In episode 12 of XP PSP, Justin Bourne from The Score dropped by to debrief the Sochi 2014 Olympic hockey tournament with me, and discuss it’s implications on the NHL moving forward. We talked about Canada’s route to gold, USA’s fall from grace, Backstrom’s Olympic suspension, how it affected Sweden’s outcome and why team doctors weren’t regulating his intake better, whether Canada’s win justifies all the heavily critcised roster adjustments the coaching staff made, who steps into Steve Yzerman’s role next Olympics, who Canada would send if the NHL chose not to participate in the 2018 Olympics, what the alternative to the Olympics as a best-on-best tournament would be, how John Tavares’ Olympic injury affects the decision for the NHL to return or not, how it affects the Islanders going forward this season, how Olympic performances affect NHL players finishing their NHL season, and more.
In episode 10, I went one-on-one with Toronto Maple Leafs/Marlies forward, Troy Bodie. A veteran of 4 NHL seasons, Bodie spoke at length about playing for Randy Carlyle, the HBO 24/7 series, fighting in hockey, being a bubble guy, outdoor games, Miley Cyrus tunes, and more. Have a read and/or listen, and give it a share too!
If you’re looking for a great gift or stocking stuffer for a hockey fan on your Christmas list, or just a great collection of hockey stories for yourself, look no further than Stan Fischler’s latest book, Behind the Net: 101 Incredible Hockey Stories.
Fischler, an Islanders, Rangers and Devils correspondent for MSG and veteran author of over 90 books, writes a wide spectrum of hockey stories in BTN – everything from the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 2013 playoff collapse against the Boston Bruins, to puck tales that predate the NHL. There’s a story about how a game that went deep into overtime in the 1930’s was almost decided by coin toss – a crazy notion when you consider the discussion of the shootout and other game ending approaches these days. Today’s debate about preventing and managing concussions make the game’s stewards in the 1940′s look like primitive cave people – it sounds like it was commonplace for fights to spill into the stands and involve spectators, and sticks were regularly cracked over helmetless players’ heads. It makes for interesting commentary on where the game has evolved from when you read that teams used to only cost $75,000 and gunshots used to signal period ends, seasons used to last around 20 games, and the Art Ross Trophy winner would net 70 points in that short span.
As today’s hockey fans are aware, the NHLPA and NHL don’t always get along, but those of us affected by their disagreements may take solace in learning that the NHLPA has been a thorn in the side of NHL ownership since the 50′s. And as we are all reminded by Gary Bettman’s annual awarding of the Stanley Cup always being met by a deafening rebuttal of boos from fans in attendance, the NHL commissioner has not always been a fan favorite either. When Clarence Campbell was at the league’s helm, he had everything from insults, tear gas, and items from the produce section whipped at him by fans who did not agree with his suspension of Maurice Richard. Can you imagine Bettman having to make public appearances in riot gear?
Hockey players have always been known for their toughness, resilience, and overwhelming desire to keep playing the game. One of the best examples of this is included in the book. It depicts the story of Bill Chadwick, who lost sight in one eye from an injury but kept playing. He later injured his other eye too, and was forced to end his playing days. But he stayed in the game, becoming a referee, and then an announcer. Do you think they were having the visor discussion even then? The book also digs up interesting tidbits on player oddities, like how Jaromir Jagr runs the stairs of every arena he plays in, and how Gordie Howe was ambidextrous and gave goalies he faced double the grief in trying to stop him.
Fischler’s book gives us glimpses into the days when the NHL competed for fans and players with rival leagues like the WHA and the lesser known Eastern League. He tells us stories of when players were bought with, and arenas were built on, horse race winnings. It unveils stories of “Big” Bill Dwyer, a bootlegger in the 1920′s, who owned the New York Americans; and local rival New York Rangers coach Lester Patrick, who okayed the team publicist’s suggestion to modify to players names to Jewish and Italian last names to attract fans of those local minorities to Rangers games, and away from Americans games.
And if you thought the Winnipeg Jets had a tough travel schedule when they were still competing in the Eastern Conference, things won’t seem so bad when you read about the team from the Klondike that rode dogsleds to Ottawa to challenge for the Stanley Cup in 1905, only to get shelled 23-2 and see Frank McGee score 14 goals in a game against them.
It’s an enthralling and easy read – most of the stories are only 1-3 pages long, suitable for any age or level of reader, and any completion time frame. Any fan of hockey will be a fan of this book. You can find it a print or digital copy for around $20 on Amazon, Chapters, or your local bookstore.
Here’s the Press Release:
Stan Fischler’s latest hockey classic, Behind the Net: 101 Incredible Hockey Stories (Sports Publishing, November 2013) is a collection of short, zany (but true!) tales that have taken place over more than a half century of hockey-watching. An easy read for fans of all ages with photos to accompany the anecdotes, this book offers a unique perspective into the NHL from one of today’s most prolific hockey writers. Different from the typical NHL “game” stories, this book details everything, from the hilarious to the absurd.
Fischler details the time that:
• Bill Mosienko scored three goals in 21 seconds
• Rene Fernand Gauthier accepted a challenge to shoot the puck in the ocean
• Sam LoPresti faced 83 shots on goal in one game
• And 98 more unique stories!
So lace up your skates and hit the ice with Behind the Net, a comprehensive collection sure to entertain any hockey fan, regardless of team allegiances.
About the author:
Stan Fischler is a legend of sports broadcasting. He began his career as a publicist for the New York Rangers in 1954 and has been covering hockey in the over half a century since. The winner of five Emmy Awards, Fischler has worked in every medium from print to TV to Twitter. This “Hockey Maven” currently serves as the resident hockey expert for MSG and MSG Plus. He can be seen every week on MSG Hockey Night Live. He lives in New York City.
Contact the Publisher:
Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
307 W 36th Street, 11th Floor | New York, NY 10018
Ph:(212) 643-6816 x 226 | Fax: (212) 643-6819
In episode 4 of XP PSP we discuss:
-The demise of the LA Kings and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Conference Finals, and the Hawks/Bruins Cup Final from all angles.
-steps to take when choosing a new playoff team to cheer for when yours has been ousted.
-Superstitions of fans and athletes, and how they affect performance.
-The NBA Final between the Spurs and Heat.
In our third episode, we catch up on/discuss:
1) the first two rounds of NHL playoff eliminations, previewing conference finals, and catching up on the NBA playoffs, and our predictions across both sports.
2) 8th seeds running wild in the playoffs, and the legitimacy of an 8th seeds playoff threat across sports.
3) Which sport’s playoffs are the hardest to win.
4) The audacity of people calling close, low scoring playoff games boring.
5) cheering for players vs teams; former players becoming/succeeding as coaches (Roy, Gretzky), Tortorella benching Brad Richards, “contract years”….
….and plenty more.
Click here to listen: xppsp.podbean.com
Whoa, we made a second episode? Huh. How about that.
Well,in episode two, we discuss:
-The NHL playoffs; the demise of the Vancouver Canucks, and how to fix them.
-The differences between the regular season and the playoffs.
-The NBA playoffs; Jason Collins, and homosexuality in sports.
-Brittany Griner, and the prospect of women playing in the NBA, and other male dominated sports.
Click here to listen: xppsp.podbean.com
Fun little venture I’ve started up with some fellow sports-minded fellas here in Korea; We’ve started the Expat Pro Sports Podcast — XP PSP — and basically myself, Sachin Mahajan, Harold Dale, Jason Hiltz, Ryan Brown, and who knows who else will rotate in and out to chat about everything going on in the sports world for about 30 minutes at a time. For those expats out there who are missing their favorite multi-million dollar athletic competitions back home, we hope this scratches your itch just a little.
In our premier episode, we chatted about:
-The NHL playoffs, previewing a few of the first-round series.
-The NFL draft, Manti T’eo, and whether owners should touch the championship trophy first or not.
-The NBA playoffs, and whether the Miami Heat can be beaten.
-Why the Toronto Blue Jays are still bad.
-Whether coaches or management are to blame for a team with good players being bad.
-much, much more. Well, a little bit more.
Special thanks to the talented Ralph Hass of http://www.hasthevoice.com/ for providing our intro voice-over.
Enjoy the first episode! Leave a comment with some feedback, tell us if you like it, and what you’d like to hear in the future.
Click here to listen: xppsp.podbean.com
The 2014 NHL Winter Classic has been officially (re)announced, and so have the jerseys each team will wear for both the main event and the alumni game. Not everyone appears to be as enthusiastic about the choice for the New Year’s Eve alumni game’s uniforms as Gary Bettman does.
The jerseys for the real teams will wear on New Year’s Day are, on the other hand, phenomenal. The potential 100,000+ fans in attendance at Michigan Stadium will be far happier to see Toronto in these ones — both of Detroit’s look sharp.
Also announced was the return of HBO’s 24/7 series, this year following both the Leafs and Red Wings behind the scenes as a lead up to the Winter Classic game. I still would love to see HBO place this amount of cinematic drama on the Stanley Cup Final — which is far more important than the mid regular season game that the WC is — but my opinion continues to fall upon deaf ears. Either way, I love this show, and I’m glad HBO stayed on board post-lockout to put it back on the air.
Also reported (albeit not confirmed) by multiple sources was that an outdoor game (assumably the Winter Classic) in 2014 will be played — get this — in Los Angeles. You know, a place where people tired of being cold retreat to in order to escape the most necessary ingredients for outdoor ice hockey — cold and ice. It seems environmentally impossible, but Dodger Stadium is apparently getting a $100 million face-lift, so who knows what it’ll be capable of. Seems like an odd thing to lie about, but I’ll wait for confirmation from the NHL before I believe it. If it’s true, I sure am pumped for the LA Kings.
Reports also hint at the return of the Heritage Classic, to be played at a Canadian venue.
While all those games were be announced as happening, looks like the NHL’s Europe Premier games for 2013 have been dealt the opposite fate — reports say 2013-14′s version of the across the pond games are out, with much discussion to be had on the NHL’s future international presence.
THE ROB REPORT:
“SPOT IT! NHL” & “NHL FASTRACK ” BY BLUE ORANGE GAMES
If you’re starved for NHL action this hockey season, Blue Orange Games has a couple of titles that might just hit the “spot” for you. I recently took Spot It! NHL for a few laps around the rink, and here’s what I thought:
I’m into bigger style board games, so it was a bit deceiving when I saw Spot It! NHL was so compact. However, along with its miniature size came a great deal of fun, as it provided 5 different NHL hockey themed matching games.
The game’s single dimension is to spot matching NHL logos and other hockey-themed images before the other players can. This game has 5 different variations. The fun is all in the mayhem, trying to quickly make matches before everyone else.
I played with 4 friends, 2 of which don’t follow hockey regularly. All of us thought the game was great. My friends I played with play a lot of board games (they have a few shelves dedicated to them) and they decided to add this game to their regular lineup of games to play on game night.
The gameplay time is short enough that it does not get tiresome (3-5mins). Short is also good because players can exit a game anytime without disrupting a very involving showdown. There are a few variations that can potentially take a little longer (up to 8-10min) to finish than others, and the time difference adds to the variation.
You can keep score, but I found it more fun when each game is mutually exclusive from the other, since there is potential for players with superior matching skills to run away with the score over the course of multiple games. The game has a tendency to favor better players, as the real good players can go on long streaks, and slower-matching players could become frustrated. I’d recommend players organizing games amongst evenly skilled players, rather than letting the game even it out for you. But then again, playing the game is the only way to truly find out what level of matcher every player is.
The game comes in a durable case so game owners do not have to worry about wear and tear outside of actually the game.
Overall this is a great game to play for not only hockey enthusiasts, but for everyone. The learning curve is extremely low and the logos are easily distinguishable.
Below is their official press release, and some additional info.
While the NHL hockey season is on hold, Blue Orange Games is proud to be the source for the hottest NHL® licensed games to kick start the action!
Blue Orange gave their wildly popular games, Spot it! and Fastrack a sporty makeover that Wayne Gretzky would approve of! Now hockey fans have the perfect family games to fuel their passion and show off their pride. Packaging and instructions for both games is in French and English.
Whether you are a die-hard hockey fan or you just want to break the ice, Spot it! NHL® is for you. Hockey themed symbols give this collectible edition its cool edge. There is always one, and only one matching symbol between any two cards! To become one of the Greats of the game, be the first to spot the match. Officially licensed by the National Hockey League, this hockey card game contains the logos of every NHL® team. Have a blast skating through all 5 mini-games: make that “Sweet Pass,” avoid “The Penalty,” and score in “The Net,” and more! Packaged in a puck-size tin, Spot it! NHL is the perfect stocking stuffer for hockey heads young and young-at-heart!
Ages 7 to Adult • 2 to 8 Players
Here’s another NHL themed game from Blue Orange games that we think you’d also enjoy…
NHL® Fastrack brings your favorite sport to your fingertips! Officially licensed by the National Hockey League®, this puck passing game produces kinetic energy and exhilarating competition. The first to send all 10 pucks to an opponent’s side takes home the trophy! Just like a hockey game, NHL® Fastrack calls for lightning-speed, accuracy and just the right amount of chance to win. This eco-friendly speed game is made of 100% sustainable wood and the rink’s sidelines feature logos of teams adored by hockey fans all over North America. With quality you can see and ready to play right out of the box, NHL® Fastrack makes an unforgettable holiday gift. And what’s more—Blue Orange plants two trees for every tree used to create this game!
Ages 5+ • 2 Players
About Blue Orange Games:
With 12 years experience creating stimulating and easy-to-learn games,
exquisitely designed for maximum fun, Blue Orange Games looks to the future
with consistent ideals.Using durable materials, Blue Orange pledges to produce high quality games that are enjoyable for the whole family. The eco-friendly company remains committed to planting two trees for every one tree used in game construction. Blue Orange has won multiple awards, such as Parenting Magazine’s “Mom Tested Toys of the Year,” Parents Magazine’s “Toys of the Year,” Family Fun Magazine’s “Toys of the Year,” Oppenheim Toy Portfolio’s “Platinum Seal,” and Dr. Toy’s “10 Best Games,” among others.
If you’re still looking for Christmas gifts for the hockey fan on your list, or are just generally hockey starved during the current NHL lockout, the 24th installment of Don Cherry’s Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Hockey series is sure to satisfy.
Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em 24 features a pile of fantastic video montages from the 2011/12 NHL season, the ever hilarious “piano desk”, the year’s best saves (feature on Martin Brodeur) and goals (feature on Steve Stamkos), plenty of regular speed and slow-motion hits, Don mentioning “trolley tracks”, bloopers, some vintage Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em techno and Cherry rapping, Don mentioning how many NHLers he saw play as kids (Tavares, Stamkos), Don mentioning players from Kingston, Ontario (Mike Smith), Don wearing a top hat and supporting fighting in hockey, Coach’s Corner commentaries (featuring classic opinion pieces like, “Kids, if you ever really want to get benched…”, and “Why do they never run Tim Thomas?”), and all the best highlights from every round of last year’s playoffs.
It’s really a fantastic highlight tape, and everything you’ve come to expect from Don Cherry. In the words of Don himself, it’s a beauty. This is a no brainer! Pick up a copy today. cbcshop.ca and other retailers will hook you up.
Below is the official press release:
No Lockout For Rock’em Sock’em!
Canada’s most controversial and outspoken hockey personality, Don Cherry, brings his brash brand of hockey to his 24th DVD with the release of Don Cherry’s Rock’em Sock’em Hockey 24 from Video Services Corp (VSC). This year’s release features the first “Blue”-ray in the Don Cherry catalogue, endorsed by Don’s ever-present terrier companion, Blue.
“I’m glad to be working with a good Canadian studio in VSC,” said Executive Producer
Tim Cherry, “we’re not pulling any punches this year!”
The release includes Coach’s Corner segments and all the best goals, saves and hits from the 2011-2012 season, right up to (spoiler alert!) the Los Angeles Kings’ historic Stanley Cup win. Bonus features will include extra footage from the Kings’ win on the Blu-ray, and vintage Rock’em Sock’em techno with Chris Sheppard on both formats.
Even Don himself is looking forward to the release, “I love doing Rock’em Sock’em. Players come up to me and tell me how they got Rock’em Sock’em as a gift every Christmas. They’ve grown up with it. It’s become a Christmas tradition in a lot of homes,” said Cherry, “This year’s is great, and we have lots of highlights from one of the best playoffs in years.”
The Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em series is Canada’s longest-running and best-selling DVD property. “We’re all huge hockey fans at VSC and we’re so excited to add Don Cherry to our catalogue – it’s a new chapter in VSC’s hockey history,” says VSC President Jonathan Gross, “Tim and Don create an exciting summary of the season and it’s time for an HD version to be available – that’s the only way to watch a hockey game these days!”
SRP: $19.98 | TRT: 70 min
Street Date: 13 November, 2012
UPC: 7-78854-19199-0 | Catalog: CHE1919
SRP: $24.98 | TRT: 70 min
Street Date: 13 November, 2012
UPC: 7-78854-19209-6 | Catalog: CHE1920
DVD Extras: Vintage Rock’em Sock’em techno with Chris Sheppard
Blu-ray Extras: Bonus footage from Kings’ win, vintage Rock’em Sock’em techno with Chris Sheppard
About Video Services Corp.
Founded in 1993 by former rock critic Jonathan Gross, Video Services Corp. is a leading independent DVD distributor with offices in Toronto and Los Angeles. With a vast catalogue strong in television, sports and comedy, some of VSC’s releases include Corner Gas, The WHA Chronicles, Comedy Now! Starring Russell Peters and Canada Cup ’87. Other 2012 releases from VSC include the second season of the hit series Portlandia and the theatrical film Union Square starring Oscar® winner Mira Sorvino. VSC also owns the e-commerce websites
sportonvideo.com, laffstock.com and jewishflicks.com.
Video Services Corp.
5145 Steeles Ave W, Suite A201, Toronto, ON, M9L 1R5
P: 416-597-8325 / 877-341-7577 F: 416-597-9142
www.videoservicecorp.com firstname.lastname@example.org facebook.com/videoservicecorp twitter.com/vidserv