Personal thoughts…

Tech, Hockey, and random thoughts…

Chicago boos Wirtz’s moment of silence

To the surprise of absolutely no one Wirtz moment of silence at the last Blackhawks game intended to pay respect to his memory didnt quite go off as planned.

The fans joined in one united long and continuous boo.
Really, what did anyone expect?

Holding a moment of silnce deserved or not for someone that’s universally despised and hated in Chicago obviously wasn’t going to go off well.

October 9, 2007 Posted by | NHL-Other | Leave a comment

Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire has always been a little bizarre. His absolute love affair with Zach Parise and Dion Phaneuf is frightening in it’s intensity and his absolute conviction they they are respectively guaranteed to be racking up Art Ross/Norris Trophy’s.

Today he kindly furthered the perception of him as a nutcase.

He believes Cam Ward will win the Vezina Trophy. Why?

Cam Ward has now been married for a year and is used to it, and will thus stop more pucks. I only wish I were joking. Yes, everyone all you have to do is be married for a year and the Vezina is yours.

October 4, 2007 Posted by | NHL-Other | Leave a comment

Condolences and congratulations: Bill Wirtz, 1929-2007

 Condolences to the family of the man who owned the Blackhawks and congratulations to the few remaining fans who will admit to still following the team.
The biggest member of the “old boys network” in the NHL, the man who singlehandedly destroyed one of the best hockey cities in North America is dead. A poor man’s Harold Ballard, all those dozens of high draft picks Chicago has had for the last 60 odd years will now begin to matter. Failure isn’t assured, Wirtz is gone.
Now we just have to hope his son sells off the team, though even if he keeps it he can’t help but being an infinitely better owner.

It’s harsh to poke fun at a man’s death. But the truth is, Wirtz death does more good for the NHL then Wayne Gretzky ever did.
“Dollar Bill” Wirtz is gone, Harold Ballard is long since gone. Their demise is worth more to the NHL then a major US national television contract. It sounds ridiculous that such an impact could be had by someone’s death with nothing actually positive occuring, but the truth is… I’d be shocked if anyone disagreed with the statement of how incredibly positive this is for the NHL, all of the NHL’s fan and most importantly everyone that’s every watched Chicago Blackhawk hockey.

The various Chicago papers all have the expected articles up expressing their joy. I’m sure that makes the Wirtz family sick, but frankly… they had to have expected it.

Sarcasm: In memory of their father, the Wirtz kids announced today that the funeral will be blacked out on local TV, and available only on “Hawks Vision” PPV.
I commend Wirtz for his business acumen and his philanthropy, but there’s no denying the Blackhawks suffered because of him.
Wirtz had a penchant for running out of Chicago his more outspoken Blackhawks stars.
The Blackhawks in the last ten years have only been to the playoffs once, and his unwillingness to televise his team’s games locally further contributed to the decimation of the Blackhawks’ fan base.
This team was in such sad shape that ESPN ranked it in 2004 as “the worst franchise in sports”.
And as Chairman of the NHL Board of Governors from 1974 to 1992, Wirtz along with former NHL President John Ziegler and former NHLPA director Alan Eagleson were responsible for keeping players salaries artificially low, thus setting the stage for contentious labour negotiations between the owners and players since the early 1990s.

September 26, 2007 Posted by | NHL-Other | Leave a comment

Weinrich still playing

Eric Weinrich faced a bit of uncertainty this summer about the future of his hockey career. He knew he would fit into the Portland Pirates’ plans somewhere, and in recent months he continued to train as if he was preparing for another season.Now he has answers: The 40-year-old defenseman will return to the Pirates as a player in the 2007-08 season.
— Kennebec Journal

Sure, it’s easy to mock guys like Weinrich who continue to play long after their skills have dramatically declined. I myself laugh at Roenick all the time for his outrage that he wasn’t on the last American Olympic team and his continued parade of arguments that this is the year he’ll prove to everyone he’s still a star player. His apparent shock that Anaheim doesn’t believe he’s good enough to replace Teemu Selanne and other such delusional comments. (God I love Roenick, few players are so quoteable. We need amusing characters like him… there aren’t many left. Aggravating yes, funny… absolutely)

Back onto topic however, I honestly have a lot of respect for veterans who opt to play in the AHL to finish their careers. Players who realize their not good enough for a regular role in the NHL but keep playing in lesser leagues without the perks they’ve become accustomed to out of sheer love for the game.
Over 1200 career NHL games, and he’s still not ready to retire. I have to respect that.

Not many players left that honestly look like their having fun out there.

One of the reasons I love Wade Belak… aside from his absolutely hilarious comedy skits on TSN. He genuinely loves hockey. He always looks like he’s having the time of his life out there. In interviews he looks thrilled just to be around. He’s always got a huge smile on his face when he’s stepping off the ice.
He’ll join in and assist the media in mocking his skills on ice.

Great guy, great teammate. Say what you will about him, but I like him. Not much of a player, and only a decent fighter. If it wasn’t for the fact that he can play any position outside of goal he wouldn’t stick around even as an enforcer. I sincerely doubt there is anyone on the Leafs roster whose reason for playing hockey is tilted as much towards love of the game as he however.

Mock delusional players like Roenick, but admire the Luke Richardson, Eric Weinrich guys that play for the love of the game even if their skills have declined.

August 16, 2007 Posted by | NHL-Other | Leave a comment

Ovechkin, No Suspension

Alexander Ovechkin apparently will not be suspended for his hit from behind on Briere.

One wonders if Ovechkin’s name was Claude Lemieux how long would the suspension be? I’d guess he’d get three games and twice that if Briere had been hurt.
I love Ovechkin, his raw enthusiasm and skilled physical two-way game is infectious. He’s one of the most quiteable players in the NHL. As a made for TV player he makes Crosby look like a shy immature little child. (And I mean no offence to Crosby skilk-wise, he just isn’t nearly the caharcter Ovechkin is)… but I still don’t see how you defend this hit, and not suspend him.

Far lesser incidents have seen instant suspensions, the NHL apparently doesn’t believe this warrants even a mention. I think it says something that even Washington fans were largely shocked he didn’t recieve a suspension for at least a couple games.

You can see the YouTube video of the hit here on YouTube or download a clearer video here. (19.29MB)

Briere has dumped the puck well before the hit, his head was up and he was slowing down approaching the bench about to step in off the ice for a line-change. Ovechkin is skating full throttle at him from behind and slows slightly as he gets ready for the hit and slams Briere into the boards face first. Apparently in NHL-land this is a perfectly legal hit warranting only a 5 minute major and a game misconduct.

I’m sorry, I like Ovechkin too.. but this was clear. He had more then enough time to move off and chase the puck down the ice, instead he chose to hit Briere from behind into the boards as he was abou to step onto the bench. Since when has this ever been permissable? If Ovechkin wasn’t one of the big faces of the “New NHL, and a very marketing friendly image” he’d have been suspended without question and no one would dispute it.

It’s not nearly the “Worse then Bertuzzi!!” it’s being made out to be by so many fans, but it’s awfully bad, and could easily have caused serious injury. Ovechkin was well aware of what he was doing, made no attempt to avoid it and fully intended exactly what the results were. This wasn’t part of the hockey game, this wasn’t knocking Briere out of the play or attempting to get the puck. Ovechkin actively ignored the direction of the play, and went for Briere. I honestly can’t see this as anything but blatant favourtism by the NHL.

We all know why the NHL turned a blind eye to the thoughtless and dangerous play. It turned the same blind eye when Pavel Bure did things that were thoughtless and dangerous. The league doesn’t suspend players who put fannies in the seats. Nobody wants to see Ovechkin suspended so I suppose everyone’s interests are best served if disciplinary standards don’t apply to a certain class of player. The owners don’t want Ovechkin punished, the media doesn’t want it, the fans don’t want it and the players don’t want it (even though it probably does grate on some who have been suspended for less.) Nobody wants it. Still, failing to suspend a big star does send the wrong message, it does offend one’s sense of justice, and it does damage the credibility of the league disciplinary system.

December 4, 2006 Posted by | NHL-Other | Leave a comment

The Evgeni Malkin Saga

Well, the Malkin saga is slowly drawing to a close. He’s safely ensconced in the US, likely soon to be signed with pittsburgh and resigned from his Russian club team.
Pittsburgh is happy, Malkin is happy, the NHL is mostly happy… his Russian GM is screaming bloody murder.

Now that it’s all slowly leaking out I have even less respect for Vilichkin (Mettalurg Magnitogorsk GM) then I did previously.

Malkin claimed he was under “great psychological pressure” and was concerned for his family throughout the recent drama concerning his departure from Mettalurg Magnitogorsk.
Malkin confirmed Mettalurg kept pressuring him to remain in Russia. “I was pressured very hard. I kept asking them, ‘Why aren’t you keeping your promise to let me play in America?’ They did not want to listen. They just kept on with their arguments”.
Over the past few days, we’ve heard tales of a 3 a.m. contract signing and immense pressure from the team on Malkin to keep him in Russia. Yesterday, we learned the team had even put a lockdown on his passport in a bid to keep him immobile.

We’ve also heard from the media how times have changed in Russia, and that the talk of a ‘cloak-and-dagger’ escape from the country by hockey players was a thing of a past. Given the way things went down, however, with Malkin’s agent parachuting into Finland and staying with him in a hideout, it’s easy to see the parallels with the defections of yesteryear.

It’s hard to disbelieve Malkin when his Russian compatriots in North America seem completely unsurprised by the litany of complaints. And Malkin’s former coach for Magnitogorsk has largely confirmed everything he’s said.

A good example came in Kamloops during the World Juniors, where the Russians were scheduled to play Latvia on the Thursday night but were supposed to arrive in the city and practice in the morning. Looking to write a small feature on Malkin,  James Mirtle (Hockey Journalist) managed to get a copy of the team’s entire itinerary — when and where they would eat, when practice was, etc. — for the few days they were in Kamloops.
The thing was, the Russians were never where they were supposed to be.
Practices were cancelled, media availability was denied and the team’s demeanor just had a very peculiar air to it.
After games the team was quickly herded onto the bus while the coach and one player answered a few brief questions through a translator in the media room. Malkin nowhere to be found.

The Malkin story does little to dispel the oft held opinion that Russian hockey at the professional level is little more than a shadow front for mobsters who will stop at nothing to get what they want whether it’s money or hockey players — mostly money. My sympathies are with Malkin, because Mettalurg promised him his release to play in the NHL and then reneged in hopes of squeezing the Penguins for millions. I suspect they’ll get nothing if this goes to litigation, which is why I think Vilichkin is so furious. He doesn’t care about his “national treasure”, only the millions he thinks Malkin is worth. His comments that Malkin was forced to leave border on the ludicrous, and that he thinks Malkin’s written reignation is a forgery… simply laughable. I understand the Russians position that they feel they should receive better compensation for their players who depart for the NHL, but the clumsy way they’re going about it won’t win them any sympathy or land them a better transfer deal.

August 19, 2006 Posted by | NHL-Other | Leave a comment

Malkin Bolts from team while in Finland…AWOL

http://sport.gazeta.ru/sport/lenta/i…?734368#734368

A quick translation:
“Evgeni Malkin has gone AWOL from Metallurg. As a source at the club told a gazeta.ru reporter, the forward, who came to Finland with his team to hold a training camp has left the team on Saturday with his personal belongings and travel documents. His whereabouts are unknown.”

Has yet to be confirmed but still noteworthy.

I always hate it when a player has to resort to sneaking out of their country/away from their team under the cover of night just to get to the NHL.

It’s occasionally been necessary especially in the old communist Russia but the results for the player is unfortunate. If true he probably won’t be welcomed onto any Russian International teams in the future, and it may not be altogether… “healthy” for him to travel to Russia anytime in the remote future which pretty much ensures he’s cut off from family/friends.

August 12, 2006 Posted by | NHL-Other | Leave a comment

Curtis Jospeh

Curtis Jospeh AKA Cujo, is now hereby renamed by me to The CujoGod.
That’s correct, Cujo is now the God of NHL goaltenders. Though whilst bow down to his greatness.

Appropriately enough he’s presently occupied with carrying Phoenix on his back quite literally.
Oh, how I love to see Cujo thrive, and he’s always performed better when he’s playing for the underdog, and especialy behind a weak defence when he gets plenty of work.
We’ve seen this throughout hi career, and it was again obvious with Detroit the past two seasons when he was merely average during the regular season and not nearly worth his 8M paycheck (Though to his credit, he was stellar in Detoit’s two first round exits…. characteristically he was still blamed for them however. Sometime I wonder if people expected him to score as well? Detroit’s offence sure wasn’t doing it)

October 26, 2005 Posted by | NHL-Other | Leave a comment

“Mad Mike” Milbury

"Mad Mike" Milbury has gone verifiably insane again, and is trying to trump the incredibly long and incredibly and insanely expensive deal for the eternally underperforming Alexei Yashin.

You thought dealing Luongo for a 1st that turned into Dipuetro was another example of the fact that he seemed more like he was picking names from a hat then using his head?

Well now he's gone and offered 15-year, $67.5 million contract. Yes, I know… but it's true… I'm still in awe as well. How this guy keeps his job I'll never know.
You could make random trades, and random draft selections and you'd still be 5X as successful as Mad Mike and a whole lot richer as well.

They don't call Milbury "Mad Mike" for nothing! It proves he learned nothing from his infamous signing of Alexei Yashin to an unmoveable 10 year, $90 million contract back in 2001.

September 3, 2005 Posted by | NHL-Other | Leave a comment