Saturday 30 November 2013

One Up, One Down

I had the pleasure of spending the last couple of nights watching some live hockey action as the Manitoba Bisons women's team closed out the first half of the season before their month-long holiday-and-exam break. The Bisons entered the weekend at 8-4-2, just one point behind the visiting ninth-ranked Alberta Pandas, and were looking to close out the first half in third-place or better. A loss would keep them in fourth-place over the break, so they had their work cut out for them as the Pandas visited Wayne Fleming Arena!

Friday night's game started off as a close-checking affair. Neither the Bisons nor the Pandas were allowing many shots, making the nights for Alberta's Lindsay Post and Manitoba's Amanda Schubert a little easier early on. Alberta did pin the Bisons in their own zone a couple of times, but the Bisons weathered the storm well.

However, a Danielle Vigier penalty at 15:43 of the first period put Alberta on their second powerplay of the period. The first powerplay saw Alberta gain a number of decent chances if not for Schubert, but the second powerplay saw the Pandas find the back of the net. What appeared to be a harmless shot from the right face-off circle from Kayla Lavallee got past the screened Schubert on the blocker side, and the Pandas closed out the first period up 1-0.

The Bisons and Pandas played their chess game in the second period with neither giving the other an inch. No goals were scored, and neither team had clear scoring opportunities. The third period saw the two teams continue their tug-of-war until a questionable holding call was made against Bisons captain Amy Lee. The Pandas went back to work with the man-advantage, and Pandas captain Katie Stewart wired a shot past Schubert to put the Pandas up by a pair.

For the remaining eleven minutes, it was clear that time was the Bisons enemy, and the Pandas made it no easier by clearing their zone at every opportunity. Despite mounting a furious attack late in the game, the Bisons couldn't solve Lindsay Post as she recorded the 2-0 shutout. With the shutout, Lindsay also posted her fifth-straight shutout - a Pandas and Canada West record! Congratulations to Lindsay on making a little history on Friday night, albeit at the expense of the Bisons.

Saturday night saw the rematch take place as this game would close out the first half of the season. Obviously, the Bisons wanted to rebound from the loss the night before and go into the break with a win. Alberta was looking to continue their strong play as they attempted to pick up their tenth win before the break. Both teams had a lot to play for on Saturday!

In a rather surprising move, Amanda Schubert was given the night off for the Bisons. Dée-Ana Marion was given the start against the Pandas, and freshman Rachel Dyck dressed in the back-up role. Lindsay Post got the nod for Alberta again as she looked for her sixth-straight shutout.

The Bisons would have none of that shutout talk tonight, though, as Kyleigh Palmer poked home a loose puck in a goalmouth scramble, and Lindsay Post's shutout streak would end at 351:18! It was the first goal she surrendered since October 26 against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds! Palmer had the Bisons up early, just 6:23 into the game, and the two teams began to settle in again.

If the officiating was questionable last night, the trend continued tonight as Brenley Anderson was whistled for checking despite hitting no one at 1:30 of the second period. She and a Panda were battling for a puck as they moved along the blue line, and the Panda defenceman lost balance and fell heavily into the boards. The young referee's arm shot into the air from the opposite corner, and the call was made despite the protest of Anderson.

This call sent the Pandas to the powerplay again, and Jayden Skoye scored a beauty as she skated across the high slot, pulling the Bisons defenders and goaltender Marion across the ice before wiring a wrist shot back to the open side of the net. With the powerplay marker, the Pandas pulled even just three minutes into the second period.

There was a scary moment late in the second period as Alberta's Jocelyn Zabrick hammered a Bisons player into the boards from behind. I'm not sure how a checking-from-behind penalty wasn't called since it was clear to the majority of the arena that Zabrick caught all numbers on the bump, but thankfully there were no injuries on the play. There was a two-minute boarding call made, though, so that put the Bisons back on the powerplay at 16:01.

It didn't take long for the Bisons to make their mark either. After some great puck movement by the Bisons, Nicole McGlenen found Meagan Vestby coming out of the corner, and she circled to the high shot where she ripped a slapshot past Lindsay Post to put the Bisons back in front at the 16:55 mark. They would carry that 2-1 lead into the dressing room.

The Bisons carried the play in the third period as they produced a number of scoring chances only to be turned away by Post. Alberta seemed to be building some momentum as the game wound down, but their efforts were all for naught when Kayla Lavallee was whistled for interference with 2:05 remaining. The Pandas pulled Post for the extra attacker to go five-on-five, but the Bisons held the fort backed by a strong netminding performance from Dée-Ana Marion.

Speaking of Miss Marion, I noticed something that made her stand out from the other goaltenders on the team. This is from Friday night. Dée-Ana is on the right.
If you're looking at that correctly, she goes with bare legs in net! I know that there isn't a major need for protection on the back of a goalie's legs, but you'd think that her legs would be cold if she were sitting on the ice. And it's cold in Wayne Fleming Arena too!

Now some may say that with her on the bench on Friday that she didn't need to wear socks since she wasn't playing. I thought the same thing at first, but here she is on Saturday night during her start.
Same bare legs! Honestly, there's no sense in asking her to change for any reason. She was spectacular against one of the country's best teams on Saturday night, and she made all the saves she had to in order to secure the win.

The Bisons don't make up any ground, unfortunately, with the split as they remain one point back of the Pandas in the Canada West standings, but they do finish the first half of the season 9-5-2 and on a high note. That bodes well for the second half as they open against Saskatchewan who sit in second-place in the Canada West standings at 11-3-2 and are on a four-game winning streak.

The Bisons have a month off for exams and holidays, but I doubt this take this time lightly as they have work ahead of them. They sit just five points back of first-place UBC, and are just a point ahead of the Regina Cougars. The race to the Canada West championship should be a good one down the stretch for the ladies!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 29 November 2013

It's Not Funny

Canadians are a proud people in terms of our heritage. We're proud to be Canadian. We can handle jokes about poutine, Tim Hortons, beavers, and saying the word "aboot". It's one thing to poke fun at things we hold dear - heck, we do it too - but it's an entirely different matter if one is looking to gain fame off something we hold sacred. The Canadian national anthem is, in my view, one of the best on the planet, so when people seem to intentionally screw it up, something's gotta give. We're proud people. Don't mess with our anthem.

Dirk Edwards might be a comedian. If he's not, he might want to check out his options because like fellow comedian Roseanne Barr, he absolutely crapped on both the Canadian and Russian anthems on Thursday night before the Subway Super Series featuring Russia and the WHL All-Stars. I spoke about Jill Shackner yesterday on the blog, and it's easier to give her a pass because she at least got the music right, only flubbing one line and changing the final few bars of the song. But she's young, she's American, and this Canadian song might be new to her.

Here is the video of Mr. Edwards singing the anthems. We'll discuss below.
The Russian anthem wasn't that bad. It's still bad, but at least it's just his tone and pitch that are off. The Canadian anthem was terrible. Edwards had no clue how that song was to be sung until the crowd took over and pushed him across the finish line. Again, like Miss Shackner, I might be willing to give him a pass. However, it was this tweet which makes me think this was more about publicity than it was about singing a pair of anthems properly.
If someone says they are going to make a fool of one's self earlier in the day, it appears that there may be intent. After all, if one states one is going to commit murder and then one does, the crime is no longer in the manslaughter category because of the crime's premeditated nature. So committing premeditated foolery would call Mr. Edwards' actions into question immediately.

One of the things that irks me a lot is that the Canadian anthem can be found on the internet fairly easily if one is unsure how to sing it. It doesn't take long to learn. We teach preschoolers how to sing it, so I'm fairly certain a man of Mr. Edwards' age would have little trouble learning it. At least Miss Shackner has the majority of the song down as she sung it. Mr. Edwards wasn't even close until the crowd tossed him a life preserver.

Secondly, who the heck wears a Russian jersey as the anthem singer when invited to a very pro-Canadian arena? This also lends credence to the idea that this was done on purpose since one doesn't wear the opposition's colours when standing in the home team's arena. It's disrespectful to the home team who gave the singer the opportunity to perform, and it's completely in bad taste to show up your hosts. Again, this points back to the tweet above in that this was premeditated from the start.

The anthem is a solemn song. It's not to be trifled with at any level. Get your act together, Mr. Edwards because you're an embarrassment on a number of levels. You made an ass out of yourself, you told everyone you were going to do it, and then you spit in the face of Canadians with your garbage. Get your crap together, Mr. Edwards. And don't mess with O Canada again.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 28 November 2013

The Hockey Show - Episode Sixty-Four

The Hockey Show is back tonight after I successfully completed my south-of-the-border run to complete and finish off all my holiday shopping. Yes, you're reading that right. It's not even December and there is at least one male in Canada who will not be Christmas shopping in December because he's already done. I'm not saying that this should be expected of me in all situations, but I really wanted a stress-free, CROWD-FREE December this year, and I may actually get it. Sure, there will still be crowds out during my adventures in the Great White North, but I won't have to battle them at the checkout lines. Why? Because I'm done!

We're back with our normal format tonight as we'll talk about the Jets and their last couple of weeks including their wins in New Jersey and on Long Island in their last two games. We'll discuss the return of Jacob Trouba and why I believe he's a better choice for Team USA than both Dustin Byfuglien and Zach Bogosian on the blue line. We'll run through the Russian Roundup as there's some news on Sergei Fedorov that we need to update. We'll talk about the University of Manitoba Bisons and how they're doing as they play their last weekend this weekend before exams and their traditional holiday break. And we'll even touch upon Miss Jill Shackner's rendition of the Canadian national anthem that she pulled off last night.

If you missed it, the video is below. Miss Shackner, who turns 24 today (Happy Birthday!), took out a few key words in the anthem and replaced them with a line from America the Beautiful and then added her own ending onto the song.
In Miss Shackner's defence, there have certainly been worse renditions than what she did. And TSN did spell her name wrong, so I suppose one could say that she was righting a wrong with another wrong. You mess my name up, and I'll mess your anthem up, right?

But the thing is that the anthem lyrics were on the scoreboard! All she had to do was look up!
Oh, not good. But Jill jumped on Twitter quickly to apologize for her anthem miscue. Kudos for her in trying to right a wrong.
If you know Canadians, we're not going to hold a grudge over this. You're good, Jill. Just get those lyrics down!

Join us tonight on The Hockey Show on 101.5 UMFM at 5:30pm tonight for all of our regular chatter as we take apart the hockey world in our own way. Beans will be there, Columbus will be back, and I'll be running the show once more. It'll be fun, we'll have a laugh, and we'll break down the hockey world in sixty minutes!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 27 November 2013

TBC: SI's Number Four Bobby Orr

With November nearing a close, I hope you've started your holiday shopping already. If you haven't, Teebz's Book Club is here to help. There have been a pile of books written about former players and superstars, but today we'll look at a collection of stories that follow the career of Bobby Orr. Teebz's Book Club is proud to review Sports Illustrated's Number Four Bobby Orr, written by a collection of journalists and published by McClelland and Stewart. Many people have said that Bobby Orr was the best player to play the game in its history, and Sports Illustrated gave a lot of pages within the magazine's covers to the man from Parry Sound, Ontario. Sports Illustrated's Number Four Bobby Orr is a collection of the best of those articles that deal exclusively with the only defenceman to lead the NHL in scoring.

There are a number of fantastic scribes who contributed articles used in this book. Michael Farber wrote the foreword. Mark Mulvoy has a number of excellent pieces in the book. Peter Gammons adds a couple of well-written articles. And there are about a half-dozen other men who add some great pieces. Basically, this is a book of all-star writers who covered the Bruins, and the end result is a pretty impressive book.

Sports Illustrated's Number Four Bobby Orr follows Bobby Orr's career only with the Bruins as Sports Illustrated's writers follow the young Orr's career from his rookie season forward. The writers get a number of quotes from teammates, management, and staff on the Boston Bruins through the articles, and they really show how dedicated Bobby Orr was and is to the game of hockey.

Some of the articles are all about Orr's amazing statistical runs in some of the seasons where he was breaking records and setting new accolades, but there are some interesting notes in a few chapters. Bobby Orr, for example, would routinely show up on game night at 2:30pm in the afternoon for a 7:30pm game. He would spend time going through some 200 sticks to find three or four he liked, and then would work on those sticks meticulously until they were just as he wanted. It's this kind of detail that you find in Sports Illustrated's Number Four Bobby Orr that you get nowhere else.

One of the interesting things that Sports Illustrated's Number Four Bobby Orr touched on a couple of times was his guarded nature, especially when it came to trusting people after his fallout with Alan Eagleson who famously left Orr nearly broke. From what Don Cherry told S.L. Price in 2009, it sounds like Orr can see through people fairly easily.
"I got to be careful here," he says finally. "You had to handle him right. You had to know when to talk to him; he was not an easy guy. He could spot a phony a mile away. There were so many people after him all the time that he became suspicious; he was never really friendly with a lot of people. When I first went there, I made the mistake: He was eating alone, and I made conversation. How was the fishing this year? And he picked up right away that I was just making conversation, and he didn't like that. He didn't like any bull----, and you know what? He's exactly like that today. He's pretty unforgiving. If you cross him, you will never get the chance to cross him again."
I found that to be a pretty amazing quotation from one of Bobby Orr's best friends. To think that Orr basically saw through and dismissed the small talk that Cherry was making as his coach is pretty eye-opening when it comes to speaking to the personality of Bobby Orr. If I ever get the chance to meet Mr. Orr, I'm not going to small talk him whatsoever!

Overall, I found the collection of articles about Mr. Orr contained within the covers of Sports Illustrated's Number Four Bobby Orr to be an excellent review of his eight short seasons in the NHL. The articles are excellent, not very long in terms of their length, and very insightful over the book's 190 pages. The writers give some very good looks inside the Boston Bruins and into Bobby Orr's life, and it makes it pretty easy to award Sports Illustrated's Number Four Bobby Orr the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

Sports Illustrated's Number Four Bobby Orr would make for a fantastic gift for any hockey fan, especially an older Boston Bruins fan, and can be found at your local bookstore!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Like Nicklaus, I'm On The Links

Originally, I didn't feel like writing tonight, so I made a passionate plea and/or a poor beg on Facebook for someone to pinch hit for me. Someone stepped up, so I'll be posting his work shortly, but there are a pile of other hockey stories I stumbled upon while not wanting to write anything. Sadly, I don't get to sit on my butt in my hotel room watching Tosh.0 while someone else does my dirty work because I feel I have a responsibility to bring the links forward. So let's leave this chalet of tranquility and head out to the links!

Just The Silvertips

I bring to you the excellent piece written by Peter S. as he looks at the two US WHL teams who are dominating the US Division thus far. If you haven't been keeping an eye on the overall standings in the WHL, the Everett Silvertips could certainly be the WHL representative at the Memorial Cup if they continue to play as they are. Here is Peter's report.
In the WHL, if you guessed that the Everett Silvertips are leading the league in the standings, then I would call you a liar. At 42 points, they not only lead the US Division, but also the league, with the Portland Winterhawks three points behind in second place. While the season is still relatively young, it is clear that the Winterhawks won't have an easy path to their fourth consecutive WHL Final, especially within their own division, and Everett has emerged as a legitimate threat. So, how did Everett turn it around from the last few years?

Even though the Silvertips have made the playoffs in every year of their existence, they only made it the last two years because the two teams below them were even worse. Stability became an issue when Kevin Constantine and Doug Soetart were no longer coach and general manager, respectively, and the team went through not only an identity crisis, but also some issues with its leadership at both spots. Despite all that, plus the loss of Ryan Murray to injury for much of last season, the Silvertips gave the Winterhawks all they could handle in the first round of the playoffs last year, and much of that was thanks to the play of goaltender Austin Lotz.

This offseason, the Silvertips decided to bring back Constantine in what some considered a desperate grab at regaining some of their former glory. Today, the Silvertips are at the top at this point in the season, and much of that is thanks to Constantine instilling a sense of discipline that had been absent in recent years. Lotz is playing even better than he did in the playoffs last year, and currently has a 2.19 GAA, a number that is sustainable in Constantine's system. Constantine's influence has also spread to the backup goaltender Daniel Cotton, who has a 2.89 GAA. For all of the talk about the Silvertips' inability to find offense, the third leading scorer in the league is Josh Winquist, who only trails Mitch Holmberg of Spokane and Nic Petan of Portland. Throw in the contributions of Tyler Sandhu, Manraj Hayer, and import rookie Ivan Nikolishin, as well as the aforementioned discipline (they've received the fewest penalty minutes in the league), and it adds up to the best record in the WHL.

The question of whether it is sustainable for the whole season will inevitably come up, as the Winterhawks are the best offensive team in the league, Spokane and Tri-City also want to have their say, not to mention Kelowna being the class of the B.C. Division. For now, the glory days of the Everett Silvertips are here again, and things are looking like they did when the Silvertips were breaking into the league.
Great report, Peter, and thanks for that! I was not aware of the Silvertips' climb up the standings, and they do seem to be contenders for the US Division title! It will be interesting to see who challenges Everett for the WHL championship. Medicine Hat and Swift Current are playing well in the Eastern Conference, and both Portland and Kelowna are coming on strong in the Western Conference. The race is on, and it looks like a good one!

Toivonen In Toledo

Remember former Bruins and Blues goaltender Hannu Toivonen? He never really got a lot of playing time in the NHL, but he bounced around the AHL for a while in compiling a 96-82-15, most recently with the Rockford IceHogs in 2010-11. Well, he's back in North America and will be tending the nets for the ECHL's Toledo Walleye! I'm not going to say that he's looking for NHL work like Ilya Bryzgalov was, but it's nice to see that Toivonen is doing well and still playing hockey.

Expanding Across America

The ECHL will grow by one team next season as the ECHL's Board of Governors approved an expansion franchise to the city of Indianapolis, Indiana that will be named the Indianapolis Fuel. Indianapolis will play its home games at the Fairgrounds Coliseum which is currently undergoing major renovations that includes a brand-new scoreboard, two-level seating, and an upgraded sound system. The team will be owned and run by Jim Hallett in Indianapolis, and will begin play in 2014-15. Hockey returns to Indy next season!

The Rich Get The NHL

I happen to be a big supporter of CBC's Hockey Night In Canada, so today's announcement that Rogers Communications has purchased the exclusive rights in Canada to broadcast the NHL for the next twelve years was, to say, shocking. Under the agreement, CBC retains the Hockey Night In Canada broadcast, but all of the editorial, creative, and reporting calls go back to the rights-holder, aka Rogers Communications. Rogers all gets to decide which games appear on HNIC, and they will broadcast all of the specialty games - playoffs, all-star games, drafts, and future Heritage and Winter Classics amongst other things.

TSN? They get nothing but the few regional games for which they have contracts in place. That means no more Dreger, Lebrun, Mackenzie, Ward, or Duthie between periods, and guys like Gord Miller and Chris Cuthbert may be reduced to nothing more than the World Junior Championships and the CFL, respectively.

One contract changed the hockey landscape in Canada. Forever.

There are the quick links for tonight. Thank you again, Peter, for that excellent piece on the Silvertips, and I'll be watching the WHL standings a little closer now! And as for hockey on TV in Canada, things will certainly be different come next September!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 25 November 2013

Selanne To Connelly

If you're looking at that photo, you probably recognize Mr. Teemu Selanne in the suit. Mr. Selanne is, of course, an NHL superstar, having suited up for the Winnipeg Jets, San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, and is currently a member of the Anaheim Ducks. What you might be asking, though, is who is this Ryan Connelly guy and why is Teemu holding a sign with his name on it? There's a good, albeit short, story that goes along with this, so it's time we get you introduced to the man better known as "RyCo".

Ryan, seen to the left with his beautiful fiancée Jocelyn, is the man who Selanne is greeting with his cardboard sign. Ryan is a die-hard Pittsburgh Penguins fan and a man I am proud to call a friend. He's a fantastic human being, a passionate sports fanatic, and has a man-crush on Teemu Selanne. Yes, you read that correctly. While we poke fun at him for this man-crush, Ryan has an immense amount of respect for the Finnish Flash and wears it proudly on a number of Selanne jerseys he owns. In other words, it's kind of his dream to speak to one of his hockey idols.

So how did Teemu Selanne end up holding a Ryan Connelly sign? According to Ryan, it's a case of a friend looking out for a friend!
"My brother Travis has a buddy Andy who is really good friend of the family. Andy works at the airport and has a coworker that's an autograph hound. He caught wind of the autograph guy going to try to get some Ducks autographs, so Andy held him up for a moment, long enough to rip off a piece of cardboard, write a funny message to me, and have Teemu hold it up for a picture.

Doug and I went to the Penguins-Ducks game and were having a few beers during the pre-game in the Captain Morgan club when I received a text from my brother. By that time, he had already printed it out on an 8x10, intending it to be a surprise. Travis was way too excited, though, and couldn't help but send the text.

Doug and I were beside ourselves! We just couldn't believe it! How cool, right?!? I always thought a pic with and athlete is the tops, but when you're not present an autograph seems like just a scribble on a paper. Well, this is one of the COOLEST ideas I've seen in a while! So much cooler than JUST an autograph, and the picture is already earmarked for my office wall!
Pretty darn awesome, I must agree! And I happen to be a little envious that Ryan has that picture posted on his wall. It will undoubtedly be quite the conversation piece!

Ryan also does some pretty cool stuff on his own just to show off his sports fanaticism. The image to the right is of Ryan's wall, and he put that logo there! Ryan also is working on a Pittsburgh Pirates logo to go along with that Penguins logo, but I am seriously impressed with Ryan's artistry. It takes real skill for a painter to get a logo right in a reproduction in paint and Ryan, unfortunately, is no painter. So how did he put this Penguins logo on his wall so accurately without spending hours in an art studio?

Here's Ryan to explain the process, and I have conveniently linked the pictures he sent me to make it easier to see what's he is explaining.
I measured the area, scaled up a logo to fit, and gridded it off in 11x17 sections. I printed those sections to PDFs, ran them down to Kinko's, and had them print me off the various PDF sheets needed. I then measured, taped, lightly traced, and then "colored" in the lines. Just as easy as that! I really like using Beher paint sample size portions. Cheap, but effective!
Very effective, I must agree! Fantastic work, Ryan! Again, you find me jealous in looking at your work, and I may have to commission you to fly to my place once I'm done with my man-cave setup!

All in all, Ryan is a great guy and I'm happy to see him get a fantastic gift from his brother. The Teemu Selanne picture will hang proudly in Ryan's office alongside his amazing Penguins and Pirates logos, making it an office that most sports fans will want to emulate!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 24 November 2013


Mark your calendars, ladies and gentlemen, because the Buffalo Sabres first wore gold against the Detroit Red Wings on this day, and it's just as hideous as they appeared to be when they were unveiled on Twitter by Steve Ott. There is nothing to be proud of with regards to this alternate uniform, and the Sabres did nothing to make it memorable with an ugly 3-1 loss to Detroit as they add another in-division loss to their record.

The one thing I was looking for was the captaincy designations. I never pointed this out in my original article dealing with these eyesores, but the NHL actually has a rule about the placement of the captaincy patches. The NHL Rulebook states in Rule 6.1,
One Captain shall be appointed by each team, and he alone shall have the privilege of discussing with the Referee any questions relating to interpretation of rules which may arise during the progress of a game. He shall wear the letter "C", approximately three inches (3") in height and in contrasting color, in a conspicuous position on the front of his sweater. No co-Captains are permitted. Either one Captain and no more than two Alternate Captains, or no Captain and no more than three Alternate Captains are permitted.
So we've seen the rule, we understand that the designation needs to be "in a conspicuous position on the front of his sweater", and we're expecting the Sabres to follow. What did we get today?
Maybe I failed human anatomy, but I could have sworn that captaincy designation is on Henrik Tallinder's shoulder. I've tweeted the Buffalo Sabres to see if they've received some kind of exception for this rule, but they have yet to respond. I'm hoping to get a response, though. I'll keep you posted.

I'm not a fan of these uniforms. Not at all.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 23 November 2013

Win Your Division

After watching the Penguins and Capitals battle on Wednesday night, and then following that game up with the Minnesota-Winnipeg tilt this afternoon, it has dawned on me that divisional games are slightly more important than other games. You're probably calling me Captain Obvious right now, but the new playoff format makes a divisional game that much more important over the long haul of the season. If your team makes the playoffs, but has performed poorly against the rest of its division, does your team truly belong in the playoffs?

I'm going to run down the divisional win-loss records of each team, and also post the overall record and divisional standing of each team. Remember that if a fifth-place in a division is better than the corresponding fourth-place team in the other division within the same conference, the fifth-place team will crossover. In saying that, here are your divisional records.

Divisional Win-Loss Records To Date
Team Division Overall Rank
Anaheim Ducks
Boston Bruins
Buffalo Sabres
Calgary Flames
Carolina Hurricanes
Chicago Blackhawks
Colorado Avalanche
Columbus Blue Jackets
Dallas Stars
Detroit Red Wings
Edmonton Oilers
Florida Panthers
Los Angeles Kings
Minnesota Wild
Montreal Canadiens
Nashville Predators
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
Ottawa Senators
Philadelphia Flyers
Phoenix Coyotes
Pittsburgh Penguins
San Jose Sharks
St. Louis Blues
Tampa Bay Lightning
Toronto Maple Leafs
Vancouver Canucks
Washington Capitals
Winnipeg Jets
Looking at the table, it appears that teams at or below .500 within their own division are outside of a playoff spot. There are some notable exceptions - Ottawa's 5-0-1 mark within the Atlantic Division, for example - but the vast majority of the teams that are outside of a playoff spot are struggling within their own division.

Winnipeg has eight points in their fourteen games against their own division, meaning we can pretty much write-off their playoff hopes now. The New York Islanders have five points in their ten games against their divisional foes making their playoff dreams an uphill struggle. The Sabres have five points in eight games against the Atlantic Division, but they're struggling in all facets of the game. And the Edmonton Oilers have three points in five games thus far, but can start climbing the standings in the Pacific Division if they start winning divisional games along with a few non-divisional games.

It's a pretty simple concept, actually. If you want to make the playoffs, win within your division. Every single team in each of the four divisions that is fourth-place or higher is currently above .500 in their own division. You also need a few wins outside of your division, but if you're preventing teams in your own division from getting points while you pick up points, it's fairly easy to make the playoffs.

The concept is simple: win your division and make the playoffs.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 22 November 2013

Equipment Watch: Stable 26

I get emails from all sorts of companies. Most are usually to do with some foreign lottery I've won, but occasionally a real email will makes its way to the surface that I read. Of these, some have nothing to do with hockey, but are of a sporting nature when it comes to the topic of the email. I was pleasantly surprised, though, when I opened this email about Stable 26.

The name itself didn't make a lot of sense until I read through the email to the bottom where the company explains the name. They wrote,
The name – and founding philosophy – behind Stable 26 has its roots in the anatomy of the human foot. Housing 26 structural support bones, the foot is subject to countless injuries – especially for professional athletes. As a chiropractor, Dr. Daryl Sherman understands how injuries come about, and the importance of wearing quality footgear to reduce foot trauma. Having worked with countless professional athletes throughout the course of his career, Sherman created Stable 26 to bridge the gap between athletes and their equipment, allowing for better fit, which leads to stronger stability and comfort. In short, Stable 26 allows athletes to put their best performance-enhanced foot forward.
That's a pretty impressive introduction as they introduce the world to the anatomy of the foot before talking about the company's founder and how they got started. So you're thinking footwear, right? Shoes, skates, and the likes? Well, it turns out that Stable 26 is all about a different type of footwear.

Stable 26 is all about specialty socks, and they definitely make special socks. According to their website, "Stable 26 footgear provides customizable support and unparalleled fit". Basically, they are like any other sock aside from one major detail: silicone pads!

Why silicone pads, you ask? What purpose could they serve?

As per their website, "Stable 26 footgear uses silicone pads in anatomically targeted locations to provide improved support and an enhanced connection between your foot and your footwear." The pads work to reduce the "negative space" - gaps where foot and footwear don't meet - in skates, allowing the skate to work much more efficiently in tune with the foot. The pads are found in the heel of the sock, providing better comfort and fit of the rearfoot in the skate. Or, as Stable 26 says, "[t]he rearfoot, specifically the subtalar joint, plays a key role in the function of the foot, knee, hips, and pelvis. In almost all activities, your body movements begin with, and are controlled by, the movements of your rearfoot – whether you realize it or not." I'll take that science as being pretty truthful.

Why so much focus on the heel, you ask? For good reason, apparently.

"Because the rearfoot controls the mid- and forefoot and the relative positioning of the leg above it, Stable 26 footgear for all sports include medial and lateral silicone pads to help you attain the perfect fit at the rearfoot." Again, that seems logical and factual. By giving players a better fit inside their skates, you would expect them to skate better. There are legendary stories of Paul Coffey wearing skates that were three sizes too small for his feet in order to feel every stride on the ice, so maybe this sock idea isn't so far-fetched.

I decided to take a peek at their Testimonials page to see who Stable 26 has worked with, and there are a lot of recognizable names. NHL skating coach Barb Underhill, former Bruin Scott Thornton, former Ranger, Oiler, and Whaler Steven Rice, Tampa Bay's Ryan Shannon, Ottawa's Jesse Winchester, and most recently Ottawa superstar Erik Karlsson have all put their names behind Stable 26's product, so there are definitely some professionals who approve of this better-fitting sock!

I have yet to test out the Stable 26 socks, so I can't say yay or nay when it comes to the equipment. The science, however, seems plausible and there are a pile of hockey people who have lent their name to the product. If you're looking for a Christmas gift for your hockey player, this might be a good opportunity to give these socks a chance!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 21 November 2013

The Hockey Show - Episode Sixty-Three

The Hockey Show returns to the traditional airwaves and over the internet tonight at 5:30pm CT on 101.5 UMFM, and we are excited about our guest tonight. As you may be aware, The Hockey Show tries to stay on topic of current topics and news, but we also are looking to help you with your Christmas shopping as the holiday season approaches. In saying that, we do try to feature people who have excellent products for the hockey lovers in your family, and tonight's guest will certainly offer up an excellent idea.

Tonight, we are proud and humbled to welcome to our show today one of Canada's gems when it comes to the broadcasting business. He’s a musician, playing most recently with The Smugglers, a band he helped found. He's a radio personality on CBC Radio 3 daily and produces one of the country's most-listened-to podcasts aptly titled as the CBC Radio 3 Podcast. He’s an accomplished author, having been shortlisted as a nominee for the 2011 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction and the 2011 Edna Staebler Award amongst other things. He organized a weekly ball hockey game that helped to further his passion for the game of hockey, and he’s a goaltender for the Vancouver Flying Vees semi-professional-yet-not-professional hockey team. Tonight, we speak with the author of The Lonely End of the Rink and Vancouver Canucks fan, the fantastic Grant Lawrence!

Obviously, I hold Mr. Lawrence in high esteem due to his broadcasting abilities, but that respect was further heightened after reading The Lonely End of the Rink as Mr. Lawrence's writing is funny, entertaining, and the stories told within the covers were relatable to almost everyone. We'll discuss the themes within the book, as well as specific incidents, tonight and ask him about what he thinks the chances of seeing the Canucks in the Stanley Cup Final are for this season. There will be lots of laughs, so tune in tonight at 5:30pm CT to hear Mr. Lawrence live on The Hockey Show on 101.5 UMFM!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Some News And Notes

I'll admit right off the top that most of what I'm posting today isn't very newsworthy on its own. There are some interesting tidbits of information, but I'm not sure anything would be an eye-catching headline by itself. Instead, I'm plugging all of these little stories under one collective "News and Notes" headline. One note is pretty awesome, one is more of a personal "told ya so", and the last one is a bit of a head-scratcher when it comes to their fans' reaction.

The Sweaters Inside Are Frightful

The ECHL has a tradition of having some pretty awesome promotional jerseys. There have been a ton of great promotional sweaters sold off for charity, and the ECHL should be proud of the money they raise with these jersey auctions. I'm sure how much it costs the individual teams to run one of these promotions, but I'd love to be a part of a team that has a run of promotional jerseys just so I could score a few of my own. In saying that, though, the Reading Royals are taking their Christmas promotional jersey to a whole new level.

According to TheScore website, the Reading Royals will face-off against the Elmira Jackals on December 14 in these "ugly Christmas sweater" uniforms. Amongst other things happening that night, the Royals will be giving away to their fans a "Reading Royals 2013 Kelly Cup Champions" holiday ornament and will be holding their annual teddy bear toss for charity. But those sweaters? Magnificent in their hideousness. As TheScore stated on their Facebook posting for these sweaters, "[t]he ECHL's Reading Royals unveiled an ugly Christmas sweater jersey that would make Bill Cosby's heart smile." I'm pretty sure there are a lot of people who are smiling at the sight of these jerseys. Well done, Reading!

MacArthur Has Game

I was questioned by a number of people why I would drop Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds for Ottawa's Clarke MacArthur in our TSN Fantasy Pool at work. I've always liked MacArthur's work ethic, and Simmonds, for all the hits, penalty minutes and powerplay goals he scores, delivered poor ice-time minutes and little in the way of actual scoring. To me, it was less of a risk in dropping Simmonds for MacArthur than it was in allowing someone else to grab MacArthur who has been given more of a scoring responsibility in Ottawa.

Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, I feel slightly vindicated. Check out this amazing setup from Clarke MacArthur against the Minnesota Wild tonight.
I'm not saying that carrying Simmonds was a bad idea, but look at the stats. It's pretty easy to see why I made this move.
Fantasy Hockey Metrics
Name Games Points +/- PIMs TOI SOG Hits
Clarke MacArthur
Wayne Simmonds
You won't hear me complaining if MacArthur continues to use moves as seen above to add to his already-solid stats totals this season. MacArthur, along with Tampa Bay's Alex Killorn, has been a valuable addition through the waiver wire.

Winning Is Everything?

The ECHL's Toledo Walleye are unveiling two brand-new jersey designs tomorrow as they prepare for next year's Walleye Winterfest games. There's nothing unusual about a team unveiling a new jersey for an outdoor game in any way, but it appears that the people of Toledo, Ohio could care less about the Facebook announcement.
Wow! Tough crowd! This is a team that's 4-6-2 after just 12 games! There's still 60 games in the season, yet Jason is all over them for their win-loss record! And poor spelling aside from Chris, has he ever seen an outdoor game in his life or is this his first season being a hockey fan?

Who needs opponents when you have fans like these?

Teamwork Of The Year

There's not much needed to be said here as the Penguins show the Capitals how to move the puck before scoring on the powerplay.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Taking Recommendations

The above image is a small snippet of the online book shelf I am building on Shelfari, an Amazon website. I basically made it through the first twenty-four books I reviewed as part of Teebz's Book Club, and I came to realize that the actual bookshelf would be massive. Rather than posting a massive image, I just used this image. It seems to suffice, I think.

In any case, I have a pile of books that are awaiting my review, so you may notice a pile of book reviews coming out in the next few weeks. I don't want to list them all, but there's at least six that I can see from my current perch. I have homework to do, so I'll be doing some reading tonight. For sure.

In saying that, I want to hear your recommendations for books I should hunt down and read. I have a list already that I want to get my hands on, but I want to hear your suggestions. After all, a good book club makes good recommendations for its other members. Leave me a comment below, and I'll respond whether I have it, need it, want it, or any other response I can create. If you leave a title for me to find, please tell me WHY you liked the book other than "it's good". I want details as to what actually made it good.

The list of older books shall grow with your help. Teebz's Book Club is only good if we all work together!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 18 November 2013

Tortorella Wants A Change

I had thoughts today about complaining about how referee Rob Martell screwed me out of an all-important goal last night for my fantasy team, but the bigger complaint was how he took a goal away from the Vancouver Canucks that may have cost them two points in the overly-competitive Western Conference. While there could be a case for Martell's ruling on the ice, the video replay shows that the actual events that caused him to wave off the goal were not quite as he perceived. John Tortorella was seething after the game, but I actually thought he kept it together pretty well.

Here's the video of the waved-off goal. Henrik Sedin appears to have tied the game, but Daniel Sedin's actions cause this goal to be disallowed. Check it out.
As you can see, Martell waves off the goal almost immediately, but it's the replay that tells the whole story. If anything, it appears that Lehtonen makes contact with Daniel Sedin as the puck deflects to Henrik Sedin who is all alone at the side of the net. Daniel, it seems, screens Lehtonen pretty well, but it's Lehtonen's glove on the back of Daniel Sedin's leg that causes the forward to stumble, thereby making it easy for Rob Martell to wave the goal off.
I get that Martell has to watch the puck as well as he must keep an eye on the contact at or within the crease, but his decision to wave off this goal was simply incorrect. But we're all human, right? Even NHL referees make mistakes, and I won't hold it against him. I can't see the neutral zone referee skating in and changing this call either since, in full speed, it looks like Sedin may have backed into Lehtonen.

This is the point of the game, though, where an NHL coach should be able to speak to the referee and ask for a review on the play. If they can review a home run in baseball, shouldn't an NHL coach be able to ask for a review on a goal? Especially when it could result in the loss of at least a point in a game? I know that football coaches can throw the challenge flag, but I do think that an NHL coach should be able to use their timeout to be able to ask the referee to review a goal-scoring play.

If the coach is wrong, the coach loses his timeout and we're back to the game with that coach not having a timeout to use because he, in essence, wasted the referee's time in asking for a review. If the play is overturned and a goal is found to be a good goal, the timeout is restored because justice was served. It's basically the same idea as football with the only caveats being that a coach can only use their timeout once for this reason and it can only be used on goals that have been waved off during the course of a play. Makes sense, right?

Here's John Tortorella's view on the no-goal call. Again, I think he did very well at staying composed, but he's right when he says "we need to get the call right".
So I propose it to you, readers: how does the NHL fix this kind of situation? I offered up my solution above. Agree? Disagree? Think I'm completely nuts? Leave your comments below. I'd really like to hear how the NHL can mitigate this kind of problem going forward, especially when points are on the line. And if the Canucks miss the playoffs by a point this season, don't think we'll hear the last of this either.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 17 November 2013

TBC: The Goal Of My Life

I spent the better part of this weekend focused on hockey as I played, I watched, and I read all about the sport. Thankfully, all three activities were fun and entertaining, but I'm here to talk about the reading part as Teebz's Book Club adds another book to its long list of reviews. There have been many memorable goals scored over the course of hockey's great history, but arguably the biggest goal of all-time was Paul Henderson's game-winning and series-winning goal in Game Eight of the 1972 Summit Series. In saying that, Teebz's Book Club is proud to review The Goal of My Life, written by Paul Henderson and Roger Lajoie, and published by Fenn/McClelland & Stewart. Everyone who was old enough to remember "the goal" certainly has a story about it, and The Goal of My Life is Paul Henderson's story of the goal, his life in hockey, and everything that came before and after one of hockey's most famous goals.

Paul Henderson's life story is contained within the covers of the book, so I won't post his biography here. Roger Lajoie, however, is the man who put Mr. Henderson's memoir to paper, and "has worked as a writer and broadcaster in Toronto sports media for more than 30 years. He is best known as a sports talk show host on Sportsnet 590 The Fan and has been the play-by-play voice of several Ontario Hockey League teams. He has also written for numerous publications, including the Toronto Sun, and co-wrote The Road to Hockeytown with Jimmy Devellano. He and his wife, Rita, live in Courtice, Ontario."

I had known long before cracking the spine on The Goal of My Life that Paul Henderson's legacy was the goal, but there is so much more that Mr. Henderson writes about in this book. His father was a demanding man when he was young, often making life difficult for the Henderson family with his old-school values. As Paul's coach, he wouldn't be satisfied with Paul's performance whether Paul scored a dozen or was the best player on the ice as the senior Henderson would always expect more. It would take some time for Paul to realize that while his father was hard, he believed in his son. There is a touching story told by Paul Henderson about his father where the two have a serious discussion about his future in hockey - something that Paul Henderson feared would never happen due to his father's view on the world!

For those that don't know, Paul Henderson broke into the league as a Detroit Red Wing, but he almost became a Boston Bruin! I won't go into detail in terms of how that almost happened as that story is Mr. Henderson's to tell, but his career could have been entirely different if not for one event in his life. Upon joining the Red Wings, though, it was apparent that Paul Henderson wasn't ready to be an NHL player, and he actually requested to be sent down to the minor leagues to improve his game! How many players do you know ask to be sent down, especially a player of Henderson's calibre?

Mr. Henderson was involved in a major trade, as he puts it, as he was dealt in a multiplayer deal to the Toronto Maple Leafs where he would play for the more memorable portion of his career. This is also where he developed into a solid two-way winger and was invited to play with Team Canada in the Summit Series. It was interesting to hear about Mr. Henderson's dealings with Harold Ballard and what led to his leaving the Leafs for the WHA's Toronto Toros. Harold Ballard was an interesting individual, and Mr. Henderson's stories about Mr. Ballard are quite provocative.

The majority of the first half of The Goal of My Life deal with Mr. Henderson's early life right through to his retirement from hockey in the city of Birmingham, Alabama. The second half of the book may put some people off, though, as Mr. Henderson discusses his spiritual awakening openly and often. Personally, I realize that this is part of who Mr. Henderson is, but I found it to be a little difficult to read as I am neither spiritual nor religious in any way. While he does speak of the health challenges he and his wife faced in parts, the talk of his Christian beliefs is very in-your-face. Again, while I realize that this is part of Mr. Henderson's life, reading about it feels like reading a testimonial to how great religion is. It may be off-putting for some readers, unfortunately.

I found some of the stories from the public that Mr. Henderson tells to be quite funny. There was one man who was a student in school when The Goal was scored, and he told Mr. Henderson the following about where he was when Mr. Henderson's most famous goal was scored.
One man from Toronto, however, never forgave his teacher for not letting him watch the game. While many schools let their students watch the game together, his teacher wasn't buying in.

"Our teacher made us stay in class and we didn't get to see the game," he told me. "I've hated that teacher ever since."

I could see while listening to his story that this man's animosity towards his teacher was genuine, even decades later!
There are a number of stories in The Goal of My Life from people who have told Mr. Henderson where they were, and this is just one instance of where someone was who didn't get to see The Goal!

Overall, The Goal of My Life is a fairly good book that documents Mr. Henderson's life thus far. Outside of the spirituality and religious chatter in the second half of the book, Mr. Henderson has led a pretty amazing life, and his wife and children have contributed to an amazing existence outside of The Goal. Of course, he will always be remembered for the biggest goal in Canadian hockey history, but he forged a pretty nice hockey career in the NHL and WHA for himself as well. The Goal of My Life is an excellent memoir of Mr. Henderson's life, and, despite the heavy religious overtones that put me off a little, I still am a fan of this book. Because of the great stories and excellent look back at Mr. Henderson's life, The Goal of My Life gets the all-important Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

Find The Goal of My Life at your local bookstore! It is a great gift for hockey fans in general, and especially for fans of Paul Henderson and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The paperback version would fit nicely in a Christmas stocking as well!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 16 November 2013

More Links Than Sausages

I was wandering around the internet today only to find that there are a ton of incredible sites that have zero affiliation to the NHL that have done amazing things to make the world a little better. Like the eight-bit pixelated Vancouver Canuck to the right, this is some of the amazing work being done and posted to the internet for many people to enjoy. I'll talk more about this Mega Man-inspired Canuck below, but today is all about stuff happening outside the NHL's purview and marketing reach. There's a lot of fun stuff, so poke through these stories and enjoy the content. I know I did, and I want to bring a pile of these stories to light.
  •  The Mega Man-inspired NHL players, as seen above, were created by Reddit reader and contributor adam4283 and posted to his imgur account. Adam created 31 Mega Man NHL sprites, including what appears to be his favorite non-NHL team in the Minnesota North Stars. From what I can see, Adam had been working at these for a little over eight months, starting with these original four. To see how far he's come with 31 teams now covered, it's a pretty impressive pile of work. Well done, Adam!
  • I found an impressive Tumblr feed from Al Creed! Al does a ton of eight-bit renderings of everything from pro wrestlers (awesome t-shirt) to Bruce Lee to Kang and Kodos of The Simpsons fame. Cue the hockey theme, though, because he's made an eight-bit Tuukka Rask, an eight-bit Team Canada player from the Sochi Olympics, an eight-bit Eric Lindros, The Great Eight-Bit One, the new Dallas Stars and Carolina Hurricanes jerseys, and an eight-bit Patrick Roy! There are a ton of hockey-related eight-bit artworks on Mr. Creed's site, so I encourage you to scan through them all. He's done excellent work!
  • While you're at it, if you really want something to eat up your time, here's an online version of the classic eight-bit NES game Ice Hockey. Yeah, I'm already addicted.
  • The fantastic artwork of SixSix8 must be mentioned here as they've been doing some great eight-bit work in producing NHL-themed posters. I happen to really like their "Hockey Superstars Pixel Art" that shows Ovechkin, the Sedins, Toews, and Datsyuk in eight-bit format. There are a ton of hockey-related images on the SixSix8 blog, so head over there and get your fill of this fantastic work!
  • Compliments of the Hooked On Hockey Magazine website, they give you all of the NHL All-Star MVPs in jersey form! Pretty cool little infographic, I must admit. That website is filled with a ton of hockey articles and stories, so if you need a little hockey chatter, hit them up!
  • Some news out of the NCAA as the Wisconsin Badgers women's team are squaring off against Boston University in Vail, Colorado tonight in their new alternate uniforms! I really like the look of these new uniforms, and I'd be proud to wear it. It looks and feels traditional despite the rounded hems at the bottom, and Wisconsin looks sharp! Well done, Badgers!
  • On the other hand, the Badgers seemingly have some issues when it comes to spacing on their normal uniforms. As seen on Stellarton, Nova Scotia native Blayre Turnbull's uniform, there's way too much going on in the upper-right corner of the jersey. I've never been a fan of numbers of the front of hockey jerseys, and this is a perfect example of why they shouldn't exist. Absolutely horrid design on that one.
  • Word out of the KHL is that Sergei Fedorov's comeback to join the team he manages, CSKA, is not going to happen.While Fedorov signed a one-year, league-minimum contract, it appears the 43 year-old only did so in case the club ran into roster problems while having a number of players injured. The Red Wings alum will still reportedly play in the Winter Classic alumni game for the Red Wings, but it doesn't appear that he'll skate in any meaningful games before January 1.
  • The AHL's Utica Comets, the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks, finally got their first win of the season last Friday after starting the season 0-8-1-1. Colin Stuart, captain of the Comets, attributed this win to one thing, saying, "We did some good things. We knew we were due. The magic ingredient is hard work. If we outwork the other team, we’re going to come out with a win, or be close." Officially, the first win in AHL Comets' history was a 3-2 victory over the Lake Erie Monsters on November 12, 2013. Note that in the old hockey history time capsule.
  • Rick DiPietro is still toiling for the Charlotte Checkers in the AHL on an AHL tryout contract, but I can't see him staying on for the full 25 games at this rate. DiPietro is 0-3-0 in four games with a 5.57 GAA and an .839 save percentage. Those numbers aren't good enough for a peewee team let alone an AHL team, yet he's still trying to find a way back to the NHL. No offence to any DiPietro fans out there, but this guy is finished. It's nice that he's getting a shot with Charlotte, but those stats are the sign of a player who is finished.
  • Ilya Bryzgalov started for the Oklahoma City Barons last night. He allowed five goals on 24 shots against the AHL-leading Abbotsford Heat including a pair of goals in the third period to Abbotsford's Ben Street after leading 4-3 through two periods. Same old Bryzgalov? Sounds like it. Best of luck, Edmonton. Yikes!
  • If you missed The Hockey Show this week, you also missed a couple of announcements! This week on Thursday, we'll feature author and radio personality Grant Lawrence! I reviewed Grant's book, The Lonely End of the Rink, earlier this month, and we'll have him on to speak about his book, his hockey (mis)adventures, his life as a musician and radio personality, and much more! All of this and more this week on The Hockey Show!
  • December 5 on The Hockey Show will see a regular guest return with a pile of news! Jared Keeso, who starred in Elysium and Keep Your Head Up, Kid! as Don Cherry, will be back to talk all sorts of hockey-related stuff including his beloved Calgary Flames, the Winnipeg Jets, and much more. We'll also get an update on what he's currently working on, and where the Letterkenny Problems YouTube series is headed. He'll have a ton of big news, so tune in that night for a fun show as Jared fills us in!
  • Finally, December 17 will be another fun night as Beans and I hold our second annual SECRET SANTA show on The Hockey Show! If you want to win some free hockey gear, that's the night you want to call in. We have lots of stuff piled up in the old prize closet - Sauce Hockey gear, t-shirts, DVDs, books, hats, et cetera - and we want to clear it out to start fresh in 2014. Mark your calendars, kids, and we'll have some fun with the SECRET SANTA show that night. Free gear? Absolutely. All you have to do is call.
Lots of information on this one, kids, so read through, click through, and have some fun.I'm gonna go play some NES Ice Hockey on that link above, so practice up and maybe we can square off one day. FYI, I'm absolutely terrible.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 15 November 2013

TBC: Don't Call Me Goon

I have been working through a number of books lately as I try to get as many reviewed before Christmas as humanly possible. I actually had this book finished yesterday, but The Hockey Show's preview pushed it back to today. No worries, though, as we'll work through a book that talks to a vast number of players who were considered tough guys, but actually were far more than just goons on the ice. There are a pile of great players examined in this book, and Teebz's Book Club is proud to review Don't Call Me Goon: Hockey's Greatest Enforcers, Gunslingers, and Bad Boys, written by Greg Oliver and Richard Kamchen, and published by ECW Press. From Bob Probert to Tie Domi and from Eddie Shack to John Ferguson, there have been a pile of guys who could be considered hockey's greatest entertainers. Don't Call Me Goon take a look at the more notorious guys who dropped the gloves and were loved by fans.

From the ECW website, Greg Oliver, seen on the left, "is the author of the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame series — The Canadians, The Heels, The Tag Teams, and Heroes & Icons. He has been writing about professional wrestling for over 25 years, starting with The Canadian Wrestling Report newsletter when he was still in high school. Upon completing a degree in journalism from Ryerson University, he worked at the Toronto Sun and for a decade. A freelancer since 2001, he has worked on more than 40 books as an editor, writer and layout artist. At the moment, he has two hockey books in the works. He lives in Toronto with his wife Meredith, son Quinn, and is active in the community, both in scouting and as a soccer coach."

Seen on the right, Richard Kamchen "is a freelance writer whose journalism has covered subjects as wide ranging as professional wrestling and genetically modified foods. He lives in Winnipeg with his dog, Max." He can be found on Twitter at @RKamchen.

Don't Call Me Goon starts off by looking at the "pioneers of mayhem" in the NHL. Being that I happen to enjoy good hockey history, it was interesting to read about players such as Joe Hall, Sprague Cleghorn, Jean Pusie, Red Horner, and Billy Coutu. To hear some of the craziness that went on during the early years of the NHL makes today's game look tame, but these men stood out from the rest as being the guys who stirred the pot when it came to anarchy on the ice. While I'm a little surprised that a name like Eddie Shore wasn't included, these five men literally pushed the envelope well past the point of sensibility.

With the league shrinking to six teams, the two authors focus on some of the true fighters in NHL history. They look at Gus Mortson, Lou Fontinato, Reggie Fleming, Orland Kurtenbach, and John Ferguson in-depth in the "Original Six" chapter, and it becomes very interesting to hear other players talk of these five men and what they brought to the game. Most times, it was fear and fists, but Mr. Oliver and Mr. Kamchen show that these men were just important with a stick in their hands to their teams as they were delivering vengeance upon opponents. I especially was impressed with the section on John Ferguson and how he came to be the preeminent enforcer in the 1960s.

There is a great chapter on the 1967 expansion wave and how three teams redefined intimidation. The collection of ruffians that the St. Louis Blues brought into the NHL actually were the precursor to the Broad Street Bullies, and it's amazing to see how many of those players played a major role on the Blues, Flyers, and the Bruins who followed suit. "Battleship" Bob Kelly, John Wensink, Steve Durbano, Dave Schultz, the three Barclay brothers, and Noel Picard get mentioned a number of times in this chapter as they terrorized the league during the 1970s. It's amazing to read about these guys and what they did not only to other players in the NHL, but to players on their own teams during training camps!

Don't Call Me Goon dives deep into the guys a lot of people remember in the fourth chapter. They look at the devastating duos that patrolled the NHL - Probert and Kocur, Twist and Chase, Miller and Byers, Williams and Maloney, and Grimson and Ewen - before moving on to look at guys who could score and fight, guys who were hard-nosed defencemen that didn't mind stepping in when necessary, the entertaining fighters who could play but had real personalities on the ice, and the guys who people simply feared due to their size and strength. Names like Domi, Laraque, Semenko, Brown, Manson, McGill, and Gillies all are examined in this chapter, and it's a fantastic look at some of the NHL's best players who policed the ice during this time.

There's a great section at the end of the book about some of the issues facing enforcers today: the rise of the agitator, what constitutes a good body-check versus a dirty one and when to fight due to a check, concussions, and the requirements for being an enforcer. In this section, there's a fantastic quotation from Bob McGill about Sean Avery and his antics on the ice. In how he would address Mr. Avery before the instigator rule and the other rule changes, Mr. McGill said,
"He probably wouldn't be as flamboyant as he is because guys would be in his face and after him all the time. You'd have to be more accountable," said Bob McGill, who played in the Norris for most of his NHL career. "One thing about the guy is he can play. I don't understand why it has to be such a sideshow all the time. It bothers me because the guy can play yet he wants to be a jackass. I've got no time for a guy like him - I'd like to play against him a couple of times just to fricken try and give it to him, no question."
Clearly, Bob McGill has no patience for an agitator like Sean Avery, and it would be interesting to see some of these players from today's age thrown back into the hockey world of yesteryear!

I usually am pretty hard on books that randomly select various players to fulfill the book's need, but where Don't Call Me Goon succeeds is in speaking about the players with other players. The stories and comments from the players in the book about the tough guys profiled really show you the kind of respect and fear these men demanded when they laced up their skates. Over the book's 280 pages, there are a pile of great stories, some excellent quotes from former NHL players, and some excellent research done by the authors in putting these enforcers into a new light. Because of the authors' work in getting all of the quotations from the players, Don't Call Me Goon is a fantastic read about some of hockey's toughest guys, and it absolutely deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

Look for Don't Call Me Goon at your local bookstore. It is highly-recommended for all hockey fans, and is an entertaining and enjoyable read!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 14 November 2013

The Hockey Show - Episode Sixty-Two

The Hockey Show is back on the air tonight at 5:30pm CT on 101.5 UMFM, but there will be a noticeable difference as Teebz will go into tonight's show shorthanded! Columbus will be on-hand as we continue to try to Canadianize her as best as we can with a full menu of hockey, but Beans is off adventuring once more below the 49th parallel, so Teebz and Columbus will tackle this episode!

Tonight, Teebz and Columbus welcome James Gralian back to the show! James was on a couple of months back as we discussed all sorts of stuff surrounding the Colorado Avalanche from his bunker in or around the Denver area, so we'll get updates from him on a number of topics including the Avalanche and what he's hearing about Semyon Varlamov, his views on the Ray Emery assault on Braden Holtby, his thoughts on the Sabres cleaning house, the Florida Panthers dismissing all coaches, and his view of the Jets. We'll also help promote his excellent blog Jerseys and Hockey Love as well as plugging a podcast he works on called the Avs Hockey Podcast. Oh, and we may mention something about that facial hair he is growing as it seems that James and I are engaged in a battle to the death over who can grow the best Fu Manchu for Movember. SPOILER: James is currently in the lead.

This should be a fun episode as James, Columbus, and I chat some good hockey. We might even work a question or two about the University of Denver Pioneers in there, but we'll see how the time flies. Of course, we want you to tune in as we chat some hockey, so join us at 5:30pm CT on 101.5 UMFM. If you can't swing that time, the podcast will go up within an hour after the show finishes, and HBIC Radio will carry the replays over the next week starting on Friday morning.

We're looking forward to a fun chat with James, so please join us tonight!

Until then, keep your sticks on the ice!