Thursday, 16 November 2017

The Hockey Show - Episode 269

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns to the 101.5 FM frequency and the internet airwaves tonight with a special in-studio guest! We're always thrilled to have great guests in-studio, and this man's career saw him criss-cross North America and the globe on his professional hockey adventure! He did spend parts of two seasons with the Manitoba Moose before returning here where he's been honing his skills in coaching! Tonight, we get to meet one of the men I used to watch when the AHL was big hockey in Winnipeg as Beans and I welcome Josh Green to the show!

First off, we'll do a little celebrating with Josh tonight as he celebrates his 40th birthday today! After we enjoy cake, we'll talk to Josh about his life, his career, his many stops in that career, an injury or two, some old coaches, some teammates, and more! Josh had a fascinating career in which he played with some of the greatest players to ever suit up in the NHL as well as being coached by men who went on to have outstanding careers of their own. We'll also get an update on what Josh has been doing with his time after the game as he's been a busy guy with two little Greens running around!

For those that aren't aware, Josh played with the Manitoba Moose during the lockout season in 2004-05 before Vancouver signed him. He stuck around in Manitoba and even got his first letter in his professional career here as he was named an alternate captain in 2005-06 with the Moose. All said and done, Josh put up 28 goals and 43 assists to go along with 105 PIMs in 102 regular season games with the Moose, but he always shone brightest in the spring. In the AHL playoffs, he scored 14 goals and added ten assists in 24 playoff games. It's not often you find guys who step their games up in the playoffs, but Josh Green was one of those exceptional players for the Manitoba Moose!

How do you tune in to hear Josh's interview tonight, you ask? We suggest that you download the UMFM app on your phone or tablet. It's the easiest and most convenient way to listen to any of UMFM's great shows any time of the day, so go get it! Just follow this link on your iDevice or this link for your Android device and get the UMFM app! It's never been easier to tune into The Hockey Show or UMFM! Download the UMFM app today, and don't miss any of our great programming or shows! Of course, you can do the radio thing at 101.5 FM and you can always listen online via the UMFM website!

If you prefer social media, we try to remain up-to-speed there as well! Email all show questions and comments to hockeyshow@umfm.com! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show.

Tonight, we talk Kodiaks, Broncos, Winterhawks, Falcons, Monsters, Bulldogs, Moose, Ducks, Kings, Oilers, Barons, and more as we meet and talk with former pro hockey player Josh Green on The Hockey Show found only on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM app!

PODCAST: November 16, 2017: Episode 269

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Suspensions? Probably.

On a quiet evening in Detroit, Michigan, a group of Calgarians came calling on the local hockey team called the "Red Wings" for a friendly game of ice hockey. The two teams traded chances on the local frozen sheet of ice where the team clad in red-and-white thrilled fans with an eight-goal performance while only allowing a pair of goals past its formidable goalkeeper in Jimmy Howard. Yes, everyone had a merry Wednesday evening that included a number of hugs and high-fives as shown above.

Wait, hold on. I'm being told that's not what happened. In fact, it's not even close to the truth.

I'll let Sportsnet's Dave Randorf and Garry Galley walk you through all the fun had at Little Caesars Arena last night.
So if you're the Department of Player Safety tomorrow, where do you start in this melee?

Luke Witkowski will most likely get the biggest suspension after he was escorted off the ice only to return to the ice and try to engage in a second fight. Once assessed a game misconduct as it appears he was, Witkowski is required to exit the ice surface. Returning is a major no-no.

I don't know if Anthony Mantha will get one, but throwing punches while Hamonic is down on his back through the gate is also going to be frowned upon by the Department of Player Safety. Hamonic is vulnerable to a number of injuries in that position, and it would have been wiser for Mantha to simply let him go.

It also appears that Micheal Ferland participated in this skirmish while still on the bench. That's also a major no-no in the NHL rulebook, so I'd expect him to have some time off as well.

It's not an easy job to be George Parros in this situation, but I'd rather see him err on the side of "Don't Do That Again" than to be lenient in this case. We'll await the results on Thursday or Friday from the Department of Player Safety, but expect a few players to be lighter in the wallet and possible have some time off for their actions.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Has Adidas Just Given Up?

As we all know by now, there will be a special outdoor game played in Ottawa this winter between the hometown Senators and the NHL's most storied franchise in the Montreal Canadiens. The image to the left are the jerseys that Adidas and the NHL have signed off on for that game, and I'm not certain that this deal with Adidas is working for the NHL's aesthetics. If there was a minimalist series of jerseys, I can see the NHL being happy with what was introduced today, but whatever Adidas is selling to the NHL should be stopped cold turkey because these Adidas jerseys don't look like hockey jerseys.

On December 16, these two teams will play outdoors at Lansdowne Park as part of the league's 100th anniversary celebration. According to the NHL's statement, "[t]he color silver was used uniquely in the design as a symbolic accent, drawing a direct connection to the NHL's Centennial Celebration narrative" as well as an homage to the Stanley Cup. The silver stripe on the arms of the jerseys features the years that the teams won the Stanley Cup. It's also a nice tie to the Ottawa Silver Sevens, but that fact seems to have fallen by the wayside in the NHL's shameless self-promotion. Thankfully, the Senators made that connection, so at least they honour their heritage.
Honestly, can one really call it a feature if it's invisible to the cameras who will broadcast the game? It's such an insignificant feature that it seems superfluous at best. These jerseys aren't going to sell by the millions, so let's start cutting back on the rather needless additions to jerseys, shall we? To make this even gaudier, the Canadiens jersey has the "right sleeve showcasing the triumphant seasons that fell between 1916 and 1960, and the left sleeve highlighting the conquests from 1965 to 1993." Ugh.

If that feature isn't vapid enough, the design of the jersey "features performance poly fabric and a new lightweight crest and numbering system that make the jersey 19% lighter." Does Adidas know that this game is being played outdoors in December in Canada? Lighter means less warmth, and the average temperature in Ottawa for December 16 ranges between -4°C and -8°C. The high one year ago in Ottawa on December 16 was -11°C on a day where it started out at -26°C at 6am with a -31°C windchill. In other words, the players may want to dress with another warmer, thicker layer than what Adidas is providing.

With the pock marks across the shoulders, the lack of a hem stripe on the Ottawa jerseys, the lighter fabric, crest and numbers, and these ridiculous features that matter to no one, Adidas is really doing a number on hockey. What I would give for the old CCM jerseys right now. Instead, the 100th anniversary of the league will go down as one of the worst looking outdoor games in the league's history.

For traditionalists like me, maybe it's time that Adidas starts giving a damn about this sport.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 13 November 2017

Highest Ever

If you've been listening to The Hockey Show since the hockey season started, you know a late-summer chat with Krista Patronick sold me on cheering for the Colgate Raiders women's hockey team. I used to be a UND Fighting Hawks fan, but the school's canceling of the women's hockey program and the garbage treatment of the players through the ordeal caused me to look elsewhere in terms of my fandom. While I'm still a fan of the UND players - Kristen Campbell is tearing it up with Wisconsin! - Krista's convincing me to cheer for Colgate made me into a Raiders fan.

All season, the Colgate Raiders have defied the odds in beating some good teams. They have climbed steadily through the national rankings, and today it was announced that they had reached a new height in being named the third-ranked team in the NCAA, the highest ranking the program has ever achieved! That's a heckuvan accomplishment for the Raiders in this season!

A few names might be familiar to Canadians. Shae Labbe, a Calgary native, played for Canada in Buffalo at the IIHF Women's U18 World Championship two seasons ago where she played on the top line with current Canadian Olympic hopeful and Minnesota Golden Gopher Sarah Potomak and Clarkson University forward Élizabeth Giguère. That top line had an outstanding tournament in Buffalo, and it really helped them hit the spotlight when it came to college recruitment. Labbe decided to choose Colgate, and there is still history being written on behalf of Colgate by Shae Labbe.

Shae, though, isn't the only member of the team to come out of the Canadian U18 team as it seems that Colgate has a solid number of great, young Canadian players on its roster. Senior defender Kaila Pinkney, senior forward Breanne Wilson-Bennett, freshman defender Shelby Wood, freshman forward Malia Schenider, sophomore forward Anonda Hoppner, and senior defender Lauren Wildfang are all graduates of Canada's program. Speaking of national players, they also boast Swiss national team defender Livia Altmann, so this squad has a pile of incredible international talent and experience on it this season.

After a pair of wins over the New Hampshire Wildcats this past weekend, the Raiders improved to 11-1-0 with their only loss coming at the hands of St. Lawrence. They also beat the former third-ranked team in the nation in the Clarkson Golden Knights, so they've taken down a heavyweight on their climb up the standings. Factor in wins against perennial powerhouses Mercyhurst and Northeastern, and this Colgate team may have all the pieces it needs to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament.

In getting to be the third-best team in the nation, the team went off and set some new school records as well. Julia Vandyk, who hails from Cambridge, Ontario, broke Colgate's record for wins in an NCAA career with her 36th win on Friday over New Hampshire, breaking the previous mark of 35 set by Rebecca Lahar in 2005. Shae Labbe went off and set the new mark for the fastest hat trick in school history, scoring three goals in 8:39 against New Hampshire on Friday.

Honestly, it's been fun checking up on Colgate when I can. I'm happy that Krista convinced me to switch allegiances over to her school this season as it's been a heckuva ride thus far. I'm just hoping that the Raiders can make it to the Women's Frozen Four this year as it will take place March 16-18 at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, Minnesota. That's close enough for me to go and cheer on my new favorite team!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 12 November 2017

The Rundown - Week 6

All eight teams were back in action this week, and that logjam at the top of the standings in Canada West needed a little sorting out. There were some intriguing series this weekend as Regina visited Manitoba and Saskatchewan traveled to UBC, so we'll look at each of the eight games played and figure out who stands where after the dust settled this week. The action was intense in Canada West women's hockey, so let's check it out on The Rundown!

MOUNT ROYAL at CALGARY: We had a bit of quirk in the scheduling as this game went Thursday night as the first game of the Crowchild Classic between the two Calgary-based Canada West teams. Calgary got the home draw for this game, and they'd give the home crowd something to cheer about midway through the opening frame. With Mount Royal's Jordan Finnie serving a penalty, defender Laine Grace opened the scoring on a shot from the point at 11:36.
That would be the only scoring of the period as Paige Michalenko and Delaney Frey drew the assists on Grace's first U SPORTS goal. Despite the Cougars having chances on breakaways and one-timers, Kelsey Roberts was outstanding in the Calgary net with the Cougars outshooting the Dinos 14-3.

It appeared we would have a one-goal game to start the third period, but Calgary leading scorer Sage Desjardins had other ideas late in the period. On a partial breakaway, she'd find the twine with 22 seconds left to make it 2-0 for the Dinos.
The third period saw Calgary continue to build on their lead as Rachel Paul scored off a great individual effort at 12:01.
Paul's first of the season came 4:55 before Grace decided she wanted another goal as she unleashed a slap shot from the point that got by Zoe DeBeauville at 16:56.
When all was said and done, Kelsey Roberts rejected all of Mount Royal's chances in a 4-0 victory. Roberts stopped all 28 shots she faced while DeBeauville made nine saves on 13 shots in the loss.

CALGARY at MOUNT ROYAL: The second-half of the crosstown rivalry went at Flames Community Arena on Friday. Mount Royal needed to find some points at home, or they were in danger of falling completely off the board. Calgary looked to continue their winning ways after the 4-0 defeat on Thursday night. The only problem? There were no goals scored through the first twenty minutes as Mount Royal's Emily Severson stopped seven shots and Calgary's Kelsey Roberts continued to stonewall the Cougars with ten more saves. The play was carried by the Cougars, though, so it was clear they were hungry for a win.

Four minutes into the second period, the Cougars' relentless pressure paid off. Channia Alexander teed a puck up that whistled past Roberts for her first of the season to put Mount Royal up 1-0 at 4:09. The Dinos had chances as well, including a Holly Ruether breakaway, but Severson was equal to the task on all four shots she saw to carry the 1-0 lead into the third period. Mount Royal's pressure had them leading in shots 20-11 through two periods.

Things were tense down the stretch as both sides had chances in the one-goal game. Calgary opted to pull Roberts for the extra attacker at 18:25, and they would be rewarded with the extra player. Ruether, who had chances before, got a stick on a wrist shot from Morgan Loroff and deflected the puck past Severson at 19:10, and this game was destined for extra time!

The overtime periods would solve nothing, so the teams went to the skills competition. Reanna Arnold would score on Mount Royal's first attempt. Calgary was denied on its first two attempts before Delaney Frey skated to center ice needing to score.
With the miss on the final attempt, Mount Royal secured the 2-1 win! Severson picked up her first U SPORTS win with a 25-save performance plus three more in the shootout while Roberts suffered the loss in making 30 saves plus two more in the skills competition.

ALBERTA at LETHBRIDGE: On paper, this may have looked like a major mismatch, but Lehtbridge's Alicia Anderson has been other-worldly this season to keep the Pronghorns in games. She'll need to be outstanding once more against the defending U SPORTS national champions, and she was through the first period as she denied all 14 shots - some of the spectacular variety - she saw to keep Alberta off the board. Unfortunately, the Pronghorns couldn't score on Dayna Owen with their eight shots, so it was off to the second period to see if we could find a scorer.

Just 2:09 into the middle frame, we would get a goal. With Alberta's Alex Poznikoff in the penalty box, Alli Borrow set up Tricia Van Vaerenbergh for the one-timer from the face-off circle, and her blast found just enough room through Dayna Owen's pads to get across the line for the power-play goal and the 1-0 lead. Alberta barely had time to shake that goal off when Lethbridge struck again! 44 seconds after Van Vaerenbergh's goal, Kyra Greig scored her first U SPORTS goal of her career!
Greig's goal seemed to snap the Pandas out of their slumber as they came to life and blitzed the Pronghorns for the remainder of the period, outshooting Lethbridge 16-4. The story was the bend-don't-break defence of the Horns and Alicia Anderson once more as they went into the second intermission leading 2-0 despite being outshot 30-12 through forty minutes.

The Pronghorns weathered some early trouble from the Pandas in the third period to preserve the two-goal lead. Midway through the period, the Pronghorns found a third goal compliments of the power-play once more. Mattie Apperson set Alli Borrow up with a beautiful pass, and Borrow one-timed a rocket past Owen to make it a 3-0 game for Lethbridge. Anderson was lights-out once more as the Pandas went with the extra attacker with 3:35 remaining as she made stop after stop. However, Alberta would finally find a seam on Anderson with 50 seconds to play when Kennedy Ganser jammed home a puck in the crease to make it 3-1, but that's as close as Alberta would get on this night. Anderson stopped 42 shots in the 3-1 victory while Owen made 11 saves on 14 shots in the loss.

ALBERTA at LETHBRIDGE: Game Two went from Lethbridge's Nicholas Sheran Arena on Saturday, and you had to know that the Pandas would come out flying in this one after dropping Friday's game. Did I mention that Lethbridge may have the best netminder in the nation in Alicia Anderson playing for them? Because she was in the blue paint again, and she was beyond good once again. The Pandas were all over the Pronghorns in the first period, throwing 14 shots at Anderson, but they couldn't find the back of the net. The result was a scoreless opening period in which Alberta led 14-6 in shots.

The ice seemed to be tilted towards the Pronghorn net in the second period as the Pandas poured on the pressure. It would take nearly 18 minutes, but the Pandas finally broke through the wall known as Anderson. Taylor Kezama moved in from the point and let a shot go up high that beat Anderson over the shoulder at 17:54 to give the Pandas the 1-0 lead! The only problem? That lead would last a mere 43 seconds. Madison Toppe would even the score at 1-1 when she took advantage of some miscommunication between the Pandas defenders and netminder Kirsten Chamberlin to wrap the puck around the post and into the vacant net at 18:37 to tie the game up on Lethbridge's second shot of the period! Yes, you read that correctly as Alberta outshot Lethbridge 19-2 in the second period and 33-8 overall, but the scoreboard still showed things on even terms at 1-1.

Again, it was a Panda-centric period as they outshot the Pronghorns 14-7, but Anderson denied all 14 chances including a Kennedy Ganser breakaway. Lethbridge had shots on Chamberlin, but the rookie netminder turned them aside as well. With no scoring, we'd get some free hockey in this one! The overtime period wouldn't last long, though. Cayle Dillon put the Pandas on her shoulders and the captain snapped a shot past Anderson at 1:10 on Alberta's third shot of the extra period for the 2-1 victory! Chamberlin earned the win in making 14 saves while Anderson stopped 48 shots in the loss.

REGINA at MANITOBA: Two teams that were within striking distance of first-place met at Wayne Fleming Arena on Friday night. Manitoba was skating without Canada West leading scorer Venla Hovi due to her participation in the Four Nations Cup in Tampa Bay, captain Caitlin Fyten due to a shoulder injury, Jenai Buchanan due to lingering concussion issues, and Karissa Kirkup due to an undisclosed injury situation, so the Bisons were going to need some help if they wanted to take down the upstart Cougars. Where they found that help was in the form of the hockey gods as they seemed to be smiling on the Bisons. Just 27 seconds in off a dump-in by Erica Rieder, the puck ricocheted with a funny hop off a stanchion that caught Morgan Baker heading behind the net while the puck ended up in front of the net. Jordy Zacharias was all over the loose puck as she put it into the unguarded net to give Manitoba the early 1-0 lead. The rest of the period saw Manitoba control the pace as they outshot Regina 11-5 without rally giving up a good scoring chance.

The second period started with another crazy goal. After a turnover in the Regina zone, Megan Neduzak found Jordy Zacharias at the top of the slot. The puck, though, bounced on Zacharias, and she chose to tee up a puck on edge. The knuckle-puck floated over Morgan Baker's glove as she was way out to cut down the angle, and it found the top-right corner of the net just 28 seconds into this period to give the Bisons a 2-0 lead! From there, Regina began going to the middle of the ice as opposed to playing down the wings, and it almost worked. Jordan Kulbida was sent in on a partial breakaway, but Lauren Taraschuk turned her aside to keep her clean sheet. Lauryn Keen would make it a three-goal game with just over three minutes to play in the period when she centered the puck from behind the net to three Cougars in the slot, but the puck hit Tamara McVannel's skate and ended up behind Baker! After forty minutes and having the bounces go their way, Manitoba held the advantage in shots at 20-11 and, more importantly, on the scoreboard at 3-0.

It was up to the Manitoba defenders to preserve the lead in the third period, and they did some outstanding work blocking shots and knocking away passes and rebounds when needed. One tipped pass late in the game with Regina on the power-play resulted in Manitoba's Sheridan Oswald racing down the ice past a Regina defender for a partial breakaway. She went forehand-backhand on the break, but Baker stayed with her as the puck went off Baker's pad for the save. However, those hockey gods were smiling once again as the rebound went off Oswald, over Baker, and settled in the back of the net with 5:49 to play to give Manitoba the 4-0 lead. Honestly, if the Cougars didn't have bad luck, they wouldn't have had any luck on this night as Manitoba held on to the 4-0 score for the win! Taraschuk was solid in her second-straight shutout with 20 saves while Baker deserved better on this night as she stopped 31 of 35 shots.

REGINA at MANITOBA: I'm sure the Cougars were told by head coach Sarah Hodges to take the puck to the net more often after Friday night's loss because Saturday's game saw the Cougars play far more aggressively down the middle of the ice. Both defences were sharp in the first period in clearing rebounds and blocking shots, though, and both Regina's Jane Kish and Manitoba's Lauren Taraschuk kept the puck from getting behind them as we played a scoreless first period in which the Bisons outshot the Cougars 9-6.

It took them four periods and six minutes, but the Cougars finally soled Taraschuk in the second period. While on the power-play, the Cougars moved the puck around the top of the umbrella before it reached Tamara McVannel in the left face-off circle. With Emma Waldenberger standing directly in front of her, Lauren Taraschuk peeked around the leg of Waldenberger on the right side. The only problem? McVannel's shot went to the far post on the left side, and it caught the inside of the netting for the power-play marker at 6:11 to give the Cougars the 1-0 lead! That goal also ended Taraschuk's shutout streak at 147:08! Despite a few chances coming in this period, Jane Kish kept Mantioba's shooters silent as Regina outshot the Bisons 14-9 in this frame!

Manitoba came out of the gates in the third period with guns a-blazing, but Kish was simply outstanding in sending wave after wave of opportunities aside. However, a hooking penalty taken by Melissa Zerr at 14:18 and a five-minute major for bodychecking on Martina Maskova at 14:49 gave Manitoba a two-person advantage for 1:29, and they made it count. Emma Waldenberger blew a tire on the top of the triangle coverage that allowed Erica Rieder to walk into the slot area and zip a shot past Kish on the glove side for the power-play goal at 15:37 to make it a 1-1 game!

With the five-minute major continuing, the Bisons continued to press, but the penalty killers of the Cougars continued to find way to relieve the pressure. On a late stand on the major penalty, the puck was worked around the top of the umbrella until it found Lauren Warkentin on the top of the left circle. I think the entire arena anticipated a shot with 40 seconds remaining on the clock, but Warkentin faked the shot and fed a perfect cross-ice pass to the left-side face-off dot where Alana Serhan had the stick armed and ready for the one-timer. Her drive was stopped by an outstanding save by Kish, but the puck popped loose from between her pads and sat behind Kish on the goal line. Courtlyn Oswald lunged for the puck and pushed it across the line to give Manitoba another power-play gal with 36 seconds to play and, more importantly, the 2-1 lead!

Despite pulling Kish and getting a couple of shots off, none made it through to Taraschuk as the Bisons snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with the two late power-play goals in a 2-1 win! Taraschuk had another fantastic outing as she stopped 23 shots for her fifth win of the season while Kish stopped 32 shots in the loss.

SASKATCHEWAN at UBC: In a battle of the top-two teams in Canada West, the Huskies travelled west to meet the Thunderbirds. This game had a playoff-like feel to it already despite just being Week Six of action. The opening period saw Saskatchewan have slightly more offence to speak of, but both sides had opportunities that were thwarted by Saskatchewan's Jessica Vance and UBC's Tory Micklash. In the end, the opening frame saw the Huskies with an 11-8 advantage in shots over the T-Birds.

UBC brought more of the firepower in the second period as they continued to pepper Vance and the Huskies with shots from all over. Saskatchewan, for their part, used their speed to set up shots and opportunities as well, but the two netminders were impenetrable at either end. UBC outshot Saskatchewan 12-9 in this period to even the shots at 20 apiece, but the game remained scoreless through forty minutes of play.

The third started the same way as the previous two periods went with both teams testing one another's defensive schemes, but a penalty midway through the period would see our first goal scored! With Leah Bohlken watching from the sin bin, Kaitlin Willoughby caused a turnover and went off to the races as she outskated the UBC defence for a shorthanded breakaway. The Huskies' most lethal scorer would make no mistake on this one as she deked Tory Micklash enough to open up the netminder before sliding the puck home at 9:34 for the shorthanded marker and the 1-0 Huskies lead. UBC would continue to press, including pulling Micklash for the extra attacker with two-and-a-half minutes to play, but the Huskies would give up nothing on this night. Chloe Smith's goal into an empty-net with 44 seconds to play iced this game as the Huskies took victory with a 2-0 score and leapfrogged the T-Birds into first-place! Vance was stellar in stopping all 33 shots she faced for her first win and shutout with Saskatchewan while Micklash stopped 27 shots in the loss.

SASKATCHEWAN at UBC: The playoff atmosphere between these two teams continued today as UBC was looking to avoid the sweep while the Huskies were looking to pad their lead over the T-Birds in the standings. And just as they did one night earlier, the two teams skated to a scoreless draw through the first twenty minutes of play. Amelia Boughn made four saves for the T-Birds while Jessica Vance stopped eight shots. Both goalies were tested, and both came away unscathed.

We'd find some scoring in the second period. Just under eight minutes in, Saskatchewan's Kayla Kirwin sent in a puck in on Boughn from the blie line that found its way through the traffic and past Boughn at 7:42, and the Huskies grabbed the 1-0 lead. Less than three minutes later, Hannah Clayton-Carroll picked up a rebound off a Mathea Fischer shot on the power-play, and she dented twine behind Vance at 10:35 to make it a 1-1 game. The tied game lasted all of 63 seconds. Emily Upgang found a seam on Boughn with her shot, and the Huskies jumped ahead 2-1. Saskatchewan was certainly the more aggressive team in the second period as they outshot UBC 9-5, leading to their 2-1 lead.

The third period saw Saskatchewan pour on the offence, keeping the T-Birds on their heels. The Huskies outshot UBC 15-5 in the final frame, and the five shots that Vance faced weren't overly difficult to stop. When the final horn sounded, Saskatchewan had swept the weekend series with a 2-1 win! Vance picked up her second win by stopping 17 shots while Boughn suffered the loss despite stopping 26 shots.

CANADA WEST WOMEN'S HOCKEY
School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
Saskatchewan
7-2-0-1
22 21 13
W4
@ ALB
Manitoba
7-3-0-0
21 27 21
W5
vs LET
Alberta
4-2-2-2
18 23 17
W1
vs SAS
British Columbia
6-4-0-0
18 21 16
L2
@ MRU
Regina
4-4-1-1
15 22 25
L3
vs CAL
Lethbridge
2-5-2-1
11 13 15
L1
@ MAN
Calgary
2-6-0-2
8 8 15
L1
@ REG
Mount Royal
1-7-2-0
7 13 26
W1
vs UBC

The Final Word

Alberta and UBC, the top-two teams in the nation, now sit in third- and fourth-place in Canada West. UBC lost a weekend series for the first time in over two years at the hands of Saskatchewan, so maybe it's time that the voters of the U SPORTS Top Ten start letting go of what happened last season because there are two teams ahead of the Pandas and Thunderbirds in their own conference. Regina's losses at the hands of the Bisons really set them back in the race for first-place, but they're not out of it yet.

What maybe bothered me the most this week was an article from a blog that supposedly covers women's hockey, but apparently doesn't bother watching any hockey. It all started with a tweet that I saw.
You're free to click on the link if you like, but let me save you the trouble. It's five paragraphs long, it mentions four players from the Cougars, it doesn't explain any reason why the Cougars are contenders aside from crediting their earning splits with Alberta, UBC, and Saskatchewan as a reason why, and the author thinks the fourth-place team only has weaker teams to play. I guess that's "all the details" on why they should be contenders, right?

Forget the fact that the Manitoba Bisons - this past weekend's competition - was ranked sixth in the nation. Apparently, Manitoba is a weaker team despite having a rookie goalie allow one goal in two games to the Cougars in taking both games and all six points from the Cougars. Forget the fact that they still have to play in Lethbridge against arguably the nations's best goalie in Alicia Anderson when they could barely manage a single goal against Manitoba. Forget that the "physical game" the Cougars play cost them Saturday's game against Manitoba.

It bothers me when people are writing articles that are better based for sports briefs than for blogs where examination and introspect are sought. It also leads me to believe that the author doesn't watch a lot of Canada West women's hockey because the insight and details that were provided could have been seen on the boxscore of most Regina games. Rather than talking about the leadership of Kylee Kupper and Jaycee Magwood and Sam Geekie in helping a young squad rich in freshmen and sophomores come together to play solid hockey, we instead get "they have goals and assists". It could have been written about the mentorship and work done by Sarah Hodges and her staff in getting some great recruits into the program who have high hockey IQs, but we instead get "goalie has won games and has good stats".

I'm lucky in that I get to see these amazing women play each and every week through calling games and by watching them via Canada West TV. I get to see the ups and downs these teams go through, and it's an incredible process each and every week. Regina, to their credit, could be contenders this season, but this is a team of 20 players who find contributions from each player that don't always make the scoresheet.

This weekend, I watched Shaelyn Vallotton make some solid defensive plays with her big frame that other defencemen wouldn't have been able to make. I saw Chelsea Hallson use her speed and skill to open up space in the offensive zone before dishing pucks to teammates. Emma Waldenberger had two great games using her size and reach to win puck battles, but just couldn't find the back of the net. Did any of these players get mentions? No. Why? Because they aren't easy-pickings at the top of the stats columns for the Cougars.

Don't believe me? Check out the top-three scorers for the Cougars.
Which three players were mentioned in the article? Hint: see above.

Canada West is a deep and talented conference of hockey players. Heck, it produced the gold- and bronze-medal teams last year at the U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship. The Regina Cougars could surprise a lot of people and find themselves there this season as the article alludes to, but it will take more than four players, a quick glance at the stats, and some generic descriptions about the team to convince me they should be contenders for the crown.

Why, you ask? Because I actually watch the games.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Lest We Forget

The above picture of the Unknown Soldier's Tomb at the National War Memorial in Ottawa has great meaning today as many men and women of this great country are living and working abroad in helping to maintain peace, protect our liberties and freedoms, and defend civilians in those respective from threats against them. There really shouldn't need to be much more said than the soldiers and personnel of Canada's branches of the military make me proud to call Canada home, and I'm grateful for their efforts, their sacrifices, and their bravery on this most important day to honour our veterans.

That being said, there have been a number of soldiers who haven't returned home, and it is their sacrifices that have helped Canada become the country it is today. These fallen men and women gave the ultimate sacrifice in helping to protect Canada from foreign forces, protect people in other countries who have asked for help, and worked to maintain global peace by maintaining order in places where chaos once ruled. It is their sacrifices that are honoured with this day, and I hope you can thank a veteran and pay your respects to those who gave their lives in the name of Canada.

Remembrance Day was started in 1919 by King George V that honoured the fallen by paying tribute to them on the day that marked the end of hostilities of World War I in 1918. Hostilities formally came to an end "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month" after an armistice signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 that morning came into effect. The First World War officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919. Originally called Armistice Day, Remembrance Day is now traditionally celebrated on November 11.

The poppy became part of the celebration in 1921. The poppy found its way into the day's tradition thanks to the poem "In Flanders Fields" written by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, and real poppies were worn at ceremonies held for many years. Poppies bloomed across Flanders in World War I where some of the worst and most brutal battles were fought. Many lost lives there, and Lt.-Col. McCrae drew upon the poppy's red colour as a symbol for the blood spilled and lives lost in the war.

As more and more wars and military skirmishes happened, Remembrance Day has now become a more general day of tribute to fallen soldiers involved in all battles. I am encouraged to see more and more people of younger generations taking time to pay their respects to the many men and women still with us who were involved in these battles as well as paying respect to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. In a world where the global community grows closer each day, perhaps this will be the generation that finds peace and diplomacy far more advantageous than war.

Tonight, I'll be doing colour commentary for the UMFM broadcast of the University of Manitoba Bisons women's hockey team as they play the visiting University of Regina Cougars. There will be a moment of silence prior to the game in honour of Remembrance Day and the sacrifices made by many soldiers, and I hope that it finds meaning with all in attendance.

I lost my grandfather a few years ago, and he served in World War II with the Canadian Air Force. He never spoke at length about his military career at any time to me, but the pictures of him in his officer's uniform were displayed prominently at my grandparents' home. I know he was proud of his time served, and I just hope he knows that I'm still proud of him. My moment of silence will be for him today.

Until next time, pay your respects to a veteran today!

Friday, 10 November 2017

Winter Has Arrived

Despite our wanting the warm weather to continue, it's inevitable that Old Man Winter will eventually blow into town and ruin everything that comes with warm weather. It not like us prairie folk should be surprised as it had already snowed here, but it was brutally cold here yesterday which isn't as common as you'd think for early November. However, it was bound to come sooner or later in this neck of the woods, and it seems that we got an early blast of winter weather to get us ready for what lies ahead.

How cold was it, you ask? Julien C. provides the details.

If you're doing the math, it hasn't been -23ºC in Winnipeg on November 9 for over 120 years! That's a heckuva period of time between occurrences, so we might be in for one insane winter if it's this cold already. Looking ahead, though, we're back into positive temperatures next week, so maybe this is just an anomaly in the weather patterns?

Whatever the case may be, the ice-makers were out on the outdoor rinks this week putting down layers of ice in anticipation of future frigid temperatures. As long as the temperatures don't soar past 5ºC next week, we could have outdoor ice by December if the long-term forecasts are correct. With temperatures expected to hover around -8ºC, that will make for nearly perfect ice conditions for skating. I'd prefer it to be nearer to -15ºC so the ice is hard and fast, but I'll take whatever I can get as I've been craving a skate ever since slo-pitch season ended.

-24ºC is like walking into a blast freezer, though. I'm hoping we don't see those temperatures for a long time yet. Maybe Old Man Winter can stay away until 2018?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 9 November 2017

The Hockey Show - Episode 268

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is hitting the airwaves tonight with a bunch of news, announcements, and discussion points to go over as Beans and I sit down to chat a little puck. There's a back-to-back for the Jets this weekend, the Moose are playing well, the Bisons are back in action this weekend, the Colgate Raiders continue to mow down teams, Canada's national teams are both in action, and there's this wee soccer event happening at the University of Manitoba today! In other words, we have a jam-packed show tonight!

You might be asking what the image to the left is and why it's on a hockey blog. Those are the 2017 inductees into the Toy Hall of Fame, and Beans and I will discuss the finalists and inductees tonight so you can get our thoughts on toys that are in and toys that should be in the Hall of Fame! Among the hockey-related discussion, Beans and I will tackle the Jets and their current points streak which can be mostly attributed to one person who doesn't have the name "Hendricks", the Moose and their current three-game winning streak through California, the Bisons women's team welcoming the upstart Regina Cougars to Wayne Fleming Arena, Nick Zajac of the Bisons men's team getting a little camera time this week, my new favorite NCAA women's team gets another mention in the Colgate Minute which is not sponsored by Colgate toothpaste, the Canadian women and Venla Hovi in action at the Four Nations Cup, our first glimpse at the potential Canadian men's hockey team against Switzerland, and the U SPORTS National Women's Soccer Championship happening this weekend at the University of Manitoba! Oh, and I'll have announcements on guests who will join us as well as some promotional stuff to send out to the masses! Will we get through it all? You'll have to tune in!

How do you tune in, you ask? We suggest that you download the UMFM app on your phone or tablet. It's the easiest and most convenient way to listen to any of UMFM's great shows any time of the day, so go get it! Just follow this link on your iDevice or this link for your Android device and get the UMFM app! It's never been easier to tune into The Hockey Show or UMFM! Download the UMFM app today, and don't miss any of our great programming or shows! Of course, you can do the radio thing at 101.5 FM and you can always listen online via the UMFM website!

If you prefer social media, we try to remain up-to-speed there as well! Email all show questions and comments - including Pledge-O-Rama questions - to hockeyshow@umfm.com! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show.

Tonight, Teebz and Beans will talk toys, Jets, Moose, Bisons, Cougars, Raiders, Canada, Finland, Switzerland, soccer, and more only on The Hockey Show found on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM app!

PODCAST: November 9, 2017: Episode 268

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

TBC: 99: My Life In Pictures

I have been lucky enough to have a few people drop older books off for me to review as they know I enjoy hockey history and looking at the past. I have to admit that this blog doesn't speak much about the greatest player to have ever laced up the skates. Today's entry in Teebz's Book Club may change those numbers a little as the book reviewed today is all about The Great One. Teebz's Book Club is proud to review 99: My Life in Pictures, written by Wayne Gretzky and John Davidson, and published by Dan Diamond and Associates, Incorporated. While this book contains mostly pictures of Wayne Gretzky at various points in his illustrious career, there are some great write-ups about the photos and John Davidson does an outstanding piece on "The Meaning of Wayne".

99: My Life in Pictures is a coffee table book by definition as it seemingly contains more pictures than words, but that's where things really take off. There are a ton of unseen - at least I hadn't seen them - photos of Wayne Gretzky throughout his career contained within the covers, and it's pretty amazing to see all the jerseys that Gretzky wore through his career for various teams and charity events. His four NHL teams get the majority of the coverage when it comes to the pictures, but there are images of Wayne in the LA Kings' "Burger King" jersey, the Ninety-Nine All-Stars jersey, and various Team Canada jerseys that were worn throughout his twenty-year career.

The written pieces that accompany each picture in 99: My Life in Pictures are a good reminder that Wayne is still human. He talks of bring influenced by Bobby Orr reto igarding removing the laces from his gloves, how he actually loved baseball more than hockey as a kid, how he began wearing a Jofa helmet once he arrived in Edmonton, who he faced off against in his first NHL face-off, how he was ok with Wilf Paiement wearing #99 in Toronto, and much more. You get a good sense of what turn-of-the-millennium Wayne Gretzky was like through his comments that accompany each photo.

I spent time really soaking up what John Davidson wrote about Wayne Gretzky in his "The Meaning of Wayne" piece. Davidson literally breaks down specific parts of Gretzky's game to illustrate why he was such a special player. From the way he used lacrosse tactics to roll off checks to his setting up in his office behind the net, Davidson really does a great job in examining how Gretzky found space and became such a lethal scorer despite not being an imposing physical presence. In one passage, Davidson describes a tactic that Gretzky used in his arsenal to force defences to change their traditional tactics when defending him and the Oilers.
If setting up behind the net was revolutionary, so was Wayne's play once he crossed the blue line. Coaches had forever instructed their forwards to go to the net when they entered the zone, and defenders knew what to expect. But Wayne realized he could be more creative if he added a few twists once he reached the zone. The first was the curl, in which he'd the line and then curl towards the boards, holding the puck and waiting for a teammate to get open for a pass when he completed his curl. That was how the concept of the "late man" entering the play developed, because the defenders and backcheckers had picked up the first offensive players in the zone but someone could follow the play and be open for a pass.
The fact that Gretzky innovated a number of offensive tactics on his own to create space and really open up scoring shows just how good he was in thinking the game. Davidson's contribution to 99: My Life in Pictures shouldn't be overlooked as just Gretzky fodder because he really does an outstanding job in breaking down how good Wayne Gretzky was as a player and teammate.

I used to just marvel over his statistics, but Wayne Gretzky honestly did change hockey. From the way he thought the game on the ice in finding new ways to score and set up teammates to helping the NHL gain popularity in southern California to his numerous international appearances in helping grow the game, Wayne Gretzky did a ton of good things for hockey and a lot of that is documented in 99: My Life in Pictures. The pictures alone are an impressive display of how far Wayne Gretzky's reach in hockey was, but John Davidson's examination of Gretzky's career is an incredible addition to the fantastic photos. Because of this, 99: My Life in Pictures absolutely deserves Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

It might be tough to find 99: My Life in Pictures at your local library or bookstore, but it appears that there are copies available on the linked Amazon page for fairly reasonable prices. If your hockey fan wants to read about the NHL's greatest scorer and how he changed the game in both word and pictures, I highly suggest you pick up this book!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Sports Star Of The Week

The local CTV affiliate always runs a weekly feature in which they pick a Manitoba-born amateur athlete and feature him or her as the Sports Star of the Week. CTV often chooses an athlete in a lesser-known sport or an athlete who has overcome great odds to be one of the best at his or her given sport, so it was nice to see Shawn Churchill down at the University of Manitoba speaking to men's hockey player Nick Zajac! Nick played for and captained the Saskatoon Blades in the WHL before taking advantage of the scholarship program and enrolling at the University of Manitoba. He's been one of the key guys this season, and it's earned him the recognition from CTV as this week's Sport Star of the Week!


Keep up the solid work, Nick! Go Bisons!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 6 November 2017

Helly And The Jets

Forget Benny. What we're seeing right now is the emergence of Helly, better known as goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. Hellebuyck was brilliant again in the Jets' net tonight as he led Winnipeg past the Dallas Stars by a 4-1 score, making a number of important saves along the way. For a guy who was, at times, blamed for the Jets' failures last season, Connor Hellebuyck has done more than just bounce back this season. He's literally grabbed the number-one netminding spot back from overpriced Steve Mason, and has run with an undefeated-in-regulation record to this point. While there have been other great contributions early on this season on the Jets roster, has anyone been more valuable to this point than Connor Hellebuyck?

We first got news that change may be happening back in May when Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman mentioned this tidbit in his 30 Thoughts article,
Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck is making some off-season changes. He will spend time this summer with Adam Francilia, who has a lot of experience working with goalies. Francilia could be loosely defined as a personal trainer, but prefers “sports performance coach” because he also deals with nutrition and mental health. His first NHL client was Andrew Ladd, when Ladd was 14. That was 17 years ago, and they’ve worked together since. In the past few years, his group included Laurent Brossoit, Devan Dubnyk, Troy Grosenick, Eddie Lack, James Reimer and Justin Schultz.

Every August, Francilia and agent Ray Petkau put together a special goaltending clinic in Kelowna, titled NET360. (Dubnyk is not a Petkau client. Hellebuyck, Lack and Reimer are.) Hellebuyck usually stays in Michigan during the summer, but will spend time in Western Canada, including attendance at that clinic.
Nothing ground-breaking in that aside from the fact that Hellebuyck would be attending the NET360 clinic. For those that might be asking what the clinic would focus on, Friedman answered that as well.
Francilia is proud of his work with Grosenick, who went from dangerously close to being out of San Jose to the AHL’s top goaltender in 2016-17. He sees some similarity between the two. What will he work on? Among other things, core training specific to goalies.

"Posture and setup. There are postural considerations for a goalie, such as counter-rotating away from saves. Let me give you an example. With Devan Dubnyk, when he was leaning on the right post and needed to make a right-to-left push, his lanky, long body was working against him. He was unable to understand how to use his core. You go to push left, but half your body is going the wrong way."

It sounds confusing, but do this: Put your right side up against a wall in your house. Then push off. How many of you are leaning into the wall before doing it? That slows your move left.

"Goaltending is an unnatural position," Francilia continued. "We are not created to be goaltenders, which is why so many have hip issues. We have to completely re-program their brains not to counter-rotate. Teach the brain to think differently, teach (Hellebuyck) to recruit his left oblique muscle to stabilize and offset the counter-rotation. That helps his upper body stay with the puck. That split-second difference is everything."
Honestly, whatever Francilia did with Hellebuyck this summer, it's paying off in huge rewards. Not only does Hellebuyck look fundamentally sound and calm in the net, his position and angles on shots are incredibly better than what was seen last year. As a result, the analytics crowd are still waiting for the walls to cave in on Hellebuyck's LDsv% number, otherwise known as "bad goals", which sparkles at 1.000. In other words, he has yet to give up a bad goal on the season!

Where the shine really sparkles is when you take into account the team playing in front of him. Hellebuyck's 8-0-2 record comes as a bit of a surprise when you see the Jets rank dead-last in shots-per-game. If Corsi is a predictor of trends, the prevailing thought is that more shots will net you more goals. The problem is that the Jets are winning while being outshot on a nightly bases, so there's really only one reason they're in games or, in this case, winning them: goaltending.

Hellybuyck is currently fourth in goals-against average (2.12), third in save percentage (.936), tied for second in wins (8), and has yet to post a shutout to really push his numbers higher. In other words, he's playing better than he ever has. What's his secret?

"A complete 180 [degree turnaround] from what I was doing before," Hellebuyck told Kevin Woodley of NHL.com. "I was lifting a bunch of weights but now I actually feel in control of my body and I have a base for it because he preaches core and everything out from there. So, now, I truly feel like my core is stabilizing the rest of my game."

As Woodley writes, "[h]e flails his arms less, and there are fewer sequences that end with him on his stomach or butt. His movements are more balanced, compact and controlled, helping him arrive set and square in each new save location earlier, rather than getting his feet to that new spot and having to wait for the rest of his body to catch up." Hellebuyck is replicating how controlled Carey Price played a few years ago when he was considered the top goalie on the planet, and that's directly led to improved numbers and improved netminding this season. Pucks hit him and fall straight down instead of landing three feet away from him as they did last season. Rebounds are smothered, and his pads stay parallel to the ice to prevent pucks from sliding under him. Hellebuyck has, for all intents and purposes, become a different goaltender.

With the changes made over the summer, even head coach Paul Maurice, known for not coaching goalies, noted how different Hellebuyck looked in the net. "He looked stronger in the net," Maurice said about Hellebuyck. "[He was] able to hold his body position quite a bit longer; not nearly as much movement in his game."

With the advanced stats not favoring the Jets on most nights, the one player who is rising above those trends is Connor Hellebuyck. The coaching that he received over the summer with Adam Francilia has transformed a goaltender who was blamed for losses last season into a world-beater in five short months. If Connor Hellebuyck can provide the Jets with above-average goaltending every night, the mantra of "playoffs or bust" won't even need to be repeated. The Jets WILL make the playoffs if Hellebuyck can continue to play as he has in his first ten games. Seemingly, the only two things that could derail his season right now are injury or fatigue.

So far, a confident goaltender is the key behind Helly and the Jets.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 5 November 2017

The Rundown - Week 5

It's a wee bit different on today's edition of The Rundown thanks to Canada West having a conference bye. with no hockey action to report on, I'm going to take you around the league and highlight some articles and players that deserve a little recognition. The women that play in Canada West women's hockey are involved in all sorts of extracurricular activities, and they never get enough recognition for those efforts. Today's article will have links that take you to all sorts of new places highlighting the amazing women who make up this conference, and I'm always happy to give those efforts a real push.

Missing Teams?

Here's your U SPORTS Top Ten as of this week, and there seems to be a glaring omission considering the Canada West standings.
I get that UBC leads Canada West and is the reigning U SPORTS bronze medalists, so having them as the top-ranked team is justifiable. Alberta is the reigning U SPORTS gold medalists and they're near the top of the standings in Canada West as well, so being the second-ranked team is also justifiable. Manitoba has a veteran-laden team and is near the top of the standings as well, so being the sixth-ranked team can also be justified.

However, I find it hard to justify McGill at number-seven when they're 0-3-0 and Guelph at number-eight when they're 1-3-0. The Regina Cougars split their series against UBC and took four of six points against Alberta, and they're not ranked with a 4-2-1-1 record? The Saskatchewan Huskies split their series with Manitoba and Regina this season to sit in third-place in Canada West with a 5-2-0-1 record, and they aren't ranked? I get that the Top Ten shouldn't have five Canada West teams, but an OUA team and an RSEQ team being ranked with a combined 1-6-0 record is pretty ridiculous. Who is voting on this?

From Thunderbird To Inferno

Nice to see former UBC Thunderbird Kelly Murray doing some promotion for her new team in the CWHL Calgary Inferno!
Kelly was a dynamo on the blue line for the T-Birds, so I'm looking forward to her being a major player for the Inferno this season. If there's one player who seems to rise to the occasion, it's Kelly Murray!

Skaters To Painters

What do you do when you have a week off and need a little team bonding? If you're the Saskatchewan Huskies, you do a little pottery painting!
I've gone pottery painting before, and it's really a fun time. I imagine there were a number of hockey-related images painted onto the various pottery pieces that the Huskies painted. Perhaps one day we'll get a peek at some of the creations that the ladies made this past week!

More Than Just Support

I want to bring a little light to a great story about Manitoba Bisons captain Caitlin Fyten and how a scholarship made possible by Bisons women's hockey donors and head coach Jon Rempel brought the Alberta-born Fyten to the Manitoba capital. There is some sadness to the story regarding her father, but Fyten has been everything and more that the Bisons could want in a captain, and I feel like you can see how important she is to the Bisons with every shift she's on the ice. Well done, Caitlin, on both your accomplishments on the ice and in the classroom!

Going International

Finnish Olympian Venla Hovi will be absent from the Manitoba lineup this upcoming weekend as she'll be in Tampa Bay with the Finnish national team as they play in the annual Four Nations Cup. Hovi, who is having an outstanding season as the leading scorer in Canada West, is looking to capture another medal at the tournament after winning the bronze medal a number of times. While the tournament isn't being broadcast on television, you can catch #9 in action on Tuesday at 7pm ET against the Americans, Wednesday at 3:30pm ET against Sweden, and Friday at 3pm ET against Canada.

Hockeytv.com will carry the action via webcast, but the cost of the monthly plans are rather ridiculous when you consider that this tournament is played over a week. It's simply astounding that TSN, who is a partner of Hockey Canada, isn't covering this event, but I guess we know where women's hockey ranks in TSN's eyes.

That's what went on over the last week while the players took a week off hockey. We'll be back next week with the normal edition of The Rundown as the teams get back at it. Regina visits Manitoba; Calgary and Mount Royal will play a home-and-home in the Crowchild Classic; Alberta and Lethbridge will also do a home-and-home; and Saskatchewan visits UBC. Every point counts from this point on as teams look to establish their positioning as we inch towards the Christmas break. It should be an outstanding month of hockey, so get settled in and enjoy the action!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 4 November 2017

November 30

While I'm not in the business of posting posters on HBIC, the above poster is pretty important for a couple of reasons. If you were listening to The Hockey Show on Thursday, I made mention that the Boston Bruins alumni team was heading to small-town Manitoba on November 30. Shilo, Manitoba will play host to the Bruins' best players as they battle the CFB Shilo Stags in a charity game aimed to raise funds for the Shilo Minor Hockey Association!

Sgt. Ian Taylor has organized the game to help the Shilo Minor Hockey Association raise a bundle of money, and I think this is a great cause to support. Taylor is a long-time Bruins fan, and this will be the first time that the Bruins alumni team will make an appearance in Manitoba. According to Sgt. Taylor, the list of alumni who have confirmed include:
  • Ray Bourque: 410 goals, 1579 points.
  • Rick Middleton: 448 goals, 988 points.
  • Terry O'Reilly: 204 goals, 606 points.
  • Al Iafrate: 152 goals, 463 points.
  • Roy Nolan: traveling goaltender for the alumni.
  • Bob Sweeney: 125 goals, 288 points.
  • Charlie Simmer: 342 goals, 711 points.
  • Tom Fergus: 235 goals, 581 points.
  • Chris Nilan: 110 goals, 225 points.
  • Dan Lacouture: 20 goals, 45 points.
Now there could be more players that attend this event as there are a number of players who call Manitoba home, but getting a member of the Triple Crown line in Charlie Simmer to come in from Calgary and join the fun can only mean that this game is going to be a blast! The talent level of the Bruins and their new teammate, Sgt. Taylor, will be on display as they square off against the CFB Shilo Stags at Gunner Arena, and I'm looking forward to this great game!

If you have the means, it's not going to cost you the price of an NHL ticket to see these NHL greats play. For $40, you get a ticket to see the game, a portion of those proceeds go directly to the Shilo Minor Hockey Association in support of their programs, and you're entered into a draw for 100 lucky fans in attendance to join the post-game festivities where you can meet the NHL greats!

The Hockey Show will addle up the horses and carts, and we'll head out to Shilo where we'll do the radio show on Thursday, November 30 starting at 5pm. Starting at 6pm, Beans and I will stick around for the play-by-play of the alumni game which we'll call through its entirety. We'll still be on the 101.5 frequency between 5:30pm and 6:30pm CT on that night, but we'll have an extended broadcast that can be found on the UMFM Second Stream that night! It's going to be a blast out in Shilo, so come down to Gunner Arena and have some fun with us!

Tickets for this event are available through Sgt. Taylor, and he can best be reached via email at shilohockey@hotmail.com. It's going to be a great time, and here's hoping you'll stop by and say hi at Gunner Arena that night!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 3 November 2017

Olympic Catastrophe

If you happened to catch The Hockey Show yesterday, you probably have a good idea on where I stand regarding Nike's new Olympic hockey jersey designs. I've always been about having each team looking unique with respect to each country's imagery. Things like the Canadian maple leaf, the Finnish lion, the rising sun of Japan, and the stars and stripes of the United States are all things that should be prominent and vitally important in the designs of those country's jerseys. Nike, it seems, is more concerned with pushing their innovations than what it means to suit up in your country's national hockey jersey.

From Nike's announcement,
In the pursuit of gold, generations of designers, explorers and tinkerers have sought a magic formula. For athletic apparel, that formula often comes from a just-right combination of fit and weight. When that balance is perfected, critical grams are shaved (after all, triumph comes in the tightest of margins) and athletes are free of distractions. This is paramount because when athletes look and feel good, they play well. Nowhere is this clearer than in winter sports, such as hockey.

In a word, Nike's latest national team hockey jerseys represent alchemy. "It's what most inspired us to look at the jersey as a whole and transform it into something special," says Scott Toudjine-Williams, Nike's Senior Creative Director for Olympics Apparel. Part of that involved upgrading to a lightweight and breathable ripstop material and incorporating more mesh (for example, in the collar) to increase ventilation.
Ugh. Does anyone tire of the corporate jargon bullpoop that is spewed all over us?

Look, these jerseys are going to be used at the Olympics. I have never, in all my watching of international, high-level hockey, seen a hockey jersey rip on the international stage at the Olympics. Why? Because that's not how the game is played at that level. The hooking, holding, and grasping of jerseys just doesn't happen that would facilitate rips and tears in a jersey at the Olympic level. Essentially, Nike is innovating something for the sake of relevance.

The ventilation idea is something that all jersey designers are moving towards ever since the CCM AirKnit designs went the way of the dodo. Lighter fabrics and jerseys that allow more air flow through the fabrics are essential for keeping players cooler, but this isn't an innovation in any way. It's simply the continuation of a trend that has been very prominent since Reebok snagged the NHL contract. Nike, in fact, was one of the innovators in the 1990s who opted to use mesh on jerseys when they began making Olympic jerseys. I have a Belorussian and a Latvian jersey with mesh under the arms, so can Nike really claim innovation when they've been doing it for two decades?

No, what should really bother you, as a member of any nation's fan base, is the following:
But this idea of alchemy truly comes to life in two major ways: First, in the graphic trim package. "To us, this is game-changing!" says Toudjine-Williams. "Elevating the fonts, crests and numbers takes us to another level of performance and visual standpoint." Here’s how they did it:
  • A shift to single-layer laser-perforated numbers (instead of layering up heavy twill) that they applied by heat (rather than stitching them down), both of which increased breathability and articulation.
  • Doing away with the previous large, heavy center-front crest in favor of a small, intricate, badge (select teams were moved to a new configuration led by country name rather than their crest), which reduced weight, resulting in better articulation for the athlete.
  • Consolidating fonts across kits. (Though select teams got a unique font.)
First off, to quote Walter Sobchak from The Big Lebowski, shut up, Scott Toudjine-Williams, you're out of your element.
In owning a Nike jersey from a past IIHF World Championship, this idea of single-layer numbers applied by heat is pure trash. They don't stay attached to the jersey very well, and I'm pretty sure that the added few grams of threads for players aren't slowing them down by any measurable margin. In utilizing this method of applying numbers, though, it becomes clear that Nike is out of its element in knowing that some of these jerseys take a ton of wear and tear. Sew the damned names and numbers on so that they don't need to fixed later on!

The change from a "large, heavy center-front crest" to "a small, intricate, badge" is downright insulting to the countries for which these athletes have been chosen to represent. As every athlete on the planet has been told, you play for the logo on the front, not the name on the back. The "small, intricate badge" - extra commas in that line excluded by me because because I actually edit my work - on the upper shoulder reduces the country's logo to being smaller than the Nike logo which is pure corporate pornography. If Nike is going to insist that their logo be larger than the country's logo, I want to know who sold his or her soul in signing off on this garbage.

Further to this, the statement "select teams were moved to a new configuration led by country name rather than their crest" is why Nike has turned a prestigious event such as the Olympics into a glorified beer league tournament. Their crest is a major identifying piece of that country's image and culture, and it should never be "moved to a new configuration" by anyone or any corporation. This is the logo that represents the country in international events which, ironically, is very similar to how the swoosh represents Nike internationally! You cannot tell a country to transition to a word mark if you wouldn't do the same!

This consolidation of fonts really makes no difference in the big picture, but if you won't let select teams wear their logos, why do some teams get to pick their fonts? Why is it different strokes for different folks, Nike? That seems highly discriminatory regarding granting the wishes of what some teams want to wear while telling other teams what they have to wear. While I get that you hold the jersey rights, shouldn't the teams get final decisions on the designs and elements they use?

Finally, you literally came up with four jersey template designs and applied those templates to twelve teams. This isn't innovation. This isn't even design. This is laziness. The lack of options for teams to choose from is pretty evident in these four designs, and it really makes me question who decided this was a good idea. For instance, why do Korea and the USA look so similar? Could you not have found ways to change one of those jerseys so they visually look different from one another? The jersey template idea failed in the NHL when fans and teams demanded more options, yet you seemingly ignored the hard lesson learned by Reebok - a major competitor - and went ahead and did the exact same thing.

So in saying that, I'm gonna go ahead and do the same thing - these are awful and I want nothing to do with them. Pull your heads out of your collective rear ends, Nike. The Olympics are about the participating countries, not you.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 2 November 2017

The Hockey Show - Episode 267

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, has a pile of stuff to cover tonight, but we're going to focus on a few items that caught the attention of the hockey world this past week. In fact, we're going to bring out the teeth and rip into a few people and organizations only to follow up with an admission of wrong that I feel should be issued. We'll have our eyes on a few games tonight, most notably with the Jets welcoming the Stars to BellMTS Place in a battle for second-place in the Central Division. Teebz's new favorite NCAA women's hockey team will get a mention for their play last weekend, and the Bisons women's team is off this weekend with the conference bye, so it might be time to look at how that conference is shaking down.

Teebz and Beans will lend their opinions to the debate over whether or not the new Canadian and American Olympic hockey jerseys are any good. Things may come unhinged in this discussion. We'll also take a look at the Jets and their recent success with who is largely responsible for that, their game against the Dallas Stars tonight, the Oilers and their scoring woes as they fell again last night, the Colgate Raiders, the Manitoba Bisons, and more! We could potentially have guests, so make sure you tune in to hear our takes on what has been happening!

Wanna listen, but not be stuck beside your radio? We suggest that you download the UMFM app on your phone or tablet. It's the easiest and most convenient way to listen to any of UMFM's great shows any time of the day, so go get it! Just follow this link on your iDevice or this link for your Android device and get the UMFM app! It's never been easier to tune into The Hockey Show or UMFM! Download the UMFM app today, and don't miss any of our great programming or shows!

If you prefer social media, we try to remain up-to-speed there as well! Email all show questions and comments - including Pledge-O-Rama questions - to hockeyshow@umfm.com! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show.

Tonight, Teebz and Beans talk Jets, Stars, Olympic jerseys, the Oilers and their woes, the NCAA, U SPORTS, and more only on The Hockey Show found on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM app!

PODCAST: November 2, 2017: Episode 267

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

TBC: Dennis Maruk

The best part about reading and reviewing books about hockey is that I come across stories of which I am neither aware nor I am sure are true. It seems a lot of great hockey stories come out of hockey in the 1970s and 1980s, and I'm lucky that the man who wrote today's book played during that era as he has some great stories that he tells. Teebz's Book Club is proud to review Dennis Maruk: The Unforgettable Story of Hockey's Forgotten 60-Goal Man, written by Dennis Maruk and Ken Reid, and published by ECW Press. The title is a reference to Mr. Maruk's oft-forgotten name in the list of 19 NHL players who have cracked the 60-goal plateau in an NHL season, but I'm quite certain that after reading Dennis Maruk that he will be far more memorable than ever before!

While today's autobiographical book is all about the man in question, Dennis Maruk's biography from the book jacket reads, "Dennis Maruk scored 356 goals and added 522 assists for 878 points in 888 career NHL regular season games. He played in two NHL All-Star Games and still holds the Washington Capitals' record for most points (136) in a single season. He lives in Toronto, Ontario." To add a little to that, Maruk was selected 21st-overall by the California Golden Seals in 1975. He would follow the team through relocation to Cleveland before being merged into the Minnesota North Stars who traded him to the Washington Capitals. He would be traded back to the Minnesota North Stars before retiring with the WPHL's Lake Charles Ice Pirates.

You might know Ken Reid as one-half of the Sportsnet Central anchor team along with Evanka Osmak. Reid grew up in Pictou, Nova Scotia and graduated from Pictou Academy before getting a shot at a local station in Dartmouth. After establishing himself as a credible play-by-play man for the junior A team, the station hired Reid to do a weekly news program where he was editor, videographer, and anchor! Reid moved to Calgary, Ottawa, and Edmonton before landing in Toronto where he worked with CP24, TSN and the NHL Network before landing a permanent gig with Sportsnet in 2011. Ken, his wife, and two boys live in Toronto. Teebz's Book Club also has reviewed his other books, Hockey Card Stories and One Night Only!

For those who are Washington Capitals fans, you may know of Dennis Maruk. For those who live in Minneapolis/St. Paul or Aspen, Colorado or Las Vegas or London, Ontario or Lake Charles, Louisiana, you may know Dennis Maruk as well. In Dennis Maruk, though, you learn how all of these cities come together in career that is beyond amazing yet rarely gets a mention when it comes to great players in specific NHL franchises. As an undersized player for his entire career, Dennis Maruk played bigger than his listed stature, and he reached a plateau that, at the time, only six other men had reached.

Dennis Maruk follows a loose timeline through the NHL star's life, but I thought it was a bold move to put a short chapter about Mr. Maruk's Fu Manchu at the start. Known for his thick facial hair design through his career including his junior career, Mr. Maruk even gives those who are looking to grow a "Fu Maruk-chu" a recipe on how it's done in this chapter. I'm not saying that Dennis Maruk should be bought for one chapter in the book, but having the owner of one of the greatest moustaches in the history of the NHL tell you the backstory of how and why he started wearing the Fu Manchu might be worth the price of the book.

In all seriousness, it's interesting to learn that Dennis Maruk, a man who would be a feared scorer, almost called it quits in junior hockey before finding himself as a trusted and lethal scorer for a few less-than-stellar teams. He found chemistry with players such as Al MacAdam, Bob Murdoch, Ryan Walter, Chris Valentine, Jean Provonost, and Bob Kelly. He was twice an NHL All-Star, and he represented Team Canada four times at the IIHF World Championship. Dennis Maruk had an outstanding career by most measures, and yet he hasn't been honoured with a jersey retirement in any of the cities in which he played nor has he been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Something seems incomplete here for a player who averaged nearly a point-per-game in his career despite playing on some mediocre teams.

Having been through a couple of franchise moves in his career already, Dennis Maruk speaks about facing the same uncertainty in Washington, DC in 1982 in Dennis Maruk. He writes,
Soon after the 1981-82 season, word spread that the Caps could be on the move out of Washington. This sounded all too familiar. It was Oakland and Cleveland all over again. What I would give to play for a stable franchise. Why couldn't I just play in a place where people came out to watch?
I find it funny that in that short paragraph contained in Dennis Maruk that he speaks of the same plights that affect today's franchises such as Carolina and Florida. Despite Washington averaging "11,377 fans per game" in 1981-82, the owner of the Capitals, Abe Pollin, stated that he was losing millions of dollars. With all we know about how dependent hockey is on ticket sales today, it seems that history continues to repeat itself with regards to the business of the NHL.

Towards the end of Dennis Maruk, we learn of Dennis's struggle with mental illness as well. Having read a couple of autobiographies that deal in the subject, it's heartbreaking to know that Dennis almost did the unthinkable in taking his own life after a few missteps. Thankfully, his daughter, Sarah, played a big role in bringing him back from the brink, and we're lucky to still have the great Dennis Maruk with us today. Had he completed his self-destruction, all that we learn about the player and the man known as Dennis Maruk in Dennis Maruk: The Unforgettable Story of Hockey's Forgotten 60-Goal Man may have been lost forever.

Dennis Maruk is written in a stream-of-consciousness style of writing, so it feels like you're listening to Dennis Maruk tell you stories as opposed to reading long-winded sentences of prose. Ken Reid's work in this area to refine the stories and shape the narrative in putting Dennis Maruk together really shows in how well the book flows and how entertaining the stories are that Mr. Maruk has volunteered. You get a lot of timeline events being told, but there are sections where we weave from the past into the present along this timeline that bring some real levity to how his career ended and what Dennis Maruk has done since hanging up the skates. In this style, I really found Dennis Maruk: The Unforgettable Story of Hockey's Forgotten 60-Goal Man to be an enjoyable and entertaining read!

Dennis Maruk: The Unforgettable Story of Hockey's Forgotten 60-Goal Man is a solid read for any hockey fan who wants to learn a little more about one of the NHL's nineteeen 60-goal scorers, about what it was like playing for the Oakland Seals and Cleveland Barons, and about what the last active NHL player who was a Seal did after he retired. Dennis Maruk's life hasn't been a fairy tale by any means, but he's very honest about his career, his accolades, his accomplishments, and his failures along the way. Mr. Maruk and Mr. Reid have put together a very enjoyable read about one of the NHL's best smaller players, and there should be no doubt that Dennis Maruk: The Unforgettable Story of Hockey's Forgotten 60-Goal Man deserves Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

Dennis Maruk: The Unforgettable Story of Hockey's Forgotten 60-Goal Man is available at all bookstores and libraries right now, and it is recommended for teenage readers and up. If you're looking to start your holiday shopping, Dennis Maruk: The Unforgettable Story of Hockey's Forgotten 60-Goal Man would be an excellent addition to your hockey fan's bookshelf!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!