played a show in St. Louis while wearing a Blues jersey. Today, we hop into the way-back machine where he made an appearance in Anaheim and received a Mighty Ducks jersey! However, Garth and Trisha Yearwood are touring North America as you read this, and he made a recent stop in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he was given a Grand Rapids Griffins jersey! For a guy who disappeared for a number of years, it seems he's catching up on his contemporaries when it comes to collecting jerseys!

The Zac Brown Band sang the American national anthem at the recent Winter Classic. They wore jerseys as they belted out the Star-Spangled Banner, and they looked fairly good doing so!

Not to be outdone, The Tenors sang O Canada at the Winter Classic as Canadian music representatives. They too wore jerseys, although they wore Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys. You have to wonder if they would had chosen other Canadian teams had they been given the option.

I have never heard any music by Lucy Hale, but I imagine she may be better known for appearances on How I Met Your Mother and on Pretty Little Liars. She does sing, though, and describes music as her "first love". I'll go with that since she's released an album and has a music video for her single "You Sound Good To Me". She seems to have some decent pipes, and she got a chance to perform in Springfield, Massachusetts in January of 2014 following a Falcons-Phantoms AHL game. And, of course, Lucy was given her very own jersey! Miss Hale may want to hold onto that jersey now - it's a collector's item after the Falcons moved to Tucson!

Justin Bieber's reputation has made for fans to wish that he'll never appear in their team's jersey, but the kid is a hockey fan. He certainly has one of the most decorated closets when it comes to hockey jerseys if he's kept all of the ones he's already appeared in, so let's add a couple more to the list. Biebs played some pickup hockey while wearing a Los Angeles Kings jersey. He was recently in Germany doing a concert tour, and he suited up with eishockeyclub Red Bull München in Munich, Germany of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga on an off day! Biebs' collection is growing!

Another guy I have never heard of? Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn, better known as the rapper Future. He was also on Drake's tour after doing a full-length collaboration with Drake entitled What a Time to Be Alive. That album debuted at the top of the US Billboard 200, so having him accompany Drake on his tour makes sense. And just like Drake, Future donned the Vancouver Canucks colours while in Vancouver! That'll get you some attention!

Finally, we'll end this review with one of the greats who was known globally for his talents. He got his start in Italy in 1961, and his popularity grew steadily until he was sadly taken from us after succumbing to pancreatic cancer on September 6, 2007. Luciano Pavarotti was immensely popular for his tenor voice, his success as one of the Three Tenors, and for his ability to cross over into mainstream music with artists such as U2. He remains as the only operatic singer to appear on Saturday Night Live - a feat I'm not sure will ever be matched. He wasn't known for any sort of love of hockey, but he was given jersey by various owners who had Pavarotti appear at their arenas. One man who gave Pavarotti a jersey? Phildelphia's Ed Snider. It truly looks like Pavarotti was honoured by the gesture!

So there are a handful of artists who have worn the colours of hockey across the planet. Again, if you have additional images of musicians in hockey jerseys from a concert, feel free to send them here and I'll credit you on the main page. The number of images grows as more and more musicians tour the world, so this piece will continue to grow!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 19 September 2016

They're Just Exceptional People

There aren't many opportunities in life to spend time with your heroes and idols, so when that times comes along you should reach out and embrace it for as long as it lasts. I got to spend some time today with the man to the left, so that means this is a non-hockey entry on HBIC. Before you go clicking elsewhere, though, give this article a chance because I have to say that I have more respect for the man in the image today than I did before, and I already held him in the highest regard. The man pictured is former Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Kelly Gruber, and it was an honour and pleasure to meet a man who I thought might be the best third baseman to ever don a Blue Jays uniform.

Listen, I'm not here to debate Gruber vs. Sprague vs. Donaldson vs. Glaus or anyone else who played the hot corner for Toronto. Every one of those players is certainly a top-notch ballplayer in his own right, and I'm not taking anything away from any of them. What I am here to say is that I grew up in an era where Kelly Gruber played third base for the Toronto Blue Jays while I was playing baseball, and I thought he was one of the better third basemen I had ever seen.

Today, however, I found out that his efforts as a regular person far outweigh anything he did on the field because Kelly Gruber is an amazing person. And I say that knowing that he won a World Series with the Blue Jays.

In an autograph session put on by Rogers Communications, Kelly Gruber sat and talked with fans for lengths of time. He made connections with kids who weren't even a twinkle in their parents' eyes when they watched Kelly play. He spent time reaching people on a personal level where his celebrity status was used to make those connections. He listened. He talked. He smiled. He told stories of life in baseball. He happily took photographs with fans. He was warm. He embraced those that wanted hugs with genuine sincerity.

Kelly Gruber turned a lot of Blue Jays fans into Kelly Gruber fans today.

Look, I'm getting nothing for writing this, but he's been traveling with the Blue Jays caravan across Canada that Rogers Communications is backing. I saw a man today reach through age barriers, wage barriers, and social barriers to bring fans of all walks of life together. I saw a man whose skill on the diamond was celebrated and revered yet he was as approachable as your next door neighbour.

Isn't it great when your heroes turn out to be genuinely exceptional people?

We've seen in some situations that athletes can occasionally be jerks. Just like people in life, there are those who fail to remember that we're all connected in some way or another, and those that forget this lesson often find difficulty in achieving goals because the help they require from others has abandoned them due to past actions. For every Alex Rodriguez, there are guys like Kelly Gruber who restore your faith in athletes. Kelly, who was here on a promotional tour, did something that Alex Rodriguez wouldn't even dare to consider that shows exactly what kind of man he is.

As I was working at the caravan, a lady walked up to where I was stationed and asked if Kelly Gruber was signing autographs yet. I noticed she had some memorabilia in her hands including a framed photo of a young girl and Kelly. I informed her that Kelly was signing autographs inside the store, and that we were outside doing the fun stuff. She thanked me and headed inside. Some 20 to 30 minutes later, she emerged from the store, went to her car, and drove off.

There was no line inside, so it was apparent that Kelly had spent some time speaking to this woman. What I wasn't expecting, though, was that this woman had also spent some time talking to Kelly, and her story was incredible to hear.

What she failed to mention in her question for me is that she is a former Make-A-Wish Foundation cancer survivor whose wish was to meet Kelly Gruber at a Blue Jays game when she was younger. The framed photo? That was her and Kelly some years ago when Make-A-Wish granted her wish and sent her to Toronto to meet her baseball idol. Reportedly, the look on Kelly's face was amazement as he glanced at her and then down at the photo as he recalled the moment.

Kelly autographed everything she had and you could tell that meeting her idol once again was a moment she was going to hold onto forever. She left with a smile on her face after explaining to Kelly what she had gone through, and several of Kelly's people jotted down some information so that they could follow up with the woman regarding her experience. What happened next, though, was evidence of the kind of person that Kelly is.

Kelly decided that after the autograph session he was going to visit this woman at her house. Why? He wanted to talk some more to her and really make a connection with her after he had meant so much to her while she was battling cancer. Obviously, the connection she had with him from watching him play baseball was one that would last forever, and now Kelly was going to make sure that it was bronzed and talked about for years to come. And just as he said he was going to do, once the last autograph was signed, he and his crew piled into their vehicle to make a whole new slew of memories for one woman.

How cool is that?

I'm happy to say that I got to sit and chat with Kelly a little bit today. It's always refreshing to find out that the guy who you believed to be a helluvan athlete is an even better person. When these people are the people one aspires to be, seeing how genuine and friendly they are with everyone is exactly why athletes can and should inspire us all to not only be better athletes, but better people and entirely better to one another.

It's an easy thing to say, but it takes an exceptional person to walk that life. Kelly Gruber not only is walking that life, but he's inspiring many people to follow him on that path. That's what our heroes should inspire us to do.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Getting Older

The image to the left is a little harrowing for those of us who have been watching this game for some time. That's either Lev or Maksim Bure, sons of former NHL star Valeri Bure and TV star and personality Candace Cameron Bure, who was featured on Candace's Facebook page because, as she wrote, "The boys are wearing yellow jerseys this month to bring awareness to childhood cancer." That's awesome to see from a team featuring 14 and 16 year-old kids, but it dawned on me once I re-read Candace's statement: that's her boy wearing that jersey. That's Valeri Bure's son wearing that jersey!

I've been watching this game long enough to see the sons of players from my dad's generation roll through the NHL. Heck, I've seen third generation players such as Blake Geoffrion get drafted and play. It's a different feeling, though, when you see a player's son approaching draft-eligible ages who you watched being drafted and play. Suddenly, the effects of aging catches up to you in a hurry!

Bure was the 33rd-overall selection in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens after leaving the Soviet Union in 1991 to play for the WHL's Spokane Chiefs where he became the first Russian-born player to suit up in the WHL. After being drafted, Bure returned to Spokane for the 1991-92 season where he scored 147 points and set a franchise record for goals with 68. His first pro game was against the New York Islanders on February 28, 1995, and he recorded his first professional goal against the Wendell Young and the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 15.

While all of those achievements are certainly remarkable, they also mark some incredible times that the younger folk watching the game today won't remember. The 1995 New York Islanders, for example, wore the Fisherman jerseys as seen to the right, meaning Bure's first game was played against what many feel is the worst uniform in NHL history (I vehemently disagree). I'm not sure what this generation of kids feels about the Fisherman, but I know that my generation and the generation before it pretty much hated the Fisherman in all its forms.

Wendell Young is a name that won't be known to many younger fans today, but he was a star with the IHL's Chicago Wolves after his playing days in Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, but he's the only player in hockey history to have won the four major cups: the Memorial Cup (OHL's Kitchener Rangers in 1982), the Calder Cup (AHL's Hershey Bears in 1988), the Turner Cup (IHL's Chicago Wolves in 1998 and 2000), and the Stanley Cup (NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and 1992). He wasn't an overly exceptional goalie at the NHL level, but he was a serviceable netminder who played minutes when called upon. He was, however, an excellent goaltender in the minor leagues, and he's proven this with his success in the blue paint at the AHL and IHL levels. Today, Young is the GM of the Chicago Wolves.

Bure, on the other hand, runs a winery in California with his wife, Candace, and their two boys obviously are playing hockey. Valeri had a solid NHL career that was cut short due to a lingering hip injury, but he managed to lead the Calgary Flames in scoring in 1999-2000, a season in which he and his brother, Pavel Bure, set the NHL record for goals scored by two brothers in a single season with 93. And now it appears that Lev and Maksim Bure could be destined for the NHL at some point to challenge their father's and uncle's record.

I appreciate hockey history, and I really hope the new generation of hockey fans finds that same appreciation as they move through their own timelines. Kudos to the team that the two Bure boys are on for getting word out about childhood cancer with their awesome yellow jerseys. In the end, though, time waits for no man, as the adage goes, and it seems that I am now the generation that used to talk about people my dad's age harrowing back to the days of Orr, Lafleur, and Hull. That's Bobby Hull, not Brett Hull, kids.

We've already seen the next wave of Sutters get drafted. Matthew Tkachuk will eventually be a Calgary Flame after his dad spent years in Winnipeg, St. Louis, Phoenix, and Atlanta. Martin Brodeur was in Columbus this week to watch his son tend nets for the Blue Jackets in their rookie camp. Even Wayne Gretzky's baby daughter now has a baby of her own and a husband.

With the NHL getting younger, expect the wave of former players' kids to continue. It's the natural evolution of the game, but sometimes I feel like I've been left in its wake when I see players I watch get drafted supporting their kids at the draft. To say it's surreal just makes me sound old.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 17 September 2016

There's An App For That

Four years ago, I entered into talks with 101.5 UMFM in bringing HBIC to the radio. They approached me about the idea of a hockey-themed show, and I brought the idea of translating the blog to the radio medium so that the major stories from the hockey world could be discussed in an everyday-like setting. We've received a ton of phone calls from listeners, we've interviewed a bunch of amazing people, and we've tried to stay on top of all the major stories and happenings from across the globe. But there was always one complaint that we fielded with good reason.

"I don't get your station."

It's not that people didn't understand the station, but that our broadcasting range isn't very large. Sure, you can hit up the internet and listen to UMFM via the website, but that's a bit of a pain in the rear, right? Wouldn't it be easier if there was just an app for that? Wouldn't it be easier to hear The Hockey Show with just one tap on your phone or tablet? Heck yes, it would be a ton easier!

Well, ladies and gentlemen, let's make this a whole lot easier.

The iOS app was released this week, and you can download it for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod and listen to The Hockey Show with just one touch now! Just follow this link on your iDevice and get the UMFM app! It's never been easier to tune in!

For the Android crowd out there, don't think we've forgotten about you. The Android app can be found in the Google Play Store, and has been available for a couple of weeks already. If you haven't had a chance to download it, follow this link and get the Android app for your phone or tablet as well!

Sorry, Blackberry users, but your market share didn't warrant a Blackberry App, but it's not like you can't get the Android app onto your phone. If you're using a Blackberry 10, you can sideload apps from the Google Play Store. Please remember that the apps were not designed for a Blackberry, so I can't guarantee that the UMFM app will work perfectly, but give it a shot and let me know in the comments if it works for you!

There are a couple of things you should know about the UMFM app itself. This is the initial offering of the app, so there will be some things missing that you can still find on the UMFM website such as UMFM's Second Stream. UMFM is working towards including a bunch of new stuff in the next release such as a wider selection of streaming archives for all our shows and adding in a real cool feature for all of UMFM's "Friends With Benefits" partners, but the station wanted to get this new app out in September so that you can hear all of the great programming that it has to offer such as The Hockey Show and a pile of Bison Sports broadcasts including men's and women's hockey.

There's no timeline right now as to when the next update will be released with the new features, so if you want to listen to UMFM's Second Stream for any of the sports broadcasts, festival info, and live sessions done at UMFM, I suggest going to the Second Stream's webpage for that information for now. The Second Stream is occasionally offline for administrative purposes, but it will be carrying all of the above starting in October.

Starting on October 7, Bisons men's and women's hockey games can be found there for all home games not carried on the main UMFM feed which is streamed via the app. If you want UMFM hockey action, you know where to find it all season long! Make sure you check the schedule on the GoBisons.ca website as men's games and women's games are played at different times throughout the season!

Regarding the broadcasts over the airwaves, the following schedule will be broadcast on the main feed for UMFM. You can hear these live via the app during the broadcast times shown below. Please note that all times are Central!
  • MEN: 7pm Friday, October 28 vs. UBC Thunderbirds
  • WOMEN: 1pm Saturday, November 19 vs. Alberta Pandas
  • MEN: 7pm Friday, November 25 vs. Saskatchewan Huskies
  • WOMEN: 1pm Saturday, December 3 vs. Mount Royal Cougars
  • WOMEN: 1pm Saturday, January 14 vs. UBC Thunderbirds
  • MEN: 7pm Friday, January 27 vs. Calgary Dinos.
  • WOMEN: 4pm Saturday, February 4 vs. Saskatchewan Huskies
  • MEN: 7pm Friday, February 10 vs. Alberta Golden Bears
So what are you waiting for? Get out to the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store and download the app, or follow one of the convenient links above! You're missing great programming that is entirely NOT commercial radio right now, and you may even find a new band or song that you want to download through UMFM's interesting and entertaining programming! And you can follow all the latest developments on The Hockey Show at 5:30pm CT on 101.5 UMFM, www.umfm.com, and the UMFM app!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 16 September 2016

An Interesting Concept

When things are done differently, it takes time for people to adjust. If this adjustment benefits those who are doing things differently, the change is labelled as innovative. Whether or not we'll see the Florida Panthers leading the way in innovative hockey ideas is certainly up for debate after they have begun to practice with white pucks as seen above. Yes, those are the real things that the Panthers are using in their practices to help their two goalies, Roberto Luongo and James Reimer, focus while in net for the upcoming season. Will this work?

It's not as if the Panthers had any issues with how Luongo played his position last season, but the additional work on getting the netminders to focus on the puck and keep their heads in the game a little more won't hurt. Luongo posted excellent numbers in going 35-19-6 with a 2.35 GAA and a .922 save percentage while posting four blank sheets. Reimer stumbled in his time with Toronto - who didn't? - but still managed to post a 17-14-7 record, a 2.30 GAA, a .922 save percentage, and three shutouts in his time with the Sharks and Maple Leafs. Again, not too shabby, but there were certainly times where it seemed like Reimer's head was elsewhere last season.

The white pucks force the goaltender to concentrate on la rondelle when it leaves the stick. The white is supposed to be harder to see on the white ice and potentially against the white background of the boards, making it harder to pick up the puck for the goaltender who is supposed to stop it. I'm not sure if this will translate into additional saves during the regular season and/or playoffs, but the idea of getting netminders to focus on what is s somewhat-invisible puck at times is a lot like muscle memory in that Luongo and Reimer should keep their minds trained to focus on what's happening in front of them instead of stuff happening in other parts of their lives.

There was no report on whether the rest of the Panthers will be included in the focus training, but I suspect that there could be a few deflection drills that will use these pucks as well. Players often know where the puck is and off of whose stick it's coming, but keeping their eye on the puck when it disappears would be a good drill for the offensive players. I'm not sure that slapshots from the point would be a wise move, but a few wrist shots for redirections may prove beneficial for the offensive players as well!

Innovation comes in many forms. If the Panthers see a statistical increase from their goaltenders, I suspect that these white pucks will continue to be used in practices. Luongo and Reimer are already good netminders based on their numbers, but any improvement could push the Panthers to the top of the Atlantic Division.

While the evidence won't be seen until we're into the regular season and a handful of games are played for a sample size, I suspect that if the Panthers show improvement in the goaltending stats there will be other teams who follow suit in getting their netminders to focus harder and concentrate better.

All because of a few white pucks.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 15 September 2016

The Hockey Show - Episode 208

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, is back with a major milestone and some fun tonight. Can you believe we're finishing off Year Four of the The Hockey Show? Yeah, we didn't think we'd get here either, but we made it and we're still going strong! Beans and I have been lucky to have had so much fun on the radio while bringing you interesting interviews, great debates, and a pile of news stories, and we'll be kicking off Year Five next week with some giveaways and fun! Tonight, however, we have some introductions to do!

The University of Manitoba Bisons women's hockey team finishes off their only week of preseason games in Manitoba this weekend as they play Friday and Saturday against the Winnipeg Avros of the Manitoba Female Midget Hockey League! To get you ready, we're bringing on all five new Bisons players to introduce you to the future of the Herd! We'll welcome Jordyn Zacharias, Sheridan Oswald, Mekaela Fisher, Jenai Buchanan, and Megan Neduzak to the show and we'll give you some background on each before we discuss the upcoming Canada West season and where the Bisons rookies feel the team will finish! We'll also discuss their recent European barnstorming tour where they went 4-0, and get the skinny on some of the highlights of the trip! We'll also be reminding everyone of the games this weekend, so get your seats down to a seat at Wayne Fleming Arena to see the 6-0 Bisons play the Avros this weekend!

It's going to be a packed house with seven people on the microphones tonight even with Beans taking the night off, so make sure you tune in because TJ and I will getting into these players' stories almost immediately! The phone lines will be wide open tonight for your calls if you have questions for the new Bisons, so call us at (204) 269-UMFM (269-8636)! Make sure your radio in the Winnipeg region is set to 101.5 on your FM dial if you can't make it or listen live between 5:30pm and 6:30pm CT on your web-enabled device at the UMFM webpage!

As new feature for your listening pleasure, if you're an Android user, download the UMFM app for easy listening! The iPhone version is coming soon, so make sure you check back here for its availability. Once it is, we'll post that link here as well!

Email all show questions and comments to hockeyshow@umfm.com! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show.

Tonight, we talk about new school year, the upcoming Canada West season, the fall of Europe, and we'll learn about the new players and their accomplishments thus far in their careers on The Hockey Show only on 101.5 UMFM!

PODCAST: September 15, 2016: Episode 208

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

All About The Birds

It's not often that HBIC can feel like the National Audubon Society, but today is all about the birds on this blog. Two species of birds shall be covered as we look at a California-based bird and a Massachusetts-based bird. Both of these birds have come out with a new look as the AHL teams who have adopted those names have released updated uniforms! Today, we travel to Bakersfield to look at the alternate jersey for the Condors, and we hit the road for Springfield where the Falcons have a whole new look!

Alternate Condors

We start with the Bakersfield Condors who have already adopted the colours of the Edmonton Oilers, but had yet to follow suit with an orange-and-blue alternate jersey. The Condors finally made the reveal six days ago, and I have to say that I am a fan of these alternate jerseys.
Ok, unnecessary dramatic music aside, that orange jersey looks good! While the Condors opted to use the secondary oil drop logo, they added the talons from a condor to make the logo somewhat Bakersfield-centric. To me, though, this jersey's logo feels a lot like the Oilers alternate that they wore from 2001 to 2007. I, of course, am a big fan of that oil drop logo as well.
Leaving the last decade out of this, I really like what the Condors did with the oil drop logo. It occupies much of the front of the orange alternate so that there's very little dead space, and it's very clear through both the logo and colours which team is on the ice.

Well done, Bakersfield! A solid alternate jersey is being added to the rotation, and I can't wait to see it on the ice!

Falcons' New Feathers

If you've been following the AHL moves this summer, you know that the Springfield Falcons moved to Tucson, Arizona to become the Roadrunners. With Springfield looking to keep a team, the Portland Pirates moved into Springfield and became the Springfield Thu7nderbirds. Now that you're up to speed, the new bird-based team in Springfield have a new logo and new jerseys thanks to their affiliation with the Florida Panthers. The old logo, seen above, has flown the coop or some other wisecrack about birds, but I have to say that I really like the new logo for its simplicity.

Yes, it's still an angry bird, but the Thunderbirds logo is certainly better than the Falcons logo as seen above, and there's a hope that the Thunderbirds can bring a Calder Cup back to Springfield. The colours, as you may notice, have a strong emphasis of blue in the logo, but also incorporate the red and yellow colours worn by the Panthers as another AHL team will resemble its NHL affiliate this winter, but has elements that make the jersey unique to Springfield. In other words, I like what Springfield has done.

We'll start with the red jerseys that Springfield will be wearing. I am posting the large mock-up of these jerseys with the Pantone colours in order for fans and designers to get a jump on any future designs such as an alternate jersey. In any case, here are the red jerseys.
There are some likes and dislikes in the design, so let's start with the less-than-positive stuff such as the half arm stripes. That's a no in the hockey world, and it really does nothing to improve the jersey except to add the lighter blue colour to the colour scheme. Had those stripes gone fully around the arm, I believe it would look better, but that seemingly useless navy blue underarm splash ruins the stripes. Which leads me to...

That seemingly useless navy blue underarm splash. Why is it there? Is it because the jersey needed more colour? Here's a thought: add a hem stripe! You have it on the socks and sleeves, so toss in the the same striping pattern on the hem! Instead, the Thunderbirds went for the slimming vertical side colours which, I assume, will be incorporated on the breezers for the players to make one long vertical stripe. If it doesn't or if the Thunderbirds decide to wear navy blue breezers as contrast, these side panels will look ridiculous.

Also, if you read carefully, the Thunderbirds have decided to adorn the US flag on the right shoulder. I believe in flag patches for international competitions and perhaps all-star games, but wearing it because you're based in America? No. It didn't work for the Calgary Flames, and I don't like it here. If you aren't a team made up of 100% American-born players who are traveling internationally, this is just overkill in the nationalism department. Hockey is a global game. Keep it that way.

Lace-up collars are so yesterday. Phase them out too. Especially when your team was never part of "old-time hockey".

Ok, so we've ran over the negatives, but here's the thing: the jerseys look fairly good! I'll explain why under the white jersey mock-ups.
First off, your eyes are drawn to the logo in the middle of the chest because it contrasts well with the red and white background colours. The blue really stands out, and this focuses the eyes on the logo which is the most important part of the jersey. Yes, I was critical of the striping and colour splashes, but the uniform isn't as busy as it could have been - no apron strings or chest numbers! - which really makes the background work with the contrasting logo. While the stripes do break up the background, the stripes and splashes don't pull your eyes off the logo. Again, this all goes back to the logo which is the most important part of the uniform.

As much as I ragged on the US flag patch, the Thunderbirds are wearing it as a tribute to the US military, and they're going to wear it right. From their release, "The flag patch is reversed in much the same way military members adorn the flag on their uniforms, suggesting that the flag is flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward." That attention to detail is something the Uni Watch crowd and Paul Lukas always note, so kudos to the Thunderbirds for getting this detail right as per military rules. Do it right or don't do it at all.

Because the team was dealing on such tight deadlines, it's interesting to note that "Springfield will wear a different jersey design for a pair of preseason home games on Oct. 7-8 at the MassMutual Center" as stated in the release. You wonder if they will wear the old Falcons jerseys for those two nights or if they have some mocked-up Thunderbirds jersey that were made by local silk screening company. In any case, the real Thunderbirds jerseys, as shown above, will be ready for the opening of the AHL season on October 15 when the team travels to Lehigh Valley, and fans can purchase the new threads sometime in October as well.

Overall, the Thunderbirds get a passing grade for their new jerseys from this writer. They aren't the best jerseys out there, but the negatives certainly aren't as glaring as they seem to be. For that, Springfield should look fairly good on the ice as a team.

The AHL is really improving its look this season with these three jerseys. I'm excited for the season to start so we can see these teams wearing their new threads on the ice! Head down to an AHL arena this season, and maybe you'll be able to catch one of these new uniforms in action!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!