Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Weird Rule Denies Blues

The man to the left is NHL referee Tim Peel. Tim has never played in the NHL, but it took a weird bounce tonight for him to score his first NHL goal. Technically, he won't get credit, but let's be honest in saying that sometimes the ugliest goals are the most memorable. In tonight's game between the visiting Florida Panthers and the St. Louis Blues, it was tied early in the first period when Tim Peel beat Panthers netminder Roberto Luongo with a solid deflection for which I believe neither Peel nor Luongo were ready. I'm not sure if Peel is a Blues fan having been born in Hampton, New Brunswick, but I can't imagine he was feeling too hot after scoring his first goal in over 1250 NHL games in the way that he did.

Here's the video of Peel's first NHL goal.
As you saw, the second referee announced that the goal will not count and the Blues play-by-play broadcaster was right in that goals cannot be scored directly off the referee. Rule 78.5, Section iii states the following:
So while it appeared that Robert Bortuzzo was set to be awarded the goal, the officials made the correct call in denying Bortuzzo his second goal of the season after it deflected off Peel in the corner and all the way to the middle of the ice. I can understand why Peel was shaken up - that's a long way for that puck to travel off the midsection of an unsuspecting official.

How often does one see that play? Well, it happened to Calvin De Haan last season while with the Hurricanes against the Bruins when a puck deflected into the net off Francois St. Laurent. This goal, too, was disallowed.
In other words, it happens enough for a rule to be written, but not often enough that remember the last time it happened.

In any case, the NHL officials are doing their jobs well in knowing the rules. And it seemed like Tim Peel was well out of the way of that dump-in by Bortuzzo, but it just goes to show you that you should never take your eye off the puck as a fan or an official.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 10 December 2018

Sponsored By Coors Light?

Colour-changing items based on temperature isn't something new. We've seen it used in mugs that change their images and colours when filled with hot beverages, we've seen Hypercolor clothing that changed colours with body heat, and we've seen the pictured Coors Light cans that show the mountains in blue when the can is cold enough. Even the British got in on the fun when they created stamps that changed from a gray sky to a blue sky in 2001! This technology has been around for a number of years, but it's 2018 which means that the NHL finally has jumped onboard with this decades-old colour-changing technology. The NHL announced today that the "official game pucks featuring thermochromic coatings supplied by PPG will be in play in the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic" so that the officials know when a puck is no longer frozen and needs to be swapped out for a new, frozen one. Welcome to 1991, folks.

I use the 1991 year sarcastically because that was the year that Hypercolor clothing, containing thermochromes, was introduced to the world. Yes, I had a shirt back in grade school, but it quickly lost its appeal once the thermochromic effect was killed off by washing the shirt. On other words, you were either cool and had body odour or you had a non-working Hypercolor t-shirt and smelled fresh. I opted for the latter.

What makes this development by the NHL interesting is that the NHL was worried about the screening causing adhesion to the ice.
Thermochromic coatings supplied by PPG meet the NHL's requirements for withstanding game-environment impacts and low temperatures without impacting adhesion. The coating is dispersed into an ink system and screen printed directly onto an official NHL game puck.
Because adhesion to the ice surface should be the biggest worry when thinking about outdoor games and the possibility of melting ice due to the heat?

If the thermochromic puck gets too warm, the NHL logo on the back of the puck will go "clear", signalling to the officials that the puck needs to be changed. This is a greater concern than adhesion since we've seen a number of Winter Classic games with pucks that look more like bouncy rubber balls than hockey pucks. Dan Craig, the NHL Vice President of Facilities Operations, stated, "Freezing a puck eliminates bouncing, and game officials closely monitor the puck for temperature changes that affect performance while in play. A coating that changes color when the puck is above freezing will more accurately alert the officials that it is time for a replacement."

It's funny that the NHL just came up with this concept now considering there have been patents on this idea for years. Chromatic Technologies Incorporated is the company that allowed Coors Light cans to be thermally-regulated, and they've been working with the beer giant - one of the NHL's iconic sponsors for marquee events - for some time. It's almost as if the NHL is simply ignorant to solutions in other industries when it comes to solving their own problems.

In any case, it will be interesting to see how often the NHL changes out the puck based on how warm it is during the Winter Classic, how often the puck is handled by players and officials (hello, body heat!), how often it's lying on the ice (it should be colder), and how these pucks actually react if its warm when it comes to bouncing. If the screening on the bottom stays cold because it's being slid across cold ice, do the actual physical properties of rubber change (hint: no)?

What bothers me more is that if these pucks are single-use like Coors Light beer cans are, this seems like an awful lot of science going into something where an average of 12 pucks per game are being used. The NHL doesn't recover these pucks when they're shot into the crowd, so this seems like a ridiculous gimmick for something for which science should have already have an answer. And it does thanks to Alain Haché!
Look, I'm all for making the games better. Outdoor games are already a gimmick, and adding a colour-changing puck is just another gimmick within a gimmick. Like the FoxTrax puck, this idea, in its infancy, seems like a good idea, but the overall use in a long-term trial seems limited in its scope and depth. If these pucks are going to be used and sold as collector's items, I understand the merchandising effect of this, but using them indoors where 99.9% of all NHL games are played would be dumb at its very best.

If it's warm outside, the officials should be swapping out pucks as often as they can - that's just common sense. If it's sunny and cold, the officials should keep an eye on how the pucks are moving on the ice with respect to the black rubber absorbing the sun's heat. If it's cloudy and warm, the same respect should be given with the black rubber absorbing the heat from the environment. In the end, the officials are competent enough to do their job without a screen-printed thermometer on the puck that they have to check every time they pick the puck up.

The NHL loves its gimmicks. Get ready for another one.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 9 December 2018

The Rundown - Prospect Week

With every Canada West school on break for exams and the holiday season, The Rundown has very little to report. If you follow along on this blog, though, I try to keep up with the recruits that the schools have been announcing, and there have been many thus far for the eight teams in western Canada. I follow CollegeCommitments.com for all the recruiting that happens in U SPORTS and the NCAA, but even they miss some of the announcements. Honestly, you should bookmark that site because they do good work even if they miss an announcement or two. I just wish they'd remove some of the old recruiting information. Nevertheless, I want to run down the list of players for each Canada West school this week because the recruiting staffs have been very hard at work! Please note that stats are current as of today as best that I could find.

Canada West Recruits

Alberta Pandas
Name Current Prv. Pos G/GAA A/SV%
Madison Willan
St. Albert
F 15 14
Isabelle Lajoie
St. Albert
F 1 0
Taylor Ankor
St. Albert
D 2 4
Payton Laumbach
F 5 6
Stephanie Fischer
F 20 7
Tianna Yaremko
D 0 0

There are a ton of goal-scoring threats that head coach Howie Draper will have at his disposal next season. Willan leads the Slash in goals and points while Fischer is leading Irma in goals. Needless to say, the strong remain strong in Alberta.

UBC Thunderbirds
Name Current Prv. Pos G/GAA A/SV%
Katarina Jobst-Smith
D 3 3
Aimee Brucker
F 7 2
Reese Hiddleston
G 2.33 .909
Mackenzie Kordic
St. Albert
F 10 4
Sydney Neustaeter
D 0 6
Chanreet Bassi
F 0 0

UBC finds some solid talent. Kordic is second in goals on the Slash at this moment while Brucker is second in goals for Delta Academy. I'd like to see Hiddleston's numbers improve somewhat, but she's a big, solid netminder who should be able to make the transition to U SPORTS hockey. If you notice the "DE" above, UBC will have a German woman on the roster next season!

Calgary Dinos
Name Current Prv. Pos G/GAA A/SV%
Kate Wagner
Swift Current
D 1 4

Calgary always seems like they're the last to announce anything, but Kate Wagner's addition will make that defensive unit better as she moves the puck well, but is responsible in her own zone. She's also going to be a noticeable player with the Dinos as she stands at 5'10". Opposing forwards might be in for a tough time with Wagner!

Lethbridge Pronghorns
Name Current Prv. Pos G/GAA A/SV%
Brooklyn Palmer
D 4 8
Sage Sansregret
Red Deer
F 2 2

Lethbridge reportedly has more recruits to be announced, but adding Palmer to the blue line makes them stronger as she moves the puck well and can jump into the offence. Sansregret is playing on a struggling Chiefs team right now, but she's just three points off the scoring lead. She should be a nice addition.

Manitoba Bisons
Name Current Prv. Pos G/GAA A/SV%
Kate Gregoire
St. Mary's HS
F 5 11
Halle Edwards
Central Plains
F 6 8
Camille Enns
D 1 6
Samantha Sichkaruk
F 5 7
Jamie Ricklefs
Thunder Bay
F na na
Molly Kunnas
Thunder Bay
F na na
Polina Goncharova
HTI Stars
F 1 4
Camryn Gillis
Wpg Avros
D 0 4
Sarah Dennehy
St. Mary's HS
F 10 11

I'm not sure if you want to call this a rebuild, but Manitoba seems to have recruited half of a team. In any case, Dennehy leads the SMA Flames in goals and scoring while teammate Gregoire is second in points. Edwards leads the Capitals in goals and points. Ricklefs and Kunnas have great chemistry with Thunder Bay in previous games I've witnessed (why doesn't their website show stats???) where they've been the most dangerous players on the ice for the Queens. Polina Goncharova is a Russian-born player playing at with the HTI Stars in Toronto as Manitoba dips back into international waters for a player!

Mount Royal Cougars
Name Current Prv. Pos G/GAA A/SV%
Mackenzie Loupelle
F 2 1

Loupelle won't be the only recruit for Mount Royal. She's gotten off to a slow start this season, but her seven goals and ten assists last season were good enough to lead the Calgary Fire in scoring. She'll be a solid fit in Scott Rivett's scheme next season.

Regina Cougars
Name Current Prv. Pos G/GAA A/SV%
Paige Hubbard
F 12 14
Jadyn Kushniruk
Prince Albert
F 5 5
Rachel O'Toole
D 2 12
Heather Fiske
F 3 4
Kaila Powell
Pembina Valley
D 2 11

Regina did a great job in recruiting Westman's top goal scorer and points producer in Hubbard, and she'll be joined by O'Toole who has been dynamite from the blue line. Fiske and Kushniruk will be solid secondary scorers while Powell has been excellent for Pembina Valley's blue line. Credit Sarah Hodges and her staff for a solid recruiting class thus far.

Saskatchewan Huskies
Name Current Prv. Pos G/GAA A/SV%
Kate Ball
Prince Albert
F 8 10

Steve Kook won't be done with his recruiting, but getting Prince Albert's top points producer this season is a good start in any recruiting class. It should be noted that Saskatchewan also inked a commitment from Jasper Desmarais from Prince Albert for the 2020-21 season. It appears the Huskies are solidifying their squad for years to come!

You might be wondering how you can catch a glimpse of these next Canada West all-stars, and I can tell you there is a way to do so. From January 31 to February 3, the Female World Sport School Challenge will be held at the BellMTS Iceplex in Winnipeg, and there are ten teams listed above participating in this tournament! The only Canada West teams to not have a recruit at this tournament as it stands are Calgary and Saskatchewan, but I suspect they'll have scouts in attendance as this tournament attracts eyes from schools all over North America! If you can swing the trip to the Manitoba capital, I highly suggest you catch this tournament because it literally is the best of the best sport schools and AAA teams from across Canada - with a few US teams mixed in - at this event!

Alternatively, if you cannot make it, but want to see the games, the host school in St. Mary's Academy partners with HockeyTV for your viewing pleasure (for a fee). I am proud to announce that, for the third-straight year, St. Mary's will partner with UMFM for your listening pleasure (for free) in broadcasting all the games from the Canadian Tire rink at BellMTS Iceplex. If the schedule remains as it is in its current form, you'll hear the calls for the following teams as they take to that rink's ice: Ancaster Avalanche (ON), Calgary Fire (MB), St. Mary's Academy Flames (MB), Central Plains Capitals (MB), Thunder Bay Queens (ON), Eastman Selects (MB), Northern Alberta X-Treme (AB), Winnipeg Avros (MB), Lloydminster PWM Steelers (AB), Kimberley Academy (BC), and the Anchorage Northstars (USA-AK).

It should also be noted that the Friday night "Banner Game" will be a special game once again. UMFM's goal regarding women's sports is to get more women into high-profile sports broadcasting opportunities, and the St. Mary's Academy and the Anchorage Northstars game on Friday evening will be the second-straight year that students from St. Mary's Academy will do the play-by-play and colour commentary for the game! We are excited to meet the students who want to wear the headsets and call the action, and we'll be sure to mention this during our other broadcasts starting on Thursday, January 31 right through to Friday's game!

Adding even more craziness to the weekend, The Hockey Show will be live from BellMTS Iceplex on January 31 as the show will directly into the 6:40pm game between the Thunder Bay Queens and the Eastman Selects! If you're a fan of the Bisons, you'll get to see three players who will wear the brown-and-gold next season in that game if you make it down to the rink. And if you don't, you can hear Beans and I fill the airwaves from 5:30pm until 6:30pm on UMFM with our hockey chatter before we switch over to the Second Stream to call the game!

There will be lots of talk about who is playing where next season as we get closer to this event, so make sure you check back here for more updates as they happen. As it stands, it seems next season's rosters are already taking shape in Canada West with the outstanding young ladies who have been recruited above. Congratulations to all!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Social Media-Free Weekend

I'm off the grid. I said I'd do more of these weekends a while back, but I hadn't really started focusing on how or when these social media-free weekends would take place. I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but it never really came to pass as someone would text me or someone would tweet at me or use Facebook messenger to contact me. However, I am fully enforcing the idea of no social media this weekend as I have a million things I want to get done around HBIC Headquarters and out and about in the real world.

After hearing the uproar of Kevin Hart's stepping away from hosting the Oscars, it's time that we really start embracing the fact that our social media accounts are really an extension of ourselves in the real world. If one is generally an unkind human being off social media, there should be no surprise about how one conducts one's self on social media. The opposite is true as well - if you're working to make positive changes in this world, that will also shine through on social media. And no, I wasn't bullied on social media to prompt this vacation.

I needed to step back and ask what value I was finding in social media interactions before I could properly evaluate whether my time on these sites was being used effectively. I've already written off Facebook, so we can pretty focus exclusively on Twitter for this evaluation. According to research published one year ago, the average person spends approximately two hours per day on social media. I would say I fall into that category, and it occurred to me that I often find myself wishing I had more time to do things I want to do.

At that two-hours-per-day rate of usage, Social Media Today found that one would use social media for a total of five years and four months in a lifetime - NEARLY FIVE AND A HALF YEARS! That's enough time in my life to get a bachelor's degree in something and do more with my life. Why am I finding this out now?

It was looking into some of these numbers that I've decided to reclaim some of that time from social media. While I'll still use it to find highlights and talk to people I would otherwise never meet, I can't complain about having no time if I'm wasting it on social media.

In saying that, this weekend is all about getting stuff done. I have 101 things I want to do, and I'm going to work at knocking off as many of those things as I can. I won't get everything done, but I will be able to make a sizable dent in the list if I stay off social media all weekend and use those four hours more productively. That's four hours I could be cleaning, making food, building something, or running errands. It's simply just four hours I can use for myself when it comes to reading the stack of books I still want to read.

Most of all, though, it's four hours where I can do something productive. That still means something to me.

Expect very little from me this weekend when it comes to social media. I may pop in every now and then, but it's literally not going to be for more than a minute or two. That list won't complete itself, so it's about time that I get my butt in gear and started crossing items off. No matter how many followers, likes, and retweets I have, they never seem to make that list shorter.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 7 December 2018

Year Of The Goalie Goal

It's pretty remarkable that we've already seen goaltenders score goals in the AHL and the WHL this year. Goalie goals are one of those rare feats that make highlight reels across North America due to how infrequently they happen. However, it seems that the 2018-19 season is one where the goalies are starting to add some offensive flair to their jobs of being the ultimate defensive player. While we wait for the NHL to catch up to these lower levels of hockey, would you believe we have another league where a goalie scored tonight?

Without any further delay, here is Atte Tolvanen, goaltender for the Northern Michigan University Wildcats of the NCAA, scoring his first goal on North American soil!
Trailing 4-2 in the game, the Michigan Tech Huskies pulled netminder Matt Jurusik as they looked to continued their perfect record against WCHA opponents. I don't think they were expecting an empty-net goal scored by Tolvanen as Atte recorded the first goal in Northern Michigan program history when he launched the puck down the ice into the yawning cage! Atte's goal also made him the 11th NCAA goaltender to record a goal in game as he joins the following list:
  • Jim Tortorella, Maine, vs Vasby (SWE) - Dec 28, 1980.
  • Damian Rhodes, MTU vs Colorado College - Jan 21, '89.
  • Andrew Allen, Vermont, vs Harvard - Jan 3, 1998.
  • Chad Alban, Michigan State, vs Ferris State - Feb 28, 1998.*
  • Mike Mantua, Western Michigan, vs Ferris State - Nov 16, '02.*
  • Jonathan Quick, Massachusetts, vs Merrimack - Jan 6, 2007.
  • Kyle Richter, Harvard, vs Yale - Feb 22, 2008.
  • Mitch Gillam, Cornell, vs Niagara - Nov 26, 2013.*
  • Michael Garteig, Quinnipiac, vs Union - Dec 7, 2013.
  • Evan Weninger, Omaha, vs Miami-Ohio - Jan 13, 2018.
  • Atte Tolvanen, NMU, vs Michigan Tech - Dec 7, 2018.*
  • * denotes goalies who shot the puck.
If that Tolvanen name sounds familiar, it's because Atte's older brother, Eeli, is a member of the Nashville Predators! While Eeli has one NHL goal, 21 AHL goals, 19 KHL goals, and 101 USHL goals, Atte can now say he leads the Tolvanen family in goals scored in the NCAA!

Perhaps, of the 11 netminders above, the most amazing story comes from Mitch Gillam. The Cornell netminder was a freshman in 2013-14, and he made his debut on November 26, 2013 against Niagara - note the date. With Cornell leading 3-2 late in the game, Gillam gloved a shot from Niagara's Matt Chartrain, dropped it to the ice in front of him, and fired the puck down the ice for the insurance marker and first NCAA goal in a 4-2 victory where he also made 24 saves for his first NCAA victory! The ironic part? The Niagara game would be his only start of the season, and just one of two appearances all season in the Cornell net!

While Atte can't claim that same fame - he's 7-9-0 this season - he did snap Michigan Tech's perfection against the WCHA in the 5-3 victory. Yes, he allowed a late power-play goal so this wasn't as perfect as it could have been, but for a guy who is supposed to be stopping pucks instead of shooting them into the net, that's a solid night of work!

In all seriousness, it's pretty cool seeing all these goalie goals this season across a number of leagues. The only question that remains is who in the NHL will add their name to the list?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!