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Product Review: SPATS Skate Armour

January 29, 2012 Leave a comment
Hi folks!
I was recently sent a product to review from the fine folks at SPATS — they make hockey skate foot shields to prevent injuries to players’ feet. As a former shot-blocker that was lucky to escape without any foot injuries, I wish these were available to me when I was playing hockey at a level where blocking shots was worth the bodily sacrifice and injury potential.
After installing them, and trying them out for a couple of games, here’s what I thought:
1. Installation – The process to install these onto your skates is moderately labor intense. You have to unlace your skates (if you have old laces with frayed ends that won’t fit back through the eyelets, you may want to pick up a new pair of laces), and then re-lace them through the plastic attachment. This moves two of your skate’s lace points closer to the middle, but did not seem to affect the tightness of my skate. You also have to nut and bolt the shield into your original eyelets — if you’re not all that handy with two screwdrivers at once, you may need an assistant. After that, all you have to do is stick the velcro piece on the bottom of your skate for the shield to clasp onto and lock. Once installed, the shields then easily open and close for skate tightening and loosening.
2. Game Play – My fear was these shields were somehow going to affect my stride, or my ankle flexion and extension. In all honestly, they did not in any way. I skated just the same as I did without them. I didn’t notice them to be a distraction in any matter. I barely noticed them at all, in fact.
3. Injury Prevention – Fortunately (I guess unfortunately, for the sake of testing), I did not receive any direct blows to my feet — that I was aware of. I can’t say definitively whether they prevented a foot injury for me, but as they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, right?
4. Aesthetics – Let’s be honest, many hockey players are concerned for their style on the ice, and how an supplemental additive outside of the standard 8 pieces of hockey equipment all  players wear like this will alter their look. The pair I demo’ed was clear, and were barely noticeable, visually. Other players noticed I had them on, and asked about them, so it’s not like they’re invisible. Personally, I wouldn’t choose to put on a colored pair, but they are available, and teams looking to match can take adavantage of that.
5. Price – SPATS are sold for $50.
All in all, this is a solid product. Its advantages far outweigh its disadvantages. Any hockey players looking to prevent future potential foot injuries, or any players who have suffered them in the past, and are looking for a way to beef up their foot protection would be smart to pick themselves up a pair of these.
Read below for some further reading on SPATS and foot injuries and hockey. Also, check out their website http://www.spats.ca/  , “Like” their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter .
-Dave
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Spats.ca is trying to prevent foot injuries and spread awareness by attaching a feather light guard directly over the skate laces. Spats are a revolutionary piece of ice hockey gear designed to stop foot injury. This lightweight armour attaches easily to the skate and allows for quick access to the laces. The high density polyethylene shield can absorb any impact directed at the laces or the inside of the skate boot. In a game where pucks can easily be moving upwards of 80 mph (108.8 if you’re in front of Zdeno Chara’s cannon fire), foot injuries are common.  The art of blocking shots is being taught at all levels. Spats will give you the confidence to make that game saving block.
Every year teams lose the services of players due to foot injuries, injuries that are now largely preventable. Many of today’s foot injuries in hockey could have been prevented with skate protectors. A recent list of NHL players missing games due to foot injuries includes:
James Neal – Pittsburgh Penguins (out for a number of weeks)
Devante Smith-Pelly – Anaheim Ducks (out 4-6 weeks)
Ville Leino – Buffalo Sabres (Missed a month)
Jay Pandolfo – New York Islanders (Missed 17 games)
Richard Park – Pittsburgh Penguins (Missed five weeks)
Colby Armstrong – Toronto Maple Leafs (Missed 23 games)
Bryan Little – Winnipeg Jets (Missed eight games)
Jeff Carter – Columbus Blue Jackets
Chris Pronger – Philadelphia Flyers

Hockey Foot Injury Statistics:
  •     95% of hockey players have had an injury to their foot from a shot or a slash.
  •     78% of players who reported a foot injury experienced bruising and 15% suffered a fracture.
  •     23% who have had a foot injury have missed one or more weeks due to their injury.

Injuries to the foot during hockey are often long standing with symptoms years after,” says Dr. Michael Ball, a leading Manitoban podiatrist. “In my practice, many of my patients who sustained injuries to the feet as children or young adults still complain of symptoms from these injuries to different degrees later in life. Unlike a fracture of the arm, you place two-and-a-half times your weight on your feet to walk and skate. I think that in order to prevent long term problems, any protection from injuries is very important.”

You wouldn’t go on the ice without protecting your shin bone, so why do we play with the bones in our feet exposed?” says Lawrence Parrott, the inventor of Spats Skate Armour.

The All-Star Game & Ovechkin Inquisition

January 27, 2012 Leave a comment

[Originally post on www.betonhockey.com on January 25th, 2012]

Well it appears I got my wish, and partially to my own chagrin. Alex Ovechkin will not be attending or participating in the 2012 NHL All-Star Game after all. Not because the vote for him to be there (which was clearly based on his reputation, not his current point total) was reversed, but because he’s pulled himself out.

Ovechkin was suspended for three games by the NHL on Monday for his hit on the Penguins’ Zbynek Michalek. Interestingly, the Penguins defenceman was not hurt, and Ovechkin was not penalized during the game for the play, but those points are apparently neither here, nor there. Ovie sat out his first of three on Tuesday, and is not permitted to return to NHL action until the Capitals play the Montreal Canadiens on February 4th. Since this prohibition period overlaps with the 2012 NHL All-Star Game on January 29th, Ovechkin has taken it upon himself to suspend himself from the All-Star Game (in addition to the Skills competition, which he “retired” from earlier in the season) as well.

Now some might call this Ovechkin taking the “high road” and doing the right thing – he does make a good point after all. But those in the media looking for a juicy storyline may see this as Alex either protesting the suspension laid down on him by the league, Alex just wanting to take a few days off (ala Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk in 2009, who declined their invitations, and were promptly suspended one game each for doing so), or maybe, just maybe, Alex realizing he’s not an all-star this year. Having an off-year or not, Ovechkin is a superbly talented hockey player that brings more than his share of much needed attention to the game. But what is this All-Star Game really all about? Or perhaps more importantly, after holding this game for more than 60 years, what has this game become?

Here’s what we know: these days, the ASG is lauded every year as being a farce of hockey. There’s no hitting in the game, and there’s a school-yard style team picking format; yet the NHL still keeps tally of nearly 30 individual records (most goals, assists, games played, and even penalty minutes, to name a few), charge over $100 for tickets, and give away a vehicle to the game’s MVP (Hey all you millionaires that all own 10 cars already, we’re going to get the 50 richest of you together all in a group to play a game, vote for the best, and then give him another vehicle that he’ll never drive, and will probably give away. Sound good? Great. Good talk, guys.). So someone tell me, are we fans and the participating players supposed to take this game seriously, or not?

If we aren’t, then Ovechkin should go/should be made to go, because it doesn’t matter what he’s done this year, it’s all about his entertainment value, and the extra dollar amount his presence at the game can generate through advertising, ticket and merchandise sales – and no one in the league is more entertaining at his peak than him (though Ilya Bryzgalov has been heating up lately). And if only for this reason, he should be there so Phil Kessel could have his moment of revenge to photograph Ovechkin being picked last.

But if we’re supposed to take it seriously, and get excited about the prospect of someone like Steve Stamkos or Rick Nash breaking Wayne Gretzky’s record of four goals in a game, or Mario Lemieux’s record of six points in a game, then Ovechkin should not be there for a number of reasons: one, because he’s legitimately suspended, and shouldn’t be able to pursue those feats while barred from the game; two, because he simply hasn’t been good enough to be there this year; and three, because lots of other guys deserve to be there ahead of him this year and pursue those milestones.

So NHL, what’s it going to be? Is this game worth me clearing my weekend schedule to watch your programming, or should I just trust that Sportscentre will be able to piece together a decent enough highlight package for me to get the gist of it? At least I know there won’t be any idiots skating around in it wearing sunglasses and a Tilley hat with flags stick out of it this year.

 

Gerry Dee Kelowna Stand-Up Wrap-Up

January 24, 2012 1 comment

Just a quick one….. 

Got a chance to see Gerry Dee’s stand-up set in Kelowna on Sunday night…. great show by Mr.D — hilarious as expected. If you live in Kelowna, did you go to the show? If so, what did you think? Leave a comment below.

I got to meet Gerry after the show, and he even remembered our interview from a few weeks prior, which was cool. I got him to sign the Kelowna Daily Courier article that I wrote to promo the event, and even got a pic. Great guy, great show. Great interaction with fans too. If you missed him this time, don’t next time! Watch Mr.D Monday nights on CBC in the mean time. He’s a good follow on Twitter too. @gerrydee @mrd_on_cbc 

Below is the article.

-Dave

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Originally published in the Kelowna Daily Courier, Saturday January 21st, 2012

They say laughter is the best medicine. With a new show on the air, a nationwide stand-up comedy tour in progress, and a new book soon to hit store shelves, Gerry Dee might be the cure for anyone’s seasonal ailments.

Gerry’s “Life After Teaching” tour makes a stop at the Kelowna Community Theatre on January 22nd. I was able to catch his last performance in town, and let me tell you from experience, the guy is hilarious and worth the price of admission.

“It’ll be my third time in Kelowna,” recollected Dee. “I always look forward to it – such a beautiful city. I only get to stay for a day, but I think it’s gorgeous there.”

Dee’s family friendly material will be refreshing to experience for anyone who’s been turned off from live stand-up comedy by overly explicit and crass comedians in the past.

“I’ve got a lot of new material since last time I was in town,” Dee said. “There’s a lot of stuff about being a parent and a husband. Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m going to say. Sometimes I talk to the crowd a bit, sometimes I mix it up – there’ll be a little bit of everything.”

Interestingly, Gerry was born Gerard Donoghue, but later changed his name to Gerry Dee to conceal his identity while performing stand-up.

“When I really started standup, I just didn’t want anyone to know,” admitted Dee. “I wanted to be quiet about it because I was teaching still. It was easier to say and spell. I thought it was good to separate myself so people I knew didn’t know I was doing it when I started.”

Dee was a school teacher in Ontario when we decided to wanted to take a shot at pursuing his passion for comedy. Gerry gained some traction in the field – appearances at comedy festivals eventually turned into TV and movie parts. Now being viewed all over the world, remaining anonymous has become a whole lot tougher for him.

“Stand-up comedy started to take off for me,” said Dee. “If I really wanted to give it a chance, and pursue the whole spectrum of comedy, I needed to get away from teaching to try it. It was something I always felt like I wanted to try. I didn’t just quit teaching, I did both for a while, and then I took a chance when I started to make a little money at it. It definitely worked out.”

Gerry’s new show, “Mr.D”, airs Monday nights on CBC, and drew 1.23 million viewers of its debut episode. The show draws influence from Dee’s days as an educator in Ontario. Fans of his stand-up may recognize some of his comedy bits integrated into the script as well. The show’s third episode of twelve will air the night after Gerry’s Kelowna performance.

“We’re pleased with it,” Dee remarked. “We’ve had some great results as far as numbers from the first night, so we hope that continues. It’s loosely based on my life as a teacher. Some of it is exaggerated truth, some of it’s exactly how it was, some of it we just made up. It goes back and forth through the series.”

Gerry Dee fans may also recognize him from his regular gig as “Gerry Dee: Sports Reporter” on The Score sports network. Dee conducts humorous interviews with pro athletes, and usually forgets their names, spews bogus stats, or requires five or six takes to make the discussion air-worthy.

“It’s done on purpose,” Dee conceded. “Just having fun and playing with them; and throwing something at them they might not expect. It’s always been pretty positive with the guys. Most want to do it. My favorite interview was with Charles Barkley. My least favorite was John Daly, who wouldn’t even do the interview. I don’t know why he wouldn’t, you’d have to ask him. Sometimes they get a lot of requests, and people aren’t always respectful and bombard them sometimes.”

Dee has interviewed some of the biggest names in sports, such as Peyton Manning, Michael Jordan, and Wayne Gretzky. He even got “The Great One” to remember his name.

“Well, I just interviewed him ten minutes earlier, so that’s the only reason he knew who I was,” Dee acknowledged. “He’s a good guy and a legend. He was one of my heroes growing up, so it was cool to interview him.”

With plenty of 2012 remaining, expect to see much more from Gerry Dee this year. Follow him on Twitter @gerrydee and check out his official website www.gerrydee.com to keep afloat!

Listen to this interview in its entirety online at http://davecunning.wordpress.com

SDC vs Mr.D: My Interview with Gerry Dee

January 15, 2012 2 comments

Hi folks!

I’m excited to bring you this blog. It’s my first podcast-y interview with a celebrity–I got to have a phone interview with comedian/TV star Gerry Dee! He’s currently promoting his new show on CBC entitled Mr.D (which is hilarious), as well as his stand-up tour and new book that’s coming out. So watch his show every Monday, buy tickets to see his show, and pick up his book too. Or else.

Have a listen and see what you think. Enjoy!

www.gerrydee.com       www.cbc.ca/mrd

Twitter: @gerrydee       @mrd_on_cbc

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