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Archive for September, 2011

Hockey Talkie: Simmonds Good Guy/Bad Guy Battle, Nabokov/Isles, Jagr, and #ShanaBanned.

September 29, 2011 2 comments

I heard this topic brought up on NHL Home Ice on XM Radio….The New York Rangers, Anaheim Ducks, LA Kings, and Buffalo Sabres play a total of 7 exhibition games against teams in Slovakia, Switzerland, Germany, Finland, Sweden, and the Czech Republic.  So my question is this: if an NHL player hits a Euro to the head, or commits another suspendable play, will the NHL’s Senior VP Player Safety, Brendan Shanahan, hold them accountable? Can/Would they get “#Shanabanned” (probably the best hashtag on Twitter, btw)? Could he Shanaban the European players? Some grey areas in this European exhibition experiment. The radio folks didn’t know, maybe one of you readers has some insight?

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Judging by the fact that he has been starting in goal through pre-season, assumably everything is hunky-dorry with Evgeni Nabokov and the New York Islanders? You remember the Nabokov clustercuss from last year; came back from the KHL mid-season, picked up by Detroit, nabbed by the Islanders through the waiver system, and then refused to report to Long Island? Didn’t that make a bunch of people mad? Water under the bridge?

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Granted, it’s only pre-season, but while pointing to his current point-total, clearly Jaromir Jagr can still hang in the NHL. But I have to wonder, black Tuuks still? Really, Jaromir? I mean, even Mike Grier finally upgraded from that style.

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Jagr’s Flyers’ teammate, Wayne Simmonds, sure neutralized that defence shield he had from the banana incident (apparently the banana thrower feels really, really bad; says he was just trying to prevent the game winning goal in the shootout.  But dude, if you’re going to attempt to do that by throwing a foreign object on the ice, throw ANYTHING ELSE besides a banana at the black player who’s shooting) with that alleged Sean Avery-directed slip of the tongue, hey? [note: Simmonds denied saying what people speculate he said, and was not disciplined by the NHL] Though Simmonds was caught on tape appearing to say what lip-readers insist was a homophobic slur, isn’t it odd that cameras were even on Simmonds? I mean, lots of NHL players say lots of bad things to other players during games; did Simmonds just have extra spotlight on him from the London incident? Or was someone looking for Simmonds to trip up after everyone was on his side? Lots of speculation. I think he’s a great player, and I hope we can focus on that, rather than this BS.  On one hand, this is a good opportunity for guys like Brian Burke to reinforce the progress made against homophobia in hockey last year.  On the other hand, there’s lots of people who want to take this far beyond learning a lesson. Here’s a press release I was sent this morning:

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***PRESS RELEASE***

34,000 DEMAND NHL FINE PLAYER FOR ANTI-GAY SLUR

Explosive campaign on Change.org calls on National Hockey League to hold Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers accountable for homophobic slur against New York Rangers player Sean Avery

NEW YORK, NY – More than 34,000 people have joined an avid hockey fan’s campaign on Change.org calling on the National Hockey League to fine Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers for using an anti-gay slur against New York Rangers player Sean Avery.

Gloria Nieto, a gay rights activist and sports fan, launched the campaign on Change.org after watching an NHL exhibition game on Monday in which Simmonds reportedly called Avery a “f*cking f*ggot.” Avery complained to NHL officials, who refused to fine Simmonds, citing conflicting accounts of what was said on the ice. Activists claim that video footage clearly shows Simmonds mouthing the homophobic slur.

“All of us in the hockey community deserve a chance to enjoy games and the hard competition the league offers,” said Gloria, who created the petition on Change.org. “The National Hockey League has a unique opportunity to make a statement about fair play. As they hand out penalties for hits to the head, how about a penalty for hits to the heart, especially for all the fans who believe in equality for all?”

News of the online petition’s success is likely to increase pressure on the NHL. Within a day of the campaign’s launch, Gloria Nieto had recruited tens of thousands of supporters on Change.org, the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change. Prominent gay rights organizations across the U.S. are also demanding action, including the Human Rights Campaign, the Courage Campaign, and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which created its own petition on Change.org and gathered more than 1,000 signatures.

“There is clearly a lot of outrage that the NHL has refused to hold Wayne Simmonds accountable for his homophobic slur,” said Change.org Organizing Manager Joe Mirabella. “With no budget and armed with only a laptop, Gloria has managed to recruit more than 34,000 of supporters to take a stand against homophobic language in sports. Change.org is about empowering anyone, anywhere to demand action on the issues that matter to them, and it has been incredible to watch her campaign take off.”

The petition follows a recent trend of professional sports leagues fining their members for unacceptable language, including basketball players Kobe Bryant and Joakim Noah. Bryant, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, was fined $100,000 by the National Basketball Association for calling a referee a homophobic slur and Noah, from the Chicago Bulls, was fined $50,000 for using an anti-gay slur against a fan.

Live signature totals from Gloria Nieto’s Change.org campaign:

http://www.change.org/petitions/nhl-fine-wayne-simmonds-for-his-homophobic-slur-against-sean-avery

For more information on Change.org, please visit:

http://www.change.org/about

Change.org is the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change — growing by more than 400,000 new members a month, and empowering millions of people to start, join, and win campaigns for social change in their community, city and country.

CONTACTS:

Gloria Nieto, Petition Author, (408)280-6301 glorianieto@comcast.net

Joe Mirabella, Organizing Manager, Change.org, (206) 354-4931, joe@change.org

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I have yet to be sent a press release for the ceasing of racism in the NHL though. Maybe that one’s coming next.

Hockey Talkie: Modano Retirement, Flyers Fans’ Final Straw, Marchand Mangling, Upper Body Injuries, and The Bourne-Gillies Wedding!

September 26, 2011 1 comment

Isn’t it wonderful to see hockey highlights on Sportscentre again? I know it’s only preseason, but sports highlights are 1000 times better to watch with NHL clips included, wouldn’t you say?

Speaking of the NHL…

On Mike Modano’s retirement: I always wanted to cheer for Modano as he was a great player and wore my number 9, but I was always held back by that American factor. Regardless, he had a phenomenal career, despite my fringe support. I had a couple thoughts when I heard about his announcement. First was that I predicted this day was looming in a previous blog before he was dealt to Detroit. Second was that I thought the Dallas Stars paying him $999,999 for one day of no service was absolutely ludicrous, especially if it ate at the Stars’ salary cap. Luckily, I was assured by @capgeek on Twitter that Modano won’t actually see a near million-dollar day, as I asked if Modano will actually be able to cash that cheque. His response was,

“@capgeek @davecunning No he won’t and it doesn’t affect the Stars’ cap at all.”

So there’s obviously some sort of “out” that teams get on contracts when a player “hangs ‘em up”, which I don’t totally understand. Anyone out there know the deal?

Thirdly, on Modano retiring as a Dallas Star, I thought to myself, isn’t that the team that told Modano he wasn’t going to be included in the further development of the team and subsequently did not offer him a new contract, and also once stripped him of his captaincy? It is definitely noble to have played with one franchise for that long, and in the end the move makes the most sense, but I’m sure Mike’s got a few axes to grind with the organization that he has retired with.

Moving on….

I wonder how long it will take before the “upper/lower body injury” player report becomes too specific, and teams just say a hurt player has a “body injury”. Upper and lower still gives dirty players a fairly sizeable target to hack and to try and mangle, doesn’t it?

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Considering how annoying the “pest” players of the NHL are (see: Esa Tikkanen, Claude Lemieux, etc), doesn’t it warm your heart just a little to know that the Bruins’ pest, Brad Marchand, got a misspelled tattoo permanently engraved on his flesh?  Apparently it got rectified, but if you were going to wish that kind of misfortune on a current NHL player, the only guy ahead of Marchand would be, like, Matt Cooke, wouldn’t you say?  I think even some Bruins fans could bring themselves to admit that. 

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I feel like Philadelphia Flyers fans might burn down the Wells Fargo Center after this season if Ilya Bryzgalov turns out to be a dud. That team has been one good goaltender away from a Stanley Cup so many times, that this might be the year Flyer fans make the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup riot look like a little girls’ teddy bear tea party if their team can’t get it done. They really don’t have any excuses any more.

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And finally….

Close friends of ours, Justin Bourne (son of 4-time Stanley Cup champ and NY Islander Hall of Fame member, Bob Bourne) and Brianna Gillies (daughter of 4-time Stanley Cup champ and Hockey Hall of Fame member, Clark Gillies) were married on September 17th in Long Island, NY! I was humbled and honoured to have been included in the wedding party as a groomsman for a very fun weekend. Still no word on whether the Islanders fronted the cash in exchange for the rights to the couple’s offspring, as was proposed at one time.  Bourne will be working for The Score this year, so be sure to keep up with him there. In the meantime, follow both Justin and Brianna on Twitter!

[Guest Post] Large Corporation Sticks It To Young Sniper and Family

September 12, 2011 1 comment

Hi folks! 

Dee Mason has been kind enough to contribute a guest post for you.  A well-written article on the family that lost out on $50,000 after his twin boys pulled the old switcheroo and the wrong boy shot and canned a shot from centre ice, but dad’s conscience made him admit the stand-in.  See what you think, and weigh in your opinion with a comment below!   Dee is a freelance travel and sports writer (the colder, the better!) and writes on behalf of a luxury ski holidays site. Feel free to shoot the breeze with her on dee@wikivee.com!

-SDC
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[ Source: http://abcnews.go.com/News/twin-boys-50000-hockey-shot-danger-posed-brother/story?id=14308901 ]

An 11-year-old boy makes a miracle shot during a contest. Problem was, the name on the ticket was that of his identical twin brother. Does it matter? It’s not like the kid sent in a ringer! He did not throw in Wayne Gretzky to take his shot, but rather the spitting image of himself. Not to mention the fact the promoters did not know the difference. Now the company is not going to give the family the $50,000.

RIGHT TIME?

Let’s analyze this. I do understand the father’s decision to teach the kids honesty, but in that moment was it the smart thing to do? If the twins had truly cheated, put a magnet in the puck, ran across the line or some other thing to cheat the system than yes, you should tell. But your brother takes the shot? Is that really dishonest? What if the one twin had just been shy instead of off in line somewhere? Is what happened really cheating?

CORPORATE BIAS

Then think of the company. When you pay to borrow products such as party rentals, truck rentals, DJs and sporting goods, all the companies reserve the right to substitute a “like” product. You might not get exactly what you want but you will get something similar. Isn’t that what happened here? Now the company is denying these boys a great savings account, a potential college education; wouldn’t the good image alone be enough reason to give the family the money? Let’s be realistic about where the money would go in the first place. The money benefits the same family no matter which child earned it. Likely a father with this kind of honest bone would have started a decent sized college fund for each of the twins. Wouldn’t that look good for the promotions company?

PUNISHING HONESTY

This is just another example of being punished for honesty. As long as Americans keep knocking down people willing to tell the truth, the more dishonest people become. Honesty and integrity needs to be celebrated. One should be able to own up to bad judgment or a questionable call without being sent out to pasture. All the twins have learned is to lie if you want to get ahead/if you are honest you get nothing.

THE SPIRIT OF THE GAME

The whole spirit of the half-time hockey promotion is charity. Watching an adorable little boy in Minnesota make an impossible shot is awe-inspiring. It gave the entire crowd a warm and fuzzy feeling. The spectators left feeling anything was possible. The hope alone is worth 50 grand. The insurance company attempted to make things better by offering $20,000 to youth hockey programs in the boys’ names. Why not give the twins the $20,000? Not only is the total $30,000 less it is to a non-descript supposed program. How does one track such a donation?

RECOGNIZING THE RIDICULOUS

While the family stands up for the “honesty is the best policy” standpoint, it has to be incredibly disappointing to make an 89-foot shot through a hole slightly bigger than the puck and get nothing for it. Supposedly the choice of who shoots is random in the first place. So how can the company legitimately say it is unfair for the twin to take the shot? If it is truly random, this could have happened to anyone. This is just another example of a company offering something it believes no one will have capitalize on, so any loophole is worthy of getting out of paying the money.

REWARDING INTEGRITY

I love what the Dad tried to teach here. I would love it even more if the company worked to be as responsible as the father and reward integrity. To logically look at the rule and the kids and realize it really does not matter which child took the shot only that he MADE the shot. As an outsider, I now question anything Odds on Promotion does. All this says to me is the company looks for a way out of living up to obligations while others live up to theirs. “We appreciate the eventual honesty,” Mark Gilmartin, President of Odds on Promotion says, but what he really means is, we appreciate it because we now don’t have to pay. When you select random kids to do something, children who come without ID, it seems like any child should be able to make the shot.

Hockey Talkie: KHL Crash, Costanza, Crosby, Concussions, and Keeping Your Spot On The Roster.

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Well Georgey Boy, you really did it this time.

He got the sport and some of the statistics wrong, but the general prediction from 1992 finally came true on September 7, 2011, as the entire roster of the KHL’s Lokomotiv Yaroslavl was tragically wiped out (not to mention the airplane crew — only 3 people survived in total).  So sad.  [note: please don't interpret the Seinfeld clip as me making light of this tragedy, as I'm not]

  I’ve heard some horror stories about players’ bad experiences in the KHL (mostly mob related), but this is the absolute worst case scenario.  Apparently the aircraft wasn’t exactly “up to date“, technology-wise.  KHL games have been postponed.  So in a league with shady contracts, inadequate medical supplies, and unsafe travel vehicles, why are players accepting offers from  this “alternative” league, again? 

Lump this mouthful on top of three previous deaths of current NHL players Derek Boogard, Rick Rypien, Wade Belak this summer, and you have, unquestionably, the darkest hockey summer of all-time.

In relation to Sidney Crosby’s announcement of continuing to be sidelined “indefinitely”, it’s interesting to make the concussion connection between (arguably) hockey’s greatest current star getting one, and the three afore mentioned toughguys who each probably racked up more than that (perhaps some undiagnosed). 

I did some very rough math the other day, and see if you follow me — say you’re an NHL fighter.  There’s 82 games in the season.  Let’s be generous and say you fight in around 1/4 of the games that year (lets round that to 20 for easy math’s sake).  Now in those 20 fights, out of the storm of total punches usually thrown, let’s say your opponent lands 5  good ones on you each time.  So by this very broad equation, we have you taking 100 punches directly to the head each year.  And if you play ten years in the NHL (Rypien -6; Boogaard -6; Belak – 14), that works out to 1000 blows directly to the head, from a very strong and angry person, who is very intent on harming you.  And that’s not counting any fights in the minors, junior, or college hockey; nor any head-rattling bodychecks you took over that span.  Now, if Crosby’s brain has been scrambled enough from 1 to 2 hits to put him out of action for more than 9 months, imagine where you would be at having taken the generously low statistics I fired straight at your head, and trying to tough out a season and not lose your spot on the team roster.  And imagine the toll this amount of repeated impact would take on your very fragile human brain, and what kind of mental damage/illness could very likely occur.  How could a guy described by their friends and family as the happiest, nicest guy they knew, suddenly take his own life?  Or carelessly overdose?  Whatever contention you want to throw at it, I think it’s safe to say that those guys’ brains just weren’t right anymore. 

Back to Crosby:  I love his assertion that headshots should be taken right out of the game.  They should. 

Beyond that, I feel like Crosby may be in danger getting far too “babied”, if I can be so bold.  I get he’s the most valuable asset in the game and all, but think about it for a second.  Name another NHL player who could get a concussion, be given all the time he needs to rehab, and come back to the lineup anytime they (and the doctors) feel they’re ready.  I mean, his doctors are describing him as a human Ferrari.  It’s just not typical.  If you’re a fringe player/human Ford Taurus fighting for a spot and you get a concussion, guaranteed there’s a player who’ll have your spot by next game.  So one of two things is going to happen: either 1) every player is going to get this kind of treatment from their team and the league from now on, or 2) Crosby’s going to get a lot of heat for getting all this preferential treatment.

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