Thursday, 30 June 2016

The Hockey Show - Episode 197

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, returns tonight after a crazy week of rumors, trades, signings, and drafted players. Of course, we'll look at all of those and weigh in with our thoughts, but we'll do so with one less voice. TJ is out at a conference of some sort and will be absent from the program. That means we won't hear his opinion on what the Oilers and Canadiens did this week. That's a bit of a letdown. However, Beans and I will take on the world with our thoughts tonight!

We'll talk about the NHL Entry Draft and who went where at what position. We'll talk about the few trades made at the draft. We'll talk about the recent signings and buyouts that happened. We'll talk about a specific rumor about Jacob Trouba and whether or not the legitimacy of the rumor should have even been discussed. We'll talk about the Hall-Larsson trade and the Subban-Weber trade. We'll talk about the new Hockey Hall of Fame inductees. We'll see if we can fit in a few promos. In other words, we're going to be busy so get ready to tear through these topics at an uptempo pace!

Of course, your calls will be included if you happen to call, so pick up the phone and hit us up at (204) 269-8636 (269-UMFM) if you want your take heard! 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're all sorts of player movement tonight on The Hockey Show only on 101.5 UMFM!

PODCAST: June 30, 2016: Episode 197

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Destroying Any Hope

Today should be circled on most hockey fans' calendars as the day that two teams basically doomed themselves to a future of lottery picks and mockery. There were a couple of signings today that made a lot of sense financially for both sides as two players returned to the teams that owned their rights, but the two trades that happened today should have the general managers of those respective teams locked away from mental instability. It's hard to understand why these two men would, if I may, saw the legs off of their own teams by making questionable deals - not to mention undermining their fanbases' hopes of being a playoff team in the immediate or near future - but the dust has settled and it's clear that two Canadian teams may have taken steps backwards today in their pursuit of moving forward.

The Good

I'll start with the smartest moves of the day. Columbus went ahead and did the right thing in re-signing Seth Jones. The Blue Jackets couldn't afford to let their best young defenceman get any closer to restricted free agency nor could they underpay him on a bridge deal that would prompt him to walk in a couple of years.

Instead, GM Jarmo Kekäläinen got Jones' signature on a six-year deal worth a very cap-friendly average annual salary of $5.4 million US. As a potential top-two defenceman, Jones' signing could prove very prudent a couple years down the road if Columbus can continue to develop its younger players - Zach Werenski in particular - to compete the core of the Blue Jackets.

To make the numbers work, Kekäläinen had to make a move to reduce his cap hit, so he bought out underperforming and oft-injured Fedor Tyutin from his deal. Yes, it's still a cap hit that the Blue Jackets have to eat, but it's better than the $4.5 million cap hit over the next two seasons. It also opens a roster spot for one of those younger players, and I wouldn't be surprised if Werenski makes the jump to the NHL level after his impressive AHL campaign.

Minnesota also shored up their blue line with a very manageable signing of Jason Zucker. Zucker's deal is a two-year, $4 million contract which is excellent value for a second-pairing defenceman like Zucker. There was thought that he may take a one-year deal with his hometown of Las Vegas joining the league next season, but Minnesota secured his services for the next couple of seasons at a very nice price. Kudos to GM Chuck Fletcher on getting Zucker signed.

San Jose went and brought back a good young player in Tomas Hertl at another smart number, extending Hertl for another two years at $6 million. Hertl had all the making of being a sniper before a knee injury sidelined him in his rookie campaign, but he's been a very productive forward for the Sharks since returning. GM Doug Wilson deserves some credit for inking Hertl to a very good contact for his salary cap while Hertl gets the security of another couple of years in a Sharks uniform.

Finally, the biggest signing of the day goes to the Tampa Bay Lightning who brought back Steven Stamkos for eight years at $68 million - $8.5 million per season - and has a full no-movement clause. In other words, Steven Stamkos will be a member of the Lightning for eight years unless he decides otherwise.

In a state with no state income tax, Stamkos will enjoy the majority of his money unfettered. Had he signed in Toronto, for example, the Leafs would have had to pay Stamkos about $12.5 million per season to equal the same $8.5 million he will be receiving in Tampa Bay. Stamkos legitimately made a smart financial decision in sticking with the Lightning, and Steve Yzerman has to be happy to have his sniper back in his version of the blue-and-white.

The Bad

In what has to be one of the strangest moves I've ever seen, the Montreal Canadiens traded all-star defenceman and former Norris Trophy winner PK Subban to the Nashville Predators for all-star defenceman Shea Weber. To say that this made one shake my head is being polite. And I'm a Shea Weber fan.

Look, I get that Montreal feels it needs to be grittier this season. They already brought in Andrew Shaw from the Chicago Blackhawks, and it was expected that the conversations that GM Marc Bergevin about Subban at the draft contained mostly hot air as fans of the Canadiens began to like their new-look team. However, it appears that the lure of Weber was enough for Bergevin to sacrifice Montreal's best defenceman for what appears to be leadership and slightly more grit.

Weber is three years older than Subban. Both are right-handed shots, and both play the first pairing on their respective teams. Both bring an element of leadership, and both can play a physical game. However, Subban is slightly more mobile and speedy than Weber, and I'd stress that Subban is a bit more risky with his decisions with the puck. That being said, I still can't fathom why Bergevin would trade for a guy who might be safer with the puck, but brings less mobility and speed.

For Montreal, this trade was a wash when you look at overall impact that Weber brings to the lineup. Again, I like Weber. Always have. I just can't find any factors that make Montreal better with Weber on the blue line than Subban.

For Nashville, they get younger, they get the charisma of Subban to pair with the safety of their talented blue line, and they get themselves a new leader for the defensive corps where a mistake won't be blown into national disaster proportions. Combined with the other excellent defencemen that Nashville has - Ellis, Josi, Ekholm, and eventually Fabbro - the Predators are still deep, still talented, still have a cannon from the blue line, and they now have another weapon who can push the puck deep and almost play as a fourth forward.

The Central Division got tougher and the Nashville Predators got better in this trade. The Montreal Canadiens had better be prepared for the backlash after a fan favorite, a big community guy, and a helluva hockey player is headed to Music City. That's not say that Weber won't have a big season in Montreal or won't play well. He will. He always does. But for the first time in his NHL life, Shea Weber has some huge shoes to fill.

The Ugly

If there was one team who needed a shot in the arm more than any other, it would be the Edmonton Oilers. They had Jesse Puljujarvi fall into their laps at the NHL Entry Draft, altering their plan to draft a defenceman with their pick, but you don't pass up a talented winger like that. However, in doing so, they were now stuck with a plethora of left wingers so someone was bound to be traded.

Taylor Hall earns the most of all the left wingers the Oilers have, but he's also their most productive and certainly their most talented left winger. Patrick Maroon and Benoit Pouliot are capable wingers, but won't fetch a top-two defenceman that the Oilers covet. Matt Hendricks, Lauri Korpikoski, and Luke Gadzik are interchangeable as depth wingers at this point. My guess would have been that either Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Nail Yakupov would have been the first to go with Hendricks, Korpikoski, and Gadzik finding themselves in Bakersfield with the addition of Puljujarvi.

The Edmonton Oilers made a trade today, acquiring defenceman Adam Larsson from the New Jersey Devils. To get him, GM Peter Chiarelli inexplicably traded Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils in a one-for-one swap of players. I'm still shaking my head as I write those words. I have no explanation, rationale, or justification for this deal other than this has to be the first of many moves this summer for the Oilers. Only time will tell, I guess.

With Larsson, the Oilers get a guy who can be good enough to play on their top pairing, but has moments where he's best fit for the press box. Yes, he's still a young player, but he hasn't shown enough to make him a top defenceman on any team. His posession numbers are excellent from an analytics standpoint, but that hardly makes up for the loss of offence in Hall given away to the Devils. I just don't get how Chiarelli sees this as an upgrade to his team.

The Devils will get a solid scorer in Hall who should make them better upfront. He has some deficiencies defensively, but I expect head coach John Hynes to correct these quickly. Hall's speed and skill will fit into the less physical Metropolitan Division where the Penguins proved that smart, quick forwards can carry a team far. Trading Larsson opens up a roster spot, but it's not like Larsson had done anything to secure a spot as an unmovable piece as it was.

I just can't understand this move unless the Oilers have indeed secured in principle deals with both Milan Lucic and Jason Demers. Adding both changes the dynamic of the Oilers dramatically, and combined with the Larsson deal gives the Oilers four decent defencemen with which to open the season.

If there are more trades to come, perhaps Larsson is another chip in a bigger trade. It was reported that there were teams who were interested in Nail Yakupov, but balked at the asking price. Perhaps adding in a player like Larsson - a young defenceman who can improve - can ease those concerns over the asking price.

If that is the master plan, though, why trade Hall for virtually nothing when there were probably 28 other teams who would and could have offered more for Hall's services? If the Oilers are revamping their entire blue line, why not flip Hall for, say, Trouba in Winnipeg if the goal was to sign Lucic and Demers while keeping Larsson? Again, I am puzzled by Chiarelli's deal and wonder if there isn't more going on behind the scenes that will prevent fans of the Oilers from torching his office and running him out of town.

We've already witnessed a playoff season without Canadian teams involved for the first time in my life, and these deals today by the Canadiens and Oilers almost guarantee that those two teams will struggle again this season. I think that the Canadiens will be somewhat better with the likes of Weber and Shaw in their lineup and a full season with Carey Price stopping pucks, but I'm starting to get a sense that the Oilers enjoy picking in the top-four at every draft.

If there is one thing for Canadiens and Oilers fans to remember, even Wayne Gretzky was traded twice. Granted, it was under entirely different circumstances and the return was much different the first time Gretzky was traded, but the best player in the world was traded twice. You'll get through this, but it just might take a long time to see a recovery and you'll probably have to endure a lot of tough moments.

Hang in there, guys. I'll reference a line by John Milton from Paradise Lost because it seems to be appropriate at this juncture for your teams: "Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light." Don't give up hope no matter how far away it seems.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Get Your Head Checked

To the left stands Jacob Trouba. By all accounts, he's a solid young defenceman with the Winnipeg Jets who has shown flashes of greatness albeit in fewer moments two seasons ago in his rookie campaign than sophomore season last year. He is a restricted free agent that the Jets are working to sign, reportedly, as he bolsters their blue line quite nicely with his skill set. However, in this day and age, skilled defencemen who are younger than 25 are highly coveted by all teams, and this brings in the possibility of an offer sheet for these men. One team, it seems, has its sights set on Jacob Trouba if media reports are to be believed.

Joe Haggerty, who covers the Bruins' beat for Comcast SportsNet New England, has stirred up all sorts of craziness tonight after he went to Twitter to report that Boston was willing to throw dump trucks (note the plurality of the trucks) of money at Jacob Trouba via an offer sheet.
Ok, you say, you've seen this before, so what's new? If Nashville met Philadelphia's price for Shea Weber, Winnipeg will do the same, right? You'd be correct if the offer being reported wasn't so incredibly insane.

According to Haggerty's report on CSNNE, Boston GM Don Sweeney is prepared to offer Jacob Trouba - he of six goals and 21 points last season - "an offer sheet that totals a minimum of $47 million". Of course, that's less than $7 million per season if it's a maximum seven-year contract, but that's not how offer sheets work when it comes to average annual value (AAV).

As Haggerty explains, "AAV is determined by dividing the total compensation offered by the lesser of the length of the contract, or by five. For contracts longer than five years in term, this will result in a higher AAV than simply dividing the contract total by the number of years." This means that Jacob Trouba's reported $47 million deal would be divided by five years instead of the full seven years of the deal. There are pros and cons to each side.

Obviously, Winnipeg probably isn't going to commit a $9.4 million cap hit for Trouba when there are other priorities that they need to address. That works in Boston's favor as they'll be able to sign Trouba to that cap hit to fulfill the Bruins' own poor management of trading away second- and third-round picks in past deals that could have lowered the overall cap hit they'd need to absorb. The result is that Boston would get Trouba at $9.4 million per season on the books, but would have to forfeit four first-round picks to the Jets.

Pros and cons, as I said.

Winnipeg, who retains Trouba's rights through restricted free agency, have been watching the latest rounds of signings with an eye on value for each. Olli Maatta's deal in Pittsburgh is one that Winnipeg would like to copy with Trouba as both Maatta and Trouba are from the same draft class and have roughly the same points and value to their teams - neither are top-line defencemen, but they can score, move the puck, and are physical along the boards. Of course, Seth Jones' deal is still up in the air with Columbus, but I would expect that Trouba's deal comes somewhere in the middle of the Maatta and the expected Jones deals.

At the end of the day, you have to ask one question: is Don Sweeney really this inept as a general manager? To saddle a team with a $9.4 million AAV when it is expected that the salary cap will remain the same at best next year while forfeiting four first-round picks might be the definition of stupidity when it comes to running an NHL club. He can hope that salary will open up with the likes of Zdeno Chara on the edge of retirement and walking away from Loui Eriksson, but is Trouba really worth Shea Weber or PK Subban money at this point in his career?

The answer is no to all the questions above. If Boston wants to drive dump trucks of money to Trouba's door, let them. The Jets will almost guarantee themselves a top-ten pick in the next four drafts with that move. My guess, though, is that someone from the Boston-area media is up to his old tricks again in trying to light a fire under a few people to get a reaction. There is no way any NHL GM sacrifices his team's cap room and future in one fell swoop in today's NHL.

Speculation and rumor-mongering shouldn't be an NHL beat reporter's job. Get your head checked, Haggerty. The Bruins would be a terrible team for along time if they made the move you proposed.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 27 June 2016

The New Class

The Hockey Hall of Fame contains some of the greatest names to ever have strapped on a pair of skates and skated at the top levels of the game. Names like Orr, Gretzky, Lemieux, Richard, Howe, Tretiak, and Kharlamov are on plaques at the Hall. These are the men that redefined the sport in their times and generated stories of their greatness that have been passed on from generation to generation. There are names upon names of the men and women who built, curated, and made the game of hockey better than what it was prior to their arrival, and the Hockey Hall of Fame will add four more names this fall after their selections today.

Eric Lindros, Sergei Makarov, Rogie Vachon, and the late Pate Quinn will all have their names beside the greatest men and women to have played, coached, managed, and built the game of hockey. While some will suggest other names who may be more worthy, there's no denying that this class brings some unique abilities to the Hall.

Some will argue that Eric Lindros getting in before players like Mark Recchi or Paul Kariya shows the shortsightedness of the Hall's committee. I have made the case several times about why Lindros shouldn't be in based on the numbers put up by others, but there's no denying that Eric Lindros' presence in the NHL changed the way hockey was played for almost a decade.

His size alone changed how GMs approached the way they built their teams. He was a massive man who scored at will a times, and it got him several accolades along the way. Lindros won the Hart Trophy and Lester B. Pearson Trophy in 1995, led the Flyers to the 1997 Stanley Cup Final before bowing out to the Detroit Red Wings, and averaged more than a point a game in the regular season and playoffs during his career. While injuries limited that career to just 760 NHL games, his international achievements can't go unnoticed either.

Lindros was part of the 1990 and 1991 gold medal-winning Canadian World Junior teams. He remains Canada's all-time points leader at the World Junior Championships with 31 points. He won a silver medal at the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics and a gold medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. He certainly had his ups and downs in the NHL, but he always seemed to be willing to pull on the Hockey Canada logo when needed.

Sergei Makarov will join Igor Larionov in the Hall of Fame as two-thirds of the legendary KLM line from the days of Soviet hockey dominance are now enshrined. There's no end to how much he accomplished outside the NHL:
  • Gold medals in two World Junior Championships in 1977 and 1978.
  • Named as tournament MVP in 1978.
  • Gold medals at the IIHF World Championships in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1989 and 1990.
  • Gold medal at the 1981 Canada Cup.
  • Gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics, and a silver medal at the 1980 Winter Olympics where the "Miracle On Ice" took place.
  • 11 championship seasons with CSKA Moscow in the Russian SuperLeague.
  • Named Soviet Player of the Year (SuperLeague MVP) three times.
  • Awarded Order of the Red Banner of Labour in 1984.
After joining the Calgary Flames for the 1989-90 season, he won the Calder Trophy at the age of 31, forcing the NHL to change its rules for eligibility for the trophy. Makarov was inducted to the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2001, so it seems only appropriate that he's added to the Hockey Hall of Fame as well!

Rogatien Vachon might be a surprising addition to the Hall of Fame, but he did some things in the NHL of which you might not be aware. He was a three-time Stanley Cup champion, and he holds a number of Los Angeles Kings goaltending records still to this day.

Among the things you may not know is that Vachon was the first goaltender to be credited with a goal - briefly. It was determined that he was the second-last player to touch the puck against the New York Islanders in the 1976-77 season, so the goal was credited to Vic Venasky after video review. During his career, Vachon never allowed a goal on a penalty shot. He was also the first Detroit Red Wings player to earn more than $1 million per season! Add in a 1976 Canada Cup championship where he was named to the tournament All-Star Team and was named Team MVP, and Vachon has made some hockey history in his career!

Finally, the late Pat Quinn is being inducted as a builder for his work as a coach, general manager, and executive in hockey. This is one of those inductions you wished had come earlier as Pat passed on in 2014. Quinn won gold medals as a coach of the men's hockey team at the 2002 Winter Olympics, 2008 IIHF World U18 Championships, the 2009 World Junior Championship, and the World Cup championship in 2004. He won a Memorial Cup as an owner of the WHL's Vancouver Giants, the Jack Adams Award in 1980 and 1992 as Coach of the Year in the NHL, was chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame Selection Committee until his passing, and went 684-528-188 in his NHL coaching career. Twice, he led teams to the Stanley Cup Final.

There will always be a debate about who should and should not be in the Hockey Hall of Fame, but let the record show that these four men will join the likes of Gretzky, Lemieux, Howe, Orr, Richard and the others this fall when they are inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Until next time, hold your sticks high in honour of these men!

Sunday, 26 June 2016

The Rap Sheet

Well, I never thought I'd be writing an article like this on HBIC, but there has been some hockey-related stories dealing with law enforcement once again this week. The key in this is that these are three separate incidents that happened, and they each have their own set of circumstances that will make you shake your head. I know I did. While hockey players are usually considered to be "good ol' boys," it's clear that not everyone remains on the right side of the police ledger. Buckle up. Here we go!

We'll start with a guy who has repeatedly been misidentified as Winnipeg Jets prospect. Had anyone bothered to read HBIC in the last year, you would have read that Darren Kramer was invited to Moose camp on a professional tryout. Yes, they signed him in December for the remainder of the season, but he was never in the Jets' plans whatsoever. Now that we've corrected the record, let's get to the mugshot seen to the right.

Darren Kramer was tasered and arrested following a fight with a police officer at Walt Disney World in Florida following an incident in which Kramer and a friend stole bowling pins. Yes, bowling pins. Reportedly, the incident began when a police officer confronted the friend, stating his name as "Corbin", who was holding a flag and the bowling pins which were apparently stolen from a Splitsville display. Corbin, in his defence, stated that he had won them after a high-scoring game. Police were detaining Corbun when Kramer yelled, "Run!"

Police approached Kramer to speak to him about Corbin when he began to fight with the officers. The affidavit reads,
"Kramer then violently pulled away from me, as I was maintaining control of the handcuff and his free left arm. Kramer pulled me off my feet and began to run. I was able to maintain control of the handcuff and pull him toward me. Kramer was then able to turn completely toward me and break the control I had of his handcuff. I then observed Kramer to lower his right shoulder and raise his left arm and if he was preparing to strike me with a punch.... Due to our close proximity I then reached out to Kramer and grabbed his shirt and attempted to pull him off balance. Kramer stepped forward and lowered his head, hitting me in the chest. This caused both of us to fall to the ground where Kramer ended up falling onto me."
As Kramer continued to fight with the officer, he was tasered and arrested. He was taken to Orange County jail where he was charged with grand theft, battery of a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. He was released from custody on June 21 on a $500 bond.

TEEBZ'S THOUGHTS: Bowling pins. Kramer seriously derailed his professional hockey dreams over bowling pins? SERIOUSLY?!? Let's be honest in how dumb this is. I mean, the guy brawled a police officer at Walt Disney World. The happiest place on Earth. SERIOUSLY. If I'm the Manitoba Moose, I walk away from Kramer.

While the image to the left of Evander Kane being arrested is a joke, it may soon become reality as the former Winnipeg Jet is in trouble in Buffalo. Again. While nothing came from the previous allegation and the complaint was dropped, Kane has twice as many problems as last time with the new complaint that the Buffalo Police are now investigating.

According to WIVB's Nalina Shapiro, Evander Kane was allegedly involved in an incident at a Buffalo nightclub called Bottom's Up. A group that had Kane in it was escorted from the bar according to the club's general manager, David Robida. Two women have filed two separate complaints against Kane that the Buffalo Police are investigating.

Kane's attorney, Paul Cambria, released a brief statement already, saying, "Evander states he did nothing wrong."

TEEBZ'S THOUGHTS: Ugh. Don't say we didn't warn you, Buffalo fans. This is the second time that women have made complaints against Kane. While the first complaint saw no charges filed by the Erie County District Attorney's Office, this seems to be the start of a trend. I will assume innocence until he's proven guilty, but Evander Kane makes bad choices a lot of the time. These repeated complaints against the Sabres winger should worry Sabres GM Tim Murray.

Finally, the third incident this week comes from a Hall-of-Famer. Former Bruins and Avalanche defenceman Ray Bourque was in a Molson Canadian commercial earlier this year, but no one bothered to check what he had been sipping when he was pulled over after a two-car collision in Massachusetts. The 55 year-old was arrested and booked on Friday night.

According to Lt. Cecilia Blais of the Andover, Massachusetts Police Department, Bourque was charged with operating under the influence, posted bail, and was released after he was arrested following a two-car collision on Friday night around 11:30pm.

Bourque released a statement through Celebrity Marketing Incorporated today that read,
"For the first time in my life, I find myself in unfamiliar territory. I am not happy about the situation I put myself into on Friday Night. I am a very proud person that accepts the responsibility of my actions and have always accepted being in the media eye. I have used this popularity to try and positively impact as many lives as possible. I am happy that no one was hurt in the accident and thank everyone who has reached out in support of my family and me. Please be patient as I go through this process and respect my family and my privacy.

Thank you all for your understanding."
TEEBZ'S THOUGHTS: Bourque will settle this out of court and will be required to do some community service. This one will go away quietly because he's Ray Bourque. In Boston. Where he's a legend.

There's the rap sheet for this week, folks. I will go ahead and assume that there won't be any additional police reports filed with prominent hockey names on them in the next few months, but anything could happen.

Evander Kane, however, needs to really start thinking about his life choices.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 25 June 2016

TBC: The Crazy Game

The summer of reading great hockey books continues on HBIC today. There are a lot of people who know of Clint Malarchuk mostly due to the graphic injury he suffered on the ice with the Buffalo Sabres. But how many people actually know Clint Malarchuk? I'd wager not many do, so having the opportunity to read his book has opened my eyes in a major way. Teebz's Book Club is proud to review The Crazy Game, written by Clint Malarchuk and Dan Robson and published by HarperCollins. The story told in The Crazy Game surrounds Malarchuk's hockey career that took him across North America, but it's a far deeper story about a man who nearly derailed his own career and life several times with his ongoing battle with mental illness. To say this story made me aware of the battle that those suffer with mental illnesses have to suffer is like calling Mount Everest "a little hill". I have a whole new respect for Clint Malarchuk after reading The Crazy Game.

Clint Malarchuk is remembered by most hockey fans who nearly died on the ice in Buffalo after Steve Tuttle's errant skate clipped his neck and sliced open his jugular vein. Malarchuk did a lot more in hockey than that one moment, though, as he played for the Quebec Nordiques, Washington Capitals, and the Sabres in the NHL, and the IHL's San Diego Gulls and Las Vegas Thunder later in his career. He moved into coaching, and has been a goaltending consultant for the Florida Panthers, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Calgary Flames. His real passion has been horses as he's worked in several rodeos and runs an equine dentistry service as well! He and his wife, Joanie, live in Nevada on the Canuck Ranch that they own and operate!

Dan Robson is a writer for Sportsnet magazine, and he written pieces for The Canadian Press, Toronto Star, and the CBC. He has also written Quinn: The Life of a Hockey Legend about the late Pat Quinn. He is a regular contributor to the Sportsnet website, and was part of the production of Home and Really Far Away: The Boys from Whale Cove which was a finalist for Best Sports Program at the Canadian Screen Awards. Dan graduated from Carleton University with a Master's Degree in journalism, and currently lives in Toronto where he plies his trade.

The Crazy Game is probably one of the most open, raw books I have ever read. Clint Malarchuk holds nothing back in talking abut his life in this autobiographical examination, and he certainly pulls no punches when he talks of the battles he faced with his various incarnations of mental illness. It's a very stream-of-consciousness style of writing, but the raw emotion that Malarchuk shows and the impact on the reader can't be stressed enough.

From his broken home as a child when his father caved into his battle with alcoholism, Malarchuk speaks candidly about his own anxiety, obsessive-compulsion disorder, and how he wrestled with his demons through to his performances with the WHL's Portland Winterhawks. Once he was drafted by the Nordiques, he continued to battle with these diseases, but his jealousy and anger began to take over as his first marriage broke down. From there, he masked the internal problems with his jocular nature and drinking - a combination that led him further down the dark hole he was heading. The first half of The Crazy Game takes you on a roller coaster of the ups and downs in Malarchuk's hockey career.

It's the second-half of The Crazy Game that will take you to places that will shake you to your core. Malarchuk describes in vivid detail the oft-seen breakdowns that he suffered right through to his attempted suicide and his long trek back through rehab and medical help that now has him on the right track. Malarchuk fully admits that it's a day-to-day battle that goes through, having its ups and downs still, but he's surrounded himself with good doctors, his family, and his friends who all have solid grasp on what is happening in his head now. That's a very good thing in this writer's opinion.

One of the passages that hit me hardest in The Crazy Game was the following piece. I was emotional reading it after everything else I had read, and it really hit me hard because of everything that Malarchuk's already been through. He writes,
"This book wasn't easy to write. It took me back to a lot of places I never wanted to see again. I heard stories from people that I love about the things I did - the things I couldn't fully see - and realized how painful and terrible it was for them. Every damn page of this book hurt. Deep down, I really wanted to finish this, but I didn't realize that revisiting this turmoil was going to affect me the way it did. In the process of writing this book, my anxiety started to build again. As the words came together and I saw them on the page, the anxiety continued to grow - stronger and stronger until it consumed me like it had so many terrible times before. Over the course of three months, starting in October, as the contents of the book were reported and drafts were passed around, I started to lose control of my ability to deal with the anxiety, and the depression started to resurface."
These types of descriptions about the demons that Malarchuk faced are littered throughout the book, and it's what makes reading The Crazy Game such an emotional ride. You really empathize with his friends and family in terms of the turmoil they were in only to read about the guilt and anger Malarchuk has towards himself for messing everything up. The Crazy Game pulls you in a number of directions, and it's an intense read throughout the book.

For someone who has never had a lot of experience in understanding mental illness, The Crazy Game was an absolute eye-opener for me. I was glued to this book through the entire 247 pages. I grew up watching Malarchuk in Buffalo, and he always seemed to be that back-up goalie who found a way to win. I never knew he was dealing with a pile of demons who almost did him in later in his life. Having lost a good friend to suicide, it has given me new insight into what may have been happening in his life and I wish I could have done more.

If nothing else, Clint Malarchuk's story has allowed him to speak to people all over this land about his experiences, and hopefully his urging to those people to get help if they feel they are losing control might have saved lives. There is some rather strong language and situations that I'd consider not appropriate for younger readers, so I recommend this book to all adults and elder teens. However, because of the intense story and the strong message carried on the pages, The Crazy Game certainly deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

Find The Crazy Game at your local bookstore or library and get ready for an emotional, intense read. If Malarchuk's story doesn't give you a new perspective on mental illness and the importance for those suffering from mental illness to seek help, I'm not sure anything will provide that perspective.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 24 June 2016

Draft Day Recap!

Thirty kids got their big break tonight as the NHL Entry Draft took place in Buffalo, New York. Would things pan out with Auston Matthews going first? Who would make the first big trade of the evening in trying to improve his team in one fell swoop? Would any of the "expendable" goaltenders get moved to alleviate salary cap and expansion problems? There were many questions lingering over this draft, but how many would be answered? We'd find out over three hours as the NHL Entry Draft's first round was televised!

I'll keep this short and sweet with my thoughts on each pick and trade. I'll keep them somewhat broken up into easy-to-follow sections, so let's not waste any time as I break down the action that happened in Buffalo!

1. TORONTO SELECTS AUSTON MATTHEWS. No surprise here as Toronto gets its coveted first-line centerman. However, what was noticeable was the new jersey that Matthews threw on. Toronto kept things simple and sharp. I would have liked the double stripe on the hem to match the striping on the arms, but there's nothing wrong with this Toronto jersey as all. I still wouldn't wear one, though.

TRADE: Montreal trades Lars Eller to Washington for their 2017 second-round and 2018 second-round picks. This was part-one of Montreal's moves because...

TRADE: Chicago trades Andrew Shaw to Montreal for the 39th-overall and 45th-overall picks. Shaw will dd some much needed grit and a bit a scoring that Montreal lacked so much last year. He's not the piece that will put them into Stanley Cup chatter, but he'll help a rather soft forward group.

2. WINNIPEG SELECTS PATRIK LAINE. Winnipeg needs a bonafide goal scorer, and they get their man with Laine. He should change the dynamic for the Winnipeg top-six. Another no-brainer pick.

3. COLUMBUS SELECTS PIERRE-LUC DUBOIS. He was ranked as the top North American skater, and there's no question that Columbus needed a solid centerman after they dealt Ryan Johansen to Nashville. There may be questions as to his NHL readiness, but Dubois is still a good choice for the Blue Jackets despite there being a better all-around player still available.

4. EDMONTON SELECTS JESSE PULJUJARVI. They absolutely needed a defenceman, but there's no way that anyone would pass up Puljujarvi if he fell into one's lap. No-brainer. It should also be noted that Edmonton has a new patch on the jersey they gave Puljujarvi.

5. VANCOUVER SELECTS OLLI JUOLEVI. For a team that doesn't know whether it's rebuilding or tearing down, selecting the best defenceman available isn't a bad choice. Whether or not Juolevi is in Vancouver in five years is a different story, but he should help in the short-term while Jim Benning decides if he actually likes his job.

6. CALGARY SELECTS MATTHEW TKACHUK. Calgary lacks any sort of finisher around the net, and Tkachuk gives them that. They have speedy, skilled forwards, but they don't have that body who will drive to the net and chip home rebound after rebound. Tkachuk is good in close, and should be able to put up numbers like his dad when he finally fills out.

7. ARIZONA SELECTS CLAYTON KELLER. Arizona took a very skilled forward, but everyone expected Arizona to go with a defenceman. However, this was just part of John Chayka's new analytical plan going forward in the desert. We'll hear more from Arizona shortly.

8. BUFFALO SELECTS ALEX NYLANDER. On a day where Evander Kane was in trouble once more, Tim Murray might have found a suitable replacement for Kane. Nylander is skilled, can skate, and certainly has the hands to bury 30 goals per season. Kudos to Tim Murray on getting the best player at his spot.

9. MONTREAL SELECTS MIKHAIL SERGACHEV. Rumors swirled about the possibility of Montreal considering a deal for PK Subban, but I believe they took Sergachev as a possible replacement for the aging Andrei Markov. Sergachev might be able to step in right away, but I'd give him one year in the AHL to see how he adapts. Otherwise, that Markov spot is his in the near future.

TRADE: St. Louis trades Brian Elliott to Calgary for the 35th-overall pick and a conditional third-round pick in 2018. If Elliott re-signs, the conditional pick goes to St. Louis. Calgary needed a goaltender, and they got a very solid netminder in Elliott. In only giving up a second-round pick, they didn't overspend. This was a good deal for the Flames. The Blues, meanwhile, will go with Jake Allen and alleviate themselves of the problem of two players who want more starting minutes.

10. COLORADO SELECTS TYSON JOST. I like this pick for Colorado in terms of skill, but it doesn't help them down the middle in terms of size. Jost will be a bit of a project for the Avalanche until he matures physically, but they will have three incredible centermen if they can hold onto Duchene and MacKinnon until Jost arrives.

TRADE: New Jersey trades the 11th-overall pick to Ottawa for the 12th-overall and 80th-overall picks. Two teams flip in the draft order.

11. OTTAWA SELECTS LOGAN BROWN. Ottawa went and got big down the middle in a hurry. They needed to add some size. They needed a solid centerman. Brown's going to be a bit of a project for the next few years until he grows into that towering frame, but he has the raw talent to be a solid NHL player.

12. NEW JERSEY SELECTS MICHAEL MCLEOD. No one will doubt the heart and will to be the best that McLeod possesses. It's the hands and skating ability that might draw some questions. McLeod will be a good player for New Jersey, but he'll need some AHL time to develop his game first.

13. CAROLINA SELECTS JAKE BEAN. Carolina might have the deepest blue line in five years. Noah Hanifin is already proving he belongs, Haydn Fleury is developing, and now they have the best offensive defenceman in the draft in my view. This Hurricanes team will be dangerous from the blue line eventually.

14. BOSTON SELECTS CHARLES MCAVOY. When you think of the defencemen that Boston lost ove rthe last few years and couple that with Zdeno Chara's age, the Bruins needed a future top defenceman. Charles McAvoy could be that player. He has exceptional vision, skating, and passing. The only question will be if he can adapt to the NHL game.

15. MINNESOTA SELECTS LUKE KUNIN. After buying out Thomas Vanek earlier in the day, the Wild went and took a solid play-making centerman. Kunin isn't as flashy as some of the centermen up above, but he has a good sense for the game and makes excellent plays with his vision and abilities. This is a good, safe pick by the Wild for the future.

TRADE: Detroit trades Pavel Datsyuk and the 16th-overall pick to Arizona for Joe Vitale and the 20th-overall and 53rd-overall picks. The fact that Ken Holland moved Pavel Datsyuk's contract should have him in the running for GM of the year already. John Chayka's master plan continues to unfold because...

16. ARIZONA SELECTS JAKOB CHYCHRUN. He just signed Goligoski. He has Oliver Ekman-Larsson. He now has another solid defenceman who might be a year from stepping into the Coyotes' lineup. Chychrun comes from a solid lineage, and he's already close to being physically mature.

17. NASHVILLE SELECTS DANTE FABBRO. If there's a skilled defenceman on the board, he's probably going to Nashville. They have turned Ryan Ellis into an effective player despite his size, and Fabbro follows that same path. He could be a solid top-four defenceman in a few years.

TRADE: Philadelphia trades the 18th-overall and 79th-overall picks to Winnipeg for the 22nd-overall and 36th-overall picks.

18. WINNIPEG PICKS LOGAN STANLEY. Two Logans in the same round? Was there a Wolverine baby convention somewhere? In any case, the Jets pick the 6'7" defenceman who many scouts have felt was the most-improved player over the last year. Yes, he's going to have to grow into that frame as he's still a little wiry, but Winnipeg might have the tallest blue line in the league with Byfuglien, Myers, and, one day, Stanley.

19. NEW YORK ISLANDERS SELECT KIEFFER BELLOWS. With the threat of losing Kyle Okposo looming, the Islanders went and got themselves the best American goal scorer still available in the draft. Bellows is one of four players to score 50+ goals for the US U-18 team in the USHL, and he has the speed and skill to be a threat in the NHL.

20. DETROIT SELECTS DENNIS CHOLOWSKI. It was surprising to see Detroit take a kid who needs to fill out and has decided to go to school next year, but it fits their modus operandi as they want players who are ready to step in and contribute. I thought they'd take another bonafide goal scorer, but it's never a bad thing to take a defenceman who has excellent skills and hockey sense.

21. CAROLINA SELECTS JULIEN GAUTHIER. Need a big body who can score a pile of goals? Carolina can cross that off their list. Gauthier's production dropped off a little towards the end of the season, but there's no question this kid is a finisher. Carolina has to be happy getting Gauthier at this spot.

22. PHILADELPHIA SELECTS GERMAN RUBTSOV. Ron Hextall said he wanted to improve the speed and skill of his forwards, and the Russian centerman gives them that. He's a little undersized for the NHL at the moment, but the skill is definitely NHL-ready. A Russian in Philly - who would have thunk it?

23. FLORIDA SELECTS HENRIK BORGSTROM. He didn't get selected last season, but the 6'3" centerman has great hockey sense and will be going to the NCAA next season. Florida can afford to wait for him to get accustomed to the North American game, and he should be a nice addition to the Panthers when he's ready.

24. ANAHEIM SELECTS MAX JONES. If Anaheim was tough to play against before, Max Jones just made it a little harder. He's gritty, he can score goals, and he's defensively responsible. He won't outscore a Corey Perry, but he'll be one of those guys like Andrew Cogliano who always seems to chip in a goal when needed.

25. DALLAS SELECTS RILEY TUFTE. If he turns out like the player he's often compared to in Nick Bjugstad, the Dallas Stars got a steal in Riley Tufte. He's a graduate of the Minnesota High School system so he has a solid hockey foundation, but it will be entirely up to how he physically develops that will determine whether he'll be a Dallas Star one day.

TRADE: Washington trades the 26th-overall pick to St. Louis for the 28th-overall and 87th-overall picks. Flip of picks. No big deal.

26. ST. LOUIS SELECTS TAGE THOMPSON. The Blues are hoping Thompson grows into his 6'5" frame and becomes the next David Backes. He has good hockey sense, but there's definitely a feeling that Thompson is a project at best. It'll be a few years before the jury comes back on this pick. The Blues also have a new patch!

27. TAMPA BAY SELECTS BRETT HOWDEN. Tampa Bay makes the safe pick. Howden is a solid centerman who can play both ends of the ice. He'll need a bit of AHL time to get his pro game up to snuff for Jon Cooper, but Howden has the chops and skill to be a reliable NHL centerman.

28. WASHINGTON SELECTS LUCAS JOHANSEN. Johansen is a decent pick for a Washington team that needs two-way defencemen. Like his brother Ryan, though, he sometimes lacks for confidence in situations when his skill set has proven otherwise. If Barry Trotz can get him playing to his potential, Capitals fans will like this pick a lot.

29. BOSTON SELECTS TRENT FREDERIC. Frederic could be a taller Patrice Bergeron if he continues his development. He's very responsible on the defensive end, can contribute in the offensive zone, and is an excellent penalty killer. He won't wow you with his offensive stats, but the Bruins could be looking at another Selke winner down the road.

30. ANAHEIM SELECTS SAM STEEL. Anaheim adds some speed and skill down the middle with Steel. Steel is more of a play-maker much in the same mold as Ryan Getzlaf where he gains the zone, but allows his teammates to gain the zone before distributing the puck. He'll need a little AHL time, but I fully expect to see Sam Steel feeding Max Jones passes at some point in the future.

There are still a pile of names on the board that will help a number of teams, so this is just the beginning. There were a couple of notable teams who didn't participate - Pittsburgh, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Jose - so expect them to be aggressive on Day Two of the NHL Entry Draft!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Hockey Show - Episode 196

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, returns to the airwaves and the internet stream tonight as we chat about the major stories of the week from the hockey world. Of course, that involves a Nevada city where an announcement and a few trophies were handed out, but it also involves Buffalo, New York where we'll see a number of young players join the professional hockey ranks! The Hockey Show is all over the map tonight!

Tonight, Teebz, Beans, and TJ will venture in as three GMs looking to make 30 teams better as The Hockey Show holds its first-ever mock draft on the eve of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft from Buffalo! The only difference is that we'll make 30 picks in 30 minutes or less thanks to the time limitations of our show. Yeah, we don't get a day plus a couple of hours like the NHL does. We'll also chat about Vegas and the new team, the NHL Awards, and a few of the trades and signings made over the last few days. It's another big show as we get ready for the new crop of talent to join the NHL!

As always, we're taking your calls tonight so call us at (204) 269-8636 (269-UMFM) if you wanna get in on the discussion! 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're talking Vegas, Buffalo, awards, and draft picks The Hockey Show only on 101.5 UMFM!

PODCAST: June 23, 2016: Episode 196

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Hunting For Books

I love reading in the summer. It's always a pleasure to sit out on the patio with a cold beverage where I can read a book in an afternoon. If there's a nice breeze, it makes for a glorious afternoon where I get lost in the words on the pages. I still have a few books at HBIC Headquarters that I need to read through and post reviews for, but I'll admit that I spend time in thrift shops and old bookstores hunting for a select few books that I'd love to add to my collection of hockey stories. While you can see the vast number of books I've had the pleasure in reviewing on the right, the list of books below are the ones that I still want to find and read at some point. Yes, my library card might even get a solid workout this summer if I can find and reserve the books online through my local library's website.

In no particular order, here is the list of books I haven't been able to find yet. I'm still hoping that I'll come across these stories at reasonable prices or for library borrowing costs - free is good! - but the list is extensive. If you've read any of these books, please give me a shout and let me know what the book was like. Or, better yet, send a review into HBIC and I'll post it!

In no particular order, here is "The List":
  • The Hockey Book by Bill Roche.
  • The Puck Starts Here by Garth Vaughan.
  • Hockey Night In Canada by Richard Gruneau and David Whitson.
  • Hockey's Captains, Colonels, and Kings by Bill Fitsell.
  • The Stick by Bruce Dowbiggin.
  • Rocket Richard by Andy O'Brien.
  • Looking Out For Number One by Dave Semenko.
  • The Hammer: Confessions of a Hockey Enforcer by Dave Schultz.
  • Net Worth by David Cruise and Alison Griffiths.
  • Zamboni Rodeo by Jason Cohen.
  • I Play to Win by Stan Mikita.
  • Hockey Dreams by David Adams Richards.
  • Breakaway by Charles Wilkins.
  • The Drubbing of Nesterenko by Hanford Woods.
  • The Good Body by Bill Gaston.
  • The Last Season by Roy MacGregor.
  • Hero of the Play by Richard Harrison.
  • My Career with the Leafs and Other Stories by Brian Fawcett.
  • Total Hockey by Dan Diamond.
  • Hockey Night in Dixie by Jon C. Stott.
  • The Hockey I Love by Vladislav Tretiak.
As you can see, there is a wide-range of topics on the list. There are autobiographies, biographies, and general writing about hockey. All of these books, however, interest me in one way or another for various reasons. For example, I would love to read The Hockey I Love by Tretiak simply to read how one of the greatest goaltenders in hockey history sees the game. I was enthralled with Tretiak's previous book (review coming soon!) so I really want to get another take on the game from the Soviet puck-stopper.

Am I missing any good hockey books that haven't been reviewed and deserve to be on the list? Throw me a line in the comments, and I'll add your suggestions to the list. Good hockey literature is always appreciated!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

TBC: Number Two

It's rare that I have two books from the same author in any given week on HBIC, but you're forgiven if you mistakenly thought it was "Jay Onrait Week" like I was some sports version of the Discovery Channel. I did say I wanted to clear out some of the books that I had read but hadn't reviewed, so let's keep rolling with another book from the sportscaster. Teebz's Book Club is proud to review Number Two, written by Jay Onrait and published by Harper Collins. As we previously saw in Anchorboy, Jay's sense of humour and storytelling ability made for some hilarious moments in his life to that point. With the sequel in Number Two, we get even more stories from Jay about his life and his experiences in his not-yet-complete journey!

Jay was grew up in Athabasca, Alberta where his appreciation for sports news broadcasting was developed watching veteran broadcasters John Wells, Chris Cuthbert, Darren Dutchyshen, and Perry Solkowski deliver their magic on TV. He attended Ryerson University where he graduated, and has worked for TSN on "The Row" before getting opportunities in Saskatoon, Winnipeg, and Los Angeles. A veteran of morning entertainment news shows and two Olympic Games broadcasts, Jay Onrait's name has become synonymous with entertaining sports news reporting. He and longtime anchor partner Dan O'Toole are often credited with changing Canadian sports broadcasting during their time on TSN's SportCentre. Jay and his wife now live in Los Angeles where he can seen nightly delivering sports news on FOX Sports 1.

Where Jay's previous tome left off, Number Two picks rigt up with the craziness that has defined both Jay's career and life. In getting to read more about Jay, it's not that he's a wild child by any means. Instead, he just appreciates a good laugh and goes about finding those moments of hilarity in very unconventional means. There are dozens of examples of Jay's pursuit of finding those hilarious moments in Number Two, and you won't be disappointed with this set of stories.

In Number Two, we learn of how Jay and Dan got to the Sochi Olympics despite Fox Sports not having any Olympic rights to broadcast the Games. The experiences that Jay and his cohorts go through in Sochi are quite unique, and Jay waves a few tales of some of the funnier moments in Russia that he encountered. Jay also tells a story of a meeting with Jay-Z, getting a medical marijuana card in California, almost getting banned from the former Northlands Coliseum in the early 1990s, and, of course, more crazy stories about his rather delicate stomach. Number Two might be the most appropriate title with the amount of poop stories I've read from Jay Onrait!

There was a story told by Jay that involves a little bit of a legend in the television business in Canada. Toronto's MuchMusic developed an interesting concept called "Speakers' Corner" where patrons could deposit a dollar into the video booth for charity, and would be allowed to rant about any topic they liked for about 30 seconds. There was always this myth about Speakers' Corner that the camera actually was on all the time - it didn't matter if you made a donation, it recorded everything. Jay Onrait, as it turns out, can confirm that this was true!
"The projector turned on and a title graphic appeared on the screen that said "The Best of Speakers' Corner: City/Much Christmas Party Edition." This could be fun, I thought. I was ready to hear clip after clip of hilarious would-be comedians going off about issues in their life using language too obscene for television. Turns out I was selling the whole operation a bit short. There weren't really any rants to be seen, other than the occasional homeless person who had decided to sleep in the booth for the night and wasn't happy about the smell in the tiny confined space. For the most part "The Best of Speakers' Corner" featured a plethora of unspeakable sex acts in a tiny, confined, and rather filthy booth."
For those kids who grew up in the 1990s and always wanted to visit Speakers' Corner in Toronto, there's the seedy underbelly of what was a TV phenomenon for the better part of a decade. I won't reveal the details of what Jay saw - that's why you should pick up Number Two! - but to say that Speakers' Corner was a place you'd want to sit and rant about your life is entirely something to reconsider.

Number Two continues with Jay's excellent writing and hilarious stories of a man who has found a niche in the sportscasting world. He has seen and done enough in his 40-some years on this planet to probably have a made-for-TV movie about his life, but he's written two incredible books about these experiences for us to enjoy. Again, like Anchorboy, Number Two has some PG-rated stories so it's probably best for teenagers and up to read these stories. However, I found myself laughing at Jay's crazy antics like a six year-old again, and this is definitely his bread and butter with these books. Because of the funny stories and general craziness found on the 256 pages of the book, Number Two absolutely deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

Find Number Two at all major bookstores and possibly at your local library. For a kid from Athabasca who wanted to run the family pharmacy, Jay Onrait is doing alright in the world of broadcasting!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 20 June 2016

The New Savior?

There has been a vast number of people who have lamented the goaltending situation in Toronto over the last couple years with most pointing the finger directly at Jonathan Bernier. It was expected that the Leafs would continue the slow build as they looked to find some magic in the NHL Entry Draft and on the free agent market, but GM Lou Lamoriello decided to pull the trigger on a major move when he acquired Frederik Andersen from the Anaheim Ducks in a rather surprising trade, and then followed it up by signing the restricted free agent to a five year, $25 million contract. After having brought in goaltenders of all types and abilities in the last decade, is Frederik Andersen the long-awaited answer in between the pipes for the blue-and-white?

The move, on the surface, made little sense once Andersen signed the contract to make him a Leaf for the next five seasons. The Leafs already had a goaltender making $4.15 million per season who was eating starter minutes, but it was clear that head coach Mike Babcock wanted more out of Bernier last season who, in his defence, played behind a fantastically horrific defence. It appears that Bernier will become the most expensive backup netminder in the NHL this season with this move which may have left a few people scratching their heads.

This move seemed rushed in a rebuild that was promised to be long and hard for fans to stomach. The Leafs, despite their best efforts, will not win a Stanley Cup next season and may not even qualify for the playoffs. This is a franchise that has run through names like Raycroft, Toskala, and Reimer with no success despite these goalies' previous successes in various forms, and Bernier can be added to that list. However, Toronto hasn't iced a team with a solid blue line for a few seasons now, and it could be argued that they haven't had a legitimate top pairing of defencemen since the turn of the millennium. It's hard for the last line of defence to be stellar when they are often the only line of defence keeping the Leafs in games.

Andersen will certainly see a different type of game in Toronto after coming out of Anaheim where he found success under Bruce Boudreau's system. Anaheim is putting their stock into John Gibson at this point, and carrying two young goalies who both want starter minutes is a difficult situation when it comes to free agent value. The easiest thing for Anaheim to do was to move one of their young netminders, and Andersen was the piece that deemed expendable. That's entirely their choice, and Toronto was able to pry Andersen away from Anaheim for less than a king's bounty.

In Toronto, however, the Leafs will pose a major problem when it comes to Andersen's stats. They are, statistically, on the lower echelon of NHL teams, and we saw Jonathan Bernier's stats fall from where they once were in Los Angeles. I'd expect the same trend to happen with Andersen for the next few seasons until the Leafs have cobbled together a half-decent set of defencemen who can actually defend fairly well.

The other odd thing that this trade presents is that the Leafs will have Andersen under contract and, presumably, protected once the Las Vegas expansion draft gets the green light. Bernier, though, becomes a free agent in the summer of 2017, though, meaning he can't be the goaltender that the Leafs expose to the Vegas NHL team when the draft takes place. That means that Antoine Bibeau or Garret Sparks would be exposed, and that makes little sense when one considers that those two are the future netminders of the Leafs... or so they thought. So why make this deal for Andersen now when it seems there was no need for it at this juncture?

"The opportunity of acquiring him came now," Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello told Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star. "This will help the growth of our young players with the tandem of Freddie and Bernie."

"Help the growth"? Is that for real? After all the whining and crying over how poorly Bernier seemed to play last season, this is the line that Lamoriello delivers as his justification for making what seems to be a rather unnecessary move at this point in the rebuild?

He then went on record and anointed Andersen the starting netminder for the Maple Leafs. "I think that he has to know that he's our No. 1 goaltender and that the support is there, the confidence is there and the commitment's there," Lamoriello said on the conference call.

Geez, no pressure there, eh?

As it stands, Andersen will fall into one of two buckets when all is said and done. The first contains names like Joseph, Belfour, Bower, and Sawchuk. The other contains the names of Toskala, Raycroft, Fuhr, Ing, and, as of now, Bernier. The former are the guys whose play between the pipes elevated this team to higher ground than they would have reached without them. The latter are those who were thrown to the wolves with little protection and asked to deliver salvation for 50 years of failure.

Welcome to a whole new world, Frederik Andersen.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

TBC: Anchorboy

I decided to do some domestic work today as HBIC Headquarters needed some re-arranging and organizing. Yes, I know it's Father's Day, but some previous engagements have forced the family to push our celebration into next week. Thanks to the extra time, I was re-arranging a number of things to create some much needed room, and I came across a few books I should have reviewed a long time ago on here. Without further adieu, Teebz's Book Club is proud and honoured to review Anchorboy, written by Jay Onrait and published by Harper Collins. For those that aren't aware of who Jay Onrait is, he's a very successful sports news anchor on FOX Sports 1, formerly of SportsCentre fame on TSN. Anchorboy is an autobiographical look at Jay Onrait's life including how he got started in television and his moves between stations and provinces on his way to TV success.

Jay was grew up in Athabasca, Alberta where his appreciation for sports news broadcasting was developed watching veteran broadcasters John Wells, Chris Cuthbert, Darren Dutchyshen, and Perry Solkowski deliver their magic on TV. He attended Ryerson University where he graduated, and has worked for TSN on "The Row" before getting opportunities in Saskatoon, Winnipeg, and Los Angeles. A veteran of morning entertainment news shows and two Olympic Games broadcasts, Jay Onrait's name has become synonymous with entertaining sports news reporting. He and longtime anchor partner Dan O'Toole are often credited with changing Canadian sports broadcasting during their time on TSN's SportCentre. Jay and his wife now live in Los Angeles where he can seen nightly delivering sports news on FOX Sports 1.

Anchorboy is a hilarious retrospect at the career that Jay Onrait has made up to 2013 when this book was published. Jay includes everything in his autobiographical examination of his life, some of which includes the words "poop", "feces", and "vomit". Honestly, the chapter where he describes a Christmas dinner event had me laughing like a six year-old me. There's no denying that Onrait has an ability to entertain!

I found it interesting to see how Jay Onrait's career started and some the advice he took that, in the end, paid off in a big way for him. Anchorboy really shows that the power of networking, hard work, and creativity can take you to places that a resumé can't. That's not to say that Jay Onrait's body of work doesn't stand on its own, but his outgoing personality, creativity that bordered on insanity, and his ability to inject humour into situations have won over viewers and broadcasting colleagues throughout his career.

A lot of people wondered when Jay Onrait became the crazy and zany Jay Onrait we know from SportsCentre, and I maintain that he showed flashes of it while working for A-Channel's The Big Breakfest while in Winnipeg. However, there's a section in the book where Jay notes that he finally got his shot on SportsCentre with Jennifer Hedger where he decided to be the hilarious Jay Onrait that we know today. He writes,
"Now I was hosting with Jennifer every day and loving it. She and I were about the same age, we got along great, and we had the same sense of humour. I knew, however, that Jen was just starting to make a huge splash on the Canadian sports broadcasting scene and that if I was to work with her for several years, I was destined to be the 'guy next to the beautiful blonde on SportsCentre.' It was time to let my personality come out and do the show the way I had always wanted: with a mix of absurd humour and spontaneity, the same attributes I had admired in David Letterman all those years ago. I was going to change sportscasting, not necessarily for the better, and not overnight, but I was going to leave my mark."
Jay certainly did leave his mark. When Dan O'Toole joined the desk, TSN found a duo who enjoyed throwing pop culture and craziness into sportscasts. Along with Producer Tim who saved the pair's bacon more than a couple of times, the Pacific time zone/early morning broadcasts of SportsCentre became must-see-TV moments.
A lot of the moments you watched above are captured in Anchorboy with Jay explaining the meanings and where the ideas came from in detail. All that was missing was a traditional "BOBROVSKY!" in the clips, and we'd have Jay's career pinned down in about ten minutes! In short, Jay's brand of comedy made him a favorite in many Canadian households and, after his move to the United States, those that have FOX Sports 1 in the lower 48!

Anchorboy is a funny, entertaining autobiography from TV personality and sportscaster Jay Onrait that definitely deserves a read if you need a good summer yarn! Jay does use some language in his tales that would certainly rank it as a PG-rated book, but I'd say that the 264-page tome is suitable for teenagers and up. Be prepared to chuckle and/or giggle like an adolescent by, though, because Jay Onrait's life has a lot of stuff that would make them crack up! Because of the humour and entertaining self-deprecation shown by Jay Onrait, Anchorboy is absolutely deserving of the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

Find Anchorboy at your local library or bookstore, and enjoy the wild ride that Jay Onrait takes you through his life!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Concert Season

Billy Talent's Benjamin Kowalewicz makes a great point with his t-shirt, but this isn't some political statement piece. The summer is concert season across North America, and there are probably going to be a pile of musicians rolling through your town and local arena, stadium, and/or festival where there's a chance they could don the local hockey team's jersey. As I continue to build a large database of images of musicians in jerseys, we'll add more today with the concert season just starting! If you have any that aren't on the complete list, please feel free to email me with those photos, and I will certainly credit you for the find or photo! Let's dive into these images as we take a look at musicians' allegiances to hockey teams... or at least the free jerseys they receive!

R&B and soul artists rarely seem to delve into the world of hockey. Hockey games are built for rock music and the occasional rap song, but we rarely see soul wander into the hockey rink. Maybe the hockey crowd is missing out, but the Vancouver Canucks certainly didn't. When Usher appeared at Rogers Arena a few years ago, he was given his own Canucks jersey! Granted, it doesn't appear to be a pro-style jersey with that name on the back, but he's definitely sporting the Canucks' colors!

Bands usually don't represent any sort of brands on the front of their album covers for obvious licensing reasons. Generally, it's just the band members and the title or some image to which the band has paid to acquire the rights with the title. Pretty standard operating procedure nowadays, but it appears that Myles Goodwin of April Wine didn't get that memo in 1981 with the release of their massive hit "Just Between You and Me". Myles appeared on the front of the single wearing a Montreal Canadiens jersey or jersey shirt! It's hard to determine from that image which it is, but it's clearly the Canadiens! There may be a reason for that shirt: the band relocated from Nova Scotia to Montreal in the early 1970s before they went on to release more than 20 albums since they relocated!

I'll admit that I know nothing about Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott, better known to the rap community as Joey Bada$$. I know he's still touring, I know he was born in New York City, and I know he appeared in the TV show Mr. Robot. Thanks, Wikipedia. I do know one other thing, though, that Wikipedia couldn't tell me: he's a Phoenix Coyotes fan! Well, he might be. He is wearing their jersey.

They're no longer together after disbanding in 2011, but Olivier Corbeil aka Oliver Crowe played bass for The Stills. The Montreal-based band never wore the famous bleu-blanc-et-rouge, but Crowe was seen wearing the colours of the Edmonton Oilers! Perhaps after the disbanding, he went west?

Laura Bell Bundy isn't a name known to many for her numerous singles and hit albums. Ok, she doesn't have any, but she has made a serious name for herself on Broadway with her roles as the original Amber Von Tussle in Hairspray and the original Elle Woods in the musical version of Legally Blonde. She is a country music rising star and has released a couple of never-heard-of singles, but she is definitely more well-known to the stage crowd. That being said, she is a proud Kentucky girl, and the University of Kentucky wasted no time in getting her to help their hockey program!

Let's be honest: Mandy Moore and hockey have never been paired together in any situation. If they have been, I'm guessing that music guy's career was cut very short. Mandy Moore never did arena rock or music that can pump up a crowd hungry for hockey action, but she did once show allegiance to a hockey team! Back when she was more singer than actor, Mandy Moore wore this Boston Bruins vest thingy! Who would have thought that Moore was a Bruins fan?

You've seen him in the Hunger Games series and you know his music. Heck, you even know who his daughter is, but Lenny Kravitz is a music icon. While he hasn't produced any chart-smashing hits in recent years, he does have a number of memorable songs including a remake of "American Woman". The one thing in his closet he doesn't have a lot of are hockey jerseys, but he can claim allegiance to one team. The Montreal Canadiens gave Kravitz his own jersey when he stopped in Montreal in 2008!

Country music has a number of players who wear jerseys thanks to the Nashville connection, but they seem to be spreading outwards to other communities as well. One such example? Country star Kenny Chesney wore a Minnesota Wild jersey while playing a concert at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul!

Chris Jericho grew up in Winnipeg, found a home in New York when his father, Ted Irvine, played there, and made a name for himself as a professional wrestler, but his passion has always been music! He and a few friends founded the band Fozzy, and he's been performing when he can when his wrestling career isn't keeping him on the road! We've seen him in a Rangers and Jets jersey, but he went back to his hometown team's roots when he appeared in Atlanta and got himself a Thrashers jersey!

Al Montoya has the distinction of being the lone Cuban-American player in the NHL, but there has been another Cuban-American who has worn a jersey. Al Jourgensen of Ministry is a pretty important musician and music producer, and he showed his support for an Original Six team when he donned the jersey of the Chicago Blackhawks for a photo! He looks pretty intimidating in that jersey!

The Boston Bruins are, in my view, kind of like a '90s boy band - past their prime, needing new material, and certainly hanging on to past achievements. Ok, so that might be a little harsh, but so is getting your picture taken with a fully-jerseyed ensemble known as the Backstreet Boys. There's no reason why these dudes should look this happy.

I thought I had included this from his All-Star Game appearance, but I guess I was wrong because Dierks Bentley doesn't appear on the master list. Frederick Dierks Bentley took the ice and worked on his game alongside former Predator Jordin Tootoo, and he looks pretty good in the Predators' colors! Perhaps he has a future in hockey if the country music thing doesn't keep him busy?

Alice Cooper is a huge Arizona Coyotes fan, but there wasn't a team to speak of in the desert in the 1970s when he was touring at his peak. Instead, Alice would go on the road and don the jersey of the team whose arena he was performing in which leads to seeing Alice in uniforms with which one normally would associate him. Alice wore a Red Wings jersey during his concert in Detroit in 1971, and followed that performance up in Edmonton while wearing an Oilers jersey!

This next artist has a closet devoted to hockey jerseys at this point by now. Snoop Dogg aka Snoop Lion has been wearing hockey jerseys since his early "Gin & Juice" days, and we have a pile more to run through today, so let's get started. Here is Snoop wearing, in no particular order, an Ottawa Senators alternate jersey, a Calgary Flames jersey, a Montreal Canadiens jersey, a London Knights jersey, a Springfield Indians jersey, and a Dubai Fighting Camels jersey! That's the second Dubai jersey we've seen!

These last two photos are nostalgic. The first one is from a concert in Quebec City where Metallica played. As we know, expansion won't happen in Quebec City any time soon, but Lars Ullrich endeared himself to the people of Quebec when he donned the Nordiques jersey for the concert there. Honestly, I still love that jersey and the Nordiques need to return. That's a beauty. Thanks for the picture, John M.!

The second photo comes from this past week. Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood are currently touring across Canada on their major tour, and they stopped in Saskatchewan for that leg of the tour. As you may be aware, Saskatchewan and the hockey world lost a legend last week with the passing of the great Gordie Howe, so Garth Brooks donned the famous winged wheel with Howe's name on the back as a tribute to the legendary hockey figure. That's a classy move from Brooks, and I commend him on his wardrobe choice!

Again, if you're going to a concert or see a musician in a jersey anywhere else and that musician isn't already on the master list in said jersey, make sure you grab photo evidence and send it in! You'll get credit on the list, and live on for eternity! Ok, maybe not, but at least you'll get credit for the find. That's gotta count for something, right?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 17 June 2016

Road Trip!

It's not often that HBIC and UMFM's The Hockey Show can combine efforts in doing more for the community and hockey fans. Normally, it's one or the other who is invited to participate in an event, but I am happy to report that both HBIC and The Hockey Show will be going on the road on July 16 to the great community of Neepawa, Manitoba for the Super Alyx Golf Tournament!

The tournament is being run by the Delaloye family, and you may recognize that name if you're a Winnipeg Jets fan. Alyx Delaloye was the young lady who attended a Jets game with a sign that read "Chemo By Day, Jets By Night", and The Hockey Show has remained in contact with her parents to find out how she and her brother, Hayden, are doing after their whirlwind celebrity status in and around the hockey world!

I can tell you that Alyx is doing extremely well! The cancer they found in her seems to be in remission from the latest updates we have from her father, Reg. He writes, "Still keep finding abnormal cell in her spinal fluid. Still don't know why but at least it's not multiplying." The fact that it's not multiplying is excellent news, and I'm excited to see young Alyx once more! I'll have photos and updates posted to this site, and we'll get some comments from Alyx and her family about the battle they went through to get to this point where they are holding this gold tournament for a couple of very important charities and initiatives that helped them!

As stated on the poster above, the proceeds from the Super Alyx Golf Tournament are going directly to Ronald McDonald House and Pediatric Cancer Care! HBIC and The Hockey Show are 100% behind these two amazing charities and we're always going to fans of the Delaloyes, so coming together for these ideas was literally a no-brainer! We're excited to give them some help, and HBIC is happy to post this piece to hopefully help them fill out the field for the tournament!

If you're in the southern Manitoba region around July 16, come on out and have some fun on the golf course with us and the Delaloyes. They have some awesome people lined up to go golfing that day, so you'll get to meet some incredible hockey personalities! There's a fantastic silent auction that will happen, dinner after the tournament at the Neepawa Golf Course, and there's guaranteed to be a ton of laughs and memories made. Come on out and have a ball with the Delaloyes for a good cause!

If you want to golf or want more information, there are a couple of places to get info. They include:
  • Landon at the Neepawa Golf Course at (204) 476-5711
  • Sandra Delaloye at (204) 476-2670 or via email
  • Debbie Stelczik at (204) 841-0744
To sweeten the deal a little, there's a hole-in-one contest that will happen. As per Reg Delaloye, the closest to the pin on each of the four par-3 holes at the course will be registered for the hole-in-one contest that will take place on the 18th hole. If one of the these four people sinks the hole-in-one, that amazing golfer will take hole a brand-new car! Holy cow!

As for what I'll be doing? We'll have the UMFM online stream set up somewhere near the 18th hole where we'll be talking to the Delaloyes, golfers, and anyone else who has come out for the day. I'll have some promotional merchandise from UMFM, and I'll be writing up a full recap of the day's events here on HBIC. In other words, I am happy to volunteer to be the media portion of this amazing event!

Get your golfing shoes on and your clubs out, folks, and come on out to the Neepawa Golf Course on July 16 for the Super Alyx Golf Tournament in support of Ronald McDonald House and Pediatric Cancer Care! I know on guy who is working on his game right now to win that new car on the hole-in-one challenge: Hayden Delaloye!

Hayden shot a 77 (+6) on May 14 to win the Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tournament held at the Transcona Golf Course in Winnipeg! The conditions that day were anything but perfect, but Hayden pushed through the inclement weather to win the age nine-ten category with his great score! I'll be honest: Hayden is already better than me at golf and I'm an adult. I'm not a betting man in any way, but I'm putting some money on the dark horse in this tournament in Hayden Delaloye. If he tackled the Transcona Golf Course with ease, he'll be playing along side the names of McIlroy, Speith, and Furyk soon! Well done, Hayden!

We'll see you on the gold course on July 16! Bring your A-game, golfers!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!