December 30, 2007

Puttin' On the Foil - A Weekly NHL Recap 12/30

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MONOLOGUE
New Year's Resolution's

Sidney Crosby: To shoot just a tad more and not be so unselfish. Yes, making your teammates better is a special quality, there's way to many times where you have the best shot chance and you pass it up.

Mike Keenan and Kristian Huselius: To keep the hatchet buried and forget about their time together in Florida. Keenan has mellowed and Huselius is older and more mature. That's the right recipe for the on-ice success we're seeing in Calgary.

Sean Avery: To continue being the biggest pest in the NHL. He's the guy you love to have and hate to love. Avery has really taken the torch from Darius Kasparaitis, who previously held that crown.

Roberto Luongo: To hope general manager Dave Nonis is able to bring in some offense to Vancouver, otherwise his stint in the Northwest might start resembling his tenure in South Florida. Lots of rubber being shot in his direction on a nightly basis.

Rick DiPietro, Garth Snow, and Charles Wang: To continue turning the naysayers into believers. The 15-year contract looked silled two summers ago, but it's not so bad right now and Snow has put together a feisty team on Long Island. The question is how much can coach Ted Nolan continue to get out of them night in and night out.

St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks
: To keep developing their young players and bringing the respect back to each of these long-time franchises. They are both chock-full of young talent and quite a treat to watch.

Martin Brodeur: To do whatever you do to get yourself prepared for a season and keep it up. It's amazing the kind of balance he gives the Devils even when it's predicted the team is in for a down year.

Mats Sundin: To pull a Mark Recchi and get traded to a Cup contender, then re-sign with the Leafs over the summer. Sundin is a true Leaf for life, but he deserves to help contribute to a Stanley Cup run and not have to deal with the mess that is going on in Toronto.

George McPhee: To make a splash next free agent period to sure up your offense and give Alexander Ovechkin some kind of support. OV may be a loyal guy to Ted Leonsis, but there will be only so many losing seasons he'll be able to take before he decides he wants to leave town.

Going Five Hole readers: To have a great 2008 and thank you for visiting the site and adding your comments. It's much appreciated!

NEWS AND NOTES
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The Red Wings this week locked up the services of Niklas Lidstrom for two more, Norris Trophy-probably-winning years. He'll be 39 by the time his extension runs out and I'm pretty sure he'll still be the best defenseman in the league when he does decide to retire.
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The Avalanche announced that their captain, Joe Sakic, will be sidelined up to three months because of hernia surgery. The 38-year old Sakic won't be back until the final few weeks of the season. It'll be interesting to see how the rest of the team respond without their captain in the lineup.
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For Tuesday's "Winter Classic", the NHL is tweaking some rules due to the probable weather conditions in Buffalo.

AROUND THE BLOG WORLD
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New Year's Eve, 1975. A great match-up between the Red Army hockey team and the Montreal Canadiens. Greatest Hockey Legends has the highlights.
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The Pens Blog had probably the funniest line I've read...maybe of all-time this week in their Pens/Caps recap. "Ruutu pops some viagra and blasts Semin into the boards in the Caps zone."
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What has happened to Brad Richards since he won the Conn Smythe in 2004? The Puck Stops Here looks at his problem turning into a superstar.
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Lynn Zinzer of New York Times' Slap Shot blog takes a look at the biggest difference between Madison Square Garden's two sports franchises, the Knicks and Rangers.
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Things are looking up in Chicago. Skate 2 Stick talks about the energy coming back to the United Center.

LET'S GO TO THE VIDEOTAPE!
The Winter Classic Preview Show, Part I

The Winter Classic Preview Show, Part II

This past weekend's Coaches Corner from Hockey Night in Canada

Barry Melrose gives out his 2007 Awards
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Alexander Ovechkin made headlines this week after his 4 goal outburst against the Senators on Saturday night. He finished a short holiday week with 5 goals and 2 assists as well as being +4.

UPCOMING GAME OF INTEREST
Pittsburgh Penguins at Buffalo Sabres, Tuesday, January 1st, 1pm EST
Really, the premier game to watch this week. The Winter Classic will be a great chance for the league to showcase the sport and who doesn't love an outdoor game? You've got Sidney Crosby, Thomas Vanek, Ryan Miller, Evgeni Malkin as just a few of the young stars of the league playing tomorrow. The teams will be wearing retro uniforms, goalies with retro looking equipment, sand-based ice surface, and 74,000 hockey fans packing a football stadium.

GRATUITOUS PITTSBURGH PENGUINS RELATED AWESOMENESS
New Year's Eve, 1988. Mario Lemieux scores 5 goals 5 different ways against the New Jersey Devils.

I hope you all have a great New Year and a wonderful 2008! Be back next week for more "Puttin' on the Foil".

Ballhype: hype it up!

December 29, 2007

Stan Fischler Not Leaving Hockey to Become a Prop Comic Anytime Soon

"Stanta" Claus made an appearance last night during intermission of the Sabres-Devils game

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A Rink Grows in Buffalo

It's coming along very nicely. 3 more days until the Winter Classic.
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Interested in the retro gear both teams are playing in? Check out Sidney is some retro colored practice gear.
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There's a picture on the Pens website during their practice yesterday of Dany Sabourin sporting the old-school brown pads. The NHL is going all out to make this event as retro as possible. Too bad they couldn't organize a "Legends Game" like they did in Edmonton in 2003, with all-time greats from the Penguins and Sabres. Pat LaFontaine v. Mario Lemieux anyone?

Photos courtesy Getty Images, The Ultimate Sports Roadtrip, and PittsburghPenguins.com

UPDATE: Here's the Sabourin picture I was talking about
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December 28, 2007

The 1971 World Table Hockey Championships

Check out the cameo by none other than Stan Fischler himself at the 2:00 mark.


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Podcasts I Like: LCS Hockey Radio Show



After I received my IPod two years ago, I searched through dozens of hockey podcasts on iTunes and pretty much filtered out the crap and only a handful have survived.

WHO LCS Hockey Radio Show

WHAT Greensburg, Pennsylvania native, Michael Dell could be recognized as one of the first hockey bloggers when he and a few friends started up LCS Hockey on the internets during the mid-90's. The in-depth site had correspondents from most, if not all, of the NHL teams, and had some many hilarious features each week. Now, LCS Hockey is back as a website and now in podcast form. Dell is joined by Jerry Fairish, "Ace Reporter" Jim Iovino, and Zippy the Wonder Chimp each week as the quartet discuss the biggest hockey topics over the past seven days, fantasy football, fantasy hockey, and old-school television. All in all, it makes for a very entertaining hour.

WHEN The show can be heard live, every Wednesday night at 9:30pm or downloaded through iTunes every Thursday.

WHERE The podcast can be heard live via BlogTalk Radio or through iTunes

I've been reading LCS Hockey since the late-90's and I would actually snail mail articles I had written to Dell and he would be kind enough to proofread them and send back to me. I guess you can say he's attributed to what you see here and my "awesome" writing skills. Thanks Delly! Along with Fairish, Iovino, and the Chimp (long-time friends), the chemistry between the four is tremendous and you'll find yourself laughing the entire time, even when a serious topic is being discussed.

One of my favorite articles from LCS has to be the Maul at the Mall, where Dell called out then-Whalers owner Peter Karmanos for moving the team and organized a "fight" at a local mall. "Karmanos" did show and unfortunately for him, did not leave without major damage. Another favorite is their Happy Birthday Baby Jesus charity hockey game held around Christmas time. The game was brought back this past weekend after a long hiatus, but the weather caused some problems and many an orphan were neglected.

If you're looking for a podcast that doesn't take itself too seriously and you'd like a laugh or two, then check out the LCS Hockey Radio Show. Be sure to also check out their website for some great articles every week.

VITAL INFO
Website
Myspace
LCS BlogTalk Radio Show
EMAIL: contactus@lcshockey.com

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The Man, The Mustache, The Legend That Is Bill Clement


If you're a hockey fan, there's a good chance you recognize that handsome fella to the right here. That's the great NHL broadcaster, Bill Clement, formerly of ESPN/ABC, NBC and Versus, now currently in the play-by-play booth for the Philadelphia Flyers. For some strange reason, Versus decided not to bring Clement back over the summer and replaced him with Bill Patrick, who's okay at best. Of course, Versus' studio coverage has been lacking with personality as best shown in this video of an Elias Sports Bureau stat guy getting punk'd on the Versus set.

If you feel like you or your company is lacking a little personality, motivation, or Bill Clement, you can hire the two-time Stanley Cup champion to speak to them, all through his personal website Bill Clement.com. Some of the topics he hits on are: "Building Personal Credibility", "Embracing Change", and my favorite, "Energy Source or Energy Vampire. It's Your Choice". Certainly, any 60-90 minute speech that Clement would present to your employees would light enough of a fire under their asses that you'd see profits doubling or even tripled over your next couple of quarters. The sound quality is sort of crappy, but here's a good idea of what to expect from Clement as a keynote speaker.

Not in the business of keynote speaking? Looking for a man to shill your goods and services? Then Clement is your man! With over 20 years in front of a camera lens, Clement has the personality and is recognized throughout North America to put your product on the map. You've probably heard of OFF! bug spray and probably have used it during the summer time or on a camping trip. The popularity and notoriety of OFF! products skyrocketed once Bill Clement grasped a bottle of their bug spray, ripped off his shirt, and told the world what a great job the spray does.

Still not a believer? Listen to what Paul Landes, VP of Marketing for GCI Communications said of Clement's work:

"Bill Clement clearly did his homework on our company, and as a result, towers over the field of speakers we have had in the past. The long and enthusiastic standing ovation he received said it all."

Those are some strong words. Some absolutely true, strong words. Let's not forget, Clement is a two-time Stanley Cup champion and a Quebec province badminton champion while in high school. What more do you need? Hopefully, sometime in the near future, when the NHL returns to ESPN (we all know it's inevitable), they will be smart enough to bring Clement back either as their studio lead host or alongside Gary Thorne as the network's number one color-commentator. A boy can dream. A boy, can sure as hell dream.

Ballhype: hype it up!

December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

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Santa Claus, readying a hit from behind. No truth to the rumor that the Flyers are looking to sign him.

Puttin' On the Foil - A Weekly NHL Recap 12/23

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MONOLOGUE
I'd talk about Chris Simon's suspension, but at this point, it's not worth even wasting text on anymore. I think it says it all when the guy's been suspended for 55 games in the past two season. Was he concussed this time, too?

Anyway, in a better spirit of things, here is my Christmas wishlist, NHL-style!

-A playoff berth for the second year in a row for my Pittsburgh Penguins. After the season they had a year ago, it was would incredibly disappointing and a major step backward in that young team's development.

-A goaltender for the Tampa Bay Lightning. That team has a tremendous amount of talent on the ice, but they've struggled between the pipes ever since Nikolai Khabibulin left for Chicago.

-A healthy year for my boy, Erik Cole. After a scare earlier this season, every big time hit Cole takes makes me cringe. Hopefully his neck injury from two seasons ago is in the past and he'll be able to play a full season and show us his 40-goal potential.

-A muzzle to the media who are eagerly anticipating a feud to redevelop between Mike Keenan and Kristian Huselius. Keenan said this week in a conference call with media that Huselius is a more mature player and person since his days in Florida. I'm sure the fact that the Swede is producing more in Calgary than in Florida helps too.

-A noisemaking year for the St. Louis Blues. I'm really taking to this team. A young squad that's sprinkled with some veterans made a coup of a deal picking up Andy MacDonald for Doug Weight. It's going to be fun to see their young crop of players like Erik Johnson and David Perron develop into productive NHL'ers.

-Light snowflakes for the Winter Classic next Tuesday. Sam Flood, a NBC Sports producer, wished for a little bit of snow during the broadcast for visual reasons. I agree. How cool would it be to watch the game as it's flurrying? I just hope the weather conditions only help improve the game/broadcast and not hinder the gameplay.

-Finally, a gold medal for the USA World Junior team. The tournament gets underway tomorrow in the Czech Republic and the NHL Network will be picking up coverage of all the medal round games beginning on January 2nd. Canada, as always, will be the favorite and what I wouldn't give to see a rematch of last year's classic semifinal again.

NEWS AND NOTES
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Islanders prospect Kyle Okposo announced this week that he's leaving the University of Minnesota to sign a contract with the big club. The seventh overall pick in the 2006 Draft became the eighth Golden Gopher to leave school early since the 2005-06 season. That prompted Isles general manager Garth Snow to denounce the coaching style of Don Lucia, saying he was not impressed with the development of Okposo's play.

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"Tough guy" Ben Eager was traded to the Blackhawks for Jim Vandermeer this week, thus making Georges Laraque very sad. January 24th is the next time the Pennsylvania rivals get together and Big George was eagerly anticipating using Eager as his punching bag.

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This week, the International Hockey Hall of Fame will induct Cammi Granato, Geraldine Heaney, Angela James, Phillipe Bozon, Igor Larionov, Art Bergulund, along with Mario Lemieux this May. Granato, Heaney, and James are to become the first women to ever be inducted. The International Hall of Fame was created in 1997 and will now have 150 members representing 22 countries.

AROUND THE BLOG WORLD
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After having their title of "Hockeytown" questioned by many fans and media, (Sports Illustrated had an article where they dubbed Minnesota the new champion)Behind the Jersey reveals that the Red Wings plan to lower ticket prices in January to help fill those empty seats.

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Not being a big fan of the Devil, I found this post by Eric McErlain of AOL Fanhouse interesting. On Saturday night, Miroslav Satan recorded the 666th point of his NHL career. Freaky!

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Another family member of an NHL coach has reached the big time. Red and Black Hockey welcomes Ted Nolan's son, Brandon to the league as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes.

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The Penguins might have found another shootout specialist to help Eric Christensen. The Confluence of the Three Rivers tells us about another of Kris Letang's shootout heroics.

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Yet Another Canucks Blog on why removing the instigator will not help the NHL.

LET'S GO TO THE VIDEOTAPE!
Here's highlights of the Rangers-Wild game this week, which of course featured Marian Gaborik's 5-goal night.

Don Cherry was very grumpy during Saturday night's "Coach's Corner" segment on Hockey Night in Canada.
ESPN's "NHL Minute" featuring EJ Hradek

The Sidney Crosby-Andrew Ference fight...with a techno music background!
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Jason Spezza had himself a very productive week notching 4 goals and 2 assists, with a +4 rating as Ottawa went 2-2.

UPCOMING GAME OF INTEREST
Minnesota Wild at Phoenix Coyotes, Thursday, December 27th, 9pm EST
There's no hockey until Wednesday night, so somehow, hockey fans will survive two days without it. On Thursday night, can Ilya Bryzgalov handle the scoring machine that is Marian Gaborik? Hockey fans, mainly Wild fans, are hoping that Gabby's groin can hold up and allow us to see him play for a full season. Another player to watch, the 'Yotes' Peter Mueller. The rookie is getting a lot of ice team and is beginning to produce.

GRATUITOUS PITTSBURGH PENGUINS RELATED AWESOMENESS
Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin give Brendan Shanahan a birthday cake during All-Star week last year.

We're done here for this week. Have a Merry Christmas and make sure you check out more "Puttin' On the Foil" next week!

Ballhype: hype it up!

December 23, 2007

More Winter Classic Tidbits

This Winter Classic game is going to have such a "retro" feel, it's going to be very interesting to watch and see how it looks on tv. We've already discussed the fact that both teams will wear retro uniforms, but now there's news of some other "classic" touches being put on the game.

Where to begin? Ok, first up, both projected starting goaltenders, Ryan Miller and Dany Sabourin will be sporting "retro" goalie masks. No, we're not talking Jacques Plante or Gerry Cheevers-style looks, but both masks will feature an old school paint job.
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Ryan Miller's
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Dany Sabourin's

Next, the equipment for the players is going to have old-timers yearning for the days of the wooden stick. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is reporting that Nike-Bauer has created a composite stick that will resemble a wood one. I thought RBK was the universal equipment sponsor of the NHL? I'm wondering if some players will refuse to use these, especially since players are particular about the tools they use on the ice. Also, isn't Sidney Crosby a RBK man? No way he'll be using a Nike-Bauer stick.

The Tribune-Review is also reporting that the makeup of the ice surface will be sand based, allowing fans to hear a cracking-type noise as the players are skating up and down the rink. That should have some buzz to it alongside the game. I guess the NHL is hoping to create a pond-like atmosphere and hope it translates through the airwaves.

The NHL is really taking advantage of this opportunity to showcase the game on a national stage. I've already seen the NBC/Winter Classic commercial numerous times on various channels as well as a full-page ad in this week's Sports Illustrated. I really believe, even though it'll be up against college football, the game will attract a decent rating. We're just 9 days away from the historic event and after today's Bills-Giants game, the hype will only be greater as workers begin installing the rink onto Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Thanks to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Pittsburgh Hockey, and Buffalo Main Event for the information and photos.

Ballhype: hype it up!

December 22, 2007

Who Will Wear the Sweater in 2010?

With the upcoming World Junior Champions in the Czech Republic beginning on Wednesday, I'm in a nationalistic mood today and decided to see what players might be heading to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Both the USA and Canada will be among the favorites in the tournament, though the Canucks will probably have the better chance of taking home the gold in three years time.

USA
Forwards
Paul Stastny
Patrick Kane
Zach Parise
Phil Kessel
Erik Cole
Brian Gionta
Chris Drury
Scott Gomez
Chris Higgins
Ryan Kesler
Dustin Brown
RJ Umberger
Jamie Langenbrunner
Matt Cullen
David Legwand

Defensemen
Mike Komisarek
Erik Johnson
Jack Johnson
John-Michael Liles
Mark Eaton
Ryan Whitney
Keith Ballard
Ryan Suter
Matt Carle

Goaltenders
Rick DiPietro
Ryan Miller
Tim Thomas

Notes
-There's still just over two years until the Olympics, so there's probably a few players who have either not been drafted yet or not made a name for themselves yet that will be on the final roster and/or taxi squad. Expect a couple of changes I'm sure.

-You may look at this roster and think "wow, that's a young team". Sure, right now it is, but while many of the guys are in their first couple of seasons now, they will be more mature and improved in two years time.

-There may not be as much "star" power as the Team Canada roster, but remember, it's not always about having the best players, it's the best team, especially in a short tournament as the Olympics. If the USA team can find the right chemistry, they can make some noise in Vancouver.


CANADA
Forwards
Sidney Crosby
Dany Heatley
Jason Spezza
Rick Nash
Vincent Lecavalier
Eric Staal
Jarome Iginla
Joe Thornton
Simon Gagne
Mike Richards
Jonathan Toews
Mike Cammalleri
Ryan Getzlaf

Defensemen
Dion Phaneuf
Jay Bouwmeester
Chris Pronger
Shea Weber
Dan Boyle
Robin Regehr
Brent Burns
Marc Staal

Goaltenders
Roberto Luongo
Carey Price
Martin Brodeur

Notes
-Frightening fact here is that Canada could easily put in two teams and be a favorite for the gold medal.

-It'll be interesting to see the debate over highly-touted youngster John Tavares, who won't be eligible for the NHL until the 2009-10 season. I'm sure we'll see something similar to what happened with Sidney Crosby in 2006 if Tavares plays like he has been hyped.

-The defense will be young, unlike in past years, but with the amount of firepower and strength in the net, that should not affect Canada greatly.

If you're one to believe Gary Bettman, the 2010 Olympics could be the last time we see NHL'ers participating, which to me, is not a bad thing. I'd like to see them either use juniors or amateurs in the tournament again. While Olympic hockey is amazing, it also tires players out and affects the NHL season. Want a star-studded hockey tournament? Then bring back the World Cup of Hockey again to be played every four years in August.

Ballhype: hype it up!

December 21, 2007

What Do You Do In the Face of Inconsistency?


For the second time in less than a week, the Islanders scored two quick goals against the Penguins, who, unlike last Saturday, lost tonight 4-2 to Ted Nolan's men. The Pens might have still been reeling from their win in Boston last night after they blew a 4-0 lead, but hung on to win in a shootout.

Next to the Rangers, Pittsburgh is probably one of the biggest disappointments this season around the NHL. After their balleyhooed 105 point season a year ago, they have struggled right out of the gate and currently sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff zone. At first, the big problem was Marc-Andre Fleury's play. Then, it was their lack of scoring. Now, it seems to be their power-play. Last Saturday's game against New York saw the Pens with a 5-minute power-play at the end of the game thanks to Chris Simon's moment (yet again) of brilliance. Somehow, someway during that power-play, Mike Sillinger was found all alone in the neutral zone, broke in on a breakaway, yet missed the net entirely, helping to keep Pittsburgh's narrow lead en route to a 3-2 win.

Through the first two periods, the Islanders were on the penalty-kill five times and the Penguins only managed to score once, thanks to a mix-up between Rick DiPietro and his defenseman. With a dangerous power-play on paper, the Pens were the 12th ranks team with the extra man in the league coming into tonight and it's slipping. They have a hard time setting up in the defensive zone and tend to play "dump and chase", which tonight failed miserably. It's tough to play that way with a goaltender in DiPietro who handles the puck extremely well. At one point, they dumped the puck in on two consecutive rushes and both times the Isles goaltender had enough time to shoot the puck out of the zone successfully.

Watching this team over the past few weeks, there's no hustle or sense of urgency when they are losing or close to giving up a lead (see: last night). It's almost as if the entire team is banking on what they did a year ago, like the players are thinking, "Hey, we put up 105 points last year. We'll come around." Unfortunately, it's not the matter of flicking a switch and the points fall from the sky. Hopefully, that mindframe is not festering itself within the team and they realize they need to put the work in because the games are flying by and for every point dropped, that's another dagger to their playoff chances.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Winter Classic "Vapor" Commercial Featuring Ryan Miller


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December 20, 2007

Hockey Weekend Across America is Coming!


This February, USA Hockey will be promoting a program similar to our frozen friends up north. Throughout the weekend of February 15-17, USA Hockey will be holding Hockey Weekend Across America, which will involve daily themes and events to help promote the game of hockey here in the United States.

The Canadian Broadcasting Company does something similar, but held to just one day. Their Hockey Day in Canada is a huge extravaganza, with events being held in many cities all across the country. The event, which began in 2000, also features an all-Canadian tripleheader of NHL games.

Hockey Weekend Across America's events have not been announced yet, but USA Hockey si encouraging everyone to create an event of your own to help promote the game. They have begun promoting a theme for each day that weekend. Friday, February 15th is
"Wear Your Jersey to School Day". A great opportunity to tell your friends why the hell the Canucks have a whale jumping out of a "C". Saturday, February 16th is "Bring a Friend to the Rink Day", which is a great way to attract new fans to the game, whether it's taking a few laps around your local pond or attending a hockey game at any level. Sunday, February 17th is the last day and the theme is "Celebrate Local Hockey Heroes Day", a time to honor those in your community for their dedication to the game of hockey.

It'd also be nice if they can get NBC involved in this somehow to intertwine their coverage of the NHL and go around the country and tell stories of local hockey commnuities. I think we as hockey fans (and American hockey fans if you're in the States) can do something this weekend to help promote the game and maybe introduce to someone who has yet to experience what the fastest game on earth is all about.

Ballhype: hype it up!

The Beginning of the End for the Edge??


Thanks to the keen detective work by the boys at On Frozen Blog, it has been revealed that the Washington Capitals are the first team to ditch the Edge Uniform System in favor of the old fabric jerseys of yesteryear....and by yesteryear, I mean last year. The Caps unanimously decided that enough was enough.

The big question remains whether or not this will be the start of the full revolt of the Edge System as a whole. Could the Caps be the start of an Edge upheaval?? Maybe, maybe not.

However, this does show that the RBK Edge system isn't as crack up as RBK and the NHL had hoped it to be. With it being held under the radar as it has been, you have to wonder if the NHL had told the Caps to keep it under wraps so it wouldn't ruin the aura that is the Edge folklore. One thing it does do is breakdown the illusion the NHL is putting up in claiming that the Edge would revolutionize the way uniforms were made and used. It's one thing for a couple players to switch back to the old garmants, but for an entire team to unanimously decide to go back to the old fabric should speak volumes and get RBK to take their heads out of their asses.

There were plenty of people who were complaining about the streamlining of the jerseys and how it can do more harm than good. Though I was willing to shrug it off until the season actually started and the players played in them, but I'm willing to concede that it's time for a change back to the older fabrics. From the waterlogging of the undergarments and equipment, to the easy rip-ability during scrums-- it's curtains for the Edge jersey.

If everything does come to pass, how will RBK and the NHL do damage control if the Edge comes tumbling down?? The problem is, I can see the NHL and RBK doing all they can to milk whatever they can out of it. This was a big deal for both companies and they more than likely won't give up so easily on this, whilst spinning constantly on what went wrong and who's to blame. The biggest issue is that it was revealed too fast without the proper testing and all that fun stuff. Sure, RBK was under the gun with the Nike/Bauer Swift uniform set out on the International scene (horrible vertical striped socks and all), but even the Swift was tested thoroughly before being rolled out.

Only time will tell if the Edge will rank up there with the Cooperalls in biggest uniform mistakes in the NHL, but the Caps' decision could be the first domino that could topple the Edge and let this be another straw for the misdirected hostility towards Gary Bettman...though he should get some blame for it; but not all of it.

Ballhype: hype it up!

December 19, 2007

World Junior Medal Round Games to be Televised on NHL Network US


I've just received confirmation from Dave Fischer, Director of Media & Public Relations for USA Hockey, that the medal round of the 2007 World Junior Hockey Championships from the Czech Republic will be broadcast live (and repeated) on the NHL Network here in the US. The two quarterfinals, both semifinals, and the bronze and gold medal games will be available to viewers.

If you don't have NHL Network, you will be able to listen to every Team USA game on audiocast via the USA Hockey website.

Last year, Direct TV showed most of the Team USA early round games and then all of their medal games, including the classic semifinal against Canada that went to a shoot-out. I'd love to see the USA early round games on Direct TV or NHL Network, which will include a Pool B match-up with Russia. Maybe that can get worked out in the next few days, but time is running out as the tournament begins a week from today, December 26th.

Great job by USA Hockey and the NHL Network to get these games on air. I really enjoyed watching them last year and seeing all of the future NHL talent playing in a high-level competition. Just look at some of the names that were involved last year that are currently on NHL clubs now: Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Sam Gagner, Devin Setoguchi, Marc Staal, Kris Letang, Carey Price, Erik Johnson, Peter Mueller, and Jack Johnson, among others.

Here's the schedule for Team USA:
Date Opponent Location Time (Local/EDT)
Dec. 26 Kasakhstan Liberec 4 p.m. / 10 a.m.
Dec. 28 Switzerland Liberec 6 p.m. / Noon
Dec. 29 Russia Liberec 8 p.m. / 2 p.m.
Dec. 31 Finland Liberec 6 p.m. / Noon

Look for a full announcement today or tomorrow and if you want more information, check out the USA Hockey website.

Ballhype: hype it up!

December 18, 2007

Peter Puck is Back!


After a 28-year vacation, the immortal Peter Puck is returning to television as part of Maple Leaf broadcasts. Mr. Puck was first introduced during the 1970's on NBC to help American viewer's understand the game better. Later, he also could be found on CBC's coverage of Hockey Night in Canada.

The Leafs will show 11 original segments of Peter Puck beginning with this Thursday's game against Tampa Bay.

The full schedule, courtesy of the Toronto Maple Leafs
* Thursday, December 20 – Leafs at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
* Thursday, December 27 – Leafs at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
* Thursday, January 3 – Leafs at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.
* Wednesday, January 9 – Leafs at Anaheim, 10 p.m.
* Thursday, January 10 – Leafs at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.
* Thursday, January 17 – Leafs at Boston, 7 p.m.
* Sunday, January 20 – Leafs at New Jersey, 5 p.m.
* Thursday, January 24 – Leafs at Washington, 7 p.m.
* Thursday, January 31 – Leafs at Carolina, 7 p.m.
* Thursday, February 14 – Leafs vs. New York Islanders, 7:30 p.m.
* Thursday, February 21 – Leafs vs. Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.

Ballhype: hype it up!