Monday, March 28, 2011

Shame on the twits

Recently former NHLer Theo Fleury mentioned on twitter that he expected the Vancouver Cannucks would be first round upset victims in the NHL playoffs because he did not believe Roberto Luongo had what it takes to bring this team to glory.  Fine.  His opinion.  Its not my opinion but he is entitled to his.  Its sports.  Like noses we all have our opinions.

The retaliation from some Vancouver fans on twitter is sickening.  The comments made about his problems with drugs and alcohol are appalling.  The comments made about his sexual abuse at the hands of his junior coach, far more than appalling.  Disgusting doesn't cover it.

I know this does not represent the entire population of Cannucks Nation, but this particular cross section is a group of profoundly stupid and troubled people.  The anonymity of twitter protects them from being called out by their friends, family and co-workers.  That is the biggest problem with this type of social media.  No one has to be accountable for their pathetic lack of IQ and alarming lack of class.

I call on Cannuck Nation to police their own.  A larger outcry on twitter from Vancouver fans to both out these idiots and discredit their thoughts and tweets is necessary immediately.

See you at the rink.

Bravo to the Pens

We all spend so much time complaining about whats wrong with the game and the rules and some of the buffoonery that sometimes we forget to talk about the stuff we love about the game.

Bravo to the Pittsburgh Penguins.  As of today ranked 4th in the East and just 2 points out of top spot in the Eastern Conference.  How in the world are they doing it?

No Crosby.  No Malkin.  No Orpik.  There are very few teams who could keep their head above water missing their 2 best offensive players and their best shut down defenceman.  Pittsburgh is missing 2 of the best players on the planet and still find ways to win.

Great goaltending is a large part of it,  but a total buy in from the players to the ideals of what Penguins hockey is and the way everyone is supposed to play.  Whether the stars are there or not,  the system is the system and the style and attitude of the team remains constant.  It creates an environment where no piece is greater than the sum even though the pieces missing are huge.

Dan Bylsma is the odds on favorite to win coach of the year and he is my top pick for instilling this attitude and adapting to some huge personnel losses.

Bravo to the Penguins.

See you at the rink.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

why do we care????

There are screams from every quarter over head shots and mandatory visors in the NHL again after the Matt Cooke hit and suspension and the Manny Malholtra incident where he took a puck in the eye.

Why do we care? These are pros? If they want these things they should be lobbying for them not us. There are still a great many NHL players who are against both visors being mandatory and head shots (even accidental ones) becoming punishable by a 2 minute penalty or more.

Why do we care more about protecting their careers and futures than they seem to?

Lets concentrate on amature hockey and make sure that kids are as safe as they can be. Visors, mouthgaurds and neck guards have been mandatory for years and the OHL already has a 100% head shot rule. More amature associations and certainly Hockey Canada should adopt that across the board.

But the pros? Save your emotions. Until the players are determined to protect themselves there is no reason for the rest of us to have concern for them.

The first major step in getting the number of NHL concussions under control has nothing to do with rule enforcement and everything to do with vanity enforcement. Players don't start wearing special concussion helmets until AFTER they've had a concussion. Why not wear one to prevent it in the first place ? The reason is simple vanity. Most concussion helmets don't really look cool.

Why doesn't the NHL demand a 4 buckle chin harness like the NFL does? The reason is simple. Vanity. They don't look very cool on a hockey helmet and that drooping chin strap has become the trendy look no matter how little it keeps the helmet in place.

I simply can"t get myself all riled up about all this until I see players demanding protection from each other and they are not.

I will start to care when they start to care. Until then lets just keep counting the concussions and make plans to feed these people through straws later in life.

See you at the rink.

Monday, March 21, 2011

now we are talkin!!!!!

The NHL has finally issued a suspension for dangerous play which actually has some teeth in it.

Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke has been suspended for the remainder of the regular season (10 games) and the first round of the playoffs after his deliberate elbow to the head of Ranger Ryan McDonagh on Sunday.

Cooke will lose just under $220,000.00 in salary and as many as 7 playoff games. Players don't get paid in the playoffs so there is no monetary loss there, but clearly its a heavy punishment to miss playoff games for regular season crimes.

Most people in the NHL have for some time, considered Cooke the most dangerous player in the NHL. Not because of his size, but because of his ongoing disregard for the safety of other players. Youtube is filled with Cooke hits and other buffoonery which is extremely dangerous and often causes injuries. The fact that none of his 4 previous suspensions were longer than 4 games points out how little supplementary discipline affected his actions.

This suspension may get his attention and the attention of others around the league. That is until the next incident occurs and a softball suspension is levied. For this punishment to have an affect on what players do on the ice, it has to be followed up with a new level of deterrents for everyone, not just Matt Cooke.

Bravo to the NHL for finally getting tough. Now the question is, can they remain tough?

See you at the rink.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Common sense starting to set in.

I have been paying close attention to all the debates and panel discussions in the media and on fan blogs since the Chara/Pacioretty incident.  Thankfully much of the conversation has now turned towards player safety and away from the ridiculous assertions made by some that this was a planned attack by Chara. 

David Booth of the Florida Panthers should have a personal perspective on this,  since his career was nearly ended by a blind side head shot.  He says this incident has no connection to the plays the NHL is trying to weed out of the game.  Hits like the one he took are on the decline because they are now against the rules and the penalties are stiff.  He says the Chara hit was simply an accident.  That is exactly what it was and the sooner Montreal fans move past their misplaced anger and onto player safety questions,  the faster the game will be safer for players. 

There will always be injuries in hockey.  It is the fastest non-motorized team sport in the world and there is no way to eliminate accidents.  The players accept those risks but some fans and members of the media refuse to.

If these accidents appall you,  then don't watch hockey.  I agree with Leaf coach Ron Wilson. He makes some good points.  When players get hit with pucks in the face, do we talk about banning raised shots?  When players get broken feet, do we talk about banning slap shots?  This accident was more graphic and spectacular, but never the less, still an accident.

Lets talk about stanchions and not Chara.

See you at the rink.

Top 5??????

Right now with a 7-3-0 record in the last 10 games,  the Senators are one of the 5 hottest teams in the NHL.   No disrespect meant,  but look at this roster and tell me how that is possible?  I guess it tells you what can happen when you get good goaltending, you work hard within your system and other teams take you for granted.

The good news is,  this team is fun to watch again.  The bad news is they are now winning too many games and diminishing the chances of getting that first overall pick. 

See you at the rink.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Deals

Ok lets go through the deals.
Fisher to Nashville for a 1st and a 3rd.
Surprised that it was the first deal to happen, but not surprised in the sense that everyone knew he was a player many teams had interest in and house cleanings usually start with your prized possessions not your least prized.

Kelly to Boston for a 2nd.
Surprised me a bit because I thought Boston coveted Chris Phillips more than Kelly, but he is certainly a Claude Julien type of player and a 2nd round pick is very good return.

Ruutu to Anaheim for a 6th.
Not surprised he was moved, but was surprised Anaheim wanted him.

Elliott to Colorado for Anderson.
Was surprised only in the sense that it is rare to be able to trade a goalie who's numbers were as bad as Elliott's and who's game was so in shambles as the time of the trade.

Kovalev to Pittsburgh for a 7th rounder.
Good deal for both. Ottawa gets him off the books and if the Pens can get a few playoff goals out of him, its worth their while.

Svatos off waivers from Nashville.
A warm body to finish out the season without having to raid Bingo for another skater.
If he performs he might be a keeper, if he doesn't there is nothing lost.

Potulny and a 2nd from Chicago for Campoli and a 7th.
Move out some money and make way for some of the kids like Rundblat and Cowen who are coming next year. Pick up a prospect in Potulny who could be a good organizational depth guy.

McElhinney off waivers from Tampa.
Allows them to send Lehner back to Bingo to get playing time.
Good stop gap.

See you at the rink.

Chara not a criminal

The Chara hit on Pacioretty was interference.
It was called properly on the ice. It did not deserve a suspension and did not receive one.
There was no intent to do anything but rub out a player chasing the puck.

The criminal investigation is a joke. If there is going to be a criminal investigation after every player in the NHL is injured, the police are going to be very busy people.

Air Canada threatening to withdraw their sponsorships from the league is also a joke on many fronts. No other hits or incidents in the league have bothered them except for the one which occurred in the city where their head office is located and where it is safe to assume, a good number of their employees and management are Habs fans. It also rings hollow considering its not a threat which would have been considered if Canadian Airlines still existed or any other true national carrier. Walking away from the naming rights to the ACC and their other sponsorships is one thing. Its a different ball of wax when those sponsorships are then placed in the lap of your direct competition. The lack of a direct competitor gives Air Canada a lot of bluster.

I hope that during the police investigation there is as much investigating of workplace safety issues as there is any possible criminal wrong doing. The logic of having that stanchion where it is seems to be a far bigger issue.

This issue being discussed in the House of Commons is also a joke. You can tell an election is on the way. If the politicos are really concerned about the health and well being of Canadians start putting warning lables on bacon.

I have been listening to all the assumptions about retribution, intent to injure, head shots and people supposing to know what was going through Chara's mind. If Chara really wanted to injure Pacioretty he could have gone after him numerous times. Could have punched him in the face on numerous occasions. Mapping out this intricate, full speed plan to catch him just right during a rub out so that his head hit the stanchion is fascicle.

Everyone seems to have one, and this is my opinion. The only difference is, I don't have an emotional tie to either team or either player.

See you at the rink