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Archive for the ‘NHL’ Category

UPDATED 29 Jul 2012: Added New Yankee Stadium

I’m a sports fan, and I “collect” stadiums (stadia?). Especially major league baseball, NFL football, and NHL hockey. My goal, before I die, is to see a baseball game in the home stadium of every MLB team. It would be an added bonus if I could do the NHL and NFL venues, but right now, I’m focusing primarily on baseball.

Problem is, I keep forgetting where I’ve been, and losing count. Therefore, mostly for my own reference (and because I expect few others to be interested), I’m posting a list of venues attended below the fold. I’ve ordered them in roughly the order in which I first visited them, to the best of my ability to recall.

However, if you have comments concerning favorite (or least favorite) venues, feel free to leave them.

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NHL Playoff Rant Time

As long-time readers know, my contempt for the NHL’s “OTL Point” has been well-documented. But since we’re at the end of the regular season, it’s time once again to look at what the standings are vs. what they ought to be, in my not-so-humble opinion. Remember that in the current system, wins are worth two points, overtime losses (OTL) are worth 1 point, and regulation losses are worth zero points; and that in my preferred system, the standings are arranged by most wins, followed by fewest regulation losses.
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Like Kevin, I have nothing of value to add. I just like saying this:

The Maple Leafs are Undefeated and Alone In First Place.
The Maple Leafs are Undefeated and Alone In First Place.
The Maple Leafs are Undefeated and Alone In First Place.

I have to enjoy it while it lasts, because I have no reason to expect that it will.

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Hockey started today, the Whalers Hurricanes holding off the Wild in Europe early today. The Blackhawks open their defense of Lord Stanley’s Cup today at 9 central.

I don’t have a preview or insight or really any point to this. I just like saying Defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.

Defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.
Defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.
Defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.
Defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.
Defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.

That feels good ….

Here is a preview thread at Second City Hockey, if you are interested.

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Help Make A Wish Foundation

This is a nice promotion if you are a Blackhawks fan:

Chicago– It’s almost like a bunch of cobwebs have been removed and replaced by young and middle-aged cheering fans.  It is a new ERA for Chicago Blackhawks fans, one that finds the team in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1992, and hoping to win the coveted Cup for the first time since 1961, when John F. Kennedy was in the White House.

And no one is any happier than the youngsters at the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Illinois, many of who have life-threatening medical conditions and depend on this organization to fulfill some special wishes.  Just like these young boys and girls who never give up hope, fans of the Blackhawks have never given up on returning to the Cup Finals.

And to help celebrate this special hockey moment, and raise some needed funds for the local Make-A-Wish kids, Nikco Sports announced it will be offering a special, limited edition commemorative Stanley Cup Finals 2-puck set manufactured by Sherwood Hockey, the official hockey puck of the NHL, complete with display cases, to preserve this special time in Chicago sports history. Only 5,000 sets will be produced, with the goal of adding to the more than $1.7 million that Nikco Sports has raised for children’s charities in recent years.

The two pucks are licensed by the National Hockey League and can be ordered on a first-come basis for $39.95 by calling 1-800-345-2868 or ordering online atwww.nikcosports.com.  Each purchase comes with a numbered certificate of authenticity to enhance the value and collectibility of this special piece of sports memorabilia.  There will be a limit of 5 sets per order, to ensure that as many Blackhawks fans as possible get a piece of history.

(from here) but even if you are not, if you have some extra cash, the Make A Wish Foundation is a brilliant place to spend it.  They do amazing work and they do it for children who should never have to go through what they are living through. They are brilliant enough that I am breaking the playoff long embargo about discussing the Hawks and how well they are doing right before the critical game five of the Stanley Cup Finals, potentially putting a Cup at risk.  If you don’t want the Hawks collectible crap, you can give directly here.

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I hate Philadelphia.

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Bettman Works For The NBA

This article is pretty much spot on:

But now the violence is at unprecedented heights and still the Commissioner is silent. Too bad, because someone should be out front here and at least giving theimpressionthat he’s attempting to lead!

Add the dangerous hit that Chicago’sBrent Sopellaid on Anaheim’sCorey Perryand the obvious retaliation byJames WisniewskionBrent Seabrook– a blow to the head that appeared to knock his former teammate unconscious even before he fell to the ice — to the growing pile of videos featuring the “reckless” (NHL’s word) hit onBrian Campbellby the now multi-time offenderAlex Ovechkin,Matt Cooke‘sunpunished blindside head shot onBoston’sMarc Savard, theMike Richardshit on David Booth, andSteve Downie‘sunconscionable and twisted takedownfrom behind ofSidney Crosby, and its clear that the NHL has a leadership problem that shouldn’t start and stop with Colin Campbell.

It is hard to argue with this.  And whats worse, it seems to be coming from the top:

Bettman, who fast became a student of the NHL’s inglorious history, should take note of that. His league has a crisis on its collective hands and he appears to be doing nothing about it.

Now, we use the word “appears” because something odd happened in the last 24 hours. First, Campbell gave an interview to Canada’s national newspaper,The Globe and Mail, confirming rumors that the league was about to “fast track” the recent rule cooked up by the GMs regarding blows to the head and the penalties that could or should be called or at least reviewed by Campbell and his office. Heeven went so far as to tellGlobe reporterEric Duhatschekthat the league was preparing a DVD to show the 30 team administrators and all the players what will and won’t be a penalty under the proposed rule change. Campbell also said that if rushing the rule through saved even one player from a concussion, then the fast-tracking effort “would be worth it.”

But almost before the ink was dry on that story, Campbell’s right hand man,Mike Murphy, was on a Toronto-based radio station saying he didn’t think that the “fast tracking” was likely. Later that same day, Campbell appeared on the league’s own radio station and “back tracked” down Route 180 so fast that he’s fortunate he wasn’t injured in a collision with himself. Whether that turn around was his own or imposed from above, well, we’ll leave it for you to decide.

“I don’t anticipate doing anything with a penalty call on the ice right now,” Campbell said with what we swear was the sound of screeching tires in the background. “I think that would be a difficult thing to consistently administer at this point in time.

“That’s not our issue,” he added. “Our issue probably is making sure that some of the hits we’ve experienced can be dealt with from the supplemental discipline aspect. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish at the moment.”

Moments don’t last very long in the NHL, and our guess is that Campbell’s order came from above. He has been reversed before, more than once, without anyone taking credit or blame. When you see words like “right now” and “at this point in time” and “not our issue” and “probably,” it’s fairly reasonable to assume that he’s been told to alter his stance and fast. That happened when he started handing out real punishment in the form of 15-, 20- and 25-game suspensions a few years back and quickly went back to two- to four-gamers and the now absurdly low fines like the one Downie, a repeat offender, got for nearly breaking Crosby’s leg in a takedown that Crosby never saw coming.

Hockey is an acquired taste in most of the country.  It is hard to find places where ice occurs naturally long enough for people to come to the game naturally.  It is even harder to afford the costs of rink hockey for most people.  Fortunately, hockey as a game has a lot to recommend it.  It is faster than basketball, more hard hitting than football and involves more strategy than baseball.  The success of the game in the late eighties and early nineties shows that it can be grown, that casual fans can learn to appreciate it.  The amazing ratings for the Olymic tournament show that fans today enjoy good hockey.

But the NHL has squandered that momentum and goodwill with a series of ugly incidents that have gone either unpunished our ludicrously lightly punished. And that is Bettman’s fault.  As pointed out above, the last time the league’s disciplinarian tried to reign in rough behavior, he himself was reeled back in by the league.  Bettman has given in to the tiny-dicked troglodytes who assuage their own feelings of sexual confusion and inadequacy by arguing that pushing a defenseless player into the boards, or ramming a man’s head into the glass with your elbow, or cracking someone’s skull with a blindside elbow is “tough” instead of cowardly.

There is no game more physical, more graceful, nor exciting than well played hockey.  Americans saw that during the Olympics.  But if Bettman continues to listen to those who thin that players who cannot skate, pass, shoot, or think should be allowed to make up for their deficiencies through mindless thuggery, the league will never be able to demonstrate that the the public at large.  Worse, if things continue to spiral out of control liek they have the last few months, someone is going to be crippled or killed on the ice.  And the NHL will look back at these last few weeks and wonder why they didn’t do something about this before it was too late.  And they will conveniently  forget that the answers is because they chose not to.

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As far as I knew, there were two hockey fans in Memphis — me and tgirsch. Not only are there more, they are Hawks fans. It’s like an accordion player finding that his neighbor runs a polka hall. Only not as annoying.

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I just want to say from the outset that the Blackhawks are my team, and it pains me to write about this story.

A couple of days ago, Patrick Kane, former Calder Trophy winner, was arrested after he and his cousin allegedly got into a fight with a cab driver who would not give them twenty cents of change. Now, all the usual caveats apply here; he is young (twenty), he has been a superstar in waiting for most of his life, the facts are in dispute, the cab driver might have locked them in the cab ands refused to release them, etc, etc. But all of those caveats apply to almost all of these instances. But if this had been, say, Derrick Rose, does anyone not believe that the press coverage would have been much more intense and much more hostile than what the white Kane has experienced?

There has been little coverage of this in the US sports press – -a few mentions here and there. But there have been no moralizing columns about how this shows that sports players don;t appreciate normal morals and how the fabric of society has been destroyed. part of that must be because Kane plays for the NHL. But Kane is one of a crop of new and rising stars and was a leading part of the return to glory of the Chicago Blackhawks. It would be the work of thirty minutes for a hack columnist to tie the superstar Kane to the existence of fighting in the league and to label all NHLers as thugs in waiting. But if that has happened, it has happened in an out of the way place — I certainly haven’t seen in it. I expected Marriotti, at least, to take this opportunity to phone one in. Again, compare that to the rending of clothes when TO skips practice or there is a fight in the NBA.

Four years ago, I wrote about this in relationship to the NBA and NASCAR:

The NBA, we hear constantly, has an image problem. It has too many thugs, too many showboats, too many people with tattoos and cornrows and attitudes. There is no doubt that there are bad apples in the NBA, and there is no doubt that there are players with more attitude and aggression then sense. But that applies to all walks of life. Like, for example, NASCAR.

Just today ESPN devoted a segment to how many deliberate appearing collisions and verbal arguments — complete with helmet throwing and profanity — took place at this weekend’s race. I have been hearing all season about drivers cursing one another, fights in the pit areas, and drivers deliberately colliding into one another. But I don’t hear anything about the problem NASCAR has with thugs and public perception. Why not?

Now, I am not trying to claim that NASCAR and the NBA are filled with thugs. I am only commenting on what the casual fan, someone who does not follow either league, hears. The NBA, primarily African-American and associated with urban, African-American culture has an image problem. Sportscasters and writers tell me that on a regular basis. NASCAR, almost exclusively white and associated with white, rural culture does not have an image problem. Sportscaster and writers never tell me about how awful people deliberately crashing into to each other are giving NASCAR a black eye. Aside form the fact that its easier for an ass with an attitude to kill someone in NASCAR than in the NBA, it appears that similar situations are getting very different treatment from the press and society at large.

And he most apparent difference is that one league looks white and one league does not. I am not claiming that the writers and sportscasters are deliberately treating the two leagues differently. But NASCAR looks much more like the typical newscaster — white — than the NBA. I don’t think it a stretch to say that sports media is more lenient with people they perceive, consciously or not, as being more like them. It is a natural feeling.

But if that is what is happening it means that the largely white sports media looks at African-Americans as different than themselves, despite the fact that they move in the same circles and have the same professional references. And that is not the sign of a color-blind society.

Perhaps I am overreacting, but it seems that we have a similar dynamic at play here.

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Hell Yeah!

The Pittsburgh Penguins have won the Stanley Cup, despite losing Syndey Crosby for most of Game 7.

In your face, Marian Hossa! (I’ve been hating that guy since he played for Ottawa…)

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