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Posts Tagged ‘Brendan Shanahan’

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: Boston’s Beating Ability, BP’s Bandwagons, Bettman, and some Winnipeg Saga Thoughts.

June 6, 2011 Leave a comment

So it’s become abruptly apparent that the Boston Bruins can beat the Vancouver Canucks. And I use the word beat with two definitions: one, mercilessly on the scoreboard; and two, physically mauling them all over the ice… Lucic slapped Burrows around, and even Tim Thomas hammered a Sedin. When I was debating who would come out of the Eastern Conference to play Vancouver, I reasoned that Tampa would offer a strong skating and finesse challenge, while Boston’s would be of a far more physical, bruising variety. I’m dumbfounded why it took Boston until game 3 to figure out the strategy to success, but nonetheless, here we are. With game 4 leading to either a 3-1 Vancouver lead, or a 2-2 series draw, “pivotal” seems to be an accurate descriptive term to use. I wonder which Boston team will show up.

An interesting tidbit I heard on Sportsnet was about how in Round 1, when Raffi Torres hit Brent Seabrook, and how that seemed to be an awakening point for Chicago. The Rome hit on Horton and the resulting game score doesn’t seem to be straying from that pattern.

Speaking of that hit (and the people who have to deal with it), why did they replace Colin Campbell with Brendan Shanahan mid-playoffs? Don’t get me wrong, I think it was a good move and Shanahan will be a great fit, but why not start with a clean slate next season? Now an inexperienced Shanny is thrown directly into the fire, and has to deal with this exact high-stakes scenario, instead of Campbell, who’d surely been down that road before, and probably has a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book to reach a conclusion through.  By the way, this is a clear late, blindside headshot, that he left his feet on.  Open and shut.  There’s no reason Rome should play next game, at the very least.

Also on NHL decisions, I want to know why they can’t strike a deal with the NBA to start one of the leagues one month earlier so the seasons and championships don’t overlap. Seems like a dropped ball in the ratings department, or in the how-can-we-make-Dave-care-about-basketball department. Wait a minute… didn’t Bettman used to work for the NBA??

I haven’t decided yet whether I think Tim Thomas’ laughy-smiles after making saves are Cool Hand Luke-like, or Joker-like.

PICK A TEAM ALREADY

Does Boston Pizza not seem like the world’s worst bandwagon jumper? First they “changed” their name to Montreal Pizza, now they’re Vancouver Pizza…. all the while, their ACTUAL NAMESAKE was in the playoffs the whole time, and doing just fine. If there’s any Boston Pizza restaurants in the actual city of Boston, I wouldn’t be surprised at a rise in police reports of suspicious arsons.

The gym I work at has the TV’s on mute and uses closed-captioning for shows while the satellite radio is playing. Fair enough. But I do have a couple of balks at the CC system…. one: closed-captioning spelled Ryan Kesler’s last name as “Koestler”. While his jersey was on the screen; namebar and everything. Are blind people CC writing for the deaf? And, two: Do sports closed-caption writers put the text boxes right over the score on purpose? It’s bad enough I can’t hear the game, must I be deprived of the score at all times too?

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“So you want me to pack my life up in Hot-lanta, and move to Winter-peg? No thanks.” said every Atlanta Thrashers player and staff member, upon learning of the franchise’s relocation.

So chasing the Coyotes franchise was just a gigantic waste of Winnipegers time, hey? Why did they not just pursue the Thrashers from the start? Was it just nostalgic sentiments that wanted the Coyotes franchise back? I mean, what would have even been the same, besides Shane Doan? All I know is, it’s gonna get awkward next season when the Thrashers are in Winnipeg masquerading as the Jets, and the Coyotes/real Jets still don’t have legit owners and need a new home. Also, the Coyotes playing in Winnipeg will be interesting too.

So Gary Bettman comes out at the True North press conference and says it’s not going to work in Winnipeg if the building isn’t sold out every night? What kind of deal did you make, Bettman? He’s so proud of himself for making stable deals, and doesn’t like to move franchises, yet he basically threatens to take away Winnipeg’s team again if there aren’t enough people in the rink? Good thing Winnipegers already bought 13,000 season tickets. Well done, Manitobans.

Interestingly, Bettman also said if True North wants the Jets name for the franchise, the NHL will make it available to them.

Forget rennovating the MTS Centre to seat more people, Winnipeg needs to immediately spend every dollar of its cap space on trading for Teemu Selanne.

Hockey Talkie: Cooke, Chara, Kovalev, Heritage Classic, and Everything In Between.

March 23, 2011 10 comments

 

I love love LOVE Matt Cooke’s regular season/1st round playoff suspension. Faaaaaaaar overdue. The guy did not deserve as many chances as he got to clean up his act. Only thing better would have been if it were for all playoffs, or more.  I don’t care how good of a guy HBO’s 24/7 series made him seem like, and how much his teammates stick up for him, guys who play like that need to be removed from the game.  Curious that the Mario Lemieux factor finally wrangled an apology out of him too. 

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I can’t help but think Zdeno Chara’s hit on Max Pacioretty was locationally circumstancial. Anyone who’s had their ribcage rattled off Sparrow Gardens’ mid-bench wood pillars knows what I mean (for those who don’t know, that was the now-demolished wartime built airplane hangar/converted home-rink of the Briercrest Clippers, the college team I played for). As absolutely terrible as the result was, the hit would’ve turned out ok anywhere in the rink there was glass, and it seems a little out of character for Chara to go out of his way to hurt a guy like that. I could be wrong. Maybe there’s more to the story that the camera didn’t catch; some stick work, or something that set him off. Good for the NHL in beefing up the stanchion padding in rinks, but do we really need that little media area anyways? I get the ongoing American media sell of hockey and every nook and cranny of the game to increase viewership, but that little hut that houses reporters to call color-commentary and jump on the team benches mid-game to bother coaches for questions doesn’t seem necessary. Not to say that the Euro’s are doing it right, but some of their rinks benches are completely open, and don’t even have a divisible separation point between both teams, besides a huge gap of space. But then again, both teams walk out to the ice side by side, like they’re not about to go out on the ice and try to kill each other, so take that analogy with a grain of salt.

Good call on the no suspension for Chara though, much to the chagrin of Air Canada, who threatened to pull its sponsorship of the NHL out if the league didn’t make its product safer. I respect the move, but it sure would’ve held more water if the 6 Canadian and 5 American based NHL teams spend between $2.5 – 3.5million per season each on Air Canada  flights (via HNIC’s Jeff Marek on Twitter), and if Air Canada wasn’t such a terrible airline.

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So I’ve entered the 1st round of playoffs in the Bourne’s Blog fantasy hockey league. This year marks the first year I’ve put money on the line, and the first year I won the 1st overall pick selection. I selected Alexander Ovechkin, on the basis that I thought he would be awesome yet again. Instead of awesome, I got above-average. And now, when I need him the most, Ovechkin has decided to take 7-10 days off, while each round lasts one week. FML.

Speaking of infuriating Russians, a lesser man would’ve taken the hint he wasn’t wanted, retired, and headed back to Russia after being traded for a conditional 7th round pick. Not Alexi Kovalev. A “conditional” pick seems like the worst one to get in a draft, and pretty well the absolute minimum of acceptability when it comes to collateral in a deal. Doesn’t conditional just mean that the team who’s offered the pick will make sure you get the worst choice possible in that round?

Penguins: “Our conditions… just make sure your pick isn’t taller than 5’5”, he can’t weight more than 165 lbs, and make sure he’s got no track record of doing or winning anything significant or noteworthy in his hockey career. Stick within those parameters and we’ve got a deal.”

Senators: “… that sounds fair.”

Both, under their breath: “ ………suckers!!”

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Vincent Lecavalier did to PK Subban what Mike Richards wouldn’t, and would only talk about someone doing if he kept playing the way he does:  I don’t get what Vinny was so mad about; should Subban have just let him stand in front of his goalie, or maybe politely asked him to move? Maybe he was just mad that a rookie defenceman has played more games, has more assists, and gets more minutes per game and shifts per game than him. Why do the league’s veteran players get so angry with young, quick, talented players who celebrate their goals, and play a highly physical and exciting to watch style of hockey? Surely a Cup champ and seasoned veteran can’t feel threatened by the presence of this new brand of player, can he? Subban sure seems to make a lot of other players mad for fairly perplexing reasons.

Speaking of rookies, Taylor Hall’s first NHL fight turned out pretty well worst-case scenario for him, with that resulting ankle injury. He picked up the Gordie Howe hat-trick though, so there’s that at least for him. That stat puts him in some elite company, and places him only 16 more off the lead set by Brendan Shanahan.

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After being written off for most of the season, Jarome Iginla’s 30 goals/10 seasons milestone sure has redeemed him in the eyes of the hockey world.

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Former Calgary Flame and current Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coach, Tim Hunter is still an ugly, ugly man.

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The slow shootout approach seems stopped more often than not. Get up some speed, move around; do something less easily read by a goalie.

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I respect no-BS guys like Brian Burke & John Tortorella, but I think it’d suck to work/play for them. I’m sure Sean Avery hates every minute of playing for Torts, but at the same time, knows he’s exactly the coach he needs to get the best out of him. Burke won’t tolerate the media’s crap, and I love it. The NHL, and everyone really, needs guys that cut out the crap.

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Some NHL teams should consider rescuing Rick Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets and offer their entire roster for him. Now THAT’D be a hype-worthy deadline deal. Sure, it’d take a few years to rebuild your roster, but assuming you have a decent farm system (any farm system can’t be that far off pace of CBJ’s actual team), you’d be back up to par in no time, AND have the addition of a franchise player. Nash deserves better. I’m going to start a FREE RICK NASH campaign, I think.

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On the Heritage Classic…..

Might as well have just worn this too.

-Did anyone else think the NHL is fairly stupid for not having the Heritage Classic be either Toronto vs Montreal, or Calgary vs Edmonton? I get the cross-continental viewership theory, but aren’t the afore mentioned rivalries a little more historic and television worthy? Based purely on rivalry/game-entertainment value, who’d you like to see in next year’s version? I’m thinking a Vancouver-Chicago one would be fun.

-Leave it to the USA to declare “Hockey Day in America” on the day Canadian teams play in the Heritage Classic outdoor game in Canada.

-Paul Brandt having a musical note on his Flames jersey in place of a number was ridiculous.

-Why did the Flames wear white pants???? So close to looking totally awesome. Then again, this is a team that throws salmon on the ice at home games, so not sure what I expected….

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And finally, why does ESPN continue to push women’s pool, dogshows, and bowling more than NHL hockey? And why does TSN continue to pick up these feeds? This is exactly why players like Pacioretty get hit into stanchions protecting the league’s media gimmicks. Americans, watch hockey already so players stop getting hurt!

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