Wednesday 31 January 2018

Easy Loafing

If you've been keeping up with this blog, I have used a few opportunities to change things up from time to time. I like to cook, I appreciate the hard work that goes into a well-cooked, well-prepared meal, and I tend to make good things at home. Tonight, I left hockey alone for a while as I am literally in the home stretch of this cold bug, and I'm feeling healthy enough to undertake a little baking. The image to the left? That's the pre-oven stage of the Panara Bread recipe for Peanut Butter Banana Bread!

I'll be honest: not a big sweet tooth on me. Cookies are about as much as I can handle without feeling ill from all the sugary icings and fillings. Because of this, I tend to like less sugary fare like the one featured today where the bananas fill in nicely for an insane amount of sugar when it comes to sweetness. Less processed sugar is good for all, right?

I will admit to adding a handful of chocolate chips to the recipe simply because the peanut butter-chocolate pairing goes so well with the peanut butter-banana combo, but it doesn't overwhelm by being Reese's Peanut Butter Cup-like sweet. It's just a pop of chocolate mixed in!

Anyway, the recipe for this Peanut Butter Banana Bread can be found on the Panara Bread website, and I like this recipe because it's a quick ten minutes of preparation time as opposed to some lengthy process. It's ten minutes of prep before popping it in the oven!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1.5 cups)

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 350ºF. Coat an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. Beat the peanut butter, butter, and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time on medium speed, and then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the flour mixture on low speed. Fold in the mashed bananas. Add the chocolate chips if desired!
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes; then remove it to a rack to cool completely.
Don't rush the cooling process above as tempting as it may be. It's key in baking in the goodness and keeping the bread in proper loaf form. You may notice that the center area where the loaf has rounded may not be entire baked so that the toothpick test comes out clean. Be patient, keep an eye on the bread, and don't burn the ends!
Final product? It looks pretty tasty! I won't cut into it tonight, though. I'm going to set it out on the cutting board and let the scent of banana bread fill the house before I retire for the evening. Having made this once before, I know it tastes as good as it smells, and it's making my tummy rumble already!

Enjoy this recipe, folks. People will think you slaved over a stove to make this, but it'll be our secret that it's a mere ten minutes to get this delicious Peanut Butter Banana Bread made!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 30 January 2018

End Of The On-Ice Interview?

The image to the left is of the factory for the WM Mammoth ice resurfacing machine made by WM Ice Technics. This factory is based in Bozen, Italy which is about three hours north of Venice. I assume that the ice resurfacers are of top quality and come complete with important things like a water reserve tank, four tires, and brakes. In saying this, it might be time that one team's ice crew do some evaluations regarding who they sit behind the wheel.

Stefan Loibl of the German Elite League's Straubing Tigers was giving an interview following a 4-2 loss to Kölner Haie. Everything seemed to be going as planned until the ice resurfacing machine made an appearance.
The Telekom Sport crew members who took the worst of the collision seemed to be ok if just a little shaken up, but how crazy is it that the ice resurfacing machine driver almost backed-up over three people accidentally? What makes this even worse is that this happened after the game had concluded! Couldn't the ice crew have waited for a couple of minutes until all the players and television crews were safely off the ice?

Loibl, for what it's worth, nine goals and 16 points on the season for the last-place Tigers. The 21 year-old does have some solid moves, though, when it comes to avoiding ice resurfacing machines. I'm not certain that will get him any MVP votes, but it will get him a spot on HBIC. Well done, Stefan!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 29 January 2018

No Post Tonight

I'm sick, I had a rough day at work, I'm tired, and I'm in no mood to make and defend points about the game I love. I'll be in bed early tonight despite the AHL All-Star Game being played in Utica because I really want to shake this cold bug. I feel like I might be at a turning point, but more rest and fluids are required to kill it off completely.

I'll be back tomorrow when I hopefully feel a little better. Like Luke Wilson, I just want to get some sleep. No ear muffs needed here, though, folks. That's just not my style. See you tomorrow with hopefully a clearer head and a less stuffy nose!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 28 January 2018

The Rundown - Week 13

The races for playoff spots in Canada West women's hockey is getting tighter and tighter as the weeks wind down. Including this week's games, there are only six games remaining with a possible eighteen points on the line if someone can win out. There's a legitimate battle for top-spot in the conference happening with home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs on the line, the battles for second-, third-, and fourth-places are still up in the air, and the final two playoff spots are being hotly contested for among three teams with one team still alive mathematically. The top-four teams have clinched a playoff spot, so let's find out how this week shook out on The Rundown!

MOUNT ROYAL at CALGARY: The rare Thursday night game went at the Saddledome in Calgary as part of the Crowchild Classic between the two Calgary-based teams. The Dinos came into this game having yet to score in 2018 while mired in a scoreless drought of 381:49 while the Cougars were coming off being shut out twice by Manitoba. Would we even see a goal in this game?

The first period saw no goals, but it was Mount Royal who was certainly the more aggressive team despite them looking a little sluggish. Defensively, the Cougars were on their game, but Calgary's Kelsey Roberts denied all chances at the other end in the opening frame as the Cougars mounted a 10-2 advantage in shots despite not finding the back of the net.

The second period started with a little more vigor from both sides as the pace picked up, and that benefited both teams. Mount Royal's Zoe DeBeauville stoned a Delaney Frey chance while Roberts was turning aside Cougars chances time and again! However, we'd see that unfathomable scoring drought come to an end when Merissa Dawson's low shot was deflected by Cheyann Newman past DeBeaville at 8:36 to stop the drought at 410:25!
The Cougars mounted some furious offensive chances in the last half of the period, but Roberts would deny them all to maintain Calgary's lead. Newman's goal would be the only puck to get across the goal line in the second period with Calgary leading 1-0 despite being outshot 18-7!

The third period saw the Cougars continue to pressure the Dinos as they searched for the equalizer, but all they found was a wall named Roberts. The Cougars led in shots in this period as well., but it was all for naught as the final horn sounded on this game that saw Dinos win 1-0! Roberts was outstanding in stopping all 27 shots she faced for her sixth shutout of the season while DeBeauville stopped 11 shots in the loss.

CALGARY at MOUNT ROYAL: The second-half of this all-Calgary series would move to Flames Community Arena. Both teams came out flying in this one, but Mount Royal played a solid possession game in the opening frame to really set up a number of chances. Rachel Piitz was stopped on a breakaway by Kelsey Roberts following a good power-play, but it was the same story as the night before as both teams went to the intermission scoreless despite Mount Royal leading 8-2 in shots.

An early power-play in the second period proved fruitless for the Dinos, and a power-play for Mount Royal a few minutes later would also turn up goalless. The second Calgary penalty of the period to Kate Lumley, however, turned the tides. After Lumley was sent off for slashing at 14:38, Mount Royal needed 1:57 of the two-minute advantage, but they finally snapped their scoreless drought. After some great puck movement late in the power-play, Anna Purschke fired home her fourth of the season off a tic-tac-toe passing play from Nicolette Seper and Channia Alexander at 16:35! The Cougars would take the 1-0 lead into the intermission after leading 17-5 in shots through two periods.

The Dinos came roaring out of the intermission, firing a number of shots on Zoe DeBeauville early on in the final period, but the Mount Royal netminder stood tall. Despite leading in shots in the period, the Dinos simply could not solve DeBeauville on this night. The Mount Royal Cougars would exact a little vengeance with their own 1-0 victory over the Dinos! DeBeauville stopped eleven shots for her fifth shutout of the season while Roberts made 20 stops for the losing side.

LETHBRIDGE at ALBERTA: The Pronghorns visited Edmonton where Alberta had been on one heckuva streak, pitching shutouts in four-straight games. Lethbridge, though, was coming off a weekend where they had given UBC everything they had, so it was another tough battle for the 'Horns. The opening period saw both teams using strong defence to keep good scoring chances at bay. It would be a late too-many-players penalty on Alberta where we would open the scoring. Alberta's Alex Poznikoff was just open enough to get her stick on the rebound off Regan Wright's shot while shorthanded.
The goal at 18:05 put the Pandas up by a goal through the opening frame.

The second period would feature no scoring as both Lethbridge's Alicia Anderson and Alberta's Dayna Owen were perfect on all shot attempts, so we'd move to the third period with Alberta leading 22-8 in shots. Midway through the period, the relentless Pandas attack would strike again as Autumn MacDougall and Poznikoff skated away on the two-on-one.
Poznikoff's second goal of the night was more than Dayna Owen needed as she helped Alberta to its fifth-straight shutout of its opponents, and a streak totaling 351:38 of clean-sheet hockey in the 2-0 win! Owen stopped 13 shots for her fourth shutout of the season while Anderson was outstanding in the 28-save loss.

LETHBRIDGE at ALBERTA: Three games thus far on the weekend, and three shutouts. Would Alberta keep the streak going by playing more shutout hockey? If you needed some instant gratification, they would.

It took 53:40 to get a goal in this game, but the Pandas absolutely smothered the Pronghorns in this game. They led 24-4 in shots through two periods, and it would be Alex Poznikoff who would finally break the deadlock.
Poznikoff's redirection of Autumn MacDougall's centering pass was enough for Kirsten Chamberlin as she had a very quiet night in helping Alberta set the second-longest shutout streak in Canada West history at 411:38 as the Pandas skated to the 1-0 victory! Chamberlin made ten stops for her fourth shutout of the season while Anderson was incredible in stopping 31 of 32 shots in the one-goal loss.

MANITOBA at REGINA: Manitoba was looking to improve their standing while keeping pace or catching UBC. Regina was trying to fend off both Mount Royal and Calgary as they tried to regain fifth-place. The Bisons came out with guns a-blazing in this one as they peppered Jane Kish early on. It would take them the majority of the period, but the Bisons would finally break through on the power-play when Alanna Sharman went cross-ice to Alana Serhan's wheelhouse, and the big winger one-timed a blast past Kish at 16:36 to put the Bisons up 1-0. At the end of the period, that score stood, and Manitoba had a 12-1 advantage in shots!

It didn't take the Bisons long to double their lead in the middle frame. Lauryn Keen tore up the left wing and left a shot go that Kish appeared to have, but the puck ended up just trickling across the goal line behind her on the short-side just 37 seconds into the period, and it was 2-0 Manitoba. Six minutes later, Makaela Fisher scored her first Canada West goal in her career when she whacked home a bouncing puck in the slot that fooled Kish at 6:49, and Manitoba was out to a 3-0 lead.

The Cougars would find the board five minutes later when Lilla Carpenter-Boesch picked up a Kaitlyn Crowe rebound off Lauren Taraschuk's save, and Carpenter-Boesch potted the puck in the net with Taraschuk out of position at 11:23 to make it a 3-1 game.

Regina found all sorts of pressure in the third period as they came to life needing a pair of goals to tie the game, but all 13 shots they sent at Taraschuk were turned aside. With Kish on the bench for the extra attack with 40 seconds to play, Alana Serhan iced this game with 10 seconds to play when her shot found the empty net. Manitoba skates to the 4-1 victory on Friday! Taraschuk stopped 18 of 19 shots for the win while Kish made 29 stops in the loss.

MANITOBA at REGINA: Saturday's game has a decidedly different tone as the Cougars and Bisons came out buzzing just as they finished the game the night before. It wouldn't be long before the visitors found the scoreboard, though, as Erica Rieder jumped into the play, picked up a rebound off Lauryn Keen's shot, and went high glove-side on Morgan Baker at 4:15 to make it 1-0 Manitoba.

And then... nothing. Rachel Dyck and Morgan Baker stared down every other shooter for the remaining 55:45. There were chances at both ends of the ice, but neither goaltender would relinquish a goal. At the final horn, Rieder's single tally stood as the winner as the Bisons took this game by the 1-0 score. Dyck made 29 saves for her third shutout of the season while Baker played exceptionally well in a 25-save loss.

UBC at SASKATCHEWAN: In a clash that had all sorts of playoff implications written on it, the first-place Thunderbirds visited the fourth-place Huskies. Points were needed by both teams, but Friday's game saw only one team do any damage on the scoreboard.

In what turned out to be a very tight-checking game, Leah Bohlken would open the scoring in the second period when she swept in from the point, picked up a long rebound, and went high stick-side on UBC's Tory Micklash at 15:01 for the 1-0 Saskatchewan lead.

The third period saw Saakatchewan's near-dead power-play come alive as Emma Nutter's one-timer found room through traffic to get by Micklash at 6:40. Jessica Vance, however, is otherworldly right now, and she denied the T-Birds on all chances on this night. Saskatchewan downs UBC with the 2-0 win! Vance posted her seventh shutout of the season in stopping all 13 shots she saw while Micklash suffered the loss after making 16 saves.

UBC at SASKATCHEWAN: After the loss on Friday and seeing first-place slip out of their grasp, you knew UBC was going to respond with a better effort on Saturday. However, similar to Friday's game, we'd play a scoreless first period as UBC's Amelia Boughn and Saskatchewan's Jessica Vance were perfect through twenty minutes.

The second period looked much the same, but it would be UBC who finally figured out how to beat Vance. Hannah Clayton-Carroll got credit for the goal, but I'm pretty sure she set up Logan Boyd's goal on the stick side at the 17:00 mark for the 1-0 UBC lead.

Saskatchewan would be the far more aggressive team in the third period, and it paid off on the power-play. With Kathleen Cahoon in the sin bin for tripping, Kori Herner's shot missed the net but took a Huskies-friendly bounce back towards the slot. Kennedy Harris made short work of it as she settled it and fired it past Boughn at 12:35 for the 1-1 equalizer!

The final 7:25 saw no additional goals scored, so this game would need extra time! Unfortunately, both overtime periods also proved fruitless, so this game would be decided with the skills competition! Kaitlin Willoughby's goal in the second round would be the only one to get by either goalie, and Saskatchewan skated to the 2-1 shootout victory! Vance made 21 stops for her conference-leading eleventh win while Amelia Boughn stopped 39 shots on the wrong end of this one.

CANADA WEST WOMEN'S HOCKEY
School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
Manitoba
16-5-2-1
53 53 37
W5
@ LET
Alberta
13-4-4-3
50 59 35
W7
@ SAS
British Columbia
13-5-3-3
48 53 36
L2
vs MRU
Saskatchewan
15-7-1-1
48 41 27
W4
vs ALB
Mount Royal
7-14-3-0
27 34 43
W1
@ UBC
Calgary
7-15-0-2
23 18 40
L1
vs REG
Regina
6-14-1-3
23 33 55
L9
@ CAL
Lethbridge
3-16-2-3
16 25 43
L10
vs MAN
Teams in yellow have clinched a playoff spot.

The Final Word

The four teams who have clinched playoff spots will have home playoff dates for their first playoff series. That's really all that has been finalized with two weeks and four games remaining. However, as the race for first-place nears the finish line, there's one thing that is certain: if the Bisons capture ten of the remaining 12 points on the schedule, they clinch first-overall and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.

This week's games could have major impact as Alberta visits Sasaktchewan with two points separating the teams and Alberta on that insane shutout streak. Saskatchewan, though, just finished its season series with UBC in taking all four games and only allowing two goals in those four games. The Huskies are a big-game team, it seems, and this weekend's games will be the biggest of their season in trying to capture one of the top-two spots.

UBC has a chance to really derail Mount Royal's playoff chances this weekend, and Regina meets Calgary with fifth- and sixth-place on the line in Canada West. If you want playoff intensity, this weekend should ramp it up nicely at four schools as playoff spots are on the line! Get down to your local campus and check out this great hockey action!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 27 January 2018

Oh, We Got A Problem

I promised you, readers, that I would never write about a specific hockey league this Christmas past after they decided it would be a wise move to block me on Twitter. I am going to go back on that word today because I can't sit here with a clear conscience regarding this league after an egregiously-ridiculous decision was made today that not only puts player safety at risk, but goes to prove that this league has absolutely zero teeth when it comes to the Chinese teams the league includes in its membership. If you thought I had a bone to pick with the league before, it's time for me to step my game up in a big way after today's announcement.

Let's start with the problem. In a game between the Markham Thunder and the Kunlun Red Star, there was an incident that occurred that was dangerous and scary. The video is posted below, and I'll break down the incidentals after you watch this short clip that was posted by CWHLPA member Liz Knox.
Liz Knox has every right to question this play because the league decided today that there would be no suspension for Kunlun Red Star's Taylor Marchin after she swung her stick up high and hit Markham's Nicole Kosta in the helmet. All she would get is a warning and a slap on the wrist for using her stick like a broad sword in battle.

Yes, I'm laughing as I write this.

I'm laughing because this women's league is turning into an absolute joke when it comes to anything to do with the Chinese teams. I'm laughing because this league's Department of Player Safety has zero regard for players or their safety with an absolute joke of a ruling like this. I'm laughing because no matter how much outrage is shown by players across the league about this decision, the league simply doesn't seem to give a rat's ass about its most marketable assets.

Enough laughing. Let's get into the evisceration.

First, this is a suspension in any other league regardless of level. Taylor Marchin has played high-level hockey her entire life with a four-year stint at Yale in the NCAA before jumping over to China to play for Kunlun Red Star. Taylor Marchin knows she can't swing her stick like this because it's extremely dangerous and completely unacceptable at any level, and that point has been reinforced for her entire career wearing skates. I don't care what league we're talking about - NHL, AHL, SEL, beer league, atom minor hockey - this is a severely punishable offence.

But not in this joke of a league. Not here. Nope. Just a warning.

Second, it's very clear to me that this stick-swinging incident was retaliation for the bump that Kosta threw on Marchin. That is not only reprehensible by Marchin, but it's absolutely disgusting. I don't know how this so-called "Department of Player Safety" can't see that Marchin swung the stick after Kosta bumped her and was in no way an attempt to play a puck that had already been played past the two players, but apparently that's not visible to whomever occupies this farce of a department. Not only is the intent clearly there, but there isn't even a question of this potentially being a hockey play gone wrong.

But not to this joke of a league. Nope. Just an honest mistake.

Third, Miss Knox makes an excellent point that she was suspended while receiving 27 minutes - not the 22 as she indicated - in penalties for leaving her crease. FOR LEAVING HER CREASE. Not for fighting. Not for slashing someone across the throat. Not for swinging a stick in retaliation that caught an opponent in the head. No, she got it for leaving the crease - LEAVING HER CREASE - and this gets a warning?

This league and its Department of Player Safety is a ridiculous farce.

I decided to do a little searching for someone who might be able to provide an answer on how the Department of Player Safety arrived at this decision. I stumbled upon this page that shows Claire Biafore as "Player Safety and Head Medical Trainer". She could probably provide answers, but here's the rub: I'm not emailing her.

I want nothing to do with this league. They cut me off, and I'm fine with that decision because they can't answer simple tweets - looking at you, Jordon Hall, Supervisor of Communications. If I were a player, I'd want nothing to do with this league either because it seems that unless you play for one of the precious Chinese teams, you're a second-class citizen in this league regardless of years of service.

Before I address the second-class citizen comment I just made, I wanted to know more about Miss Biafore, and it seems that Miss Biafore is a fairly accomplished professional. She completed her Specialized Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and Health Sciences and earned a diploma in the Sport Therapy Certificate Program. She attained her national certification, she earned a designation as a Osteopathic Manual Practitioners and the latest information I could find had her attending York University to attain her Master's Desgree in Kinesiology and Health Sciences.

All those framed documents on her wall are fine and dandy, but I just want to know if she's ever had her vision tested. Because it appears that despite being "appointed as the Manger of Player Health and Safety for the Canadian Women's Hockey League" and "treating numerous Olympic level hockey players" while overseeing "all medical aspects of the league," she's seeing the same optometrist as Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles.

And how does one who is not a medical doctor of any kind oversee "all medical aspects of the league"? An Osteopathic Manual Practitioner works "to maintain, improve and restore the normal physiological function of interrelated body structures and systems, enhancing the body's natural ability to heal itself," according to Google. Why would the Department of Player Safety need someone who is glorified athletic trainer as its leader? It's pretty clear she has zero concern for a player's health and/or safety by allowing Marchin to swing her stick at Kosta's head like she's attacking a piñata, so what exactly does she do in her position?
Y'know what? Let's pump the brakes for a second. Maybe there's something else that needs to be addressed and, since I'm already banned by the league on social media, I say let's go for broke. Ready for the big, $100,000 question?

Why is this league so afraid of any criticism of the Chinese teams? If this is about having those who hold the money and potentially future monies being unhappy with the league, there's a fairly easy justification for what should have been a suspension.

YOU CANNOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, SWING YOUR STICK AT AN OPPONENT.

This is the league that puffed out its chest and proclaimed how it was going to help the Chinese players on their two new teams become Olympians. This is the league that patted itself on the back by bragging about how much it was growing the game for these new players. This is the league that allows an American "hockey ambassador" to swing her stick like a baseball bat at an opponent's head while asking that "hockey ambassador" to teach hockey neophytes to "play the right way".

What a disgraceful and embarrassing joke.

If this decision came from higher up than Claire Biafore, Miss Biafore should have resigned the moment that this decision was passed down to her. If this decision came from outside her office and outside her department, she should have walked out then and there because there is zero justification for just a warning in this case. If Miss Biafore remains as the head of the Department of Player Safety, she should wear this disgrace like it's a facial tattoo because not only does her silence on this matter indicate that the league and her department don't see a problem here, but that the league and its Department of Player Safety condone what Taylor Marchin did to Nicole Kosta by only issuing a warning.

Hear that, players of this farce of a league? It's open season on stick-swinging incidents because the precedent has been set by the league and this department. All you'll get for trying to decapitate your opponent is a warning not to do it again.

Nicole Kosta deserves better than "Taylor, please don't swing your stick at an opponent's head." In fact, the entire league deserves better than having the league and its Department of Player Safety slap Taylor Marchin on the wrist for this assault because she knows it was done in retaliation and wasn't just an errant stick that hit Kosta. I couldn't care less if Marchin reads this and thinks I'm a douche, either, because if she tries to claim it was anything else than a retaliatory swing at Kosta's head, she's a bold-faced liar as well. Sorry, I'm just calling it as the video shows it unlike the league who doesn't have the testicular fortitude to bring the hammer down on a Chinese team's player.

This should have been a suspension for at least five games. Then again, I would have gone as far as having Marchin sit for the remainder of the regular season. There is nothing that could justify swinging her stick in that manner and not being punished harshly for it.

Well, apparently, I'm wrong. Because there is something that can justify that kind of assault: the CWHL.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 26 January 2018

How Sweet It Is

That, ladies and gentlemen, is Brandon Reid, head coach of the Danish Metal Ligaen's Aalborg Pirates, hoisting the Metal Cup after the Pirates captured the trophy a week ago on January 20 for the first time in the team's history. The Metal Cup isn't the league championship, though, but rather an in-season challenge for all the teams of the Metal Ligaen. I'll explain what the Metal Cup is below and how a team goes about winning it, but this is one of the big steps that Brandon Reid has been aiming for with his team, and he can now put that on his resumé as a head coach. With Aalborg playing well towards the end of the season and being bolstered by this Metal Cup win, the Pirates are looking to make a pile of noise in the Metal Ligaen Playoffs in March!

Originally, the Metal Cup tournament featured all ten Metal Ligaen teams plus two teams from the Danish first division. The top-four teams from the previous year used to advance automatically to the quarterfinals, and the remaining eight teams would play to see who advanced to meet those four teams. Games were an aggregate two-game series, similar to soccer, with teams being eliminated as they move forward. The winning team who outlasted everyone else won the Metal Cup.

In 2017, however, the Metal Cup format was changed when the expansion Hvidovre Fighters joined the league. The tournament would only consist of teams from the Metal Ligaen and, rather than having the two-game aggregate system, the top-four teams after 20 regular season games would be invited to a final-four tournament. The final four teams this season included the Herning Blue Fox, the Odense Bulldogs, the Rungsted Seier Capital, and the Aalborg Pirates in that order.

Obviously, the fourth-ranked team out of the four teams would have an uphill battle against Herning, but Pirates played a solid game over the entire sixty minutes in taking the 4-1 victory from Herning! With the top-ranked team in the four-team tournament ousted, the Pirates kept their eyes on the scoreboard to see who they would play between Odense and Rungsted!

It would be the third-ranked Rungsted Seier Capital who would emerge as the victors, and the Aalborg Pirates would play another incredible game against Rungsted last Saturday as they skated to the 5-2 victory at Jyske Bank Box in Herning! Henry Hardarsson, not normally known as a sniper, scored 4 goals in the two-game tournament as he earned MVP honours skating on a line with Mikkel Højbjerg and Julian Jakobsen!

To the victors go the spoils!
Congratulations to Brandon Reid and the Aalborg Pirates on their Metal Cup win as the first benchmark on their way to a Metal Ligaen championship! All of the hard work that is going into building this team by Brandon is really proving fruitful with the last couple of successful seasons! Congrats on the "pokalvinder"!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 25 January 2018

The Hockey Show - Episode 279

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns tonight with a number of things on the agenda. There were more Olympic rosters released for the men's tournament, the NHL All-Star Game looms, and the Manitoba Bisons women's team continues to roll in their quest for a national championship. Oh, and I was away for a few days and I got to hang out with some incredible people! Beans and I will have a chat about all of this tonight on The Hockey Show on UMFM at 5:30pm CT!

Beans and I will sit down tonight and have a serious discussion on the NHL's Player Safety Department and whether or not five games for Brad Marchand's elbow to the head of Marcus Johansson was the right call regarding the length of the suspension with respect to some of the other suspensions we've seen this season. We'll also chat about the Finnish, German, and Norwegian men's Olympic rosters, the Jets and Golden Knights continue to collect points, the NHL All-Star Game's Skills Competition makes changes again, what the Manitoba Bisons women's team has to do in their final six games, and what Teebz was up to earlier this week. It's going to be another busy night on the show, so get yourself to a radio or internet-enabled device and tune in!

This sounds cool, you say, so how do I tune in, you ask? We suggest that you download the UMFM app on your phone or tablet. It's the easiest and most convenient way to listen to any of UMFM's great shows any time of the day, so go get it! Just follow this link on your iDevice or this link for your Android device and get the UMFM app! It's never been easier to tune into The Hockey Show or UMFM! Download the UMFM app today, and don't miss any of our great programming or shows! Of course, you can do the radio thing at 101.5 on the FM dial and you can always listen online via the UMFM website!

If you prefer social media, we try to remain up-to-speed there as well! Email all show questions and comments to hockeyshow@umfm.com! 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.

Tonight, Teebz and Beans talk elbows and suspensions, European Olympic rosters, the NHL at the All-Star Game break, the first-place Bisons, and where in the world Teebz was on The Hockey Show found only on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM app!

PODCAST: January 25, 2018: Episode 279

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 24 January 2018

House Of Furies

My trip to Toronto wouldn't be complete if I went to one pro women's hockey practice and not the other team's practice. I had been in contact with the always-amazing Sami Jo Small before heading to the GTA, and she graciously invited me to the Toronto Furies' practice this evening! After spending time at the Thunder practice one night earlier and seeing how much hard work was on display there, I had a feeling that I was in for another treat on this evening as I would witness the likes of Small, Amanda Makela, Hayley Williams, Cassidy Delainey, and Carolyne Prevost run through a full practice at the Mastercard Centre!

With the Calgary Inferno on the schedule this weekend, the Furies needed a solid practice in preparation for one of the best women's teams on the planet. The other reason I would have stressed that this practice was important? The Furies will be on national television in Canada against the Inferno when Sportsnet broadcasts the game this Sunday afternoon at 1pm ET. The Furies will also be hosting their annual You Can Play Game, so there's a lot to be prepared for this weekend!

I really thought the pace of the Furies practice was a good tempo. In fact, Teri and I spent most of the first portion of practice talking about goaltending techniques in watching both Small and Makela participate in a goaltending drill. I'm of the old-school techniques where the glove and blocker are held higher off the pads while in the butterfly to be able to make saves up high, and Teri was telling me that Sami is of the same thinking despite current goaltending standards suggesting the glove and blocker be held lower. In watching the drill, you could see Sami trying to use the new techniques in her game despite learning differently while Amanda Makela was much more comfortable having learned those techniques. It was a great conversation, and I definitely learned a few things in watching the netminders play.

The second-half of the practice saw the players work on possession and scoring, and I have to admit that the players looked like they were having a really good time in the drill. Carolyne Prevost looked strong, Jessica Platt played really well, and I liked the effort from Michelle Saunders. Overall, it seemed like it was a very good practice turned in by the players.

After practice, Teri and I met up with Sami Jo Small, and we had a great chat about everything. She's such a great person and is always so positive when it comes to the sport, and it was great to chat with her. Honestly, I don't think Sami gets enough credit in how much she enjoys interacting with fans. She also gave us an update on Billy Bridges' training as he prepares for the 2018 Winter Olympics, we got an update on the always-cute Kensi, and we found out that Sami and Billy's house is more like a hostel with some of the Paralympians staying there and Megan Bozek currently camped out in their basement!

And then we got to meet Charlie, Amanda Makela's dog! Charlie is a gorgeous dog and so well-mannered, and it's pretty evident that Amanda is doing amazing work in training Charlie to be a fantastic ambassador. I'm pretty certain that this goaltending thing is going well for Amanda, but if she ever wanted to retire and become a dog trainer, Charlie is evidence that Miss Makela is exceptional at that work. Amanda and Charlie are a heckuva pair, and I was grateful and felt privileged to have met them both! If she's starting this weekend on Sportsnet's broadcast, I'll be watching as I want nothing but success for Amanda. She's a new favorite player!

I feel like I owe Sami Jo Small a pile of thanks, so I want to say thanks here and now as well as pledging that The Hockey Show will return to her hockey school this summer for another live show and some additional interviews with all the talent she brings out to the school. If you have a chance to meet Sami - who I consider a legend in not only the women's hockey world, but in all of hockey - she will give you all the time in the world and sign everything kids put in front of her. She's just that awesome, and I feel honoured and humbled to call her a friend. She is everything hockey players should strive to be when they make it to the big leagues.

Catch the Toronto Furies on Sunday at 1pm ET against the Calgary Inferno on Sportsnet during the Furies' You Can Play Game. It's going to be a great game with an important message, and one that should never be forgotten. If you can play, you can play. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Thunderstruck!

With apologies to rock band AC/DC, I had the opportunity to get thunderstruck tonight as I went with my good friend, Teri, to the Markham Thunder practice! I had no idea what to expect as Teri briefed me that the Thunder, who are on a bye week, would most likely just play a fun scrimmage game, but any time you can watch professional players do what they do best with an added element of fun? Yup, you sold me on it being a good idea. So away we went as Teri had a job to do in taking photos of the practice for the team. Me? I was just going out of curiosity and with the hopes of meeting some of the Thunder players!

I will honestly tell you that I don't get starstruck. Seeing the players on the ice is, to me, like watching a bantam team in that they're playing and learning and having fun, and the Thunder were no exception in this practice. Granted, the skill level is quite a bit higher than bantam-level hockey out on the ice, but the players simply look like they're enjoying playing the game. There were a lot of laughs, some intense battles between friends as bragging rights were on the line, and some standout performances including a monster glove save by Liz Knox at one point during the scrimmage!

Of note, I should mention that watching Megan Bozek play in this scrimmage was rather surreal. The former US Olympian just sees the game differently than the vast majority of players, and this is most evident in the offensive zone where she legitimately should be quarterbacking the Thunder power-play. She skates extremely well, the puck seems to stick to her blade, and she makes solid, crisp passes that often wind-up as scoring chances when received by her target. If Megan Bozek is representative of the type of player cut by the US Olympic team, her replacement on Team USA has enormous skates to fill. The Thunder should be doing everything in their power to ensure she sticks around longer than the remainder of this year if her contract doesn't extend past the end of this season.

Other players who caught my eye included Jenna McParland, Jamie Lee Rattray, Dania Simmonds, and Taylor Woods.

McParland is a pure shooter with moves for days out there, but she sometimes tries one dangle too many rather than just shooting and using the defender as a screen. Regardless, there's a ton of shots in her stick, and her one-timer, when she connects fully and completely, might be one of the best in the league. If I'm the coaching staff, her new office is the left face-off circle. If she can let the one-timer fly off a cross-ice pass from there, there will be a pile of goals to be celebrated.

Rattray is the engine that drives this team as she does it all - pass, skate, shoot, and backcheck. I don't know if Rattray has the best shot on the team, but she certainly had the best shot on this night as her wrist shot continually found ways through traffic to end up on net. The only thing that I didn't like about Rattray's game tonight? She often found herself either below the goal line or shooting from ridiculous angles that won't end up in the back of the net. Rattray either needs to station herself in the slot area or nearer to the face-off dot to get better shooting angles with that shot.

I had seen Dania Simmonds play via the online streams, and I admit I was kinda "meh" towards her overall game. Having seen what she does in person, though, I now have a greater respect for how important she is to the Thunder blue line. Defensively, she's a beast in terms of blocking shots, fighting for position, and simply being a pain in the butt for opposing forwards. Offensively, she was a possession machine, blocking clearing attempts and finding her teammates with smart, safe passes at the point. Dania does what every team needs - she plays tenacious defence, she does the dirty work in her own zone, and she's a handful in a puck battle. I'd take two Dania Simmonds-es on my team if I could.

Taylor Woods, who was a guest on The Hockey Show, never seemed to stop moving out on the ice. She has some explosive speed up the ice which certainly is a must-have when it comes to the penalty kill, her shot is deceivingly quick and on-target, she doesn't take unnecessary risks with the puck, and she forechecks like a demon. Along with Fielding Montgomery and Melissa Wronzberg, the speed from these three players should give the opposition fits when they're on the ice. Woods was good in all three zones on this night.

I was confused by some of the coaching tactics employed by the coaching staff in this practice when it came to working on specific things, but I'm just an observer. I'm not paid to stand behind the bench. If I were, there would be more work done with the special teams as there's more than enough talent for this team than what their fifth-place power-play shows. The penalty kill, which sits seventh-place out of seven teams, should also be much better with the players assembled on this roster, but I'm sitting in a hotel room and not standing behind the bench.

Regardless, the pace was up-tempo, the battles were fierce, and the goals were earned on this night as both Erica Howe and Liz Knox showed why they're one of the best one-two punches in the entire circuit. I was very impressed with how this team played in a fun scrimmage setting, and that should translate to good results on the ice.

After practice, I did get a chance to chat with both Taylor Woods and Melissa Wronzberg, and these two women are absolutely awesome. Taylor will be a returning guest at some point in the future while Melissa will definitely be an upcoming guest. I had too many laughs at their stories, and that's a pretty good indicator that I'd like them back on the show. Keep up the great work, ladies. You're two of the best in my books!

I'd like to thank Teri for allowing me to tag along to see the Thunder practice. I also want to thank Maria, the social media guru for the Thunder, for welcoming me and allowing me to take in the practice for the purpose of chatting it up here. Both women do yeoman's work for the Thunder in a variety of capacities, and the passion they have for this team is evident in everything they produce. Keep up the amazing work, ladies. You're two of the unsung heroes on this squad!

If you get a chance, go see the Markham Thunder play. They're a talented group of players who play an exciting brand of hockey. While you're there, keep an eye out for Maria and Teri as well as they're doing all they can to market this team to the masses. To you. So buy a ticket and check them out. It's well worth the price of admission!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 22 January 2018

Leaving On A Jet Plane

As John Denver once wrote and sang, I am leaving on a jet place today. It's neither the plane to the left nor is that the city from which I am departing, but I'm heading to The Centre of the Universe for a few days on a work-related matter. The painful part? I am red-eyeing it out this morning, meaning I need to be at the airport at the ungodly hour of 3:30am for pre-flight security checks and baggage check-ins and all that jazz. Oh, the life of a professional employee is exciting, no?

I'm going to be tired and extremely busy as I have a number of meetings to attend today, so I'm phoning this one in right here and right now. There will be no entry today, but I will get my act together for the next few days as I have a number of exciting things planned. Yes, they are hockey-related. Yes, they'll be discussed right here.

As you're reading this, I'm most likely somewhere on the approach to Toronto as I'm scheduled to land at 8:30ish eastern time. I'll probably check Twitter at some point today, so be good and keep this place looking tidy. I'll be back tomorrow with one of the exciting things I have planned. Believe me, I can't wait for this opportunity!

See you when I land, folks!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 21 January 2018

The Rundown - Week 12

With races tightening for playoff spots all over Canada West, there was bound to be some exciting games this week. Would the Bisons and Thunderbirds continue to flip-flop for first-place? Would Alberta or Saskatchewan find some space between one another while closing the gap on the top-two teams? Would we see Mount Royal, Regina, and Calgary swap positions once again? Would Lethbridge throw a few hurdles in front of teams and get themselves back in the playoff picture? With eight games to play, let's take a look at this week's action on The Rundown!

ALBERTA at REGINA: There's no doubt that Alberta rolled into Regina on a high after blanking the Dinos in consecutive games last weekend. The Cougars had less success against the Thunderbirds, but they seemed fairly confident after putting a scare into the T-Birds. The problem? The Pandas like doughnuts.

Alex Poznikoff had a pair of power-play goals in the first period that saw Autumn MacDougall and Lindsey Weech assist on both, and Poznikoff returned the favor in the third period when she set up MacDougall at 9:56. That was more than enough offence for Dayna Owen on this night as she turned in her third clean sheet of the season in the 3-0 victory. Owen stopped all 23 shots she faced for the win while Morgan Baker stopped 23 of 26 shots in the loss.

ALBERTA at REGINA: Saturday's game was more of the same from the Pandas as they are on some kind of streak at the moment. Deanna Morin scored the first two goals of the game at the 48-second mark and at 9:17, prompting head coach Sarah Hodges to pull starter Jane Kish in favor of Morgan Baker. 26 seconds after Morin's second goal, though, Alex Poznikoff made it 3-0 for the Pandas. And at 14:06, Deanna Morin capped off the hat trick with her third goal of the first period as Baker surrendered the goal!

Jaslin Sawatzky added her first of the season at 9:36 of the third period, but it was fairly clear that the game was over at that point. Kish was put back between the pipes at the start of the second period, but she couldn't do much when her team couldn't solve Kirtsen Chamberlin. At the final horn, Alberta secured the 5-0 win. Chamberlin made 17 stops for her third shutout of the season while Jane Kish recorded the loss in 48:59 of work while making 17 stops on 21 shot attempts. For the record, Morgan Bake stopped three of four shots in her 10:17 of work. And if you're keeping score at home, the Pandas haven't allowed a goal in 300:27 since Manitoba's Caitlin Fyten scored at 8:22 of the first period on January 6!

MOUNT ROYAL at MANITOBA: The surging Mount royal Cougars took their five-game win streak into Manitoba on Friday night for a date with the second-ranked team in the nation in the Manitoba Bisons. As we've come to expect over the years, Mount Royal always seems to bring their best for dates with Manitoba, and Friday was no different. Despite opportunities for both teams in the opening frame, both Mount Royal's Zoe DeBeauville and Manitoba's Lauren Taraschuk were perfect through the first twenty minutes.

That perfection continued in the second period despite Manitoba throwing everything they had at Mount Royal. In periods of intense pressure, the Bisons peppered DeBeauville and the Cougars with shot after shot, but the Cougars withstood the barrage. After being outshot 19-5 in the second period, we'd move to the third period with an inexplicable scoreless tie despite the fact that Manitoba held a 26-9 advantage in shots!

The third period opened up with Manitoba carrying the play, and it would the Bisons would finally snap the goalless game. Jenai Buchanan's point shot was stopped by DeBeauville, but Erica Rieder, who had led the rush, found herself standing in front with the rebound, and she shoveled the puck home by pushing the puck under DeBeauville's pad just 37 seconds into the period for the 1-0 Manitoba lead! After that, it was back to the status quo as both DeBeauville and Taraschuk shut the doors again. When the final horn sounded, the 1-0 score was still intact, giving Manitoba the victory! Taraschuk made 14 saves for her fourth shutout of the season while DeBeauville was outstanding in the loss, making 31 saves on 32 shot attempts.

MOUNT ROYAL at MANITOBA: With Mount Royal's five-game winning streak coming to an end, could they start a new one against the Bisons? The Bisons, meanwhile, wanted to continue their winning ways and keep pace with the teams around them. Luckily, this one saw the scoring get started a little earlier than in Friday night's game! Just 1:10 into this one, Natasha Kostenko spotted Sheridan Oswald cruising into the slot, hit Oswald with a quick pass from behind the net, and Oswald buried it past Emily Severson for the 1-0 Manitoba lead! Manitoba's Rachel Dyck saw just a single puck in the opening period, so Mount Royal would need a bigger effort after the Bisons took that one-goal lead into the intermission.

The second period was certainly more even in terms of the shots, but Manitoba played a significant amount of time in Mount Royal's end. That pressure paid off late in the period when Lauren Warkentin's shot hit Kostenko who was parked in front of Severson, and Kostenko whacked a backhander that just got past Severson's blocker inside the far post to give Manitoba a 2-0 lead at 16:56!

With a two-goal lead and Rachel Dyck playing extremely well, it seemed that the third period may be a tough challenge for the Cougars to try and tie this game up. That being said, Manitoba came out and smothered the Cougars with solid defence once more, and the Cougars only had a couple of scoring chances that Dyck turned aside. In the end, Manitoba recorded its third-straight shutout with a 2-0 victory over Mount Royal. Rachel Dyck made ten saves for her second shutout of the season while Emily Severson made in 18 saves in the loss.

SASKATCHEWAN at CALGARY: The Huskies were looking to move ahead of Alberta and catch both Manitoba and UBC this weekend with a little help while the Dinos needed points to hunt down Regina and Mount Royal and get themselves back into a playoff spot. The first period saw Sasaktchewan's Jessica Vance and Calgary's Kelsey Roberts match each other save for save, albeit with Roberts being far busier, as the two teams failed to dent twine in the opening period.

The second period saw the visitors hit the scoreboard as the Huskies were relentless in their attack. Brooklyn Haubrich's pass from the board found Kayla Kirwan all alone in front of the Calgary net, and the defender's shot was somehow stopped by an outstanding save by Roberts. However, it was all for naught as Kaitlin Willoughby was in the right spot to clean up the rebound to make it 1-0 on her 49th Canada West goal in her career at 11:21. Without question, the Huskies owned this period, but only had a 1-0 lead through 40 minutes of play despite owning a 23-4 advantage in shots.

For as relentless as Saskatchewan seemed in the first two frames, the third period was an absolute shooting gallery for the Huskies. Roberts was simply incredible in only allowing one goal, and Calgary went for the equalizer with six attackers with 1:09 to play. Saskatchewan would score on their 40th shot of the night when Emma Nutter hit the empty net with a second to play, icing the 2-0 victory for the Huskies. Jessica Vance has a relatively quiet night in posting her fifth shutout of the season with a seven-save effort while Kelsey Roberts deserved a better fate in stopping 38 of 39 pucks fired at her.

SASKATCHEWAN at CALGARY: After being dominated on Friday night, Calgary looked for a better response on Saturday. In Saskatchewan's case, generating that many shots should have resulte in a few more goals. Woul we see a similar game on Saturday? Um, yes.

The first two periods saw no scoring as Saskatchewan's Jessica Vance and Calgary's Kelsey Roberts went mano-a-mano in seeing who would flinch first in the nets. Saskatchewan delivered 22 shots compared to Calgary's nine shots, so clearly Roberts was having another outstanding night between the pipes. We wouldn't see any goals, though, until the third period.

Midway through the period, Brooklyn Haubrich poked a puck past a pinching Dino to set up a two-on-one with Kaitlin Willoughby and Emily Upgang. Willoughby opted to shoot, and her shot was kicked aside by Roberts. Unfortunately for the Calgary netminder, she kicked it directly to a spot where Upgang could pounce on it, and pounce on it she did as she buried her seventh of the season at 11:05! With the Dinos mounting very little offence late in this game once more, head coach Danielle Goyette didn't even get the option to pull Roberts in this game as the Dinos fell 1-0 to the Huskies. Vance recorded her sixth shutout and second-straight blank sheet with her 15-save performance on the night while Roberts lost another heartbreaker despite making 38 stops on 39 shots for the second night in a row.

There will be more on the Dinos below in The Final Word, so stay tuned. I have some thoughts on their play.

UBC at LETHBRIDGE: Might we see a series where more than one team scores in a game? On paper, this looked like the biggest mismatch of the weekend with UBC atop the Canada West standings and Lethbridge at the bottom. The results, however, were far from representing those of a mismatch.

UBC jumped out to the lead in this one when Ireland Perrott tore down the right wing and fired a high shot that went glove-side under the bar past Alicia Anderson at 7:03 for the 1-0 lead. Lethbridge, though, wasn't deterred by this goal as they actually outplayed UBC for parts of the opening period. Despite outshooting the T-Birds 6-5, Lethbridge went into the intermission down a single goal.

The second period showed more tight-checking hockey, but Lethbridge would even the score at 12:44 on the power-play when Mackenzie Gal skated to the face-off dot from the half-boards and went high on the blocker side past a screened Tory Micklash to even the game at 1-1.
Lethbridge wasn't done there, though. 5:12 later, Kyra Greig got in behind the UBC defence and was sent in alone from Katie Breitkreuz where she went low on the blocker side past Micklash with her shot and Lethbridge was out in front by a 2-1 score through two periods of play!

Just 1:17 into the final frame, UBC erased the deficit. Mathea Fischer hit Hannah Clayton-Carroll with a pass, and she was wide open in front of the net. Clayton-Carroll did what she always does in front of the net, and she buried her eleventh of the season to tie the game at 2-2. The tight-checking game we saw in the first forty minutes evaporated as UBC launched 16 shots at Anderson while Lethbridge responded with ten shots of their own on Micklash. No other pucks would find the back of either net, though, so it was off to overtime to find a winner!

The first overtime period produced no winner. The second overtime period also produced no winner. In order to find a winner, the teams went to the skills competition. The first three rounds saw no goals scored. In Round Four, Mathea Fischer deked out Alicia Anderson to put UBC up 1-0 in the shootout, leaving Brett Campbell needing to score to extend the game. Campbell would be stopped by Micklash to give UBC the 3-2 shootout win! In the victory, Micklash stopped 30 shots in her 70 minutes of action while Anderson made 33 stops in the shootout loss.

UBC at LETHBRIDGE: After one heckuva game on Friday, the Thunderbirds and Pronghorns clashed again on Saturday. Just as they did on Friday, the T-Birds opened the scoring. Cassandra Vilgrain picked up Hannah Clayton-Carroll's rebound and flipped the puck over a sprawling Alicia Anderson to put UBC up 1-0 just 1:20 into the game! Lethbridge looked a little sluggish early on in this game, but they seemed to get back on track by the end of the period as they began to get shots on UBC's Amelia Boughn. However, the score was 1-0 and the shots were 11-8 with both favoring UBC.

The second period saw the Pronghorns build on that first period momentum, and it resulted in Alli Borrow being sent in on a breakaway!
Borrow's goal at 7:44 made it a 1-1 game. Both teams had opportunities in the second to grab the lead, but they'd hit the second intermission still knotted up at 1-1.

The game could have had a completely different final score if it weren't for Boughn and Anderson in the third period. Both teams had excellent chances, but the two netminders kept the puck out of the net on every attempt. Every attempt, that is, until 17:38. On a scramble in front of Anderson, Alexa Ranahan found the puck and pushed it below the mass of humanity that was battling for said puck and across the goal line for the 2-1 UBC lead! With Anderson pulled for the extra attacker, for the final 58 seconds, Lethbridge couldn't solve Boughn for the equalizer as UBC escaped this game with the 2-1 win! Boughn made 24 saves in the win while Anderson was on the wrong side of the score despite making 30 saves.

CANADA WEST WOMEN'S HOCKEY
School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
Manitoba
14-5-2-1
47 48 36
W3
@ REG
British Columbia
13-4-3-2
47 52 32
W6
@ SAS
Alberta
11-4-4-3
44 56 35
W5
vs LET
Saskatchewan
14-7-0-1
43 37 26
W2
vs UBC
Mount Royal
6-13-3-0
24 33 42
L2
@ CAL
Regina
6-12-1-3
23 32 50
L7
vs MAN
Calgary
6-14-0-2
20 17 39
L6
vs MRU
Lethbridge
3-14-2-3
16 25 40
L8
@ ALB
Teams in yellow have clinched a playoff spot.

The Final Word

Calgary, who once held a playoff spot at the end of the first-half of the season, now finds itself in a precarious situation where they need to win at least a game or two in their final six games to jump ahead of one of Regina or Mount Royal. The problem is that the Dinos have yet to score in any of their six games in 2018, and they're currently battling a 381:49 scoreless drought. The last time they scored? December 2 at 18:11 of the second period against Lethbridge.

With the quality goaltending they're getting from Kelsey Roberts, they should have won at least two of the six games they've played in this new calendar year. Instead, they have yet to dent twine in the six games they've played. You can't blame this on goaltending or defence as the Dinos have only give up three or more goals in two of those six games.

You might be apt to blame the talent that the Dinos have amassed over the last couple of years, but they have had good players and have solid players this year. Delaney Frey owns Calgary's highest point-per-game total at 0.26 points per game, meaning that she should have scored a point at some point over these last six games. Instead, it's been a long, long time since they've lit a lamp at any point.

It might be time to start looking at the people calling the shots on the bench. Danielle Goyette, since 2014, has seen Calgary's goals-for drop from second-overall to third-overall to seventh-overall to eighth-place of eight teams. In that same time, the Dinos have seen their goals-against go from sixth-overall to eighth-overall to being tied for eighth-overall to being currently seventh-overall by one goal. If you are keeping track at home, that means they've seen their scoring evaporate over the last four years while their prevention of goals has remained pretty abysmal. This, to me, screams that it's the systems the Dinos are playing, and that points directly to the coaching staff.

At some point, Goyette needs to adapt her systems to her team's strengths which is goaltending and team defence. Mount Royal has done a wonderful job in adapting their system to play to their strengths, and it has resulted in annual improvements by the other Calgary-based team. Instead, the goal differential that the Dinos have displayed went from +12 in 2014-15 to -16 the following year to -49 last season to what appears to be an improvement this season as they currently sit at -9, but that speaks louder to the outstanding goaltending they've been getting than anything else.

With Mount Royal and Regina being the next two opponents they face over the next two weekends, Calgary has to win each weekend's series when it comes to points if they hope to make the playoffs. Their final week is against Manitoba and that will be a tough test, but these next four games against the two teams they're chasing are absolutely must-win weekends.

If they continue to serve up doughnuts as they have over the last six games, though, it might be time to take a long, hard look at what's going on behind the bench for the Dinos because the trend they're currently on suggests that the coaching staff and the systems being used by that staff are inadequate for the team they've assembled.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 20 January 2018

Whose Jersey Is That?

I was sitting at home and flipping channels tonight when I happened across Tosh.O. Most times, I just watch the first ten minutes of Daniel Tosh's show for the viral videos he presents, and then I move on to more entertaining fare. Tonight, though, I caught the episode where Daniel promised the audience that he was going to get punched in the face by Manny Pacquiao. I'm no boxing fan by any means, but seeing a rather scrawny comedian get punched by a legitimate boxing superstar sounded kind of funny. In saying this, I stuck with the program.

For all the build-up, here is the clip of Tosh get his brain scrambled by Pacquiao.
It wasn't the punch to the head or the goofy setup that Daniel performs that caught my attention. Just as I posted in the leading image up top, I was mesmerized by the framed "Roach" jersey on the wall. Whose jersey is that?

The first clue on the jersey that narrowed my search significantly was the IHL logo on the bottom hem. The IHL had a long history, but the jersey looked newer, so it would have to be from a more recent team. The only "Roach" that I could find after scouring the internet was Andy Roach who spent three seasons in the IHL with the San Antonio Dragons, the Long Beach Ice Dogs, and the Utah Grizzlies. The jersey on the wall doesn't belong to any of those teams, though, so I had to expand my search criteria.

Using my well-developed sense of deduction, I figured Daniel most likely filmed this segment at the gym that Manny Pacquiao calls home, and that led me to a man by the name of Freddie Roach!

Freddie Roach owns the Wild Card boxing gym in Hollywood, and he has a clientele list that has included and currently includes the likes of Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, Oscar De La Hoya, Mike Tyson, Bernard Hopkins, and Canadian UFC champion Georges St-Pierre among others! Among the Hollywood elite, Roach works with the likes of Mark Wahlberg, Sylvester Stallone, and Christian Bale for various movie roles and keeping them in great shape. In other words, he's kind of a big deal.

Roach, for those that aren't aware, was a helluva boxer himself, and is widely regarded as one of the elite boxing trainers of all-time. He was 40-13 in his career, and was known for his ability to take a barrage of punches and continue fighting. Unfortunately, the results of taking all those punches was his early onset of Parkinson's Disease, but Roach has endured the setback by continuing to train the elite boxers on the planet.

Roach grew up in the Southie neighborhood of Boston, and he noted in a BuzzFeed article by Joe DeLessio that "Roach's favorite player was Bobby Orr (no relation to Colton Orr) — 'He was everybody in Boston's favorite player,' says Roach — but he remembers appreciating the work of tough guy Wayne Cashman. Roach was never much of a hockey fighter himself, though: 'I wasn't that good on skates, so I'd have to take my skates off to fight.'"

That might explain the #4 jersey, but there was no explanation of what team it is or why Roach has it anywhere I could find on the internet. There's clearly a small plaque on the frame as seen in the Tosh video, but I can't seem to find any information about it anywhere. If anyone has any knowledge on this jersey at the Wild Card boxing club, I'm all ears!

At least we found out who the mystery "Roach" is, though!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 19 January 2018

A Friday Laugh

Intermissions and commercial breaks at hockey games provide all sorts of opportunities for hockey franchises to really push local promotions. The USHL's Green Bay Gamblers have never failed to drop some advertising on their fans as a way to pay their bills, and they have a unique little race that features three randomly-chosen fans dressed as beer cans. If there's one thing I know about wearing top-heavy costumes, getting up from a fall is certainly no easy task.

While no one is going to complain about Budwesier, Busch Light, and Natty Light's efforts in this race, Bud Light might have a little explaining to do after ending up looking like an overturned turtle on the ice.
Tripping over one's feet in a race is never good, but when one is wearing a fairly rotund beer can? Devastating. There are no medals for effort in this race, Bud Light. How the once-mighty have fallen!

All jokes aside, the Gamblers have had other beer races hit social media for some epic wipe-outs and miraculous recoveries. Case in point? Check out Busch Light bailing at the start of this race only to find a second wind from January 2016!
Not bad at all, Busch Light. Excellent job at roaring back in this race!

If there's one thing you can say for both Bud Light and Busch Light aftr watching these two clips, it's that both brands of beer seem to go down easy! And with that, I'll show myself out.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 18 January 2018

The Hockey Show - Episode 278

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is back tonight with a special guest! We normally like to have guests booked early on our show, but this one required a little scheduling before we could confirm her attendance. She has been recognized on ESPN as the Greatest Hockey Player in the World This Week, and she overcame some incredible odds to do some incredible things! We'll feature this young dynamo on the show tonight as Beans and I go over a pile of happenings in the hockey world from this past week. There's also a major anniversary today in the NHL. so we'll talk to our guest, talk some news, and highlight this anniversary tonight on The Hockey Show on 101.5 UMFM!

That young sniper is Riley Scorgie. You may have heard of her thanks to her story in the Edmonton Journal or maybe because I nominated her to be the Best Player in the World of the Week for this week. You may recognize her last name as we had her father, Adam Scorgie, on with us to speak about his film, Ice Guardians, back in March. Well, it turns out that Riley has an incredible story to tell after she scored her 50th goal in just her 19th game of the season during the first game of Quikcard Edmonton Minor Hockey Week! Why is that important? Because Scorgie was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome last October, a syndrome that affects the hands, arms, legs, and feet after the immune system attacks the body's nerves in those areas. This is the same issue that is currently affecting Anaheim's Patrick Eaves and keeping him out of hockey. Riley overcame the disease and has become one of the best scorers that Edmonton has seen since the lofty days of Wayne Gretzky! We'll talk to Riley and her mother, Lauren, tonight about winning the fight against a disease that threatened her hockey career as well as getting to know Riley! Depending on time, Beans and I will discuss some other news, but we're focused on a special girl tonight as The Hockey Show welcome Riley Scorgie to the program!

So how do I hear Riley's interview, you ask? We suggest that you download the UMFM app on your phone or tablet. It's the easiest and most convenient way to listen to any of UMFM's great shows any time of the day, so go get it! Just follow this link on your iDevice or this link for your Android device and get the UMFM app! It's never been easier to tune into The Hockey Show or UMFM! Download the UMFM app today, and don't miss any of our great programming or shows! Of course, you can do the radio thing at 101.5 on the FM dial and you can always listen online via the UMFM website!

If you prefer social media, we try to remain up-to-speed there as well! Email all show questions and comments to hockeyshow@umfm.com! 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.

Tonight, Teebz and Beans talk to Riley Scorgie and find out what she went through to get back to playing the sport she loves on The Hockey Show found only on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM app!

PODCAST: January 18, 2018: Episode 278

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 17 January 2018

A Capital N And O

If you've been following Hockey Blog In Canada for a while, you know that I hold the logo on the jersey to be sacrosanct. It is the brand of the franchise, it is the mark of professionalism, and it is what people instantly identify when it comes to one's team. In short, it's the team's identity. You simply don't mess with a team's logo for any reason when you're talking about an identity. It was the driving factor in the New York Islanders scrapping the Fisherman logo and reverting back to their classic logo in the mid-1990s. It's one of the reasons why the Pittsburgh Penguins scrapped the Robot Pigeon for the Skating Penguin. And it's part of the reason why both the Ottawa Senators and the Tampa Bay Lightning saw their alternate jerseys lag in sales compared to other teams. It's simple: don't mess with a logo that is instantly recognizable and a part of a team's success.

When the Washington Capitals were announced as one of the Stadium Series teams this season, I wasn't overly excited. Their last attempt at the 2015 Winter Classic left something to be desired, and the NHL as a whole has seen the design of the jerseys for their outdoor games get worse as the years roll on. Sure, there have been a few solid designs like what Toronto wore at the Centennial Classic in 2017, but the vast majority of the jerseys seen on players at the outdoor games have been mostly forgettable.

Ladies and gentlemen, let the tradition continue.
This is ridiculous. Who in their right mind designs something like this, steps back, and says to one's self, "That's an NHL uniform right there"? This uniform has "burning tire fire" written all over it, and the NHL is going to make the Capitals wear these monstrosities in Annapolis on March 3 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. What a joke.

For the love of all things good and sensible in this world, the team's name is not "Caps". As a nickname and when used colloquially, the term "Caps" works. On internet hockey forums, "Caps" is acceptable. "Caps", however, is not the team's name. It never has been, and it never was. They're the Washington Capitals. This idea is as dumb as it was when Ottawa wore "Sens" and Tampa Bay wore "Bolts". That's not your identity. It's a nickname. It's not how the team and franchise is identified. This is utter crap, and shame on anyone who thinks it's even on the same planet as "acceptable".

Can someone explain the foot-tall hem stripe to me? Can someone explain the six-inch arm bands? Is it the NHL's intention to dress their teams in what appears to be pajamas?

Honestly, these are officially the worst jerseys in the history of NHL hockey of all-time. Without doubt. The fact that the Capitals will only wear these uniforms once this season - for now, at least - is the only redeeming quality I can find. There is nothing from which one can derive pride regarding these jerseys, and I'd probably revoke my fan status if I were a Capitals fan after seeing this jersey. I kid you not. Zero hyperbole. I hate these jerseys THAT much. Collect them all, douse them in gasoline, burn them, and then douse the ashes and burn them again. Have I made it clear how awful I think these jerseys are yet?

You're welcome to leave comments, but it's not going to change my opinion. WORST. JERSEYS. EVER.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!