Monday, November 29, 2010

Absurd Goalie Monday: Scott Fankhouser

It push comes to shove, you go to the audience and one of the names that came up was this week's inductee. If nothing else, this guy bounced from continent to continent in order to find a gig and was in some kind of demand for him to keep getting work, so he's got that. This week, we'll look at the career of Scott Fankhouser.

There wasn't a lot of buzz when it came to Fankhouser, who was drafted right out of high school in the 11th round of the 1994 Draft by the St. Louis Blues, but he was recruited but UMass-Lowell to play the 1994-95 season. However, after going 4-4-1 in 11 games with UMass-Lowell; Fankhouser went back to Junior A with the Melfort Mustangs of the SJHL for the 1995-96 season. The step-down proved to help Fankhouser, who went 31-9-4 in his 45 games, as well as getting First Team All-Star and Playoff MVP, as the Mustangs won the SJHL, the Anavet Cup for Western Junior A Champ, but would lose in the Royal Bank Cup for Junior A overall champion. Fankhouser would go back to UMass-Lowell for 1996-97, but would play just 11 game again, going 2-4-1 in those appearances. The playing time would go up to 16 games for the 1997-98 season, but Fankhouser wouldn't fair better; going 4-7-2 in those games. The starting role would fall to Fankhouser in his senior season in 1998-99, but he would go 9-12-0 in 32 appearances.

The Blues failed to sign Fankhouser out of college, so he decided to sign with the newly formed Atlanta Thrashers for the 1999-2000 season and would get his start with the Greenville Grrrowl of the ECHL, playing in seven games, going 6-1-0. The record would allow him to get called up to the IHL's Orlando Solar Bears where he would go 2-2-1 in six games, before he would get the call-up to Atlanta mid-season. It wouldn't be great in Atlanta, as Fankhouser would go 2-11-2 in 16 games with the Thrashers. The year would be complete as Fankhouser played one game, a loss, with the AHL's Louisville Panthers. The 2000-01 season would have Fankhouser spend most of the year in Orlando, where he would play 28 games and go 13-12-3, sharing the James Norris Trophy for fewest goals-against with Norm Maracle; but would receive a call-up for seven games to Atlanta and would have a 2-1-0 record in the tenure there. Fankhouser bounced around the leagues in 2001-02, with him starting out with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL, going 1-0-1 before he was sent down to Greenville for three games with a 1-2-0 record. The Thrashers would loan out Fankhouser to the Hershey Bears, as there wasn't a spot for him in their organization. With the Bears, Fankhouser would go 5-2-1 in eight games, but wouldn't have a decision in three appearances in the playoffs for the Bears.

Fankhouser would be ECHL bound for the 2002-03 season, starting off with the Reading Royals, where he would play 26 games with a 11-12-1 record before he would be traded to the Arkansas RiverBlades. In Arkansas, Fankhouser would improve with a 11-5-2 in 19 games, but go 0-3 in the three playoff games he would play.

Fankhouser would go to German for the 2003-04 season, playing with SC Bietigheim-Bissingen for 34 games before returning to North America in the 2004-05 season to play for the ECHL's Toledo Storm. In 51 games with the Storm, Fankhouser would go 29-15-4, but 1-3 in four playoff games. Also in '04-'05, Fankhouser would play with the Chicago Wolves for two games, but would lose both games.

Fankhouser would go over to Austria starting in the 2005-06 season with Graz EC playing in 47, but would move over to play for the Vienna Capitals in the 2006-07 season, getting in 54 games for the Caps. For the 2007-08 season, Fankhouser would move over to England to play in 50 games with the Manchester Phoenix. One last kick in the can in North America for Fankhouser came with the Bloomington PrairieThunder of the new-IHL, where he would play 24 games with a 8-15-0 record before he would deciding the call it a career after an injury.

Following his retirement, Fankhouser would become the assistant coach of the PrairieThunder. He is now the assistant coach of the ECHL's Cincinnati Cyclones.

It seemed that Fankhouser lived by the credo of "have job, will travel" as shown from his globetrotting to play. It didn't seem like he could ever get any kind of rhythm going in his play, which showed in his record. Determined to the end, at least he could always find someone to want him to play for their squad. Now, he's passing his experiences on in the coaching realm.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ducks Fly Together

The Anaheim Ducks unveiled their third jerseys today and I have to say, this is what their jerseys should have looked like from the name change, rather than the dull wordmark they have on their jerseys right now.

However, while it is a sharp looking design, and very orange, there's a couple things that bother me about the whole thing. First, it's the whole ordeal of the "alternate" jersey being the same color as the home jersey. Makes no sense in my eyes to do that; but whatever floats their boat. The second issue is the unnecessary piping, which is my biggest peeve, outside of the front numbers. The piping around the shoulder yoke and to outline the pattern on the sleeves and underneath the arms is not needed and the jersey would improve without it, I'm sure.

That said, I do like how much more orange it is (just look at the socks) rather than what they've had before. Also, the shoulder patch brings back the old Mighty Ducks logo; almost combining the two eras of the team like so much Jan Rubes from the movies. It's definitely passable in terms of enjoyability, but not without it's faults, that much I know.

Friday Five: Stuff To The Brim

After American Thanksgiving, we're at the cresendo of another week-- which means it's time for the Friday Five and tackling the stories from the week-- huzzah!!

1. With yet another blue alternate jersey being introduced, how much is this like the black alternates that seemed to pop up every now and again back-in-the-day??

The blue jerseys are whatever, they seem to really be like the black jerseys have been in the past, but there's two things that bug me about it. First, it's putting blue in there for blue sake, though that really only applies to the Penguins. They have that "Vegas Gold" in their palate, but they went "retro" for their jersey?? A bit bothersome. Second, the ALTERNATE being blue when the HOME jersey is already blue. It's not much of an alternate if it's the same color as the home jersey-- may as well call it "cash grab" jersey.

That said, I like the idea of having a home jersey and a clash kit, eliminating the whites if you wanted and adding more color to the game....though that's as gimmicky as some jerseys being made now.

2. Rumors abound about Chris Chelios returning to the game by way of the KHL. What more does he have to prove??

In Soviet Russia, elderly signs YOU!! WHAT A COUNTRY!!!

But, seriously-- I don't know much Chelios has left to prove, but if he has the drive to be competitive and play in a professional league, as well as someone willing to pay him; can't fault him for making some cash. That said, he couldn't find like a senior league team around the area or in Canada to play for so he could compete for the Allan Cup?? Come on, now.

3. Outside of the jerseys, the Blue Jackets are playing amazing; but can they keep the pace up??

You have enjoy the Jackets because they seem like an unassuming team because many think that the bottom could still fall out. Which it could do, but the tandem of Steve Mason and Mathieu Garon is playing fantastic, Rick Nash is proving his worth, and the role players are chipping in with some secondary scoring. If (and that's a big IF) all the key cogs can keep up the pace and stay healthy-- they could be a team to watch when it comes to late in the season. If there's more injuries-- it could be a rough second-half for the Jackets.

4. It took 21 rounds, 42 shooters to end a shootout in Germany. While many people hate the shootout, doesn't a longer one create that drama??

There's plenty to dislike about the skills competition to end the game, but I think the longer it's drawn out, the more drama that's created; even in the deepest of skeptics....or not. Either way, I think that there's plenty more that can be done to prevent a shootout, like extending the overtime period. The funny thing about this is that people bitch about games ending in ties, then they bitch about the solution that's come from not making a tie. Can't win there.

5. With the introduction of Boomer in Columbus; who are the most bizarre mascot you can think of when it comes to the lexicon of hockey??

As a Caps fan, before Slapshot, there was Winger-- or as I like to call him, Ephrim the Retarded Eagle, mostly due to his out of proportion body. In St. Louis, Louie the Polar Bear is something out of sort, which I don't think is better than their possible mascot-- Cool Cat, which would have been with those crazed third jerseys in the Keenan era. However, you look at Nordy of the Minnesota Wild, the mix of the bear, fox, and yokel makes him he has a mullet.


That's another week in the books, and I hope you are as stuffed on Turkey as you are of this drivel. To contribute to make it better, email me at with your subject and it will probably make the cut when it comes to what to talk about. Huzzah!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mascot Off To A Booming Start

This is Boomer. He is the new Columbus Blue Jackets' mascot, but only when they wear their spiffy new third jerseys. According to CBJ's press release, this is the description of Boomer:
Also during the live unveiling, the team introduced a second, kid-friendly mascot, "Boomer," a cushy cannon character with a friendly face and fluffy moustache. This season, Boomer’s game-night appearances at Nationwide Arena will be reserved specially for those games in which the team wears the Third Jersey. Boomer will make his first start in conjunction with the official on-ice debut of the Third Jersey this Friday.
The jersey itself is something that I don't like, mostly because of the fact of navy blue being the new black in third jerseys, being overused. Plus, the logo seems to be overused with the logo being surrounded by text; however, I enjoy them keeping with the Civil War theme, so you have to like it, even though it looks a bit plain. It also incorporates the initials on the back neck line of former owner John H. McConnell, as the back neck line is another thing teams are using a lot of.

Yet, the big pull is Boomer....who, let's be honest-- looks very much like a penis. The jokes are just there, only with looking at the thing, the Face Off Hockey Show and Lyle Richardson of Spector's Hockey did 15 minutes of innuendo jokes on the November 24th show and it's been joked about on the Twitter, too. The question is how does this get through the marketing department without someone actually saying, "Hey, this could be a little racy." Not only did it have to get through the Jackets' marketing department, but it had to get through the NHL, too.

The shape itself and and the wheels on the side speak for itself, but the moustache is the real kicker. It's definitely something that will be (cannon) fodder for the short time until the novelty wears off (maybe), but you have to hand it to the Blue Jackets for thinking outside of the to speak. They're going with two crazy mascots: A "bee" who gets mistaken as a fictional blue jacket bug because of the name and a cannon that looks sexual in nature and could have many lewd jokes made about it.

Thinking of Photos

While searching around the interwebs for some kind of story, I stumbled on the picture you see above by Ron Morin, who shoots for the Lewiston MAINEiacs of the QMJHL. I can only assume this is an automated camera, but it made me thought about what are the best shots and where you could get some decent shots of games.

Of course, the overhead is a classic shot, as seen here. You also get a surreal feel when you see shots from the Nassau Coliseum, mostly from the warm-ups, but every now and again during the game you'll get a great shot. Nassau is so great because the lighting allows for a great shadow effect for the pictures and gives a great feel to the shot.

Recently, the shot from the bottom dasher board seems to be a new hit with the kids, as it shows a true ice level shot to the game and all. The fish-eye lens seems to be a trendy shot, as well-- mostly through the corner glass. The first use of fish-eye was in the late-70s where the Capitals and Bruins had this shot from below center ice taken, which could be one of the more interesting shots ever taken.

With the Caps, and sadly I can't find where I read it, but their old barn was great for for photographers to take snapshots for hockey cards due to the darkness. The Capital Centre didn't show the crowd that much, thus it was able to give a better focus on the player.....or something like that. I wish I was able to find that, but I'm lazy.

Another iconic shot is the shots from the goal-cam. There's many shots from there that combine the fish-eye look to it, as well as gets great shots of the goalies who just let up a goal or made an amazing save. It makes the game within the game.

What is the best shot, where are the best shots taken, is there a consensus of it all?? That's for you, the masses, to figure out. Let me hear it in the comments about your favorite type of shot or one picture that stands out to you.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Absurd Goalie Monday: John Garrett

With the "Mo-vember" celebration almost at an end, I figured I go with a guy who is known for his moustache during the hey-day in the 70's and in even now as we see him appear on TV for broadcasts. In the end, his aura of being a quick-witted, light spirited fella allowed him to be a friend in the media and then dive right into that fraternity afterwords. This week, we'll look at the career of John Garrett.

The first exposure of Garrett is when he started in the OHA with the Peterborough Petes, which was headed by Roger Nielson starting in the 1969-70 season. Between that season and the next, Garrett played 99 games with the Petes and would be loaned out to the Montreal Jr. Canadiens for the 1970 Memorial Cup, which he would go 7-1 in nine games played on way to helping Montreal to a Memorial Cup championship.

Garrett was picked in the third round of the 1971 Draft by the St. Louis Blues and would spent the 1971-72 season with the Kansas City Blues of the Central League. Garrett would get most of the time in net with 35 games over the season, but sported a mediorce 13-14-7 record in the process. For the 1972-73 season, Garrett would go over to the Western League with the Portland Buckaroos for 17 games (6-8-2) before he would be moved to the AHL and play 35 games with the Richmond Robins, as well as three playoff games-- all losses.

Not seeing much of a chance of getting to the NHL in the 1973-74 season, Garrett tried his luck with the WHA after getting picked up by the Minnesota Fighting Saints. Garrett would split time with Mike Curran in the year, playing 40 games with a 21-18-0 record as well as going 4-2 in seven playoff games. Remaining Minnesota for the 1974-75 season, Garrett would get increased time, with 58 games under his belt and a 30-23-2 record on the season and 6-6 in the post-season, losing out in the semi-finals. In the 1975-76 season, Garrett would play 58 games with the Saints, going 26-22-4 before the Saints folded mid-season.

To finish out the 1975-76 season, Garrett signed with the Toronto Toros, where he would go 3-6-0 in his nine games there. The Toros would move to Birmingham, Alabama and become the Bulls for the 1976-77 season, which saw Garrett play 65 games and go 24-34-4. Garrett would have the most losses by a goalie that year and give up the most goals at 224, even though he led the league in shutouts with four. It wouldn't get much better in the 1977-78 season, with Garrett playing 58 games, going 24-31-1, which was the most losses again and gave up 210 goals-- another league high. The Bulls would only be in the first round of the playoffs, losing in five games with Garrett playing all five games (1-4).

Garrett was traded from Birmingham to the New England Whalers, and although he was claimed by the Chicago Cougars in the expansion draft, the Whalers got him back as a priority selection before the 1978-79 season. Garrett would play 41 games with the Whalers that season, going 20-17-4 and then 4-3 in eight playoff games, losing in the semi-finals.

The Whalers would be one of the team absorbed by the NHL when the WHA closed up shop and Garrett would make the move over. Garrett would have the starting gig for the 1979-80 season, playing in 52 games with a 16-24-11 record and losing the only playoff game he played. Garrett would continue with the Whalers in the 1980-81 season, playing in 54 games sporting a disappointing 16-24-11. Garrett would go over to the World Championships with team Canada, playing in three games and giving up eight goals, as Canada finished 4th. The 1981-82 season saw Garrett play with the Whalers for 16 games, going 5-6-4 before his departure.

Garrett was traded from Hartford to the Quebec Nordiques for Michel Plasse and a fourth-round pick in the Draft. Garrett would play 12 games behind Dan Bouchard, with a 4-5-3 record. He would also get five games in the playoffs, going 3-2. Garrett would stay with Quebec for the 1982-83 season, playing 17 games with 6-8-2 record before he was on the move again.

Garrett was traded from Quebec to the Vancouver Canucks for Anders Eldebrink, as Garrett would play 17 games in the 1982-83 season and go 7-6-3 and play one playoff game, which was a win.

However, that 1982-83 season had an interesting twist, as Garrett played in the 1983 All-Star Game to replace the Canucks only representative, Richard Brodeur-- who was injured. Garrett played lights-out and was about to be named the MVP of the game. However, Wayne Gretzky scored four time in the last 10 minutes of the game, which caused a re-vote and Gretzky taking over the MVP honors.

The 1983-84 season had Garrett playing behind Brodeur, getting in 29 games and going 14-10-2 for the season, though he would get only relief duty in the playoffs. Garrett would start out with Vancouver in the 1984-85 season, playing only ten games and going 1-5-0.

Garrett was then sent to the AHL's Fredericton Express for the 1985-86 season, though he would only play three games (2-1-0) before hanging up the pads. He wasn't out for long, as Garrett was named the assistant GM of the Canucks for the remainder of the season; but would get out of the management game after that.

After hockey, Garrett went into broadcasting; first with CBC's Hockey Night In Canada from 1986 until 1998 and then onto Rogers Sportsnet, color commentating on the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks, which is where he stays to this day.

A guy who was always good for a quote and put in interesting situations, but would always step up to the table. One story is that when the Canucks had injury issues, a player chimed in that Garrett (oddly nicknamed Cheech, for....I can only imagine) could fill-in for the deplete Canucks front line, though it never came to be. While many people are hot-and-cold to Garrett commentary (mostly cold), but he's been through a lot of aspect of the hockey lexicon and has a lot of stories to tell....even if people don't want to hear it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Five: Off-Ice Clamoring

It's another week done and it's time for the F5, which is what we do every week-- but what a week.

1. Colin Campbell doesn't seem to get email-- should he have some clue??

You would have hoped that a high-level NHL executive would understand the concept of email and how it works, but it doesn't seem that way. The fact of the matter is that he could have had some idea that maybe he could be bit in the ass by something like this; but he took a chance and had to respect that. That said, you have to think that Campbell is the Teflon Don in the NHL offices, mostly because he can run his mouth like this and preside over the league discipline like he does and not get fired or knocked down. The latter part, which is his job, should be definitely focused on and the inconsistency he has shown is the reason why he should be knocked down a peg.

One last thing about the emails, he did claim it was locker room talk and he probably didn't think they would be exposed like they were due to the Dean Warren lawsuit, but it's probably a lot easier to pick up a phone to actually get it done. It's much harder to get caught, unless the other person has bugged the line. Emails are far too easy to access in this age of technology, so it's probably the most dangerous form of communication.

2. How much further can the Islanders sink in the court of public opinion??

The pulling of Chris Botta's credentials are a big blow to their already diminishing appeal, but they have that kind of call. That said, they shouldn't be shocked at the revolt they are currently experiencing from fans and onlookers a like. This is a team in turmoil and the tail-spin doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon. The fans have a right to revolt and I think they should be doing much worse when it comes to supporting this team. They need to do something huge to put them in the good graces of the Long Island sports fans, but with what has happened in the recent past; it's very doubtful it'll happen any time soon.

3. Is there any way of stopping Steven Stamkos right now??

Stamkos shows that Barry Melrose really doesn't know what he's doing. This kid is showing his natural scoring talent and is playing with a team that has a lot of experience and a lot different backgrounds to help the kid deal though all sorts of obstacles thrown at him. He's a great personality for the game, but he hampered in a market that is hot and cold to hockey and won't get the mainstream press like other teams. Stamkos will shine through one way or another and could bring the Lightning back to the Cup Finals sooner rather than later.

4. The Flames seem to be doing some moving and shaking, plus rumors about Jarome Iginla won't go away-- what can we expect next??

I think the next move has to be Jay Feaster taking over the GM role if things don't change. While the Sutters seem to run this town, but when Feaster got hired this past summer as the assistant GM; you knew that the heat was going to be on Darryl Sutter to improve this team or else he'd be usurped. As it stands right now, the Flames are 14th in the West, 27th in the league, and don't seem to be ready to rebound any time soon. If Feaster doesn't get the job by the end of the year, it'll be a shock to me.

5. Mark Messier got his first taste of coaching in Europe. How long before he's in a similar position or higher in the NHL??

Messier went 2-1-1 in his games over in Europe coaching Team Canada the exhibitions, but I think the true test for him will be when he's coaching the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland at Christmas time. As far as the NHL goes, I don't know if coaching is the right line of work, but I could see him in a front-office position over anything else. There's something about great players and coaching that doesn't usually seem to blend; but front office positions are another story. We'll see what happens in terms of the international events, but Messier will have a spot in some organization sooner rather than later after these tournaments are done.


So that's what's up. We're done another week and if you didn't like the topics, email me to get your voice heard at therefore you can make the next F5.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Riffing With Expansion and Relocation

The whole relocation/expansion gimmick has been at the forefront of many discussions in the off-season, and even during the season when people see the "non-traditional" market arenas more than half-empty for games. Especially with Winnipeg and Quebec banging their drum when it comes to getting a team in their town; I often wondered what would have happened if the past expansion teams hadn't become or if one city got replaced for another candidate.

The 1967 Expansion brought us the Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota North Stars, and the Oakland Seals. However, there was plenty of interest, including five ownership groups from LA, two from Pittsburgh, the teams that were picked, as well as ownership groups from Baltimore, Buffalo, and Vancouver-- with the last two getting teams in the next round. Cleveland and Louisville kicked tires, but never formally included into it. While I'll delved into the Baltimore hockey issues; there's not many teams who wanted to get into the league that didn't get into the league-- Cleveland getting a team via relocation from Oakland. You have to wonder if Louisville would have had the sticking power, or if they would have been like Oakland and relocate; especially considering the history of their minor league teams haven't been stellar.

While Vancouver and Buffalo were included in the 1970 Expansion, there doesn't seem to be an official expansion process with other cities being included into the wide array of expansion. Two years after that, 1972 Expansion was mostly due to the WHA's presence in the hockey lexicon, so the NHL put a team in Atlanta (Flames) and Uniondale (NY Islanders) because they had new buildings and the NHL wanted to keep the WHA out of them. The 1974 Expansion of the Kansas City Scouts and Washington Capitals also seemed like it was to be without much competition, or at least what the internet yields. It also ended the eight year span NHL president Clarence Campbell had in place for the leagues viability.

However, during that year was the first relocation rumors that popped up. Apparently, in early 1975, newspapers were saying that the Pittsburgh Penguins were going to relocate to Seattle and the California Golden Seals were heading to Denver; two cities who Campbell had awarded conditional franchises to for the 1976-77 season. The Penguins were due to the creditors wanting their debt repaid, but thanks to North Stars' coach Wren Blair and his intervention; the team stayed in Pittsburgh. The Golden Seals' deal to Denver fell through and were ran by a San Francisco hotel magnate and would have been moved to San Fran, but that's another deal that didn't happen to plan. The Seals would then move to Cleveland for the 1976-77 season.

Relocation was an interesting deal, as the Seals moving to Cleveland-- then they would merge with the Minnesota North Stars two seasons later. The Kansas City Scouts would relocate to Colorado and become the Rockies from 1976 until 1982, when they would relocate to New Jersey and become the present day Devils. In addition, with the relocation-- the Edmonton Oilers, Hartford Whalers, Winnipeg Jets, and Quebec Nordiques all joined the NHL from the WHA, which had merged in 1979. The Atlanta Flames would move to Calgary, which complimented the Edmonton team properly.

It wasn't until 1991 when the San Jose Sharks came into the league as a result of the previous Minnesota North Stars selling the team to other investors after a failed move of the North Stars to the Bay Area. It would kick start the next wave of expansion, that was supposed to start in the 1992-93 season. The candidates for the second wave included San Jose, Seattle, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Tampa, Dallas, Phoenix, San Diego, Anaheim, Hamilton, and Ottawa. With the 1992-93 season, both Tampa and Ottawa were inducted into NHL membership, while Anaheim and the unmentioned Miami (Florida Panthers) were brought into the league.

In the mid-90s, many teams had relocated from their destination. The Minnesota North Stars started the movement by moving to Dallas. Oddly enough, most of them came from the WHA era, as the Hartford Whalers moved to North Carolina, Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix, and the Quebec Nordiques moved to Denver.

Oddly enough, the second-wave had all the candidate cities have a team after it was all said and done, with Milwaukee, Hamilton, and San Diego being left out in the cold; though they had a great legacy of minor league hockey to show for it. In the grand scheme, it's probably for the best of it all for those cities to have the minor league version, though Hamilton would beg to differ.

The last small wave of the expansion started in 1997 with Nashville, Atlanta, Houston, Minnesota, Oklahoma City, and Columbus being the prime candidates. As we know by now, Nashville came in for 1998, Atlanta in 1999, while Minnesota and Columbus finished out the expansion in least for now.

I don't know if there's been as much as an uproar over relocation in the history of the NHL. Sure, there has been some issues in markets, but it seems more prevalent in this day in age and people are freaking out more and more about teams relocating to survive. Oddly enough, the debate about contraction doesn't seem to come up all that often, though it should. I don't know what this is all about....probably just filler-- but I feel that with all the stuff happening around the league with some teams-- it's a good time to have a history lesson.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Axing Gordon From His Fishermen

I get puns.

But seriously, the New York Islanders made the first move in the coaching shuffle by firing Scott Gordon. Granted, it's more of a "relief of duties" as Gordon will be an adviser to GM Garth Snow, which means he's just behind Kevin "E" Connolly in that department. Jack Capuano was named interim coach, but Snow wouldn't commit to Capuano for the long-term.

Many fans of the Islanders are question why they are still fans of the team. In fact, Satellite Radio's Gregg "Opie" Hughes of the amazing "Opie and Anthony" radio show pinned most of the blame on the goaltending tandem of Dwayne Roloson and Rick DiPietro:

And Mr. Hughes has a point, that both Roloson and DiPietro aren't the most desirable tandem, maybe they should have had the three-headed-monster with re-signing Marty Biron-- not like they didn't have the cap space, that's for sure. To Roloson's defense, he is 17th in save percentage, mostly due to be barraged with shots.

The team itself has a lot of decent young talent, but normally, you don't have them on the ice at the same time. Usually, you have some decent veteran presence along to teach these guys. Sure, Doug Weight is a nice veteran, but you want to have someone to be able to play alongside of them and not just be the player/coach kind of role. You can have all the great young talent in the world, but you don't have someone there to aid them, it's not going to work out in the short-term.

Of course, injuries play their part, as Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo got injured in the pre-season and that may have helped a little bit, but don't know if it would have been able to completely reverse the woes that the Islanders have had.

Even with all these things, how much does the franchise expect out of Gordon or any coach for that matter?? It's kind of hard to expect the world out of this team when there's so much room for improvement. Even Islanders great Al Arbour may have an issue coaching this team and trying to get them back on the winning track. When you have James Wisniewski as your top's a little hard to swallow. Luckily, the goal-scorers are still John Tavares and Matt Moulson, who have six apiece, but it doesn't help the rest of the team has 25 more in 17 games. Only the Maple Leafs and Devils have less goals for than the Islanders so far.

Granted, Long Island isn't the most sought after place to be-- not just because of the arena, but they are in a rough division and are already at a disadvantage; thus going into a bad situation probably won't attract the free agents. Maybe during the 1980s years, sure-- but now, it's like a death sentence. But what can you say about it all, Charles Wang thinks he has everything going the way he wants to and for a second, he did when the Isles squeaked into the playoffs a few seasons back. However, since then-- it's been downhill and rumors are about as to what's next for the franchise in Uniondale.

Larry Brooks has suggested that the team move to Queens, while many say that teaming up with the New Jersey Nets and be like Colin Quinn and go to Brooklyn. Many have thought that the Kansas City option could be there if push came to shove. This is all depended upon what happens with the new arena possibility on Long Island, of course, and the Isles have some years left on their lease at Nassau Coliseum; so we can't put the cart in front of the horse.

The end game now is whether or not Capuano can turn the ship around. If he can't-- what's the next step?? Do they actually make moves that'll benefit the team or do they stay with the status quo and hope that they can have a revolving door of coaches and maybe one will stick. Have to wonder if Ted Nolan could have better with this team if he stayed around.

Now, it's just a wait and see game. It's now up to the players to respond or risk their own gigs in the organization. If they can actually do better-- then it was the right decision. If they stay the same; well....expect this to be going around for some time now when it comes to the Long Islanders.

Absurd Goalie Monday: Joe Miller

It's time to go into the way back machine for this AGM entry, who has quite the tale to tell. This goalie was a top amateur goalie, who plotted his way through the ranks, ended up with a sub-par team, but still managed to earn a Stanley Cup championship in probably the most unlikely way and I don't mean because of the team he was on. This week, we profile the career of Joe Miller.

Miller started out his career back in an exhibition based league, playing for the Pittsburgh AA's, where he would dominate, winning 37 out of the 40 games he played in at only 16 years old. Miller would stay in the exhibition league, playing the 1917-18 season with the Renfrew Creamery Kings-- but he would only play in seven games with a 4-3-0 record.

With the 1918-19 season, Miller would move to the Ottawa City Hockey League to play for the Ottawa New Edinburghs. Miller would play only four games in the first season, going 3-1-0 with two coming by way of shutout. The 1919-20 season would give Miller more time, with seven games played and a 4-2-0 record. In both the 1920-21 and 1921-22 season, Miller would see a downturn in his stats, even though he got more time in the net. The '20-21 season had Miller in the net for 11 games with a 4-6-1 record, while an 13 game season in '21-22 would yield a 4-7-2 record. The New Edinburghs would improved for the 1922-23 season, with a 10-6-2 record for Miller at the end of the season and a playoff appearance, which would end badly with a 1-3-1 record, where apparently ties were possible. Miller's last season with the New Edinburghs would be the 1923-24 season, where he would go 9-3-0 in his 12 games, but go 0-2 in the playoffs.

With the 1924-25 season, Miller would go back to Pittsburgh to play with the Fort Pitt Panthers of the USAHA. Miller would play 22 games, going 17-5-0; but the playoffs seemed to be a hinderance to him, going 1-3 in his four appearances. Miller would move to the Central Hockey League (the first incarnation) and play with the St. Paul Saints in the 1925-26 season. Miller would post six shutouts in his 38 games during the '25-26 campaign. The Saints moved to the AHA in the 1926-27 season, which had Miller play 30 games with a 13-12-5 record.

NHL teams were lined-up to get Miller, and he would finally sign. Miller would play with the New York Americans in the 1927-28 season for half of the season, going 8-16-4 in 28 games. The second half of the season, Miller went to the CPHL to play for the Niagara Falls Cataracts, where he would put up two shutouts in the 13 games he played there.

Yet, the 1928 playoffs were something that Miller never would have gotten to if it wasn't for a little luck. In the Stanley Cup finals, New York Rangers goalie Lorne Chabot got injured during Game Two. Rangers' GM Lester Patrick had a deal in place with the Americans to take Miller out on a loan, but the Montreal Maroons wouldn't allow Miller to play in Game Two, forcing Patrick to take the reigns, and win. Miller would take over in Game Three of the Finals, which would be the only game he lost. Miller only let in three goals in the last three games of the Finals, carrying the Rangers to winning the Stanley Cup.

After the Cup Finals, the Americans got Miller back, but would trade him to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Roy Worters. The 1928-29 season was rough for Miller, as he played a league high 44 games, but had one of the worst records with a 9-27-8 record with an astonishing 11 shutouts. It wouldn't get much better for the 1929-30 season for Miller or the Pirates, as he would go 5-30-3 in his 43 games. The Pirates moved from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia to become the Quakers, but the change of scenery didn't help Miller, as he would go 2-9-1 in 12 games for the Quakers.

Miller would play one more season in the IHL with the Syracuse Stars in the 1931-32 season, but would go a subpar 5-12-3 in 20 games. After that, he would hang up the pads for good.

Miller passed away at the age of 62 in 1963.

Though he didn't have the most orthodox career, he was able to get the job done when called upon and was able to deal with being thrown into the Finals with no prep at all. Of course, the teams he did play on seemed to let him down a bit once he got to the NHL, but he was the king of the amateurs and had enough buzz about him to get a deal in the NHL and get his chance, albeit in the most unorthodox way possible.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Five: Changes for Better or Worse

It's time for another Friday Five, wrapping up the week in a nice little bow and with some inane commentary on my part-- which is what you've expected from this blog.

1. Is the failed shootout attempt by Ilya Kovalchuk a microcosm of what we can expect the rest of the season for the Devils??

Oh, poor Kovy. Yet, it's something that doesn't seem to be unexpected in the Devils' highlight reel these days. More over, a picture of injured Devils Zach Parise, Martin Brodeur, and Jacob Josefson adds to the depression the Devils have endured. Yet, it's hard to blame Kovalchuk for his on-ice play, but his off-ice contract issues are partial reasoning for the short-handedness of the Devils; while bad luck (and maybe some karma) is the other reasoning behind it all. They can turn it around-- but they'll be hardpressed to do so.

2. With the changes to the format, will there be a change to the actual gameplay??

It probably won't and it shouldn't, to be honest. The All-Star Game won't be any different than other All-Star Games, with the exception of the MLB. This is an exhibition and always has been-- it should not be turned into a serious game because of the fact that you want all the big names on display and you want them to enjoy the game again and take the heat off of them that they experience on the every day grind during the season. It should be looked at as nothing more than what it is-- all stars in a game.

3. What teams are the most Jekyll and Hyde team out there thus far?? (Thanks Hammer)

One of them has to the be the Chicago Blackhawks, who look lights-out one night and then pathetic the next night. Same could go with the Dallas Stars, who looked very dominate, but now look like they're going back down to Earth in some sorts. Most of the teams seem to be out West, like Nashville, who's seemed to settle down, and Anaheim, who has heated up in the past couple of weeks. Out East, I don't see many teams out there, as they seem to be going by the formula, though Carolina could be a contender for that as the season goes on, especially after their big defeat on Thursday against Philadelphia. Plus, depending on how Pittsburgh goes in the next while, they could be placed on this list.

4. Speaking of Pittsburgh, how much turmoil is in that locker room now, especially since Sidney Crosby and Dan Bylsma seem to have differing opinions??

I don't think it's a big issue right now, but it could become one. With Marc-Andre Fleury struggling and Brent Johnson stepping up in a big way, there's always going to be questions, should that trend continue. However, it seems the Penguins are a different team and their lack of dominant play could be troublesome down the road, and it could be all due to their new building. Okay, maybe that's not the case, but still something you could probably give to the tin-hat brigade or whatever. They have time to turn it around, but their killer instinct doesn't seem to be there as it has in years past.

5. The Hartford Wolfpack play their last game in the AHL this weekend. Do you think this mid-season switch is as silly before as you did when it first was announced??

I think it's more silly, mostly because they pushed the change earlier than mid-season. If you're doing that-- why not just do it from the start?? That's crap to the Wolfpack following who have been through thick and thin, who are getting killed mid-season. This whole fiasco seems to be very rushed and very thrown together-- which I guess is alright, but a mid-season name change like this has not happened since.....maybe the WHA days when teams would move from a city to another in order to survive.


And that's a wrap. You want to be included?? Email me at and give your two-cents and you're on your way to be included. That way-- you have the right to bitch if you don't like the answer or format. If you don't submit, you have no rights-- NONE!!!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Fixing the ASG

According to TSN's guru Darren Dreger, the All-Star Game process will be fixed in a way that the captains of the two sides will be picking their own team. This way, the players will be in control of the roster where "game recognizes game."

The best part about this is the exclusion of the fans from this process. On The Show and in the media for years, we've talked about the stupidity of fans when it comes to voting. Especially with the internet being as popular as it is today, campaigns like "Vote for Rory," where Rory Fitzpatrick would get voted onto the All-Star team; and now more recently with a possible "Vote for BizNasty" which would be the same by with Paul Bissonnette, it's proof positive that the fans don't take it seriously.

And they shouldn't have to.

But at the same time, you'd think they'd want some kind of respectible roster for this glorified shiny game; but since it is a shiny game in the end-- you can't be surprised or repulsed by the mockery they make of the once prideful exhibition. The game itself doesn't have the same shine it used to have and when people get tired of it-- they'll do anything to wreck it or to at least get it noticed that it needs to get fixed in some fashion or another. You'd think that the NHL would get it and the fan's mockery would give the game a whole overhaul.

Not so much.

But the captain's picking the team is somewhat of a change. Whether it's a step in the right direction or not, who's to say-- but it's a step. The next thing is to do something to make it meaningful again because there's no such thing as conference pride. I doubt the MLB model, where the winner is the home-team of the Stanley Cup final, will be what curses it all and give it meaning; but something more needs to be done. While this is a solid change, more has to be done about it. I also don't think putting it as the Winter Classic would work because it'd limit the options the places that could hold it....though with technology, it could be anywhere, I'm sure. Plus, it'd take out an outdoor regular season game-- which would be so bad in the end and the picking of the teams would bring back the pick-up aspect.

In any case, the captains would have to live and die with their decision and it'll create some more interesting subplots if they selected a player over another more qualified player. Also, does this mean that each team has to be represented it or does that go out the window now and it's pretty much free reign?? Granted-- picking from 15 teams shouldn't be too hard, but in the same breath-- if you're put under the gun to pick someone from a non-star-studded team over a player who's decent but already has a representative from their team-- it'd be rough to deal with the perimeters.

The best part about this, the game could have players everyone can enjoy rather than fans picking a player based on an internet meme. While we all enjoy the hilarity aspect of an often healthy scratch or fringe player being a starter in the ASG, it definitely signaled the need for change to the whole ASG format. Maybe this is the start of a complete overhaul or if this is the complete overhaul, but at least some kind of steps are being made.....or not-- it's hard to tell for now.

Playing "What If" With "Slap Shot"

I've been in the midst of reading the book "The Making of Slap Shot" by Jonathon Jackson and even four chapters in, there's a lot of interesting ins and outs that maybe some of the die-hard fans of the cult film didn't know about. You have to wonder what would have happened in each case.

For example, the original title that Nancy Dowd had for it was "Hat Trick." While it does stick with the hockey terminology, the fact of the matter is that it seems a little too "Disney" if you will. With the script as gritty as it is, the fact remains that it would have been stuck with "Hat Trick," it may have not gotten the appeal it does today. Slapshot fits the element of the film and the script.

However, the most interesting thing was the casting of Reg Dunlop. Apparently, Al Pacino was the first to jump to the part. It obviously raises the question of how the movie would have been with Pacino rather than Paul Newman. Many people can't even fathom the hockey film without Newman, much less someone like Pacino taking the role-- someone who could be an opposite in demeanor in terms of acting. But how would the role have been different?? Would Pacino been a little too fierce for the role, would he have overshadowed the role that the Hanson Brothers had, would he have changed the script (something that I believe was talked about in the book)?? Also, Jack Nicholson was talked about, too before the casting of Newman.

But the thing I liked about the book is the build-up it takes in order to get to the actual making of the movie. It's not so much a behind the scene retrospective of the movie, but it has all the research of the movie that Dowd put into it in following the Johnstown Jets and chronicling the whole thing to put into the movie. While I didn't think I'd be all that interesting in the build-up, I don't know if I could do without it in hindsight. Especially the other guys thought of to play Dunlop other than Newman.

Like I said, I'm not even a quarter of a way through it and I can't wait to continue on with it. Jackson did his work and really, as Dickie Dunn would say, captured the spirit of the thing. I can only hope that as they get into the whole making of the movie, the anticipation continues on-- which I'm sure it will.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Absurd Goalie Monday: Stephane Beauregard

Definitely, this week's AGM completely goes with the equation of the past AGMs where they are solid in their amateur career, but when they got to the show-- they wouldn't live up to the hype. However, this week's AGM has the distinction for being traded for Dominik Hasek, as well as being named for the janitor on the Muppet Show. This week, we look at the career of Stephane Beauregard.

Starting off in Midget AAA with the Richelieu Riverains for the 1985-86 season, Beauregard went 10-11-0 in 21 games, while going 3-2 in five playoffs games. The 1986-87 season saw him go into the QMJHL with the St-Jean Castors in a back-up role. He would go 6-7-0 in the season and would take over the starting role in the playoffs, but would only go 1-3 in his five appearances. The next season, Beauregard would be the starter and break out in a big way. For the 1987-88 season, Beauregard would go 38-20-3 for his 66 games, although he would only go 3-4 in seven playoff games. Despite an early exit, Beauregard would be on the QMJHL First All-Star Team, QMJHL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and Canadian Major Junior Goaltender of the Year.

With the buzz around him, the Winnipeg Jets snagged Beauregard in the second round of the 1988 Draft; which allowed him to make the jump to the AHL with the Moncton Hawks in the 1988-89 season. Beauregard would start off with Moncton, playing in 15 games, going 4-8-2 before being sent down to the IHL's Fort Wayne Komets, where he would play another 16 games, going 9-5-0. He would play in the 1989 Playoffs, going 4-4 in nine games with the Komets. Beauregard would start the 1989-90 season back with Fort Wayne, playing in 33 games and going 20-8-3 before he would receive the call up to Winnipeg. With the Jets, he would get 19 games in behind another AGM, Bob Essensa, going 7-8-3 and would go 1-3 in the playoffs for the Jets. At the start of the 1990-91 season, Beauregard would be in Winnipeg behind Essensa-- but after 16 games and a 3-10-1 record, he would be sent down to Moncton for nine games (3-4-1), then ultimately heading back to Fort Wayne. In Fort Wayne, he would go 14-13-2 in 32 games and lead the Komets to the Turner Cup Finals with a 10-9 record, but would lose in the Finals to the Peoria Rivermen. With the 1991-92 season, Beauregard would deal with not only injuries, but the carousel of goalies of Essensa and another AGM, Rick Tabaracci. Even so, Beauregard got 26 games in with a 6-8-6 record for the year.

The summer of 1992 is one that had Beauregard go everywhere and nowhere. Beauregard was first traded from Winnipeg to Buffalo for Christian Ruuttu and future considerations in June. Then, from Buffalo, Beauregard was traded with Eric Daze to Chicago for Dominik Hasek on August 7th, then on the 10th; Beauregard was traded from Chicago BACK to Winnipeg for Christian Ruuttu....again. Finally, on the eve of the season, Beauregard was traded from Winnipeg to Philadelphia. Got that??

So, Beauregard was with the Flyers, playing behind two other AGMs-- Dominic Roussel and Tommy Soderstrom, but would be send down to Hershey mid-season to play with the AHL's Bears. In Philly, Beauregard would play 16 games, going 3-9-0, while the story in Hershey wasn't much better; as he would go 5-5-3 in 13 games there.

The summer of 1993 was a little more tame, as Beauregard was traded from Philadelphia back to Winnipeg for future consideration. However, he would only spend 13 games, mostly in a replacement role, in Winnipeg-- going 0-4-1. The bulk of the 1993-94 season had Beauregard in Moncton of the AHL, playing 37 games with an 18-11-6 record. Beauregard would help the Moncton Hawks get to the Calder Cup finals with a 12-9 record, but lost in the Finals to the Portland Pirates. Beauregard would play for the Springfield Indians for the 1994-95 season, playing 24 games with a 10-11-3 record in the season.

Starting in the 1995-96 season, Beauregard would play in the IHL, first with the San Francisco Spiders, playing 69 games for the team and going 36-24-8 on the year, allowing him to take home IHL First-Team Honors, as well as the IHL MVP award for the season. The Spiders disbanded after that season, which led Beauregard back to Quebec with the Rafales in the 1996-97 season. While in Quebec, Beauregard played 67 games with a 35-20-11 record. Beauregard sat out most of the 1997-98 season, but would pick up with the Chicago Wolves to fill in for yet another AGM, Wendell Young, and would play 18 games with a 10-6-0 record and then a 10-4 record in the playoffs, as the Wolves would win the Turner Cup championship.

Beauregard would set out for a European adventure in the 1998-99 season with Switzerland's HC Davos, where he would play 45 games in the regular season-- sadly there's no record online of it all. Beauregard would then move to Germany to play with Schwenninger Wild Wings, playing 58 games with four shutouts, before call it a career after the 1999-2000 season.

While he got lost in the shuffle during the NHL part of his career, he did seem to find a niche while playing in the IHL, where he had most of his success. But, like I said, he did follow the formula of past AGMs and did unintentionally cross paths with other AGMs in the process.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Friday Five: Injury Bug and Relief

It's the end of another week and time for the F5. First off, thanks to those who enjoyed the story of Matt Mitchell's pads and the goalie himself, as it blew up big time. Sadly, it won't get better than that, I'm afraid-- but hey, I won't stop trying.

1. With Zach Parise and Martin Brodeur hurting, will the bad luck end in Jersey??

At least the Brodeur injury doesn't seem that serious-- though if it is, there's going to be issue, moreso. The Parise injury hurts on the actual team side in terms of scoring, but for the salary-wise, it's quite the relief. Unless there's a drastic change in attitude, I don't know if there's anything that can save this teams right now. It's almost like this is the mulligan year for the Devils after the years of success; which happens every now and again to even the most elite of teams. The ebbs and flows of parity is showing right now.

2. What's Bobby Holik's deal and why does he have such an axe to grind with the Devils??

The thing you have to appreciate is Holik coming out and being the outspoken guy he's become on the NHL Network and beyond. That said, there has to be some kind of underlying issue which makes him more critical of the Devils, a team he has two Cup rings with. Granted, everyone and their mother have been critical of the Devils, but Holik has been beyond that and it's a bit refreshing at one end of it and a bit "enough already" at the other end. We all know the Kovalchuk deal was bad, we're seeing the result on the ice-- but there's a point where it just stops being a topic because it's widely known as a bad move for everyone.

3. Staying in the Tri-State area, are we seeing the true New York Islanders or is it a bump in the road??

This is more than just a bump in the road, but it's not something they can't get out of. The issue I have is that they left Rick DiPietro in for two games in a row after he let up more than four goals. While I know they want to get the most out of his contract and out of his body while he's healthy-- there's a point where you have to switch it up and put Dwayne Roloson in there to help stop the bleeding and give the team a chance to win. The injury issues are a bit much, but at the same time-- guys have to step up and not use it as an excuse. If they don't improve in another month, all is definitely lost.

4. Daniel Briere has been suspended and Joe Thronton has a hearing Friday afternoon-- will this send a message to star players that they aren't infallible??

It's definitely a good message if they actually receive it as something they need to tone down. You look at this week also having fights with Jarome Iginla and Sidney Crosby, which is the way it should be done if star players feel like throwing their weight around-- drop the gloves and settle it the way you can within the perimeter of the rules. If you're cheapshotting guys when you're an elite player, it's silly when you actually have a rule allowing you to settle stuff without resorting to cheapshots.

5. The SPHL has a rule where their overtime is immediately a 3-on-3 situation. Is this the way to go or is there another way??

You have to give the SPHL props for going to this drastic of a measure, skipping over 4-on-4 altogether. However, I'm with JonnyP and other guys saying they should extend the 4-on-4 to a ten minute segment and seeing how that goes before reducing the players or going right to the shootout. The NHL coming out of the lockout was supposed to be about creating chances and while 3-on-3 does create chances in overtime, the 4-on-4 for a longer period of time would do just the same, but closer to the spirit of the game rather than gimmicks.....though I love me some gimmicks


Another week in the books, and if you have a topic that you'd want to be tackled, you can get in touch with me via electronic mail. is the place to contact me and you can just get your question answered by me.....isn't that thrilling??

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Epicness of the Maryland Flag in Pad Form

My buddy, Geoff (aka G$) sent me the picture you see above via Twitter and I thought it was the most amazing thing ever. As a Marylander (even though living in Calgary), the flag is a great sense of pride and for the goalie for the Terrapins putting them on his pads?? Just beyond awesome.

So, in doing some research on the University of Maryland Ice Hockey website, I found out that the pads belonged to Matt Mitchell. Thanks to Club President Darren Taillie, I was able to get in touch with Mitchell for a little look at the inspiration of the pads and the season for the Terps.


Scotty Wazz: Matt, you definitely have some interesting sets of pads there, what made you go with the Maryland flag design??

Matt Mitchell: To put it straight forward, I think Maryland has the best flag I have ever seen for any state or country. I missed all of last season injured, so I had a lot of free time on my hands to think about everything hockey (including gear, of course). I was getting ready to order my likely final set of pads for my college career and I just kind of thought, hey, why not go all out on them. Then I just kind of realized that if you turn our flag sideways it split perfectly on a set of pads, and I was set.

SW: What was the reaction from team when you broke them out??

MM: HAHA, it was interesting. A lot of the guys knew they were coming before I had them and loved the idea. When they got there they looked even better than expected, so I didn't get chirped hardly at all by the guys. I remember the first practice I wore them for one of my teammates, Augie Gardner, showed up late and didn't notice them when he got on the ice. The first time he was coming down to shoot on me in a drill he looked up and stopped, mid-drill, and screamed "OH MY GOD!" It was hysterical.

SW: Since it's one of the best flags in North America because of the design, has it been a distraction to your teammates during practice or to the opponents during the game??

MM: You know, I really didn't think anything of the distraction idea when I planned them out. After our first game when we beat Towson I had a couple of guys come up to me afterwords and tell me how confusing it was looking up and seeing the graphics and trying to see the net, so I guess they work.

SW: Moving on from that, you're in your third year with the Terps and the team only has one loss. What is different from this season than last??

MM: A lot of things. As I said, I wasn't around for games last season so I didn't really know what was going on all that much, but it previous years there was a lot of ego in the locker room. A lot of guys were "me me me" and kept fighting in the locker room, it was a mess. This year we have a really close knit group of guys and a great freshman class. Pat St. Clair came in and ended up being an immediate top-line defenseman, and Sean "Diddy" Combs (yes, we call him Diddy) who we thought would be a fourth-line grinder already is nearly double-digits in points. It's just all really clicking for us right now.

SW: Playing in the ACCHL, how are the rivalries with the other ACC team in comparison to other sports, like basketball and football and such??

MM There are definitely a couple of teams that we don't get along with and love beating in our league, yes. We haven't seen Duke yet, but when we host them in College Park next month we are having a big white out game.

But I think our best rivalries actually fall outside of the league. We have already been really chippy with Towson, and Virginia Tech (who left the ACC this year) is another team we really want to beat. I tried to play the Tech game after being in a big car accident (with a concussion, oops) and probably cost us that game, so that's one I'm really looking forward to getting our hands on in Blacksburg later this season.

SW: Moving forward, do you think you guys can keep up this killer pace??

MM: Definitely. There is no reason for us to lose a league game we don't think. Obviously we haven't seen all of the ACCHL yet, but we feel like we're a really strong team this year. Our goal is to win the ACCHL, do some damage at regionals, and hopefully make a run at Nationals this year, so hopefully we can accomplish all of that.


Definitely a solid story for Mitchell and really great to see the pride for state and school in all of this. I couldn't think of a better look for a guy playing with the University of Maryland. Best of luck to Mitchell and the rest of the Terps, so if you're in the Maryland area or the ACC region, go to the website and check them out. FEAR THE TURTLE!!!

Thanks to Darren Taillie and Matt Mitchell for this, and again-- go to the Terps site and support them.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Make It Nine Outdoor Games

In what could be the biggest gimmick to not die since the Brooklyn Brawler....there's yet ANOTHER outdoor game going on. The Connecticut Whale (nee Hartford Wolf Pack) announced that they would be holding an outdoor game against the Providence Bruins as part as Whalers Hockey Fest 2011 on February 19th.

So, let's see what kind of count we have for outdoor games this year:

AJHL: November 26th, 2010: Drayton Valley Thunder at Fort McMurray Oil Barons
NCAA: December 4th, 2010: Concordia University at Adrian College Bulldogs
NCAA: December 11th, 2010: Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Wolverines
NHL: January 1st, 2011: Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins
WHL: January 15th, 2011: Kootenay Ice at Spokane Chiefs
Finnish Elite: February 5th, 2011: Jokerit at HIFK
AHL: February 19th, 2011: Providence Bruins at Connecticut Whale
NHL: February 20th, 2011: Montreal Canadiens at Calgary Flames
WHL: February 21st, 2011: Regina Pats at Calgary Hitmen

So, how Henry Winkler isn't going to every game to jump over the rinks-- because this idea has truly jumped the shark because it's a nice little cash grab. You know it's out of hand when the Central League and Southern Professional League get into the mix below the Mason-Dixon Line. Plus, you can bet there's going to be a Russian game, as they have done it in the past-- so it's getting to the breaking point. Sad, because it could have been something special-- now it's oversaturated.

Hitmen Hit With Junior Hockey Reality

This past May, the Calgary Hitmen were on top of the WHL, winning the Chynoweth Cup for league champions and on their way to the Memorial Cup. Right now, they sit in last place in all of the WHL with a 4-11-0 record. They are on the verge of not making the playoffs for the first time in the 13 years. And GM Kelly Kisio is irate.

Thus is the life of Junior Hockey, where the turnaround and the roster shuffling is almost as bad as constant free agency. The Hitmen felt it hard with the loss of goaltender Martin Jones and scorers Brandon Kozun, Ian Schultz, and Joel Broda to the professional ranks, as well as Zak Stebner to a trade earlier in the year; but they have had big losses before and been able to transition easily, but this year seems to be the breaking point for them. While it could be the early season woes, it may take some drastic moves. If the Hitmen don't make the playoffs, they'd be the first WHL team who was the previous year champion to not make the playoffs the next season (so long as the WHL website and Wikipedia hasn't swayed me wrong).

To put it in perspective, Jones won the WHL Goalie of the Year, Top Goalie in the Memorial Cup, WHL Playoff MVP, and was on the Canadian World Junior team-- how do you think a team would play without someone like that?? Kozun and Broda combined for 71 goals in 65 games last season and Kozun added 71 assists, as well. Schultz was a heart and soul guy with 150 PIMs along with 24 goals in 70 games. Plus, their defense is depleted with Giffen Nyren, Tyler Shattock, and Stebner all off the team for one reason or another (trade or pros). That drastic of a turnover is something that may not be seen again...or could be, depends on the team.

This shows how rough and how loyal junior fans have to be in terms of dealing with all of these turnarounds and the uncertainty of a dynasty kind of ordeal. Plus, it also goes to show how hard it is to manage one of these teams-- dealing with getting a solid roster year-in and year-out, plus making the moves to deal with import players (only two per roster) and dealing with overage players who haven't caught on with the pros (only three 20-year-olds to each roster). It's a taunting task to get everyone a taste of some playing time so they're not left in the lurch a few years down the road.

Sure, the option of trading away prospects to an awful team for their star player could work-- but there's going to come a time where that'll bite you in the ass because there's going to come a time where the prospects wash up. With a team doing well, they won't have priority in the bantam drafts, thus won't have the talent others get to replenish their system.

Like I said before, the Hitmen have been able to bounce back with the losses of many big players, but that's because they were able to get ice time to the younger guys and get a lot of their role players-- doesn't seem to be the case this season for one reason or another. Luckily, the season is still young, there's moves to be made, and there's a chance that other teams can lose some players to injury-- but as it looks right now, the Hitmen are about to make history for all the wrong reasons.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Absurd Goalie Monday: Roman Turek

While this week's AGM is a recent retiree, it has been almost seven years since he last played in the NHL. Even so, he's been bumped many a time during his NHL tenure, which probably led him to this returning to his home country in the end. This week, we'll take a look at the career of Roman Turek.

For the bulk of the upbringing of Turek, he spent it in his home country of the Czech Republic, playing in the Czech Jr. league from 1987-88 until 1989-90 with Motor Ceske Budejovice Jr. team. He would also get his shots at two World Junior Championships for then Czechoslovakia, winning bronze in both the 1989 and 1990 World Juniors for Czech0slovakia. Thanks to his performances, he was selected in the 1990 Entry Draft by the Minnesota North Stars in the sixth round.

Instead of going over to North America, Turek would stay over in the Czech Republic with Motor Ceske Budejovice of the Czech League starting in 1990-91 and would play in 157 from 1990-91 until the 1994-95 season. He would have a 3.23 GAA, but sadly-- I cannot find any win-loss record for him. Turek would also participate in two World Championships and an Olympics for the Czechs, being named to the World Championship All-Star team in 1995.

Turek would move over to the German Elite League in the 1995-96 season with the Nuremberg Ice Tigers, playing 48 games with a 3.32 GAA. Turek would have a breakout performance in the 1996 World Championships, going 7-0-1 while the Czech Republic would take home gold and Turek would be named best goaltender of the tournament and a second straight All-Star team in the World Championships. Turek would play in the 1996 World Cup, but would go 0-3-0 as the Czech didn't get out of qualifying round.

Turek would make a jump to North America to playing for the Michigan K-Wings of the IHL for the 1996-97 season, but would be hampered with injuries, that would only have him see 29 games of action. He would finish with a 8-13-4 record in Michigan and would get six games of action with the Dallas Stars in a call-up, going 3-1-0 in those appearances. Turek would be the back-up to Ed Belfour in the 1997-98 season in Dallas, getting in 23 games of action with an 11-10-1 record, as well as a 1-1-0 record in Michigan while recovering from another injury. It was a crowning season for Turek in the 1998-99 season, where Turek would shine in his 26 appearances this season, going 16-3-3 and being a part of a William Jennings Trophy tandem with Belfour for lowest combined goals-against. Also Turek was long for the ride, as the Dallas Stars won the Stanley Cup that spring.

With his stock high and another young goalie up through the ranks, Turek was traded from Dallas to the St. Louis Blues for a 2nd round draft pick, only one day after the Stars won the Cup. In an effort to prove his old team wrong, Turek lit up the league with the Blues, going 42-15-9 in 67 games with seven shutouts and a 1.95 GAA; allowing him to win the Jennings Trophy again; but he would flame out in the playoffs, getting upset by the 8th seeded San Jose Sharks in the first round. Turek's time in 2000-01 season could be shortened by the emergence of Brent Johnson, as he would play 54 games, going 24-18-10 in the regular season, but Turek went 9-5 in the playoffs, help getting the Blues to the Conference Finals.

It wasn't enough for the Blues, who would actually ship Turek with a 4th round pick to the Calgary Flames for Fred Brathwaite, Daniel Tkaczuk, Sergei Varlamov, and a 9th round pick. Turek took over on a somewhat dismal Flames team as the start in the 2001-02 season and played 69 games with a 30-28-11 record, coupled with five shutouts. Turek would have a decent 2002-03 season, with a 27-29-9 record in 65 games. However, the 2003-04 season would be good for the Flames, but bad for Turek-- as he would be sidelined for 39 games with an injured MCL; which allowed the Flames to acquire Miikka Kiprusoff, making Turek the back-up when he finally did come back. Turek would only play 18 games with a 6-11-0 record and was on the bench for the Flames Stanley Cup run, as they would lose in the Finals.

During the lockout, Turek said that he would take a pay-cut to stay with the Flames, but when he returned home to play for HC Ceske Budejovice again for the 2004-05, which is where he would stay until his retirement following the 2009-10 season. Turek would play 205 games in those seasons, with a 2.34 GAA in those games and 20 shutouts.

It seemed just as the getting was good, Turek would have a bump in the road when it came to getting stellar success. While he has a Stanley Cup rings, International success, and some individual trophies, Turek will probably never been seen as a solid goaltender on the NHL scale. It seems that he'll always get lost in the generation of goaltenders better than him-- which could be construed as a shame to some, not so much to others.