Monday, 31 August 2020

The Costs Outweigh The Benefits

What does a mild-mannered farmer in Nebraska, a metropolitan fashionista in California, and a die-hard New York Yankees fan have in common? If I told you that all three helped pay for Yankee Stadium, you'd probably laugh at me before moving on to something else. The problem is that all three of these people have been paying for Yankee Stadium along with dozens of other stadiums across the United States thanks to billionaires crying poor and threatening to leave their current city for greener pastures.

I have been hammering away on cities who have listened to owners of sports franchises cry, whine, and moan about needing public funds for some time now ever since John Oliver dug into the hypocrisy and stupidity that surrounds using public funds for stadiums and arenas on HBO's Last Week Tonight in 2015. I ripped Calgary on several occasions about investing public funds into their new arena, and I'll likely go after the next owner who gets the city in which his team plays to bow before his will and dump public money into his shiny, new toy.

In a rather eye-opening publication on Literary Hub, Jessica Luther and Kavitha A. Davidson penned a fantastic piece "on the True Costs of Fandom" when it comes to the American public financing stadiums for billionaires entitled You're Paying for Sports Stadiums You Don't Even Go To. In this publication, they expose the fallacies of committing public funds in building arenas and stadiums because of the costs - both in the short long term - that it has on America and its citizens.

They write,
"From 2000 to 2014, the federal government lost $3.7 billion in revenue due to subsidies to sports teams building new stadiums, according to the Brookings Institution. These federal subsidies come in the form of tax-exempt municipal bonds. The federal tax exclusion for interest earned on state and local bonds dates back to the first US income tax established in 1913, when it applied to an array of private businesses. Since then, its application has been narrowed and specified several times, yet the financing of sports stadiums remains exempt."
Think about how much infrastructure and services $3.7 billion would get you if the federal US government hadn't given it to sports teams who wanted new buildings. Highways, national parks, and pile of other services might have the funding they need to continue to operate at and maintain a high standard, but, instead, this money as never realized thanks to interest not being paid on the bonds secured by the government to pay billionaires to build new stadiums.

"Everybody in the United States is foregoing tax revenues that could have been earned on the taxable bonds that alternatively would have to be used," Brad Humphreys, an economics professor at the University of West Virginia who specializes in stadium financing, told Luther and Davidson. "Everybody in the United States is providing some sort of subsidy for these private-use sports facilities."

Remember those three people off the top who had something in common? These taxable bonds that the government is handing out to billionaires means that the farmer in Nebraska, the fashionista in California, and the die-hard Yankees fan are all paying for the Steinbrenners to have their brand-new Yankee Stadium. That doesn't seem fair, does it?

Luther and Davidson make another good point when they write,
"State and local governments must carry most of the burden of financing stadiums. This comes in the form of property tax exemptions to teams or the more direct route: straight out of citizens' pockets in the form of increased general sales taxes, lotteries, and taxes on rental cars, hotels, restaurants, alcohol, and cigarettes."
It begs the question about why general public - most of whom won't be able to buy season tickets based on current pricing in most leagues - are still forced to foot the bill for the very stadium in which they'll only watch their local sports franchise a handful of times. How does this make any sense to anyone when it comes to being a sports fan in today's day and age?

We need to stop this practice. Civic pride in a team is one thing, but when millions of dollars in tax revenue is being abandoned because local billionaire wants his new stadium we need to really look at what's important to us. Sports will always be a civic pride issue as there hasn't been a single instance where a professional sports franchise or owner has built a hospital or paved new streets or built a school, yet we keep using money that we could use for those purposes to satiate the threats from billionaires.

Jessica Luther and Kavitha A. Davidson's article prove that the cost of fandom is truly astronomical when you consider everything we give up to have a new stadium in town.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Who Will Light The Fire?

I'll be very honest when I say that I was skeptical when the Calgary Flames named Geoff Ward the interim head coach of the team following Bill Peters' departure. I knew Ward had had success in the AHL, but I wasn't convinced he was the right man for the job. After all, he had been an assistant coach with the Flames, Devils, and Bruins through his entire NHL tenure, so could he be the guy to put systems in place and have the players execute? I believe he answered my critical-though-rudimentary analysis of his work in spades after he guided the Flames to a first-round dismantling of the Winnipeg Jets while getting the Flames into the eighth-seed in the Western Conference.

Should he be the guy moving this team forward? That's a question the Flames' brass now need to answer.

Again, I think Ward earned the opportunity to continue. He went 24-15-3 with the Flames after taking over the head coaching duties, and we saw improved performances from Sean Monahan, Sam Bennett, Elias Lindholm, Milan Lucic, and Cam Talbot in these playoffs. While there might have been questions about the Flames' goaltending situation going into the bubble, Talbot stepped up after his coach put him in the blue paint as the starter, and Talbot responded very well.

The question for the Flames is what they do if they opt to go elsewhere. There aren't a ton of experienced coaching options out there right now after Peter Laviolette has been linked to the Washington Capitals, so who could they turn to if the Flames want to go in a different direction?

I would assume the Flames will avoid Mike Babcock due to the fact that the Maple Leafs are still paying him. It makes no sense for the Flames to being in Babcock after his troubles as well, and I don't believe he'd be the right coach for the team. It should be noted that Babcock has ties to southern Alberta region after coaching the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns, but I can't see either really making a pitch for the job in Calgary.

Gerard Gallant would be an interesting choice if he came in as the Flames showed all sorts of size and speed against the Jets, and that's precisely how Gallant loves to coach the game. If we look at his track record with Vegas, there was no shortage of effort that the Golden Knights gave night-in and night-out under Gallant, and that kind of battle and effort from the Flames would make them a dangerous team with the likes of Tkachuk, Gaudreau, and Monahan flying around the ice.

Hiring Gallant would also prevent Seattle from hiring him, so this could be a win-win for Calgary in getting a great head coach to run their team while preventing a division rival from doing the same.

Honestly, though, I do believe that Geoff Ward might be the right guy. He knows the players, he's got some great systems as evidenced by their hammering of the Jets in the play-in round, and he lets his offensive players flourish. They seem to have bought into his systems, and they showed that off against the Jets before the Dallas Stars awoke from their slumber to extinguish the Flames. Either way, Ward might be the best option for the Flames going forward based on the small sample size we saw this season.

The Flames have some decisions to make, but the easiest one might be to remove the "interim" tag off Geoff Ward's title.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Language Matters

If there's one thing that I've learned in my life, it's that there is a difference between speculation and assumption. Speculation is the act playing out a scenario in one's mind without concrete facts but allowing for one or many possibilities to be the end result. Assumption, on the other hand, has already determined an outcome with or without concrete facts. It's a significant difference when one uses language in a position of authority as the assumption can often lead to unintended or dire consequences while speculation often takes into account of those consequences without having them realized. This is important to remember as we found out today that the Las Vegas Police Protective Association raised issues with the Golden Knights over their support the Black Lives Matter movement.

As you're likely aware, Ryan Reeves played a large role in helping the NHL players stop play for two days in an effort to re-affirm their backing of the Black Lives Matter movement. Reeves, a Golden Knights forward, spoke to many players from opposing teams about what the stoppage would mean, and, in the end, the NHL took two days off to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement following the shooting of Jacob Blake.

In a rather shocking move, the Las Vegas Police Protective Association went on the offensive via a written letter to the Golden Knights that accused the team and players of jumping "on the bandwagon of attacking the police profession". The letter, in full, is posted below.
Feel free to click on the letter to read it, but there are sections where the LVPPA have decided to impose assumptions via wild speculation rather than basing its argument on the merits of why the NHL and NHLPA stepped forward to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The entire paragraph where the LVPPA lays out its argument is full of speculation and hearsay. There have only been "facts" based on the Department of Justice's report, yet the officer who wrote the letter not only disbelieves part of the DOJ's report, but then adds in his own beliefs. This, folks, means they are not facts in any manner.

From there, the officer lays out some assumptions based on a series of "what if" statements. It leads to me asking, "What if all of what you're suggesting isn't true?" The officer then admits that none of it may be true. This is why it's dangerous to make assumptions when one doesn't have the full picture. On top of that, it's pretty clear he also has no clue about what the Black Lives Matter movement is.

Hopefully, I need to express this for the last time, but the Black Lives Matter movement isn't about one isolated incident. It's about the way that law enforcement treats black people. It means that people like Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and now Jacon Blake. It's condemnation of the use of excessive force by law enforcement in their treatment of black individuals. It is the demand for equality when it comes to presuming innocence rather than using force to presume guilt.

If this officer's last line of "Nobody hates a bad cop more than a good cop" is true, there should be no assumptions made about what the Black Lives Matter movement is about when a hockey team and its players speak out about the injustice seen over and over again. Speculating that the Golden Knights are somehow against the men and women who make up the LVPPA is not only ignorant, but entirely uneducated in what is happening in one's community right now.

The language and tone of this email suggest that the LVPPA expect support from the Golden Knights, and I don't even believe they lost the support of the local NHL team. What this letter and the writer seem to have lost is the point of the movement. The fact that the writer makes some wild assumptions and speculates throughout the letter is why the message isn't being heard by those who need to hear it. The Black Lives Matter movement isn't about hating law enforcement or not supporting law enforcement. Yet here we are again because someone isn't listening.

Stop talking. Start listening. That's what good cops do.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 28 August 2020

Voting Matters

With hockey off for a second-straight night thanks to the players stepping up and using their platform to further discussions about the Black Lives Matter movement, I was impressed by the effort by the NBA players who did the same thing, but went one step further in getting the respective owners of the NBA franchises to open arenas as voting centers in the upcoming US election after hundreds of polling stations had been closed across the US. This is how change is made when one doesn't like the system one is living in, and I commend the NBA players for asking for and demanding this change as part of their current efforts to see changes in society.

In saying that, I read an article today on, penned by unnamed Sportsnet staff, that spoke about how the Arizona Coyotes will open Gila River Arena as a voting station in an effort to help more people vote in the upcoming election. This got me thinking as to how the Canadian NHL teams can step up and help their brethren in the US with this effort.

It should be noted that the seven Canadian NHL teams have AHL affiliates and, of those seven AHL affiliates, three are based in the US - Utica, NY (Vancouver), Stockton, California (Calgary), and Bakersfield, California (Edmonton). While New York and California have been working hard to ensure all constituents can vote, opening up the arenas in those cities would be a good way to ensure more people can vote with little trouble.

What about teams like Winnipeg, Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal? What can they do since they have AHL affiliates in Canada?

The seven NHL teams should band together with their 24 American-based current franchises and one new franchise to get the AHL to open their arenas across the US as well. If the NHL is serious about supporting its players, it needs to use its vast influence on the AHL and, possibly, the ECHL to open arenas as voting stations for Americans.

As a Canadian, I repeatedly hear how important this vote is on all the major news networks and on multiple advertisements shown on American TV. I hear how this election could change the course of American politics for generation, how voting matters, and how every vote counts. If that's true, the NHL should follow the NBA's lead and get all the non-shared buildings in the US opened and have their AHL buildings opened as well.

In places such as Florida, Arizona, and Texas, this could prove vital in determining the results of those states in this election. With the Phoenix Suns opening their arena in downtown Phoenix thanks to the NBA efforts, having the arenas opened in Glendale as the Coyotes have pledged and opening the arena in Tucson could have a major impact for voters who may not know where to go or may have to travel great distances to vote.

Actions speak louder than words, and the NHL should know this. The best way to support social causes is for the NHL to use its influence to enable the means for those social causes. While the change that society seeks will still have to come from society itself, the NHL could go a long way in showing some social responsibility by being an ally as they claim to be.

Do right, NHL. Make this happen.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 27 August 2020

The Hockey Show - Episode 414

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns tonight with one of our favorite guests who will do a deeper dive into a team that might have surprised a few people considering how they've played in these NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. There's a lot to be said for a few teams - the Canucks and the Stars come to mind immediately - but perhaps the one team who is accomplishing more without a bonafide NHL superstar are the New York Islanders. And that means we need to check in with our favorite Islanders source!

While his kids are universally loved when they make appearances on the show, they don't make an appearance tonight as we go back to John in Washington, DC who has been a New York Islanders fan since he could pronounce "Bossy". We talk to John about the game yesterday as the Isles and Flyers prepare for Game Three tonight, how Barry Trotz has really shaped this team into a contender, how the Islanders are playing incredible 5-on-5 hockey, and the efforts by the Pelech-Pulock defensive pairing before tackling the insanity of the Logan Couture sucker-punch, Jonathan Marchessault's Instagram follies, and Allan Walsh's itchy Twitter finger that left his player under the wheels of the bus he drove through Las Vegas. It's a fun show with a lot of laughs as we get the skinny on the Islanders from longtime friend of the show, John in DC! Hear it all tonight on 101.5 FM, Channel 718 on MTS TV, and on at 5:30pm!

Where's the best place can you hear tonight's show if you're outside Winnipeg or not near a radio, you ask? The new UMFM website's online streaming player is pretty awesome if you want to listen online. If you're using an Apple device, the player doesn't seem to like Safari yet, but we highly recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store or perhaps another browser. If you do use the TuneIn app, you won't be disappointed. It's a solid app.

If you have questions, you can email all show queries and comments to! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter! I'm here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz and John talk about the Islanders' success in the playoffs, Trotz's influence on the team, Pelech's and Pulock's contributions to the team, Logan Couture's glass jaw, Jonathan Marchessault's fragile ego, Allan Walsh stapling Marc-Andre Fleury to the Vegas bench, and much more exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the web stream!

PODCAST: August 27, 2020: Episode 414

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

The Leadership Of Hrudey

Ryan Reeves. Jamie Benn. Tyler Seguin. Robin Lehner. I know hockey is a primarily white sport and, when it comes to diversity, there isn't much to speak of, but seeing these four men take a knee to support the Black Lives Matter fight was inspiring. Would I like to have seen more player do what they did? Absolutely, but there's little one can do to change history. Tonight, though, as Canada tuned into Hockey Night in Canada's coverage of these playoffs, there was a sombre mood as the broadcast began after the NBA players staged an incredible display of strength in their protest.

I feel blessed and eternally grateful that I was able to interview Kelly Hrudey on The Hockey Show earlier this summer. We had a short conversation before and after the show, and I will always be in Kelly's debt for his kind words and allowing me an opportunity to talk to one of the players I idolized while growing up.

Tonight, I found a whole new level of respect and admiration for Kelly Hrudey for what he said on Hockey Night in Canada regarding the games being played as you read this.

I stand with Kelly Hrudey. I agree with his comments, and I do believe that having the NHL playing games tonight is entirely tone-deaf considering the vast number of athletes in other sports using their platforms to demand change.

I rarely dive into politics on this blog, but let's be clear: this isn't a political matter. This is about equality for the BIPOC community and their treatment at the hands of law enforcement, in society, and by each and every one of us in our interactions. Equality matters, and we'll only achieve more when equality is found for each and every one of us.

Thank you for your powerful words tonight, Kelly. Hopefully, we'll see the NHL and NHLPA step up after dropping the ball in a big way tonight. Sports should bring us together, and that's precisely what needs to happen as we seek equality for those folks who have faced so much systemic racism.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 25 August 2020


This is the sign out in front of the BC Hockey Hall of Fame that resides in the South Okanagan Events Center in Penticton, British Columbia. I have to admit that it looks very impressive, so I'm giving an unsolicited nod to the Wildstone Construction Group on their craftsmanship. However, there's a bigger issue at hand than the skilled work of one Penticton company as the point of this article deals with the BC Hockey Hall of Fame, so let's get to why I'm talking about it.

Without a doubt, the various institutions across Canada that hold hockey's historical pieces are treasure troves of information and merchandise. Collectors often marvel at what the value of these collections might be, but the correct answer is "priceless" in almost every case. In saying that, what happened at the BC Hockey Hall of Fame on August 14 is rather astounding.

According to Crime Stoppers of the South Okanagan and Similkameen area, a man walked into the BC Hockey Hall of Fame and helped himself to two Vancouver Canucks jerseys - namely, a Daniel Sedin autographed jersey and a Henrik Sedin autographed jersey. Here's our suspect heading out of the BC Hockey Hall of Fame with his new jerseys tucked neatly under his arm, courtesy of closed-circuit video in the area obtained by Crime Stoppers of the South Okanagan and Similkameen and shared with

For a better look of this upstanding citizen, here's the front view.

Seriously, I hope that this guy is found, identified, brought to justice, and shamed for stealing two jerseys from a Hall of Fame. This is a new kind of lowlife move from a person, and his punishment should be severe for taking something that belongs to everyone in British Columbia. Here's hoping the police round him up quickly before he sells those priceless jerseys in a desperate, despicable act for a quick buck too.

If you recognize this dude or think you do, he left the area "in a 1995-2001 green Ford Explorer" with the two jerseys. Make sure you call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 so this jackass gets what he rightly deserves when it comes to justice.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 24 August 2020

Modernized Bears

It's always a fun day when a team announces a new look and uniform. We've seen a number of NHL teams do it with Buffalo's return to royal blue being the most recent, but we rarely see major changes from the KHL as Dinamo Riga simply updated their logo as opposed to making major uniform changes. Recently, following Riga's example, Traktor Chelyabinsk decided that the logo shown to the left wasn't going to work for them any longer as the Traktor squad moves from a cartoonish logo to one that feels more like it belongs in a museum of modern art. Honestly, I can't tell you whether I like the new logo or not, so let's get into looking at it.

In looking at the bear logo that the team used, I always felt that it misrepresented polar bears entirely as maniacal carnivores who would bite through wooden sticks in an effort to get at their opposition. While I understand the aggressive nature in most hockey logos, the polar bear on Traktor's jerseys seemed a little over-the-top aggressive in its nature. I've seen polar bears, and I've never seen them with the wild eyes portrayed on this logo nor have I ever seen them chew through a hockey stick when hungry and/or angry. In my view, this logo update might have been overdue.

The history of the logo shows that it was actually created for the Spengler Cup, according to the Traktor Chelyabinsk website. On it, the team writes,
In August 1993, a decision was made on a new emblem on the Traktor uniform, created specifically for the Spengler Cup. From the 1995/1996 season to the present, the "polar bear" has been the club's permanent logo. "Traktor" became a pioneer of the "animal" style in the top division of Russian hockey, but the illustration is drawn in a rather childish style, and the logo lacked rigor and seriousness. From a vector point of view, the logo has an abundance of small details. This is already an outdated work on a small scale, thicknesses not in dimensional logic make the logo non-technical and chaotic by the standards of 2020.
It seems that Traktor itself had already thought the logo was too "childish", wanting a better logo that worked with vectors for rendering the logo across all media better. This is forward thinking from the club in working with the Quberten design studio, and it seems that Quberten has been involved in a number of logo redesigns for teams across a number of sports.

Before we check out the new logo, I will say that the design that Quberten came up with doesn't look bad. I struggled with their reasons and design elements in terms of why they had to cram so much stuff into the new logo, but that's why they're paid to design logos and I'm not. In the end, I believe the new logo works, but it feels like they're trying too hard.

Quberten explains the logo design in the following manner:
"The logo combines the letter T, industrial stripes and a triangular layout, referring to the historical sub-logo of HC 'Traktor', the 'ChTZ' logo to the 40th anniversary of the plant, as well as the lettering of the 90s. The logo has a derivative version in a more familiar for 'Traktor' round frame, plus there is a version in the cog. The letter T is also supported by the main lettering, kept untouched, while the rest of the letters follow the general angle and character. The writing and logo create a tightly-knit pair which don't conflict with each other. In the centre of the idea of the 'Traktor' style is the letter T. This is also present in the mascot version (bear) of the logo. The angles of the bear are obeyed to octagonal logic and have multiple rhymes and conjugations."
Um... ok? The logo that Quberten designed based on the "historical sub-logo of HC 'Traktor', the 'ChTZ' logo to the 40th anniversary of the plant, as well as the lettering of the 90s" is completely foreign to me when they finally put everything together. This "T-emblem", as they're calling it, looks nothing like a "T", and the elements seem to get lost when looking for them. I don't see the "historical sub-logo". I don't see the 'ChTZ' logo. All I see is a stylized "M" which, in Cyrillic, is the letter used for the English "T". In standard Russian, the name "Traktor" would be spelled with a "T" as well, so it's important to understand the historical element used here where referencing the Cyrillic lettering as it appears that Quberten is honouring the legacy of the Traktor Chelyabinsk team and the connection to the heavy machinery plant in Chelyabinsk.

With that explained, the new polar bear logo sort of makes more sense, but I'm firmly in the "Keep It Simple, Stupid" boat on logos. As you can see, it kind of looks like a polar bear, but it's not quite a polar bear? The bear's snout should be longer, in my opinion, but I guess this short-nosed polar bear fits the "octagonal logic" and "multiple rhymes and conjugations" that Quberten was wanting. As you can see in the lower left of the bear's face, the Cyrillic "M" is present to represent Traktor and the bear's mouth makes a "C" formation to possibly represent Chelyabinsk, but I don't believe that was intentional as per the explanation on the Traktor website. Either way, this is Traktor Chelyabinsk's new logo!

So what do the jerseys look like with this redesign?
They're fairly simple, and the warning sign-like striping as you'd find on tractors and heavy machinery is actually a nice touch. Traktor will keep their normal black-and-white colour scheme that they've traditionally had, so no major changes there. Overall, though, the uniforms look pretty good from further away as some of the style elements of the logo fall from prominence in the overall aesthetic.

Do I like the rebrand? It's solid. It's not the best, but it's not the worst I've seen either. I am concerned with the new logo in how it became two logos mashed into one logo, but the short-snout polar bear is now officially the logo for Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments if you have a thought or two because I'm curious what people think of rebrands in non-North American leagues. They're always a little different, but maybe you like the new look more than the old one? Let me hear what you think!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 23 August 2020

One Steen Town

I've been trying to solve this mystery for a few days since I first saw the image to the left, but I've admittedly come up with nothing despite following what I thought were leads that only led to dead ends. The player in question to the left is former Winnipeg Jets forward Thomas Steen, but it's what's on his jersey that is the mystery. This image was taken from a highlight posted in 1981-82, and you can see Steen is wearing "T. Steen" across his shoulders. The mystery is why Steen needed to wear the first letter of his first name when there were no other Steens that played for the Jets that year.

The 1980-81 Winnipeg Jets featured a different Steen as the Jets boasted Anders Steen on their roster. Anders was a centerman who scored five goals and 16 points in 42 games for the Jets. The Nykoping, Sweden native would play just one season in the NHL before returning to Farjestads BK Karlstad in 1981-82 for the remainder of his career.

The irony is that Thomas Steen, longtime Jets centerman, joined the Winnipeg Jets in 1981-82 for his rookie season after spending the 1980-81 season with Farjestads BK Karlstad where he scored 38 points in 32 games in the Swedish Elite League!

With Farjestads BK Karlstad swapping Steens with the Winnipeg Jets, it begs the question as to why Thomas Steen was wearing his first letter of his first name on his jersey when Anders Steen never once suited up for the Jets after that nine-win 1980-81 season.

I had originally thought that maybe the Steens wore the same number, but it seems that Anders Steen wore #17 during his one season in Winnipeg. Jude Drouin wore Thomas Steen's #25 in 1980-81 while Larry Hopkins assumed Anders Steen's #17 in 1981-82. The theory that they wore the same number with the same last name, prompting Thomas to wear "T. Steen", was immediately tossed out the window after those discoveries. I was back to my initial starting spot of not knowing why Thomas Steen was wearing the first letter of his first name when there were no other Steen players on the Jets.

The next thought was that the jersey used by Thomas Steen in the game highlight was a one-off jersey. However, a find on the Classic Auctions website proves that Steen wore the first letter of his first name on the white home jerseys that season as well.
Once more, I was left scratching my head as to why Steen needed the first letter of his first name on his sweaters that season when there was no plausible reason for it.

I am out of ideas as to why Thomas Steen played as "T. Steen" in 1981-82 unless the Jets simply wanted everyone to know that the 1981-82 Steen playing center was a different guy from the 1980-81 Steen who played center.

Personally, I think that it shouldn't have been that hard to differentiate between the two, though, as Thomas Steen had 15 goals and 29 assists in his rookie campaign, outscoring Anders Steen's five goals and 11 assists by a considerable measure. The Jets were also very excited about their rookie Swedish centerman who played the second line behind Dale Hawerchuk, promoting Thomas as one of their fabulous new rookies.

In any case, if you have a theory, I'm all ears. Leave a comment below with why you think Thomas Steen wore "T. Steen". Maybe we'll find the right answer in these theories!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Employment Markets Warms Up

With teams being eliminated from the NHL Playoffs, there will be people fired that will cause the job market to heat up in the NHL. There are some vacant positions as we sit and wait for the NHL to complete its tournament for the Stanley Cup, and some of the assistant GMs and personnel at NHL teams will now be considered for those vacant offices in NHL front offices. Who would be a good fit? Who should fill chairs in certain cities? I'll make some bold guesses here today!

We'll start in Florida where the Panthers desperately need new leadership, a new outlook, and perhaps a new direction to see them win a playoff series in what feels like forever. There are good pieces in Florida around which a general manager can build, but there are some pieces that likely need to be moved as the returns being seen simply aren't there.

I happen to like the idea of Ron Hextall being hired in Florida. Hextall's approach in Philadelphia has paid off in a big way with players such as Giroux, Hart, and Provorov being big pieces in why the Flyers have progressively gotten better, and his draft-and-develop approach with how he built the Flyers before his dismissal is exactly the kind of attitude the Panthers should adopt if they want to be successful.

The prevailing thought, however, is that Florida may look for someone whose current work has them working at both the NHL and AHL levels, and that means the likeliest candidates would be either Chris Drury or Scott Mellanby. Both players are working in assistant GM roles - Drury with the Rangers and Mellanby with the Canadiens - and they'll bring a new attitude to the GM's chair in Sunrise with their knowledge of AHL players and the NHL business.

Thee other franchise who needs a reset is the Arizona Coyotes, but, like Florida, they have good pieces around which to build despite Taylor Hall's impending free agency. John Chayka's use of analytics has seen the Coyotes improve, but it's likely, in my view, that the Coyotes will go with a more traditional guy who has an appreciation for the analytical world.

While Hextall fits that mould, I believe a guy like St. Louis assistant GM Bill Armstrong or former NHL assistant GM Mike Futa would fit well in Glendale based on their experiences and knowledge of the game.

Armstrong worked his way up from scout in 2011 with the Blues to assistant GM last season, helping to bring in the necessary pieces for the St. Louis Blues to capture their first Stanley Cup. The Blues have a solid farm system that emphasizes player development much like Chayka had in place with Tucson, and that's something that may appeal to Armstrong if he's contacted. Add in a solid, young team at the NHL level with the Coyotes, and this might be a good opportunity for Armstrong to hop into if he's looking to take a GM position.

Futa is a more interesting case as he's been interviewed for a number of positions, but has yet to land in a GM's chair. He was a highly-touted mind with the Los Angeles Kings until his contract wasn't renewed this season. Prior to that, he served as both the VP of Hockey Operations and Director of Player Personnel until 2014. He started off with the Kings in 2007 as the Director of Amateur Scouting, so these jobs prove he has extensive experience in scouting and player evaluation at the developmental levels of hockey.

Ray Shero, Peter Chiarelli, Dean Lombardi, and Brian Burke are all out there, with Burke the least likely to make the move back to the GM's chair, but Elliotte Friedman's reporting also has Kevin Weekes, Ross Mahoney, John Ferguson, and Laurence Gilman linked to the Florida job.

Arizona seems to have garnered less speculation, but it will be interesting to see who gets interviewed there knowing that Alex Merulo Jr. and CEO Xavier Gutierrez are playing a more active role in how the team is built. Steve Sullivan was named as the interim GM after Chayka's departure, and it could be that the interim title will be stripped from his office door to allow Sullivan to continue as the new GM of the Arizona Coyotes.

In any case, the employment market for potential NHL GMs is starting to warm up with more teams eliminated from play and more potential new GMs exploring options. Whoever lands in Florida and Arizona will have some work to do, but they're not going into a complete teardown/rebuild situation like other GMs have.

That's the kind of job most potential GMs want.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 21 August 2020

Enough Is Enough

This picture might be the best example of the abject failure that Mike Milbury was as an NHL general manager after he bumbled and fumbled his way to cellar-dweller status as the head man of the New York Islanders. Dealing away pieces such as Roberto Luongo, Zdeno Chara, the draft pick that would become Jason Spezza, Wade Redden, Bryan Berard, Trevor Linden, and Wendel Clark among the notable names he brought in and sent out, it's hard to fathom how Mike Milbury would be qualified for any position in hockey outside of parking lot attendant. It seems that his run on NBC as an analyst might be coming to an end - finally, mercifully, and long overdue - after another on-air problem thanks to his stupidity.

Last night, during the game between the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals, a discussion about the bubble atmosphere started and Milbury his two worthless cents for which no one asked.
You're kidding me, right? That's the thought that Milbury had about living life as a hockey player in the NHL bubble? What the hell is wrong with this man?

Let me start by saying that if hockey players are distracted by women, women aren't to blame. Milbury's comments speak directly to how shallow of a person he is, and he's now framing NHL players of today in that same shallowness in which he wallows. Forget that most NHL players today are cut from an entirely different cloth than the toilet paper from which Milbury is cut. This is not an NHL problem, but rather a Mike Milbury problem.

To make matters worse, this is just another example in the volumes of stupid things that Milbury has said during his time on television with NBC, and this should be the straw that draws up the termination papers. If NBC can fire Jeremy Roenick for his comments about his co-workers, this should be a no-brainer when it comes to sending Milbury home.

Let's review some of the stupidity that Milbury is responsible for since he was named as an analyst on NBC Sports. This list is, by no means, complete, but it will highlight some of the dumbest things he's said while employed by the broadcaster on their medium.
  • Milbury ripped Tuukka Rask for leaving the Bruins just six days ago after citing family concerns, stating, "Nobody's simply opted to leave the bubble just because they didn't want to be here and they needed to be with their family. I would've not have done it, the rest of the league's players have not done it." HINT: Ignorant and insensitive are Mike's best features.
  • After Jake Muzzin was checked, he tried to get up before losing feeling in his toes, prompting him to fall back down to the ice. As NBC isolated Muzzin, Milbury piped up with "It's not a bad idea to stay down and get a whistle, too, by the way. I'm not questioning his integrity here or his injury." HINT: you are if you're suggesting he go down to get a whistle.
  • During a Penguins-Canadiens game, Milbury compared the empty arena setting to that of beer league hockey or college women's hockey, stating, ""Where ever the game is played, if it's beer league it doesn't matter. You don't need fans to get those guys hung up on stuff. If you go to a college women's game sometimes, there's no shortage of organic joy when you see a play and these guys have gotten through that." HINT: college women's hockey is not beer league. And beer league and college women's hockey is not the NHL. Stop comparing apples, oranges, and pears. They're all different.
  • Milbury celebrated a Sidney Crosby cheap shot on PK Subban in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, suggesting that PK Subban "had it coming." HINT: Subban definitely did not deserve to have his head slammed into the ice by Subban.
  • Milbury called PK Subban a "clown" during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs as Milbury thought that Subban was dancing during the warmups. His full comments were, "When I see this I start to think maybe Peter Laviolette ought to give him a rap on the head and say, 'Hey P.K. focus in, we've got a game tonight and you don't have to be a clown out there.' And he will. He's been a clown in the past and we've seen him act like a clown but when he’s serious and focused he's one hell of a player." HINT: Subban was on the ice stickhandling and getting into the zone for the game against St. Louis, not dancing.
  • In a 2012 game between the Flyers and Penguins that turned rough as Philly led 6-3, Milbury called out Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma, commenting, "I can remember being on such a perch, or at least trying to climb over the boards to get at somebody to make a point. And I thought Dan Bylsma should have taken off his skirt and gone over there." HINT: using female imagery to call out Dan's lack of toughness have no place in the game.
If we're putting together the pieces here, Milbury doesn't care about family, spouts off sexist comments about women's hockey, questions a player's integrity by suggesting he embellish a call, questions a player's integrity when he does embellish a call, hates PK Subban for dancing, feels that excessive violence is fine when seeking vengeance, and makes sexist comments when talking about the toughness of a coach.

How the hell is he still employed as an analyst?

The saddest part is that four of these incidents have happened since August 1. Milbury is averaging a boneheaded, moronic, idiotic, ignorant comment once every five days, and that's just what he says when the microphone is on. This call for Milbury's head should have happened a while ago, and now NBC should be forced to do something as the NHL's broadcast partner. If hockey is for everyone, Milbury should not be included in that group.

Of course, Milbury issued an apology, but I will note that this apology comes with a pretty monstrous asterisk hovering over it.
If you apologize to no one in particular for a comment where you meant no disrespect, is that an apology? If one doesn't own the misstep, how can one apologize for it? This rings almost as hollow as the character displayed by Mike Milbury over the years, so this feels more like a "save-my-job" statement than a true apology for what he said.

With this many offensive things said in the last three weeks, the only solution that seems appropriate now would be to send Milbury home with a pink slip. By allowing him to continue with just a slap on the wrist in having NBC addressing it, perhaps he's on thin ice at this point. Whatever the case may be, it would be wise if NBC remember that a leopard never changes its spots.

Personally, I would have tossed Milbury out on his rear end like the trash he is. It would be the only solution for Milbury after fouling up the NBC studios over and over again over his tenure.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 20 August 2020

The Hockey Show - Episode 413

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, checks in tonight with a different type of show as we break free of scores and analysis to honour a legend who played here in Winnipeg. You've likely heard that Dale Hawerchuk passed away on Tuesday after a long battle with stomach cancer, and I've decided to use The Hockey Show's hour to honour the amazing player and person that Dale Hawerchuk was. Tonight's show will be about no one other than the man they called "Ducky".

I always felt Winnipeg, including myself, never fully appreciated how good Dale Hawerchuk was as a hockey player until he was playing elsewhere. The old adage of "You never know what you have until it's gone" is a feeling I had about Hawerchuk, so I'm using the full hour tonight to talk about how great Hawerchuk was as a person, player, and coach. There are interviews, highlights, information, and statistics that will bring you up to speed on why Hawerchuk was not only respected and admired by his teammates for his skills and savvy, but by anyone who came in contact with him. He truly was a special player and a better person, and I hope that comes through in spades on this Dale Hawerchuk tribute tonight.

I do want to thank James Duthie of TSN for allowing me to use his interview with Dale Hawerchuk as I thought it was one of the best interviews with Hawerchuk after he left the hospital the first time. I am truly grateful for James' permission to be able to air that interview. I also need to thank Sportsnet for allowing me to use clips from their broadcasts as well.

Honestly, if there's only one episode of The Hockey Show that you ever listen to, please make it this one in order to appreciate the amazing work that Dale Hawerchuk did. If you're outside the broadcast area, the new UMFM website's online streaming player is a good place to hear it. If you're using an Apple device, the player doesn't seem to like Safari yet, so please use the TuneIn app found on the App Store or perhaps another browser other than Safari. If you do use the TuneIn app, you won't be disappointed. It's a solid app.

If you have questions, you can email all show queries and comments to! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter! I'm here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz takes an in-depth look at one of this city's finest sports stars, a man who legitimately was the first NHL superstar to call Winnipeg home, an international hockey superstar who always rose to the occasion, and a man whose coaching prowess was only beginning to emerge with the players he was developing as the head coach of the Barrie Colts as we look at the hockey career of Mr. Dale Hawerchuk.

PODCAST: August 20, 2020: Episode 413
RESOURCES: Hawerchuk Strong

He was only 57. He's certainly gone too soon. Rest in eternal peace, Dale.

Until next time, raise your sticks to honour Dale Hawerchuk!

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

That's All, Folks!

John Tortorella's Columbus Blue Jackets were eliminated today from the 2019-20 Stanley CUp Playoffs following a 5-4 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning today. Tortorella, just as he did last year, squeezed every last ounce of effort out of the Blue Jackets, and it should be noted that he likely did more with less than most other NHL clubs. To tell him that, though, would likely have him dress one down for underestimating his team, and that's why I like John Tortorella - he believes in his players even when others seem to lose faith.

Today's press conference that featured John Tortorella after the loss to Tampa Bay was not the place to ask questions not pertaining to the game, however, and John made that pretty clear with an abbreviated stop at the microphone to talk to the media.

That's all, folks. John Tortorella has left the press conference and, possibly, could leave the bubble without any further comments about his team's playoff performance. Touchy-feely questions? Those are not John Tortorella questions.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

This One Hurt

I legitimately am stunned. There's always a chance that something like this can happen with cancer, but I never thought it was this bad with Dale Hawerchuk. He was always so positive and upbeat about defeating cancer and getting back into hockey that I never once considered his passing to be even remotely in realm of possibilities. When the news hit social media and through the hockey world today, I sit here in stunned silence. I just can't process this.

This man was a legend in the city of Winnipeg. For far too long while he wore the colours of the Winnipeg Jets, we underappreciated the wizardry he showed with the puck and the strength he showed as a leader for the Winnipeg Jets franchise. After he left, we were blessed with the skills of Teemu Selanne, but that too was short-lived after he was traded to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. For a city that has boasted about its hockey stars, I personally feel that Dale Hawerchuk's name should be the first name that rolls off tongues when talking about the legendary players who have called this city home.

I have to admit that Ron MacLean's tribute to Dale Hawerchuk today produced a bit of a lump in my throat. Ron's an impeccable orator so his words are always meaningful, but his words today really struck a nerve in me. Here's Ron speaking about Dale on Sportsnet today.

I'll have an entire tribute to Dale Hawerchuk on The Hockey Show this week after we lost an amazing individual today. At 57, Dale Hawerchuk was taken from us far too young, and the hockey world feels a little emptier today in knowing that Dale Hawerchuk isn't a part of it any longer.

Rest in peace, Dale. You were always a legend in my eyes.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 17 August 2020

Mattel Comes Through

I'm long past the days of playing with toys. Yes, some may see some of the things I have as toys, but I'd classify them as collectibles. While we're not here to split hairs, it's been a long, long time since I played with dolls of any kind. Mattel, which makes toys and, specifically, Barbie dolls, is a brand I'm very familiar with having been a kid once, but I've been waiting for Mattel since March 26, 2019 to follow through on something that they teased me and other shoppers with in an in-store display. Would we ever see a Barbie who is a hockey player as part of their role model series?

The answer is a resounding "yes" as Mattel tweeted out today an image of a Barbie doll in hockey gear! We'll discuss the ridiculous branding across the doll's jersey in a moment, but seeing a Barbie doll with a caged helmet and a hockey stick is pretty awesome! I'm not saying that I'd draft Barbie onto my team if she skated onto the ice wearing a Tim Hortons jersey or a Tim Hortons-branded stick, but if she can play, she'd be welcome on my team! The message buried under all that Tim Hortons branding, though, is that little girls can be anything they want to be, including hockey players, and that they should follow their dreams! Kudos for Mattel finally putting Barbie on skates and onto the ice for a hockey-obsessed country!

I don't know how much influence Tim Hortons had on this decision, but seeing all the Tim Hortons branding on this doll is a little insane and quite stereotypical of Canadians when it comes to how much Tim Hortons does. Yes, they're big supporters of minor hockey in Canada and I totally respect that, but why are they plastered all over this doll? The doll in the box features at least five Tim Hortons logos assuming one can see the stick, so I want to know how much influence they had in having this doll produced. This can't just be a coincidence - it never is when two massive companies like Tim Hortons and Mattel come together on a collaboration.

The cost of bringing home this specific Barbie doll will set you back $30 if you buy at Toys-R-Us. If found that to be a little eyebrow-raising, but I haven't kept up with the rising costs of inflation in the Barbie world. Honestly, if your child is into Barbie and is into hockey, I don't believe that cost is prohibitive in any way assuming that one has the means to purchase it. Bring home the Tim Hortons Barbie Doll (12-inch) Collectible Barbie Doll in Hockey Uniform!

Or don't. That branding irritates me to no end. Maybe they can put out NHL-branded accessories for Barbie rather than this corporate garbage from Tim Hortons? That would be better. Do it, Mattel. Make it happen.

It's still good to see Mattel creating a Barbie doll that allows little girls to follow their hockey dreams. It's taken way too long to get Barbie on skates, but I'm glad to finally see it happen!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Not Those Islanders

I was doing a search for something on the New York Islanders tonight, and I came across this logo. This looks like it might be for a beer league or amateur team, but this was an actual professional hockey logo for two nights in 2014. It's pretty clear that the logo is based on that of the New York Islanders, so who would have worn this logo six years ago? We'll have to jump to the ECHL for this story, but the Rough & Ready Islanders played two games in place of the Stockton Thunder in February 2014, and they looked an awful lot like the New York Islanders in doing so. So what's the story with this logo? Let's find out.

Back in 2014, the ECHL began holding Hockey Heritage Weekend where two teams would meet in an ECHL to celebrate the history of the teams and their affiliates along with the official induction ceremony for the seventh class of the ECHL Hall of Fame. Alaska was chosen as the host for the 2014 weekend after winning the Brabham Cup as top team in the ECHL regular season from 2011-2013, becoming the first team in the ECHL's 25-year history to three-peat as the best team.

The Stockton Thunder were named as the Aces' opponents for the February 7 and 8 games in Alaska at Sullivan Arena, and the ECHL added that the teams would "wear unique jerseys celebrating their affiliations during the two games". Alaska, in 2014, was affiliated with the NHL's Calgary Flames and AHL's Abbotsford Heat while the Stockton Thunder were affiliated with the NHL's New York Islanders and the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Things are starting to make a little more sense, but "Rough & Ready Islanders"? Where did that name come from and why are the Thunder wearing it when they already have a name?

According to this article, it was the brainchild of Stockton Thunder President Brain Sandy.
"The first time I visited Stockton, I was greeted by the sign, 'Port of Stockton - Rough & Ready Island' which intrigued me," explains Team President Brian Sandy. "When I learned that we were selected to be a part of the Heritage Games, I thought of how great it would be to become the Rough & Ready Islanders, as that name pays tribute not only to the history and importance of Stockton, California, but also the importance of our NHL Affiliate, the New York Islanders."
There you have it, folks. The Rough & Ready Islanders might be the first and last team name with an ampersand in it, but the Thunder did play in two games that weekend plus one more in 2014 as the Rough & Ready Islanders!

You might be asking what the uniforms looked like for both the Alaska Aces and the Stockton Thunder Rough & Ready Islanders on that historic February weekend. Here they are in their full glories, and I have to say they stayed pretty true to the NHL affiliates!
I like how Alaska used the flames on the left side of the polar bear logo in the same way that the Calgary Flames use on their logo. The Aces wore uniforms similar to what the Flames wore in 1988 when they won their Stanley Cup, and they get the details right on the colours and striping. You could easily swap "McKelvie" for "McInnis" and not even notice a difference!

The same thing holds true for the Rough & Ready Islanders as they have the exact details of the New York Islanders' jerseys on their uniforms. The font and three-coloured numbers are a perfect match to the Islanders' font, and the striping is perfect. While I'm less of a fan of the "Stockton" in block letters on the hem of the jersey, I can understand why they put it there when people ask "who are the Rough & Ready Islanders?"

If you're wondering, the games were decided in favour of the Alaska Aces as they won the Friday, February 7, 2014 game by a 4-2 score where Alaska's Nick Mazzolini scored the game-winning goal at 6:44 of the second period, and Saturday, February 8, 2014 game also went Alaska's way by a 5-2 count after Alaska jumped ahead 3-1 in the first period and never looked back. Stockton was 0-2 in these uniforms until March 22, 2014 when Stockton exacted a little revenge with a 5-4 overtime win at home over Alaska where Lee Baldwin scored the OT winner at 2:46 of the extra frame! At the end of the season, the Rough & Ready Islanders were officially 1-2 on the ECHL season!

If you see this logo, you now know the story behind it! Admittedly, it caught me off-guard when I saw it, but I'm glad I went down this rabbit hole to find out a pretty cool story about a logo that I almost dismissed as a goofy knock-off logo!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 15 August 2020

I Stand By Rask

The hockey world got a major shock today when Boston Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask announced he was leaving the bubble and the playoffs, opting to return home to Finland to be with his family rather than pursue a Stanley Cup with the Bruins. While this is a massive development if you're a Bruins fan, it has also sparked some rather ridiculous outrage among hockey fans that Rask is choosing family over a Stanley Cup. Let me lay this to rest right here and right now: I stand by Tuukka Rask's decision, and I hold him in the utmost respect for doing what's right rather than what's popular.

"I want to be with my teammates competing, but at this moment there are things more important than hockey in my life, and that is being with my family," Rask said in a statement. "I want to thank the Bruins and my teammates for their support and wish them success."

That's the last that should be said of his decision, and everyone should hope that everything is well with his family for him to make this decision. Instead, there are keyboard warrior's questioning his dedication to his team, his craft, and his job while being outraged. While I get that this was a surprise to many - INCLUDING THE BRUINS - it's time to check yourselves if you're one of these people, folks.

This is his family, the team with whom he has a lifetime contract. At no point should hockey ever be more important than family, and Rask deserves the same respect given to any other player who has decided that some things are more important than the fleeting glory of winning the Stanley Cup.

The newsflash is that Rask is already a Stanley Cup champion - no one can take that from him and no one can contest that. However, if his family needs him for any reason whatsoever, Rask doesn't need another ring other than his wedding ring to tell him what's more important in this world. Rask's decision needs no debate because he made the right choice.

I am hopeful there is nothing serious happening that caused Rask to leave the bubble as quickly as he did as he and his wife have a newborn daughter to go along with two other daughters. It's no secret that Rask wasn't feeling the playoff atmosphere in Toronto, stating several times that playing without fans felt like "exhibition games" and that he was having a "tough time being away in this environment."

"The priority for Tuukka at this point and time — and rightfully so — has to be his family, and we support that," Bruins' GM Don Sweeney said following the announcement, adding that Rask's family is healthy and safe. And at the end of the day, their families matter to these players as much as your family does to you. To question them on this is grossly inappropriate and entirely disgusting.

I look forward to seeing Tuukka Rask back in the Boston nets next season when the NHL returns, but I respect him for making a decision that is best for him and his family. I stand by Tuukka Rask.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 14 August 2020

Playing With A Purpose

There's no denying that a head coach has a significant impact on a team when it comes to how the play on the ice. Claude Julien's absence tonight in the game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the team he coaches in the Montreal Canadiens seemed to have a big impact as well as the Canadiens played with a chip on their shoulders and an inspired confidence in handing Philadelphia their first loss since restarting the season with a resounding 5-0 victory. With Julien's health status in limbo, it seemed that the Canadiens were dead-set on playing a Claude Julien-type game, and the results spoke for themselves on the scoreboard.

Claude Julien experienced chest pain on Wednesday night, it was determined that he would visit a Toronto hospital for further testing. According to reports, Julien underwent heart surgery sometime on Thursday in order to add a stent to a coronary artery. Needless to say, the Canadiens' bench boss likely won't be back behind the bench in this series, and I'd say it might be a good idea to hold him out of the bubble and these playoffs for precautionary reasons once he's released from the hospital.

In his place, Kirk Muller took over the reins for the Canadiens, and the team responded well as they got on the scoreboard just 1:02 into the game when Tomas Tatar dented twine behind Carter Hart. Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Tatar again, Joel Armia, and Kotkaniemi again rounded out the scoring on a night where the loneliest guy in the rink was Carey Price who didn't see a shot off a Flyers stick until the 16:24 mark, stopping that shot and 29 others for the 30-save shutout to even the series at 1-1.

After the game, Kirk Muller summed up the effort by les bleus-blancs-et-rouges with one line, saying, "To Claude, I'm sure you're listening, this win's for you."

It was a game where the Flyers seemingly hurt themselves more defensively than the Canadiens did in shredding the defensive coverage. Justin Braun was guilty of screening Carter Hart on Tatar's second of the game to make it 3-0. Shayne Gostisbehere's skate redirected the Armia cross-ice pass into his own net for the fourth goal. Hart found himself without his stick following a bad defensive sequence on the first Kotkaniemi goal, and Brian Elliott, who replaced Hart after the fourth Montreal goal, saw Scott Laughton lose his stick before Kotkaniemi potted his second goal of the night.

Regardless of how the Flyers played, though, the Canadiens still came out and executed, looking like the hungrier team all night. Sometimes, teams become far more dangerous when they're playing for a cause or playing with a purpose. Winning for Julien would be a great cause for the Canadiens to rally around when it comes to their coach. Could it be the inspiration that the Canadiens need to shock a second Pennsylvania team?

We'll know how the Flyers will respond on Sunday, but sleeping on this hard-working, talented group of players that Montreal has cost the Pittsburgh Penguins a shot at the Stanley Cup. If Philly didn't learn that tonight, we may find out that the Canadiens owned Pennsylvania hockey for at least a month in 2020.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 13 August 2020

The Hockey Show - Episode 412

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is back tonight to get everyone caught up on what's happening in and around the NHL with one of our favorite guests! As you know, the play-in round is done, eight teams are headed home, and sixteen teams are competing for the Stanley Cup! We'll get some different insight tonight on the series that finished and the potential fallout for some teams and while other teams continue their trek!

Bryan Sveinson joins Teebz tonight as they relive a little Tampa Bay-Columbus magic from last year after the Game One eight-period madness before talking about all of the teams that fell short and where they go from here - Pittsburgh, Edmonton, Toronto, Winnipeg, Nashville, and Florida. Bryan and I banter about the Rangers and what to do with the first-overall pick, the Seattle Kraken, the return to royal blue for the Sabres, the Ottawa Senators returning to their roots, and the loss of Lethbridge in Canada West as Bryan is a big part of the Bisons women's hockey broadcasts! All this goes down tonight at 5:30 on 101.5 FM, Channel 718 on MTS TV, and on!

Where's the best place can you hear tonight's show if you're outside Winnipeg or not near a radio, you ask? The new UMFM website's online streaming player is pretty awesome if you want to listen online. If you're using an Apple device, the player doesn't seem to like Safari yet, but we highly recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store or perhaps another browser. If you do use the TuneIn app, you won't be disappointed. It's a solid app.

If you have questions, you can email all show queries and comments to! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter! I'm here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz and Bryan talk letdowns, breakdowns, ups and downs, new teams, new threads, old problems, the same problems, and much more exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the web stream!

PODCAST: August 13, 2020: Episode 412

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

The Bears Are Back In Town

As you may be aware, the Alberta Golden Bears and Alberta Pandas suspended their athletic teams for the 2020-21 seasons due to financial restraints brought on by the pandemic we're currently in and coupled with the idiotic decisions to cut post-secondary funding by the Alberta government. I had neglected to write about this for a week in case there may be additional details added, but it seems that the Golden Bears hockey program and the Pandas hockey program will take part in the 2020-21 season after all!

Back on June 17th, the University of Alberta announced that the school would be "suspending 2020-21 CW competition in two-term sports, including hockey" where the University of Alberta has been dominant in both men's and women's hockey. It was a big of a blow to an already-reeling Canada West Conference following the announcement of the cancellation of the University of Lethbridge hockey programs.

Flash forward to August 6, and the University of Alberta released this statement that indicated that "University of Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas Hockey teams request for reinstatement for the 2020/21 Canada West season was approved by the Canada West Board of Directors" last Thursday!

Again, I wanted to be sure there were nothing that would disrupt this reinstatement, and it seems that "support from alumni" made up the difference in the shortfall that the hockey teams were facing in running their programs this year. Obviously, donor money is important to any university sports program, and we should tip our caps to the strong ties the University of Alberta hockey programs still have with their alumni who stepped forward to make this season happen for the Golden Bears and Pandas.

This is something I'd like to see a lot of schools active do - engage with their alumni often and promote their post-university work and achievements a lot more. Not only can your alumni come through when you need them most as the Golden Bears and Pandas are experiencing, they are the men and women who established the path to excellency when it comes to the present-day programs we see at schools. These men and women laid the groundwork for successes that followed, and they should be made a part of any future successes that the school achieves.

I'm grateful for these alumni from the University of Alberta stepping up to reinstate the hockey programs. While there are other sports - basketball and volleyball, notably - that won't be playing this winter as of yet, maybe there are alumni from those programs who can chip in and make those sports happen at the University of Alberta as well.

For the hockey crowd, the Bears are back in town. It wasn't going to feel right without the Golden Bears and Pandas on the schedules as they always push the bar higher when it comes to competition in the Canada West Conferences, so having them back for the 2020-21 season fixes what would have been a big gap in the hockey world.

Welcome back, University of Alberta!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Everything Old Is New Again

How about that beauty? The Buffalo Sabres showed their newest threads off today, and, sadly, the Steve Ott-modeled jersey to the left were not included. Sarcasm aside, the Sabres seemingly change their uniforms every season, so I'm hopeful that these new uniforms will stick around longer than other ones as they seem to hit on all the right points. Of course, if they introduce new ones again for 2021-22 because fans simply have become apathetic to a constantly-losing team, it might be time to fold the franchise entirely.

In the meantime, though, the Sabres came back to life with these new uniforms which may breathe some life back into a fanbase that is desperate for something good to happen to their beloved team.
I can say that these feel Pat Lafontaine-Alex Mogilny-Phil Housley-esque in their look. The Sabres had dipped into the navy blue for way too long after going black-and-red, and heading back to royal blue as the primary colour is how the Sabres should look. GOOD addition.

The first thing you may notice about the home uniform is the addition of white accents on both the striping and around the numbers on the sleeves and back. This apparently was something that Terry Pegula wanted added in, and it carries over from the navy blue jersey days. Honestly, I don't mind it, and it may not be entirely visible on the ice. Seeing it closer up on these images makes me kinda wish it hadn't been included, but it's a minor, minor quibble. WASH on this feature.

At first, a textured logo seemed like the white accents above - interesting, but not really necessary for the overall aesthetic to improve. Allow me to issue a statement confirming that I was entirely wrong because I like the texturing it creates to give the bison on the logo a very lifelike look. It won't be visible during play as the players race up and down the ice, but seeing this on national TV should make Buffalo Sabres fans very proud. GOOD addition.

Overall, let's chalk up the new Sabres uniforms as a resounding GOOD move. They feel like the Buffalo Sabres again, not some techno-slug or black-for-Bisons-sake team that forget about the histories of Perreault, Barrasso, and Hasek in those royal blue sweaters. If the adage about looking good means the team should play good, this might be the shot in the arm that the Sabres need to rekindle their winning ways. Or it could mean another new jersey design next September again.

Let's hope it's the former over the latter.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 10 August 2020

New York Lafrenieres

This is the ping pong ball that sent social media into a conspiracy frenzy while providing the New York Rangers with a luxury they haven't had since 1965 as they were awarded the first-overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. It seems like a foregone conclusion that they'll be selecting Rimouski Oceanic left-winger Alexis Lafreniere with the pick, the consensus top-rated pick by NHL scouting minds, and I've heard that adding Lafreniere will "speed up" the rebuild considerably in Manhatten. While this may be true in terms of adding talent to the roster, will the Rangers be that much better next season because of one player?

There's no doubt that there are some legitimate threats in the lineup, but this is a team that scored more goals than 26 other teams last season and still lost 33 games while finishing seventh out of eight teams in the Metropolitan Division. Adding scoring talent to the Rangers like Lafreniere will certainly make them more lethal, but that was never the problem with this team and where they were in the standings.

The arrival of Igor Seshterkin from Russia immediately bolstered the goaltending situation in the Big Apple as he went 10-2-0 in the 12 games he played with a 2.52 GAA and a .932 save percentage. Immediately, that 2.52 GAA sends up red flags when you consider that he's stopping 93% of all the shots he's facing, and it becomes apparent that facing 33 shots a game with the Rangers is do-able for Seshterkin, but not ideal in the long run.

The numbers only get worse when you look at the other two men who occupied the crease for the Blueshirts this season as well. Alexandar Georgiev went 17-14-2 in 34 appearances this season, posting a 3.04 GAA and a .910 save percentage along with two shutouts. He faced, on average, five shots less per game than Seshterkin this season, but had a higher GAA and a lower save percentage than Seshterkin. Additionally, Henrik Lundqvist saw action in 30 games where he posted a record of 10-12-3 with a 3.16 GAA and a .905 save percentage with one shutout for an average of about 27 shots per game. Needless to say, goaltending in Madison Square Garden is starting to look like a career-limiting move.

You might be saying, "Teebz, you can't pin this all on the goalies," and you're right. I can't do that because they need help in doing their jobs. Of the seven defenceman on the roster, the Rangers have just two over the age of 25 - Marc Staal and Brendan Smith. Neither of those names will have the opposition circling them on the gamesheet as players to watch, but the offensive output of the young Rangers blue line has to be buoyed somewhat by a commitment to playing defence. Playing defence is often one of those things that players learn to do, but this group needs to make major steps over the next season or two for the rebuild to look like it's working.

Tony DeAngelo and Luke Fox have been seemingly given the green light to jump into plays and make things happen by head coach David Quinn, but they have to get Jacob Trouba back to a level we haven't seen for a couple of seasons. Trouba's time with the Jets was marked by strong play at both end of the ice with an added mean streak at times, but he seems to be missing that element in his game as he becomes an NHL veteran. Crossing into the Rangers' zone with Trouba on the ice should mean players heads are on a swivel, but they're not as Trouba's physical play seems to be evaporating as fast as his point totals. I suspect that Trouba can turn this around quickly being just 25, but the Rangers can really use a dose of Trouba at his finest next season.

This inexperience on the blue line - the Rangers used three 21 year-olds this past season! - hasn't helped the goaltenders a lot, and this is why they allowed the eighth-most goals in the NHL. David Quinn will need to get a big push from his blue line next season to see the Rangers begin to trend better. Adding Lafreniere will possibly help the Rangers in possession numbers and total offence, but they have to stop the opposition from scoring once in a while as well. An uptick in defensive responsibility and execution will also see the goaltending numbers improve.

Getting the first-overall pick will help the Rangers in the long run. Adding a player like Lafreniere gives them another offensive dynamo to build with, and there's nothing wrong with having scoring options like him, Zibanejad, Panarin, Kreider, or Strome when it comes to denting twine over the next three to five years. If they tighten up the defence, the Metropolitan Division becomes that much tighter with the likes of the Flyers, Capitals, Penguins, Hurricanes, Islanders, and Blue Jackets all vying for coveted playoff spots every year.

Congratulations to the New York Rangers on securing the first-overall pick in this year's draft. Now the real work begins.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!