Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Lots Of Small Stories

I've been holding on to a few things over the last few days as I examined the latest batch of alternate jerseys that the NHL had in store for us. Some of these stories may interest you, while others may not. It's just a collection of stories and pictures from the last few days that should be noted.

  • Great story out of The Vancouver Sun today about how the zambonis at GM Place are going green starting next season. With the price of fuel skyrocketing, the battery-powered zambonis are an excellent idea. Europe has lead the way in this hockey technology, and now it seems that Vancouver will follow Montreal in becoming the second NHL arena to operate a zero-emissions zamboni. Kudos to Vancouver for making this excellent decision!
  • Speaking of zambonis, they are not playground structures, kids. Please do not play on, near, or around zambonis! Case in point: this story from the Toronto Star. My thoughts go out to the 12 year-old, and his family.
  • Montreal held Patrick Roy's number retirement ceremony on Saturday, and the Habs sported a patch to commemorate the event. If you'll notice, there are no 100th anniversary patches to be seen, so the jerseys were altered specifically for the event. Fitting, however, considering how this is how Patrick Roy is best remembered.
  • Montreal broke out one of their throwback jerseys against Philadelphia last week, and it was strangely ironic that they used these jerseys. See, that little shield on the hemline means that these jerseys are from two seasons ago. Reebok is apparently now in the thrift store business as it seems that they are recycling jerseys rather than providing new ones. Simply brutal.
  • Toronto held a ceremony for Wendel Clark on Saturday as the honoured his number, and raised his banner to the roof of the ACC. All the current players wore Clark-era Maple Leafs jerseys with his name on the back for the warm-up, followed by wearing their throwback jerseys with a special patch on them. Very classy move by the Leafs.
  • Since we've seen Bobby Hull wearing #16 with the Blackhawks, it occurred to me that perhaps Brett Hull wore his dad's old number to honour him. Well, I scoured the Life Magazine gallery to find Bobby Hull and his family on the Chicago Stadium ice in 1965. Unfortunately, Brett isn't in this photo. That's Bobby Hull Jr. and Bart Hull in the picture with mom and dad. Brett would have been less than a year old at the time of this picture, while younger brother Blake and baby sister Michelle hadn't been born yet.
  • This is Jack McCartan in 1960 with the New York Rangers. Take a good look at Mr. McCartan because this is one of the few photos you'll see of him in an NHL jersey. He only played 12 games total in his career. Why is he important? He was the goaltender who won a gold medal for Team USA at the Squaw Valley Olympics in 1960 by defeating the heavy favorites in Canada, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia. The University of Minnesota stand-out only saw action in four games in the 1959-60 season and eight games in the 1960-61 season before the Rangers sent him to the minors after surrendering 36 goals in seven games. He was inducted into the United States Hall of Fame in 1983 for his performance in the 1960 Winter Olympics.
  • I have to draw attention to this picture of Gordie Howe in 1959. Check out the location of the captain's "C" - looks familiar, doesn't it? The amazing thing about Howe is that he played against both Maurice Richard and Wayne Gretzky during his illustrious career. Two men who were considered to be the best offensive players of their times, and Howe squared off against both men. That's longevity.
  • Sweden announced their U20 World Junior Championship team today, and there are a few returnees that should be recognizable. Victor Hedman, Joakim Andersson, Magnus Svensson Pääjärvi and Mikael Backlund all were with the team from last season, and will return this season. This tournament will be a showcase for Hedman as he attempts to secure his place as the top prospect for this year's NHL Entry Draft in Montreal. Of course, it is expected that John Tavares will be playing for Team Canada, and he looks to be Hedman's main competition.
  • The Champions League has three semi-finalists set already for the championship. Metallurg Magnitogorsk won Group A, and will take on their KHL rival in Group C winner Salavat Yulayev Ufa, guaranteeing a Russian team in the finals. In their only meeting in Russia this season, Ufa crushed Metallurg 5-1 in Magnitogorsk. The two cities sit a mere 250kms apart, so this semi-final should be rowdy. The Espoo Blues have also secured a berth in the semi-finals by finishing atop the Group B standings, and await the winner of Group D. Group D's final game will determine who wins that group as HC Slavia Prague is at home against ZSC Lions Zurich with one point separating the two teams. For more information, check out the Champions League website.
  • Los Angeles' John Zeiler got three games for hitting Colorado's Adam Foote from behind, and, quite frankly, the NHL needs to start handing out longer suspensions for this. They claimed that they were making an example out of Ryan Hollweg, but it appears no one is listening. It's time to wake everyone up with a minimum 10-game suspension for hitting from behind.
  • Another Roy is in trouble in the QMJHL. Quebec Remparts forward Frédérick Roy - son of NHL legend Patrick and brother of the infamous Jonathan - received a 15-game suspension for cross-checking Montreal Juniors defenceman Vincent Bourgeois in the mouth during a scuffle. 15 games is certainly legitimate, but if Patrick Roy wants to start bringing some positive light back on himself, he should personally suspend his son another three-to-five games. Call it "disciplinary action" or whatever, but these kinds of actions cannot be tolerated whatsoever. I'm not embedding this video, but here's the link of Roy's actions. Make your own decisions as to whether 15 games was long enough.
Ok, that's a pile of updates. I'll have another book review out later this week, and it will help me explain some of the older Life Magazine photos that I really didn't elaborate upon when I linked them up. Great history in this book as well. I'll also be looking at some of the bigger news stories tomorrow, and will open the discussion on a topic that I think should be talked about. Check back this week, and you'll get a chance to sound off on my thoughts.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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