Hockey Headlines

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Love Hockey? Yes, You Do

Wow. That game last night? WOW. I'm not sure if there is a better demonstration of hockey seen in these playoffs or this season than the last few games between the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks. If you love hockey, you're eating this series up. If you don't know much about hockey, this series is showing you everything you need to know and love about the game. If you don't like hockey, you may find yourself enjoying this series simply due to the drama and skill seen in this series.

The Blackhawks trailed 3-2 in Game Six, but rallied once again to defeat the Kings by a 4-3 score despite a furious push at the end of the game by the Kings. Patrick Kane was the superstar we know him to be, Corey Crawford battled just enough to edge Jonathan Quick once more, and the Blackhawks forced a Game Seven in Chicago with their win tonight. Again, this has been a fantastic series, and we'll go the distance for everyone to enjoy.

However, I want to point out two key defensive lapses that resulted in Jonathan Quick fishing the puck out his net. While I'm against blaming one player, both of these Chicago goals could have been prevented if a couple of Kings players had kept white jerseys in front of them. Let's go to the video.
The Duncan Keith goal was made possible by the pinch by Keith to get into some open ice and a great feed by Patrick Kane to find Keith. However, all Trevor Lewis, #22 of the Kings, had to do was keep Duncan Keith in front of him and this goal would never have come on this play. Lewis completely lost his check on Keith, and Keith ended up putting the puck past Quick to tie the game at 3-3. Even Lewis' attempt to stick-check Keith was sloppy and poorly-executed. This might have been one of the worst defensive miscues we've seen in this series.

Notably, it's not the kind of defensive play you want to see from a guy who is categorized as a defensive forward. I wonder if that will affect Lewis' ice-time in key situations in Game Seven. We shall see.

The goal by Patrick Kane was simply a great shot. If you watch closely, though, Marian Gaborik plays Kane soft at the top of the circles, allowing him to gain a little space to get a shot off. Gaborik should have been leaning on Kane at least as he made his way into the middle of the ice, but he decides to shy away from Kane.

Why would a forward of Gaborik's speed and skill fade away from the last man back when a poke-check could easily lead to a breakaway or odd-man rush the other way? You have to play tough on a player like Kane because, as seen, a little room can be extremely dangerous. Gaborik has to be willing to play defence if he wants to generate a little offence.

Game Seven goes tomorrow night, and it's set to be a beauty. Will we see this again?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 30 May 2014

Indiegogo Some Heart

Admittedly, I got on this one late. Like really late. I want to get the word out about a great documentary that needs some independent funding. Personally, the idea behind this documentary is one I totally appreciate, so I feel a little ashamed in posting it so late. Literally, there are three weeks for you to get in on this, so let's take a look at this documentary.

Show Some Heart

Logan Swinkels moved to Toronto in 2013 to experience the Canadian way of life for a year whilst following his love of hockey. He started off making music videos in his home country of New Zealand before joining 3News as a news editor. He worked closely with sports journalists, learning to tell captivating stories with the award-winning network before making the move to Toronto where his focus switched to making documentaries.

This is where I received an email from Mr. Swinkels, and it deserves a read and some consideration.
I just stumbled upon your hockey blog and I was wondering if you could help me.

I'm a long-time hockey fan from New Zealand, now living in Toronto. I'm working hard on my debut sports documentary 'Show Some Heart'. It's about NHL stars like Wayne Simmonds and Drew Doughty giving back to their communities and helping underprivileged kids get into hockey whom couldn't afford to otherwise.

I've just launched an Indiegogo campaign to help fund the production.

If you could take the time to check it out and share with others, I'd really appreciate that. I'd love to hit my funding targets and make this documentary possible.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
This is where my shame comes in. Honestly, I get one of these per week from various people, and there are good chances that the independent fundraising campaigns will go nowhere. This isn't to say that there aren't good ideas out there, but I'm not sure that this blog will ever ask anyone to donate money to anything. After all, if I wouldn't, why should you?

However, this is one I can get behind. Here's the Indiegogo page for "Show Some Heart", and the price points are pretty awesome in terms of getting your name in the credits. Honestly, who doesn't want to see their name in the credits for the movie they helped get off the ground?

Since I was a jerk and kind of ignored Logan's request, I am pledging $20. I like the offers made at each of the price points, so I am going to throw $20 at this project in the hopes we can get this off the ground. It's all about exposing NHL players' work for charity for kids, and that should be vitally important to all of us. Since most of us spend $20 on eating out during the week, it's something I can easily afford to give up to help make Logan's dream come to reality. And I hope you'll match.

In fact, if you do match, I'll sweeten the deal. I'll offer up a guest post for you to fill, and I'll personally thank you on this blog for helping this dream come to reality. All you have to do is send me an image confirming your Indiegogo donation AND THE UPDATED TOTAL as seen below!

So what say you, readers? Take a read through the Indiegogo campaign and toss a few bucks Logan's way. Heck, for the price of a Venti coffee at Starbucks, you can have your name on the credits! If that's not a good deal, I don't know what is! Give it a go, people, and send me your info if you contribute $20 or more. If it is more, we'll find something that fits your donation a little better.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

The Hockey Show - Episode Ninety

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, is back tonight with our regularly-scheduled programming! If you missed last week's show, go download it and listen in as Teebz sat down with NY Ranger great Ted Irvine for an hour-long interview about his career, his life, and the various people who made it memorable. Of course, we pre-empted the Survivor: NHL Playoffs interviews, 3 Rounds Deep, and a host of other stuff, so we'll get back on-track tonight as we kick it up a notch!

Tonight, we'll get caught up on the Round Two eliminations for those participating in the Survivor: NHL Playoffs contest. We'll try to get the four people whose teams were sent packing on the show to discuss their teams' failures in advancing. Pittsburgh, Boston, Anaheim, and Minnesota were all voted off the island, so we'll get in touch with those entrants so they can speak to their demises.

Alongside that, we'll have conversation on a number of topics including the current series in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, the RE/MAX Cup, Canada's failure to medal at the IIHF World Championships once again, why this tournament means so little in North America, the Edmonton Oil Kings winning the Memorial Cup, Barry Trotz and Brian MacLellan being hired in Washington to right a sinking ship there, Jim Benning being hired in Vancouver as the GM, the idiotic battery charge against Corey Crawford, the success of the IceCaps in the Calder Cup Playoffs, and more!

Since we missed it last week due to Mr. Irvine's excellent interview, 3 Rounds Deep tonight will let Beans and I ponder which coach was the best coach of all-time. There have been a ton of legendary coaches in the NHL who have worked wonders with various teams. Scotty Bowman, Toe Blake, Punch Imlach, and many others have been heralded - and in some cases, vilified - for the jobs they have done behind the benches. Get your thinking caps on as Beans and I choose the top-three coaches in our views who have worked in hockey!

If you wanna be a part of 3 Rounds Deep tonight, give us a call during the segment at 204-269-8636 (269-UMFM) and we'll put you on the air! Same rules as always as we can't repeat picks made by others and neither can you, so it will get a little tougher as people start participating. We'll start it off, then open up the phone lines and hit Twitter for everyone else to participate.

Going 3 ROUNDS DEEP tonight: best coach of all-time! You know what to do!

Tune us in at 101.5 UMFM on your radio dial in the Winnipeg region, or you can listen live between 5:30pm and 6:30pm CT on your web-enabled device at the UMFM webpage! We'll be available via phone at (204) 269-8636 (269-UMFM), so give us a call and play 3 Rounds Deep or share your thoughts on any of the topics we cover! You can tweet us anytime you like by hitting us up at @TeebzHBIC on the Twitter machine. You can 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. You should "Like" that. In short, there are lots of ways to get a hold of us!

We're live on the air tonight between 5:30pm and 6:30pm CT, so join us on Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, The Hockey Show on 101.5 UMFM!

MAY 29, 2014: Episode 90

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Flippant Lawsuit

I never thought I'd have a reason to lead an article with the Tie Domi incident in Philadelphia, but it turns out today is that day. While this has nothing to do with Tie Domi or Philadelphia or Flyers fans, it does have something to do with absolute morons who goad players into exacting a little comeuppance. Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is now being investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department for battery after he allegedly squirted a Kings fan in the face with a water bottle after being pulled from the game in Game Four. Yes, I'd dead serious. TMZ is the outlet with the story about this incident, so I feel obliged to link the story. Kudos for TMZ for picking this up across the police blotter!

As per TMZ, here are the details filed thus far:
27-year-old Kings fan Clark Wong filed a BATTERY report Monday night claiming he was "sprayed" by the hockey player at Staples Center.

TMZ Sports spoke with Wong who says he was sitting behind the Blackhawks bench - and was heckling Crawford - when the goalie was pulled from the game toward the end of the 3rd period.

That's when Crawford - who's in the middle of a 6-year, $36 MILLION contract - allegedly whipped out a water bottle and blasted him right in the face.

Wong says he believes the bottle was filled with backwash - along with water - and it has caused serious irritation to his eyes. Wong says he's going to a doctor to get his eyes checked.

League sources tell TMZ Sports ... Wong was ejected from the game 3 to 5 minutes after the spraying incident for "taunting the players" and it was while he was being escorted out of the arena that he began to rub his eyes, complaining about the pain.

We're told Crawford filed a report with police before leaving the arena.

We reached out to Crawford's camp for comment. So far, no word back.
Wow. This is the definition of absolute stupidity and a complete waste of taxpayers' money. I cannot believe the LAPD is even considering wasting a second of manpower on this idiotic complaint. The fact that they even spoke with Crawford is beyond stupid.

Justin Bourne wrote a fantastic piece on this scenario on Yahoo!'s Puck Daddy a few years ago. In it, he writes, "You never physically engage a paying customer. But when you're a paying customer who's leaning over the boards or glass to abuse players, it's like talking in a movie theatre - I know you paid to be here, but you didn't pay for the right to be a jackass." Sorry to say it, Clark Wong, but you're a jackass.

The fact that security ejected him for his behavior makes his complaint unwarranted. Security should have a report on why he was dismissed. The police should be supporting the security guards in removing him. As Mr. Bourne stated, buying a ticket doesn't give you the right to be a jackass. He also wrote, "[I]f I pay for a ticket and lean into the tunnel to tell him that he's an embarrassment to the sport, I think he's entitled to spritz me with a water bottle and tell me to go back to my mom's basement and blog about it." 100% correct. You entered the field of play, and you got what was coming to you regardless of whether you're a fan or not.

This isn't to say that fans can't boo. That's fine because it's done as a group and not as individuals. But to heckle a player directly? You deserve the response you get. This is almost - ALMOST - akin to the Seinfeld episode entitled "The Fire" where Jerry confronts a heckler.

The big difference? Toby didn't file a police report for her missing toe. Toby didn't go off and complain that someone hurt her feelings. Toby didn't waste the taxpayers' money by having a full inquest made because she took a little water in the eye.

Should Crawford be punished? According to the NHL, he should be by way of an internal memo issued at the start of the 2008 NHL season. The bolding is done by me for purposes of this article.
"The Sept. 8, 2008, memo entitled, 'SUPPLEMENTARY DISCIPLINE REMINDERS FOR THE 2008-09 SEASON,' included the following section regarding Contact With Fans:

Even where a fan is verbally abusive, intoxicated, or profane, Club personnel should either ignore the conduct or, where appropriate, seek the assistance of police or security personnel at the arena.

This prohibition extends to all forms of physical contact, whether it be direct physical contact, the throwing of objects (including hockey sticks and other equipment), or even the squirting of water. While the latter form of conduct may have, in the past, seemed to be of a minor or harmless character, such conduct may serve only to incite and provoke an unruly fan and may ultimately lead to unforeseen consequences.

Accordingly, please be on notice that all Club personnel (management, coaches, trainers, and/or players) who engage in any form of physical contact with fans, including the squirting of water, will, on a going forward basis, be subject to discipline in the form of a suspension. The Club involved will also be subject to a fine.
Perhaps Corey Crawford should be suspended for his conduct as outlined in the memo. I will agree that he should be held accountable for his actions, but to have a police report filed over this is beyond idiotic. I want to stress that part: BEYOND IDIOTIC.

Crawford's a human being. I get that he's a professional athlete, but he's a human being first and foremost. He just got pulled in an important game, and Mr. Wong decided to remind him of his poor play. While nothing was presented as to what Mr. Wong said, I'm going to make a logical leap here and say that it wasn't going to be anything supportive or constructive. Chances are it was condescending to downright rude, and maybe had a couple of cuss words thrown in for good measure. Crawford was already angry and frustrated, and then Mr. Wong exacerbated the situation by piling on with his insults. We see it happen all the time, and this time the athlete responded by handing Mr. Wong some just desserts.

That said, let's file this away under "fans who got what they deserved". Crawford should be fined for his actions just as Thornton and Lundqvist were for squirting water at their opponents. A suspension seems a little harsh considering that this wouldn't have happened had Mr. Wong simply kept his mouth shut. In any case, fine Crawford and move on.

Case closed, Mr. Wong. Thanks for wasting everyone's time. Jackass.

UPDATE: A Los Angeles Police Department spokesman told CBSChicago.com that police are not investigating the matter. Kudos to the LAPD for not adding to this lunacy.

Until next time, use your head in the stands!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

To The Final!

This may seem like a bit of a pre-emptive title, but this article is less about hockey than it is about a human interest story. I had written about the incredible magic that Darcy Oake has been performing on Britain's Got Talent. Darcy is the son of Hockey Night In Canada reporter Scott Oake, a Winnipegger, and one heckuva magician. He advanced to the semi-final of Britain's Got Talent with a show of magic not seen around these parts, or Britain for that matter, that wowed even the most harsh of critics in Simon Cowell. Oake returned to the stage on Monday night with a berth to the final on the line!

Literally, the magic he's performing is incredible. The reactions from the judges and crowd are entirely the reason why he's advancing. Again, when Simon Cowell says, "You are without question the best magician we've ever had on the show. I think that we’ve uncovered a star in you. I really do", you know you have talent on your hands. So in saying that, here's Darcy's semi-final magic trick, and it's a doozy!

Mind... BLOWN!

Darcy Oake is incredibly talented. If he doesn't win, something will have had to have gone terribly wrong during his performance. Both of his performances should warrant whatever prize is being awarded, and, had this been America's Got Talent, I'm pretty sure he'd already have his own show in Las Vegas. I usually look for how the trick was done, and I honestly have to say that Darcy Oake's magic is pretty flawless. My vote goes to him.

If you want to learn a little more about Darcy Oake, you can visit his website here. He's got some incredible video on there as well. Needless to say, Winnipeg's got talent in Darcy Oake, and Darcy Oake is incredibly talented.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Behind Enemy Lines

This is my boy, Mike. Mike is a great guy, a smart individual, and a die-hard Montreal Canadiens fan. He can be seen in this picture enjoy some uniquely Canadian items: poutine, Labatt's Blue, and Molson Canadian. Needless to say, Mike loves him some Canadiana, in particular that of the Montreal variety. After all, vive les Expos! Mike, though, lives in New York City. With the Rangers and Canadiens locked in mortal combat for the right to advance to the Stanley Cup Final, Mike announced via Facebook that he was going to Game Three at Madison Square Garden!

Being that HBIC loves a good human interest story, Mike agreed to document his pilgrimage down to the most famous arena in the world and document his experience as a Habs fan in hostile territory. Mike is a great sport for doing this, so, without further adieu, here's Mike's adventure in Madison Square Garden during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Final!
I have been a hockey fan all my life, dating back to my youth in New Orleans, La., when I was a diehard fan of the now-defunct local ECHL team, the New Orleans Brass. Once I moved to Montreal to pursue my undergrad degree at McGill, I adopted the Habs as my new favorite team. (It did not hurt that my favorite historical player has always been Ken Dryden. I am the son of a Cornell University alumna, and my parents always used him as an example of why it is important not to let athletics supercede academics.) Currently, I go to law school at Hofstra University, and I am also pursuing a MBA. This means I study in the heart of Islanders country. Furthermore, my parents live on Long Island, which is a direct train ride to Madison Square Garden. I've seen the Habs visit Uniondale on three occasions, but imagine my excitement when I realized the Habs and Rangers were to square off in the playoffs! I picked up a single ticket on StubHub for Game 3 (at this time, I didn't know it would be on Thursday - I just knew I'd clear my schedule for it), and then your friendly editor, Teebz, asked if I'd like to document my experience. Sure!

Leading up to Game 3, Rangers fever was as high as I can remember. (Note: I was five years old and in New Orleans when the Rangers won the Cup in 1994, so I can't count that.) Unfortunately for me, the Habs had laid a pair of eggs at home, and had spotted the Rangers a 2-0 game lead going into their home barn. StubHub prices could have doubled my money back, but I decided to keep my ticket. Win or lose, this would be my first hockey game at MSG (I’ve been to one Knicks game before, but that's it), and I figured the memories would be priceless. So I put on my authentic Andrei Markov jersey and my blue Expos cap, and boarded the train to get to NYC.

First stop: grub and beer at Mile End Deli. I wanted to feel some kind of friendly confines before entering MSG as an enemy fan, so I feasted on a hot chicken poutine, a smoked meat sandwich, some red coleslaw (vinegar-based, but definitely an inspired version beyond choux traditionelle), and a hearty supply of beer. Mile End was more than ready for the occasion: not only did they have a Habs flag in their window, but they also hosted Paul Houde and his radio station, as they did a live broadcast on 98.5 FM! Malgré la faite que mon français est assez bien, I would have felt hopelessly insecure speaking French on francophone radio. But I had a great time (and you should definitely pay a visit to Mile End!), and it definitely put me in a great mood heading over to the Garden.

Next stop: the Garden. This was a far cry from a regular season game at Uniondale, where Habs fans buy half the arena and rent coach buses. MAYBE I saw 20 scattered Habs fans all night. It was a heavily pro-Rangers crowd, and everybody was giddy, clearly itching to see an all-but-four-times-insurmountable 3-0 series lead. My seat was in Section 222, Row 24 - that is THE very last row. I wound up standing all night, for a better view while disrupting nobody. MSG laid out a blue t-shirt and a white towel on every seat. My neighbor wanted to have souvenirs for his daughter and nephew, so instead of taking that swag home to sell on eBay, I let him have my set. Why not?

It was a thrilling game. I saw the Brandon Prust hit on Derek Stepan: it looked fast in real time, even though the NHL DPS rightfully charged Prust with two games for changing course to dish out a second-late hit. Refereeing is a hard job, but the fans were on the zebras' case all night as a result of that. Tossing out Daniel Carcillo didn't help either, but that was a more obvious call than missing the Prust call in my opinion. The first period was total torture for me, given that fluky Carl Hagelin goal off the 2-on-1 rebound, as well as a huge SOG disparity. I needed a turnaround, and even though Dustin Tokarski was playing valiantly (and eventually won!), his rebounds made me nervous all night. Slowly but surely, I got it in the second and third periods, as Andrei Markov and Daniel Brière tied the score and gave us the lead, respectively. And then, the Rangers pulled the goalie. I cannot remember a lonelier feeling than watching that puck go off Chris Kreider and then Alexei Emelin's skate, and hearing the entire arena rejoice in the Habs' and my agony. Of course, Alex Galchenyuk made it completely worth my while in overtime!

As an opposing fan, I proudly wore my colors, but I tried to be as low-key as possible. I didn’t leave my seat for a second, so I cannot comment on the bathroom lines. After the two goals, I definitely saw some middle fingers pointed at me. Stay classy, "gents." There also were some sad drunk Rangers fans who wanted words with me, but I had selective hearing that night. Here's my point of view: I'm here to watch my favorite team in person, and so should you. If you want to go out of your way to state an obvious opinion, don't bother, because I think I can figure out what's on your mind anyway. But for the most part, the Rangers fans were nice, and they seemed knowledgeable and highly emotionally invested in their team. Can't knock that.

As a Uni Watcher, no photos unfortunately (my phone died after the third period), but in no particular order, my favorite jerseys seen on fans were a Jed Ortmeyer jersey, a white Lady Liberty Mike Richter jersey, and a blue Team Sweden Henrik Lundqvist jersey.
WOW. Beauty report, Mike! Again, I love a good story about someone's experience, and I'm glad to read that Mike's experience, overall, was positive despite a few knuckleheads trying to ruin his night. I have found that fans in opposing buildings do like to give fans of visiting teams a rough go, but it sounds like the entire experience at Madison Square Garden was great!

The Habs need to play some inspired hockey now, though. Game Five goes tomorrow night with the Canadiens' backs against the wall!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

To Victors Go The Sp-Oil Kings

The Edmonton Oil Kings finally brought the Memorial Cup back to Edmonton after a long absence from that city after defeating the Guelph Storm 6-3 at the 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup in London, Ontario. The last time the Memorial Cup called Edmonton home was way back in 1966, but the WHL champions knocked off the heavily-favored OHL champions in the final to give the WHL its first Memorial Cup winner since 2008! And while no one will suggest that the Oil Kings didn't deserve this victory, they did face some battles to get there.

Robby Fabbri of the Guelph Storm put the Oil Kings in a hole just a minute into the game with his finish on a gorgeous three-way passing play. Oil Kings goaltender Tristan Jarry had no chance as Fabbri tapped home a beauty pass into the yawning cage. The Oil Kings would respond, though, as Cody Corbett's slapshot through traffic beat Storm goaltender Justin Nichols on the powerplay at 9:38 to even the game at 1-1. There was no fancy play here - just a pure slapper that was true to the mark from Corbett. At the 16:36 mark, Guelph jumped at ahead again as Pius Suter was stopped on a breakaway, but Stephen Pierog corralled the rebound and found the back of the net with his shot to give the Storm the 2-1 lead heading into the dressing room. Credit goes to Jarry for making the stop on the breakaway, but the Storm cleaned up the rebound nicely.

The second period, however was owned by the Oil Kings. Tyler Robertson tied the game just 1:58 into the period as he snuck into the face-off circle, forced a turnover, and ripped home a wrist shot past a startled Nichols! Guelph had a couple of chances to move the puck, but it bounced off skates and found its way onto Robertson's stick for the 2-2 marker. Edgars Kulda, who had a magnificent tournament, put the Oil Kings ahead at the 6:06 mark while in the powerplay. Some good puck movement after entering the zone saw Henrik Samuelsson feed Ashton Sautner at the point. Sautner spotted a wide-open Kulda on the left side, dished the puck, and Kulda wired it high past Nichols for the 3-2 lead! The Oil Kings made it a 4-2 advantage at the 14:19 mark after a Guelph turnover at the Edmonon blueline. Kulda fed Mitch Moroz on the left side, and his wrist shot beat Nichols on what should have been a somewhat-routine save, but it found the twine. After two periods of play, the Oil Kings would carry the 4-2 lead into the third period.

Just 3:23 into the final frame, the Storm cut the lead to one goal. A battle in the corner of the Edmonton zone was won by Zack Mitchell who skated the puck out before passing to Kirby Rychel behind the net. As Rychel skated around the net, he pulled Jarry to the left post as he fed a nifty backhand pass out to Mitchell on the right side. With Jarry way out of position, Mitchell made no mistake in burying the puck to make it a 4-3 game. Just 1:37 later, though, Edgars Kulda and Henrik Samuelsson caught the Storm in an odd-man rush. Samuelsson beat Jason Dickinson down the middle of the ice and converted the feed from Kulda for the 5-3 lead on a great play. With 1:26 to play, Samuelsson added his second goal of the game into an empty net that sealed the Memorial Cup win for the Oil Kings!

Edgars Kulda was named as the MVP of the Memorial Cup tournament, scoring seven points including a goal and two assists in the final, to earn the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy. The Oil Kings finished first in the WHL's Eastern Conference with 50 wins and 103 points before winning the Ed Chynoweth Cup in a thrilling seven-game series over the Portland Winterhawks. Needless to say, this is a memorable win for the Oil Kings and their fans!

Congratulations to the Edmonton Oil Kings, your 2014 Memorial Cup champions!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Re/Max Cup!

The Re/Max Cup is a fairly successful ball hockey tournament held annually in Winnipeg in May. It's a pretty solid tournament as we roll into the fourth installment of the event, and the teams always make this event memorable. From outstanding plays to incredible saves to laughter amongst the competitors, the Re/Max Cup has spawned from a little ball hockey tournament to attracting some of Manitoba's best ball hockey teams. With talk of expansion at next year's tournament, the Re/Max Cup continues to be one of Manitoba's premiere hockey events for the ball hockey crowd.

I have to say that the tireless work put in by Kevin and Denise Wilson are one of the major reasons why this tournament runs so well. They put the vast majority of the Re/Max Cup together, including prizes and awards, and they deserves some kudos off the top. Well done, Kevin and Denise, in putting together this awesome tournament, and thank you for making it so enjoyable for both the players and the fans.

The Mob, who are the three-time defending champions, return this year to defend their dynasty. They have a pile of talent on their roster, and will be tough to dethrone again this year. Being a veteran team, The Mob know what it takes to win, and have the skill to make that happen in all zones. Goaltending is always a major part of the story with The Mob as well as they routinely get MVP-quality netminding. Because of their dynasty, The Mob should be the favorite to win the whole thing once again. They'll play in Pool A.

Shake 'n Bake, who were runners-up last year, are back to try to knock the The Mob off their perch once more. Like The Mob, there is ample talent and skill on their bench, and they always get clutch goaltending when they need it. They're young, they're hungry, and they're getting sick of silver. Shake 'n Bake will out-work, out-hustle, and show all the doggedness needed to be the champions. They'll play in Pool B, and they could be the money pick to upset the The Mob if they meet.

Pool A will also feature Those Guys... Again, a pile of blue-collar, hard-working individuals who battle hard. They'll be a tough out for any team, and could be a sleeper pick in Pool A. Brothers United are looking to upset The Mob in their pool after tweaking and improving their roster. They'll also prove to be a tough out for any team that meets them in the playoffs, and this team should be considered as "upset specialists" if they aren't the favorite in any game. Bar Down is a rag-tag group of kids who will make up any shortage in experience and savvy veteran play with determination, effort, and athleticism. While they aren't favored to come out of an intensely-competitive Pool A, they could bust Pool A wide-open with a win or two.

Pool B features the Warriors, a team of veteran players who know the game of ball hockey as well as any other team in this tournament. While they may not have the reputation of The Mob, they certainly can be a threat in this tournament with some timely goal-scoring and solid defence. The Warriors should find themselves in a playoff spot later this evening. The Misfits, like the Warriors, don't carry the weight of lofty expectations into this tournament, but they will be good. They are a threat in Pool B for a number of upsets, and could shake the pool up nicely with a few wins. Expect this team to come hard and hungry into the tournament. The wild card in this pool is a new team called Mikisew. The early word on them is that they are fast, skilled, and like scoring goals, so we'll see how that works for them as the games play out.

All in all, these eight teams look like they'll make up the most hotly contested Re/Max Cup yet!

I also want to point out some of the sponsors who help make this tournament as fantastic as it is. Terry Christianson is a Re/Max realtor, but he also contributes a pile of time and money to the tournament. The good people at Crosstown Civic Credit Union also jumped onboard as a major sponsor this year. FXR donated a pile of amazing gifts, including two jackets given away as door prizes for fans. The Hive hair company donated a ton of gift certificates for hair styling and whatever else people with hair do. Subway threw in a pile of free offers for sandwiches. Booster Juice offered up their juice concoctions in the form of gift cards. Domino's Pizza came through with a pile of free pizza offers. And there's even a UMFM logo on there for all the advertising we did on the radio for the Re/Max Cup! Needless to say, all of the sponsors did a marvelous job in helping the fourth annual Re/Max Cup be bigger and better than last year's event, and that bodes well for the future!

If you want to catch the final of the Re/Max Cup, head down to Glenwood Community Center at 27 Overton Street in Winnipeg for 1pm on Sunday. I'll be there, and it should be a great afternoon of amazing hockey, lots of laughter, and a championship ceremony!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Ban, Er, Dan Carcillo

I don't want to make comparisons between players because that's unfair to both, but it seems that Glen Sather likes to reclaim players who others consider to be problems. Sean Avery, for example, was a reclamation project that didn't quite work out for the Rangers as he routinely put himself in bad situations. The same goes for Dan Carcillo now that we're established he doesn't use his head either. What he did tonight in the game between the Rangers and Canadiens is beyond stupid.

If you missed the game, here's the replay. You'll need to keep an eye on Carcillo's right arm and Driscoll's face.
Carcillo apparently struck linesman Scott Driscoll with his stick, as the CBC crew alluded to, and then decided to try to stop Driscoll from putting him in the penalty box. Needless to say, the NHL will rule fast and most likely hard over this infraction against the stripes.

The NHL, according to the NHL Rulebook, can hand out a three-, ten-, or twenty-game suspension depending on the severity of the contact made. They will hear the officials' point of view on this as well, but I can't honestly say there was an intent to injure Scott Driscoll. The twenty-game suspension might be a little much, but Carcillo shows up regularly on the supplemental discipline report.

What I do know is that making contact with an official is entirely wrong, even if by accident. The officials are there to maintain order in the game, and Carcillo's reputation had Driscoll isolate him after the questionable Brandon Prust hit on Derek Stepan. Incidentally, I think Prust should also be suspended for his hit, but that's another article altogether.

All said, Carcillo will have an extended break from these playoffs after pulling an idiotic move tonight. While the Rangers may cry foul over Driscoll isolating Carcillo from the fight after the Prust hit, his reputation precedes him in this situation. Driscoll did the right thing by removing the powder keg from the fire.

Carcillo's reaction, though, was hardly the right thing to do.

UPDATE: Carcillo has been suspended for ten games for his actions.
UPDATE #2: Brandon Prust has been suspended for two games for his hit on Stepan.


Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

The Hockey Show - Episode Eighty-Nine

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, is pre-empting all normal programming tonight for our hour as we are welcoming a special guest to the studio. Normally, we'd run down a few Survivor: NHL Playoffs eliminations and chat all sorts of stuff from the hockey world, but we're proud and honoured to have one of the NHL's finest men to call Winnipeg home visit our humble studio.

Tonight, we welcome the "baby-faced assassin", Mr. Ted Irvine, to the show! Mr. Irvine still lives in the Winnipeg area, and we're going to pick his brain on his hockey career, his achievements, his trades, and a pile of other stuff. This is a guy who won three championships in the former Central Professional Hockey League, went to a Stanley Cup Final with the New York Rangers, and has played across the continent. Mr. Irvine is a treasure trove of hockey history, and tonight we're going to dig out all the stories and bits of information on the old-time hockey that he played when players didn't wear helmets and had to be tough to survive! Of course, he's not going to escape one new segment of the show, though.

We're going to give Mr. Irvine a chance to weigh in on 3 Rounds Deep tonight as Beans and I ponder which coach was the best coach of all-time? There have been a ton of legendary coaches in the NHL who have worked wonders with various teams. Scotty Bowman, Toe Blake, Punch Imlach, and many others have been heralded - and in some cases, vilified - for the jobs they have done behind the benches. Get your thinking caps on as Beans, myself, and Mr. Irvine choose the top-three coaches in our views who have worked in hockey!

If you wanna be a part of 3 Rounds Deep tonight, give us a call during the segment at 204-269-8636 (269-UMFM) and we'll put you on the air! Same rules as always as we can't repeat picks made by others and neither can you, so it will get a little tougher as people start participating. We'll start it off, then open up the phone lines and hit Twitter for everyone else to participate.

Going 3 ROUNDS DEEP tonight: best coach of all-time! You know what to do!

We've got a busy show tonight with Mr. Irvine on, so we'll only be taking calls during the 3 Rounds Deep segment! Tune us in at 101.5 UMFM on your radio dial in the Winnipeg region, or you can listen live between 5:30pm and 6:30pm CT on your web-enabled device at the UMFM webpage! We'll be available via phone for the 3 Rounds Deep segment at (204) 269-8636 (269-UMFM), so give us a call and play 3 Rounds Deep! You can tweet us anytime you like by hitting us up at @TeebzHBIC on the Twitter machine. You can 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. You should "Like" that. In short, there are lots of ways to get a hold of us!

We're live on the air tonight between 5:30pm and 6:30pm CT, so give us a listen and hear Mr. Irvine's achievements in the game of hockey!

PODCAST: MAY 22, 2014: Episode 89

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Video Blog

I have a pile of stuff going on tonight, so I'm going to post some videos that should be seen from hockey action today. There was only one NHL game on tonight, and the Los Angeles Kings showed why they've been so dangerous in rallying from a 2-0 deficit to win 6-2 in their game against the Blackhawks. If anyone thinks Jeff Carter hasn't been effective in these playoffs, tonight should have been a reminder why he was drafted high and is a valued member of that Kings dressing room. Impressive stuff by Carter tonight! Back to the video, there was an impressive individual effort tonight by one man, and one of the worst misses in the history of the game. Here we go.

Swiss Miss

Latvia and Switzerland were playing at the IIHF World Championship on Tuesday, and it appeared that Switzerland would move on with a 3-2 lead late in the game. Latvia, however, pulled their goaltender to try and gain the advantage with the extra attacker, and then this happened.
That miss lines up nicely right beside Patrik Stefan's miss against the Oilers. The only reason it isn't as bad is because the guy passing the puck passed it way further ahead than he should have. I get that people applaud a player giving up an easy goal so a teammate could score, but the entire goal of the empty net goal is to score a goal to ice the game.

Thankfully for Switzerland, they did prevail by the 3-2 score, but that miss on the empty net simply cannot happen in a major championship.

I'll Handle This

A week ago, Brian Gibbons was toiling on the fourth line for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He's a solid centerman who wins face-offs and hustles on every shift. With the Penguins eliminated, he was returned to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the AHL. The Penguins were facing off against the Providence Bruins tonight in Game Seven, and Gibbons decided to put the team on his back in scoring the Penguins' fourth goal.
That was pretty impressive from a guy who was plugged into the NHL Penguins' fourth line all year. I'm not saying that Dan Bylsma made a mistake with Gibbons, but it appears he has a pile of offensive talent that wasn't even tapped this season if he's pulling off moves like that in a Game Seven. Beauty work by Brian Gibbons. That video belongs on his hockey resumé.

A couple of quick videos for tonight should get you on your way. Just as a reminder, The Hockey Show on 101.5 UMFM and www.umfm.com welcomes NHL and New York Rangers legend Ted Irvine to the studio tomorrow night! Tune in at 5:30pm CT for all the fun as we sit down with one of the toughest men in the expansion era to hear his take on the hockey world!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Pyrrhic Relocation

I held off on posting this, but the timing seems right as the Flames made a major decision regarding their AHL affiliate while an ECHL team announced that they would take the next season off in order to get their business in order. While the AHL move makes sense for a couple of reasons, it also signals the end of the AHL in a city past the Central Time Zone. The AHL brand, while strong, takes another hit out west where they had been building on the success of the Manitoba Moose and Abbotsford Heat. Such is the case, though, when your division plays two time zones away.

The Adirondack region, housed out of Glens Falls, New York, has been home to the Adirondack Red Wings and the Adirondack Phantoms in their history over the last 25 years. The fans in Adirondack have seen varying degrees of success, but none has come close to that of the original Red Wings team that sent a multitude of players, coaches, and general managers to the NHL. The Red Wings also captured the Calder Cup on four occasions: in '80-81 over the Maine Mariners, in '85-86 over the Hershey Bears, in '88-89 over the New Haven Nighthawks, and in '91-92 over the St. John's Maple Leafs. Needless to say, there have been some fond memories made in Glens Falls.

Of course, there have also been some not-so-fond memories, but I link to that simply because it's funny. Well-played, Mr. Mendelson!

Back to the task at hand, it seems that the move from Abbotsford was more about money and less about development and having an AHL team close to its NHL affiliate. The team somehow roped former mayor George Peary into a ten-year deal that provided them with $5.7 million per season for doing nothing more than existing in Abbotsford. Without that money, the Calgary Flames' AHL team would have easily been bleeding red ink thanks to being plopped down in the middle of British Columbia, also known as Canucks country. If you're not aware, Calgary and Vancouver don't really like one another, so asking the people of Abbotsford, British Columbia to cheer for the Flames' AHL affiliate seems like a boneheaded idea.

But they went with it anyway. And, according to this CBC report, "[w]ith the team pulling in around 2,000 fewer fans per game than the minor hockey league average, taxpayers in Abbotsford have covered $7.2 million in losses in five years, plus the costs associated with owning and running the stadium." Tack on the fact that Abbotsford built a brand-new arena in 2009 to house the Heat as the main tenant, and you have yourself one ugly situation in the quiet hamlet of Abbotsford.

The irony isn't lost on me that I wrote about these very two cities - Abbotsford and Adirondack - back in the summer of 2009 as franchises were on the move. At that time, I wrote, "the Abbotsford Sports and Entertainment Centre will seat 6653 fans along with 12 boxes, 20 private suites, and 2 party suites. The arena's total seating can expand to 8500. In this writer's opinion, the Abbotsford Sports and Entertainment Centre is probably the perfect size for the AHL for a new team in a new location."

While I still believe that the 6653-seat Abbotsford Sports and Entertainment Centre is a good AHL-sized rink in a smaller market, the fact of the matter was that the Heat were doomed from the beginning.

Average Attendance Per Year
Year Average Fans AHL Rank/30 Playoffs AHL Rank/16
2009-10
3897
24th
2659
11th
2010-11
3807
26th
DNQ
N/A
2011-12
3545
29th
2389
16th
2012-13
3778
28th
DNQ
N/A
2013-14
3007
29th
2287
15th

If you'll notice, Abbotsford was barely filling half of their brand-new, multi-million dollar facility, and didn't even hit the 50% mark in this last season after Calgary announced they were seeking relocation for the franchise. Worse yet is the fact that they never hit the 50% mark once in the playoffs! How do people not get geared up for playoff hockey?!?

I'll tell you how: announce that you're leaving the city for potentially greener pastures mid-season. And last week, the announcement was made that the Adirondack Flames will play next season out of Glens Falls, New York as the book was closed on Abbotsford and the Heat.

Moving to Adirondack has an advantage in reduced travel costs within the AHL, but it will affect the Flames in terms of recalls. However, if the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, and Phoenix Coyotes all make it work, so can the Flames. And personally, the city of Abbotsford can use the break when it comes to covering the team's losses.

Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman told CTV Vancouver, "We've actually we actually managed to save the taxpayers about 50 per cent. Fifty cents on the dollar from what the projected losses would have been." In a time when infrastructure and costs are being managed with tighter budgets for cities and townships, that's huge savings that can go into the city's budget to improve Abbotsford.

While both the city of Abbotsford and the Abbotsford Heat lost in the arrangement, both will be better off by parting ways. I know it sucks for hockey fans in and around the Abbotsford area, but this was a necessary move by both the franchise and the city. It's a Pyrrhic victory for both in this case, but both parties will be better off in the long run.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Your Jerseys Says What?

I have to hand it to Paul Romanuk. He has always been an excellent broadcaster for a number of different sports, but he has a real knack for reporting on hockey because he appreciates the same things I do. Therefore, he's awesome because I basically consider his work to be intended for me. In saying this, Mr. Romanuk put together a fascinating piece on the messages inside each country's jerseys at the IIHF World Championship!

I'm not going to take the steam out of Mr. Romanuk's piece, so here is Paul Romanuk with an in-depth look at the messages found on the sweaters seen at the 2014 IIHF World Championship!
How cool is that? I know I've ripped on a countries putting these messages inside the jerseys before, but the fact that there are multiple countries with this trend in their native languages is actually pretty cool. I'm still not sold on the messages as being "features" of the sweater, but the fact that each of the jerseys shown by Mr. Romanuk in the piece has its own special message meant exclusively for that country's players is pretty neat.

Team USA finished second in Pool B. France finished fourth in Pool A. Both teams made the quarterfinals at the 2014 IIHF World Championship, so they'll live to play for a chance at a medal. Kazakhstan finished eighth in Pool B, Denmark finished seventh in Pool A, and Slovakia finished fifth in Pool A, meaning all three of these teams will play on the consolation side.

Regardless of their finish, each of the these teams' players represented their country proudly, and lived up to the message found on their uniforms!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Oh No-vechkin

The Washington Capitals are already searching for a general manager and a head coach, and it appeared they may have been looking for a miracle next season as Alexander Ovechkin was helped off the ice after taking an open-ice hip check at the IIHF World Championship today. There haven't been many times I've seen Ovechkin stay down on the ice as long as he did in this game, and it looked even worse as he barely put weight on the leg that took the majority of the check. In reality, this one looked bad.

Here's what the hit looked like as Germany's Marcus Kink stepped up to hit Ovechkin with the Russian team ahead 1-0 in what was honestly a meaningless game in the standings.
While the hit didn't look all that vicious, Ovechkin left the ice without putting weight on his right leg and being helped off by two Russian officials. Needless to say, there may have been a wave of horror that went over Washington today as their superstar went down. Further to that, reporter Slava Malamud stated that Ovechkin was taken to a Minsk hospital for an MRI. Washington and Russian fans collectively held their breath for the results.

Thankfully, it appears Ovechkin will be ok. He probably won't play in the next game or two, but he was spotted limping at the hotel without crutches. My guess? Probably a bad charley horse based on that hit. That would cause the leg to be virtually useless in the moments after suffering the charley horse, but he should be alright in the long-term.

Russia finished as the top team in Group B with 18 points. They went 6-0 in the round-robin, allowing just six goals while putting 29 behind opposition goalies. The Russians are dangerous in the tournament, but they could use Ovechkin down the stretch. We'll have to see if he can return to the lineup, but my guess is that he'll make sure that leg is ready for the NHL season before rushing back to the Russian lineup.

Rest easy, Russia. Your star sniper will be back... eventually.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Winners Of The Second Round

Round Two turned out to be very interesting considering that there were 27 total games played over the four series. There were also 27 entrants into Round Two, thereby narrowing your competition greatly when it comes to a top-ten finish in the pool. Things got interesting considering that there are no top seeds left in the playoffs, and three third-seeds are competing for two berths in the Stanley Cup Final. Needelss to say, there were some points left on the board this round by a number of competitors. I'll post the updated leaderboard at the bottom of this article, but let's take a look at whose crystal balls were the most clairvoyant in this round.

Chicago vs. Minnesota

One entrant showed up in a big way in this round. Ty F. literally aced this series. He called every single game of the six-game series correctly in terms of the winning team. He added Patrick Kane's game-winners in both Game One and Game Six for another four points. And because he called every game right, he also picked up the five points for calling the winning team in the right number of games. Ty's final total in this series? 15 points, and his total was the highest for any series this round! Incredible job, Ty!

Average score for this series: 6 points.

Anaheim vs. Los Angeles

Because Los Angeles won at Anaheim followed by Anaheim taking three in a row off the Kings, lots of people missed out on point. Westin F. didn't, though. He correctly predicted the winners in Game One, Three, Five, Six, and Seven for five points. He tossed in Marian Gaborik's game-winner in Game One for another two points. And because he chose Los Angeles to win in seven games, he grabbed the all-important five points. After the dust settled last night, Westin had 12 points tacked onto his score! Well done, Westin!

Average score for this series: 5 points.

Boston vs. Montreal

Dave F. came to play in this series. Dave only called Games One, Two and Seven correctly for three points, but he added Pacioretty's game-winning goal in Game Seven to bring him to five totals. In calling Pacioretty's game-winner, he also predicted Montreal to win in seven games for another five points. All told, Dave grabbed 10 points in this series! Excellent job, Dave!

It appeared a lot of people thought Boston was going to walk all over Montreal in this series. Montreal, if you had been looking for trends, won the season series between these two teams, Tuukka Rask has struggled against Montreal, and all of Carey Price's career playoff shutouts have come against the Bruins. Ten of 27 entrants scored three points while seven others had six points. Needless to say, the trends continued in this series.

Average score for this series: 4 points.

Pittsburgh vs. NY Rangers

Like the Boston-Montreal series, it seemed that Pittsburgh was the favorite by a big margin. Scott M. and Ty F. didn't let that stop them in scoring big, though. Scott M. called the correct team in Games Three, Six, and Seven to win. He added Brad Richards' game-winning goal in Game Seven to boost him from three to five points. And because he called the Rangers as the winning team in seven games, Scott grabbed a total of 10 points in this series! Excellent job, Scott!

Ty F. joined him by calling the correct winning team in Games Three, Five, and Seven. He also called Sidney Crosby's game-winning goal in Game Three for another two points. And because he called the Rangers in seven games as the victors, he picked up another five points. All totaled, Ty had another 10 points for his predictions! Fantastic work, Ty!

Average score for this series: 5 points.

Overall Greatness

Scott M., who pulled down ten points in the Penguins-Rangers series, also walked out of this round as the top performer! Scott grabbed eleven points in the Chicago-Minnesota series, eight points in the Anaheim-Los Angeles series, and four points in the Boston-Montreal series to go with his ten points in the Penguins-Rangers battle. Scott ended up atop the heap of entries with 33 points in this round with the best score of Round Two! Excellent work, Scott!

Again, the new spreadsheet has been configured. Again, to expedite the marking, I have created a pretty little Excel document that can be opened in both Microsoft Excel and OpenOffice Calc. Fill this out and send it back to me WITH YOUR NAME AS THE NAME OF THE EXCEL DOCUMENT (ie. Teebz.xls). Once more, if you are going to use the .numbers format that Apple machines use, please see if you can save the document in .pdf or some sort of common format between the Apple and Windows platforms. That's my only request from all participants!

Click here to download if you missed the link above. Again, Round Three starts tomorrow night, so get those picks in! If there's a deadline problem, email me! The deadline is the start of Sunday night's game for Round Three picks! Good luck in Round Three, everyone!

Oh, and the leaderboard has been updated. Tyler J. is leading way in the pool! Congrats, Tyler!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 16 May 2014

The End Of Round Two

Well, that's two California teams that have been stung hard by the Los Angeles Kings. If you want to talk about owning teams within your state, the Kings have the numbers of the Sharks and Ducks. After trailing in both series, the Kings are 5-0 in elimination games against the Sharks and Ducks this season. That, readers, is impressive. You want more impressive? The Los Angeles Kings became the first team to win two series in the same playoff year after losing three-straight games in two series of that playoff year. You witnessed history tonight if you tuned in.

In saying that, the HBIC Playoff Pool rolls on! With Round Three of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs starting tomorrow, the new spreadsheet has been configured. Again, to expedite the marking, I have created a pretty little Excel document that can be opened in both Microsoft Excel and OpenOffice Calc. Fill this out and send it back to me WITH YOUR NAME AS THE NAME OF THE EXCEL DOCUMENT (ie. Teebz.xls). Once more, if you are going to use the .numbers format that Apple machines use, please see if you can save the document in .pdf or some sort of common format between the Apple and Windows platforms. That's my only request from all participants!

Click here to download if you missed the link above. Again, Round Three starts tomorrow night, so get those picks in! If there's a deadline problem, email me! The deadline is Sunday night for Round Three picks!

Good luck in Round Three, and second-round scores and an updated leaderboard will be posted tomorrow on HBIC! Chicago and Los Angeles in the West, New York and Montreal in the East; three third-seeds and second-seed for berths in the Stanley Cup; three Original Six teams; and, two teams that have won Stanley Cups in the last five years. This should be a beauty!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

The Hockey Show - Episode Eighty-Eight

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, is going to have some fun with more craziness today! We will wrap up the final two opening round series by dismissing the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers from Survivor: NHL Playoffs, and then try to squeeze Round Two's eliminated players in tonight as we have a special guest lined up for next week! We'll talk a little about who that is below, but it's going to be another busy show tonight so buckle up and hold on!

The reason for us pushing the Survivor: NHL Playoffs schedule into tonight is that we're honoured to have an NHL great join us in-studio for a chat about the game. We will welcome former LA King, NY Ranger, and St. Louis Blue Ted Irvine to the show next week, and we'll have a pile of questions for one of the game's most memorable players. He was a tough hombre who played an excellent defensive game, making him invaluable to the Rangers who swapped Real Lemieux and Juha Widing to the Los Angeles Kings to acquire Irvine. We'll talk to Mr. Irvine in-depth about his time in the NHL, his thoughts on today's game, how he got his nickname, and many more topics!

Beans and I will go 3 Rounds Deep next week with Mr. Irvine as well, but tonight we'll focus on a relatively easy topic that could produce some incredible answers. Since Beans and I are both defencemen when we play, we will debate and discuss the players with the best slapshots of all-time. This could produce some pretty good fireworks as Beans has his favorites and I have mine!

If you wanna be a part of 3 Rounds Deep tonight, give us a call during the segment at 204-269-8636 (269-UMFM) and we'll put you on the air! Same rules as always as we can't repeat picks made by others and neither can you, so it will get a little tougher as people start participating. We'll start it off, then open up the phone lines and hit Twitter for everyone else to participate.

Going 3 ROUNDS DEEP tonight: who has the best slapshot of all-time! You know what to do!

Amongst the other topics we'll take a look at tonight, we'll discuss the fall of the Bruins, Wild, and Penguins in Round Two and what the fall-out from each loss could be, we'll talk about the impressive numbers shown by the NCAA in terms of hockey programs and graduation rates, we'll chat about Milan Lucic's comments after Game Seven yesterday, and we'll work in a couple of promotions tonight.

One such promotion? We're giving away movie tickets! while he's avoided us with "work", we're still big on Jared Keeso's rising star. We saw him in Elysium, we're huge fans of his work on Bravo's 19-2, and now you'll get to see him on the big screen as he stars in Godzilla! Jared plays a character only known as "Jump Master", so his role may be small from its description, but there are no small roles in Hollywood! Tonight on The Hockey Show, your cue to call for the tickets will be the very prominent Godzilla roar, so listen closely for your chance to win two tickets to see this new blockbuster that opens tomorrow!

We've got a jam-packed show tonight, so here's how you can participate! First, you gotta listen to the show! Tune us in at 101.5 UMFM on your radio dial in the Winnipeg region, or you can listen live between 5:30pm and 6:30pm CT on your web-enabled device at the UMFM webpage! We're always available via phone while on the air at (204) 269-8636 (269-UMFM), so give us a call whenever you like and to play 3 Rounds Deep! You can tweet us anytime you like by hitting us up at @TeebzHBIC on the Twitter machine. You can 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. You should "Like" that. In short, there are lots of ways to get a hold of us!

We're live on the air tonight between 5:30pm and 6:30pm CT, so give us a listen!

PODCAST: MAY 15, 2014: Episode 88

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Se7en

Montreal and Boston will meet for the final time this season tonight in Boston in what will determine the second-half of the Eastern Conference Final teams. With the Rangers winning last night, there will be at least one Original Six team in the Stanley Cup Final yet again, and there's a good chance that the Chicago-Boston series everyone seems to have predicted before the playoffs started - yours truly as well - could still happen. Unless, of course, Montreal wins. Playoff fever is at an all-time high in both cities, so this one should be a beauty to finish off the series!

To give you an example of what Montreal fans are doing to rally behind their team, here's the rack of doughnuts at the Tim Hortons location found at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The Bell Centre, of course, is the home of the Montreal Canadiens, and it appears you might be able to pick up a bag of day-old Boston Cream doughnuts fairly inexpensively tomorrow morning. Heck, even this evening! If you're a Boston Bruins fan in Montreal and you have a sweet tooth, you may be able to invite your friends over to watch the game and enjoy a few "beignets" as you tune into "ICI Radio-Canada" for the game this evening. Like that French? That's a little savoir-faire there, readers!

Maybe you want to go out to an establishment for a few adult beverages and some food? Boston Pizza, a good Canadian establishment, has swapped its name on all Quebec-based restaurants throughout this series to show its support of the Montreal Canadiens. Call your friends, and tell them to meet you at the newly-named Montreal Pizza for tonight's Game Seven battle! Canada's Boston Montreal Pizza may require you to make a reservation, though, if you want to watch from one of their fine establishments!

All in all, I expect this Game Seven to be a fantastic game between two exceptional young goaltenders, two well-matched teams, and two savvy coaches who seem to enjoy this game of chess they are playing. Tonight, a berth in the Eastern Conference Final and a date with the New York Rangers is on the line, and I'm pumped for this one! Subban, Price, Pacioretty, Plekanec, Gionta, Gorges, Markov, Emelin, Gallagher, Eller, Prust and the rest of the Canadiens versus Bergeron, Krejci, Lucic, Marchand, Chara, Rask, Soderberg, Thornton, Campbell, Kelly, and the rest of the Bruins in a winner-takes-all tonight! It's gonna be a beauty!

As expected, I am throwing my support behind the only Canadian-based squad in the playoffs, so GO HABS GO!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

A Cold Day In Hell

It started early this evening. The temperature plummeted outside of HBIC Headquarters, and then the night got progressively worse as the Penguins physically were present at the Consol Energy Center, but they never really showed up. Kudos to the New York Rangers for rallying from a 3-1 series deficit. Kudos to Brad Richards for extending his winning ways in Game Sevens. Kudos to Henrik Lundqvist who appeared to reclaim his status as one of the planet's best netminders in winning his fifth-straight Game Seven game. The Penguins, however, deserve little praise.

That's what happens when your team blows a commanding lead by scoring a mere three goals in the final three games of the series, including a pair of games on home ice. I'd use the word "pathetic", but that would complimentary to a team that literally looked like it was sleepwalking through those final three games. This playoff loss cuts deep. It's time to change the culture in Pittsburgh in a big way, and it should start Wednesday morning.

As the Rangers and their fans celebrated tonight's win to push them into the Eastern Conference Final, Penguins fans were already calling for changes. The panel on TSN, consisting of Bob McKenzie, Darren Pang, and Aaron Ward, all called for at least a coaching change, if not changes in the front office down through the coaching ranks for the Penguins. Pang even went as far as suggesting the Penguins entertain trades for Malkin and Fleury in order to build the team stronger.

What I do know is that two former Manitoba Moose coaches - Alain Vigneault and Scott Arniel - are coaching in the Eastern Conference Final. Henrik Lundqvist, who earned the player of the game award after last night's win, is looking like the world-class goalie he's known to be. Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis made it look like 2004 all over again with their chemistry. The Rangers' third-line outplayed the entire Penguins team in the last three games.

In short, this was deserved.
Congratulations to the New York Rangers for ruining my night and advancing to the Eastern Conference Final. Yes, in that order. The cold weather being called for tonight, along with snow in the forecast, isn't helping my mood at all.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 12 May 2014

These Are Not The Masks You're Looking For

I received an interesting email from Bauer Hockey today. With Disney rebooting the Star Wars series, it appears that they are marketing the Star Wars brand hard across a number of industries. The sports industry, specifically hockey, will not be overlooked as Disney and Bauer Hockey have combined forces to produce five new goalie masks with Star Wars themes on them for those players who wish to play net like a Jedi.

We had an example of a couple of goalies who used the "Darth" moniker over the past few years. "Darth" Martin Gerber and "Darth" Jonas Hiller both went with primarily black masks to prompt the name change as they resembled Darth Vader from Star Wars. With their all-black masks, the two Swiss goaltenders looked more like they hailed from the Empire rather than the land of skiing, chocolate, and clocks.

Bauer rolled these masks out today with a rather impressive email. They wrote,
Bauer Hockey, the world’s leading manufacturer of ice hockey equipment, announced today that it has launched a series of five Star Wars themed goal masks that are now available at select global retail locations.

"For as long as goal masks have been worn in hockey, there has been an evolution of incredible artwork that showcases the goalie and the team's heritage and provides inspiration in preparation for battle on the ice," said Greg Goyer, Category General Manager for Goalie Product at Bauer Hockey. "Given the film's unique and global following, we're excited to offer the series of Star Wars themed goal masks as the next chapter in the history of goal mask battle paint."

More than two years in the making, each BAUER goal mask features iconic characters and worlds from the classic film series, including Luke Skywalker, Shock Troopers, Yoda, Boba Fett and Darth Vader.

Included below are brief descriptions of the artwork, scenes and characters featured on the goal masks:

LUKE SKYWALKER Goal Mask: With designs from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, this goal mask features X-Wing pilot Luke Skywalker equipped for battle on the ice planet of Hoth, the location of the Rebel Alliance base.

SHOCK TROOPERS Goal Mask: This goal mask features designs of the Galactic Empire ground force, the Shock Troopers, and brings to life the fiery volcanic world of Mustafar, the location of the legendary battle between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

YODA Goal Mask: Yoda, one of the most renowned and powerful Jedi Masters in Galactic history, is featured on this goal mask poised to duel, armed with his lightsaber while channeling the Force.

BOBA FETT Goal Mask: The notorious bounty hunter, Boba Fett, is featured on this goal mask in battle in his customized Mandalorian armor firing his blaster rifle and in-flight with his Z-6 jetpack engaged. The Mandalorian symbol is displayed on the center of the mask, just above the wire facial cage.

DARTH VADER Goal Mask: The Emperor's dark enforcer, Darth Vader, is featured on this goal mask in his infamous black armor and in battle with his lightsaber in hand. The Galactic Empire Imperial symbol is displayed on the center of the mask, just above the wire facial cage.

The series is available on the BAUER NME3 goal mask. This high performance mask includes a LEXAN EXL polycarbonate shell, a dual density liner and a carbon steel round wire cage. The Star Wars series BAUER goal mask is available in a variety of sizes, including senior, junior, youth and street youth.

Bauer Hockey is the No. 1 brand used by athletes in the National Hockey League, including goal masks.
Aside from the shameless self-promotion at the end, it sounds as though Bauer may have something here for the netminding Jedis and Padawans out there. I would have liked to have seen a Padmé mask for the vast number of girls and women playing net, but it may still be done depending on the success and sales of these five masks. I do appreciate the fact that whomever was responsible for the paint jobs decided to stay closer to Episodes IV, V, and VI. Personally, the young Luke Skywalker and the young Boba Fett can't hold a candle to the three "prequels" that George Lucas produced.

What say you, readers? Good? Bad? Horri-awful? Would you wear one if you were a goalie? Personally, they're not too bad at all. For those who can't afford to get a custom paint job, this might be a great solution to that problem. And the best part? No Jar-Jar Binks!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 11 May 2014

The Impending Outcome

If there was a hot seat in the NHL coaching ranks right now, Pittsburgh's Dan Bylsma has to be feeling it. The Penguins returned home for Game Five and were promptly handed a 5-1 defeat on home ice. The Penguins seemed none too worried as they went back to Madison Square Garden where the New York Rangers hung a 3-1 loss around their necks. For a team that has one of the most impressive lineups in terms of offensive capabilities, their bread-and-butter has suddenly gone sour as the Rangers have turned up the heat defensively. Dan Bylsma's job could be on the line tomorrow night along with the playoff hopes of the Steel City.

People will point to Sidney Crosby and exclaim, "He's got to put this team on his back!" in terms of carrying this team into the Eastern Conference Final. While I will agree with that to a degree, there are far other problems plaguing this Penguins squad right now beyond Crosby's scoring... or lack thereof.

Has anyone seen James Neal in these playoffs? Two goals and two assists are not the James Neal we saw playing all season. Neal is a vital contributor to the Penguins' offence, and he simply hasn't been effective. His 45 shots in the playoffs leads the team, but his lack of production is killing any offence on that second line.

Lee Stempniak, brought in to play more of a power forward role on Pittsburgh's top line, has found himself all over the lineup as Dan Bylsma looks for a place for him to play. His two goals and single assist are not indicative of his talent level, yet he's way down the scoring list for the Penguins. Sure, he's been used in defensive roles as well, but -4 isn't helping his cause for his defensive game either. Something's gotta give there: defence or offence.

The defensive pairings took a major hit when Brooks Orpik went down in the first series, and then was re-injured against the Rangers. Orpik isn't a scoring threat as much as he is a big body on the blue line that likes to throw hits and keeping players honest. Without him, though, it seems the Penguins have no one to keep the Rangers in check as they criss-cross through the zone. Orpik's presence has been missed.

The one guy who should feel the heat in this seventh game, though, is head coach Dan Bylsma. Bylsma hasn't out-coached anyone in these playoffs. He should consider himself lucky that he survived the Columbus Blue Jackets after his mentor, Todd Richards, showed how a hard-working team could beat a team dripping with natural talent. Richards got Brandon Dubinsky to blanket Sidney Crosby for the majority of the series. Richards had Jack Johnson jumping into plays and becoming an offensive force as a roving defenceman. Richards' Blue Jackets team should have been a massive underdog, but hard work and determination pushed the Penguins to play harder for their own self-preservation.

The Penguins appeared to have the Rangers' number in the second round as they built a commanding 3-1 lead, but Tuesday night's Game Seven has all sorts of implications on it now that the Penguins have been unable to close the deal. The last two games that the Penguins have played have been against a desperate Rangers team that has literally done everything it took to win. They finished checks, they blocked shots, they sacrificed bodies, and they scored goals. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault hasn't necessarily out-coached Bylsma in this series, but he has certainly rallied his troops into forcing this series into a one-game, winner-takes-all game.

In saying this, Bylsma needs to find a way for his superstars to break free on Tuesday. Malkin and Jokinen have been doing the vast majority of scoring for the Penguins, but guys like Crosby, Neal, Stempniak, and Kunitz would certainly help the cause of they could find the twine a little more often. The Penguins' blue line needs to be more physical with the speedy Rangers' forwards to slow them down while doing all they can to clear the crease, pin bodies against the boards, and play good defensive positioning. Marc-Andre Fleury - who hasn't been a negative in a while - needs to make routine saves and toss in a couple of spectacular stops for good measure.

If the Penguins are eliminated Tuesday, I would have no problems seeing Dan Bylsma being replaced, especially with the gluttony of excellent coaches looking for work right now. Bylsma, however, controls his own destiny. If he actually decides to coach his talent-heavy squad, he may just survive this potential implosion in Pittsburgh.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

A Much-Needed Break

I will admit something to everyone who stops by here: I need a break. Badly. As much as I love hockey and the Stanley Cup Playoffs, my life literally was chaotic for the last few weeks in that I hardly got time to watch. Even when I was watching, I still found myself pre-occupied by other things going on in my life. Needless to say, things are settling down now, but I'm a little burnt out from these last few weeks. To remedy this, I decided to take up an offer and head out to "god's country" in the middle of nowhere where wireless signals, LAN connections, and TV signals hardly reach.

I'll be off the grid for Saturday and Sunday for the most part as I don't plan on returning until later in the evening on Sunday. It will be nothing but fresh air, satellite radio, a few adult beverages, and a lot of time staring out at open water, somewhat-green trees, and the vast blue sky. Unless it rains, and then I'll be inside reading. Thankfully, there is only a slight chance of rain called for on Sunday.

For those of you in the HBIC Playoff Pool, I apologize for not updating the stats by this point. I'll get to work on them on Sunday night in the effort to have everything finished by Monday. I know I said I'd keep up, but I'm dropping the ball on this one because of the rest of my non-hockey life. I apologize once more, and we'll get this fixed.

Take it easy this weekend, everyone. I know I will.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 9 May 2014

No Pushovers In This Tourney

Earlier this morning, we saw how an unprepared team can come into the IIHF World Championship and be out-worked by a team that wants to add another upset to their resumé. Canada suffered a somewhat-humiliating loss to France at the tournament in Belarus this morning in the shootout, and will now carry that stigma with them for a while. Of course, France shouldn't be considered a pushover at all considering they have an NHL-caliber goaltender, a star AHL player, and a decent set of forwards. However, when compared to the roster of Canada, France should have been on the wrong side of the ledger at the final score.

Canada, to their credit, did pick up a point for getting the game into the shootout, but this should have been a three-point game in their pocket. France annoyed, pestered, checked, and re-checked the Canadians at every turn as they looked like they were playing for the Stanley Cup rather than the opening game of the World Championship. However, when it comes to measuring sticks, there's no better test for a rising team than squaring off against one of hockey's superpowers and coming away with a win.

Ironically, it was one year to the day when France picked up their most notable win on the international hockey scene. Goaltender Florian Hardy allowed one goal on an Alexander Perezhogin shot, and Damien Fleury and Antoine Roussel scored the goals to help France to the 2-1 win over Russia, a team to which they had dropped all six previous games. Hardy stopped 28 shots in the win, including an Aleksandr Radulov penalty shot midway through the second period, in leading France to its biggest win at that point in their history. Highlights from that game can be seen in the following video.

Today, France added another notch to their belt, so to speak, in taking down Canada in the shootout. Those are two major powers in the hockey world that they have defeated in back-to-back years with similar styles of play: check hard, capitalize on chances, and defend the net like a bear defending its cubs. Canada, for its part, never really seemed to find its game and appeared to be going through the motions more than working hard and letting talent take over. That's all it takes for an upset, readers: hard work trumps talent every single time.

Congratulations to France on their victory as they jump to the top of the standings early this morning. It feels weird writing this, but Canada had better get a better effort together against Slovakia tomorrow, or they might be looking up at a lot of teams they are expected to beat fairly handily.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!