Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Hockey Show - Episode Sixty

The Hockey Show hits the airwaves tonight with a pile of stuff to discuss after missing out on a bunch of chatter from last week as we helped UMFM raise a little money with Pledge-O-Rama. We'll be back with our usual banter as Beans and I, along with new producer Columbus, discuss the Jets and their recent four-game roadtrip and the problems seen on the road, the Manitoba Bisons and their latest battles with the Calgary Dinos, the usual Russian Roundup as we look at the players and news from the KHL, and we'll toss in some John Scott chatter, some Vanek-for-Moulson thoughts, and much more.

Of course, the big news story today is Semyon Varlamov's arrest. Varlamov turned himself into Denver police yesterday around 6pm after a warrant was issued for his arrest concerning charges of kidnapping and third-degree assault in what authorities are calling a domestic violence incident. Denver police revealed little in terms of details, but did state that the victim was "someone who Varlamov was in an intimate relationship with". New details are emerging today as the attorney for the accuser told CBS 4 Denver that Varlamov allegedly threw the woman into a wall and began to stomp on her. He also added that this wasn't the first time that 25-year old netminder had allegedly assaulted the woman. And for you conspiracy theorists out there, a politician in Russia is now calling the arrest into question as it weakens the Russian hockey team. Seriously. We'll talk about all of this tonight on the show!

If you'd like to weigh in on any of these topics or any other hockey topic, feel free to give us a call at (204) 269-UMFM (269-8636). I'll have my phone handy for any tweets you wanna toss our way, and you can hit me up at @TeebzHBIC. The Hockey Show is live on the air at 5:30pm CT on 101.5 UMFM! Join us for some hockey chatter!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Equipment Watch 4: Launch Skates

I had written about the Launch Skates on a number of occasions before, but it seems more than likely that these skates will hit the market soon. I had introduced them here on HBIC, followed up with Mr. David Blois who is the creator of the skates, found a review of them in Popular Science where they won an award, and finally added a piece where Discovery Channel had spoken to Mr. Blois about Launch Skates. Needless to say, I'm following this product! So it is with optimism that I want to present the next phase of the Launch Skates: the Kickstarter phase!

Let me just say that any project on Kickstarter can and should be thoroughly reviewed before spending any of your hard-earned money on it. In this case, Launch Skates is looking for $29,000 by November 29 at 7am ET in order to get funding. This is a lofty goal, I admit, but one that should be attainable if the right people kick in some cash.

Mr. Blois has posted a vast amount of information on the Kickstarter page for the project, and there are some very interesting facts and photos on the page. This $29,000 goal appears to be the initial amount necessary for the Launch Skates to get off the ground. This will cover the final few months required for Mr. Blois to get the final designs to the injection moulding stage followed by the production launch and shipping by March 2014.

In an effort to re-affirm the good things that Launch Skates do, here is a video about the new skates. Honestly, it looks pretty solid.
Personally, using the same chassis that current skates employ is a genius idea. There's no additional pieces or fixes needed when one wants to upgrade to Launch Skates. Instead, it's just a visit to your local skate repair shop, and they can fit the boot with the new chassis quite easily. If one wants to use Launch Skates, there is no re-invention of the wheel.

If you're interested in helping Launch Skates make it to the market, they are taking Kickstarter donations as small as $1. Believe me, after running through the UMFM Pledge-O-Rama campaign a week ago, every single donation counts! And don't think that you're just giving away your cash. No, Launch Skates has various incentive levels to give back to those who help them attain their goal. Pretty cool, right?

So let's get cracking here, hockey fans. If you believe in innovation and technology, this Kickstarter project might be the greatest thing hockey fans will get to support this year or in the coming years. And once you donate, you can say you were a part of Launch Skates before they hit it big!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Force Is Strong In This One

With Halloween nearly upon us, there are going to be a few minor-league teams who dress up for the observance. While the vast majority of these uniforms are decent in terms of their look, one team is going all-out in their Halloween endeavor. The ECHL's Toledo Walleye have committed to some pretty awesome uniforms before - Captain America, anyone? - but they're really setting the standard when it comes to theme nights. November 2 will forever be the day that Huntington Center sees a showdown between the Rebels and the Empire.

The Toledo Walleye will be hosting the Kalamazoo Wings on Saturday night, and, as per minor-league promotional custom, the Walleye will be providing their opponents with jerseys to complete the promotion. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Rebel X-Wing Pilots vs. the Darth Vaders!
How fantastic are those uniforms? I am seriously considering buying one via the auction. Oh, I didn't mention that? Well, the post-game live auction will see both sets of uniforms auctioned off with proceeds from the "X-Wing Pilot" jerseys benefitting the National MS Society while proceeds from the "Darth Vader" jerseys will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. Major kudos to the Walleye for supporting two excellent charities while having some fun on the ice!

Of course, we haven't seen how the numbering looks or anything yet, but I expect the names and numbers to be very Star Wars-appropriate on the back and sleeves of the jersey. And if they are going to really push this to the limit, I hope the captaincy designations are the actual Rebel and Empire logos used throughout the Star Wars universe. And then my mind will be officially blown!

Throughout the night, the Star Wars theme will be on in full-force (excuse the pun) at the Huntington Center. Fans are to wear their best Star Wars costume for a chance to win prizes (your own droid, maybe?), the concessions will feature Star Wars-themed items such as the "Chewbacca Bacon Burger, Jedi Juice, Yoda Soda, and more", and the scoreboard will feature many Star Wars-themed graphics. If you're going to do something right, go all-in, right?

Now all the Walleye have to do is get together at a team meeting to go over the game plan they'll use against the Empire and...
Never mind. They're way ahead of me on this one.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Frustration Builds

If one wanted to hear the sound of a frustrated coach who seems to be annoyed with the personnel he has on his bench, Claude Noel's rant after the Jets' game against the Avalanche might be the most honest the coach has been in his tenure yet. Perhaps it's time to blow this thing up. Perhaps it's time that the Jets sat down and took a good look at the "core" of this team that continually makes the same mistakes over and over again as they allow points to evaporate in the wake of poor play. I know that Claude Noel can't say it, but I will: the Jets are terrible because of themselves.

Here are a few of Noel's comments in his post-game press conference, and it sounds as if he's at his wit's end.
"The power play's getting old, but these are pretty much the same players we had here last year. What we're proving on the power play is there's a reason why we were last last year and it looks like, unless we change — we've changed the dynamics of the power play, we've done some different things — but we keep doing some of the same things we saw last year.

"We will continue to attack it, practise it, find different ways. But at the end of the day we don't make the greatest decisions. We don't execute. And this is the same stuff we lamented about before. That cost us the game. We were 0-for-5. It's a momentum killer. It's like shooting yourself in the foot over and over again. It does a lot of things to you and none of it is positive. It demoralizes you, it takes momentum away. It adds frustration and all the negative stuff that surrounds it is all right there."
It's not hard to see what Noel is talking about when you watch the Jets on the powerplay, but it's only one facet of the Jets' game that is failing them. Watching their defensive zone coverage on Sunday night was akin to watching six year-olds play the game.

Case in point? The goal scored by Matt Duchene to open the scoring for the Avalanche is all on Dustin Byfuglien. As a defenceman, you learn that if you're the defender on a 2-on-1, you either commit early to the puck-carrier or you take away the passing option by closing out on the second offensive player. I believe they teach this in kid's hockey, but maybe they do things differently in Minnesota (not likely). Watch how Byfuglien gets caught by watching the puck instead of closing out on Duchene.
If you watch closely, Byfuglien sees Duchene cross the blue line. His head turns away from Downie and he looks right at Duchene, so it's not like he can claim he didn't know Duchene was there.

Now based upon the training I've learned over the years, the rule was always to give the goaltender the shooter and take away the pass if you can't engage the puck-carrier early. Secondly, if given the option, who is the player more likely to score: Downie or Duchene? If you answered Duchene, why would you even give him a chance to get the puck? Close out on him, and let Montoya go one-on-one with Downie. It's an easy play to make as a defenceman. Yet Byfuglien neither prevents Downie from shooting nor does he close out on Duchene.

What the heck was he thinking?

Let's move ahead to the second Avalanche goal. This is a case of one mistake leading to many more.
There are two key mistakes made by the Jets here, but both should never have happened if they would simply play fundamental hockey - stick with your check and double your effort on defence. Let's break down this breakdown, shall we?

Ok, the play by Byfuglien on the stick-check to start the clip? That's a thing of beauty. No penalty, and he breaks up the play - that's how you play defence. Byfuglien returns to his comfort zone in front of Montoya, and chips a centering pass right up the middle of the ice. Look, I'll credit Byfuglien for breaking up the play, but there are two glaring errors that were made on this Jan Hejda goal.

First, where on earth was Hejda's check? Oh, that would be Devin Setoguchi and he's behind the net. That's right: THE GUY WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO BE COVERING THE POINT WAS BEHIND HIS OWN NET! And why was he behind the net? Because Andrew Ladd's check - Paul Stastny - was allowed to stand at the face-off dot with no one around him. The Jets sent two players in Ladd and Grant Clitsome to take the puck off Gabriel Landeskog off the side boards, and neither came up with the puck. Ladd needs to be stronger on that puck. That's just a textbook case of not wanting the puck. Strike one.

In recognizing that Stastny had no one between him and Montoya, Setoguchi collapsed to aid his goaltender. However, that left Jan Hejda open at the point as Setoguchi takes the longest route possible back to his check by going behind the net and completely eliminating himself from the play. He's now not only not checking Stastny, but he's also checking no one while hiding behind Montoya. Get this guy a map. Strike two.

The puck intended for Alex Tanguay gets intercepted and chipped out down the middle of the defensive zone by Dustin Byfuglien. I'll say that Byfuglien did the right thing in breaking up the play. But that loose puck came right to Hejda with about sixty feet of open ice in front of him. Setoguchi, Hejda's check, is hiding out behind the net, making Byfuglien the closest Jet to Hejda. I'll admit that Byfuglien has little chance to close out on Hejda completely, but makes probably the most feeble attempt to get to Hejda. And he gets pushed out of the way by Tanguay so that Hejda's shot has a clear path to the net. Strike three, goal scored, minuses all around.

Alex Tanguay is 6'1" tall and 194lbs. Dustin Byfuglien is 6'5" tall and 265lbs.

Read that sentence again. And then ask yourself how a guy who is 70lbs heavier can be pushed out of the way of a shot that he should be blocking. If anything, Byfuglien should have leaned on Tanguay and forced him into the shooting lane. He's 70lbs heavier! But Tanguay throws a perfect pick on Byfuglien to maintain the shooting lane, and Byfuglien gives up on the puck completely as Hejda rips home a goal.

Ladd, Setoguchi, and Byfuglien all deserve minuses on this play.

The third goal? Classic Jets defence. Take a look.
Wow. Five white jerseys against three dark jerseys, and the three Avalanche players skate to the corner to celebrate a goal. It's hard to fathom how a team can send three guys in against five and come away with a goal, but let's break this down because I feel like repeating myself.

The battle along the boards that both Mark Scheifele and Grant Clitsome engage in is won easily by Alex Tanguay. One of those two guys - Mark Scheifele - has to stop that pass. Clitsome does a good job in pinning Tanguay to the end boards, but it's far too late. Scheifele closes out on Tanguay in probably the most timid way I've ever seen, and it allows Tanguay to get the puck off the boards and out to Landeskog. Strike one.

While the play develops along the end boards, watch Landeskog creep into the face-off circle. Notice how no one sees him until he actually has the puck? That would be your man, Zach Bogosian. He covers no one, and then he simply allows Landeskog to make a pass that would be an easy tap-in for Stastny. Yet another feeble close-out on a player who is allowed to make a play without paying a price. Cue up the broken record. Strike two.

And Michael Frolik? I get that you're supposed to be covering a defenceman. I get that. But you know that there are four white jerseys in your field of vision and Paul Stastny is lurking somewhere. You know that he's probably going to be near the net because that's where good goal scorers usually go. Instead, though, you get caught watching the puck instead of keeping an eye on the guy standing right behind you. And lo and behold, the puck is in the net off his stick. Strike three.

I'll even toss this out for those of you still reading. Tyson Barrie was the defenceman that Frolik was supposed to be covering on the play. Tyson Barrie had no one near him on the ice. Had Montoya made the save on Stastny and the puck somehow found its way out to the slot? It could have been another goal similar to Jan Hejda's goal because Barrie had no one within fifty-feet of him. Exactly what defensive zone coverage are we playing again?

I'm not here to rain completely on the parade, but the Jets capitalized on two errors by goaltender Semyon Varlamov to take a 2-1 lead into the third period. The Jets did what teams have to do against good teams in that they made them pay for mistakes. But to give up two third-period goals in the manner in which the Jets did makes it all for naught. It's no longer heartbreaking to lose like this; it's downright frustrating because it keeps happening over and over and over again.

I'm not saying that every player needs to go, and I certainly don't think a wholesale firesale like the Buffalo Sabres seem to be implementing is the way to go for the Jets either. I do think that the liabilities of some players need to be addressed regardless of what other positives they bring because at the end of the day it's still about wins and losses. The Jets are piling up the losses because of these liabilities.

As for Mr. Noel, here's his take on his team. Note the tone of his voice and the candor in which he addresses the media. He seems none too pleased with his team.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

I Just Want One Good Alternate

Ugh. I'm really struggling in trying to comprehend what some NHL teams are thinking when it comes to trying to give their fans a different look and/or grabbing a few extra dollars in jersey sales. The above image comes directly from the Calgary Flames, and it appears the Sea of Red is in full effect. However, the front of the uniform calls into question the design team that worked on this uniform because I can't understand why there is any need to replicate a baseball uniform.

If we're to believe the Flames' news page, this new uniform "combines the western heritage of Calgary, the vast Alberta landscape and the legacy of the Calgary Flames and using a blend of several concepts produced by the designers". I get that everyone uses rhetoric when it comes to selling their wares, but "western heritage" and "vast landscape"? Is anyone even trying to sell me a jersey any longer? I feel like I'm taking an art gallery tour. And this is a modern art masterpiece!
Let's break down the rhetoric and marketing jargon by tearing this new uniform open thread by thread. There's a lot to like, but there's a lot to regret as well.

"A western style shoulder yoke and tie down laces on the front represents strong western heritage." Except they don't. What, exactly, is a "western style shoulder yoke"? So is this going to be a Western Conference thing since the Dallas Stars wear a similar style of yoke, or are we simply grasping at straws here? And since nearly every team wears "tie down laces", how exactly does this represent a western heritage? Why not just say that the tie-down laces will match the other two uniforms already in the Flames' jersey set?

Look, I'm tired of the tie-down laces in general. There's an over-abundance of tie-down laces in the NHL. I'm tired of seeing them. They were unique once, but now they are over-used. The yoke, however, does look good. I like the contrasting color despite it being black, and it helps to frame the red color nicely. Thumbs-up to the yoke, but thumbs-down to the lace-up collar. And an absolute fail on the rhetoric used in the rationalization of these components.

"[A] new shoulder patch, created to celebrate the unique landscape of southern Alberta." You mean one that is different from the Alberta flag that Calgary wore to reflect their unique location globally (despite the Oilers being from the same province)? Or the Canada flag despite the other six Canadian teams also being from Canada? From what I can see, it appears there is some sort of field leading to the mountains with a C-style sun rising from behind the mountain. I'm not sure how this shows the "unique landscape" when there are a pile of other places that have fields that meet mountains, but I guess we're rationalizing as much as possible today. Can't they just use some sort of alternate logo instead of trying to re-invent the shoulder patch wheel? Thumbs-down.

"The jersey also features a new two colour name and number font." It sure does. But there's something peculiar about that font. Could be that there is no "5" in that font? It sure looks Mark Giordano is wearing an upside-down "2" when you compare it to Curtis Glencross' number, no? I'm not quite sure, but normal English fonts come with a "5" from what I've seen. And it's not like this is just a problem on the back of the jersey. Shane O'Brien's #55 on his sleeve is just an upside #22. Simply brutal planning and execution on this one. Thumbs-down.

"[A]lso keeps with tradition by including the Atlanta A for the assistant captain letter." As you can see, the normal captaincy designations are being used just as they are used on the other two Flames uniforms. But this is where I find fault. They talk about keeping with tradition, yet they are introducing an alternate jersey. Does one really need to be traditional here? Why not jump back into the past and allow the captain - Mark Giordano - to wear a white flaming "C" in the same vein that Theoren Fleury once did? How cool would it be if the Flames used both a flaming-C and a flaming-A on their alternate uniform? I'll give this one a wash only because they currently use the designations already, but I think they missed a glorious opportunity here.

"[E]very time the Flames wear our third jersey 'Calgary' is front and centre on television screens and newspapers around the world." While I appreciate Mr. Peplinski's enthusiasm, frequent readers of HBIC know how I feel about city names on jerseys outside of the logo. I hated it when Vancouver did it, I hated it when Nashville did it, and I hated it when Dallas did it. And guess what? I hate Calgary for doing it. Why do teams spend all this money on branding themselves with a logo only to write their city name above or in place of their logo? Does the logo not tell me who you are?

Now some will point out to me that the logo is, indeed, on the front of the uniform. But the logo says "Calgary Flames". It cannot be misconstrued - they are the Calgary Flames whenever that logo is worn on the front of the uniform. So adding the city's name to the uniform now reads as "Calgary Calgary Flames". If that sounds stupid, it's because it is. I cannot stress enough how important a logo is for a team's brand. If the Flames wanted tradition, they now look more like a baseball team. Thumbs-down. Way down.

"The uniform still maintains its high performance qualities as the current uniform including increased range of motion and significant weight reduction on the crests compared to standard two layer twill. The uniform will consist of a new style sock but will use the same black pant and gloves. A black helmet will also be worn but will include the new script logo on the sides." Yay for Reebok. No one cares. Although that script "Calgary" will be on the helmet, so there's that. Whoopty-doo. Chalk this up as a wash because it's nothing new or unique.

Speaking of not new or unique, does this uniform remind anyone of Buffalo's alternate from the last couple of years? An angled city name with the team logo beneath the end of the city name - seems all too familiar. I'm not saying that Calgary copied Buffalo's former alternate uniform, but it appears that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Except that Buffalo's alternate is from their history. Calgary's alternate uniform is not. Thumbs-down.

I can say that there are a couple of positives. No more Detroit Pistons-esque flaming horsehead. I hated that uniform for a pile of reasons, most notably because it was black and had a stupid logo, so this new uniform isn't the worst in team history. But it doesn't rank high in my books.

Personally, I would have loved this traditional look. The Flames won a Stanley Cup in that uniform, their best players in franchise history - with the exception of Jarome Iginla - wore this uniform, and the vast amount of Flames fans today grew up with this look. That color scheme screams Calgary. But that would just be too easy, right?

Keep it simple. It works in almost every situation in hockey. Including this one.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Best Served Cold?

I met this fine individual on Friday night. His name is Steve. Steve's a funny guy who loves himself some hockey. In fact, he's one of the on-ice guys who comes out between the whistles to clear snow and do maintenance on the ice while there are stoppages in play at Winnipeg Jets games. We had a great conversation about hockey at the Pledge-O-Rama wrap-up party, and then he said he had a video to show me. Being curious, I gladly said I'd love to see not knowing whether I'd be watching some hockey highlight, an iPhone-recorded peewee game, or a snuff film. I really hoped it wasn't the latter.

Thankfully, Steve showed me a video of him working at MTS Centre a few weeks ago when the Dallas Stars were in town. Steve was going about his business when... well, I'll let the video do the talking.
Yes, that's Steve getting taken out by Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen! I'm pretty sure that "the Ice Crew Guy" wasn't responsible, but Lehtonen left the game shortly after his run-in with Steve. This, of course, prompted a pile of tweets that brought some slight notoriety to Steve!
Not bad, right? Steve has some fun with the AHL's Texas Stars over his injuring of Lehtonen, and everyone gets a chuckle out of it. Steve, however, tells me last night that the he thinks the Jets will win the rematch the Stars simply due to Lehtonen, who starts tonight, remembering "the Ice Crew Guy" in the corner and how he was taken out by this intimidating force.

And wouldn't you know it, but the Jets skated to a victory over the Dallas Stars tonight! Sure, it was a 2-1 victory in overtime, but Lehtonen couldn't stop the Jets when it counted. Maybe Steve had something to do with it, but the Jets won the battle. And that's what counts.

Then again, the Stars will return to MTS Centre on Saturday, December 14 for a 2:00pm battle with the Jets. Steve should ready himself in case he finds himself in the corner with Mr. Lehtonen again. One can't be too careful when it comes to a player seeking revenge!

Great meeting you, Steve, and we'll keep in contact! And keep your head up!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 25 October 2013

Let's Set The Bar High

Tuesday night's game between Boston and Buffalo was interesting if you looked at the history of the two teams, but one player made things a lot more heated with his latest move. John Scott was already involved in one questionable situation involving Phil Kessel. Now Scott has taken things to a whole new level by trying to decapitate Boston's Loui Eriksson long after the puck left his stick. Quite frankly, Brendan Shanahan has a chance to set the bar to a new height with this in-person hearing that he will have with John Scott. It's time that Shanny and his team re-define the standards.

First, let's go back and take a look at Tuesday night's incident. Personally, it's ugly and it makes me angry to watch this, but it needs to be discussed. Here's the video.
The obvious needs to be stated: John Scott is an idiot. There are a pile of things wrong with what he did, but the image that keeps flashing through my mind right now is Marc Savard being laid out by Matt Cooke in the same manner. If that prompted Matt Cooke to change his game to try and shed his cheap shot reputation, I want Shanahan to implement a "game-changing suspension" for garbage like this.

First, the hit is beyond late as the puck is already in a different zone when Scott throws his dirty hit. There is a full second that elapses between the time that the puck comes off Eriksson's stick and the time when Scott uses his elbow and shoulder as a weapon. Late hit? Strike one.

Secondly, Scott makes no effort to avoid the head area of Loui Eriksson. The crackdown on checks to the head has been heard around the league for a couple of years now at least, and yet here's John Scott throwing caution to the wind and delivering a check that is primarily focused on the head of Eriksson. I'm pretty sure that's strike two.

Third, Eriksson is in a somewhat vulnerable position in terms of Scott delivering that hit, and that's something else the league is reviewing when looking at these types of hits. Because Scott capitalized on Eriksson's inability to defend himself from the hit, chalk up another strike.

If Raffi Torres can get 25 games for his hit in the playoffs on Marian Hossa, there is a precedent set for Mr. Shanahan to follow on this one. In fact, he should send a clear message that will wake all the players up. I don't think that one can issue a suspension for longer than 25 games without some sort of prior offence, but Shanahan should draw a clear line in the sand regarding this type of hit.

Secondly, since he got off with little more than a slap on the wrist for his part in sending Scott over the boards that instigated the preseason brawl when he went after Phil Kessel, Ron Ralston and the Buffalo Sabres should be fined for this hit. If you want a coach and/or management to send a clear message to a player, hit them where it hurts: their pocketbooks. If John Scott believes he can play this way regularly, then he's not getting the message. It's time to have his actions affect someone else who can help him change his ways or keep him off the ice. Either way, both result in better hockey.

Brendan Shanahan has one clear goal here: send a message. It has to be loud, it has to be extreme, and it has to be over-the-top. If the NHL Player Safety Department is truly interested in, y'know, player safety, Mr. Shanahan should damn John Scott for his actions on Tuesday. It might be the only way that some of these cementheads get the message.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

The Hockey Show - Episode Fifty-Nine

The Hockey Show is changing things up tonight. We'll still talk hockey, of course, but we're also trying to help out 101.5 UMFM raise a little cash. I'll talk about this a little more, but let's run through the hockey stuff quickly. We're going to touch on the Jets and their struggles, the Bisons and their battles, and we'll throw a few other topics around. But tonight's big topic will be Pledge-O-Rama 2013 and the stuff we're offering up as extra incentives to those that pledge. Hopefully, that's you!

UMFM is a campus and community radio station found at the University of Manitoba. They operate with a skeleton-crew roster of staff (two people, officially) on a day-to-day basis, and are officially a not-for-profit radio station that gives free commercial time to charity groups and for public service announcements. In other words, UMFM isn't in it to make money through commercial means. In order to help out, we run a PBS-like pledge telethon all week to help meet our monetary needs for the year. This is what we affectionately call Pledge-O-Rama, and it's been running since last Friday!

In order to sweeten the deal, UMFM is offering up specific incentives for various pledges of specific amounts. I'll run down what they are offering, and I'll include The Hockey Show's incentives that we're making available just below the various UMFM-related gear. There is some seriously awesome stuff in here, so get your hands on this stuff while supplies last!

The Half Pints Brewery Daily and Week-Long prizes are pretty spectacular. We've got a daily draw for a package that includes a Half Pints t-shirt, toque, two pint glasses, bicycle bell and a bumper sticker for every donor who pledges $75 or more, that's EIGHT prize packages in all!!!

And every donation over $75 will also be entered in the grand prize draw that includes a private brewery tour and tasting for you and up to 20 friends after which you'll leave with a gift certificate good for a keg of your choice of one of Half Pints tasty wares!

Additionally, everyone who pledges $250 or more will be entered in a draw to win one of three prizes that will allow you and a guest to attend as many shows at the Park Theatre, the West End Cultural Centre, the Pyramid Cabaret as you want over the next year. In addition, our festival friends are getting in on the act as well! Jazz Winnipeg are offering up a golden ticket to the 2014 TD Jazz Winnipeg Festival, which will allow you and a guest to attend every show that the festival throws at you next June, and The Winnipeg Folk Festival are offering up 2 full weekend passes (camping not included) for the 2014 festival, which takes place over 5 beautiful days next July in Bird's Hill Park!

So tonight's show is all about raising money for the station. We're not far off the $24,000 goal right now as we sit just over $21,000, but we could use your support! Thanks to everyone who helps out, and we'll be taking calls and pledges at 5:30pm CT tonight at (204) 474-6610! Call in and help!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

TBC: The Lonely End Of The Rink

I'll be the first to admit that there are a pile of very entertaining hockey books out there. These are normally written by some very entertaining hockey players, but today's entry in Teebz's Book Club was written by a guy who hated hockey for a long, long time. While he eventually came around to love hockey again, Grant Lawrence's new book is incredibly funny and entertaining. Teebz's Book Club is proud to present The Lonely End Of The Rink, written by Grant Lawrence and published by Douglas and McIntyre Ltd. The story of Grant Lawrence is told from his childhood right through to his current life of being a CBC radio host on CBC Radio 3. The Lonely End Of The Rink will take through Mr. Lawrence's life, and you'll find yourself chuckling as you read about his (mis)adventures.

From his biography page, "Grant Lawrence hosts the popular CBC Radio 3 Podcast with Grant Lawrence, and Grant Lawrence Live on CBC Radio 3 and SiriusXM 152, and can also be heard on various CBC Radio One programs such as DNTO, All Points West and On The Coast. He is married to musician Jill Barber and lives in Vancouver, B.C." What that bio doesn't tell you is that Mr. Lawrence plays goaltender for the Vancouver Flying Vees, has a son named Joshua with his beautiful and talented wife, and is a die-hard Vancouver Canucks fan! Despite only playing ball hockey as a boy, Mr. Lawrence found the position of goaltending to be his favorite, and eventually turned that into a goaltending position on the ice!

There are some things about The Lonely End Of The Rink that will make it very easy to read. The chapters are relatively short, making it easy to read a pile of chapters at once or for one to read a chapter at a time easily when one may not have time. The book itself is broken up into three "periods" and an overtime "period" in terms of the different phases of Mr. Lawrence's life.

Mr. Lawrence's writing style is very casual and it feels as though you're listening to him tell stories at your local watering hole rather than reading through a text version of his life. There are a ton of pop culture references in the book, and they really bring together the images he's describing. Mr. Lawrence's working knowledge of music, books, and television make this book a treasure due to the references he makes. I now have a fantastic list of hockey music I wasn't even aware of before I read The Lonely End Of The Rink. Thank you, Mr. Lawrence, for this contribution in your book!

The story of Mr. Lawrence's childhood is one of bullying in that he was a youngster who was bullied by a larger kid named Buck. The torture endured by Mr. Lawrence endures at the hands of the much more physically-imposing Buck tugs at the reader's heart strings, but it really brings into perspective how bullying affects kids. With today's society focused on bullying and its effects on kids, Mr. Lawrence's writing in the "first period" about his childhood should help readers relate to effects of bullying as Mr. Lawrence works through his childhood into adolescence.

The "second period" features Mr. Lawrence taking us through his emerging musical talents and finding his "tribe" as he looks for acceptance in high school. He makes friends with an eclectic group of kids - including the infamous Nardwuar - while establishing a successful band called the Smugglers that toured all over Vancouver's indie scene. From playing local high school shows to expanding into colleges, bars, pubs, and various events all over North America, the Smugglers became an indie circuit favorite, launching the music careers of the five men in the band including Mr. Grant Lawrence.

The "third period" is all about Mr. Lawrence's adult life, and how his love for the game of hockey grew from a spark to a full-on inferno. Mr. Lawrence got pulled into playing ball hockey as an adult, and discovered that, as a CBC personality, a number of people he looked up to - Dave Bidini of the Rheostatics, for example - were participants in an exclusive hockey-loving club of musicians! From there, the Smugglers started recruiting players to form their own team. This collection of musicians from all walks of life would turn into the Vancouver Flying Vees!

The stories in The Lonely End Of The Rink about Mr. Lawrence's hockey-playing adventures are quite humorous, and there's a great story about him exacting revenge on one of the kids who bullied him earlier in the book. Through his musical interests, he found a tribe - the Flying Vees - and his own clan as he and musician Jill Barber fell in love and would eventually marry. And who doesn't love a happy ending?

Throughout the book, there is a running secondary story about the ups and downs of the Vancouver Canucks during Mr. Lawrence's life. It's funny to see how the success of the Canucks somewhat mirrored Grant's life in terms of the hills and valleys he experienced. The Canucks history coupled with Mr. Lawrence's stories about his own life make this book perfect for a fan like me since I happen to love hockey history and appreciate a good story.

I read through The Lonely End Of The Rink pretty quickly which is a testament to the writing employed by Mr. Lawrence. The book is funny, entertaining, and very easy to read. I highly recommend The Lonely End Of The Rink to any and all hockey fans. There is some PG-rated language in the book, but it is situational. If you're comfortable with this sort of language, this book would be suitable for teenagers and older.

I have to say that the stories in the book that spread across the book's 255 pages are fantastic, and
The Lonely End Of The Rink absolutely deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

If you want to read more about Mr. Lawrence, you can check out his website at grantlawrence.ca. There is a ton of good stuff on there, including a link to his CBC Radio 3 podcasts, as well as his latest announcement for his book tour! Grab a copy of the book and have Mr. Lawrence sign it when he comes to your town!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

We Don't Need A Witch Hunt

If you missed the hit that caused the city of Edmonton to collectively wince all at once, this is the moment where Ottawa's Eric Gryba clipped the knee of Taylor Hall as he attempted to throw a hit on the young star. There has been a response from Edmonton journalists looking for a suspension for Gryba based on the knee-on-knee contact. I'm not so sure that a suspension is warranted based on the overall play that happened, but Gryba should be reminded that there is a price to pay if he leads with his knee, so fine him. But the question for all Oilers fans at this point is what the Oilers will do now that their two of their top forwards are on the IR?

Sam Gagner is still nursing that broken jaw, and isn't expected back until sometime in November. He's hopeful to rejoin his teammates in practice for the first time this season when the Oilers return from their road trip tonight, so that's a good sign. Hall's knee will keep him out for approximately a month, meaning that the Oilers will be without two of the best players for a considerable stretch. If you're the Oilers, it might be time to start worrying a little.

It's still very early in the season, but the Oilers are not playing good hockey right now. They are last-place in the Pacific Division by a large margin, trailing sixth-place Calgary by five points just nine games into the season. Scoring hasn't been a problem at this point, but keeping the puck out of their net has been. Losing one of the key offensive cogs in the Oilers' system may cause blood pressure to rise slightly when considering the Oilers' standing at this point.

So back to the question: suspend or not to suspend?

If you watch the clip in full speed, things look different. There's definite contact on Hall's knee, but one has to take the full sequence into consideration when looking at a "dangerous play".
Let's break this down. First, you can see that Gryba is the last man back, and his intention is to angle Hall into the boards to prevent him from heading into the Ottawa zone with the puck. As Hall attempts to step by Gryba, Gryba widens his base as he works to cut Hall off. It's at this point that Gryba's knee makes contact with Hall's knee.

Secondly, there is no intent in terms of throwing a knee-on-knee check. Had Hall's knee been forward by just a couple of inches, no one would be talking about this. Considering the speed of the play when this happened, this is nothing more than an accident. If Matt Cooke wasn't suspended when his skate blade cut Erik Karlsson, the same logic has to be applied here. Gryba wasn't throwing a knee-on-knee - it just happened in the course of the play. These types of hockey plays happen dozens of times per game, and you can't start a witch hunt on a play like this.

Perhaps the most surprising piece of evidence? This poll in the Edmonton Journal. The majority of votes in the poll - 36.04% - have gone to "No, fair hit, hockey a contact sport". Readers of the Edmonton Journal have actually gone against David Staples' opinion of what should happen, showing that Oilers fans are pretty astute. I'm not saying that they're right, but they are being logical based on the votes that have been submitted. Well done, Oilers fans, in not giving into the public outcry from one man who saw this hit as "a clear knee-on-knee hit, that Gryba made a dangerous play to try to stop a player who had beaten him to the outside. A suspension is warranted".

Sorry, Mr. Staples, a suspension is not warranted. Not even close. If accidents are warrant suspensions, we should remove hitting altogether. Hockey can be a violent game, but we need to look at this in a real-time perspective as I've done above. It's just an accident. They happen. It's unfortunate that it happened to Taylor Hall - who I like as a player, I might add - but accidents DO happen.

Just be thankful that Hall isn't being called in front of Brendan Shanahan for that stick swing at Gryba. The intention there was meaningful, and that was a dangerous play. And wouldn't that just be the icing on the cake if Hall was suspended?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Disparity Between Conferences

That was a pretty entertaining game tonight despite the Avalanche winning. As a Penguins fan, I wasn't too thrilled at seeing Jean-Sebastien Giguere look like his Stanley Cup-winning self in the Avalanche net, but kudos to Patrick Roy and the Avalanche for getting the Penguins to tap out in tonight's game. As that game was going on, the San Jose Sharks were putting the same shutdown game on the Detroit Red Wings as they won in a shootout by a 1-0 score. It appears, from the records posted, that there is some disparity between the conferences based on what's happening thus far in the season.

As it stands with the two games added in tonight, the Western Conference is 39-21 against the Eastern Conference this season. That's not a good winning percentage if you're an Eastern Conference team. In fact, if you consider that the Western Conference teams will play one game at home and one game in the Eastern Conference arenas, that's an average of 40 points per team added to Western Conference totals based upon the winning percentage currently shown. For clarity's sake, I didn't factor in shootout/overtime charity points for simplicity.

The two teams that flipped to the Eastern Conference this season - Detroit and Columbus - are a combined 2-4 thus far this season. Winnipeg, who went west, is 1-1. So while the teams that jumped conferences haven't really been a major factor against their old foes, there are a few teams that are staggeringly bad.

The New York Rangers, now coached by Alain Vigneault who came from the Western Conference, are a terrible 1-4. Part of that has to do with their poor play and some key injuries, but they were outscored 24-6 in the four losses to the Western Conference thus far. In the Rangers' defence, though, the entire Metropolitan Division has been terrible against the Western Conference. The entire division is a combined 8-20! The only teams above .500 against the Western Conference are the Pittsburgh Penguins (2-1), the New York Islanders (2-2), and the Columbus Blue Jackets (1-1)!

The Atlantic Division is closer to .500, but still six games under the even mark. Surprisingly, the Tampa Bay Lightning are the top team in either Eastern Conference division as they sit at 3-0 against the west. Buffalo counters that shining mark with their 0-4 record. Overall, the Atlantic Division is 13-19, but that's still nothing to be proud of in the grand scheme.

To me, it appears that there are two styles of hockey being played across the two conferences, and it was on display last night in the Colorado=Pittsburgh game. The Western Conference plays a far more controlled game where games are won and lost on neutral zone turnovers and powerplay chances. Teams like Chicago, Los Angeles, San Jose, and St. Louis simply don't allow easy access to their zone, and will punish any team along the boards inside their zone. The neutral zone is from where the offence is generated.

The Eastern Conference, while certainly enjoying their powerplay opportunities, play a more wide-open, free-flowing game where the north-south game is far more accentuated. Teams like the Washington Capitals, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Islanders, and the Toronto Maple Leafs go up and down the ice while pinpointing passes from tape-to-tape in order to create pretty goals while pulling defences and goaltenders out of position.

The dichotomy in these two styles of play could be seen last night in the Avalanche-Penguins tilt as the Penguins threw everything they had, including a couple of kitchen sinks at one point, at the Avalanche in the first and early part of the second periods. If it weren't for some incredible goaltending and fine defensive play, the Penguins could have opened up a sizable lead on the Avalanche. Instead, the two teams traded blows throughout the game with few pucks actually denting the twine.

Had it not been for a Gabriel Landeskog knuckleball on Marc-Andre Fleury, the Avalanche and Penguins could have been the second game to take a scoreless draw in the shootout last night. San Jose and Detroit did that, thanks mostly to suffocating defence by both teams as the Red Wings resorted back to a Western Conference style of play. That type of play will certainly benefit them down the stretch, especially within their own division. While San Jose would eventually win in the shootout, the Red Wings showed that they still have the moxie to skate with some of the Western Conference powerhouses.

So how is this fixed? Should this be fixed? There is no doubt that the Eastern Conference teams have the individual stars that people want to see play: Crosby, Malkin, Ovechkin, Stamkos, and others. Those guys do more with the puck in one shift than I ever have in my unimpressive hockey career. They get people on their feet, they make people shake their heads when they do something spectacular, and they are on highlight reels across the planet.

But if fans are fickle, winning is everything. And the Western Conference wins. San Jose, Colorado, and Anaheim all have as many or more points than the Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins. Ten Western Conference teams have double-digits in points already as opposed to the seven teams in the Eastern Conference. Winning is the great equalizer when it comes to fan support, and teams that win see that result at the box office.

Of course, none of this matters if an Eastern Conference team wins the Stanley Cup this season. All of this banter is all for naught at that point. However, right now it appears that the smart bet would be on a Western Conference team due to the head-to-head stats between the conferences.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Ladies Get It Done

I can honestly say that there is nothing better than being at a hockey game. The smell of the arena, the cool temperature that hangs in the air, the sounds of pucks and sticks... it's like a symphony to me in terms of how immersed I get in the atmosphere. In saying that, it's always nice to see the home team come away with a win, and the University of Manitoba Bisons women's team was looking to sweep the weekend series with the Mount Royal Cougars. Having won on Friday night, the women were looking to move to 3-2-1 on the season by taking Saturday's game from the Cougars.

The Bisons women's team debuted their new home jerseys last night, and I'll say up front that I am a fan. They are clean, they are traditional, and they look beautiful. There is something to be said for shoulder-arm stripes and hem stripes in terms of making the jersey look like a proper hockey jersey. The men don't wear them, and I'm not really a fan of their look. But the women? I'll watch them any day of the week in these uniforms.

The only quibble? The sleeve numbers are white on gold, but the numbers sometimes bleed back onto the white portion of the sleeve. But if that's all I have to complain about, these jerseys are pretty solid. So it needs to be said: well done, ladies! You look fantastic!

The Bisons used a fantastic start to help them in their race to victory on Saturday. Alana Serhan scored just 1:06 into the first period with her first goal of the season as she tipped Meagan Vestby's shot past Cougar goalie Katie Sigurdson. Sirhan then doubled that lead three minutes later when she again tipped a Vestby shot on net for her second goal of the night and second of the season. And with just over ten minutes to play in the first period, Maggie Litchfield-Medd scored her team-leading fourth goal of the season, finishing off a fantastic shift for her line as they pinned Mount Royal in their zone for over a minute.

Mount Royal, finding themselves in a hole, opted to change goalies as Sigurdson headed to the bench after making just two saves on five shot in favor of Jessica Ross. The Bisons still peppered Ross, but she was equal to the task in keeping the Bisons off the board for the remainder of the game, stopping all 23 shots thrown her way. At the other end, Amanda Schubert played a flawless game thanks in part to her defence in front of her, and she stopped all twenty shots for the shutout victory.

The one thing that stood out all night for me? The Cougars have a centerman named Reanna Arnold. She's fast, she's talented, and she play the game hard. But she stood out for a different reason. She has white skates! And not just some white on her skate - like WHITE skates. Every time she was on the ice, it reminded me of Sergei Fedorov in the 1990s when he wore white skates with the Red Wings. She has the speed and puck-handling to resemble Fedorov, but she couldn't replicate his scoring ability on this night.

The other thing that stood out? The Cougars all wore a patch on the back of their right hips that looked like this. Granted, with the number of Cougars that preferred to tuck their jerseys inside their pants (hear that, NHL?), there were few opportunities to grab a picture of this patch actually on the jersey. Mount Royal University is in Calgary, so what's the tie-in with the Flames?

According to this info on the Calgary Flames site, "[e]very season the Flames Foundation for Life support the University of Calgary, Mount Royal University and SAIT hockey programs and award Harley Hotchkiss scholarships". So it appears that in honour of the scholarships bestowed upon the University, the Cougars hockey team wears the patches to reflect this benefit from the Flames. A fair trade, I'd say.

If I had to pick three stars tonight, Alana Sirhan would get the first star for her two-goal performance. Meagan Vestby was all over the ice last night, picking up a pair of assists and a penalty for some aggressive play, and would be my second star. The third star would be Amanda Schubert for closing the doors on Mount Royal with her twenty-save shutout performance.

The Bisons move to 3-2-1 on the season with the win while Mount Royal falls to 1-5-0 on the season. Manitoba sits tied for fourth in the Canada West Conference, tied with the UBC Thunderbirds at 3-2-1. They trail the 5-1-0 Regina Cougars by three points for top spot, and will play the 2-3-1 Calgary Dinos next weekend.

With no Hayley Wickenheiser this season, the Dinos appear to have fallen back to Earth after a successful season last year, but they can't be taken lightly. The Bisons will have to execute as well as they did this weekend to continue to move up the standings.

Congratulations to the Bisons women's team as they swept the weekend series with Mount Royal, and looked fantastic in doing so with their new uniforms!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

So This Happened Tonight...

Mike Smith is a pretty good goalie. He's been part of some bad teams, but he's finally getting his due credit as he was invited to Team Canada's orientation camp and he led the Coyotes to an improbably seven-game defeat in the Western Conference Final at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings who would go onto win the Stanley Cup. In other words, Mike Smith plays his position pretty well despite some of this teams in front of him.

Smith is still tending the nets for the Phoenix Coyotes, but there hasn't really been a lot of talk about his play this season. That, of course, could be because he plays in Phoenix. Whatever the reason, though, there will be many people talking about Mike Smith for the next few weeks thanks to the one play he made tonight against the Detroit Red Wings.
Yeah, Mike Smith scored with 0.1 seconds left in the game. Mike Smith becomes the 11th goaltender in NHL history to record a goal in a game. He currently trails NHL career goals-by-a-goalie leader Martin Brodeur by two, but Smith has lots of time left in his career. Heck, he has lots of time to score a second goal this year!

The goaltenders Smith joins include:
  • Billy Smith (NYI) vs. Colorado Rockies (28/11/79).
  • Ron Hextall (PHI) vs. Boston Bruins (08/12/87).
  • Ron Hextall (PHI) vs. Washington Capitals (11/04/89).
  • Chris Osgood (DET) vs. Hartford Whalers (06/03/96).
  • Martin Brodeur (NJD) vs. Montreal Canadiens (17/04/97).
  • Damian Rhodes (OTT) vs. New Jersey Devils (02/01/99).
  • Martin Brodeur (NJD) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (15/02/00).
  • Jose Theodore (MTL) vs. NY Islanders (02/01/01).
  • Evgeni Nabokov (SJS) vs. Vancouver Canucks (10/03/02).
  • Mika Noronen (BUF) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (14/02/04).
  • Chris Mason (NAS) vs. Phoenix Coyotes (15/04/06).
  • Cam Ward (CAR) vs. New Jersey Devils (26/12/11).
  • Martin Brodeur (NJD) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (21/03/13).
  • Mike Smith (PHX) vs. Detroit Red Wings (19/10/13).
Just as a bit of a legend for the above list, the italicized, bolded games were playoff games while the goals in orange were powerplay goals. I did notice some interesting trends, though, as I read through the list.

For example, the Rockies/Devils and Whalers/Hurricanes franchises are the only two teams to be victimized more than once by goaltenders, and each has scored on each other. Martin Brodeur scored against teams from the former Northeast, Atlantic, and Southeast Divisions to cover off the Eastern Conference. Ron Hextall did the same in scoring against the Adams Division and the Patrick Division. Of the 15 teams that have had a goal scored for or against them by a goaltender, only six teams appear once and their combined plus/minus is even (Ottawa, San Jose, Buffalo are pluses; Boston, Vancouver, and Toronto are minuses). Weird stats with these goalie goals, right?

In any case, congrats to Mike Smith for his first career NHL goal, and here's hoping he can become the first two-goal goalie in one season! The record books are waiting, Mike - make it happen!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 18 October 2013

A Glimpse Into History

The image to the left is pretty iconic for hockey fans. That's Ace Bailey shaking hands with Eddie Shore at the benefit for Bailey. Bailey, of course, was attacked by Eddie Shore from behind, causing Bailey's skull to be fractured. The fact that these two men were able to shake hands is, in my view, pretty amazing considering what Shore did to Bailey in ending his career. The one thing that has always been missing, though, is footage of the attack. Thanks to the Boston Public Library's Flickr account, though, we do have some stills of what was happening on the ice after the attack happened.

December 12, 1933 would be the night that Bailey's hockey days would end after Shore's attack. There aren't many people who had a better vantage point of what happened that night than former Maple Leaf Red Horner. In an interview with the Hockey Hall of Fame, Horner explained the events of the night.
"Eddie Shore was having a very frustrating night. He was playing a great game but it wasn't getting him or the Bruins anywhere. They couldn't score on us. Dick Irvin sent out King Clancy and myself and Ace Bailey up front to kill off the penalties. Bailey was a very expert stickhandler, and he ragged the puck for awhile. Eventually, Shore got his stick on the puck and made a nice rush deep into our end. Shore came down my side and I gave him a very good hipcheck.

"He wanted to get even for the check I'd just put on him. He thought Bailey was me. He charged into Bailey on an angle from the side. He hit Bailey and flipped him in the air, just like a rag doll. Bailey landed on his head just a few feet from where I was standing. Bailey hit the ice and he went into some kind of convulsion. I thought to myself, 'That's the end of Ace!'

"Shore skated away in a very nonchalant fashion. I wasn't going to let him get away with that, so I went after him."
The results of what went down were many. Bailey was left unconscious on the ice. Horner, upon checking on his fallen teammate, became enraged and set out after Shore, seeking an explanation for what he had done. Shore never uttered a word, smiling at Horner after exacting his vengeance. This led to Horner attacking Shore, leaving him in a bloody mess.

Bailey spent the first night at Audubon Hospital before being transferred to City Hospital where he underwent surgeries to relieve pressure on his brain. Things looked grim for Bailey, and the hospital even went as far as bringing in a priest to read Bailey his last rites. After four days in hospital, however, Bailey suddenly took a turn for the better and his recovery began. Amazingly, Bailey made a full recovery to see the Ace Bailey Benefit Game which is where the lede photo was taken.

Shore suffered a three-inch gash to his head after the initial Horner hit, and was suspended indefinitely by the NHL for his attack on Bailey. Shore claims he was in such a daze from the hit delivered by Horner that he hadn't realized what he had done to Bailey. It wasn't until Ace Bailey told Bruins' general manager Art Ross from his hospital bed that he he felt Shore wasn't malicious in his intent that the NHL would consider re-instating Eddie Shore. Shore finally returned to the ice on January 28, 1934 - 16 games after the incident.

Again, with no footage, it appeared that hearsay would be the best that we would get on this incident. But thanks to the Boston Public Library's Flickr account, we now can see the aftermath seconds after Bailey was injured.
As you can see, there is a large crowd of players around Bailey as he lay on the ice. Identifying these players seems a little difficult because of the lack of information on the internet, but I'll do my best. The Leafs' goaltender in the background is George Hainsworth. He won't factor into the story, but he was on the ice. #4 in the scrum near Bailey is Hap Day. #17 skating into the scrum appears to be Frank "Buzz" Boll based on appearance. #10 is Joe Primeau. It's clear a couple of Leafs are already thinking about pursuing Shore for leaving Bailey prone on the ice.
It appears that this photo is next in the sequence of the three photos found. #5 is Andy Blair. #8 is Harold Cotton. #11, skating away from where Shore is on the ice on the right, looks like Busher Jackson. #16 ushering the trainer over to Bailey appears to be Bill Thoms. It appears that Shore, still dazed, may have fallen to the ice as well.
#12 in the Toronto group is Hec Kilrea along with #16 Bill Thoms. They appear to be carrying the unconscious Bailey off the ice if you look closely. #2, skating nearest in the picture, is aforementioned Red Horner who hasn't really been seen in any photos yet.

Now I'm not calling Horner a liar because his account seems pretty close to the photo evidence above. But as for Horner skating by Shore to yell at him about the hit? I'm not sure that part may have happened as he described. The photos above seem to only show one Leafs player near Shore at any time, and that's in the third photo when Horner is at the bottom of the image. But to support Horner, there was no time-lapse photos taken in 1933, so the shoot-and-reload for the old-style cameras may not tell the whole story.

What is truthful, though, is that Bailey and Shore were both down on the ice, and Bailey was certainly carried off the ice. Horner was on the ice as stated, and there were a lot of other players who made it onto the ice to assess the situation. Of that much, we can be certain thanks to the photos and thanks to the Boston Public Library's Flickr account.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Hockey Show - Episode Fifty-Eight

The Hockey Show hits the airwaves again tonight at 5:30pm CT on 101.5 UMFM, and we have a show packed with all sorts of hockey goodness! There will be the obligatory NHL chatter that we do, including previews of the Blues visiting the Jets on Friday and we'll be keeping our eyes on the Boston-Florida game where Tuukka Rask and the Bruins square off against Tim Thomas and the Panthers! The Russian Roundup will happen again as we update everyone on the KHL and Swedish Elite League players we're tracking. And we'll certainly talk a little more about the Pledge-O-Rama "Pledge Your Prize" show and the NHL '94 tournament that night.

Beans and I will also be talking a little international hockey as the Canadian and American women's teams tangle again after the brawl on Monday. We'll talk about who was responsible, why the fight was good for women's hockey, what it all means in the grand scheme of things between these two teams, and how it may affect future games. With the game between Canada and the US being played tonight in Quebec, it could be another night with fireworks if this donnybrook carries over.

We'll also touch on Patrick Kaleta's ten-game vacation for his stupidity, Max Lapierre's impending break away from the game for his hit on Dan Boyle, the unrealistic potential for the undefeated Avalanche meeting the undefeated Sharks on December 23, the Bisons men's and women's teams results and upcoming games, and a pile of other stuff that we'll work on trying to cram into the sixty minutes. Phew!

Please join us at 5:30pm CT on 101.5 UMFM. If you can't swing that time, that's cool too as I'll post the episode on HBIC Radio by Friday morning for your listening pleasure. The podcast will also go up Thursday night, so you can download and listen to it when you like. As always, your phone calls are welcome at 204-269-UMFM (269-8636) and I'll be taking tweets at @TeebzHBIC!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

New Vs. Old

The last time these two men faced one another, they played for the same team. However, as the game looms large on the schedule tomorrow night, the Boston Bruins and the Florida Panthers will play one another and it will feature a dichotomy of the prodigy versus his former mentor. Tuukka Rask and Tim Thomas will face-off as opponents for the first time in their careers, and it should be an epic battle... until Boston gains control of the puck. Thomas will undoubtedly see a pile of rubber tomorrow as he backstops the Panthers, but Rask could find himself busy if the Bruins fall victim to the Sunrise Siesta.

While Claude Julien has yet to name Rask as the starter for the Bruins, the Panthers need a few wins and have named Thomas as their starter to help them in their quest to down the Bruins. Thomas left his most recent game eight days ago against the Flyers with a groin issue, but it is expected he will get the start.

Rask was more than happy to talk a little about his former teammate and tandem partner. "I never thought that we would play against each other," Rask told the Bruins website. "But I'm glad that he made his comeback and proved people wrong again, and I hope he does well."

Thomas, on the other hand, is back to his old ways, refusing to speak to the media before games. While his media silence can be frustrating, the Panthers' recent play isn't pleasing anyone as they sit at 2-5-0 for the season. Getting some strong goaltending from Thomas will go a long way in helping the Panthers move up the division standings in their attempts to gain a playoff berth. With the win, they would move into a tie with Boston at six points in the Atlantic Division.

Boston, on the other hand, has been anything but the dominant team seen in last year's playoffs. They resemble the stumbling team seen against Toronto in the opening round, but they look nothing like the team that dismantled the Penguins en route to the Stanley Cup Final. They dropped a game against the surprising Avalanche in which they were shutout, and dropped their Monday game against the Red Wings by a 3-2 score. The Bruins' are third-best in the NHL right now in terms of goals-against-per-game, but they have been brutal on the powerplay (25th) where they did a pile of damage last season. That has to change if the Bruins want to catch the Maple Leafs who sit atop the division.

Because their powerplay is struggling (2-for-19), their goals-per-game has plummeted to 19th-best in the NHL. Obviously, that lack of scoring will put pressure on the defence to be better, so Rask will have to be near-perfect against the Panthers if the Bruins want to leave Sunrise with a win. Claude Julien is aware of the deficiency in the Bruins' attack right now. "At the end of the day, the main thing of a power play is that you have to score, and we’re not doing that, so you can’t be happy with it," Julien said to Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe.

Florida is slightly behind Boston in goals-per-game (21st) with their powerplay only marginally better (24th). If this game was played based purely on statistical analysis, this game might not be any sort of featured game for any broadcaster. However, the Thomas-Bruins storyline should be something to watch for tomorrow as it appears the Bruins are relishing the chance to get a shot at their former teammate.

"All those years shooting on him in practice, I think it'll be fun to finally shoot on him in a game and I'm sure he's looking forward to it as well," Milan Lucic told the Bruins website.

Like Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader, the results of this battle could make for talking points for years to come. Or it could simply be a case of Tony Stark being much smarter and much better than his mentor in Obadiah Stane as the Bruins simply overwhelm the Panthers. Either way, stick around for the post-game comments when we get to hear from Tim Thomas. It could be very entertaining!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Cleaning Up The Mess

If you happened to notice, there's a brand new menu at the top of the page below the banner! It took me the better part of the evening to put this together, but I'm quite happy with the results at this point. I became annoyed lately at all of the crap on the right-hand menu, so I decided to clean things up by making it a little more palatable by hiding things in menus. I'd love to hear your opinion on this new menu, so please leave a comment.

I do want to point out a couple of things, though. First, you can hover over a section and see the sub-menu. In other words, don't click until you find what you want. Secondly, I'm done for the night tonight, but it doesn't mean that this menu won't continue to evolve as I work some code out. Please be patient as I work through some of this stuff as I re-organize and clean this space up! Thanks, readers!

As I shift over to the hockey news from today, I want to commend Brendan Shanahan for sending a very clear message to Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta with the ten-game suspension handed down to him. Kaleta plays with his elbows up and always seems to be targeting a player's head when he's swooping in for a check.

Kaleta has been reviewed seven times in his career already by Shanahan and his squad, so it's not like he's an angel in any sense. However, the ten-game suspension handed out today sends a clear message: change your ways or it will only get worse.

You look at players like Matt Cooke and Steve Downie who were two of the most-vilified players due to how they played their game. Both players have changed significantly for the better, and both men have not backed down from playing physical. Instead, they play clean in terms of keeping their elbows and sticks down while still leaning into opponents.

Kaleta, however, has not done this, and he will get eight more games to think about his actions on the ice. Having already missed two games wile suspended indefinitely, whatever was said in that in-person meeting with Shanahan should be taken to heart. There's no going back for Kaleta now as he's a repeat offender with a rap sheet of dirty plays. It's time to shape up or ship out.

Ten games without pay, in my view, is only a good start for a player like Kaleta.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Thanksgiving PhotoBlog

Officially, it is Overeating Day Monday in Canada, also known widely as Thanksgiving Day Monday. Many Canadians, including myself, had some delicious meals this weekend, and there were all sorts of variations. One of the weirdest meals that I still have a hard time wrapping my head around is the pictured turducken. With it being a fowl weekend, though, I thought it would be appropriate to point out that in that aforementioned turducken is a duck which makes it entirely appropriate for what Anaheim did this weekend.

If you haven't seen the photos, you will because today is all about the Anaheim Mighty Ducks! The Anaheim Ducks threw back to 1993 to honor the men who suited up as the first Ducks in the NHL, and they wore throwback uniforms to commemorate the event! I have a Mighty Ducks uniform, and I was sad to see the colorful uniform go the way of the dodo, so seeing the Ducks and Senators battle in what looked like a game straight out of '93 was awesome.

Here then are a couple of photos of those glorious Mighty Ducks uniforms worn by Anaheim yesterday against the Ottawa Senators which also marked Bobby Ryan's only appearance in Anaheim this season.
Perhaps something that I have forgotten over all these years is that Teemu Selanne didn't wear #8 upon his arrival in Anaheim. He actually wore #13 because Sandis Ozolinsh wore #8 until he was traded to the New York Rangers! Here's a picture of Teemu Selanne in 2005 wearing #13.
Speaking of 2005, how many people remember these three kids breaking into the NHL at the same time?
Check out those jersey numbers: Getzlaf wore #51, Penner wore #76, and Perry wore #61! If you have an old Mighty Ducks jersey with any of those players and their respective numbers on them, you're a pretty serious Ducks fan!

Nothing to cry foul over last night at the old Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim as the Ducks looked fantastic en route to a 4-1 win and a franchise-record 56 shots on net! If they play this well as the Mighty Ducks for one night, maybe the "Mighty" moniker should return along with the glorious eggplant uniforms!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!