Saturday 30 April 2016

I'm Not A Lawyer

I'm not a lawyer. I don't even play one on TV or in the movies as the above Kevin Spacey and Matthew McConaughey have. My legal expertise is having watched a few episodes of CSI and Law & Order and we all know how that turned out for the guys in Horrible Bosses. In saying that, though, I do read. I can read quite well, in fact, and I like to seek out information. With the impending lawsuit hanging over the NWHL and CEO Dani Rylan from former employee/volunteer Mike Moran, I thought it might be time to look at the document filed before the court by Mr. Moran.

I want to be very clear in that there will be no dissemination of the information presented nor will I be editorializing on any of what I point out. Instead, I will point out key points of the lawsuit that you should know so you have all the facts. I've also researched some of the precedent cases that were cited in Mr. Moran's document, and I'll chat a little about those. This will be, in all senses of the word, objective.

Here is the link to the entire complaint itself if you want to read the brief in full, but let's get into the meat of this lawsuit.

The amount of money and the conditions in which the defendants operate and/or live in another state allows this case to be heard by a Federal Court. It appears, however, that the complaint was filed in Massachusetts District Court, and there could be several reasons for this. They include how convenient the court is, who the judge is, how quickly the court can hear the case, and/or how complicated a court's process is as examples. Mr. Moran's attorneys chose Massachusetts as the venue due to Miss Rylan conducting business in and around Massachusetts as well as the NWHL conducting business in the state thanks to the Boston Pride (sections 8 and 9 of complaint).

The facts are laid out as per Mr. Moran's memory prior to the above statement, but operating without contracts in business could be a sticking point for the repayment of the money and the terms set out for the partnership. Verbal agreements can be interpreted differently between two or more parties, and this statement will need to be judged for Mr. Moran to be repaid the money he is seeking.

The burden of proof is on Mr. Moran in these statements, and he'll need to provide evidence of these agreements. Because this is a trial judgment, Mr. Moran can present these as evidential exhibits to the court if he has the paperwork. If they are personal documents such as bank statements or emails, he is within his right not to include them on the complaint exhibits filed with the court. They will be presented in court if they do exist, and they will be examined by both the prosecution and defence prior to their presentation to the court.

The four aspects of what constitutes a contract as per Massachusetts law was defined in the precedence of the case file quoted; that is, "SITUATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS, INC. VS. MALOUF INC.". In that case, the jury found:
"While it is true that the parties' intention to execute a final written agreement "justifies a strong inference that the parties do not intend to be bound" until the agreement is executed, it is also true that if 'all the material terms... have been agreed upon, it may be inferred that the writing to be drafted and delivered is a mere memorial of the contract.' Rosenfield v. United States Trust Co., supra at 216. See Kilham v. O'Connell, 315 Mass. 721 , 724-725 (1944) (where jury could find sufficient evidence that oral contract existed, parties' intention to memorialize contract in writing did not defeat existence of contract)."
In other words, a verbal agreement that includes the material terms to which both parties have agreed can be considered a valid contract. As you can see from the quotation, there are other cases that have set a precedent for verbal agreements as well, so there are multiple examples that show that Mr. Moran's and Miss Rylan's friendly verbal agreement is, in fact, a valid and binding contract. Any objection to this would have to show that this agreement never once was agreed to by either party. I'm not sure that the NWHL or Miss Rylan can do that after she and the NWHL accepted Mr. Moran's monetary support.

Another precedent quoted for clarity's sake, and this one appears to be pretty ironclad. There are a number of conditions that the court found that needed to be fulfilled for a partnership to be valid based on the case entitled "SHAIN INVESTMENT COMPANY, INC. & others vs. HERMAN B. COHEN". While the court attempted to define a joint venture,
"... the following pragmatic check list suggests considerations which, if present or absent, may bear upon the recognition of one: (1) an agreement by the parties manifesting their intention to associate for joint profit not amounting to a partnership or a corporation; (2) a contribution of money, property, effort, knowledge, skill, or other assets to a common undertaking; (3) a joint property interest in all or parts of the subject matter of the venture; (4) a right to participate in the control or management of the enterprise; (5) an expectation of profit; (6) a right to share in profits; (7) an express or implied duty to share in losses; and (8) a limitation to a single undertaking (or possibly a small number of enterprises)."
Since Miss Rylan and Mr. Moran had entered into a valid contract - as defined above - whereby he provided the necessary capital to fund the NWHL while Miss Rylan controlled how it was spent, this would fulfill items 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7 at minimum. Therefore, this would be a joint venture by the definitions contained within the list. Mr. Cohen, the defendant in the case quoted above, contended that "participants in a joint venture are subject to the same fiduciary duties imposed upon members of a partnership" and jury sided with him. Therefore, if the same facts hold true in this case and can be proved, then the precedent holds true and Mr. Moran's investment in the NWHL would, in fact, make the agreement between Miss Rylan and Mr. Moran a partnership. However...

... if, for some reason, the court decides that there was no contract and, in turn, no partnership, Mr. Moran contends that his capital funds should entitle him to a 40% ownership stake in the NWHL. Whether or not that percentage is proportional to the amount of money he invested is something for the court to decide, but it appears Mr. Moran believes that a 40% share is appropriate based on his capital investment and the agreement he had with Miss Rylan.

The precedent named in this section of the complaint is pretty straightforward. If one party changes the terms of the partnership without the other party's consent, this is a breach of the established partnership. In the case of "JAMES F. MEEHAN & another vs. MAURICE F. SHAUGHNESSY & others; CYNTHIA J. COHEN & others, third-party defendants", the judge ruled that
"... a partner does not forfeit his or her right to the accrued profits of a partnership by simply breaching the partnership agreement. Fisher v. Fisher, 349 Mass. 675 , 677 (1965). Walsh v. Atlantic Assocs., 321 Mass. 57 , 64 (1947). The same rule applies to a partner's capital contributions. These amounts are not a form of liquidated damages to which partners can resort in the event of a breach. We conclude, therefore, that Parker Coulter is not entitled to recover these amounts. The judge correctly found that Meehan and Boyle are entitled to return of their capital contributions (their interest, as determined by the judge, in the partners' reserve account and the partners' capital account), and to the receipt of a portion of the old firm's profits (their interest in the income earned but not distributed account)."
In other words, Miss Rylan and the NWHL cannot withhold the capital investment made by Mr. Moran, any interest accrued, and any profits seen by the league if it is found that the partnership was breached by Miss Rylan and/or the NWHL. If the judge finds that there was a valid partnership, this precedent will give Mr. Moran recourse to collect the monies he seeks.

I'll call this move colloquially as the "Zuckerberg". Let me take you back to The Social Network for a reminder. When one owns shares in a business, all shares of the business would have be diluted if more shares are issued to allow new investors in. In Mr. Moran's case, he states in his complaint that he has in his possession an email that shows his 40% share was reduced to 2% as more investors came onboard. This happened in The Social Network as shown in the clip below, and is a perfect example of what Mr. Saverin calls "an ambush".
In the email held by Mr. Moran, he too can claim to have been ambushed as his share went from 40% to 2% of the NWHL partnership. Miss Rylan's ownership, as she remained in charge of the NWHL, was not diluted nearly as much, assuming her ownership stake of 60% was diluted at all. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg's dilution of Eduardo Saverin's stock allowed Zuckerberg to end his partnership with Saverin altogether, albeit in one of the most unethical ways possible. Reduce the ownership share, and then simply get rid of the once-prominent partner.

Sound familiar? Zuckerberg's lawyer wrote,
"As Eduardo is the only shareholder being diluted by the grants issuances there is substantial risk that he may claim the issuances, especially the ones to Dustin and Mark, but also to Sean, are a breach of fiduciary duty later on if not now."
A breach in fiduciary duty was mentioned in Section 54 of the complaint made by Mr. Moran, so what may come of this? I'm not going to say that Mr. Moran will get the same payout that Mr. Saverin did where his initial $15,000 investment became worth more than $4 billion. However, Mr. Moran does want the money owed to him from his capital investment and his time and expertise in marketing. I'm pretty sure that's reasonable after the terms of the partnership changed dramatically without his knowledge.

The precedent that Mr. Moran cites in "JAMES F. MADIGAN vs. MARK J. MCCANN, SR., & others" states that
"... the plaintiff paid for an interest in a partnership business and made further substantial contributions to the business in justifiable reliance on false representations, deliberately made by the defendants acting in concert and with intent to deceive the plaintiff, as to ownership by one of them of the interest supposedly purchased by the plaintiff, which in fact was owned by another person, and as to the accounts receivable and payable, the inventory, and profits of the business, supported a decree ordering the defendants jointly and severally to repay to the plaintiff the amounts of the purchase price paid and other contributions made by him, with interest."
In other words, there is a Massachusetts precedence for Mr. Moran to be paid the money he seeks if Miss Rylan and the NWHL conducted business under false representations. Based on the case cited as precedence, there's a good chance that Mr. Moran has an argument.

Mr. Moran's complaint quotes directly from the case cited as precedence, so I won't go into this complaint in depth. Basically, as long as Mr. Moran can show that he was employed and wasn't paid by the NWHL, he should be awarded $50,000 - salary he feels he's owed - for his work in web marketing for the league. The burden of proof is on Mr. Moran in this case.

Mr. Moran has once again quoted the case cited as precedence in this section, so I won't go deep into it either. However, the gist of this section is that Mr. Moran is making a case for his investment to be returned due to the fact that the partnership that Mr. Moran and Miss Rylan had was changed without Mr. Moran's knowledge. Therefore, he is making the case via precedence to have his investment returned because of this false representation.

The above is the argument being made by Mr. Moran to the District Court of Massachusetts regarding his involvement with, his investment in, his termination from, and his claim for restitution from the NWHL. I hope that makes things a little clearer in trying to translate this document for you, the reader.

With regards to the treble damages that some have already awarded Mr. Moran, the court itself will have to determine whether there are any damages above and beyond the monies he seeks. However, had the author of the linked report simply gone looking for real applications of the law, treble damages are normally awarded when compensatory damages occur when a defendant willfully and knowingly did something illegal.

Mr. Moran will need to have clear-cut proof that Miss Rylan's actions were done knowing full well that reducing his share in the partnership, not paying him, and eventually terminating his role in the NWHL were all done illegally. Based on what has been submitted right now as exhibits, I'm not sure that treble damages would be awarded.

In looking at Mr. Moran's complaint, I'd say he does have a legitimate complaint. Again, I'm no lawyer, but the complaints and cited precedent cases make sense based on what has been revealed about Mr. Moran's situation with the NWHL, and he lays out exactly why he feels that Miss Rylan and the NWHL owe him some sort of compensation.

In saying that, if hindsight is 20/20, clear vision may now cost the NWHL some $250,000 as opposed to $180,000. Perhaps that settlement was worth the money after all.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 29 April 2016

The Big Leaderboard

Having run the HBIC Playoff Pool for a number of years, I have dropped tidbits of information that I would consider to be vital in being successful in the contest. As you know, there are more series in the opening round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs than there are in the final three rounds. One entrant in the 2016 edition of the Playoff Pool took full advantage of this fact and absolutely crushed it. His opening round score is, officially, a record for the HBIC Playoff Pool, and it may be enough to allow him to cruise to victory. That being said, I haven't given up on anyone catching him as there are still seven series to be played! The prognostications of this entrant, however, are nothing short of impressive at this point!

You'll want to refer back to this page for the point totals as we move through the playoffs. This is where all future point updates will happen. I have listed the names below in alphabetical order as per your submitted first name, so scroll through and find your name and point total.

Because of the scheduling quirk for the second round, if you want to gamble some points in the "Risk It!" option at this time, send me an email indicating that. Again, you must call the series perfectly to get the gambled points doubled. If you're wrong, you won't lose points, but you also won't receive any points for that series. In other words, don't gamble on EVERY series unless you absolutely have to do so!

Without further adieu, here is the HBIC Playoff Pool Leaderboard!

Name Tie-Breaker Points Rank
Adam K.
St. Louis
54 n/a
Andy S.
70 n/a
Cole V.
77 6th
Corey D.
36 n/a
Dan F.
60 n/a
Daniel W.
102 1st
Dave F.
71 8th
Dylan M.
49 n/a
Forrest B.
Los Angeles
63 n/a
Jackson N.
28 n/a
Jared R.
58 n/a
John M.
67 n/a
93 2nd
Mark S.
Los Angeles
29 n/a
Marty L.
38 n/a
Matt H.
73 7th
Michael J.
55 n/a
Michael M.
20 n/a
Michael P.
39 n/a
Neal L.
no team
23 n/a
Peter S.
Los Angeles
57 n/a
Ryan H.
24 n/a
Ryan P.
NY Rangers
82 5th
Scott M.
70 n/a
Steve M.
St. Louis
31 n/a
Ted A.
83 4th
Tony T.
37 n/a
Westin F.
84 3rd
Zeke P.
36 n/a

Ok, so a few notes about the above leaderboard. Names in yellow are your leaders, and their rankings as to where they stand are to the right of their names and point totals. Those are the people you're hunting down in this quest for some free gear. As you can see, some are closer than others, but no one is truly out of this contest until the Stanley Cup has been awarded. If you want to risk a few points on a series or two, that's at your discretion, but it could get you back into the race very quickly.

Secondly, due to the number of entrants, I will be awarding eight prizes to this year's contestants. As you may be aware, there are a number of people who drop out over the course of the playoffs, so your odds will likely get better as the playoffs go on AS LONG AS YOU CONTINUE TO PLAY. As you can see above, eight names are in yellow and their rankings are there for the taking to those who can predict the next seven series correctly!

Good luck, everyone, and congratulations to our leaders!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 28 April 2016

The Hockey Show - Episode 188

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, is back tonight with a guest who I looked up to for a long time. It seems we have some awesome local deejays here in Manitoba as we've already had Brody Jackson and Samantha Stevens on from QX104FM to talk about their hockey tie-ins (Brody is the in-game host for the Jets while Samantha was learning hockey at a local Canlan hockey class!). Today, we have the man who is in charge of the Winnipeg chapter of Canada's largest street hockey tournament in the Play On! 4-on-4 street hockey tournament who was also part of one of Manitoba's best radio morning shows in recent history!

Tonight, we meet Mr. Tom McGouran who is getting the Winnipeg portion of Play On! onto the streets at the University of Manitoba! Tom has been on-and-off radio across Canada for a few decades now, but he was part of 92CITI-FM's fantastic morning show in the 1990s with co-cohort Joe Aiello! Tom and Joe were the originators of some of Winnipeg's best radio, and they were my choice for morning radio when I was getting ready for school and university in the morning! We'll talk with Tom about his involvement with Play On!, his radio career, who his picks are for Round Two in the NHL, and the Brandon Wheat Kings as Tom's a huge hockey fan!

Play On! is the ultimate summer street hockey experience, and you should be a part of it! It doesn't matter what your skill level or age is because Play On! offers recreational and competitive street hockey tournament divisions for every weekend warrior! The Play On! event will tour across Canada this summer, so make sure you get registered for some exciting and fun street hockey action in your city! All details as to when Play On! will be in your city and what the costs are for your skill and age level can be found on the Play On! website! See you out there!

The phones are closed tonight with Tom joining us in-studio! To hear this great interview, make sure you tune your radio dial in the Winnipeg region to 101.5 on your FM dial or listen live between 5:30pm and 6:30pm CT on your web-enabled device at the UMFM webpage! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show. We might also try to get some Facebook Live footage of Tom in-studio up there as well! We talk to Play On! Winnipeg organizer and Winnipeg radio legend Tom McGouran tonight on The Hockey Show only on 101.5 UMFM!

PODCAST: April 28, 2016: Episode 188

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 27 April 2016

Round Two Starts Now

Well, I guess that title isn't entirely true. The second round actually started earlier tonight, but you may have caught yesterday's post that said that everyone would get the free three points because the NHL scheduled the second round to start before the first round had ended. Yeah, it's dumb, but this is the NHL and their magical scheduling. So while the second round has officially started, the HBIC Playoff Pool moves into Round Two officially right NOW!

To get you going, I have created another pretty little Excel document that can be opened in both Microsoft Excel and OpenOffice Calc. Fill this out and send it back to me WITH YOUR NAME AS THE NAME OF THE EXCEL DOCUMENT just like you did in the first round, but note that it is a Round 2 spreadsheet (ie. TeebzR2.xlsx). Send all picks to the pool email address: hbicplayoffpool-at-gmail-dot-com. Easy, right?

I will say this about the Nashville Predators: they got a helluva performance out of Pekka Rinne tonight. I'm not sure how they're feeling after a game in which they appeared to be running on fumes, but they'll have to get themselves ready for another West Coast team that looked pretty solid in the San Jose Sharks.

The will be the third time that the Predators have played in the second round, ousting Anaheim in 2010-11 and Detroit in 2011-12. The Predators have never been further than the second round, though, as Vancouver knocked them out in 2011 and Phoenix killed Nashville's season in 2012. It will be another tough test for the Predators in this series against San Jose, but they played very well against Anaheim to close out this series after being down 3-2 in the series.

For the Ducks, this is the fourth-straight season where they have been up 3-2 in a series only to lose the series on home ice in Game Seven. That's a record, folks, and not one that Ducks fans or the team should celebrate. As much as saying this sounds crazy, Bruce Boudreau's job will come under scrutiny once again as he's lost his sixth Game Seven in his coaching career as well. Despite all the regular season success Boudreau has led the Ducks to, it will ultimately be up to management and the owners to decide if Boudreau comes back for another season.

We'll see how this Predators win affects brackets as well.

With the Lightning-Islanders series already underway, I was impressed to find every single HBIC Playoff Pool entrant calling the Islanders with a John Tavares game-winning goal! Well done, all! Get your second round entries in before the start of the games tomorrow evening, and everything will be alright. If, for some reason, you can't get that done, EMAIL ME ASAP.

May the odds be ever in your favour!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Scheduling Problems

For the first time in a long time, the NHL has decided to start a round before the prior round has finished. This, of course, throws some issues into the HBIC Playoff Pool, but fear not, worthy competitors! I believe I have a solution to this that will work out well for everyone thanks to the Nashville-Anaheim game being the late game tomorrow night! If you don't like this solution, I can't please anyone, but what can I do? I'm not scheduling stuff for the NHL. Otherwise, I'd have the rounds separated by a day or two! Just go back to scribbling in your colouring book, NHL. Ok? Ok.

To resolve this scheduling conflict, every competitor in the HBIC Playoff Pool will receive the full three points for the Lightning-Islanders Game One game! That's right - everyone gets the correct game and the correct game-winning goal scorer points on this night thanks to the NHL messing everything up with their scheduling quirk.

Tomorrow, I will post the new spreadsheet, and you'll have until the start of the games on Thursday night to submit your new bracket predictions. It will be posted late thanks to the west coast Game Seven game between the Ducks and Predators, but the post will go up as soon as there is a definite winner in the series. In other words, if it's close into the third period, it won't be posted yet!

The leaderboard will be posted on Friday thanks to Thursday being the preview day for The Hockey Show. This weekend, I'll be posting the prizes for those participating, and I'll also add that there are still prizes trickling in to HBIC Headquarters. That means you can win what's in the pictures as well as getting some additional stuff not yet shown! WOOT WOOT to free gear!

Tune in tomorrow, kids, and we'll get that new bracket up ASAP. Who are you taking in Game Seven - Anaheim or Nashville? Sound off in the comments!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 25 April 2016

My Day

I'm off the grid today. I'll be back tomorrow. You'll survive.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 24 April 2016

That Didn't Go So Well

The U18 World Championship took place in Grand Forks, North Dakota over the last week and a bit as each nation's best young players showed up to show off their talents and try to bring home some hardware. Overall, it was an excellent tournament on the ice and in the stands, and I have to commend the people of North Dakota for their excellent work in volunteering at the tournament. All reports had the tournament running smoothly and everyone was happy. After losing to the Swedes in a shootout in the semi-final, the Canadians were set to take on the Americans who lost to the Finns in their respective semi-final - ok, so not everyone was happy. In any case, the two North American nations were going to face-off for the bronze medal in what was expected to be a very entertaining game.

Except that didn't happen. I won't do a lot of explaining, but let's just say that the Americans came to play in a big way that I'm not sure Canada ever expected.
Yikes. I will say congratulations to the American squad who laid an ass-whipping on the Canadians like no one expected. They took home the bronze medal after their setback the day earlier. The Finns, to their credit, went on to defeat the Swedes in the final where Jesse Puljujärvi had a whale of a game in helping Finland capture the gold medal.

Congratulations to the gold medalists in Finland, the silver medalists in Sweden, and the bronze medalists in USA on successful tournaments! For Canada, they'll return home where they'll lick their wounds after that severe beating they took, and it will be a chance for some of the young men of this country to prepare for the NHL Entry Draft!

Until then, let's hope that 10-3 beatdown doesn't haunt their dreams!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 23 April 2016

Rocking Out In A Jersey

I want to point something out that hadn't dawned on me when posting these musicians-in-jerseys articles. Arena organists are musicians too! I just wanted to shout-out to the arena organ players who keep the crowd rolling night in and night out with their renditions of popular music and traditional songs at arenas! The commercials musicians, however, aren't normally cheering on a home team as they tour the world, but they still occasionally will don a jersey for the home faithful to thank the fans who come out to support them. It's another look at musicians who wear jerseys on stage here on HBIC!

Let's start with the most recent news as the revolutionary Prince passed away at the age of 57. Prince Roger Nelson was a proud Minnesotan, and he was born into music as his father was a pianist and songwriter and his mother was a jazz singer. His influence on the music world was immense, and he has often been regarded as one of the world's best guitar players among the many instruments he mastered. His Paisley Park recording studio was located in Minnesota, and he was a major supporter of the arts and music scenes in and around Minneapolis-St.Paul. In saying this, the Minnesota Wild produced a jersey in Prince's memory with his famous symbolic name on the back. Rest in peace, Prince.

As you may be aware, Dan Boyle was once a San Jose Shark, but did you know he was also a music roadie? The New York Rangers defenceman joined alt-music group Faith No More on the road where he served as one of the group's roadies during the East Coast swing of the tour for Sol Invictus! Boyle helped out for four shows with the band where he'd spray down Mike "Puffy" Bordin with water while he played or assisting Mike Patton with his microphone cable whenever the singer dove into the pit! Boyle is a huge Faith No More fan, so he invited the band to practice with the Sharks in 2012! How cool is that?!?

KISS bassist Gene Simmons has appeared on the musicians list already, and now he is the first musician to have a daughter appear on the list! Sophie Simmons is a blossoming musician, model, and businesswoman who has developed a brand unto herself already. Sophie and the Vancouver Canucks have worked together on a number of occasions for various charities in and around the Vancouver area, and the Canucks were lucky enough to have Sophie sing the Canadian national anthem for them!

Brad Paisley is probably one of country music's biggest stars. I say "probably" because I don't listen to country music, but I hear a vast number of people talking about him and his music. He sells out arenas and concerts regularly, his music is always near the top of the charts, and he seems to be a favorite of the fairer sex due to his rugged, manly looks. The AHL's Syracuse Crunch also like him, and gave Paisley a jersey when he stopped in their city!

The New York Rangers have a pretty important Swede playing for them in Henrik Lundqvist. He appeals to many, but Swedes are fiercely proud of their countryman who has brought them an Olympic gold medal among his various accolades. One such Swede is Ansel Elgort or, as he is known on the music scene, Ansolo. Ansel is an actor and DJ, and he regularly shows up at Madison Square Garden. How often, you ask? So much so that he has a home, road, and alternate jersey!

You may not be familiar with Us3's music, but they are a jazz-rap group from London. Their biggest hit was "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)" which can still be heard on various stations playing hits from the 1990s, but they haven't cracked any major charts for some time. That being said, they still do perform for their faithful, and John M. pointed out that they were a part of the rap scene that wore hockey jerseys for a while! Here is one of the members of Us3 in a Blackhawks jersey!

We have a shot on the musicians list of The Who's Roger Daltrey in a Toronto Maple Leafs sweater, but it's in black-and-white. So how about a colour version?

The Rolling Stones might be one of the original rock groups when rock-and-roll got big. There is no doubt that the Stones have had a massive influence on the music industry, and Mick Jagger's look and sound has been revered and duplicated on a number of occasions by many artists. That being said, it seems only appropriate that one of the Original Six NHL teams honours the legendary rock singer with his own jersey! The Boston Bruins did exactly that, and Jospeh C. sent me the photo!

Just because I keep finding them, here's Shania Twain in another Toronto Maple Leafs jersey.

Like Ozzy Osbourne, the hockey jersey look isn't really in Steven Tyler's wardrobe. The Aerosmith lead singer has his own eclectic style that rarely weaves into the sports world, so capturing a picture of him supporting a team is a rarity. Joseph C. sent along Steven Tyler showing support for the Boston Bruins!

There's no denying that Justin Bieber is a polarizing figure in the world of music, but he seems to be taking notes from another tween favorite in Taylor Swift. The Biebs is starting to amass his own closet of hockey jerseys, and this entry has three, maybe even four, entries from Canada's unwanted singer. Somehow, Bieber got to pose with an Edmonton Oilers jersey with Wayne Gretzky! Yet it appears he took the stage in Edmonton wearing a different jersey. He posed at the iHeartRadio Music Award in what appears to be a Gretzky New York Rangers jersey. And just for good measure, he took to the stage in Glendale wearing a Max Domi Arizona Coyotes jersey.

And to finish this one off, Joseph C. brought forth an amazing picture of one of music's greats. Stephen Stills is probably best known for his work in Buffalo Springfield and, of course, the iconic Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Stills' solo album is the only album to feature both Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, and he's been writing musical hits all his life. He is the first man to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice for both Crosby, Stills, and Nash and for Buffalo Springfield. Apparently, he was also a Philadelphia Flyers fan!

As always, you should check out all the musicians listed on this page. Thanks to many people's help, I've amassed a heckuva collection of images on there, and there are probably a ton more that should be added that I don't know about. If you want to submit a photo, please send it here!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 22 April 2016

Demons Exorcised

That'll do it, folks! The San Jose Sharks are on to the second round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs after they hammered the Los Angeles Kings by a 6-3 score in Game Five to win their series 4-1. After suffering through years of playoff misery, especially at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings, the Sharks finally exorcised those demons by laying a beating on the Kings in their five games.

For the first time since 2013, the Sharks will play a second-round game. Led by veterans Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau, and Brent Burns, the Sharks got great performances from the big guns as well as some excellent work by a supporting cast that includes Tomas Hertl, Logan Couture, Melker Karlsson, and Joonas Donskoi. When it came to rolling lines, Peter DeBoer's team simply got more out of its team than the Kings did.

"I haven't been around here for some of the stuff that's gone on in the past, but I'm sure for some guys, they felt like we exorcised some demons tonight," DeBoer told reporters after the game. "For the group in general, it was just a well-earned victory."

Joe Pavelski outplayed Anze Kopitar by a large margin. Martin Jones was considerably better than Jonathan Quick. The Sharks blocked more shots. The Sharks generated more chances. The Sharks were better on the road just as they were in the regular season. In short, there were lots of reasons to like the Sharks in the series, but it seems the Stanley Cup wins by the Kings played a large part in a lot of people calling for their victory in this series.

"Plain and simple, we weren't hard enough on their top guys, on their 'D' or on their goaltender, and we weren't committed to the little things that it takes to win a playoff series," Milan Lucic said quietly. "They blocked more shots than us, beared down on their opportunities more than we did, and that's why we came out on the losing end of things."

Make no mistake, though, that the Sharks' defence corps is arguably the best this team has ever iced. Brent Burns is an all-star and Marc-Edouard Vlasic is a defensive rock. These two players make the Sharks considerable without even mentioning the other four men, but the likes of Roman Polak who locked down the defensive zone while providing some gritty play and Paul Martin who brought an additional offensive and puck-moving ability were vital cogs for which the Kings had no answer. Toss in some excellent two-way play from Brendan Dillon and Justin Braun, and the Sharks might have the most underrated set of defencemen still playing in the postseason.

The offensive depth didn't hurt either. I'm not sure the Kings will be all that happy with the production of Dustin Brown, Marian Gaborik, Drew Doughty, Tyler Toffoli, and Kyle Clifford who totaled a mere four assists, but the depth that Los Angeles once flaunted was nowhere to be found. Some of that can be attributed to a much better Sharks squad, but the Kings simply didn't generate the chances they once did on their third and fourth lines that helped them raise two Stanley Cups.

Let's not forget to credit the Sharks for carrying the play in this series either. They dominated for stretches at a time, and the Kings only led in this series for less than five minutes. In other words, this was a different San Jose team than we've seen in a long time and, conversely, this was a far different Los Angeles team than we're used to seeing.

One of the usual suspects is out after an oft-underachieving team finally lived up to expectations. Will there be more before these playoffs are over? We'll soon find out!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 21 April 2016

The Hockey Show - Episode 187

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, is back in the studio tonight as we get ready for another jam-packed show! We have someone who wants to rant, we have some playoff chatter to discuss, we get to meet a new Friend of the Show, and we have some housekeeping to do! All in all, it's going to be another busy show, but you won't want to miss some of the promotional stuff we'll be discussing at the end of the show as there's some stuff you can participate in if you're willing! See? We like interaction!

Perhaps more than any one play, game, or series, the story of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs thus far has been the coach's challenge. It's been used 13 times in the playoffs thus far, and there are some interesting statistics that surround it. We'll take a look at the coach's challenge with a man who knows all about coaching in the CWHL's 2016 Coach of the Year Tyler Fines of the Brampton Thunder! Tyler has some thoughts on the coach's challenges, how they're being used, why they're being overused, and what he thinks of the challenge in general. Like Beans and I, Tyler has strong opinions and loves a good hockey discussion, so we're happy, honoured, and privileged to welcome Tyler and his thoughts to the show tonight!

Along with our coach's challenge discussion, we'll talk about the NHL Playoffs and how the series are going, we'll work some info in about the third-round of the WHL Playoffs where the Brandon Wheat Kings will meet the Red Deer Rebels with the winner earning the right to play for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, we'll throw some kudos out to the Stonewall Jets who captured the MMJHL title with an amazing 11-game winning streak, and we'll do our promotional bits.

What are these promotional bits, you ask?

One of them has to do with this young lady who has appeared on our show. That's Alyx Delaloye, the young lady who captured Winnipeg's heart with her "chemo by day, Jets game by night" sign at MTS Centre last season! I've spoken with her dad, Reg, and we have a full update on how she's doing and what she's been up to as well as promoting something the family has planned that will benefit a couple of awesome places here in Manitoba. You can participate in this event and our money will go to support these two incredible places. We'll chat all about what the Delaloyes have planned for the summer and how you can be a part of this amazing idea! We're so happy for Alyx and the Delaloye family in terms of her battle against cancer, and we'll have all of those details tonight!

We'll also do a little updating of the Survivor: NHL Playoffs contest! Thankfully, no one has been voted off Playoff Island yet, but there are a few people whose backs are against the wall when it comes to tribal council. We'll discuss those situations tonight as well as we could see two teams eliminated tonight in the Stanley Cup Playoffs! Ironically, both teams are Original Six teams, and one is the defending Stanley Cup champion! Could we see our first elimination(s) tonight after Philadelphia forced a Game Five with Washington?

The phones are closed tonight with Tyler on the air with us. As always, make sure you tune your radio dial in the Winnipeg region to 101.5 on your FM dial or listen live between 5:30pm and 6:30pm CT on your web-enabled device at the UMFM webpage! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show. We'll talk to the CWHL Coach of the Year Tyler Fines tonight on The Hockey Show only on 101.5 UMFM!

PODCAST: April 21, 2016: Episode 187

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Antler Banter: Season 1, Volume 51

This will be the last Antler Banter of the 2015-16 AHL season! Unfortunately for AHL fans, the season has come to a close with the final two games being played by the Moose this past weekend. For Moose fans, the games were played away from the confines of MTS Centre as the Moose finished their season on the road in Texas with games against the Rampage and Stars. If there were silver linings on this season, the Moose won 25 games to this point of the season after failing to reach ten wins until 2016. We saw some outstanding performances from goaltenders Eric Comrie and Connor Hellebuyck, and there were breakout seasons for Brenden Kichton and Chase De Leo. The season, though, has come to an end, so let's start cleaning out the locker here on Antler Banter!

The Games

The Moose rolled into San Antonio having taken two games from the Rockford IceHogs, so there were aiming for a three-game win streak. The Moose were already 3-0 against the Rampage so a season sweep was also on the line! The home side, though, jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the second period before the Moose sprung to life! Scott Kosmachuk scored his 19th goal on the power-play, Jansen Harkins notched his first goal, and Jimmy Lodge potted his first goal in a 4:22 span at the end of the period to stake the Moose to a 3-2 lead through 40 minutes. Lodge wasn't done there, though, as he added a pair of goals in third period to complete the hat trick and give the Moose the 5-2 victory! Connor Hellebuyck had a rather quiet game with 18 saves for the win while Reto Berra took the loss. With the win, the Moose improve to 26-40-4-5!

It was onward for Game #76 as the season would end for the Moose after the game on Saturday. The Moose entered the game against the Texas Stars with an 0-2-1 record on the season against the Stars, so the Moose were looking to erase that goose egg in the win column. Unfortunately, the Moose found themselves trailing 3-0 late in the third period before Dan DeSalvo broke the shutout with his fifth goal of the season at 16:35. An empty-net goal would seal the win for the Stars, though, as they skated to the 4-1 win. Jack Campbell earned the win while Eric Comrie suffered the loss. The Moose finish the season with a 26-41-4-5 record.

That's All, Folks!

No player moves or injuries to report because the Moose are off for the summer at this point! They'll do their exit interviews, clean out their lockers, and meet with the media still, but there are decisions to be made. Will the Jets take a closer look at their development club after this season's 28th-overall finish? Does head coach Keith McCambridge get a new deal? Do they need to fill a void as the team had nothing to show for a veteran leader?

There were some nice additions to the Moose roster at the end of the season who I'd like to see come back. Dan DeSalvo was a great find as a centerman, Jake Baker was a nice find for the blue line, and Jansen Harkins was a great addition very late in the season. There will be many evaluations as the players cycle through the locker room, so we'll see what September holds for this team once again.

Thanks for tuning into Antler Banter for the last 51 weeks! As always, I'll evaluate these weekly pieces moving forward, but for all those that read the weekly Moose report on HBIC, I thank you for your readership!

Until next season, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 19 April 2016


For the fifth time in eight seasons, it took a seventh game in the Gagarin Cup Final to finally award the Gagarin Cup to a winner, but the KHL has a new champion after Monday's thrilling final game! Metallurg Magnitogorsk is the top team in the Russia-based league for the second time in the team's history after winning in 2014 in seven games over Lev Prague. There was some intrigue as Magnitogorsk was up 3-2 in the series before CSKA Moscow forced a Game Seven with a 3-2 overtime win in Game Six, but Monday evening saw the team from the Chelyabinsk Oblast region in Russia finally capture their second championship!

Game Seven would be played at the CSKA Ice Palace in Moscow. Magnita's Evgeny Timkin opened the scoring at 12:55 of the first period as he went in on a breakaway and fired glove-side for the goal to put Magnitogorsk up 1-0. Kudos to defenceman Chris Lee who threaded a beautiful blue-line-to-blue-line lead pass to Timkin to set up that goal after CSKA turned the puck over at the offensive blue line. That score would hold through to the intermission as the visitors held the slimmest of leads.

The second period saw the home side even things up. Geoff Platt's wrister from the top of the face-off circle was stopped easily by Vitaly Koshechkin, but the rebound landed dangerously in slot where Maxim Mamin picked up the loose puck and tucked it home on the backhand for CSKA. Honestly, Koshechkin can't give up those kinds of rebounds, but he had been getting away with it through the first twenty minutes. Unfortunately for him and Magnitka, it cost him at 15:54 of the second period. I should also point out the horrific defensive coverage on Mamin committed by Alexei Kaigorodov who let Mamin skate right by him and then did nothing to try and catch him. Overall, a failure on a couple of Metallurg players that allowed CSKA to get on the board.

Magnitogorsk would storm back, though. Alexei Bereglazov won a puck battle in the corner and got it to Jan Kovar who took the puck along the end boards and threw a dangerous pass into the slot where it found Chris Lee pinching in off the blue line. Lee wristed the puck from the slot past Ilya Sorokin's glove to put Magnitogorsk up 2-1 at 18:57 of the third period as the two teams would go into the second intermission separated by the same margin as they did after the first period!

Despite throwing everything they had at Koshechkin and Metallurg, CSKA could only find the post on a couple of occasions in the third period. A late turnover at the defensive blue line by Bogdan Kiselevich allowed Evgeny Timkin to seal the championship with an empty-net goal with 43 seconds to play as Metallurg Magnitogorsk are your new Gagarin Cup champions!

Here are the video highlights of the game.

Let's get into a few interesting notes about this championship.

First off, Alexander Semin, who started the season with the Montreal Canadiens, is now a Gagarin Cup champion. Semin, as you may recall, was sent down to the AHL's St. John's IceCaps midway through the season, but refused the assignment and opted for free agency. The Canadiens terminated his contract, and he was off to Russia to continue his career. Upon leaving the Canadiens organization, Semin had a mere four points in 15 games and was frequently a healthy scratch.

With Magnitogorsk, Semin found a bit of his scoring touch as he recorded five goals and 14 points in 20 regular-season games. In the playoffs, however, he was certainly a vital cog in the Metallurg offence. Semin had seven goals and 15 points in 23 KHL playoff games, and he will soon have a Gagarin Cup ring to show off. For a guy whose stock took a beating in North America, it's nice to see him find a little happiness at what is most likely the end of his NHL career for good.

Sergei Mozyakin was named as the Gagarin Cup Playoffs MVP, and it's not hard to see why. Mozyakin led the league in playoff points with 25 and was tops with 11 goals. He was often the motor that drove this Metallurg offence as he has done for the last few seasons, and he deserves the recognition as he might be the best Russian player not playing in the NHL right now. Mozyakin should garner a Hall of Fame spot when he finally decides to call it quits as he regularly appears in the top-ten scoring lists for the KHL and has been a vital piece of two Gagarin Cup championships now.

The top line of CSKA consisting of Alex Radulov, Ivan Telegin, and Stephane De Costa was a -3 in this game. They were on for all three goals-against, and your top line has to be better than that. Radulov was denied another Russian championship after coming close in previous seasons, and you might think that this has to start weighing on him. There have been rumours of him joining the Colorado Avalanche under former Remparts head coach Patrick Roy where he played junior hockey, but any speculation about that right now is a little premature. However, the sting of being the bridesmaid once again can't feel good for Radulov.

For CSKA, this is another setback that has kept them from Russian hockey supremacy since 1989. Moscow's top team just can't seem to find a way to break through after falling short again. There was quiet chatter that if Radulov does decide to bolt to the NHL once again that the Red Army team might take a run at Pavel Datsyuk if he decided to come home thanks to the Detroit ties he has with GM Sergei Fedorov, but I feel that Datsyuk would likely play closer to home. As with most Russian rumours, though, don't count anything out as CSKA looks for the only championship it has never won.

Metallurg head coach Ilya Vorobyov, at the age of 41, becomes the youngest man to coach a team to the Gagarin Cup in the KHL, and also becomes the first coach to win a Gagarin Cup after taking over a team midway through the season. Mike Keenan began the season as Metallurg's bench boss, but he was replaced by Vorobyov who really encouraged Metallurg to push the play through speed and creativity. Keenan remained as an advisor to the team, however, and it appears this combination of Vorobyov and Keenan worked well for Metallurg with Vorobyov directing the troops and Keenan scouting the opposition. Congratulations to both men on helping Magnitogorsk capture its second championship!

Danis Zaripov wasn't a huge factor in these playoffs when it came to points, but the veteran forward now has his fourth Gagarin Cup ring. Zaripov has been in Magnitogorsk for the two championships they have won, but he also played for Ak Bars Kazan during their heyday in 2009 and 2010 when they captured back-to-back Gagarin Cups! Zaripov has always been a solid scoring forward for Russia and has appeared numerous times on the international stage for the country where he has always impressed me with his hustle and willingness to go to the high-traffic areas to score. It's nice to see guys like that get rewarded again and again for their efforts!

CSKA played Ilya Sorokin who, in the past, has been a solid choice for them and for Russia on the international stage, but it was interesting to see former NHL netminder Viktor Fasth sitting on the bench. I'm not saying Fasth is better than Sorokin, but the 33 year-old Swede has been in the NHL. Granted, he's never played an NHL playoff game or, in this case, a KHL playoff games, but he was 13-4-1 in the KHL this season. Sorokin was 17-7-4 on the season. Dmitry Kvartalnov went with the younger Sorokin for every minute in the playoffs, though, so I supposed he was riding the hot goalie.

To the victors, however, go the spoils, and Metallurg Magnitogorsk are your 2016 Gagarin Cup champions in the KHL! Congratulations to Magnitka on an impressive playoff run as they hoist Russia's biggest hockey prize for the second time!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 18 April 2016

Coming Home

For CIS teams, there's always a battle to try and bring in CHL graduates who haven't been drafted or want to go back to school. For every Canada West school, there's a WHL team just down the road who play in the same city... except for one. The University of Manitoba Bisons don't have that luxury as the closest WHL team is the Brandon Wheat Kings, so the challenge of recruiting WHL graduates becomes that much harder. However, one announcement tonight should have Bisons fans smiling as a local boy is coming home!

Nick Zajac, pictured above in his final season with the Sasaktoon Blades, announced via Instagram (stick-tap to reader Christian for the heads-up!) that he will be playing for the Manitoba Bisons next season! The Winnipeg-born Zajac played 322 WHL regular season games where he put up 55 goals and 97 assists. His final season saw Zajac named as the captain of the Blades as he put up his best season in the Western League with 20 goals and 32 assists in 72 games. He was also nominated for the Royer Hardest Working Player Award in the WHL this season!

The left winger won't be mistaken for Stamkos or Ovechkin on the ice, but he's the kind of player that should do well in Canada West as it's a "working man's league". Canada West players need to be gritty and tough along the boards, show speed and skill through open ice, not be afraid to throw a hit, and opportunistic when it comes to goal scoring. Zajac won't lead Canada West in scoring, but he should do well if he brings the same style of play he showed in his final season with Saskatoon.

For head coach Mike Sirant, getting a player like Zajac to play with a few less tussles shouldn't be hard. He has watched over another Winnipegger as he made the transition into dangerous scorer after Jordan DePape came to the school after four seasons in the WHL. DePape was a hard-nosed kid who didn't mind the tough, gritty play, and Sirant has helped DePape elevate his play to become this season's top scorer in Canada West.

Again, that's not an expectation that should be placed on Zajac. He does have the same gritty, hard-working make-up that DePape showed, though, so perhaps lightning can strike twice for Sirant and the Bisons. Zajac has hands and skates fairly well, so there's enough raw talent for him to be a solid player on the Canada West front. Here's a highlight package from the October 7, 2015 game against the Kootenay Ice that shows a Zajac goal.
It's always great news when a homegrown talent decides to come back and show off his skills. I'm already excited at the possibilities that this announcement brings with respect to the Bisons' lineup for next season! Congratulations, Nick, and welcome home!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 17 April 2016

SPHL Welcomes Another

While three younger fans were used to show off the new threads, Friday was a big day for the SPHL as they welcomed their newest team in the Evansville Thunderbolts! Evansville, Indiana has a rich minor hockey history as the IceMen played in the ECHL, IHL, CHL, and UHL before a team of the same name was moved from Muskegon in the All American Hockey League. Adding a team in Indiana for the SPHL makes sense as there's hope the Thunderbolts will become immediate rivals with the Peoria Rivermen, but he league hopes to rekindle some of the prior fire in the fans that was lost after the ECHL franchise decided to pull up roots and look elsewhere for a home.

Some may question the logo chosen, but the Thunderbolt name means a lot to Evansville. The city was home to Republic Aviation that manufactured the P-47 Thunderbolt planes during World War II. Team owner Mike Hall has a special tie to the Thunderbolt as well as his grandfather was a designer craftsman at Republic Aviation, so it was an easy choice for him. Ultimately, an online vote by fans was used to vet a number of names, and the Thunderbolt name was an easy winner.

"It was a landslide," Hall told reporters. "Nothing else was even close."

It dawned on me when looking at the jerseys above that there was a distinct similarity to the Lethbridge Hurricanes' jerseys in colour. The Hurricanes' logo was originally based on a fighter plane as well, but the WHL team has since gone in a new direction. While there are similarities, I will say that there are enough differences that the two teams shouldn't worry about the other stealing fans or confusing one with the other.

The SPHL now has nine teams with the inclusion of Evansville, and they seem to be developing a heckuva following thanks to some excellent marketing. The Columbus Cottonmouths still have Shannon Szabados tending to their nets, the Peoria Rivermen and Pensacola Ice Flyers are still dominant teams in the league, the Knoxville Ice Bears have won four league championships since 2004 (including last season), and eight of the nine teams make the playoffs so almost every city and the fans in those cities have a shot at a President's Cup Trophy parade!

The SPHL, if you're not aware of the league, is a little different than standard NHL/AHL/ECHL rules. Teams dress 16 players which includes the two netminders. There is no trapezoid, allowing goaltenders to play the puck anywhere they like. There are no stick curvature limits - Bobby Hull would have been a star in this league! Any penalty in the final two minutes of 3-on-3 overtime is an automatic penalty shot! Needless to say, the few changes they have make the SPHL slightly different from leagues that most North American hockey fans are used to seeing!

Adding a great minor-hockey town like Evansville is a shrewd business move by the SPHL. The fans are passionate, they love their hockey heroes, and they support a winner. If the Thunderbolts can ice a solid team, the SPHL will be that much stronger after this expansion.

And it didn't cost a billion dollars.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 16 April 2016

Ain't No Hatchet Job

You may have caught The Hockey Show on Thursday as we did our first live on-location broadcast. If you missed the show, the podcast will go up soon. You may also have watched us on Thursday evening as Beans and I were Periscoping and doing a Facebook Live broadcast from the newest Bad Axe Throwing location found in Winnipeg at 6-1393 Border Street. Now you might be asking what exactly does axe throwing have to do with hockey? Well, there's no direct link per se, but there are some indirect links that brought us out of the studio and into the axe-throwing world!

When it was first announced back in February that this Bad Axe Throwing company would be opening a franchise in Winnipeg, I don't think many people gave the announcement much notice. It seemed to fly under the radar, but I kept looking for more information from that point because I believed it would be something different than most entertainment options. Having been there in-person and seeing others participate at Bad Axe Throwing, I can tell you that Winnipeggers will be talking about how much fun it is after this weekend!

First off, axe throwing at Bad Axe Throwing is like darts on steroids. In saying that, there are some safety rules that must be followed, but they don't interfere with the amount of fun that happens at Bad Axe Throwing. There's an online waiver form that can be filled out via your smartphone or tablet prior to stepping into the axe-throwing lanes, and your axe-perts - DanOne and DanTwo here in Winnipeg - will go over the basic safety rules once more. Once the safety spiel is heard and understood, the two Dans demonstrate the overhead throw and highlight the importance of weight transfer, arm motion, and some important axe-throwing techniques. The two men are quite good at passing on the key pieces of information as I was able to stick an axe in the target on my first throw!

Ok, bragging aside about my axe-throwing technique, I haven't had this much fun hitting a target in a long time. Beans and I laughed a lot on Thursday evening, but there was even more laughter today at the Bad Axe Throwing open house as over a dozen people showed up around 2:30 to throw axes! Friends competed with friends in games, there was excitement and cheering when someone hit a bullseye, and everyone appeared to be enjoying their axe-throwing experiences! There was even some spontaneous competition that broke out as the two Dans were preparing their next lessons!

Once these newcomers to the axe-tion progressed to regularly hitting the target with the overhead throw, Dan and Dan moved the group into the one-armed throws. Again, there were some laughs and cheers as targets were hit, and the group now possessed a second way to bury a hatchet, so to speak, into the wooden target! To give you an idea of the axe-throwing technique, here's a video showing the one-armed toss!
As much as axe-throwing at Bad Axe Throwing is fun - and it is a blast when you're there with friends who like to chirp you - there is a business side to axe-throwing as well. Bad Axe Throwing requires you to book two weeks in advance and to have a party of eight. If you plan on just randomly showing up, there's a good chance that there won't be any throwing lanes open due to prior bookings. Make sure you call ahead and have a group of eight because even if you do show up randomly and find a way to get on the throwing floor, Bad Axe Throwing will charge you as if you showed up with a group of eight!

The cost per person is $44.25 plus taxes per person for your group of eight. I know that cost may raise some eyebrows, but I assure you that the minutes simply evaporate when you're up there throwing axes. A session at Bad Axe Throwing can last up to three hours depending on your group. When you figure that in, the cost is actually pretty economical for the time spent at Bad Axe Throwing. You'll also get to have one of the Dans run you through the paces, and he may even show off some trick shots like the underhand toss! Your axe-pert is a key part of the fun as he or she has a ton of knowledge about axe throwing and the games that can be played, so be sure to pay him or her some respect by listening to the advice dispensed!

I have lived by one credo on HBIC, and that is if I wouldn't endorse it, why would I tell you to look into it? Well, Bad Axe Throwing is one company I believe in, and I highly-encourage you to check it out. It's the top-ranked activity in Toronto according to TripAdvisor for "Fun Activities & Games", so I'm not the only one who is signing praises about the great time you'll likely have at Bad Axe Throwing!

Locations can be found across Canada in a ton of locations with two future locations getting prepped in Montreal, Quebec and Halifax, Nova Scotia! In other words, you're not far from axe-throwing fun anywhere in this great country of ours... unless you live in Saskatchewan. I'm sure there will be one in your province soon!

If you're heading down to the Winnipeg location, Bad Axe Throwing is holding their open house until 11pm tonight and from 2-8pm tomorrow where you can experience all of the axe-throwing craziness for free! Just remember to wear closed-toe shoes or you won't be able to throw axes!

As for the tie-in to hockey, the two representatives from Toronto - Melanie and Jesse - are from Toronto, and we had a good chat about playoffs and the Maple Leafs and the Jets on Thursday night! Both Dans are hockey fans as well, so feel free to get into Bad Axe Throwing and chat some hockey if you want. They're fans too!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 15 April 2016

Toronto Didn't Defeat St. Louis

There has been an increased amount of chatter since the playoffs started about the coach's challenge possibly determining a game-winning goal in the Stanley Cup Final, but what if it costs a very good team a chance to advance? There are legitimately three teams from the Central Division who could be considered Stanley Cup favorites, and only one of them will be able to represent the division in the Western Conference Final. But what happens if a coach's challenge sees a team lose a game or series because Toronto overturns a call?

Tonight's game between St. Louis and Chicago saw the momentum swing back to the visitors' side as the Blackhawks challenged a goal and won followed by St. Louis challenging a call and losing the challenge. What went from a 2-1 advantage for the Blues turned into a 3-2 victory for the Blackhawks after a late empty-net goal.

The offside call made on the play that led to Vladimir Tarasenko's goal would have been easily allowed based on how difficult was to determine the offside. Had this play been left in the hands of the officials, I will go on record and say that the play wouldn't have been overturned whatsoever due to how close the call was. Here's the review, and you can see how close this offside call was as we found out that Jori Lehtera was, indeed, offside on the play. Also, kudos to the fans in St. Louis for the amazing rendition of "Let It Be" during the review process!
The Situation Room in Toronto determined Lehtera to be offside based on his skate lifting off the ice in the neutral zone prior to the puck hitting the blue line in what might be the closest offside call I've ever seen. Granted, the NHL stated that the blue line cameras they were installing would aid them in getting these close calls correct, and they were required to use them on this instance to get an offside call right.

What seemed like a desperation move at the time from the Blackhawks turned out to be the right call as Tarasenko's goal to give St. Louis a 2-1 lead was wiped out and the clock was reset to the point of the offside with the teams knotted up at 1-1 again. I noted the relevant part of Rule 83.1 which clearly states,
"Off-side - Players of the attacking team must not precede the puck into the attacking zone. The position of the player's skates and not that of his stick shall be the determining factor in all instances in deciding an off-side. A player is off-side when both skates are completely over the leading edge of the blue line involved in the play. A player is on-side when either of his skates are in contact with, or on his own side of the line, at the instant the puck completely crosses the leading edge of the blue line regardless of the position of his stick."
Regardless of what the fans and Blues thought, this one is clearly covered in the NHL Rule Book to the letter. Lehtera was offside as both his skates were determined to be across the leading edge of the blue line thanks to his back skate lifting off the ice in the neutral zone thereby placing him in an offside position as the puck had not crossed onto the blue line.

NHL senior director of hockey operations Kay Whitmore said that had the NHL not instituted blue line cameras for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it is likely that the replays would have been inconclusive. The goal, in that case, would have remained a good goal. In other words, a very good job on this call was done by the boys in the Situation Room in Toronto.

Minutes later, though, there was more controversy as Chicago scored a goal where it seemed like Andrew Shaw has interfered with Brian Elliott's ability to make the save. As a result, Shaw knocked the puck past Elliott for the 2-1 lead, and everyone that wasn't standing on the Chicago bench in Scottrade Center voiced their thoughts on Shaw's perceived goaltender interference. Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock did the obvious thing and called for a review due to goaltender interference. Here's the video of Shaw's goal for reference.
Do you agree that Shaw's power-play goal is a good goal?

I understand that Kevin Shattenkirk bumped Shaw into Elliott, so that part isn't interference. But what about the slash to Elliott's pad when Shaw tries to bat the puck out of mid-air? Is that not goaltender interference? Is slashing not a form of interference? If that slash was performed on anyone but the goaltender, shouldn't that be whistled for a penalty?

This where things get a little murky. The NHL Situation Room released this statement following the review of Shaw's goal:
"After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee confirmed no goaltender interference infractions occurred before the puck crossed the goal line.

Therefore the original call stands - good goal Chicago Blackhawks."
The referee confirmed the call, not the NHL Situation Room. The Situation Room would have pointed out something the officials may have missed on the ice, but it's ultimately the referee's decision on a goaltender interference call. All the Situation Room would do in this case is feed the replays to the referees looking at the tablets and would have alerted the officials if something different was seen. In this case, nothing was seen to constitute interference - including the slash - so the official's call stands. Good goal for Chicago.
Like any penalty, the goalie interference call is entirely based on what the officials saw, and the swing-and-miss on the puck doesn't constitute interference on this play in the official's mind. What is a penalty to some may not be a penalty to others, and that's why they play the games. In any case, the Blues were quite adamant that Shaw's goal wouldn't have happened had they simply been better in their own zone.

"For a guy to be loose like that, that's what we can control," captain David Backes said after the game. "We can control checking that guy to make sure he gets cleared out of the blue paint in front of our goaltender, that we don't need the refs to blow it quicker, or call a goalie interference or call no goal. That's what we can control. We can't control the officials."

Ultimately, Backes is right, and the Blues and Blackhawks are tied at 1-1 as the series shifts to Chicago. While the results are disappointing from tonight's game for Blues fans, the reality is that this series is far from over. There's nothing the officials nor Toronto can do about that.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!