Sunday, 30 June 2019

June 30 Is July 1

There's something timeless about The Big Lebowski. It has so many good quotations in it, and there's someone in your life that likely acts like the Dude, Walter, and/or Donny. I found myself watching this celluloid masterpiece once again last night, and it occurred to me that the Dude says the line to the left. That would be an accurate summation of today's social media adventure as NHL Free Agency is supposed to begin tomorrow on July 1 at 12:00pm ET, but it seems that almost every big-name free agent has already agreed to a deal today.

Look, I'm as interested as the next person in who is signing where, but I really question how the NHL can have an honest free agency period where all 31 teams have a shot at players if they allow them the week previous to speak to teams and narrow down their choices. While I get that not all 31 teams will be on any player's list of places they'd choose to play, July 1 is simply the official signing date for a lot of players in their new homes. The week prior? That's when deals were made despite those deals being technically against the rules.

Rules can be broken in certain cases. Rules can be bent in specific situations. NHL Free Agency seems like neither the case nor the situation where rules should be allowed to be ignored. Teams who are trying to re-sign players are virtually shut out of the process if a player decides to go elsewhere thanks to the week of interviews and backroom deals being made, so let's cut the garbage and scrap this week of suitors wooing those looking to move addresses. It's a farce.

Instead, I propose that the morning of free agency is when the mall opens and teams can come rushing into the meat market where they can throw themselves and their cap space upon free agents who indeed are wanting to move. It will give the TSNs, Sportsnets, and NHL Networks something to actually do rather than have 60 talking heads discussing the "free agent board" and how teams made mistakes or found value for 36 hours. They would be forced to follow leads, check sources, and make calls to find actual stories - hey, that's entertainment!

This ruse of letting players, agents, and GMs cut deals long before the free agency window opens needs to end. After all, what are we supposed to watch for 12 hours tomorrow on our national holiday?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Righting The Wrongs

HC Slovan Bratislava, whose alternate "logo" to the left seems something better suited for a baseball cap, is beginning to finally correct the issues that plagued them during their time in the KHL. As it was reported here on HBIC, HC Slovan was in a heap of financial trouble when it came to owing money to people and places. It was made clear that admission into the Slovak Tipsport Liga would only happen if all outstanding debts owed to people and places through their membership in the KHL were paid in full. The numbers were reportedly staggering regarding the amount of money that HC Slovan owed to players and for usage of the arena, but it seems like they may have turned a corner regarding these outstanding debts. They're not out of the woods yet, but HC Slovan seems to be getting themselves on-track for a 2019-20 season in the Tipsport Liga.

Darryl Wolski posted the following on Twitter today.
That's excellent news for a team that has existed since 1921 in one form or another, and has been one of the most storied franchises in Slovakia. It has boasted names such as HHOF inductee Vaclav Nedomansky, Zdeno Ciger, Miroslav Satan, and Marian Stastny over the years, and they've won eight Slovak championships. Needless to say, seeing them clearing up their debts is a hugely positive news, and that will likely make them joining the Tipsport Liga a lot easier.

It would have been easier to close the doors and claim bankruptcy than to work to restore the team's prominence in the Tipsport Liga. Instead, the owners have made the decision to clean up their mess and get the team back to its once-lofty position in the Slovakian league before jumping to the KHL. It was an ambitious goal, but it seems to be one that the owners of this team have not accepted and embraced, but are realizing.

Kudos to HC Slovan for making things right. The work isn't done just yet, but they're digging themselves out of a hole. That deserves some credit. Just don't issue them any credit for now.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 28 June 2019

BurakAVSky

Winning the Central Division next season might literally be a Pyrrhic victory. After the Predators created cap space by moving PK Subban to the Devils and after the Blackhawks added Calvin de Haan from the Hurricanes and having already moved Carl Soderberg to the Coyotes, the Avalanche went out and made a deal for Washington Capitals winger Andre Burakovsky. While he had a down year for points based on points-per-game, Burakovsky is still just 24 and will fit nicely among the youthful Avalanche forwards and could see an uptick in scoring if given a top-six role in Denver. Based on what GM Joe Sakic is doing in Colorado, I'd say that's almost a given.

Burakovsky received a qualifying offer from the Capitals prior to being traded, so the Avalanche will need to get ink on a contract before anything can move further. The Avalanche have a ton of cap space to work with this off-season, so this won't be a problem. Once that's done, Burakovsky will be expected to exceed his career-highs of 17 goals and 38 points playing alongside players such as Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, and Colin Wilson.

Heading back to Washington are winger Scott Kosmachuk, a 2020 second-round pick, and a 2020 third-round pick. Kosmachuk was a third-round pick by the Winnipeg Jets after a 49-goal, 102-point season with the Guelph Storm, but he was never able to turn that junior scoring into anything at the professional level. His best season came with the Hartford Wolf Pack in 2017-18 where he scored 42 points, but the Hershey Bears seem to be a good place for players to really find their professional games. Kosmachuk will likely report there once the season starts.

If there's one thing that Burakovsky likely could use, it's a change of scenery. For a player once thought to be another bonafide scoring threat for the Capitals, he slid down the roster with the emergence of Tom Wilson and Evgeni Kuznetsov. Being able to play with some elite, young forwards that the Avalanche boast should help Burakovsky find his offensive game once again, and the Avalanche will like his defensive awareness learned from his years in Washington.

If the Avalanche are planning on using Tyson Jost in Soderberg's spot, expect Burakovsky to flank Jost as they look to recover some of the offence traded in when they moved Soderberg. That being said, the youth movement in Colorado is exciting to see, and they still have a ton of cap space to keep their young core together for a long time or, possibly, add another solid young player to their roster.

If the sky's the limit in Colorado, it could be the Avalanche climbing the to the summit of the NHL's playoff mountain. Wouldn't that be a Rocky Mountain high? With all the youth on the Avalanche roster, it's very possible the youth movement will show serious payoff this season.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 27 June 2019

The Hockey Show: Episode 353

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns to airwaves and internet streams all over this floating rock in space with a very special guest tonight. It's not often that we can get Olympians and all-time greats into the studio as most players are spending their summers outside of Winnipeg. This Olympian will be doing that soon, but she's always welcome back with open arms and tonight is one of those moments! We've had her on the program before, but we're excited to catch up with her after graduating one year ago tonight on the program!

Tonight, Beans and I are thrilled, honoured, privileged, humbled, and proud to welcome back one of the women who led the University of Manitoba Bisons to the U SPORTS National Championship in 2018 in Finnish Olympian and the all-around amazing Venla Hovi! The last time most saw her in these parts, she was named as the Female Athlete of the Year in 2018. Since then, she was drafted into the CWHL, played pro hockey with and against a pile of Olympians, won a Clarkson Cup, coached a few teams, won a IIHF Women's World Championship, lost a IIHF Women's World Championship, retired from international play, and still lived a fairly exciting life outside all this stuff! This is why we want to talk to her, and we'll talk to her tonight about everything she's been doing! Join us at 5:30pm CT on 101.5 UMFM!

Speaking of joining us, the new UMFM website's online streaming player is pretty awesome if you want to listen online. If you're using an Apple device, the player doesn't seem to like Safari yet, but we highly recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store or perhaps another browser. If you do use the TuneIn app, you won't be disappointed. It's a solid app.

Having lost faith in Facebook, I spend far less time on that site for good reasons. In saying that, you can still 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! We're here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz and Beans sit down with one of the most decorated Finns to ever call this city (second-)home as we welcome former Bisons legend, former Calgary Inferno player, and Olympian Venla Hovi to the show where we'll talk about graduating, being drafted, playing pro, winning (and losing) the world championship, coaching, and much more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the UMFM.com web stream!

PODCAST: June 27, 2019: Episode 353

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

His Reaction Is Priceless

He's one of the more polarizing figures in hockey, but his outrageous antics seem to have been toned down in the last few months, causing people to actually start liking him more than they hate them. Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyers mascot, has been showing up everywhere over the last six months, and even I - a person with a heart three sizes too small for tom foolery - have begun to appreciate that his over-the-top look and goofiness is part of his charm. Yes, Gritty has grown on me, and I'm not ashamed to admit that. How did this happen, you ask? Moments like the ones below are why mascots of all types, specifically ones with Gritty's appearance, are important for professional sports teams.

You likely saw this clip on social media today at some point, but a young man by the name of Caiden was at the Shriner's Hospital in Philadelphia where he had just received his new prosthetic legs that had Gritty's image all over it. Clearly, young Caiden is a fan of the Flyers and their big orange mascot, but it's what followed the fitting of Caiden's new legs that is worth it's weight in gold. CBS Philly has the moment.
Seeing Caiden's face as the big orange goofball walks into the room is entirely what melts one's heart as Caiden's eighth birthday will be one he'll never forget. Gritty's appearance at the hospital will stick with Caiden forever, and I have to commend the Flyers organization for making this appearance possible. For everything that eight year-old boy has been through in terms of needing prosthetic legs and whatever caused that to be his reality, it will forever be forgotten every time he sees Gritty now. The Flyers not only made his birthday better, but they likely cemented his loyalty to the team for years to come. In that moment, he forgot all about why he was at the hospital, and those are the moments that every parent strives to see - jaw-dropping disbelief followed by a smile that lights up the entire world.

Good on ya, Gritty, and a big stick-tap to the Flyers. I don't know how it got so dusty in here so fast, but gimme a minute while my eyes do their thing. We need more mascots and NHL teams to do stuff like this, and I'll be happy to give it the attention it deserves when it goes down. If the NHL is all about making fans, they just got one for life in Caiden O'Rourke.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 24 June 2019

ECHL Board Meets

The ECHL saw their Board of Governors meet today, and that always means that something will change in the ECHL for next season and possibly further in the future. The ECHL is often innovative in ways that neither the NHL nor AHL will ever be as they continue to work for a larger fanbase across its 26-team market, and they occasionally do some rather wacky things that look good on paper but miss the mark in reality. Minor-pro hockey has always been a bit of a testing ground for ideas, and the ECHL has come through for the AHL and NHL with some of these ideas. There were some changes today that need to be discussed, so let's get to it.

Royals Stay Put

The first matter that took relatively little time to decide was the transfer of controlling interest in the Reading Royals from Jack Gulati to the Berks County Convention Center Authority. The decision to buy the rights to the Royals was actually made back in January after Gulati had purchased the team in 2014 to have it remain in Reading, Pennsylvania. With the sale in January and the approval today, the Royals will play next season and future seasons in Santander Arena.

There still is some concern about this sale as the Royals have seen decreasing attendance figures since 2007, and haven't averaged more than 4000 fans per game since 2015. I'm not sure this sale will solve the attendance problem and, in turn, financial problems for the team, but those problems now rest with the Berks County Convention Center Authority as they look to keep the Royals in Reading.

More Free Hockey

The ECHL Board of Governors voted today to have overtime in ECHL games extended from five minutes to seven minutes. The overtime period will still be played three-on-three and will end upon the scoring of a goal, but it seems the ECHL is hoping to have less shootouts than overtime decisions moving forward.

I actually like this idea as overtime periods are turning into some of the most exciting hockey fans can see. The unfortunate part is that if neither teams scores within the seven-minute timeframe, the game will still go to a shootout. Here's hoping more ECHL teams will find a way to score with the additional two minutes of three-on-three hockey.

"He Hate Me" Hockey Edition

February 2020 will see the ECHL undergo a bit of a radical change as the month has been decreed as "Players' Month". ECHL teams and its respective players will choose one home game during the month where they can wear the team's nickname and players can wear their nicknames across their shoulders rather than their normal name bar. I have a feeling a lot of these jerseys will be up for sale, but this might be one of the better promotions the ECHL will run when trying to inject a little personality into the game.

Overall, there were a couple more things that were lesser in their effects that the Board of Governors voted on, but these three items were certainly the most newsworthy. I love the longer overtime, and I'm curious to see the "Players' Month" jerseys. Needless to say, there's ample reason to keep an eye on the ECHL this year! If their overtime idea results in less games going to the shootout, do we see it implemented in the AHL and NHL the following year? Here's hoping!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Bringing Home Gold

According to the Canadian government, Slovak exports to Canada totaled some $604 million in 2017. I don't know if they have increased in 2019, but there's a good chance that the 2017 numbers didn't include the gold that's being brought back from Slovakia by 24 Canadian women and a handful of staff. If you missed the news, Canada won the 2019 ISBHF World Championships this weekend after an impressive showing over the last week in Košice, Slovakia. While there are some recognizable names on the roster, it was a few newcomers who helped push the Canadians back to the top.

Jamie Lee Rattray and Devon Skeats both played in the CWHL in terms of professional hockey, but they have repeatedly answered the call when Canada Ball Hockey is looking for players to defend the country's honour on the world stage at the International Street and Ball Hockey Federation Women's World Championship. However, it wouldn't be these two women who carried Canada at the international level.

In the opening game of the tournament on June 14, Canada drew the host Slovakians. Elysia Desmier, who last played pro ice hockey with the Brampton Thunder in 2010-11, opened the scoring for Canada 8:58 into the game. Reagan Fischer, a Dartmouth graduate in 2013 and long-time ball hockey player, added a second Canadian goal at 13:43. Canada then added two goals in 1:38 by Edie Brenning, a Neumann University graduate in 2014, at 28:12 and 29:50 as Canada skated to the 4-0 win. Nathalie Girouard, a long-time goalkeeper for the Canadian squad, stopped all 26 shots she faced for the shutout.

Canada faced Great Britain on June 16, and this game saw six different goal scorers for Canada light the lamp. Aprill Drake, one of three Newfoundland-born women on the squad, opened the scoring before Desmier added her second of the tournament over a minute later. Kendra Dunlop, a captain with RPI in 2011, made it 3-0 before Chelsea Karpenko, a Cornell graduate in 2012 and long-time ball hockey player, made it 4-0.

Great Britain would find the back of the net against future York University netminder Julianna Thomson when Abbie Culshaw broke the shutout, but former Toronto Furies GM Nicole Latreille made it 5-1 and Margaux Sharp, a 2013 Dartmouth graduate, would round out the scoring at 6-1. Canada moves to 2-0-0-0 with the win, and looked like they would be a lock for the playoff round.

June 17 saw Canada square off with the Czech Republic in a tightly-contested match. The Czech Republic has always had solid ball hockey squads, and this year was no different as they were equal to the task that laid ahead of them on this day. Through four periods, neither side gave an inch and both Julianna Thomson and Kateřina Zechovská went save for save as this game went to the shootout. In the skills competition, the Czechs finally bested the Canadians as Kateřina Němcová scored the winner. Canada would still gain a point with the shootout loss, so all was not lost but a stiff test lay before them on the final day.

In the final round-robin game on June 18, Canada rallied after their loss and downed Team USA 2-0 as Jessica McCann, a defender from St. Thomas University of the AUS, scored both goals goals for Canada while Girouard stopped all 22 shots she faced for the shutout. McCann's teammate, Danielle Ring, assisted on both of the goals as the Tommies made their mark on the tournament as Canada advanced to the three-team playoff with a 3-0-0-1 record.

Canada drew Team USA in the first game of the three-team playoff. The two teams with the best records would advance to the final, so wins meant everything here, and Canada came out guns a-blazing! Jessica McCann, Kendra Dunlop, McCann again, Chelsea Karpenko, and Giuliana Pallotta, Canada's Under-20 women's ball hockey coach, paced Canada to an impressive 5-0 win as they shutout the Americans for the second time in three days. Nathalie Girouard had a quieter day, making only 13 stops for the clean sheet as Canada clamped down defensively and grabbed the all-important first win of the playoff round.

After the Americans downed Slovakia 2-1 on June 20, it set up another important match for the Canadians. If Canada won, they and the Americans would advance to the final. If Slovakia won and scored more than two goals, they would advance with Canada to the final based on goal differential. Needless to say, the result of Canada and Slovakia on June 21 would determine the fortunes of at least two teams.

Canada would continue its solid defence as they limited chances on starting netminder Julianna Thomson. Margaux Sharp would get Canada on the board at the 16:50 mark with a goal against Dominika Tabačková. The game would continue in its tight-checking manner as both sides thwarted efforts of the other. However, Canada would double its lead at 31:32 when Kristen Cooze, the former Mount Allison Mountie, sniped a shot past Tabačková. From there, Thomson and the Canadian did the rest as Canada secured the 2-0 win on a 12-save shutout for Thomson, and Canada would play for the gold medal against the Americans!

June 22 saw the gold medal game get underway as Canada and the US tangled for the third time in this tournament, and it would be a different start than we saw in the previous two games as the Americans grabbed the lead at 11:57 off a Cherie Stewart shot! With the Americans holding the lead through the first period, Canada would need to battle back in the second period.

The Canadians would come out flying in the middle frame as they peppered American goalie Carli Bekkering with shots. That pressure would pay off at the 19:00 mark when Edie Brenning's shot found the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1! 24 seconds later, Canada went up 2-1 when Elysia Desmier's shot found room past Bekkering as Canada began to impose its will. Brenning would make it a 3-1 game at 25:47, but the Americans would get one back when Witley Nichols beat Nathalie Girouard at 28:24. The Canadians would head to the third period up 3-2.

Early in the third period, Kristen Cooze restored the two-goal lead for the Canadians when her shot lit the lamp at 31:13! Sensing that they needed to up their defensive game with the two-goal cushion, Canada went into a defensive shell, preventing chances and limiting opportunities for the Americans. That strategy proved effective as time wore on, and the final horn saw the jubilant celebration of the red and white as Canada claimed the gold medal with the 4-2 victory!

Edie Brenning and Jessica McCann were the top scorers for Canada, finishing the tournament with four goals and two assists apiece. Chelsea Karpenko finished with two goals and three assists for five points while Melanie Jue recorded five helpers to tie Karpenko in scoring. Elysia Desmier ended the tournament with three goals as the next leading goal scorer for the Canadians. Julianna Thomson and Nathalie Girouard were second- and third-best goaltenders, respectively, at the tournament based on save percentage.

For me, it's nice to see the Canadian women bringing home gold once more. The sacrifices that these women put in to go and represent Canada are rather remarkable. Each of them was required to raise $3000 for the trip to Slovakia while still keeping themselves fit and in good health. That's on top of everything else happening in their lives with family and friends, and the majority hold down day jobs if they aren't still enrolled in school.

Considering all that, these women deserve some special kudos for all they do in representing the maple leaf internationally. To the 24 women who are bringing home gold, this writer couldn't be more proud of your efforts. Well done, ladies, and congratulations on being the best in the world!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 22 June 2019

This Isn't A Van Halen Post

If you know the tune, you can sing along, but as of right now "Subban's with the Devils"! The Nashville Predators, needing to shed salary to re-sign Roman Josi and possibly get in on the Matt Duchene sweepstakes, pulled the trigger on a massive deal that saw them send defenceman PK Subban to the New Jersey Devils in exchange defencemen Steven Santini and Jeremy Davies, a 2019 second-round draft pick that was 34th overall, and a 2020 second-round draft pick. If one was seeking a blockbuster deal, this may qualify as PK Subban joins his third NHL team despite his continued high-level of play over the last few years.

The key on this trade happening, it seems, was Subban's $9 million annual salary for the next three seasons as Nashville sought some cap relief to sign their captain in Roman Josi combined with the fact that Subban posted a career-low 31 points in 63 games last season. While some may argue that having one "off" season shouldn't do the all-star defender in when it comes to seeking a trade, it's hard to absorb a cap hit of $9 million with that little production. If that trend continued into this season, it's likely that Nashville's return for Subban would have been less.

"We had to make a business decision," David Poile said in a statement. "With an aim at strengthening our forward corps this off-season, and the continued strength of our defensive group, we felt it was necessary to clear up salary cap space this way."

One way they improved the forward corps already was when Poile dealt that 34th-overall pick to Philadelphia for the 45th- and 65th-overall picks where Poile selected Russian left-winger Egor Afanasyev and Canadian left-winger Alexander Campbell. While those two men won't help the Predators next season as Poile will likely have them toil in the minors as most Predators picks do. Instead, the cap relief created by taking $9 million off the books without retaining any salary makes things all sorts of interesting for the Predators this summer.

On the other side, the Devils add PK Subban to a blue line that already features Will Butcher, Damon Severson, and Mirco Mueller. While they aren't the most physical bunch, those four have enough skill to be able to hold their own offensively, and should be decent in their own zone. Adding Subban gives the Devils the big shot from the blue line that occasionally seemed to be missing, hopefully improving the 21st-ranked power-play with another weapon.

Of course, Nashville's power-play featuring PK Subban was 31st-overall on the power-play last season, so sprinkle a little salt on that previous paragraph. It may simply come down to PK Subban being better on his own to see his numbers and, in turn, the Devils' numbers improve.

One of the biggest chips on the market this summer has now moved. Will it cause a flurry of other moves today and over the next week before free agency starts? We shall see, but it's pretty clear that the devil will be in the details in any further moves.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 21 June 2019

NHL Draft Night

It's the big day for kids who have reached hockey's highest junior hockey levels across the globe! The 2019 NHL Entry Draft sees Round One happen tonight as 31 kids will have their names called by as many as 31 GMs - likely less - as teams look to restock their cupboards and begin anew with these talented young men. There's strong debate between who will be selected first-overall by the New Jersey Devils as Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko both have had incredible seasons and junior careers, but that will all be settled with the first pick tonight. Who selected whom? Were there any trades? What happened exactly? HBIC is keeping track right here over the next few hours.

WHO: Jack Hughes
FROM: US U-18 (NTDP)
COMMENTS: Ray Shero's relationship with the Hughes family is no secret, and adding Hughes gives the Devils a formidable lineup down the middle for many years to come along with Nico Hischier. Hughes can score, he's a playmaker, and he showed solid defensive awareness at the IIHF World Championships this season, so Devils fans should be happy with this selection for many years to come.

WHO: Kaapo Kakko
FROM: TPS (Finland)
COMMENTS: With Hughes off the board, it was a no-brainer who the Rangers would choose at second-overall. The Rangers get an NHL-ready winger who has all sorts of scoring ability, can skate well, and should provide some immediate excitement for David Quinn's squad in the offensive zone.

WHO: Kirby Dach
FROM: Saskatoon (WHL)
COMMENTS: Kirby Dach was a bit of a surprise at #3 by Stan Bowman, but there's no doubt that they looked at his 6'4" frame and his ability to score goals seemingly at will, and made the choose with little hesitation. If there's one thing that Chicago can use up front, it's a big, smart, hard-shooting, agile centerman who can skate with Kane or DeBrincat.

WHO: Bowen Byram
FROM: Vancouver (WHL)
COMMENTS: Apparently Joe Sakic has looked at the Nashville Predators and decided that Colorado will be Nashville west. With Samuel Girard, Cale Makar, and the addition of Bowen Byram, Colorado has three top-pairing defencemen at their disposal. With the success that the Preadtors have had with their blue line, this isn't a bad strategy by the Avalanche.

WHO: Alex Turcotte
FROM: US U-18 (NTDP)
COMMENTS: Another slightly surprising pick at this point, Alex Turcotte is a smart pick by the Kings. He plays an effective 200-foot game much like Kopitar, and he scores as well as Kopitar. He's only 5'11" so the comparisons with Kopitar may end there, but Turcotte is a pick that will make the Kings better defensively among their forwards while not sacrificing scoring for one of the lowest scoring teams in the league.

WHO: Moritz Seider
FROM: Mannheim (Germany)
COMMENTS: This pick came out of left-field, but no one has any right to question Steve Yzerman based on his previous work in Tampa Bay. Yzerman repeatedly told media after making this pick that his team liked his hockey IQ, his compete level, and his skills, and that's something that Red Wings fans have to like. Especially if they trust Yzerman.

WHO: Dylan Cozens
FROM: Lethbridge (WHL)
COMMENTS: GM Jason Botterill seemed thrilled that Cozens was still available at the seventh pick, and he did well in selecting the Yukon native. Cozens has a great shot, skates well, and finds scoring opportunities. He'll likely see one year of team in the AHL honing his skills at the professional level, but Buffalo fans will love this kid when he gets into Sabres colours.

WHO: Philip Broberg
FROM: AIK (Sweden)
COMMENTS: Ken Holland's first pick for the Oilers went back to a country that he was very successful with when it came to his stint in Detroit. Broberg is a strong-skating, big defender whose first pass is solid and his defensive awareness is high. He'll likely need a little AHL seasoning to get him ready for the NHL level, but Broberg looks like a top-four defender for the Oilers.

WHO: Trevor Zegras
FROM: US U-18 (NTDP)
COMMENTS: The consensus highest-rated player still on the board at #9, the Anaheim Ducks grabbed Zegras to add him to a stockpile of incredible young talent that includes Sam Steel, Max Jones, and Maxime Comtois. He will be an Anaheim Duck in the foreseeable future.

WHO: Vasily Podkolzin
FROM: Neva-St.Petersburg (Russia)
COMMENTS: The 6'1" Russian was seen as one of the most NHL-ready players in the draft, and Vancouver took the opportunity to add him to their mix. While his stats don't seem to be there, Podkolzin has the hands and speed to make defenders and goalies miserable. If Vancouver can have him find some consistency, he could be this year's draft steal.

There's your top-ten with a handful of comments from me. Here is the remainder of Round One.

WHO: Victor Soderstrom
FROM: Brynas (Sweden)
POSITION: Defence

WHO: Matthew Boldy
FROM: US U-18 (NTDP)
POSITION: Left wing

WHO: Spencer Knight
FROM: US U-18 (NTDP)
POSITION: Goaltender

WHO: Cameron York
FROM: US U-18 (NTDP)
POSITION: Defence

WHO: Cole Caufield
FROM: US U-18 (NTDP)
POSITION: Right wing

WHO: Alex Newhook
FROM: Victoria (BCHL)
POSITION: Center

WHO: Peyton Krebs
FROM: Kootenay/Winnipeg (WHL)
POSITION: Center

WHO: Thomas Harley
FROM: Mississauga (OHL)
POSITION: Defence

WHO: Lassi Thomson
FROM: Kelowna (WHL)
POSITION: Defence

WHO: Ville Heinola
FROM: Luuko (Finland)
POSITION: Defence

WHO: Samuel Poulin
FROM: Sherbrooke (QMJHL)
POSITION: Right wing

WHO: Tobias Bjornfot
FROM: Djurgarden (Sweden)
POSITION: Defence

WHO: Simon Holmstrom
FROM: HV71 (Sweden)
POSITION: Right wing

WHO: Philip Tomasino
FROM: Niagara (OHL)
POSITION: Center

WHO: Connor McMichael
FROM: London (OHL)
POSITION: Center

WHO: Jakob Pelletier
FROM: Moncton (QMJHL)
POSITION: Left wing

WHO: Nolan Foote
FROM: Kelowna (WHL)
POSITION: Left wing

WHO: Ryan Suzuki
FROM: Barrie (OHL)
POSITION: Center

WHO: Brayden Tracy
FROM: Moose Jaw (WHL)
POSITION: Left wing

WHO: John Beecher
FROM: US U-18 (NTDP)
POSITION: Center

WHO: Ryan Johnson
FROM: Sioux Falls (USHL)
POSITION: Defence

Some may ask who won and who lost this draft, but with zero trades made on the first night of the event, there are no losers. Everyone who made a pick is a winner because they didn't have to give anything up nor sacrifice on something they may need in the future. While a handful of teams didn't pick, that's their own choosing due to circumstances that happened prior to the draft. As it stands now, 28 teams have more talent in the pipeline, and that's good for everyone.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 20 June 2019

The Hockey Show - Episode 352

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is back tonight to wrap up the Survivor: NHL Playoffs contest! WQe are excited to welcome the 2019 Survivor winner down to the studio tonight to pick up his prize - a Chicago Blackhawks jersey - and enjoy some incredible food from our friends at The Hub at University Centre. We'll feature the winner on this show as we've done before, so expect the third man tonight to have some hockey opinions. Survivor always brings out some good chatter, so expect laughs and hijinks tonight!

Tonight, Beans and I are thrilled to welcome Darin to the show after he successfully out-witted, outplayed, and outlasted the other 15 entrants into the Survivor: NHL Playoffs contest. We'll also have Dianna on the phone after the Boston Bruins were the last team sent off the island as she will give the last exit interview before the celebration of Darin's victory begins. Once that has died down, we have updates on the Hockey Helps The Homeless tournament scheduled for December 6, 2019 in Winnipeg. We'll invite Darin to weigh in on all of the player movement and news from the NHL in the past week or so, and we'll talk about why the NHL Awards should take a lesser role considering some of the great moments from last night's ceremonies. It's going to be another busy show, so make sure you join us at 5:30pm CT on 101.5 UMFM!

Speaking of joining us, the new UMFM website's online streaming player is pretty awesome if you want to listen online. If you're using an Apple device, the player doesn't seem to like Safari yet, but we highly recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store or perhaps another browser. If you do use the TuneIn app, you won't be disappointed. It's a solid app.

Having lost faith in Facebook, I spend far less time on that site for good reasons. In saying that, you can still 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! We're here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz and Beans close out the Survivor contest by eliminating Dianna and celebrating Darin, chat about trades, moves, signings, and deals made around the NHL, look at the biggest and best moments from the NHL Award Night, and much more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the UMFM.com web stream!

PODCAST: June 20, 2019: Episode 352
RESOURCES: HHTH Winnipeg Tournament, HHTH Winnipeg Twitter, HHTH Winnipeg Facebook

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

The Puljujarvi Dilemma

Whenever a player or his agent is vocal about wanting a trade out of a specific market, there will be a pile of negativity and shade thrown at the player. Some will talk about never reaching his potential, people will dog him for his effort, and more will simply want him gone regardless of anything else simply for going public. Jesse Puljujarvi, through his agent Markus Lehto, went public this week with his desires to move on from the Edmonton Oilers after he was shuffled between Bakersfield and Edmonton, and never really had a chance to show off his scoring flair while being assigned to checking duties on the bottom two lines. While the demands seem reasonable based on Puljujarvi's expected ceiling when he was drafted, this problem has all sorts of layers that will make a trade nearly impossible.

Edmonton, who used the fourth-overall pick on Puljujarvi in 2016 will likely never see that return realized when one thinks about trading a top-ten pick to another team. Thus far, Puljujarvi has played 139 games in the NHL while amassing just 17 goals and 20 assists - he has more penalty minutes (40) than points (37) at this point in his career. Comparably, only Alexander Nylander of the Buffalo Sabres and Olli Juolevi of the Vancouver Canucks have less points than Puljujarvi from the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, but those two players have played a combined 17 NHL games. No one else in the top-ten of that draft have played less games or have less points than Puljujarvi outside of Nylander and Juolevi.

Last season, Puljujarvi spent most of his time on lines with Tobias Rieder, Jujhar Khaira, Milan Lucic, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins where he recorded four goals and five assists in 45 games. Contrast that to 2017-18 where Puljujarvi found time on lines with Lucic, Ryan Strome, and Connor McDavid - particularly in the second quarter of the season with McDavid - and his numbers jump up to 12 goals and eight assists in 65 games. Getting the right-wing slot alongside McDavid would help any player - Puljujarvi scored ten points beside him - bit it seems pretty obvious that Puljujarvi performed better as an offensive player than one slotted into a defensive role.

His work in Bakersfield has been better - 15 goals and 22 assists in 53 AHL games - but the Oilers aren't going to market Puljujarvi to other teams as a fringe NHL player after using their fourth-overall pick on him. The Oilers will want something somewhat tangible back if they move him. Otherwise, this was yet another swing-and-miss for the Oilers at the draft, and it's one they dearly needed to be better when one considers players like Matthew Tkachuk, Mikhail Sergachev, and Charlie McAvoy were all selected later.

Some have stated that other things overlooked by the Oilers may have contributed to the demand for a trade. There have been those on social media who have blamed the Oilers for not helping Puljujarvi get lessons in English, for his accommodations in Edmonton, and a handful of other behind-the-scenes items that could have played a role in Puljujarvi's lack of development, and some or all of these factors may be true. If they are indeed true, the Oilers and Puljujarvi own some of that responsibility in resolving these off-ice issues, and both sides deserve some blame in helping this chasm between player and team widen rather than closing.

In the end, if Puljujarvi's threat of playing in Europe is the only option for the Oilers, it might be the best option for both the player and the team. While Puljujarvi recovers from hip surgery - something to always keep an eye on - as he works out in Edmonton currently, the restricted free agent would remain under Edmonton control if he decides to go back to Europe. It would be wise for the Oilers to contact former Oiler Jari Kurri, owner and GM of Jokerit in the KHL, to see if there's room for Puljujarvi next season as this would provide open dialogue between the Oilers and Kurri regarding the progress of Puljujarvi.

For Puljujarvi, he would return to Finland and get a chance to play in the KHL which is something he has made clear that he intends to do. His development and recovery from the hip injury would be monitored by the Jokerit staff, and we saw this move benefit Kristian Vesalainen last year with the Jets. He didn't want to play with the AHL Manitoba Moose, opted to go to Jokerit through a clause in his contract, and was a much more effective player once he returned to the Moose after his KHL season. If the Oilers can see the same thing from Puljujarvi, perhaps they can salvage some value on the player if they still intend to move him or, possibly, find a spot in the top-six for the once high-scoring Finn who came to Edmonton with such fanfare.

The book certainly isn't closed when it comes to Puljujarvi in Oilers' colours nor is it closed on Puljujarvi being an NHL player. There are factors at play right now that could lead to his return in the near future, but it's going to take some work by Jesse Puljujarvi, his agent, and the Oilers to find the right fit for the player to succeed. Once that happens, the options for the Oilers become plentiful, and that's the best option for a player who wants to be in the best league in the world.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

A Musical Interlude

I don't know if Jacob Trouba is a Frank Sinatra fan, but his trade from the Winnipeg Jets on Monday shook the local hockey spectrum like an earthquake. Social media exploded with all sorts of opinions, comments, and criticisms of the deal that returned Neal Pionk and the 20th-overall pick from the New York Rangers in exchange for Trouba, and it's pretty clear that everyone has a thought on the deal swung by Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. Personally, I have some thoughts, but it seems only appropriate to post a song for Trouba.

I'm not absolving myself of any criticism of how Trouba handled himself or his time here in Winnipeg. I was harshly critical of him at times, and some of that may be undeserved based on his play and situations behind the scenes to which we're not always privy. That's what happen in sports, and it's part of what professional athletes deal with at all times in their careers.

With that being said, I think these lyrics of the song featured below speak volumes to his time here in Winnipeg. Here is "This Town" by Frank Sinatra.



If you'd like to sing along, the lyrics are as follows:
This town is a lonely town
Not the only town like-a this town
This town is a make-you town
Or a break-you-town and bring-you-down town

This town is a quiet town
Or a riot town like this town
This town is a love-you town
And a shove-you-down and push-you-'round town

[instrumental]

This town is an all-right town
For an uptight town like-a this town
This town, it's a use-you town
An abuse-you town until-you're-down town

This town is a losin' town
It's a miserable town
It's a nowhere town
And I am leavin' this town
You better believe that I'm leavin' this town
Man, it could never be uptown
It's bound to be downtown

[Fade]

This town, bye-bye
Bye, bye, bye, bye, bye-bye
Best of luck in New York City, Jacob.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 17 June 2019

The Final Standings

With the St. Louis Blues having claimed the Stanley Cup, all that was left to do was add a few scores, carry the one, and determine the winner of the 2019 HBIC Playoff Pool. Admittedly, the upsets in the early rounds killed the additional player scoring that I thought could have determined a winner, but this pool was mostly about who could predict the series correctly following the surprises. I'm not going to waste any further time, so let's get to it.

As a note, the scores were checked by a family member who was not participating who doesn't know any of the entrants in this contest, so the numbers are accurate without any bias. As you can see, there were some tight races that came down to the tie-breaker, and those scores are marked with an asterisk. Here are your final standings!

Scores

HBIC PLAYOFF POOL LEADERBOARD
Name Tie-Breaker Players Points Rank
Andy S.
Tampa Bay
0 67
Chris L.
Tampa Bay
0 94 3rd*
Darin S.
Washington
0 62
Jared R.
Calgary
0 46
LJ S.
Pittsburgh
0 94 4th*
Loralea R.
Washington
0 55
Matt H.
San Jose
0 76
Michael J.
Winnipeg
0 88 6th*
Neal L.
Boston
0 104 1st
Peter S.
Tampa Bay
0 84
Richard D.
Nashville
0 82
Teri D.
Boston
0 88 5th*
Tomas L.
Winnipeg
0 31
Travis T.
Tampa Bay
0 57
Tyler D.
Washington
0 80
Zeke P.
Nashville
0 95 2nd
Big credit to Neal L. who led from wire to wire after an impressive first round of scores. He held off the challenges of a few competitors to claim the HBIC Playoff Pool title with a 104-point performance. Well done, Neal, on winning the pool this year!

The prizes that will be chosen by where each competitor finished are below. Neal, who claimed first place, can choose any of the prizes. Zeke, who finished in second place, can choose from the remaining prizes after Neal has chosen, and so on until all of the prizes are gone. Unfortunately, not all entrants will receive a prize, but that's how this cookie crumbles. Here are the prizes:
  • Boston Bruins jersey (XXL) and a Boston Bruins Winter Classic toque.
  • Hockey Helps The Homeless quarter-zip sweater (XXL)
  • Anaheim Ducks snapback cap, Play-On Hockey t-shirt (XXL), and Don't Call Me Goon book.
  • UMFM snapback cap, UMFM mug, NY Rangers long-sleeved shirt (XXL), and a Puck Off bottle opener.
*photos will be provided if needed

The top-four finishers will get prizes as there were sixteen people total in the pool - everyone had a 25% chance of winning something. As it stands, everyone who finished with 90+ points will get a prize. As a side note, Andy, I owe you a prize from the Survivor pool, but I was waiting to see how you finished in this pool. I'll send your prize out immediately now that this pool is closed.

I do want to say thank you to each and every entrant in this year's pool. You guys are fantastic, you make the playoffs more fun for me, and I want to thank everyone who entered and said thanks for bringing the pool back. You never really know what you have until it's gone, and the void left by it last season was something I felt. In saying that, the pool will be back for 2020, so make sure you keep your eye on the hockey this coming season so you're ready for the pool again next season!

Thanks again, everyone! And congratulations to Neal, our 2019 HBIC Playoff Pool winner!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 16 June 2019

I Endorse This Penalty

I'm never going to be named a commissioner for any hockey league. I'm aware of my limitations, and I'm ok with that. If you've listened to The Hockey Show when we have special guests on, we often ask our guests if they would change any rules in the event that the guest becomes a commissioner. Most have been good sports and suggested something that's in the news, but this weekend saw Hockey USA write a new rule into their rule book that I completely and fully endorse depending on the age of the players. Personally, having seen players at the collegiate level do what Hockey USA will now penalize teams for is a welcomed rule change after having witnessed said players act like they're in minor hockey.

Here is the new penalty that can be assessed by officials.
Some people will say that it's just a little fun to bang on the boards after a play or whatever, but it's honestly one of the most annoying things I find in the game. It's like fans that bang on the glass - that's not why the boards or glass are there, so stop hammering away on it. It serves absolutely no purpose other than to be your own cheerleading squad, and you're not cheerleaders if you're wearing skates.

Let me be clear: this isn't limited to women hockey players when I use the term "cheerleader". Men are just as guilty and, in some cases, are worse than women when it comes to whacking the boards with sticks, gloves, arms, or anything else they can use. I totally get cheering for a teammate if he or she does something spectacular, but routine plays in hockey certainly don't need twenty people on the bench carrying on like hooligans when a poke-check is successful or a pass is completed.

If I wore the stripes, I'd hand this penalty out in large quantities to teams and players above the age of eight. Once you hit the age of deciding whether this for fun or you want to play because you love it, you don't get to be a cheerleader on the bench any longer. Congratulate teammates as they come off the ice with a tap on the helmet or fist bumps or a tap on the shinpads, but banging on the boards like a pack of wild animals will get your penalty-killing units some additional time to work on their skills.

"But Teebz," you exclaim, "you've repeatedly said the game should be fun!" I have, and you're correct. However, acting like a feral animal on the bench isn't what makes the game fun. And players will claim that it fires them up and gets them going on the ice, but I'm here to tell you that's also false since the same effect could be achieved with general excitement on the bench without pounding on the boards. There's no good reason that one can deliver to me regarding hammering the boards in support of your teammates that will convince me otherwise. Take your two-minute break for shame in the sin bin.

The first official to hand out a penalty for this will be my new hero. Get at it, stripes!

Until next time, keep your sticks off the boards!

Saturday, 15 June 2019

This Is A Wake-Up Call

It's not often that a story breaks in a Russian publication that has all the potential to shake a Canadian institution to its core, but the Canadian Hockey League was delivered a withering blow to the midsection from Sport Express as they interviewed former QMJHL player Yaroslav Alexeyev. Alexeyev suited up for the Sherbrooke Phoenix and Baie-Comeau Drakkar for three seasons from 2016 until 2018, and he went on record with Sport Express to discuss the hazing that he witnessed and experienced at the hands of his teammates during his three seasons in Quebec. We've heard people like CHL President David Branch condemn any act of hazing, often re-iterating that this type of activity is anything but normal. For Alexeyev, however, it seems that this was par for the course as he witnessed it two seasons in a row with Sherbrooke. If this doesn't scream "wake-up call" to anyone at the CHL front office, I'm not sure what will.

We'll start with the Sport Express interview with Alexeyev. I warn readers here and now that the description given by Alexeyev to Sport Express is graphic in nature and is disturbing. For parents who have kids who read HBIC, I warn you now that this interview is definitely rated PG with a strong likelihood of dancing near R-rated territory. You've been warned - carry on if you wish.

The interview has been linked here, but I think it's key to point out some key passages in Alexeyev's interview. Let me clear here: I side with Alexeyev here. I believe hockey's culture is broken in so many ways, and I feel his story is likely true despite the infinite denials we're likely to hear. Let's break down some of his interview.
Vanya Chekhovich was lucky - he lived in the same family, and I changed four. Basically, everyone spoke French. The first family is the strangest. Every evening they asked me how are you. 15 minutes passed, and they again asked the same question. And with everyone in the house so. Three children, mother - a stupid blonde, all "made", can not cook. There were problems with washing.
This falls directly on the Sherbrooke Phoenix franchise and their vetting of the billet families they use. While I respect that the French language is the mother tongue in Quebec, the fact that there are langauge barriers between a Russian player and a French family would pose all sorts of problems. At best, you would hope to have a bilingual family who spoke enough English to allow the two parties to find common ground when communicating, but it sounds like Alexeyev's communication problems with the family only led to further problems that saw him bounce to new billets. The Sherbooke Phoenix have to do a better job in helping their international players.
Oh, the most important is the newbie party. I was smart and immediately bought off for 20 bucks. Then all the newcomers were given diapers for adults, in which they went all day around the house, but this was only the beginning. The first round - everyone drank five glasses of beer, the last one was added five more shots of vodka. The very tin began later, when everyone was obliged to insert into the anus through the cookies and run around the house for speed. During the race, elders ran out of the bushes and pushed in the back. The latter would have to eat his cookie. And in the end - forced everyone.
While something is lost in translation via Google Translate, the issue here is not. This is a hazing incident, and that is entirely despicable. While Canada has no formal anti-hazing legislation in place as of yet, I'm pretty certain we need this legislation more than ever. Spare me the rhetoric of "boys will be boys" and the other frat-house garbage that people tack onto incidents such as this because no one should ever be forced to participate in something as invasive and humiliating as this.

You don't build teams through fear and intimidation, and I challenge anyone on this planet to show me a team where those traits are endorsed as being vital to the team dynamic within that locker room. You won't find one. Hazing is cowardly, and everyone who was involved and didn't put a stop to this is a coward. Period. End of sentence. Except it gets worse.
"I didn’t like the party next year." They put thongs on all the guys, gave them a small crown and gathered them in a small barrack. The older man put on a black apron, a gangster mask, cleaning gloves, a broomstick and a condom on its end. He called one at a time, and each thrust a broom into the ass so that the person would scream and scare the others. Garbage some kind of inadequate.
Let's see: intimidation, humiliation, and sodomy? I'm pretty sure this is now a criminal act. Whatever you want to say about these players now, it's all moot. Two years in a row, they went off and committed acts of hazing, and there was nothing done to the players doing the hazing nor was there any help for the players who were hazed. This is all sorts of wrong, and head coach Stephane Julien, assistant coach and former NHL player Pascal Rheaume, and the entire Sherbrooke Phoenix organization need to be held accountable for the actions of their players.

Some will say that the players should have spoken up about this. It's true that they likely should have, but these are rookie players looking for acceptance into the team where the captains and veteran players have bullied and hazed them through fear and intimidation already. Do you really believe they'd speak up about this sort of treatment? And while you can certainly say that you would speak up because it's wrong, these are teenagers whose hockey lives can be made or destroyed based on whether they're accepted into the team's inner circle. Don't kid yourself: hazing is barbaric and disgusting, but it's about establishing power in a locker room.

In 2017, "a Canadian study of university-aged students found that of the 434 participants surveyed, 59 per cent of them were hazed. More than 60 per cent of those who were victims of a hazing incident said it made them feel more connected to the team," according to a CTV report. I took the liberty of bolding the important part of that statement because if over half the students at university state that a hazing incident makes them feel more connected to a team, there's little reason to believe that a hazing incident in junior hockey would be any different.

It was November 28, 2018 when Dan Carcillo and other members of the OHL's Sarnia Sting came forward to discuss the hazing they experienced as junior players while playing for the Sting, and, at the time, CHL President and OHL Commissioner David Branch stated, "We had failed Dan and the other players involved in my view, and it's shocking. You know, I don't know how else to put it."

While the frequency of hazing rituals have dropped since 2005 when the OHL put a zero-tolerance policy on these incidents and instituted a number of mental health programs, players on teams still engage in these activities. From the alleged crimes at St. Michael's College School in Toronto to the bullying of players at the University of Lethbridge to a McGill basketball player reporting all sorts of hazing practices, it's pretty clear that all sports, not just hockey, has a significant hazing problem. The scary part? All of these Canadian institutions have specific harassment and/or hazing policies clearly defined, and all three of these incidents took place in the last two years.

What should concern people about the Sherbrooke Phoenix incidents is that the sickening things done to the rookie players is actually a common occurrence. In 2005 at McGill University, the university opted to cancel the football season after an investigation found rookies were subjected to a nude hazing ritual in which they were gagged and forced into a degrading position and prodded with a broom handle. Once more, here's what Alexeyev said happened at one of the incidents.
The older man put on a black apron, a gangster mask, cleaning gloves, a broomstick and a condom on its end. He called one at a time, and each thrust a broom into the ass so that the person would scream and scare the others.
14 years later, what happened at McGill happened in Sherbrooke. McGill cancelled their football season as a result. Do you really believe that Sherbrooke would cancel a season of hockey? Hint: it'll never happen.

David Branch and QMJHL Commissioner Gilles Courteau need to take a long look at these reported incidents and understand that there likely won't be many, if any, players who will come forward and corroborate Yaroslav Alexeyev's story out of fear of reprisal within that locker room and the guilt of destroying the brotherhood among his teammates. Just as he admitted in the Daniel Carcillo report of what went on in Sarnia, the CHL and the QMJHL have failed these players once again.

The hockey culture in this country is still broken in so many ways, and no one will talk about it because it is continually reinforced behind closed doors. Until someone has the fortitude to apply real punishments that may include legal ramifications, the hazing problem in Canada will likely never change. Ultimately, that's the entire problem.

We talk about how tough our hockey players are in Canada. We love how they can score, hit, and fight like some sort of modern-day gladiator who can make us rise to our feet when they do amazing things. The truth of the matter is that we turn out heads away from what these kids undergo when it comes to major physical abuse that may result in serious emotional and psychological damage. We praise these kids for the sacrifices they make to get to the highest levels of hockey, but we rarely ask for reviews of the institutions that facilitate this ascension to greatness. We trust that the overseers of leagues and teams are providing a nurturing environment, but the sad fact is that they're often the first to fail these talented athletes by keeping incidents in-house, by not punishing those who who do morally-objectionable things, and by putting on a facade of "we're a tight-knit group" when players fear reprisal for speaking out when hazing incidents go down. And we naively accept that all is good because no one says anything despite what may be happening otherwise.

It turns out that we're a nation of cowards, folks. We secretly cross our fingers that this kind of stuff doesn't happen, but it's pretty evident that it does and continues to happen today. And when these incidents are discovered and revealed, we just pass the incidents off as "boys will be boys" and "that doesn't happen here" rather than having these people punished to the fullest extent that can be had based on what happened.

We're cowards. If that offends you, you might be part of the problem. Because if hearing how teenaged boys were sodomized with a broomstick by other teenaged boys doesn't offend you more than hearing that we're cowards, you're officially turning your head away from what should be reprehensible behaviour and focusing on the wrong thing.

You're part of the problem. And this is your wake-up call.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 14 June 2019

Housekeeping 101

I have a busy weekend ahead of me, so I want to post a few updates and do a little housekeeping around HBIC. As you can see, Consuela is already dusting my 1980s-esque stereo, but let's get into what needs to be discussed here on HBIC because there happens to be a lot. Some may affect you, and some may not, but everything here will apply to at least one person reading this. That's why I need to do this.

First off, the HBIC Playoff Pool has wrapped up for another season, and I want to thank everyone who entered. The final tallies will be released on Monday at some point, but I needed to get independent, third-party, unbiased calculations checked and rechecked for veracity. Basically, if I made any calculation errors and I or any of the competitors failed to catch them, I'm having all the final numbers verified before posting them. When it comes to winning prizes, one must be accurate in the scoring.

Secondly, the prizing will also be posted with the final scores on Monday. I've had a heck of a week in trying to get anything done around HBIC Headquarters as life moves in "Maximus Busy-ness" mode for the summer, but adding those prize pictures is important so the winners know what they potentially won. We'll finish off the HBIC Playoff Pool on Monday.

As we're all well-aware, the St. Louis Blues captured the Stanley Cup in seven games over the Boston Bruins, and that has also brought an end to the Survivor: NHL Playoffs contest. Darin won that contest with his selection of the Blues, and Darin will be joining Beans and I on The Hockey Show on Thursday to collect his winnings, have some free grub, and chat with us about hockey. Dianna, who finished in second-place thanks to her pick of the Bruins, will be the final exit interview this season, and we'll try to get her on the phone for that craziness. It was another awesome year of Survivor-like playoff action, and thank you to all who entered this contest via 101.5 UMFM and The Hockey Show!

Coming this summer, there will be some changes to HBIC. When I started this blog in 2007, I never really saw it going for longer than a few years. It was simply a place where I could post about hockey-related things and have some fun expressing myself in virtual print. Not once did I expect to be running a hockey pool or hosting a radio show or being invited to major hockey tournaments. This blog has legitimately taken on a life of its own and, from that, has branched into other things. As a result of all this, it's time for HBIC to grow out of its 2007 self and into something new. I'm not sure when that will happen, but the groundwork for that has already been laid.

From there, HBIC will continue to exist as it does, exploring the world of hockey from a Canadian fan's point-of-view. While the content won't change as I dive into crazy hockey stories, the changes should be better for all. It will likely also force me to be a better writer since they affect me somewhat as well. Either way, change is a-comin'.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!