Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Losing Hockey's Greatest

No, nothing happened to Wayne Gretzky or Gordie Howe or Bobby Orr. Relax. It's tough, though, when major television networks announce that one of their familiar faces is leaving for greener pastures. We all get older and we all look forward to retirement, but TSN's announcement today that Maggie the Monkey will retire from her position at the network is like losing your favorite toy, blanket, or whatever comfort you hold on to. Maggie has been with the TSN panel during the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2003, and she has built quite the following with her unique style of picking winners. While she has composed a lifetime record of 40-35, she has yet to predict the Stanley Cup-winning team correctly. Granted, spinning a wheel to predict the winner is as random as flipping a coin, but the law of averages says she has to be right on the Stanley Cup Champion at least once.

In any case, Maggie, a macaque from the Bowmanville Zoo just outside Toronto, will go back to eating her favorite dinner of crab, and enjoy a lavish lifestyle as her days wind down. Thanks for the memories, Maggie. I'll still remember when you had the best record in 2006 over such hockey "experts" as Pierre McGuire, Bob McKenzie, and James Duthie.

I joke, gentlemen. You guys are hockey experts, but Maggie simply played the odds. And won. Convincingly.

And to James Duthie, host of the NHL on TSN, maybe it's time to square off against Gary the Goldfish or Hoppy the Frog. It seems the simians have this playoff prediction thing down... unlike us homo sapiens.

Ok, on to more stuff:

  • You can pull one head coaching vacancy off the job board as the Ottawa Senators kicked the "interim" title off Cory Clouston's door, giving him a two-year deal. Clouston took over the Senators' bench on February 2, 2009 after Craig Hartsburg was shown the door. GM Bryan Murray stated that Clouston has "done a remarkable job" in making the players "accountable". Anyone want to put the over/under on this Senators coach after hearing those lines last season? And the season before? And the season before that?
  • If you're looking for something to capture the mind on television tomorrow night, the NHL is featured on an episode of American Chopper. Paul Teutul Sr. and his sons, Paul Jr. and Mikey, prepare a bike in homage of the Original Six teams for delivery to the NHL Store in New York City. NHL legend Rod Gilbert makes an appearance on the show as Orange County Choppers works to create and deliver the motorcycle. If this doesn't interest you, Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. have an all-out war tonight. The episode airs at 9PM ET/PT on TLC.
  • The Chicago Blackhawks, revived by their great on-ice play and renewed front-office, are about to make history tonight. The Blackhawks will break their attendance record for one season tonight when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets. They only need 8547 fans through the door to break the previous record, set in 1996, of 835,971 fans through the gate. Huge props to the people of Chicago and the surrounding communities. You're a huge reason for the Blackhawks' success this season!
  • Team Canada's national women's team took another step towards World Championship gold as they throttled Finland today in their Playoff Round game by an 8-0 score. Canada will have the day off tomorrow before taking the ice against Team USA, who play Finland tomorrow night. The top two teams will advance to the gold medal game, meaning that Finland has to defeat the Americans in order to have any chance at playing for gold. A tall task indeed, but stranger things have happened.
  • Speaking of the Women's World Championship, there was a little snafu that the Canadian equipment manager had to fix before they played their first game a week ago. Robin McDonald, Canada's equipment manager, had to sew little red patches over the Nike logo on the Canadian jerseys because Tackla is the official jersey supplier for the tournament. Nike had the option, but declined - exactly why Nike needs to be in 100% or out 100%. In any case, Mr. McDonald stated that he could have used tape, but chose the stitch-job because, "I didn't want it to look second-class". Atta boy, Mr. McDonald! For those that are wondering, the player pictured with the patch is Meghan Agosta who attends Mercyhurst College in the NCAA. Helluva player too, might I add.
  • Tomorrow will see me talk about hearing-impaired hockey. If this interests you, or you want to add anything, I encourage you to email with any info you may have. I'll be posting this article tomorrow evening, and Friday will see me at the arena for Slovakia-Russia at 8AM. I'll be on and off email all day on Friday, so feel free to fire me an email. I'll answer it whenever I get a chance.
Ok, I have a ball hockey game tonight, so I'm off. Lots of hockey happening this weekend, so stay tuned right here for updates. I'll be checking in regularly to post stuff regarding the World Deaf Hockey Championships on Friday and Saturday. I'll have more information on those days about the teams participating.

Until then, keep your sticks on the ice!

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