Monday 30 November 2020

The Empire Strikes Back

I've never understood why Storm Troopers could never blast the heroes in Star Wars. I know that would technically ruin the movie had they blasted Han Solo or Luke Skywalker long before the battle on Endor, but why is it that an army of armoured soldiers couldn't hit water if they fell out of a boat in the middle of a lake? One has to hope that this trait doesn't follow the Dallas Stars who seemingly took their Reverse Retro inspiration from the Empire's army as the Stars showed off their newest uniform today.

I didn't like these uniforms when I reviewed all 31 Reverse Retro jerseys, and I hate them more today. The whole point of hem stripes and sleeve stripes is to break up the uniform's main colour with a little contrast while the pants were always a contrasting colour to the jerseys and socks that players wore in order to help break up the monochromatic look. With the Stars employing the Storm Trooper look, let's tear this new uniform to shreds once again.

There is so much white on this uniform that the silver of the star in the logo fades in this bright light. I've always been of the mindset that the logo should be front and center in terms of the team you're representing, but it kind of gets swallowed by all the white here. The stripes and the font are nothing more than after thoughts, and triple-colouring your font with the overpowering main jersey colour actually makes the third outlined colour useless. Just go with a block font to make this work better! I want to be more supportive of the Stars since they look so good in Victory Green, but this entire Reverse Retro exercise for Dallas is a big zero with this overkill of white.

The socks finally bring some contrast to the overwhelming whiteness of this uniform, but it feels like an afterthought considering what could have been done had the Stars used green pants. The white gloves leading into white sleeves and the white jersey leading into white pants is legitimately not a good hockey look when one considers they play on white ice. Hockey players are not James Bond, so these white uniforms really need a splash of colour to build that contrast. Unless, of course, maybe the Stars believe they can camouflage themselves into the ice and boards surrounding the ice surface? Until they remove the board advertising, though, this seems like a poorly thought-out plan.

Stop the fist pumps and the celebration. Yes, they go on sale tomorrow, but I honestly can't see these being in the top-ten of Reverse Retro jerseys in any year when the Stars already wear their gorgeous green jerseys. I own a Mooterus jersey, and I would wear that over these any day of the week and twice on Sundays because it already had a splash of colour and some contrast in the jersey. This is legitimately an equipment manager's nightmare and a hockey fan's disappointment when it comes to colourful, fun jerseys worn by NHL teams. At no point should this jersey be an option to wear in an opponent's rink due to that disappointment, and I hope Dallas goes oh-fer in these jerseys for the entire time they have them in their wardrobes.

While a few people mentioned to me that they look like the uniforms worn by Bob and Doug McKenzie in Strange Brew during the hockey scene, the difference is that Bob and Doug knew they were parodying Star Wars in their uniforms.
The Dallas Stars aren't doing a parody, though, and that's where this uniform falls flat on its design. It's not meant to be a joke, but it is simply because there are simple design elements that are needed to make it look like a hockey jersey - one of which is the use of colour. This is an epic failure from a team whose redesign in 2013-14 brought back the swagger of the Stars, and I can't figure out why they keep shooting themselves in the collective foot with these horrific designs.

No, sir, I don't like it.

Until next time, may the Force be with you!

Sunday 29 November 2020

National Jersey Day

According to my social media feeds today, it's National Jersey Day! The hockey jersey, or sweater as the traditionalists will say, has played a large role in Canada's history as Roch Carriere's story, Le Chandail de Hockey, has seen success in both French and English as well as being set to music and played by philharmonics and orchestras across Canada. We anxious await the releases of new jerseys as much as we anticipate the craziness of NHL Free Agency Day, and wearing one's favorite team's logo on one's chest just seems to make one walk taller, prouder and more confident to be "part of the team". The man pictured is from Regina, Saskatchewan so I don't know if he took part in today's fun, but he has himself a heckuva closet of jerseys.

As it stands, there are eight players who have played for ten or more NHL teams in their illustrious careers. We'll start with the only active player in the NHL holding that distinction, and that goes to oft-traded-on-trade-deadline-day Lee Stempniak! As it stands, Stempniak has played for the St. Louis Blues, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Phoenix Coyotes, the Calgary Flames, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Rangers, the Winnipeg Jets, the New Jersey Devils, the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Boston Bruins! Of his 911 NHL games, the most came with St. Louis where he skated in 233 games as opposed to the Winnipeg Jets where he appeared the least, dressing in just 18 games. Stempniak finished his 2018-19 season with the Boston Bruins, so we'll have to see what his next move is.

Another player with ten teams on his resume is Stanley Cup champion Mathieu Schneider! Schneider won a Stanley Cup in 1993 with the Montreal Canadiens, but he's also appeared with the New York Islanders, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the New York Rangers, the Los Angeles Kings, the Detroit Red Wings, the Anaheim Ducks, the Atlanta Thrashers, the Vancouver Canucks, and the Phoenix Coyotes. Schneider spent most of his 1189 games in a Canadiens sweater, logging 383 games in La Belle Province, while he spent just eight games wearing the colours of the Phoenix Coyotes!

e Jim Dowd is another player who seemingly always had his bags packed as he appeared in NHL games for ten teams. Dowd suited up with the New Jersey Devils, the Vancouver Canucks, the New York Islanders, the Calgary Flames, the Edmonton Oilers, the Minnesota Wild, the Montreal Canadiens, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Colorado Avalanche, and the Philadelphia Flyers! Dowd played the least games of the eight players listed, appearing in just 728 games, but he spent the most time with Minnesota where he played 283 games and the least time with the New York Islanders where he played just three games!

Dominic Moore also suited for ten NHL teams in his career which I found hard to believe as I had completely forgotten he had stints with some of these franchises. Moore played for the New York Rangers, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Minnesota Wild, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Buffalo Sabres, the Florida Panthers, the Montreal Canadiens, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the San Jose Sharks, and the Boston Bruins. He actually played for both the Rangers and Maple Leafs twice in his career, but his 322 gams with the Rangers were the most of his 897 NHL games while he spent just 18 games with the Buffalo Sabres!

Olli Jokinen makes an appearance on this list thanks to the ten teams he played with in his career! Jokinen wore the jerseys for the Los Angeles Kings, the New York Islanders, the Florida Panthers, the Phoenix Coyotes, the Calgary Flames, the New York Rangers, the Winnipeg Jets, the Nashville Predators, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the St. Louis Blues! Of the eight players listed here, Jokinen played the second-most games, but recorded the most points! 567 of his 1231 career games were spent with the Panthers while playing just six games at the end of his career for the Toronto Maple Leafs!

JJ Daigneault is another one of those players who I had forgotten played for so many teams. Like Schneider, he won a Stanley Cup with that 1993 Montreal Canadiens team, but also suited up with the Vancouver Canucks, the Philadelphia Flyers, the St. Louis Blues, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, the New York Islanders, the Nashville Predators, the Phoenix Coyotes, and the Minnesota Wild. The reliable defenceman played 899 career games, spending 352 of those with Montreal and just one single game with the Wild.

I knew Michel Petit was one of those guys who got moved a lot in the 1980s just because he seemingly was on every team - ten of them, in fact. That being said, Petit played with the Vancouver Canucks, the New York Rangers, the Quebec Nordiques, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Calgary Flames, the Los Angeles Kings, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Edmonton Oilers, the Phoenix Coyotes, and the Philadelphia Flyers. The Toronto-Calgary segment of his career was the infamous Doug Gilmour trade to the Leafs that saw Petit go to the Flames as part of the package. In his 827 NHL games, Petit played 226 of those contests with the Canucks while he had just 18 games as an Oiler. Not bad for a guy who finished his career with 1839 PIMs!

The final guy on this list holds the record for the most teams played for in NHL history, and that's the guy at the top - Mr. Mike Sillinger! Mike played with twelve NHL teams in his career, and those teams include the Detroit Red Wings, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, the Vancouver Canucks, the Philadelphia Flyers, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Florida Panthers, the Ottawa Senators, the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Phoenix Coyotes, the St. Louis Blues, the Nashville Predators, and the New York Islanders. Of his 1049 NHL games, he spent the most with Columbus where he dressed for 155 games, 14 more than the Islanders with whom he retired. The team where he spent the least amount of time was the Ottawa Senators, suiting up for just 13 contests in the nation's capital!

These players played for a combined 30 NHL franchises - 28 if you combine Quebec-Colorado and Atlanta-Winnipeg - with the Phoenix Coyotes employing six of the eight players at some points in their careers. The Rangers, Islanders, Leafs, and Canucks all had five of these players on their rosters, and the Flyer, Blues, Flames, and Canadiens all had four of these eight players.

There could have been more teams added to these lists too. Mathieu Schneider was claimed by the Columbus Blue Jackets in their expansion draft, but he wasn't signed by the team. Dominic Moore was traded by the New York Rangers to the Nashville Predators for Adam Hall, but Nashville traded him the same day to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a third-round pick. Mike Sillinger could have had a Dallas jersey to his name after he was traded by Columbus to Dallas for Darryl Sydor, but Dallas swapped him on the same day to the Phoenix Coyotes for Teppo Numminen.

There are only four current teams that don't appear on these lists, and two of those are Vegas and Seattle. The other two are Dallas and Washington who never had at least one of these players on their rosters. Likewise, there are two franchises who no longer exist who employed at least one of these players, and those franchises are Quebec and Atlanta.

So there are some cool facts about the NHL players who wore the most jerseys in their careers, and the teams that carried these eight players on their rosters. I'm sure I could break down a hundred more interesting facts about these players and the jerseys they wore, but I think we've covered enough for tonight!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 28 November 2020

This Could Have Been Big

Back in 2012, Lego released their fourth set of specialized minifigures that were to capture the hearts of children and grown-up children around the world. There were some rather unique minifigures that Lego included in the set including a geisha, a pandemically-dressed guy in a hazmat suit, and some sports minifigures like an ice skater, a soccer player, and the pictured hockey player. Despite the raging sexism in that only the figure skater is a female minifigure and is only one of three female minifigures in a set of sixteen, the hockey player appealed to me in that I thought Lego could have really had some fun with hockey-based Lego, only to see that the Danish company's efforts were limited to a handful of off-putting sets that makes hockey look like a robotic war.

Yes, I get that there are nuances that likely couldn't be captured in brick form through Lego that one would find in hockey, and that's ok. I'm not here to suggest that we should have had more brick-based sets produced where kids can use Lego to play hockey. I mean, if they can produce art with Lego that one would hang on the wall, they probably can think outside the box for hockey too. But I digress.

Instead, I was thinking more along the lines of the wildly-popular-with-kids Lego video games! Lego has produced Star Wars video games, Batman video games, Indiana Jones video games, and more all with their usual minifigures at the center of the story in a world made entirely of Lego. In these games, puzzles are solved while villains try to disrupt the heroes, and these villains often die by having the minifigure characters explode into a pile of bricks. You might already know where I'm thinking they take this idea, but could you imagine a Lego hockey video game where big hits result in exploded opponents? Think Lego meeting Mutant League Hockey!

It would give Lego a chance to really create something unique - a hockey league that features a handful of teams with actual minifigure players that Lego could market and sell based on the popularity of the game. If Lego wanted to ressurect its licensing deal with the NHL, that would be up to them, but I would create entirely new characters and players on which to base this game so that Lego has its own stars like they do with the Lego Ninjago sets. Choose your team and character, and hit the ice!

This doesn't just have to be a male minifigure game either. Put female minifigures in the game as playable teams and give girls a reason to play the game as well. Have fun with Olympians and NHL players by offering them as special unlockable characters. Make the game playable online and let players from around the world compete against one another. The offerings and potential for this game seem limitless, and it makes me wonder why Lego wouldn't be working on something like this considering the popularity of EA Sports' NHL series.

In any case, maybe Lego can come up with some additional minifigure sets to have complete teams for those kids who like to imagine their own Leg-based hockey arenas and games? That would be ideal until this idea of a Lego hockey game comes to pass.

If you build it, they will play.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 27 November 2020

Keep The Hose Handy

In the season in which no one can catch a break, it's becoming very apparent that few, if any, outdoor rinks will be installed this year at community centers and places of public gathering. If there's one thing that brings some normalcy to cold-weather locales, strapping the skates on and feeling the crisp winter air on your face at the outdoor rink is that norm. The unfortunate part is that Code Red mandates in cities across Canada have forced normal winter activities such as skating and toboganning into taking a season off as well, and that's only going to add to the stir-craziness we're seeing in Canadians.

I am encouraged, however, by the number of people I've seen and heard building backyard rinks for their own enjoyment. This activity used to be a rite of passage every winter out on farms and in small towns where a lot of the NHL legends got their start, and this winter's lack of public rinks has made private rinks that much more important for people who want to skate outdoors.

HBIC Headquarters sits upon a postage stamp of land, so I don't have a rink. I'd love to build one, but I simply don't have the space to do it. I find myself a little envious of those that do have the space and install either a skating rink, a curling rink, or a combination of the two because the rink represents a way to break the monotony of a cold, dreary winter.

CBC had a great piece last year on February 12 about all the homemade rinks in Manitoba with an assortment of pictures, and I have to say I have a little FOMO going on because I do fear I'm missing out. There's a skill to building a good rink, and it's pretty clear that a lot of Manitobans are bringing back a skill that may have been lost to time thanks to the public skating options available in cities. Rather than waiting for someone to flood the rink, Manitobans are flooding their very own rinks in waves!

Perhaps what is most unique about some of Winnipeg's rinks is that they cross property lines as families and neighbours come together to build impressive rinks in neighbourhoods. One such rink is in the Crescentwood area, seen below, and it spans the front yards of three houses! This was the brainchild of Shane and Kara McCartney (paywalled link - sorry!), one of the three homeowners, as their son, Blake, had his hockey season ruined by the pandemic. Rather than pout, Blake is now skating on his front lawn thanks to the efforts of these Winnipeggers!
The start of this article sounded a little depressing as some winters can seemingly be, but it's pretty clear that people across this land are rediscovering ways to build their own rinks just as Walter Gretzky did for Wayne, just as Rob Konecny did for Travis, and just as former NHLer Dave Gagner did for his son, Sam, and his friends, John Tavares, Cody Goloubef, Akim Aliu, Brendan Smith, and Reilly Smith. Will we see an uptick in skilled hockey players coming from outdoor rinks to NHL arenas? The likelihood seems good, but time will tell on whether these backyard rinks result in NHL contracts.

What shouldn't be forgotten, though, is that every backyard rink creates an entire wealth of memories, whether it be building a rink with a father, skating with friends, or competing against siblings to go with the emotions that come along with each of these moments. I've talked a lot about keeping distances for safety during the pandemic on this blog, but a backyard rink brings people closer together. It doesn't mean that they're physically standing closer to one another, but rather the memories of the effort and remembering the good times brings that closeness that we're so desperately needing in these socially-distant times.

With it appearing that outdoor public rinks might be few and far between for a lot of Canadian cities this year, this might be the best time to rediscover a talent that so many people just stopped using thanks to the local public rink. Flooding a rink in the silence of a still winter night is something that I've heard is quite cathartic for the mind - it's just you and the night watching the new layer of water freeze to the ice surface. A backyard rink might not only be the remedy for winter blues for those stuck indoors, but it could be a therapeutic way for parents to spend some time alone without all the daily pressures.

I'd love to see a backyard rink webcam option from someone. Watching a game of shinny is just as good, if not better in my opinion, than an organzied game of hockey simply due to the creative nature of players playing without strict rules. If you have a webcam set up on your backyard rink, post the link for that cam below. I think it would be an awesome venture for a lot of us who are craving hockey right now.

For everyone who has built or is building a backyard rink, I salute you. You're keeping the pond hockey dreams alive with your efforts, and I am in awe of your talents when it comes to having a clean sheet of ice!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 26 November 2020

The Hockey Show - Episode 427

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns to the Winnipeg airwaves as Jenna and I are still firmly locked down thanks to the Code Red mandate. Honestly, we need to get our acts together, Canada. This can't go on much longer. With the holiday season looking more and more like it may be in jeopardy, this should be a stark reminder that we need to stay home, avoid gatherings, wear masks, and be smart about our activities. I want to visit the cozy confines of the UMFM studios at some point in 2021, but it doesn't seem things are going to go that way unless we all do our parts. In saying that, we have a guest who is also experiencing a lockdown herself tonight, so let's meet our house-bound guest!

Tonight, Teebz and Jenna welcome CWHL legend, NCAA legend, and Winnipeg-born Delayne Brian back to the show! While we were hoping to have both players on, the timing didn't work out for Brittany Esposito, so we'll have to get her on a future show. Nevertheless, the chat with Delayne will be good as we get caught up on the last two years of her life since she was last on the show! We discuss moving into coaching, retirement from the professional side of sports, her ball hockey and beer-league hockey careers, settling into Calgary as a resident, getting a new roommate, her perspective on the loss of the Pronghorns after she experienced the same thing with Wayne State, what needs to be done to bring professional women's hockey back, and we get her takes on the new Reverse Retro jerseys seen by the NHL. It's a busy hour with Delayne Brian, so make sure you tune in tonight at 5:30pm CT tonight to hear all of this on one of 101.5 FM, Channel 718 on MTS TV, or 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 Jenna catch up with Delayne Brian on life after hockey, life as a coach and beer leaguer, life in Calgary, life when hockey disappoints you, and much more exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the web stream!

PODCAST: November 26, 2020: Episode 427

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 25 November 2020

Scoring Ain't Easy

Scoring goals at any level of hockey is a difficult task, and seeing it done regularly by any one player is what makes that player special. Canada West women's hockey has had its fair share of elite scorers over the years, but it's the lack of scoring that is becoming far more evident as the seasons progress. That's not to say that certain teams haven't found a way to score, but I thought I should post a bit of an examination of the last eight seasons that show how Canada West was becoming far more defensive-minded than ever before in its history.

As you may recall, Kelsey Roberts, the netminder for the Calgary Dinos pictured above, was named as the Canada West Player of the Year thanks to her play in the Dinos' nets all season long, leading to a major jump in the standings for the University of Calgary. While she was certainly one of the reasons for Calgary's turnaround, it should be noted that there were exceptional goaltending performances across the conference with the likes of Kaitlyn Ross, Kirsten Chamberlin, and Jessica Vance all doing ridiculous goaltending things.

Ten goaltenders finished with a goal-against average less than 2.00 with three of them playing in 21-or-more games last season. To double-down on those numbers, eight goaltenders finished the season with save percentages at .930 or above, and seven goaltenders finished with four-or-more shutouts at the end of the season.

Scoring goals at the Canada West level was already hard back in 2012-13, but it's moved to a level that's downright suffocating to say the least. Graphically, here's what the trend looks like using lines and bars. As you can see, there are declines in both the Most Team Goals Scored (MTGS) totals and the Average Goals Scored (AGS) each season while the Lowest Team Goals Scored (LTGS) is slightly elevated in the final years after declining as well. Needless to say, the trend in scoring is going the "not fun" way as teams are placing higher emphasis on defence than offence.

Aside from the anomoly season in 2017-18 that saw just three teams hit the 60-goal plateau while Calgary set an all-time low with just 22 goals-for, scoring has dropped from the high seen in 2012-13 when Calgary hit an all-time high of 97 goals-for. The lowest scoring team that season was the newly-promoted Mount Royal Cougars who scored 50 goals. In comparison, that would have made them the fourth-highest scoring team in 2019-20.

With two new teams entering Canada West next season and one team not participating, there likely will be a bump in goal-scoring across the league as MacEwan and Trinity Western figure out how to play at the Canada West level. The one thing that levels the playing field for all teams is good goaltending and defence, though, and it's a reason why we're seeing the scoring drop from year to year. If we've learned anything from NHL expansion over the years, the preference to win close games through good defence and good goaltending always seems to take precedence over opening up the game and trying to score more goals.

Since 2012-13, Alberta has scored no fewer than 62 goals in a season (2015-16). Their goals-against are as follows: 47, 31, 35, 39, 39, 43, 24, and 31 last season. That's a pretty consistent defensive effort, yet they finished 4th, 1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 4th, 1st, and 1st. Both times that Alberta gave up more than 40 goals in a season, they finished in fourth-place, yet the two times that gave up 39 goals in a season saw 1st- and 2nd-place finishes. Every other year where they've given up less than 39 goals against has seen them win the conference. Is it any wonder why defence is being heralded in Canada West?

The three times that they didn't win the conference, though, had them score 67-or-more goals - more than any other team in 2019-20 except the Alberta Pandas! Calgary, who scored a second-best 61 goals last season, would have been sixth-highest in 2012-13, fifth-highest in 2013-14, and fifth-highest in 2014-15. Again, a commitment to defence and goaltending has been the trend we're seeing for all the teams as the years have gone by as scoring has dropped while defensive zone play has improved immensely.

How do we get the scoring back up, you ask? Well, that's a tough question. We've seen Alberta score at a high rate with playing good defensive hockey, but there are two sides of the coin that we need to consider. Obviously, a strong forecheck is a good start as forcing defenders to make mistakes on breakouts will lead to chances. I'd like to see more players jumping passing routes to pick off passes to create odd-player rushes, but there's a risk involved with making those plays as well which coaches will frown on if one has to fish the puck out of one's own net. And as seen above, coaches will play conservatively so that the red light isn't on in their end.

I'd love to see more creative power-plays than what we've seen in the past in Canada West. I think a lot of the systems being used can be easily game-planned for by coaches in Canada West, so it might take some creativity and imagination to change that up a little. I'd also like to see goalies learning to handle the puck more so that they can become additional weapons for transitioning to offence faster. Having a goalie who can throw passes to the red line would be ideal in catching teams on changes or before they can set up in the defensive zone on dump-ins.

Will these changes result in an explosion of offence? I'm not sure it will, but it might be enough to shake up a team for an additional five or ten goals in the course of a season. Maybe that's enough to overcome a team or two in the standings as well. But, if nothing else, it brings the fun back to what's becoming a bit of a chess match between Canada West teams.

Hockey's supposed to be fun, right? Let's have fun then!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 24 November 2020

The Things We Lose

I'm going to be honest: I'm not very happy tonight. Frankly, I hate writing about COVID-19 every second day and the impact it's having on hockey in this great country. We should be knee-deep in hockey right now, but we're forced to watch Premiers of provinces do their best at screwing up everyone's lives because the spines they once had are no longer present. With the news about Fred Sasakamoose today, the Team Canada World Junior team earlier today, and the Vegas Golden Knights' report about their players, I'm done with inept leadership at the provincial levels as numbers surge across Canada in every province and region.

The loss of Fred Sasakamoose was my breaking point today as the 86 year-old passed away due to complications from COVID-19 earlier this afternoon. Sasakamoose had been admitted to hospital five days ago, and the virus simply did a number on his lungs as his son explained.

"The COVID virus did so much damage into his lungs, he just couldn't keep responding," Neil Sasakamoose said via Facebook. "He just couldn't keep up."

Sasakamoose was born on Christmas Day in 1933, and spent horrific years at St. Michael's Indian Residential School in Duck Lake as part of Canada's residential school program. Sasakamoose survived that horror, and went on to succeed in spite of what had been done him by playing eleven games in the NHL in 1953-54 with the Chicago Blackhawks as one of the first Indidenous NHL players.

Sasakamoose was an inspiration to Indigenous players that followed, and tributes from players such as Jordin Tootoo, Sheldon Souray, and Bryan Trottier were seen on social media today. But perhaps even greater than the doors he opened in the NHL for others was his work back at his home in Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation where he served as chief and was a member of the Nation's council for three decades, establishing addiction services and a program to prevent family violence in the community.

Losing one of the first Indigenous athletes and the first Cree athlete to play in the NHL in this way just boils my blood. He is a Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame member having been inducted in 2007, and became a member of the Order of Canada in 2018. And he's gone now because we can't do things like staying home, wearing masks, avoiding gatherings, and being smart about keeping ourselves safe. We should be ashamed that people rich in life experiences and history like Fred Sasakamoose are paying the price for others' selfish ways.

This news comes on the heels of Team Canada announcing today that all selection camp activities have been suspended due to two players having positive results and are quarantining at the hotel in Red Deer, the same place that coaches Michael Dyck and Jason Labarbera are quarantining after having contact with someone who tested positive. Should I be surprised that the leaky bubble that Hockey Canada has set up isn's working? No, but it's infuriating nonetheless because they had the blueprints on how to make this work from the NHL. This shouldn't have happened, but it is.

One day earlier, the Vegas Golden Knights revealed they had four players test positive, forcing a shutdown of their facilities over the Thanksgiving holiday in the US. Let's not forget that American COVID numbers spiked after July 4 and Canada saw its numbers spike sharply following Thanksgiving. Honestly, if government officials can't see the trends that a mediocre hockey blogger can, why are they running provinces and states? You know that there will be more spikes in the US following this weekend's festivities, so these four cases are likely just the tip of the iceberg in the US.

Are we really this dumb as a species? We're losing good people across this nation like Fred Sasakamoose, and we still have people wandering around without masks, gathering in large numbers, defying public health orders, and generally being complete idiots.

I hear people whining and moaning about loss of freedoms and rights with some of the regulations put in place, but I'm tired of it. I know people who have COVID, and it's far less pleasant than wearing a mask or holding a religious service via web conference. I can tell you right now that Neil Sasakamoose is grieving because COVID-19 took his dad. Thousands of others across this great nation are doing the same, and, if you're reading this right now, I urge you to really examine what you believe if you think your rights and freedoms are being threatened by a piece of cloth and elastics or by staying home for the next couple of weeks.

The things we lose by not following simple rules are far greater than any personal right or freedom that may be temporarily affected by selfish, ignorant beliefs. I'm tired of the whining about how you're so hard done by when people are burying loved ones because of this virus. And I won't stand for it any longer.

The things we lose are grandparents whose wisdom and experiences are priceless. The things we lose are neighbours whose friendly wave and smile make the neighbourhood feel more like home. The things we lose are parents, brothers, and sisters whose love and family bonds can never be replaced. The things we lose feel more and more like family as we learn about those who succumbed to the virus as opposed to those people being random strangers we didn't know. I'm tired of losing family.

We're better than this, Canada. Let's get it together for each and every person in this country. We come together so loudly and so proudly when we see the Team Canada logo on our favorite hockey players just like Fred Sasakamoose above. We owe it to him, to those who are no longer with us, to those currently battling the virus, and to the men and women providing the healthcare and treatments needed for those who are battling to not give up in those fights. We owe it to each other to be good to one another, to care for one another, to look out for one another for which Canadians around the world are known. We can and should be better.

I hope you'll be part of this Canadian family and do your part by wearing a mask, staying home, and avoiding gatherings while falling under public health orders. The things we've lost can't be replaced, and I'm hopeful we won't lose much more if we all follow the rules.

Rest in peace, Mr. Sasakamoose. Your legacy won't be forgotten as you rejoin your spiritual ancestors across the sky to watch over this great nation.

Until next time, raise your sticks high in honour of Fred Sasakamoose!

Monday 23 November 2020

New Faces Behind Benches

There was some moving and shaking in the Central Division today as new faces will be behind benches and in pressboxes whenever the next NHL season begins. It's not unusual to see new coaches joining NHL squads in the offseason, but today is usually the end of the second month of the NHL season as opposed to any sort of offseason. Since it is the offseason currently, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Winnipeg Jets were busy today as they introduced new staff who will help guide their teams to the playoffs and beyond with these new brains adding knowledge and information to the teams.

We'll start in Chicago where they were the busiest of the two teams as they introduced three new members to Chicago fans. The first new coach likely needs no introduction to NHL fans after her amazing showing at the NHL All-Star Game, but Kendall Coyne Schofield's amazing career with Team USA should supercede that one instance because she's been an amazing player for a long time. On top of that, her work on NBC Sports broadcasts of NHL hockey shows she has a deep knowledge of the game as well, so it makes sense for the Blackhawks to hire her as a coach.

Kendall Coyne Schofield was hired today to serve as the Player Development Coach and Youth Hockey Growth Specialist for the Chicago Blackhawks. Along with the second coach I'll discuss in a second, Coyne's main role with be working with the Rockford IceHogs' coaches to develop the skill sets of the Chicago prospects in Rockford. In her role as a Youth Hockey Growth Specialist, Coyne will be oversee and administer "grassroots youth hockey programs and clinics, implementation of girls' hockey programming and the continued enhancement of her namesake all-girls program 'Golden Coynes.'" Coyle seems very qualified for skills development roles thanks to her consistent training for the US Olympic Team that has made her one of the best players on the planet, and having her as a role model for youth and girls' hockey in the US is a great move by the Blackhawks thanks to her celebrity.

The second coach I mentioned above is former NHL player Erik Condra who was hired as a Player Development Coach as well. Condra is likely known from his time with the Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Dallas Stars, so he likely will know the ins and outs of what skills are needed and valued in NHL circles. Condra's walked the walk, so his experiences will go a long way in helping the prospects on the IceHogs become better players with NHL-ready skills.

The Blackhawks weren't done there, though, as they hired Juan Gonzalez as the Rockford IceHogs' Strength and Conditioning Coach. Gonzalez comes to the Blackhawks after working with the USA Hockey National Development Program as a strength and conditioning advisor for the U17 and U18 hockey teams. Gonalez is also a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and has worked with athletes from a number of sports as a certified trainer.

"Adding talented people with diverse and multi-faceted backgrounds like Kendall, Erik, and Juan enhances our operations as we assess the changing landscape of hockey at all levels and continue to build and maintain a system of elite hockey," Chicago Blackhawks Senior Vice President and General Manager Stan Bowman said today. "Each of these individuals brings unique experience to their position, and we are excited to welcome them to the Blackhawks family."

The other team doing some adding to their bench today was the Winnipeg Jets who hired Brandon Wheat Kings head coach Dave Lowry as their new assistant coach to replace Todd Woodcroft after he took the head coaching job at the University of Vermont. If you're wondering about this Lowry guy and Jets centerman Adam Lowry being related, the answer is yes, father Dave will now coach son Adam at the NHL level.

"I'd totally understand if he wasn't comfortable with me coming in and being part of the staff," Dave Lowry explained today, "this wouldn't have been something I continued to pursue. With Adam's blessing, I recognize that he's an established player in the National Hockey League, and it should be an easy transition."

Alrighty then.

According to reports, Jets head coach Paul Maurice had wanted Dave Lowry on his staff as far back as 2016, asking Dave to join the Jets at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. After discussions, both agreed that it wasn't the right time for the elder Lowry to take a spot on the bench with his son's NHL career just beginning. Apparently, Dave, Adam, and Paul all agree this is now the right time.

Lowry had a long NHL career, but his coaching career saw him joined the Calgary Hitmen as an assistant coach in 2005 before becoming the head coach with the WHL Calgary squad in 2008 where he led the Hitmen to a 59-9-4 record before losing in the WHL Final. In 2009, he joined the Calgary Flames as an assistant coach where he served for three seasons before he took the head coaching position with the WHL's Victoria Royals. He spent five seasons as the head guy in Victoria where he posted a record of 209-124-27, but never advancing past the WHL's second playoff round. From there, he spent two seasons in Los Angeles as an assistant coach before taking the head coaching position with Brandon last season where he went 35-22-6 before the season was stopped.

If there's a positive, Dave Lowry's work as a WHL head coach should be commended both for his overall record and for never having a team where he was the head coach miss the playoffs. That's pretty good when one considers the player turnover on some of the WHL teams, and Dave never missed the playoffs once. Not bad at all, I must say.

Where there may be a negative in Lowry's work is that his best players have all peaked in the WHL. While a number of them are currently playing in the KHL or battling for NHL jobs, it's pretty clear that Lowry squeezed the best out of those players while they were 17 or 18. Will he have that same effect on NHL players? It's hard to say based upon the teams he served on as an NHL assistant coach, but there's hope he might be able to find some way to elevate players like Jack Roslovic, Mason Appleton, Jansen Harkins, and Sami Niku who have some limited NHL success.

"The biggest thing is it's all about building relationships and connecting with players," Lowry stated matter-of-factly. "For me the big thing is to be there when they need you and to really learn and identify how and what makes each player tick and how do they learn. With an established coaching staff, I'll be able to pick their brain to be able to figure out how to work and how to teach these individual players."

We'll see if the Jets can benefit from Lowry's experience, but it's pretty clear that both the Blackhakws and Jets are getting themselves set for a 2020-21 season the best ways they can when it comes to the people giving players the coaching they need. Will it translate to wins this season or in the future will be seen as the seasons play out, but opportunities present hope that things will improve for both these teams.

At the end of the day, both teams improved.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 22 November 2020

It's That Time Of Year

While it was made earlier this month, I thought I'd post this beauty of a recipe once more with a major American holiday approaching on Thursday. We all know that everyone enjoys Thanksgiving that day south of the border, but maybe you need something different to finish off the evening or just a new beverage to try. With that being said, Irish Cream is a good alternative to your usual evening nightcaps as we approach the festive season. This recipe is easy to make, tastes rather incredible, and won't set you back a pile of dough. The ingredients are rich, but the finished product always brings a smile to my face.

I'll take no credit for my annual posting of this recipe. It goes to Uni-Watch's Paul Lukas who first turned me on to this beverage, and I have to say that I'm glad I ventured down the path of making it an annual rite in my holiday preparations. My parents have joined in the annual making of Irish Cream as well, and they enjoy it aound the fireplace in the evening during the winter. All in all, this will please any and all who partake, but please remember to be responsible with respect to consumption!

Here are the ingredients and steps to make your own homemade Irish Cream!


2 cups of Irish whiskey*
2 cups of heavy cream**
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp. of chocolate syrup
1 tsp. of vanilla extract
1 espresso shot***
1/4 tsp. of almond extract


Mix all ingredients in a large container and be sure to stir well. Refrigerate for a couple of hours, and enjoy over ice.


* - any mid-range Irish whiskey will do - Bushmills, Jameson, Tullamore Dew - so don't buy any high-end whiskey. You'll lose the nuances of the high-end whiskey, which is what you're paying more for, in the Irish cream mixture.
** - whipping cream at 35% works best for a thick, smooth Irish cream. At the very lowest, don't stray below 18% or you'll lose the creaminess of the beverage.
*** - an espresso shot is 1 tsp. of instant espresso in 2 tbsp. of hot water.

It's easy to make, smooth to drink, and a great way to cap off a good Thanksgiving meal or a nightcap on a cool winter's eve. The espresso shot gives that coffee flavour that mixes nicely with the sweetness of the condensed milk and chocolate, and it's especially good poured over the rocks after chilling for the better part of the day!

Enjoy this recipe, and share it if people ask! It's sure to be a crowd pleaser!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 21 November 2020

One Day Later...

One day after writing about how it would be good to have all of the teams participating in the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship arrive early in Edmonton to quarantine, Hockey Canada makes an announcement tonight that should really tip the scales in the direction of early quarantining as they have isolated two assistant coaches, Michael Dyck and, pictured to the left, Jason Labarbera, after they came in close contact with someone who had tested positive. I feel like I am beating a dead horse every time I write about this, but I cannot stress how important this quarantine period is with respect to all the players and staff who will arrive in Edmonton. If the IIHF isn't going to mandate this, teams should.

I'm not going to blame eiter of Dyck or Labarbera for being safe and isolating after close contact, but having two assistant coaches isolate in the middle of selection camp for fourteen days means that they'll only get to watch video regarding player evaluation and cuts that have to be made. There likely will still be interactions between the coaches via video chats and phone calls, but coaches usually like to be at the ground level when observing players because what they do off the ice is just as important as what they do on it.

It should be noted that Michael Dyck is the head coach for the WHL's Vancouver Giants as well as serving as Canada's National Men's Summer Under-18 Team head coach. Dyck spent time in the WHL with Calgary, Brandon, and Regina, and also played two seasons on the blue line for the Lethbridge Pronghorns men's hockey team. The 52 year-old is an excellent communicator with younger players, and helped the Vancouver Giants advance to the WHL Final in only his second season at the helm.

Jason Labarbera's NHL career saw him suit up as a goaltender for the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, Phoenix Coyotes, Edmonton Oilers, Chicago Blackhawks, and Anaheim Ducks in his career, but he now works as the goaltending coach for the WHL's Calgary Hitmen and for Hockey Canada. Labarbera knows about the pressures that come along with playing at a high level, and is a good evaluator of goaltending at the Under-20 age level.

With five goalies in camp this season and no returnees from last year's squad, having both Dyck and Labarbera down at ice level would be more beneficial than having them isolated in their room. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen for the next two weeks for Team Canada, so we'll have to hope that both men know enough about the players in practice and from what they see on game video to make good choices for this team so they can defend the gold medal won last year.

Once more, I cannot stress that the IIHF should be encouraging teams from around the globe to arrive early in Edmonton and begin adjusting to bubble life because any contact tracing that leads back to players or coaches could be devastating for teams. This is a two-week tournament, not a full hockey season, so having to quaratine players or coaches for fourteen days would mean the tournament is virtually over for those people. That's not how you want to remember a World Junior Championship.

My thoughts are with both Michael Dyck and Jason Labarbera as they go through the necessary process to ensure no further positive contacts or cases. I'm hopeful both will show negative test results and we're simply erring on the side of caution. It would be entirely wise of the IIHF to urge other international teams to err on that side of caution as well by getting their players and staff to Edmonton sooner rather than later so they're ready to play hockey when the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship opens on December 26.

Make it happen, IIHF.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 20 November 2020

The IIHF's Challenge

The young man to the left proudly wearing the Brandon Wheat Kings colours while being an alternate captain for the team is Ridly Greig. The Ottawa Senators prospect is supposed to be in Red Deer, Alberta right now as part of the Team Canada World Junior Championship selection camp, buthe's been forced to quarantine at home after he tested positive for coronavirus back on November 8. Playing by the 14-day quarantine rules, Ridly will be eligible to join the camp on Sunday, and I'm sure it will be a welcome sight for both him and Team Canada to have him back at the rink. My thoughts are with him and his family, including sister and former Lethbridge Pronghorns sniper Kyra Greig, as he works through this unfortunate situation.

Greig's positive test result should put the IIHF on high alert, though, when it comes to this year's World Junior Championship. While they have already stated that the tournament would be played in a bubble in Edmonton similar to what the NHL did, there are considerably more factors that the IIHF needs to address prior to this tournament starting, let alone playing out to a finish.

As you likely know, there have been coronavirus outbreaks in the KHL where both Russian and Finnish World Junior players are currently playing, and one has to hope that they'll be quarantined and kept away from their KHL teams in the next week or so if they hope to participate in those national selection camps. The last thing that the Russian and Finnish national teams need are an outbreak in their camps, shutting those camps down. If I were the IIHF, I'd be instructing players who wish to play to leave their teams now, especially if any of those players are on a team where teammates had tested positive.

In addition to these situations, Austria is in a lockdown until December 6 where all leisure facailities, including rinks, have been closed due to the number of cases seen in that country, and a curfew currently is being enforced from 8pm until 6am daily. Germany set a new daily record for COVID-19 infections today, and that country has already named its roster as it prepares to travel to Canada. The US is still struggling with its control on COVID-19 as well, and they'll be heading north to Canada as well. In other words, there's a greater chance of infection now, thanks to the current state of the world, than there was when the NHL bubbles started, and that has to worry the IIHF.

If the IIHF was going to play this safe, I would be looking at a three-week isolation period from December 5 until the start of the tournament on December 26. That means three weeks of isolation at the hotels where the teams are staying with no exceptions - team members must be behind hotel doors by 12:01am on December 5 or they are denied participation. With the way the cases are spiking around the world, this incorporates the two-week incubation periods with the two-week quarantine requirements with an extra week of preparation and on-ice practice in the event a player or staff member tests positive at the start of the bubble period.

I realize that this long isolation from friends and families may wear on these kids. Heck, the NHL players who were isolated didn't entirely enjoy it, and now we're asking teenagers to do the same thing. I can only see more complaints about this month of go-nowhere and do-nothing, so the IIHF would be wise to learn from the NHL's mistakes and provide some real opportunities for fun. Turn a hotel meeting room into a giant arcade. Set up table hockey games in another meeting room. Encourage video game enthusiasts to bring their consoles. Get great food options for the players.

Personally, this tournament seems like a bad idea based on the teams who are supposed to be attending and the timeline we're on with resepct to the COVID-19 situation in Canada. I understand the IIHF is likely going to go ahead with the event regardless, but I have to admit that this will be one of the weirdest tournaments in history without the bluster of the amazing Canadian fans when the red-and-white take the ice.

I guess if there's one shred of fortunate luck, it's that we're in a pool with Finland and Switzerland as two of the "Big Six" nations at the World Junior Championship, meaning that the New Year's Eve game against one of Canada's longtime arch-enemies in the US or Russia won't be on the schedule this year at least until the crossover in the medal round. While I still fear Finland for what they can do on the ice, Canada just doesn't have the same hatred for the Finns as, say, the Americans or Russians. Heck, the Finns are liked more than the Swedes too. I guess if the tournament is going to feel off for rivalries, not having fans there may not matter as much as I'm thinking it will.

As stated above, though, there are a ton of challenges the IIHF still has to face before this tournament kicks off in a month's time, and they should be tackling those issues now if they haven't already. My hope is that the second Edmonton bubble is as successful for hockey as the first was, and that will require some concessions made by everyone in getting that to happen.

Let's hope that's happening as you read this if we want a Christmas hockey tournament in 2020.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 19 November 2020

The Hockey Show - Episode 426

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns to UMFM's frequency this evening as the first week of lockdown has passed us by in Manitoba. I'm hopeful we get through this and see a slowdown in cases and hospitalizations, but we need to do better, Manitoba. For everyone outside this province, continue to do your part by staying home, wearing your mask, avoiding any gatherings, and staying vigilant about all these measures. If you want to have a holiday season of any kind and events beyond the holidays, we need to be doing the work now.

We had a recognizable name planned for an interview tonight, but this guest asked for a little extra time to get over a non-COVID spell of illness. We can definitely grant that as we want out guests at their best, so Teebz and Jenna go through the 31 jerseys - why wasn't Seattle included? - that the NHL revealed on Monday in their new "Reverse Retro" line of clothing. Find out which jerseys they liked and how many they hated, and one definitely outpaces the other. They also discuss all the shutdowns being seen in hockey across the planet with respect to the bubble situation that the NHL is planning, honour equipment managers thanks to two bits of news seen this past week, and they run through all the stats amassed by former Canada West women playing in professional leagues across the world! Make sure you tune in tonight at 5:30pm CT tonight to hear all of this on one of 101.5 FM, Channel 718 on MTS TV, or 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 Jenna discuss new clothes, new cancellations for hockey, new bubbles and how the NHL will handle them, new honours for a couple of equipment managers, all sorts of news on how players are doing overseas, and much more exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the web stream!

PODCAST: November 19, 2020: Episode 426

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Bisons Helping Bisons?

You're likely aware that there are many U SPORTS athletes competing abroad, but there are only a few Manitoba Bisons who have jumped at that opportunity. That's not to say there couldn't be more based on the athletic abilities of a lot of these people, but there are very few playing right now simply due to the pandemic situation around the world. Today, I want to bring about a highlight that involves two former Bisons women's hockey players as they both had a hand in the goal scored shown below!

First, here's the highlight of the goal scored in question. The game shown above is from November 14, 2020 and features a pile of U SPORTS players such as Kelty Apperson, Lindsey Post, Jaycee Magwood, Marion Allemoz, and Lore Baudrit. The two players in this game that I'll focus on will be former Bisons defenders Erica Rieder and Alexandra Anderson.

The highlight is Erica Reider scoring her second goal of the season for MODO while on the power-play. Rieder, seen wearing the alternate captain's "A" in the hihglight, tees one up from the point and hammers it past former Pandas netminder Lindsey Post to put MODO up 2-0 in the first period. Sofia Engström and Lina Ljungblom picked up helpers on Rieder's goal as well.

So where's Anderson, you're asking? Well, Erica scored on the power-play and Anderson wasn't out on the ice. That's because she was sitting in the penalty box after being caught by the referee slashing a MODO player. Anderson currently has 22 minutes in penalties this season, tied with Canadian Olympian Jennifer Wakefield of Linkopings for the seventh-most penalty minutes in the SDHL.

I'm not here to rain on Anderson's parade, though, as she has always been an outstanding defender, but having your former teammate and current opponent score on your team while you watch from the sin bin can't feel good. If there's a silver lining to this story, though, Anderson got the last laugh as SDE earned the victory over MODO by a 5-3 score when the final horn sounded!

A Bison helping a Bison? Not exactly, but Rieder's power-play goal was scored on the penalty Anderson was serving, so it's an unwanted "assist" for Anderson whose team overcame the mistake to pick up the three-point victory. All's well that ends well between these two former teammates.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Lowered Expectations

You may remember this skit from MadTV where the actors would often portray people of a lower standard than one might want to find on a video dating service. Most were pretty forgettable, but a few stood out as pretty funny. The idea of lower standards is applicable to today's article in which we look at the Eastern Conference's Reverse Retro jerseys that the NHL introduced yesterday to the world. Honestly, the Western Conference's new looks were nothing to write home about, so let's see if the Eastern Conference can do any better today.

I wrote yesterday about how I hate this entire idea of "Reverse Retro" jerseys. It's nothing more than a cash grab by the NHL who likely will have to deal with another season of empty rinks when one considers how the pandemic is going. While I understand the need for revenue, the idea that the league would sign-off on all 31 teams getting these poorly-conceived, poorly-executed jerseys is astounding to me.

I need to be fair, though, as we saw a couple of decent designs in the first sixteen jerseys, so maybe there will be a few gems in the Eastern Conference. Once again, I'll go through and rate each of these uniforms based on their designs while offering up a potentially better choice the teams could have used from the past. I'll rate each of these uniforms, and explain why I don't like them. Sound good? Let's do this.

RATING: ★★★ out of ★★★★★
BETTER: 1991-92 throwback jersey

I actually don't mind Boston going back to a yellow uniform as they've worn them in the past, specifically from 1959 through to 1967 in terms of a minimalist sweater. I don't like the white cuffs that make it seem like the yellow sleeves are far too short and I could use a black shoulder yoke to add some contrast, but the old secondary Bruins logo on the shoulders is a nice retro touch first seen in 1976 on Bruins jerseys. My only hope is that they pair the jersey with black pants - the yellow highlighter look is not good.

RATING: ★★ out of ★★★★★
BETTER: 2000-01 alternate jersey

This jersey would have received a higher rating had it not been a complete replication of the 2000 to 2006 alternate jersey, had they used the bison head on the chest as opposed to the secondary crossed sabres logo, and had they removed "Buffalo" off the hem. The colours on this uniform are fantastic, but there are zero creative elements in the design. Are they only wearing it on the road being that it's white? It's respectable, but Buffalo can do better.

RATING: ★ out of ★★★★★
BETTER: 1992-97 road jersey

You're likely asking how I could rank this jersey so low, and it's pretty simple: they already have a green-and-white Whalers jersey in their closets. The better choice would have been the 1992-97 blue-and-silver jersey. Instead, we now have five total jerseys for the Hurricanes that include both a current and road jersey, both home and road Whalers jerseys, and a lame black alternate. Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon just keeps squeezing that Whalers rock for more blood, and it's starting to lose its charm.

RATING: zero out of ★★★★★
BETTER: 2003-07 alternate jersey

It seems whoever was behind the red Blues jersey also was assigned the Blue Jackets who are now red? Why red? It makes no sense to have the BLUE Jackets wearing red. This jersey, however, is a direct replication of the first jersey that the Blue Jackets wore, but the red colour makes it irrelevant because the BLUE Jackets shouldn't be in red. If they used the original logo on the alternate they wore? I'd be fine with that. I'll never be fine with this colour-confused monstrosity.

RATING: zero out of ★★★★★
BETTER: 1991-92 throwback jersey

Detroit, like Dallas, apparently is allergic to colour of any kind, so they just went ahead and removed it all from its uniform. I get there aren't a lot of things one can do with a red-and-white colour scheme, but there's a hundred years of history behind the Red Wings. All they could do is come up with gray and red font? If we're dipping into past sweaters, yes, they wore something like this from 1934 until 1961, but it at least had red stripes on the sweater for contrast. This is terrible.

RATING: ★ out of ★★★★★
BETTER: 2009-11 alternate jersey

Like the Sabres, these would have ranked higher had the Panthers not messed up the striping on the sleeves and hems from the 2003 to 2007 home jerseys. That font is just way too huge too. It doesn't feel like the Panthers at all. I would have liked to see the double-blue alternate with the new logo on the front as a possibility, but I guess it wasn't retro enough to warrant a restyling. I will say that as an owner of an original Panthers navy jersey, this one makes me want to claw my eyes out.

RATING: ★★★★ out of ★★★★★
BETTER: 2008-09 throwback jersey

Make no mistake that it's still a little weird to see the Canadiens in blue, but this jersey actually works. It feels a little like the days when their AHL affiliate was the Hamilton Bulldogs, but the blue works with Les Habitants. The striping is perfect on this jersey, it rings true in the Montreal Canadiens aesthetic, and there isn't any superfluous garbage on the jersey. Of the entire lot of "Reverse Retro" jersey that the NHL introduced, this one is the best in this writer's opinion.

RATING: ★★★ out of ★★★★★
BETTER: 2008-09 throwback jersey

This jersey just misses a fourth star, but that's because the devil is in the details. First, the font is way too huge for a retro look. This needs a more block lettering-style font. Second, that green is just a shade too dark from what the retro Christmas jerseys looked like. Third, the crest in that picture looks like it's sitting way too low. At this point, it's a bad Photoshop job. If the Devils cleaned these details up, I'd bump them to a fourth star. Until then, it's three-star hell.

RATING: zero out of ★★★★★
BETTER: 1997-99 road jersey

Remember in school when a kid in class would get a dressing down by the teacher for completely messing up an assignment and missing the entire purpose of the lesson? That kid is the New York Islanders. Rather than going with the Fisherman or some orange jersey, they went ahead and just handed in a design for a standard New York Islanders jersey. No fun, no crazy elements, nothing different from what they wore from 1998 until 2002. This is why we can't have nice things.

RATING: ★ out of ★★★★★
BETTER: 1999-07 alternate jersey

The Rangers get one full star for returning to the Lady Liberty logo that seemed to have been lost to history for so long. Where they lose marks is the terrible striping, the lack of a shoulder yoke for contrast, and the double-colour number as opposed to the triple-colour number they wore for so many years. This shouldn't be as hard as it seems - pay attention to the little details because they made the jerseys that much better from eras of the past!

RATING: ★★ out of ★★★★★
BETTER: 2000-07 alternate jersey

As a fan of the 2D Senators logo, you won't hear me complain about its usage. I will complain about this jersey being way too red, though. Could a shoulder yoke not be tossed on there in either black or gold to break up that red planet? In fact, give me a black shoulder yoke and some gold accents, and this jersey would really work for me. As it stands, the minimalist design isn't really doing anything except searing itself on the back of my eyes.

RATING: ★ out of ★★★★★
BETTER: 2002-07 alternate jersey

I never noticed on the old jerseys how the shoulder yokes curl around the upper arms for the Flyers, but it's so pronounced on these jerseys! It looks so foreign! The long white sleeves really make no sense when there could have been some better striping used to break that up, and a white stripe to complement the black stripe on the hem would really make this jersey pop. I just can't stop staring at that torture device around the shoulders and arms on this jersey.

RATING: zero out of ★★★★★
BETTER: 1992-97 road jersey

If I could award negative points, the Penguins would receive them. This jersey is so bad that I thought it was one of those cheap Chinese knock-offs that you might see being sold in a non-reputable store. It looks nothing like anything the Penguins have worn, and to imply that they're supposed to reference the 1992 to 1997 road jerseys is a total slap in the face. The only correct answer to "would you wear this jersey" is "kill me". Holy embarrassment, Batman.

RATING: zero out of ★★★★★
BETTER: 1996-99 alternate jersey

If Tampa Bay looked at their current jerseys and asked if more white could be added to them, this is the end result. The stripes from the sleeves have been moved to the cuffs, the stripe on the hem was made bigger, and they added a white shoulder yoke. That's not creative design, that's laziness. While they did go back to the retro logo, it makes no difference on this uniform because it doesn't feel retro whatsoever. It just feels incomplete. Zero marks for that.

RATING: ★★ out of ★★★★★
BETTER: 2017 Centennial Classic

I like the fact that the Leafs are using a retro logo on what feels like the Maple Leafs jersey template from the 1980s. That's how you squeeze the retro out of this experiment. Personally, I would have chosen the Centennial Classic logo, but that's my preference. I'm not sure we want the ghost of Harold Ballard waking up with the blue numbers on a blue jersey, but it worked in the Centennial Classic as well. A smaller hemstripe broken into two would be ideal, but the Leafs should look respectable.

RATING: ★★ out of ★★★★★
BETTER: 1997-2007 black jersey

I was never a fan of these Capitals jerseys, but I will give credit to the Capitals for rendering them in red and using the fonts found on the jerseys from that era. That takes a little courage, and I'll reward them for that. I hate the captaincy letter on the right side of the body entirely, and the mismatched sleeve striping follows the diagonality of the jersey design, but a shoulder yoke would balance everything out. I'd love to see the eagle on the black jersey, but this one will work for the Capitals.

There you have it, folks. My thoughts on the Eastern Conference showed that the Canadiens will wear my favourite design while a handful of others from both conferences caught my eye for a number of good reasons. The teams that received zeroes, however, need to really examine the need for another jersey that will likely land in second-hand shops once they've run their courses. The NHL is a professional hockey league, and they're asking the players to dress like clowns in some cases.

Hopefully, this will be the first and last experiment like this. Quite frankly, I'd be embarrassed if I worked for the NHL and I was asked to promote these jerseys. When teams like Dallas and Vegas just introduced new alternate jerseys this summer, the NHL comes along and puts a dent into those sales with 31 clown suits. Nice job, NHL.

It's unlikely, but do you agree on any of my assessments? Am I way off? Should I just shut down the blog after these two articles? Lemme know in the comments and we can discuss!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!