Sunday, 9 December 2007

Dreaming Of A Green Christmas

I apologize for not getting this entry up earlier, but I've been caught up in Christmas spirit this weekend. Not only is the majority of my shopping done and wrapped, but the tree has gone up and I watched a few holiday movies. However, I still feel that it is important that I fulfill my obligations of writing about hockey. There were some excellent games played this weekend, and I have some updates to report on this blog as well. I also have to commend the NHLPA for their newest partnership with a Canadian icon in what can be called "the most eco-friendly team in the NHL".

The NHLPA has partnered with the David Suzuki Foundation in an effort to have the NHL players to become more eco-friendly both in their home lives and their professional lives through the NHLPA Carbon Neutral Challenge.

"It's unbelievable how guys pick up on it and know something is important," said Boston Bruins defenceman Andrew Ference, the man responsible for the challenge. "Hockey is filled with a lot of great character and guys are showing it by stepping up and doing the right thing. It's all about taking initiative and we have a lot of guys who are really good at doing that."

According to the Canadian Press, "[o]ver 350 players - including everyone on the Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars - have already signed up to contribute $290 annually and hundreds more are expected to join in the coming weeks. The amount is based on a clean-air credit cost of $29 per ton and research that says each NHL player contributes 10 tons of carbon emissions per season."

"I congratulate the NHLPA and the players for showing leadership on the issue of climate change," added Dr. David Suzuki, co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. "We have worked with them to ensure that this initiative has environmental integrity, including the use of high quality Gold Standard carbon offsets. Not only are players addressing their own climate impact, but their actions will deliver an important message that will inspire millions of hockey fans and be a model for other sports."

Canadians know who Dr. David Suzuki is. Dr. David Takayoshi Suzuki is a longtime Canadian environmental activist and Canadian science broadcaster. He is best known as host of the CBC Television science magazine, The Nature of Things, now seen in syndication in over 40 countries. He was born in Vancouver British Columbia on born March 24, 1936. Suzuki received his BA from Amherst College in Massachusetts in 1958, and his Ph.D in zoology from the University of Chicago in 1961. He was a genetics professor at the University of British Columbia from 1963 until 2001 when he retired. He has received 22 honourary degrees for his work in popularizing science and environmental issues.

Personally, I appalud this partnership between the NHLPA and the David Suzuki Foundation. Environmental issues are something that everyone should be aware of, and work towards fixing at a personal level. Hopefully, this can be the first step of all the major league sports in North America and across the world in reducing their carbon output and helping our environment.

For more information, please check out the NHLPA website and the David Suzuki Foundation website. For more information about the partnership, please check out the NHL's news release, the David Suzuki Foundation's news release, and the NHLPA's news release.

Wrecking Ball In Hot-lanta: The Atlanta Thrashers claimed winger Mark Recchi off the Pittsburgh Penguins this weekend, ending the 39 year-old's run in Pittsburgh for this season. Atlanta has been struggling for some offensive help, and picking up Recchi for approximately $875,000 is a great bargain for a proven scorer.

Pittsburgh will be responsible for the other $875,000 Recchi is owed after he was called back up from Wilkes-Barre Scranton on re-entry waivers. Recchi is expected to practice with the Thrashers on Tuesday, and possibly be inserted into the lineup for Wednesday's home game versus the Boston Bruins.

Recchi will most likely fill a second-line role with some occasional checking duties for the Thrashers, much like Scott Mellanby did during his time in Atlanta. The veteran should also provide some spark for 23rd-ranked powerplay, something the Thrashers need to improve on if they hope to make the playoffs this season.

More Shutouts: It was another weekend, and that means more shutouts across the league. Personally, I like the intensity a shutout brings to the ice, and there was certainly intensity this weekend.

Henrik Lundqvist picked up his fifth shutout of the season as the New York Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils 1-0 in overtime on Sunday. The Rangers' win snapped the Devils' nine-game winning streak, thanks to a Brendan Shanahan shot 30 seconds into overtime.

Friday night saw Tomas Vokoun shutout the New York Islanders as the Florida Panthers defeated the Long Island Broncos 3-0. Vokoun picked up his second shutout of the season. It was the fifth-straight loss for the Islanders, their longest losing streak of the season thus far.

Dominik Hasek had his way with the Minnesota Wild on Friday, helping Detroit to a 5-0 victory over their Central Division opponents. Hasek stopped 19 shots for his 77th career shutout, and first shutout of the season. In 11 career games versus Minnesota, Hasek has only surrendered nine goals. It appears the Wild have some fear of the Dominator.

Evgeni Nabokov shutout Phoenix for the third straight time as the San Jose Sharks beat the Coyotes 1-0 on Friday night. It was the fourth shutout of the season for Nabokov, and the fourth-straight win for the Sharks. The Coyotes have not scored on Nabokov in just under 231 minutes. Ironically, Nabokov is the only NHL goalie to have started every single game for his team this season.

Letang - The New Zubov: It appears that the Pittsburgh Penguins may have found their shootout hero in defenceman Kris Letang. Letang scored the shootout winner against Mikka Kiprusoff in Calgary on Thursday, and then followed that up by scoring the shootout winner in Vancouver on Saturday night.

Letang is now 2-for-2 in the shootout in his NHL career. Zubov is a career 12-for-27 in his career, the best shooting defenceman with more than 25 attempts. Like the former Pittsburgh Penguin defenceman, Letang is a smooth skater with soft hands. They also wear similar numbers - Zubov wore #56 in the Steel City, and Letang wears #58. Here are Letang's two shootout goals so far.

That's a great sell, and a beautiful backhand.

Wow... another gorgeous sell, and some soft hands to finish.

I Don't Have An Agent: I have yet to find a need for one, so I haven't hired an agent. I mean, I don't do press conferences or book signings or media scrums, so I don't really need one. However, I was contacted by an agency this week, and want to bring your attention to two new links on the right-hand side.

The first is Puck Agency Blog, the blog for the agency that contacted me. Along with their blog, they have a pretty informative site under the name Puck Agency LLC. This agency is home to one of the bigger names in NHL agents, Jay Grossman. They also represent Ilya Kovalchuk, Sergei Zubov, and Brian Leetch.

Check out both their site and their blog. They have quite a list of stars under their purview, and are one of the bigger agencies in the NHL. I appreciate them for checking out my humble blog, and am happy to have them on my list of sites.

Personally, if there is one side of the equation in contract negotiations that always seems to receive negative views, it's the agents. Hopefully in talking with them, I can present their views a little more clearly for all.

Ok, that's all for this Sunday. Have a good one everyone! I have a review of a handheld game this week which you may want to check out, as well as a write-up on another form of hockey that is extremely popular in a Canadian city.

Until then, keep your sticks on the ice!

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