Saturday, 17 November 2018

The Return Of Jetta

There are so many things I want to say about today's announcement that Jetta Rackleff is returning to the crease for the Worcester Blades, but I can barely contain my excitement. I was shocked and stunned when the Blades announced that Rackleff wasn't one of the three netminders they had chosen out of training camp and the preseason despite some rather superior numbers compared to her colleagues, and I've quietly been hoping that someone within the Blades organization would come to their senses and bring Jetta back.

The first famous quote that came to mind comes from Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire when he said, "We live in a cynical world, a cynical world, and we work in a business of tough competitors." I don't think this line has been truer this season for the CWHL where many excellent players came into the league, and there were a large contingent of players who simply couldn't find roster spots or decided to focus more on life by stepping away from the game.

Jetta, however, came to camp refreshed and looking forward to the competition for the starting goaltending position with the Blades after missing the vast majority of last season due to injury. It seemed as though Jetta was in the clear after posting some rather solid numbers against preseason opponents, but she was inexplicably not named to the roster.

The current netminders - Lauren Dahm, Mariah Fujimagari, and Jessica Convery - are being absolutely bombarded by opponents when it comes to shots-against and, as a result, their goals-against averages and save percentages aren't quite where one would hope they would be at this point in the season. Needing a spark whether it be through solid netminding or just a positive attitude in the dressing room, the Blades announced that Jetta Rackleff would start today against les Canadiennes de Montreal!

If you'll excuse a little creative parody, I believe this calls for a song. Sing it with me if you know the tune!
Guess who's back, back again!
Jetta's back, tell a friend!
Guess who's back? Guess who's back?
Guess who's back? Guess who's back?
Guess who's back? Guess who's back?
Guess who's back?
(Instrumental and background singing)
Ok, goofiness aside, today's game against the Canadiennes will be anything but a walk in the park for Rackleff as Montreal comes in with the best goal differential in the CWHL. However, if there's one player who will take this challenge head-on and give it 110%, it's Jetta Rackleff. Having gotten to know her prior to, during, and after the interview we did with her on The Hockey Show, I feel confident in saying that the Blades picked themselves up a world-class goalie and an even better individual to help their club search for wins.

I'd be crazy to suggest that Jetta Rackleff will be the difference in pushing the Blades past the Canadiennes. That's simply not how hockey works when it comes to the disparity between the two teams. I will say, however, that Rackleff will give the Blades a chance to compete with the Canadiennes for a part, if not all, of the game today. I have that much faith in her abilities.

More than anything, it's amazing to see Jetta back in CWHL nets for the simple reason that it appeared she had been written off by the club after she didn't make the roster. At the time of publishing this, the Blades are already down 2-0 and are being outshot 14-2 at the first intermission. It could be much worse than 2-0, but Rackleff is standing in there against some of the greatest female hockey players to have ever worn skates.

Seeing #77 standing in the crease leads me to another Jerry Maguire quote: "I'm not letting you get rid of me. How about that?"

Welcome back, Jetta Rackleff!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 16 November 2018

You Want More Goalie Goals?

That guy in what appears to be a mugshot photo is Ian Scott. Ian's a goaltender for the WHL's Prince Albert Raiders, and he's a draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs who took him in the fourth round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Prince Albert is absolutely destroying the WHL this season as they're out to an 18-1-0 record with their only loss coming at the hands of the Red Deer Rebels way back on October 6. Since then, they've rattled off 11-straight wins, and Ian Scott is a big part of that as he's gone 15-1-0 thus far this season to be the WHL's best goaltender in this young season. Not bad for the Calgary-born netminder, right?

Well, whatever dominance Scott has shown in between the pipes may just take a backseat to his offensive abilities now. Scott hadn't recorded a point in any of his 16 games that he's appeared in this season, but he decided to announce his arrival as a dual threat in a big way against the Tri-City Americans tonight!

Down 2-1 in the third period against the Raiders, the Americans pulled the goalie for the extra attacker. And Scott, perhaps seeing what former WHL netminder Tristan Jarry did earlier this week, decided he wanted in on the goal-scoring action!
Scott's goal made it 3-1 for the Raiders as he collected the insurance goal in the game in helping the Raiders win their 12th consecutive game! While there may be celebrating tonight for Scott's first goal in the WHL, they can't get too wrapped up in the excitement as division rival and third-place Brandon Wheat Kings visit tomorrow night. How long can this win streak last? Can Scott start a scoring streak? We'll find out tomorrow!

On an aside, let me be the first to say that announcers who scream like the two men did when both Jarry and Scott scored need to check their calls at the door. It's a goalie goal, not the championship-winning goal. Have some fun with it. Celebrate it. Talk about it. But for the love of all things good in this world, stop screaming at the top of your lungs, ok? Ok.

Congratulations go out to Ian Scott and the Prince Albert Raiders! Not only do they extend the winning streak, but they make a little history while doing it as Scott becomes the eighth goalie in WHL history to net a puck! The list in the WHL includes:
  • Ian Scott (Prince Albert) vs Tri-City on November 16, 2018
  • Stuart Skinner (Lethbridge) vs Medicine Hat on March 19, 2016
  • Chris Driedger (Calgary) vs Kootenay - February 1, 2014
  • Jordan McLaughlin (Prince George) vs Vancouver - March 5, '03
  • Jason Clague (Red Deer) vs Lethbridge - March 28, 1994*
  • Jeff Calvert (Tacoma) vs Moose Jaw - December 29, 1992
  • Chris Osgood (Medicine Hat) vs Swift Current - January 3, 1991
  • Olaf Kolzig (Tri-City) vs Seattle - November 29, 1989
Note: The italicized game was a WHL playoff game.

For the winning streak, the Raiders have a little work to do to catch the Victoria Cougars as the Cougars put together a 24-game winning streak back on February 6, 1981 through October 9, 1981. They're halfway there with their win tonight over Tri-City, so maybe we'll see some more history made this season!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 15 November 2018

The Hockey Show - Episode 321

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, gets back to basics tonight as Beans returns from his absence, we chat all about the hockey stories coming from across the globe, and we have general insanity on the show once more. It's been a crazy week for me this week as I've been touring the city a little in efforts to meet two remarkable people in former NHL netminder Curtis Joseph and celebrity hockey fan Jay Baruchel! Both men were incredible people in speaking with them, and the doors were left open for a possible future appearance on The Hockey Show! Chances are they'll have a ton happening and won't be able to swing it, but you never know unless you ask, right?

Beans and I will unpack all the stories from the past week and dive into the heart of the matters on tonight's show! Among the topics we'll cover will be the reduction in the suspension to Tom Wilson, Josh Morrissey's bodyslam on TJ Oshie and why he should get the same punishment as Florida's Mike Matheson, Gavin McHale becoming a household name for one night, Tristan Jarry scoring a goal, Gary Bettman's zero interest in expanding the playoffs, Tanner Pearson and Carl Hagelin switching teams and jerseys, Blake Wheeler finding his game while wearing a moustache, the Bisons facing UBC, and much more! It should be a busy show tonight, so make sure you have your radio dial set to 101.5 FM or your internet browser set to at 5:30pm CT!

You might be wondering where the blurb about the UMFM app has gone. I'm going on record to say you can still use it, but the new UMFM website will fill the needs of our listeners because the new online streaming player is pretty awesome. If you're using an Apple device, the player doesn't seem to like Safari, but we highly recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store. The UMFM app will currently work for you, but there's some work being done to realign it with UMFM's new website, so it may go silent soon. If it does, TuneIn. It's a solid app.

I'm changing up the social media portion as well. I'm losing faith in Facebook, so that option will slowly be allowed to drift off into the horizon. However, the other options still work! Email all show questions and comments to! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter! We're here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz and Beans look at suspensions, suspension-worthy plays, goalies, sticking with 16 teams, trades, players making a difference, and much more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the web stream!

PODCAST: November 15, 2018: Episode 321

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Good Day For Goalies

It's Wednesday. It's Hump Day. It's November 14, but it's not a special day for most. I assume there are a swath of people in society who are celebrating a birthday or another special day, but the majority of the world didn't have anything remarkable to write home about regarding today. Well, hold on a second. There were a couple of people who had a very good day based on how the day went for them, and we need to talk a little about them due to their big days! Both men are goalies who have suited up in the NHL, but one guy had himself a great day in the AHL while another guy got to happily sit on the bench for the evening!

In an early AHL game as AHL teams invite school kids to the rink for the day, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins were up 3-1 late in their game against the Springfield Thunderbirds. Being down late sent Springfield goalie Michael Hutchinson to the bench for an extra attacker as the Thunderbirds tried to erase the two-goal deficit. And that's when Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry decided to take matters into his own hands.
Announcer screams aside on that video, Tristan Jarry scored his first goal as a goaltender in his professional hockey career today! Jarry became the 14th goaltender in the AHL's 83-year history to record a goal, and the ninth goaltender to physically shoot the puck the length of the ice to score a goal! I'd say that's a pretty awesome day for Jarry, right?

The 14 goalies who have etched their names into the AHL record book for being recorded as a goal scorer include:
  • Darcy Wakaluk, Rochester – Dec. 5, 1987 at Utica
  • Paul Cohen, Springfield – Mar. 28, 1992 vs. Rochester
  • Robb Stauber, Rochester – Oct. 9, 1995 at Prince Edward Island
  • Christian Bronsard, Syracuse – Oct. 30, 1999 at Rochester
  • Jean-Francois Labbe, Hartford – Feb. 5, 2000 at Quebec
  • Chris Mason, Milwaukee – Oct. 15, 2001 at Utah
  • Antero Niittymaki, Philadelphia – Apr. 11, 2004 at Hershey*
  • Seamus Kotyk, Milwaukee – Apr. 17, 2005 at San Antonio
  • Drew MacIntyre, Manitoba – Feb. 20, 2008 at Chicago*
  • Chris Holt, Binghamton – Mar. 19, 2010 vs. Rochester
  • Reto Berra, Lake Erie – Jan. 16, 2015 at Chicago
  • Jonas Gustavsson, Bakersfield – Mar. 24, 2017 vs. San Diego
  • Alex Nedeljkovic, Charlotte – Mar. 10, 2018 vs. Hartford
  • Tristan Jarry, W-B/Scranton – Nov. 14, 2018 at Springfield
The two starred goals scored by Niittymaki and MacIntyre were overtime goals, but Jarry didn't need that today as his goal helped the Penguins win the game 5-1 over Springfield!

From that cool story, we move to another great story. Well, unless you're Braden Holtby who missed tonight's game for the Capitals against the Winnipeg Jets with an upper-body injury. But as they say, when one door closes, another opens, and tonight that door opened for a gentleman by the name of Gavin McHale!

Gavin is the Winnipeg Jets' emergency goalie, so he gets to watch a lot of Jets games for free while he waits for the tap on his shoulder. Normally, Gavin wouldn't see the ice whatsoever from the vantage point to the right, but with Holtby injured and unable to play, McHale was sent down to the Washington Capitals' room to suit up and back-up Pheonix Copley in tonight's game! Donning jersey #41, McHale was able to get into the warm-up, face guys like Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Oshie as they prepared for the game, and he can now claim he's part of the reigning Stanley Cup champions!
Ironically, the first shooter that McHale faced tonight in warm-up was none other than Alex Ovechkin. And Ovechkin ripped a shot past McHale. Welcome to the NHL, kid.

The 31 year-old netminder is a former Portage Terrier of the MJHL and played in the WHL with the Seattle Thunderbirds, and he now works as a fitness coach when he's not on the ice training Lauren Taraschuk, Erin Fargey, and Devan Johnson of the Manitoba Bisons women's hockey team as their goaltending coach. McHale's been doing the emergency goalie thing for the Jets for a couple of seasons now, and his debut on national hockey in the US and Canada thanks to NBC and Sportsnet did not go unnoticed on social media!

Congratulations to Tristan Jarry for scoring his first goal, and Gavin McHale for blowing up the internet as a Washington Capital! Wednesday, November 14 was a pretty good day for goalies, it seems!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Make It Up As You Go

You may have heard, one day after the NHL issued a very light settlement with the players of the class-action lawsuit regarding head injuries, that the independent arbitrator looking into Tom Wilson's 20-game suspension following his check to the head of St. Louis' Oskar Sundqvist had reduced Wilson's suspension to 14 games, making him eligible to return to play today as well as restoring nearly $400,000 in salary to Wilson. That man, pictured to the left, is Shyam Das. He's the same man who reduced the suspension to Austin Watson following his domestic abuse allegation, and he was the same man fired by Major League Baseball shortly after overturning Ryan Braun's suspension after he was found to have used performance-enhancing drugs. It might be time for the NHL to look for another arbitrator after today's decision to reduce the 20 games to 14 games seems as arbitrary as pulling numbers from a lottery machine.

I have no words for the decision he came down with today, so I'll let Stephen Whyno tell you about how he came to the suspension-reducing decision.
I beg to differ on Das' opinion that the 20-game suspension "was not supported by substantial evidence". Pittsburgh's Zach Aston-Reese couldn't eat solid food all summer thanks to a broken jaw in last season's playoffs, Robert Thomas of the St. Louis Blues was the target of a late hit in the preseason, and Sammy Blais of the St. Louis Blues was driven into the boards by Wilson. All three instances drew suspensions, so the "substantial evidence" is clearly there. Or perhaps Das doesn't understand how suspensions work in the NHL.

I'm going with the latter.

In any case, Das then decided to impose his own mathematical equation in determining an appropriate suspension period with absolutely zero logic or reasoning behind the equation. As Whyno wrote in his tweet, Das "came to 14 for Wilson by treating 3-game playoff suspension as a 6-gamer, doubling it and adding 2 for Sundqvist injury." So, according to Das, the Aston-Reese hit counts as evidence, but the Thomas and Blais hits do not? Getting the double-credit for the playoff games is a good start, but why do the two games for Thomas not count and the four games for Blais not count? If you do the math, that's how the NHL came up with 20 games, so what evidence does Das provide that would negate the six games against the two Blues players?

None. Not one shred of evidence other than his personal feelings, apparently.

As per The Associated Press, Das was dismissed shortly following his overturning of Ryan Braun's 50-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs due to a technicality. They write,
Das decided in February to overturn the 50-game suspension of Braun for a positive drug test. Lawyers for the Milwaukee outfielder, the reigning NL MVP, argued that the collection procedures specified in baseball's drug agreement for the urine sample were not followed with Braun's sample last Oct. 1 because it was not immediately left at a Federal Express office.

The collector testified that because the sample was taken on a Saturday and could not have been shipped that day to the testing laboratory outside Montreal, he concluded the sample would be more secure at his home. He then took it to a FedEx office on the following Monday.

Baseball's drug agreement states that "absent unusual circumstances, the specimens should be sent by FedEx to the laboratory on the same day they are collected."

Management loudly and publicly disagreed with his decision.
Baseball decided that Das' ruling on Braun's suspension was outside the realm of integrity of the game regarding the use of performance-enhancing drugs and MLB's testing for them, and they relieved him of his duties within baseball in May 2012. While the lawyers for Braun may have been correct and Das was within his right as an arbitrator to reduce the suspension, Das seems to live in an alternate reality where his decisions can be attained through whatever means he deems important, and his decisions often undercut the integrity of the game and the league for whom he is working.

Reducing Wilson's suspension is garbage. He deserved the 20-game break for his repeated offences and his blatant disregard for both the rules of the game and safety of his colleagues in the NHLPA. While Capitals fans will be happy to get their high-priced power forward back, the NHL should be looking for a new arbitrator today after Das' ruling. His decision makes zero sense, he provides no evidence for reducing the suspension, and he completely disregards the suspensions assigned to Wilson for his garbage play in the preseason.

That's not how this process is supposed to work, and Das' track record of questionable decisions are bubbling to the surface. I guess if you don't have any hard evidence to prove that the suspension was overly harsh, you just make it up as you go along. At this point, I could be an arbitrator if all it takes is random math equations and ignoring previous incidents.

What a bunch of crap.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 12 November 2018

Steps Forward

On a day before Jayna Hefford will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, there was another major announcement that has, in my view, taken far too long to announce. This is not an indictment on the New York Islanders or MSG Networks in any way as their announcement shows serious progress, but the fact that this is major news seems like there's still an uphill battle being fought when it comes to putting smart, knowledgeable women in places of prominence regarding men's hockey. Let me be the first to say that MSG Networks has made an excellent personnel decision on this one.

Jennifer Botterill, three-time Olympic gold medalist, has agreed to join MSG Networks' coverage of the New York Islanders for the remainder of this season as a studio analyst, beginning with Tuesday night's game against the Canucks. She'll join AJ Mleczko, her former Harvard teammate, in the studio for approximately 20 games, as per Neil Best's Newsday story, and will be part of MSG Plus' coverage team alongside Shannon Hogan.

"I'm thrilled for the opportunity to join MSG Networks and the exceptional New York Islanders broadcast team," Botterill said in a statement. "It's a tremendous honor to be able to cover the Islanders, one of the NHL's iconic franchises, and work alongside the entire MSG Networks' Islanders family."

I, too, am thrilled for Jennifer as she has shown great insight and ability on broadcasts in the past on CBC, TSN, and Sportsnet, and I think she and Mleczko will bring a wealth of talent to the studio production for MSG Networks. This hiring is not only a good move when it comes to moving the needle in men's professional sports, but it shows that MSG Networks is interested in hiring the best analysts and people to make their broadcasts better regardless of gender.

"We are excited to have four-time Olympic medalist Jennifer Botterill join the MSG Networks family and bring her insightful analysis to our Islanders coverage this season," Jeff Filippi, MSG Networks Senior Vice President of Programming and Production and Executive Producer, made in a statement of his own. "Jennifer is an incredibly smart and dynamic broadcaster who will prove to be a perfect addition to our Islanders broadcast team."

As you may be aware, AJ Mleczko was in the broadcast booth for select Nashville Predators games last season where she was an analyst, so MSG Networks is putting together some of the best talent in the industry when it comes to female broadcasters. Having Botterill and Mleczko work side-by-side has me cheering not only for the two women, but for the Islanders going forward.

As you may be aware, all of the Manitoba Bisons women's hockey games have the play-by-play handled by former Bisons sniper Kyleigh Palmer, and there are things in the works to make our broadcasts even better with Kyleigh as the centerpiece of those future developments. As it stands, Kyleigh is the only female play-by-play broadcaster in Canada West this season, and UMFM and Bisons Sports are proud of the work she is doing. Make sure you tune in on UMFM or Canada West TV to hear her great calls this season!

Kudos to MSG Networks on getting one of the best in the business in Jennifer Botterill. That's a massive get when it comes to analysts, and I can't wait to hear her analyses on the Islanders!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 11 November 2018

The Rundown - Week 5

We're back at it this week as hockey resumes in Canada West. Manitoba, after Concordia got off to a slow start, found itself as the top-ranked team in the nation once again despite not playing last week, but the Alberta Pandas and Montreal Carabins remain in the hunt with their strong play. Of course, the Canada West standings could be all messed up if a couple of teams pulled off upsets this week, so let's get into the action as four weeks remain prior to the December break. With 24 points up for grabs for each team before the exam break, who will grab the reins and lead the conference into the break? All of this will be answered on The Rundown!

ALBERTA at REGINA: If there was ever a time to be talking about an unstoppable force, the work that Alex Poznikoff and Autumn MacDougall are doing for the Alberta Pandas might be a perfect definition. These two talented forwards are 1-2 in scoring again this season, and they decided to run wild all over the Cougars on Friday night. The game started off with Alberta pressing and making life difficult for the Cougars while being stingy on the defensive side. Regina tried to keep up, but a late power-play was awarded to Alberta after Kaitlyn Crowe was whistled for tripping. On the ensuing power-play, Alex Poznikoff's initial shot was stopped by Jane Kish, but the rebound fell to Danielle Hardy who buried the puck behind Kish at 16:53 to give Alberta the first-period lead.

MacDougall and Poznikoff decided to put on a bit a passing display with linemate Kennedy Ganser in the second period, resulting in the Pandas' second goal of the game. Ganser was on the receiving end of the setup as she slid a puck past Kish to make it 2-0 at the 6:22 mark. Without stating the obvious, Alberta seemingly was in control through the first two periods in terms of possession time and offensive zone time, and that translated into a 16-5 advantage in shots and a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes.

A turnover near the start of the period saw Poznikoff break in alone on Kish and dent twine behind her at 3:48 to make it 3-0, and MacDougall fired a wrist shot home off a Poznikoff feed at 5:34 to make it 4-0 for Alberta. While Regina brought everything they could to the ice in the third period in terms of shots, rebounds were smothered or cleared away in front of Dayna Owen as she held the fort in a 4-0 Pandas victory on a night where Poznkioff collected four points while MacDougall had three. Owen stopped all 15 shots for her third win and second shutout of the season while Kish stopped 20 shots in the loss.

ALBERTA at REGINA: After Alberta stymied all of Regina's attack one night earlier, could the Cougars bounce back and give the Pandas fits? In a much more even first period, the Cougars went step-for-step with the Pandas. Chances were had by both sides, but Alberta's Halle Oswald and Regina's Morgan Baker were perfect through 20 minutes with Regina holding a 6-4 edge in shots.

And then the wheels fell off. With Shaelyn Vallotton still sitting in the penalty box from a late tripping call in the first period, Alberta's Autumn MacDougall fired home a shot that caromed off a body to her in the right circle just 39 seconds into the middle frame for the 1-0 lead. Eight minutes later, Alex Poznikoff got back in on the scoring as she picked up a loose puck off a dump-in by the Pandas and fired a backhander at the net. Baker kicked the backhander aside, but the rebound went to Kennedy Ganser and she buried it past Baker at 8:25 to make it a 2-0 Pandas lead. Late in the period, that Poznikoff-MacDougall duo went in on a two-on-one with Poznikoff feeding MacDougall a gorgeous pass that she converted easily at 16:53, and the Pandas took a 3-0 lead to the second intermission.

The third period went much the same way the second period did. Cayle Dillon's point shot took a funny hop to get over Baker's pad and into the net at 7:56 while Kiara Machry hit an empty net at 18:31 to give Alberta the 5-0 victory. Halle Oswald recorded her second win and second shutout of the season in stopping all 14 shots she faced while Morgan Baker suffered the loss in this one.

LETHBRIDGE at MANITOBA: This one started off seemingly fine before the bottom fell out for one team. Sheridan Oswald tipped an Erica Rieder shot past Alicia Anderson at 4:45 to put the home side up early, but the tides began to turn as the period progressed with Manitoba carrying more of possession play and outshooting Lethbridge 8-3 in the frame.

And then things just went south for Lethbridge in the final 30 minutes of this game. Erin Kucheravy scored at 10:29 before Alison Sexton put on a bit of a clinic in splitting a pair of forwards to set up a three-on-two where she kept while skating towards the left face-off dot before zipping a wrist shot inside the far post on a great individual effort to make it 3-0 at 16:29. Sexton wasn't done, though, as she converted a rebound kicked into the slot by Anderson off a perfectly-placed shot by Karissa Kirkup to force the rebound, and Manitoba had a 4-0 lead through two periods.

The third period was the Jordy Zacharias show as she set the conference record for the fastest hat trick! She scored on a shorthanded breakaway at 2:44, added a second goal as she finished off a Sheridan Oswald pass on a two-on-one at 8:37 that ended Anderson's evening in the blue paint, and then chipped in the hat-trick goal past Jessica Lohues at 9:22 to make it 7-0 for Manitoba! Sheridan Oswald added an eighth Manitoba goal at 13:04 to put the cap on the scoring as the Bisons skated past the Pronghorns by an 8-0 margin. Lauren Taraschuk was tested a few times, but denied all 12 shots she faced for her sixth win and first shutout of the season. Alicia Anderson suffered the loss in making 18 stops on 24 attempts. Jessica Lohues made three stops on five shots in her 11:23 of relief work.

As a note, the Zacharias hat trick in 6:38 broke the record held by Saskatchewan's Shelby Davey of 9:17. Shelby set her mark against UBC back on February 11, 2012 in a 9-2 rout of the Thunderbirds, but there's a new mark for players to aim for as Jordy Zacharias adds her name to the record books! Congratulations, Jordy!

LETHBRIDGE at MANITOBA: It was expected that Lethbridge would respond in a big way on Saturday following the hammering they took at the hands of the Bisons one night earlier. Would it be hard to believe that the Pronghorns would open the scoring? That's exactly what happened as Kyra Greig's shot went to the left of Devan Johnson, but it hit Alli Borrow's skate and ended up at the top of the crease where Brett Campbell was standing. Moments later, the puck as in the Manitoba net, Campbell was celebrating, and the Pronghorns led this game 1-0 on her power-play at 9:33 of the first period. Minutes later on a power-play of their own, it appeared that Natasha Kostenko's wrap-around attempt flipped up and over Jessica Lohues' left pad and ended up in the net, but the official scorers somehow awarded this goal to Jenai Buchanan. You be the judge.
Regardless of who scored, Manitoba had tied the game 1-1, and the two teams would still knotted up at that score through the rest of the period.

The first period was a physical one with many hits and five minor penalties handed out, and the fun continued in the second period as the physicality remained high. Four minor penalties would be called, but neither team was successful on their power-play attempts in this period, so we'd move to the third period to find a resolution to this 1-1 game.

Both teams settled in to play a little hockey in the third period with chances at either end, but it would be Manitoba who broke the stalemate late. Émilie Massé chipped a puck in deep, and Madison Cole recovered it and centered a pass that was corraled by Erin Kucheravy who went high on the far side on Lohues.
Kucheravy's second of the weekend at 15:15 put Manitoba up 2-1, and Lethbridge had to press if they wanted any chance at points this weekend. However, that would be all for naught as the most dangerous Bison versus the Pronghorns in the last two seasons struck once again for the Bisons.
Jordy Zacharias struck again on the backhand after dangling a defender out of her skates, and the Bisons led 3-1 at 16:15. Lohues would head to the bench a short time later, and Manitoba's Lauryn keen would ice it with an empty-netter at 17:46 as the Manitoba Bisons earn a 4-1 victory over the Lethbridge Pronghorns! Devan Johnson picked up her first U SPORTS win in her first U SPORTS start in stopping 11 of 12 shots while Jessica Lohues took the loss despite making 36 saves on this night.

UBC at SASKATCHEWAN: Two of the favorites to win Canada West met in Saskatoon on Friday as the Thunderbirds visited the Huskies. In a surprise, Saskatchewan started rookie Camryn Drever over Jessica Vance while UBC went with Amelia Boughn. Would this decision come back to haunt them?

UBC had some excellent chances in the first period, but between Drever and the posts there were no goals scored by the Thunderbirds. At the other end, the chances weren't as glorious, but the Huskies put together a solid period of pressure thanks to a pair of power-play opportunities. The score would remain 0-0, though, as both Boughn and Drever did their parts despite UBC holding a 9-8 edge in shots.

The second period started with an Amelia Boughn save off a Chloe Smith breakaway, and that seemed to energize the Thunderbirds as they opened the scoring off the strength of that save. UBC came back down the ice, and Brie Bellerive's wrist shot found room past a screen and Camryn Drever to put the T-Birds up 1-0 at 4:58! That score seemed to spark the Huskies because they came back two minutes later when Shyan Elias fed Bailee Bourassa in front of Boughn, and she snapped a shot past Boughn at 7:13 to square the game at 1-1! The Thunderbirds would reclaim the lead late, though, as Hannah Clayton-Carroll found Emily Costales with a pass, and Costales drop-passed the puck to Mathea Fischer who went high glove-side on Drever at 18:08 to send the T-Birds to the intermission with the 2-1 lead!

Chloe Smith turned on the skill and speed as she went end-to-end on a rush during an early power-play, and she zipped a shot past Boughn at 5:09 to make it a 2-2 game! The two teams traded chances throughout the period with both netminders coming up big, but it would be UBC who would jump ahead with five minutes to play. Ashley McFadden sent Emily Costales in alone on Drever, and she went bar-down on the netminder to make it 3-2 at the 15:38 mark! But Saskatchewan was far from done as Abby Shirley scooped up a loose puck and found Shyan Elias with the pass, and Elias' shot while shorthanded got past Boughn to make it 3-3 at 18:21! The final horn would sound with no winner, so we were off to extra time!

The first overtime period was exciting, but nothing happened with regards to the score so it was off to the six-player overtime period. It would be here where Kayla Kirwan found some room as she broke into the UBC zone and slipped the puck past Boughn at 2:20 of the fifth period for the 4-3 Saskatchewan double-overtime victory! Camryn Drever made 32 stops for her second victory of her career while Amelia Boughn made 20 stops in the overtime loss.

Yes, I will always post a Saskatchewan goal scorer on these recaps because I love that Saskatchewan did this.

UBC at SASKATCHEWAN: The rematch went Saturday with UBC needing a regulation win to keep pace with the Huskies. Saskatchewan was looking to extend their winning streak, so it was no surprise that UBC went with Tory Micklash while Saskatchewan responded with Jessica Vance.

It would Saskatchewan who struck first in this one as Kayla Kirwan kept her strong weekend going with a blast from the point while on an early power-play that found the twine behind Micklash to put the Huskies up 1-0 just 7:00 in. However, the T-Birds roared right back as Hannah Koroll found the puck in a scramble in front of Vance and went upstairs with a wrist shot on the netminder at 9:38 to even the score at 1-1. The teams would trade chances in the latter half of the period, but we'd go to the intermission knotted up at a goal apiece.

And we'd stay that way through the second and third periods as the two netminders went save for save as they stared down shooters. You know what that means - more overtime! Both teams had chances and it seemed like we might be headed for more three-on-three, but the T-Birds would end this game with less than ten seconds to play in the first overtime period. Hannah Clayton-Carroll found the puck in a mad scramble in front of Vance as she was down on the ice, and she poked the puck across the goal line from her knees at 4:53 as she celebrated victory in helping UBC win this game by a 2-1 overtime score! Tory Micklash stopped 28 shots for her fourth win of the season while Jessica Vance suffered a rare loss despite making 30 saves on the night.

She didn't score the winner, but Shyan Elias has a solid GIF game.

MOUNT ROYAL at CALGARY: The battle of Calgary took place this weekend with a home-and-home series between the two Calgary-based clubs as part of the Crowchild Classic. The first game was hosted by the Dinos as they welcomed the Cougars to Father David Bauer Arena. And the home side hit the scoreboard first as Paige Michalenko snapped the scoreless drought by the Dinos with her long shot from the point.
That scoreless drought for Calgary lasted some 272:18 of play for the Dinos with their last goal coming off the stick of Sara Craven at 14:19 of the second period against Saskatchewan way back on October 13. Calling that a "big goal" may not even scratch the surface on how big it was. It nearly held as the only goal of the period if it weren't for a late power-play for Mount Royal. The Cougars would even the score before the end of the period when Breanne Trotter fired a laser wrist shot high on Kelsey Roberts while on the power-play at 17:57, and the teams would go into the intermission tied 1-1.

The power-play would benefit the Cougars in the second period as well. Midway through the frame, Nicolette Seper set up the give-and-go with Daria O'Neill, allowing Seper to zip a wrist shot past Roberts at 10:31 to put Mount Royal out in front by a 2-1 score. The Dinos would respond, though, as Delaney Frey does the work and Rachel Paul gets the benefit as she beats Zoe De Beauville.
That goal at 16:43 tied the game at 2-2, and we'd head to the third period with that score intact.

In the third period, the teams were a little more cautious than they had previously played, but it would Calgary who jumped ahead midway through the period. Rachel Paul walked out of the corner with the puck and put an innocent backhand shot on net, and it somehow eluded De Beauville.
I'm not sure how that puck got by De Beauville, but the Calgary Dinos took the lead on Paul's second of the game at 10:59. The Cougars, needing a goal, mounted some furious offensive sequences in the final nine minutes, but Kelsey Roberts stood tall in the Dinos' net to preserve the victory as Calgary wins their first game of the season by a 3-2 score! Roberts earned the victory with a 37-save effort while Zoe De Beauville took the loss on a night where she made 24 stops.

CALGARY at MOUNT ROYAL: The second half of this Crowchild Classic weekend went at Flames Community Arena as the Cougars hosted the Dinos on Saturday. The ice seemed tilted against the home side with three penalties called on the Cougars in the first period, but Mount Royal held tough and kept the Dinos at bay. Calgary held a significant 10-4 edge in shots, but the 0-0 score held firm as both Mount Royal's Zoe De Beauville and Calgary's Kelsey Roberts squared off for the second consecutive night.

It would be on Mount Royal's third power-play where we'd see our first goal as the Cougars added another power-play goal to their season's total. Breanne Trotter potted her second goal of the weekend in beating Roberts at 13:02, putting Mount Royal up 1-0. The Dinos weren't content to go into the third period down a goal, so they turned to their fantastic rookie in Elizabeth Lang whose shot eluded De Beauville at 19:08 as the Dinos made it a 1-1 game through 40 minutes of play.

The third period saw both teams throw caution to the wind as there were all sorts of scrambles and battles in front of the nets and goaltenders, but no goals were found until late in the period. Tatum Amy swept a puck past Kelsey Roberts at the 14:33 mark, and the home side was up 2-1! The push for goals from both sides continued, and Calgary added some extra heat as Roberts went to the bench for the extra attacker with 1:14 to play, but neither side could find another marker as the Cougars took the second game by the 2-1 score! De Beauville picked up her third win of the season after making 27 stops while Roberts made 17 stops in the loss.

School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
23 28 7
vs LET
23 32 12
19 16 12
vs MRU
British Columbia
18 23 15
vs MAN
13 18 27
10 13 24
Mount Royal
10 14 27
4 8 28
vs REG

The Last Word

There's something to be said for the Calgary Dinos when it comes to not scoring goals.

Look, I like the Dinos. I think they have the talent to be a team that competes for a playoff spot, and I'm not sure why they seem to be the team that annually treats their fans to weeks or months at a time without scoring a goal.

Last season, the Dinos went 410:25 without scoring a goal, and they put up another 272:18 this season without denting twine. That's 11 games and a period in the last 38 games where they've failed to score despite having some solid talent. I don't have any explanation for this phenomenon, but when the Dinos, as a team, have only scored 30 goals in 38 games over the last two seasons, something has to give when it comes to their anemic offence.

In comparison, the Bisons have already scored 32 goals this season in 10 games. Lethbridge, who finished in last-place last season, scored ten more goals than the Dinos all season long. The Dinos, in their own right, scored 42 goals in 2016-17, so it's not like they've been this impotent in the offensive zone for a long time. There just seems to be something not right when it comes to how the offence is rolling over the last 38 games.

I do know that Elizabeth Lang might be the scorer that Calgary has been searching for as her four goals accounts for half the team's offensive output right now. Lang had a strong series against Manitoba in the opening weekend, and I was very impressed with her play. If the Dinos can get a few more players stepping up - Chelsea Court, Annaliese Meier, Delaney Frey - they can be a dangerous team. All three of those players have the ability to score a lot of goals, but they just don't. Why? I'm not sure.

Maybe it's a coaching issue or a systemic issue or a combination of the two, but no one has this much bad "puck luck" when it comes to the lack of scoring that the Dinos possess. We saw them score four goals this weekend against Mount Royal - statistically, the worst defensive team next to Calgary - and maybe that's the panacea that they need to get off this lack of goal-scoring. They'll play a Regina team who has given up as many goals as Mount Royal this season - one less than Calgary - so there might be a pile of goals on the horizon yet.

Whatever the case may be, we need a stronger Dinos team in Canada West to really make playoff races interesting. If the same six teams continually make the playoffs, it's not as much fun when all eight teams are in the hunt right through until February. Let's go, Dinos!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Don Cherry Tickles The Ivory

It's as much as Saturday night institution as Hockey Night in Canada is. Every week, and more often in the playoffs, Ron MacLean sits next to Don Cherry as he leads the octogenarian through topics upon which the former head coach choose to opine. Sometimes, he's funny with his commentary. Sometimes, he controversial with his views. At the end of the day however, it's his hand gestures I want to focus on because someone went off the board and made an amazing video of Don Cherry.

I hadn't seen this until someone pointed it out to me yesterday at work, but YouTube user "RBFlicks" posted this magnificent two minutes of hilarity in 2011. Somehow, it has eluded me, but we were talking about Don Cherry yesterday at work when someone brought this up. And I couldn't stop laughing.
Yes, RBFlicks decided to use Don's hand gestures and desk touches to add a little music to Coach's Corner. The fact that RBFlicks coordinates hand movements with piano keys shows just how much he or she paid attention to Don's hands, but I think one comment on the YouTube video sums this up nicely for all of us:

You can catch Don Cherry on Coach's Corner tonight on Hockey Night in Canada. Whether or not RBFlicks makes more of these matters not. The video posted above, as Don Cherry would say, is a BEAUTY!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 9 November 2018

Hockey Stick Or Nine-Iron?

That picture above was from the 1962 Stanley Cup Final when the Toronto Maple Leafs knocked off the defending Stanley Cup champions in the Chicago Blackhawks by a 4-2 margin in the best-of-seven series. It was a series marked by very few close wins as only two of the six games was decided by one goal whereas three games were decided by three goals or more. Dick Duff's third goal of the playoffs on the power-play at 14:14 of the third period was the Stanley Cup-winning goal in Game Six's 2-1 victory for the Leafs, and the celebration ensued above. The players enjoyed their summers, and it would be back to work in September for most as the new season would begin on October 10.

1962 was a long way from 2018 when players begin work for the next season seemingly the day after their season is over in the previous year. Players still smoked if they wanted. There was some money for stars, but most made meagre wages comparatively to future generations. And for a vast majority of players, they'd go off to tend to their second jobs or their farms while they counted down the days until the next season.

After winning the Stanley Cup in 1962, imagine your excitement in receiving the following letter in your mailbox! Clicking on the letter will make it readable. Note that this has been going around for some time on social media with names attached, but I am removing the names and notes off the letter since I received this from a third-party.
I found this letter to be a bit comical considering what we know now, but the reality was far different prior to the expansion in 1967 and the WHA's impact on player wages. The "old days" of the NHL really were a different time altogether.

Training camp at the start of September in a neutral location is nothing new. It keeps players away from their normal hangouts during the season and keeps distractions usually to a minimum, so having the Leafs set up camp on September 7 in Peterborough is nothing ground-breaking.

The Empress Hotel as the site of the Leafs' orientation camp is somewhat notable. According to this article, "[t]he Empress suffered so much damage in a disastrous fire in 1956 that what was left was demolished. Another hotel building rose from the ashes," and it seems the Leafs took advantage of the modern amenities in the new hotel. Physical examinations - basically height and weight measurements - were done between 9am and noon, giving the players ample time to arrive at the hotel. Lunch would be served at 1pm, players would head over to the rink - likely the Peterborough Memorial Center which opened in 1956 - to get sized up for equipment, and then could skate off the lunch they just ate in a brand-new, modern arena.

It's is this third paragraph where things go in a different direction than what we know about modern training camps. Yes, golf expeditions can happen when guys agree to meet days prior to training camps, but that's beyond rare nowadays. However, the Leafs made golf "a must in the training camp schedule". I'm quite certain teams today would never make golf a "must" during camps whatsoever. But on the bright side, their choice of the Kawartha Golf Club is a good one, though, as Kawartha is a top-notch facility when it come to the golf experience. Maybe the current-era Leafs need to take a flyer here?

I chuckled at "in view of the fact that nearly all players have cars" as that just seems like a preposterous statement today, but 1962 still saw players with wages more akin to what grand prizes on scratch tickets are today. The fact that the Leafs were willing to provide train transportation to Peterborough - again, another sign of the times - is a pretty cool thing to do in 1962.

If there's one statement that may have proved that this training camp system worked, it's the statement in the fifth paragraph that reads, "we will show everybody that we deserve it and intend to keep it." If you're up on your NHL history, the Leafs indeed repeated as Stanley Cup champions in 1962-63. Not bad for a little golf and the same physical education class most children get nowadays.

Alerting the players with one month to go in the summer that they are not to more than seven pounds over their playing weight made me chuckle. Most of the time, these guys used training camp to get back into shape, so the read-between-the-lines message here might be "hope you didn't get fat". Nonetheless, the 20 push ups, 20 sit ups, and 30 knee bends sounds like a helluva plyometric workout in 1962. The fact that the Leafs went on to win the Stanley Cup for the second year in row might be proof positive that less is more when it comes to hockey. Or not. I could be wrong here.

I love the warning about the competition on the club. Rookies may take your job, veterans, so "be ready for the competition and not sorry". Love it. That's some solid "Punch" Imlach motivation. Also, the part about being better conditioned to avoid injuries is a little crazy as well as the Montreal Canadiens suffered through injuries all season long and were brushed aside by the Maple Leafs in the 1963 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Maybe this Imlach character was onto something regarding summer conditioning?

"Let's make this another profitable year with a big playoff split." This is a seemingly nice way of asking the players to try and have another two-round playoff year. Forget defending the Stanley Cup - he mentioned that above - let's go get another pay day, boys!

It was a different time back in 1962. Training camps were entirely different than they are today. It's amazing how much the game has changed in 50 years when you consider that smoking was allowed, drinking post-game happened almost always, and golfing was a mandatory part of training camp.

Stick-tap to Richard for sending me the letter!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 8 November 2018

The Hockey Show - Episode 320

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, will be down a man tonight as Beans has some fatherly duties to perform at the ol' homestead. In saying that, Teebz has gone out and scoured the country to find a co-host or two tonight. In Beans' place tonight will be two of the finest hockey minds that this world has seen. or maybe you haven't seen, but you probably should because they are talented. That means spending an evening or an afternoon or both at Wayne Fleming Arena because two players from the University of Manitoba Bisons women's team will sit in with myself tonight and opine on all the biggest hockey stories from the past week!

Teebz will be joined by Jordyn Zacharias and Alanna Sharman this week as they look at all the major stories that came out of hockey. They'll discuss the Brendan Lemieux suspension and whether two games was enough for incident, concussions and protecting the head in general in hockey, the Ottawa Senators and their Uber ride, privacy as a player and whether the two ladies enjoy the attention of fans and media, the Bisons women's team host the Lethbridge Pronghorns while the men travel to southern Alberta, the 4 Nations Cup is happening in Saskatoon, and we'll see if the ladies agree with assistant coach Rob Voth on where he'd like to see the team in the standings at the December break. All this and more on tonight's edition of The Hockey Show at 5:30pm CT!

You might be wondering where the blurb about the UMFM app has gone. I'm going on record to say you can still use it, but the new UMFM website will fill the needs of our listeners because the new online streaming player is pretty awesome. If you're using an Apple device, the player doesn't seem to like Safari, but we highly recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store. The UMFM app will currently work for you, but there's some work being done to realign it with UMFM's new website, so it may go silent soon. If it does, TuneIn. It's a solid app.

I'm changing up the social media portion as well. I'm losing faith in Facebook, so that option will slowly be allowed to drift off into the horizon. However, the other options still work! Email all show questions and comments to! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter! We're here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz sits down with University of Manitoba Bisons women's players Alanna Sharman and Jordy Zacharias as we discuss suspensions, concussions, privacy, this weekend's games, the international games being played, and much more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the web stream!

PODCAST: November 8, 2018: Episode 320

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Midweek Hovi Hit

The woman to the left? Not Venla Hovi. That woman in the picture is Finnish defender Ronja Savolainen, and the reason she's leading off this Venla Hovi piece is because I love the uniforms being worn by Finland at this year's Four Nations Cup. Specifically, I love these blue road uniforms sported by the Finns as the jerseys look and feel European with the logos and the sponsors on the sweater, and it feels out of place against the Canadian, American, and Swedish uniforms that we've seen in the tournament. Anyway, we're not here for jerseys. Let's move on.

Venla Hovi is playing for Finland at the Four Nations Cup this week, and she opened the scoring today against Sweden from what is quickly becoming her signature goal.
Hovi as the trailer swooped in on that rebound and unleashed the clap-bomb from the slot to rip it past Maria Omberg in the Sweden net. If you recall, Venla scored a similar goal against the Worcester Blades as the late entry into the zone where she hammered a puck past Mariah Fujimagari. It's great to see Venla doing well on the international stage this season, and here's hoping the Finns can pull an upset on the Americans to really shake things up. Yes, it's highly unlikely, but the US has lost to European teams before!

If Finland can get back some of their big guns who are battling a stomach virus, things should go better than they did against Canada. Hovi will need to be a big part of the offence for Finland if they hope to knock the Americans off, but she's never not risen to the challenge when given the opportunity. She'll give you everything she has in the tank, and that's why we love her here in Manitoba!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

You Can't Say That On TV

When Postmedia posted the video and broke the story last night of six Ottawa Senators players having a rather unsavoury discussion about their team inside an Uber vehicle, my initial reaction was shock. Not shock towards what the players had said, but shock in how this video was posted by someone on YouTube. I don't know the laws on what can and can't be posted without someone's consent, but it seemed like posting this video went well beyond anything considered morally and ethically acceptable. While I get that this video contained some rather juicy information for news outlets to salivate over, should the Ottawa Senators be forced to address another public relations disaster because some Uber driver in Phoenix, Arizona thought it would be a good idea to embarrass a few hockey players?

In an article posted on TSN's website today by Ian Mendes, it seems the Senators were aware of the video after the person who posted said video contacted media outlets in Ottawa through social media with a link to the YouTube snippet. I would assume that the reporters and outlets that were contacted turned around and made inquiries to the Senators about the video, prompting Ottawa to contact Uber to have the video removed and kick-starting meetings with players and staff to address the video.

"As soon as it came to our knowledge we addressed it right away. We knew about this well before it went public. We discussed it internally and we took care of it," goaltender Craig Anderson told Mendes. Kudos to the Senators for not only addressing it before the story hit the public forum, but for allowing the players involved to work through what could have been an embarrassing situation for both the team and those six players.

"We dealt with this long before this video was released," Mark Stone added. "As a coaching staff, as management and as players is dealt with internally the way it should be. And we're going to move forward and grow from it."

Rob Khazzam, General Manager of Uber Canada, tweeted out the following last night.
Whiel I appreciate the GM of Uber Canada coming out and stating that Uber was ensuring that the video was removed, but I can't help but feel like this might be the first of many incidents if Uber doesn't make a concerted effort to put in policies and punishments for those that violate these terms of service.

At what point do public figures get moments of privacy? While I wouldn't say it's of the same nature as the Uber driver's violation above, I've seen fans ask celebrities for autographs or pictures while they've been eating or shopping or out on their own. And while most celebrities will give in to these requests to avoid some sort of backlash, why is it that people can't respect boundaries when it comes to celebrities having some non-public time?

I know that's a philosophical quandary that has no right answer for some, but the conversation in question among Senators players was not for public consumption. Yes, the Uber driver has every right to use a camera in his or her vehicle for safety purposes, but to use that camera to record and posr a TMZ-esque story on players who are blowing off some steam after a 5-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes is just bad form.

Some of the media weighed in on the situation, and they expressed disgust regarding the posting of this video of what was supposed to be a private conversation.
As the world changes daily with more and more smartphones that have cameras on them get into more hands, privacy will become a bigger issue. Recording someone on Snapchat without their authorization can happen at any time, so it's already happening today and you may not even know. This move by the Uber driver certainly will make professional athletes think twice when it comes to interactions with Uber, Lyft, or taxi cab drivers in the future, and I hope there's some serious thought and effort put into ensuring that this is the last incident like this inside an Uber, Lyft, or taxi-like vehicle.

In the end, I believe there may be a lot less conversation with professional athletes for Uber, Lyft, and taxi cab drivers. It's unfortunate that someone had to go and do something rather stupid when players were goofing off in a car, but that's the reality we live in when it comes to having cameras everywhere now.

It gives one a lot to think about when it comes to one's privacy on a daily basis.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 5 November 2018

Send Him Far, Far Away

Blatent. Unnecessary. Intentional. Stupid. Idiotic. Dumb. All of these words are appropriate when describing the very obvious, very intended check to Vincent Trocheck's head that Brendan Lemieux threw in the second game of the Finland showcase. There was no doubt that a suspension was coming the moment Lemieux threw the hit, leaving the only question as how long would said suspension be. A large portion of the Jets' fans on social media wanted to see the punishment be harsh to ensure that Lemieux wouldn't find his way back into the lineup, so it was all up to the Department of Player Safety to swing the hammer of justice.

Let's review this hit that Lemieux threw on Trocheck.
I'm still speechless at that. Lemieux didn't even try to line up Trocheck's body. He legitimately went for his head no matter how many times you watch the video. There is no room for "I tried..." in this situation. Lemieux targeted Trocheck's head as the only point of contact, meaning his intention was entirely clear from the moment he zeroed in on Trocheck.

What was the Department of Player Safety's response?
Two games? That's it?

As a result, Lemieux will forfeit $9023.30 as a result of the suspension, but the two games he'll sit and watch seems hardly appropriate when one considers the phrasing used by the Department of Player Safety. The video stated,
"It is important to note that the head is the main point of contact on this hit and that the head contact on this hit was avoidable," the department said. "If Lemieux wants to deliver this check, he must take an angle of approach that hits through Trocheck's shoulder and core rather than picking his head and making it the main point of contact."
If the head was the target and the hit was avoidable, I'd be inclined to throw the book at Lemieux. However, thanks to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, two games seems to be the maximum suspension they could serve based on the fact that Lemieux has no prior history of a fine or a suspension.

Here's where things should pivot dramatically. The Winnipeg Jets should exile Lemieux to the furthest place from the NHL they can find. Not the AHL, not the ECHL, but some place where any future of an NHL job is seriously in doubt. His dad played over in China, so maybe the Jets assign Lemieux to the China Sharks for a little conditioning?

Whatever the decision on Lemieux is, he may have cost himself an NHL career. There's no way a coach will trust him on the ice if he goes and does stupid things like the hit on Trocheck, and that five-minute major was the break the Panthers needed to take control of the game in Helsinki. Coaches don't forget those kinds of things, so Lemieux is going to have to light up the AHL and look like the second coming of Gordie Howe if he hopes to rebuild any sort of trust with the coaches and fans.

Claude Lemieux is a liability at this point in his career. The Jets would be wise to divest themselves of this problem as soon as they can. Bury him in the minors. Trade him for a bag of used sock tape. Whatever the decision is, just make sure he's not wearing a Jets logo ever again.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 4 November 2018

The Rundown - Bye Week

Canada West in on a conference bye this week, so there won't be any recaps or highlights to post of goals or saves. Instead, The Rundown will take a look at a pile of things that you may not know about some of the athletes that are playing or have played at the Canada West women's hockey level. This will be a mostly informative post as I take a look at a handful of stories, so buckle up as we get you edu-ma-cated on this week's edition of The Rundown!!

Where Is She From? - Regina

If you haven't been keeping up with recent international player trends in Canada West, it seems there are a pile of international players in the conference this year. We'll start in Regina where they're representing the Czech Republic with Martina Maskova being joined by Adela Juzkova this season. Maskova is in her second season of play with Regina coming out of the town of Teplice (Te-PLEET-say) after being born in Usti nad Labem (Oo-STEE-nad-lab-em) while Juzkova made the leap from her hometown of Dobrichovice (Doe-BREEK-hove-its-say). If the cities of Teplice and Usti sounds familiar, former NHLer Robert Lang is from Teplice while Milan Hejduk and Michal Neuvirth hail from Usti.

In any case, Maskova scored a goal and added four helpers in her rookie season last year, but she has showed great potential. She has speed and hands, but needs to play a slightly more physical game in the offensive zone if she wants to score at the international level for the Czech Republic. In eight games this season, she has already scored and is an effective checking forward with her speed, and I suspect that head coach Sarah Hodges has bigger plans in shutting down some of the Canada West stars in coming years. Internationally, Maskova has recorded just one goal at three Women's World Junior Championships, but helped the squad capture bronze at the 2014 tournament in Budapest, Hungary.

Juzkova, on the other hand, has been playing all sorts of hockey for her country. She was a member of the 2018 Czech inline team that won a silver medal at the 2018 Inline Hockey World Championship - yes, that's the same one where Jetta Rackleff won a gold medal! She was part of the Czech team that won the gold medal at U20 Ball Hockey World Cup that saw them go undefeated. She was part of the Czech Republic squad at the U18 Women's World Championship as well. At home, she played in the Czech women's league for HC Slavia Praha, the same team that Maskova played with before going to Regina. And now Juzkova will suit up with the Regina Cougars as well.

Juzkova brings some solid speed and tenacity to the lineup. As I was witness to in the preseason, she likes to go to the net and she's not afraid to shoot. Maskova may have more speed than Juzkova, but the latter will still win footraces if given the opportunity to skate. Juzkova has scored one goal this season, but I'm liking the rookie's character and abilities when it comes to playing a more North American game and I see her doing well as she settles into Canadian university life.

If Sarah Hodges has a pipeline into Czech hockey, she may unearth some solid talent from the European country as the Czech national team looks to improve at every level.

Where Is She From? - Edmonton

If the name "Alex Gowie" doesn't sound very foreign, it's partly because it's not. While Gowie was born in Durban, Republic of South Africa, she actually grew up in Vernon, BC where she discovered hockey and ultimately suited up for the prestigious Okanagan Hockey Academy. From there, Gowie was recruited by the Calgary Dinos and began her U SPORTS career in 2011-12.

You might be looking at those years and be thinking, "How is this young lady a part of the Alberta Pandas? And why is Teebz writing about a Canadian?" Well, there's a story to that.

Gowie was part of the CIS champion Calgary Dinos team as a rookie in 2011-12 when the team featured the likes of Hayley Wickenheiser and Iya Gavrilova, but it was in 2013-14 when rookie Kitti Trencsényi joined the team from Budapest and planted the seed in Gowie's mind to give Hungary some thought. Gowie told Women's Hockey Life,
"I didn't really know what I wanted to do with my degree, I just wanted a change," Gowie said. "One of the girls that played on the team was from Hungary [Kitti Trencsényi] and it was her first year on the team. She was going to leave after and she encouraged me to go over [to Europe] and so I went over there and played in Hungary."

Originally signed for one year with KMH Budapest, Gowie was invited to the Hungarian national team's training camps and was encouraged to return to KMH Budapest for a second year and a chance to obtain Hungarian citizenship. While Gowie moved on to a new team and country after two years in Budapest, she eventually became a Hungarian citizen and officially joined the national team program.
Alex Gowie, born in South Africa and raised on Canada's west coast, is officially a Hungarian citizen!

After spending two seasons with KMH Budapest, Gowie moved onto HC Spisska Nová Ves in Slovakia in 2016 before joining the EV Bozen Eagles in Italy for the 2017-18 season. With two years of eligibility left on her U SPORTS transcript, Gowie made the jump back to North America where she enrolled at the University of Alberta pursuing an Arts degree. In a rather cool piece, Gowie sat down and explained her jersey number in honour of the four fallen players from the Humboldt Broncos team that called St. Albert, Alberta home.

Where Is She From? - Vancouver

While they may all be Canadian, there are four women who got to do something fairly special in May this year when the Thunderbirds sent four players to the Chinese development camp who have Chinese heritage. Shiayli Toni, Emily Costales, Jenna Fletcher, and Tiffany Chiu spent a week at the camp for the Shenzhen-based Chinese Development Team as China prepares for the 2022 Winter Olympics. While there are no guarantees on any of these players making the Olympic team in 2022, the potential for one or all is certainly there based on the play of the four players over the last few Canada West seasons.

As China looks to add some additional North American-trained players to its emerging roster that includes Jessica Wong, Rose Alleva, Kimberly Newell, and Leah Lum among others, adding the four T-Birds isn't a bad idea at all. In two seasons, Emily Costales has nine goals and seven assists, but she's very good at reading the play. Tiffany Chiu is a rock-solid defender who takes care of business in her own zone. Jenna Fletcher has a goal and three assists thus far in her career, but she's an effective checking forward who certainly can make defenders pay with her speed. Shiayli Toni has six goals and 14 assists in her four-year career thus far, but she always seems to be around the puck and is a solid two-way forward.

If you want to see some potential Olympians, UBC features four players who could suit up for Team China in the 2022 Olympics in Beijing! While we've seen other Olympians play in Canada West - Hayley Wickenheiser and Venla Hovi, most notably - these four women might be some of the bedrock upon which future Chinese Olympic teams build their foundation.

Speaking of foundations, another emerging nation on the world's stage might want to build around another of UBC's talented forwards. Mathea Fischer, the Oslo, Norwegian native, has been putting up impressive numbers since her arrival at the school four years ago. In her career thus far, Fischer has tallied 19 goals and 37 assists. She led UBC in scoring last season, and her six points this season is tied for the lead as well. She has incredible vision and creativity on the ice, and she's becoming the go-to offensive player for head coach Graham Thomas.

Fischer is a star on a Norwegian team that needs someone to carry the torch, and her development in U SPORTS and Canada West has been undeniable.

That Old Barn

With Rutherford Arena in Saskatoon officially gone and replaced by Merlis Belsher Place, there was some discussion in the pressbox a week ago about which barn is the oldest rink in Canada West now. I decided to do a little digging, so let's take a look at some of the arenas and their date of opening and if refurbishments have been done.

UBC's Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Arena opened in October 1963, but was part of a major refurbishment in 2008.

Calgary's Father David Bauer Olympic Arena was also built in 1963, and AME Mechanical Engineers completed a major renovation in December 2015.

Flames Community Arena is home to the Mount Royal Cougars in Calgary, and it appears to have opened in September 1986. There have been ongoing upgrades and renovations thanks to the arena being run by a non-profit board of governors.

The Lethbridge Pronghorns play at Nicholas Sheran Arena which was opened in 1986. In 2011, a major renovation was completed by the city of Lethbridge on the arena and facilities.

The Alberta Pandas, in their historic building known as Clare Drake Arena, saw the facility open in 1959. There have been some upgrades and renovations done, but it appears that the University of Alberta is looking at going modern sooner than later.

Saskatchewan's Merlis Belsher Place opened this year, replacing the 88 year-old Rutherford Rink. They should be good for a while, methinks.

The Co-operaters Centre in Regina plays host to the Cougars. The multi-rink complex was opened in December 2009. Like their neighbours to the north, the Cougars should be good for a while.

The Bisons play at Wayne Fleming Arena inside the Max Bell Centre. The entire centre, including the rink, opened in 1981 for use.

If the above information is to be believed, it seems Alberta will be the next team with a new rink to call home. Manitoba will probably need to start exploring the idea of making major renovations at some point while UBC will likely need to start making decisions with respect to the age of their facility. The rest of the rinks seem to be pretty well-maintained from what I've seen, so let's hope that the facilities for these teams continue to help them find wins on home ice!

Moving On

Here are the standings once more with the updated schedule for next weekend's games.

School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
17 19 7
17 20 11
vs LET
16 11 7
vs UBC
British Columbia
15 18 10
13 18 18
vs ALB
10 12 12
Mount Royal
7 10 23
1 4 24
vs MRU

The Last Word

There are four weeks of hockey remaining before the December break on the Canada West schedule. The following are the schedules for each team.

ALBERTA: @ Regina, vs Lethbridge, @ Calgary, vs Saskatchewan.
MANITOBA: vs Lethbridge, @ UBC, vs Saskatchewan, @ Calgary.
SASKATCHEWAN: vs UBC, vs Mount Royal, @ Manitoba, @ Alberta.
UBC: @ Saskatchewan, vs Manitoba, @ Regina, @ Lethbridge.
REGINA: vs Alberta, @ Calgary, vs UBC, @ Mount Royal.
LETHBRIDGE: @ Manitoba, @ Alberta, @ Mount Royal, vs UBC.
MOUNT ROYAL: @ Calgary, @ Saskatchewan, vs Lethbridge, vs Regina.
CALGARY: vs Mount Royal, vs Regina, vs Alberta, vs Manitoba.

If you were asking me who had the most difficult schedule to close out the first-half of the season, Lethbridge is on the road three weeks in a row against the top-two teams in Canada West followed by a Mount Royal team looking for a playoff spot before returning home to take on UBC. Saskatchewan's schedule isn't any easier with games in Manitoba and Alberta to finish their schedule after hosting UBC and Mount Royal.

I'll be honest in that I don't envy any team in Canada West because of how good this conference is when it comes to hockey, but if there's one team who needs to really take advantage of a great schedule to finish the first-half, it's Calgary. A home-and-home with Mount Royal might be the push they need to get off this losing streak before hosting Regina, Alberta, and Manitoba. I'll say this here and now - if Calgary doesn't win three of these eight games in regulation, their season may officially be over before the Christmas break.

It should be a solid November of hockey, so get down to one of the rinks listed above and catch all the hockey action you can! If the women are on the road, the men are at home so there should be no excuse not to catch a U SPORTS hockey game! See you at the rink!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!