Another seven days. Another action-packed week of NHL hockey. It seems as if the schedule is rounding out and teams are now playing on a consistent basis. We're starting to see some rookies make impacts with their teams and some veterans inch closer and closer to milestones. Amazingly we're a month into the season and it feels like it just started.
The NHL Network found its way onto my Direct TV subscription this week and I cannot say enough great things about it. While there's plans to show only 40 live NHL games this season, there are plenty of other things on the channel that'll keep a hockey fan busy.
First, you have the network's answer to NHL 2Night, which is On the Fly, a nightly highlights show that packages the best moments of each game into a several minute clip. During game-nights, they will cut into action of live games and bring you a few minutes of the tilt. It's the perfect show for any hockey fan that craves nightly highlights that aren't found on the internet.
Next, you have the special feature shows and vintage games. Their Classic Series program dissects memorable playoff series into hour-long segments, going in-depth into each game and giving the viewer a feel of what it was like for both teams. Then you have the Top 10 show, which has everything from "Top 10 Hat Tricks of the 2001-02 Season, to "Top 10 Mario Lemieux Goals", to "Top 10 Goals of the 2002-03 Season". Loads of classic clips and moments from NHL Productions.
I can imagine now that the NHL Network is up and running in the US along with Canada, that the league will put more emphasis on NHL Productions and bring hockey fans something similar to what the NFL does with NFL Films. We all know how great those classic football shows are, so if the NHL can do that, then the leagues network channel will only be greater for fans.
In the five days that I've been watching the channel, my TiVo is already packed with vintage games and clip shows that I've yet to watch. If you do not have the NHL Network on your cable or satellite package, you need to give them a call find out how you can get it. You will not be disappointed.
NEWS AND NOTES
A few days after his team defeated the Penguins in a shootout, Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau called for an interesting change in the shootout: disallow players who finish the game in the penalty box from partaking in the shootout. I actually agree with Carbonneau and it's something the general managers should start discussing. Let's say there's under a minute to go in the overtime session and your team is coming in on a two-on-one. It's a very high percentage scoring chance, so you're confident in your team right about now. Well, all of a sudden, your player without the puck is mauled as he's about to shoot the puck. A penalty is called. Now, that defensive player who took the penalty should not be able to participate in the shootout because he clearly prevented the offensive team from a scoring chance. This is something where players will start taking unnecessary penalties at the end of overtimes just to prevent scoring chances. It's an interesting discussion and I'm open to hearing from the opposing side.
Rick Tocchet will "be able to coach again" in the NHL beginning February 7, 2008, two years after his leave of absence from the Coyotes. On his leave, Tocchet still engaged in gambling activities (legally) and had contact with league personnel, therefore violating his agreement of leave with Commissioner Gary Bettman. Tocchet will require treatment if it is determined he has a gambling problem (yes I think he does)
Jason Spezza became a very rich man this past week after signing a 7-year, worth $49 million. General Manager Bryan Murray has locked up his two franchise players (Dany Heatley signed two weeks ago) and now has the security that his Senators will be viable Cup contenders, barring injury, for quite some time. Ottawa is currently sitting 11-1 right now and they look extremely dangerous. They truly are on a mission this season.
Peter Forsberg is not hanging up his skates just yet. He signed this week to play with the Swedish National Team for the upcoming Karjala Cup in Helsinki, Finland. The last few weeks, Forsberg has been training with his hometown club, MoDo in preparation. Rumor has it that Detroit, Colorado, and Dallas are sending scouts to the tournament to see how healthy Foppa is and if his feet can handle hockey. Forsberg has already stated he would not sign with the Red Wings if came back out of respect for the rivalry with Colorado.
UPDATE: According to James Mirtle, Peter Forsberg today left the Swedish National team and will not be playing in the Karjala Cup due to yet another foot issue. Here's a discouraging quote from Foppa, ""The foot hurts. I've never been this close to ending my career," he told Aftonbladet."
AROUND THE BLOG WORLD
Kevin over at Barry Melrose Rocks gives us a look inside of Wayne Gretzky's IPod. It's quit the eclectic mix ranging from Nelly Furtado, Nickelback, Sarah McLachlan, to Our Lady Peace. Lots of teams are apparently doing this now for coaches and players.
Like quotes? Well Hockey Adventure has the "Quotes of the Week" and I have to say my favorite is: “If there’s a position right now that better pick its socks up, it’s the middle of the ice.” — Vancouver Giants GM Scott Bonner on his WHL club’s need for better play from its centermen. That's a new line for me, "picking your socks up". I'm going to have to work that into my everyday vocabulary.
Here's your weekly RBK Edge uniform disaster update: On Frozen Blog gives us an Alex Ovechkin quote that he goes through two pairs of gloves a period, due to the amount of sweat that accumulates thanks to the wicking of perspiration. I've said enough on this topic, so you should go read the article and form your own opinion.
Remember the Legion of Doom of John LeClair, Mikael Renberg, and Eric Lindros? This week, Greatest Hockey Legends profiles each member of that famed line for the Philadelphia Flyers.
For you jersey freaks out there, The NHL Tournament of Logos gives us some alternate Vancouver Canucks sweaters that to me, the marketing department up there should have looked at before they unveiled those horrible new uniforms. I always liked the plain-ole stick logo, but Johnny Canuck is definitely growing on me!
LET'S GO TO THE VIDEOTAPE!
Here's a great fight at center ice between Shawn Thornton of the Bruins and Riley Cote of the Flyers.
This week marked the 48th anniversary of Jacques Plante donning a goalie mask. Here's video of two French kids reinactment of the night Plante was hit in the face with a puck by Andy Bathgate of the New York Rangers.
As always, here's this week's "Coach's Corner" featuring Don Cherry and Ron McLean from Hockey Night in Canada
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Ilya Kovalchuk recorded back to back hat-tricks this week against Ottawa and Tampa Bay, matching his season total to date in just two games. Kovy's hat-trick led the charge in a spirited comeback against the Lightning.
UPCOMING GAME OF INTEREST
Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins, Wednesday, November 7th, 7pm EST
The Flyers currently sit atop the Atlantic Division, continuing their turnaround from last year's disasterous season. Pittsburgh, however, has been nothing but inconsistent so far and they need to get things on track before it hurts them in the long run. Last season, Philadelphia was a nice tonic for Pittsburgh, as the Pens won the season series 8-0. Lucky for Philly, Derian Hatcher will be out a month after undergoing right knee surgery. Hatcher has been owned by Sidney Crosby since last season's MVP and points title winner entered the league.
GRATUITOUS PITTSBURGH PENGUINS RELATED AWESOMENESS
After Antonio Cromartie set an NFL record with a 109-yard return today, here's one of Mario Lemieux's records that I don't think will ever be broken or tied. On New Year's Eve, 1988, Lemieux scored a goal every single way possible: even-strength, power-play, short-handed, via penalty shot, and finally, an empty netter.
Until next time!