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Guest Low Roller

I thought that we needed a thread for miscellaneous NHL stuff, which wasn't related to the Leafs, Habs, or Sens.

This was triggered by the ridiculous news of Bruce Boudreau choosing to go with Michael Neuvirth in nets for the season opener over Tomas Vokoun. Seriously?

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Guest Low Roller
“He was told he was coming into Washington as the No. 1 goalie,†Walsh told The Times. “They were very public in their comments about that. … There’s a certain symbolism attached to who starts the first game of the season at home. It doesn’t mean he’s not a No. 1 goalie. But this can certainly be perceived as a slap in the face.â€
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BWHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHA

New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro(notes) is out with a concussion again—the latest in an array of injuries—and there is no timetable for his return.

He was struck in the mask on a shot by new teammate Brian Rolston(notes) during practice Wednesday and underwent tests Thursday, the team said Friday.

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Guest Low Roller

So Sean Avery is on re-entry waivers today. Could there possibly be an NHL team interested in his services? Columbus? Or are the Rangers trying to appease the restless fans who chant "We want Avery" at home games?

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I couldnt have been more wrong!

Maybe you will find this more enjoyable Esau:

This is around the league in 33 bands. I tried to use mostly mainstream bands with universal appeal to avoid alienating readers who didn’t know what a Guadalcanal Diary or a Minor Threat was. However, for some teams, the lure to use a lesser known band was too strong. Maybe in the future I can have a look at indie hockey teams and compare the Las Vegas Wranglers to the Gun Club and the Chicago Express to Pegboy and so on. For now, these will do, even if I'm not personally a fan. If you’re unfamiliar with any of the bands you can click on the band name and go to a Youtube video to check it out. I encourage you to leave comments at the bottom if you feel your team could have been better represented by another band or if you just want to vent.

Atlanta Thrashers are R.E.M.

They’re from Georgia and recently decided to hang them up after they realized they were no longer relevant and no one wanted them around anymore.

Anaheim Ducks are Mudhoney

They’re kind of a weird thing that only the 1990’s could have produced. Their names were taken from a movie title. They play a unique style that combines heavy pounding and technical abilities and have also been known to play kinda dirty. They weren’t really paid their dues until 15 years after their inception. They managed to carve out their own successful niche on the west coast despite not being from Los Angeles.

Boston Bruins are Motorhead

They play a fast and hard hitting style that has endeared them to their fans. You're almost guaranteed to see a fight when you watch them live and have someone spill beer on you. They're champions of their craft and no one can do it quite like them. They have an iconic logo that has never gone out of fashion that still manages to sell hordes of merchandise to every new generation of fan. It's also worth noting, they're among the ugliest people you will ever find in one group.

Buffalo Sabres are Kid Rock

They call a barren industrial wasteland home and make no qualms about their allegiances to towns that the economy forgot. They are capable of playing a variety of styles with equal success. To the shock of many, they have managed to remain relevant for a lengthy period of time in an ever changing industry landscape and continue to thrive.

Carolina Hurricanes are Kings of Leon

They're unpolished Southern residents who were inexplicably on top of the world in the not so distant past. Their fans are advocates of shotgunning Jack and Coke cans at Nascar events, worshiping local universities that they had no chance of getting into and bouncing cheques at Sonic.

Calgary Flames are ‘N SYNC

They're one man shows, and everyone knows it. It's the star that receives all the accolades and has driven their success. Without them, they would be nothing. The supporting cast are a group of professional journeymen living off the scraps handed down to them by their famous leader. The leader will continue to achieve individual success on the international stage but will never achieve anything with the group again. To be fair, their fan base is inclined to show support to the team by sexual displays of flashing or garment tossing.

Chicago Blackhawks are Arcade Fire

Once upstart indie darlings with a loyal fan base, the buzz has worn off with recent media attention and a smorgasbord of trophies. A new fan base has emerged much to the dismay of the old guard who considers the newbies a bunch of frontrunners. The old guard has moved on to new and undiscovered talent so they can be first in line to tell people they were there from day one. Most of their members are Canadian but don't tell their fans.

Columbus Blue Jackets are Phish

You have to be high to enjoy them and even then, they still suck. They have been accused of having a negative influence on youth. You're never sure which direction they're heading and they usually result in a headache. Sometimes you wonder how their members get paid to do what they do.

Colorado Avalanche are The Strokes

They’re a fun, youthful and dynamic group that had a bunch of hits under their belt but took a few years off in the late 2000’s. They know how to do the uptempo thing well. They made a strong comeback in 2011 as they reinvented themselves to critical acclaim. They found a way to reconnect with their youth and do what made them so successful in the first place while managing to stay contemporary and fresh.

Dallas Stars are Soul Asylum

Everyone likes to forget they're from Minnesota. Unfortunately, people from Texas could care less about them and are more inclined to be entertained by the activities of cowboys. At one point, they have used the colours black and gold. Oddly enough, they have been invited to events with Bill Clinton in the 1990's. (Even more odd: Soul Asylum did a music video for “Can’t Even Tell†for the movie Clerks which features a road hockey game between the band and the actors). They have done little of importance over the past 10 years but they still poke their heads out once in a while with little to no fanfare.

Detroit Red Wings are Bruce Springsteen

Consumed with their geographic identity along with their working class ethos; they have stood the test of time and have been featured in some capacity in films (Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Net Worth, The Wrestler, Philadelphia etc.). They both enjoy automobile imagery and have maintained the same style for ages. They never fail to put on a memorable show and it’s damn near impossible to say anything bad about them.

Edmonton Oilers are Mission of Burma

Came from humble beginnings and blew the roof off the scene in the 1980's. They made their mark by playing a complex, conceptual and fast style. Developed a cult following that has stuck with them ever since. Have recently fallen back into favour and made a return to the scene by doing what made them so popular all those years ago and connecting with a new generation of youth.

Florida Panthers are the Spice Girls

They will be remembered as some of the best things to be born out of the 90’s. The similarities are clear: Ginger Spice is Tomas Fleischmann, Posh Spice is Brian Campbell, Scary Spice is Erik Gudbranson, Sporty Spice is Jacob Markstrom and Baby Spice is Jonathan Huberdeau. It can only be assumed these members will pursue other ventures once they get the chance.

Hardford Whalers are Vampire Weekend

They’re popular amongst Eastern seaboard elites and ironic hipsters the continent over. Fans of novelty and collectors items flock to them to demonstrate their individuality.

Los Angeles Kings are Joy Division

They’re a great group with incredible amounts of talent. We just don’t know if they’ll be around long enough as a group to do everything that they’re capable of doing. If not with this group, then certainly some of their members will move on to something more successful in due time.

Minnesota Wild are Bon Iver

They’re just the most boring live product imaginable. The only reason you would admit to liking either is to pick up a girl who was into them. They play slow and uninspired despite a rabid fan base. They have terrible names and both secretly wish that they were Canadian. Dany Heatley could care less about either.

Montreal Canadiens are Kiss

It's always a bit of a surprise when you find out someone you've known for years is a diehard fan. They like to end their show with fireworks and you will find their logo splattered across on the strangest and most irrelevant merchandise. Their uniforms never change and had some crazy years in the 1970’s. They have a flare for the dramatic and are no strangers to a good old fashion tongue lashing.

Nashville Predators are Fleet Foxes

They’re popular amongst a Johnny-come lately fan base who enjoy systematic and steady style of play. They’re not very offensive and there’s a good chance your parents who know nothing about them will find themselves entertained when you have them on. They draw from a variety of influences and styles to produce a winning and reliable formula. They’ll only get better from here on in and their fans seem to enjoy it, so just let them be happy.

New Jersey Devils are Wu Tang Clan

They come from undesirable areas around New York. Have experience dodging caps. They are lead by fearsome men with a knack for identifying talent. Reached the height of their success in the 1990's but were often criticized for their negative influence on the game. Some of their former members have had run-ins with the law.

New York Islanders are Air Supply

They had all of their success from 1980-1985 and have done nothing since but toil somewhere between obscurity and comedy. Believe it or not both are still active today (seriously look it up - the Islanders are still an NHL team).

New York Rangers are Joe Walsh

They are a mediocre product and rely heavily on the success of years past. Are very fortunate to be part of iconic institutions otherwise they would be playing the bush league circuit. They have only achieved #1 status once in the past 50 years. They are capable of drawing an audience based on name value alone and fans leave after seeing them wondering what the hell they just paid for. They have spent big money in past years that reeks of decisions made by someone under the influence.

Ottawa Senators are The Replacements

Are capable of taking you through insufferable lows and incredible highs. They can be sloppy, disinterested and brilliant. They are guilty of having made some questionable personnel decisions in the past. When you tune in you're never sure what you're going to get. Had a few hits, without any real success, and a number of bombs to the great pleasure of critics who never wanted them to succeed. Their fan base is mostly comprised of disillusioned university aged kids and adults who never really cared much about anything before their arrival.

Philadelphia Flyers are The Rolling Stones

Are considered legends in their own right despite not having done anything significant since the 1970's (Yeah, that's right. I prefer Some Girls and Exile over Aftermath and December's Children). Rumours abound that substance abuse and internal squabbling lead to their breakups. They haven't been affraid to trade members in the past in order to shake things up. Although they continue playing to this day, they're still trying to maintain the play and style that once made them so successful.

Phoenix Coyotes are Celine Dion

Most of their fans are retired Canadians who need something to take their mind off their last bad round of golf. They have management that kinda makes you scratch your head and wonder what’s going on behind the scenes. Anyways, it’s only a matter of time before they return to Quebec and settle down for good.

Pittsburgh Penguins are Coldplay

Are idolized by the mainstream because of a darling with a golden image. Their leaders are no strangers to hoards of media attention about their private lives. They rose to fame in the 1990's and can now be found everywhere with nauseating results. Their fans, largely pre-pubescent girls, are eager to attach themselves to one of the biggest acts of their time. They have proven you can be a massive whiner and achieve success. They're beneficiaries of good luck and timing in that, if it wasn't them, it could have anyone to have their success. They just so happened to be in the right place at the right time. You could say, they really won the lottery.

Quebec Nordiques are Led Zeppelin

It’s only a matter of time before this once popular group is reunited and comes to a town near you. Their decision to reunite will be largely based around a massive cash grab. No one will really mind since there’s a generation of fans who never got to see them play.

San Jose Sharks are Audioslave

Are a group of individual superstars who, when put together, don't mesh and produce incredibly lacklustre results. They have all the makings to be a successful and talented group but after several years of samples, have proven to be nothing more than a gimmick aimed to lure money out of the pockets of middle to upper class West Coasters who don't know any better.

St. Louis Blues are Jack White

People have been telling this author for years that they're good and only going to get better. I have yet to see them do anything worthy of being dubbed as greats. Until they do something that blows my mind, I’ll continue to view them as meddlers who define themselves on the word of others rather than action.

Tampa Bay Lightning are Velvet Revolver

Another one that is better described as a collection of individual talents rather then a cohesive collective unit. They’re the product of the 1990’s where the foundation for their success was cultivated. They had their best year in 2004. Some members from 2004 have moved on to other endeavours but seem to be more interested in easy money than renewing the success of years past. Funny how something everyone told us would be so awesome is just kind of meddling and spinning its tires currently. I guess their management isn’t as brilliant as everyone thought.

Toronto Maple Leafs are U2

They're led by outspoken and brash Irishmen who have promised to change their world's but failed to deliver anything of substance. They're lighting rods for criticism and a source of easy mockery due to their lavish lifestyles, media attention and outrageous tickets prices. They have done nothing but toil in their past glories in order to garner contemporary support and their fans are always late to the show. In many instances it's more about going to the show, not so much for the product, but to achieve a certain social status that's impressive around the water cooler.

Vancouver Canucks are Metallica

They're sore losers who cry about being victims of their own shortcomings and failure to adapt to a changing landscape when it really mattered. It’s almost impossible to have a conversation with one of their fans since they’re so consumed with their heroes they are unable to see reality clearly. Also have a female fan base than enjoys taking off their shirts much to the chagrin of men everywhere. (Did you see that swamp donkey in the Stanley Cup finals? I'd riot too if that was the best my city had to offer.)

Washington Capitals are Meatloaf

At the end of the day, they’re a group, but we all know they’re really a one man show. Lead by a large, theatrical male with a flare for the dramatic who loves the limelight. My apologies, but whenever I hear Ovechkin speak or see his head in that locker, I just picture him bursting out into “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.†There’s really no rhyme or reason to this one to be fair, I just think they’re hilariously talented once in a generation characters. I would also kill to see him in a Halloween costume dressed up as a Rocky Horror Picture Show character.

Winnipeg Jets are The Tragically Hip

Most people outside of Canada have no idea what all the fuss is about (I don’t blame them) and most people in Canada are sick and tired about hearing about them. They have a loyal fan base that is more than happy to pay top dollar for a mediocre product. In 10 years, there’s a good chance neither will exist.

MEDIA PERSONALITIES

Bob Cole is Ozzy Osborne

They’re rockstars with a weekly television show who just mumble their way through life and no one seems to pay much attention to them anymore.

Don Cherry is the Talking Heads

(Do I really have to explain this one or is the band name evidence enough?) They rose to prominence around the same time and have managed to captivate a large audience who listens to them regularly. It's near impossible to decipher their words and more often than not, they make no sense at all.

Gary Bettman is P. Diddy

He likes to be on television and remind people he's extremely important. Can usually be found talking about cancelling this and that if he doesn't get his way (he'll do it, man). I wouldn't trust either as a babysitter.

Pierre McGuire is Pete Townsend

They are obsessed with rough teenage boys. They were once part of large important groups before jumping ship. Will take their act anywhere for the right amount of money.

Brendan Shanahan is Kanye West

Love hearing themselves talk and have been criticized by their peers for being over the top. They often find themselves explaining their actions to the public. The masses eat up whatever they're told and it makes for great conversation.

Ron MacLean is Iron Maiden

They are both familiar with playing with madness. They both live and die to play guitar.

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Awesome.

The Hartford one almost had me spit coffee - I had a similar discuss with a friend from New Haven after seeing a pic on FB of him all decked out in his Whaler's and gear drinking a PBR.

Love the Boston one, especially the last line.

Thanks for the laugh. I stole this and emailed to a couple friends.

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Guest Low Roller

That's a funny read!

So Sean Avery is a healthy scratch tonight. I then ask what was the point of calling him back up? Maybe they were hoping that some other team would bite and grab him on re-entry waivers.

If I'm not mistaken the GM is in charge of player movement, and the coach is in charge of the line-up, so can we surmise that there is a difference of opinion between Torts and Glen Sather on Avery's place on this team?

I hope that Torts gets fired because he would be the perfect successor to tired and senile old Don Cherry on CBC.

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Guest Low Roller

GOON SHOW!!!



Edit: Lucic has got himself a date with Shanahan on Monday, but since he is a Bruin we should not get our hopes up for any sort of significant penalty other than justice served with a 2min charging penalty.

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"I like the game a little better in our era, mostly because the players policed the game. I think there's so much onus put on the officials right now ... I don't mind the fighting in the game, I know they're trying to take a lot of it out.

"The game in the old days got rid of the pretenders and the guys who do the whacking and the hacking, guys that are chirping back. That stuff got eliminated years ago. If somebody was taking a shot at your best player, somebody got rid of that right away.

"The reason I think there's a lot more injuries now? Guys are bigger, stronger, better fit overall. But you can just take runs at people left and right and they're coming at full speed. And in the old days, you eliminated that from the game."

-- Mark Howe on HNIC's Inside Hockey

I thought a lot about what Howe said during the Hockey Night In Canada pre-game show after seeing Milan Lucic run Ryan Miller without in-game consequence. (Lucic has a hearing Monday afternoon with the NHL). While Sabres like Paul Gaustad later said they were "embarrassed" they didn't do anything about it, we're seeing more and more teams programmed to step back and let the referees -- or Brendan Shanahan -- handle it.

The only reason Howe is not considered one of hockey's great statesmen? Because he rarely talks publicly. Over 22 seasons and 1,355 games (counting both the WHA and NHL), he never had more than 62 penalty minutes. But he was no softie; very powerful, unafraid and not be trifled with. As a scout, he's a critical part of the Red Wings' success. As of Monday night, he's a Hall of Famer.

When Howe speaks, people listen. And I wonder, is he absolutely right?

What if the reason we're seeing so many dangerous on-ice plays is that we've forgotten how to deal with the bully in the schoolyard? You can run to the principal all you want. Eventually, you've got to stand up for yourself. The Bruins sure do.

"I think there's so much onus put on the officials right now." Of everything Howe said, that sticks most with me.

A major factor in the Bruins' recovery from a 2-0 deficit to win the Stanley Cup was a willingness to do whatever it took, pushing the rules to the limits (and beyond) against Vancouver.

Canucks fans will never forget the image of Brad Marchand punching Daniel Sedin without consequence during Game 6 of the final. Boston used a strategy created by the Flyers of the 1970s and perfected by the NBA's Pistons of the late 1980s/early 1990s -- there's no way they can call everything, so let's see what we can get away with.

You could see the anger and frustration in the Canucks because that's not the way teams are supposed to play now. The preference is to play hard whistle-to-whistle and skate away from scrums. If something gets out of control, let the referees or the league handle it.

The bigger the game, the less referees want anything to do with determining the outcome and the Bruins were smart enough to recognize and take advantage of that. You can't penalize -- or suspend -- everyone for everything. It's just not possible.

What Howe is suggesting is a little dangerous because, once you open the door a crack, someone could kick it off the hinges. (Staged fighting, for example, is useless for policing the game.) But I'm wondering if there is a kind of happy medium where the NHL can allow a little more frontier justice while maintaining supplementary control in more egregious situations.

That's got to be better than what happened in Boston, where Miller was flattened and injured, with an incredulous Lucic telling The Buffalo News: "We wouldn't accept anything like that. We would have [taken] care of business. But we're a different team than they are."

That's certainly true. Saturday night, Ryan Miller probably wished he played for them.

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Why is the instigator always the deciding factor in these arguments? What's an extra 2 minutes? Aren't tough guys supposed to get penalties? I find it funny that they're like, "I'd kill him, but the instigator penalty won't let me". Your supposed to be tough. Fucking kill him! Who cares about the extra two minutes? You kill him and go sit on the bench for an extra two. its a fair trade off. They will stop running your goalie and all it cost you was two minutes. Anyway.

I can't switch to full reply for some reason, but I think this is a good response to Friedman (letter to Kerry Fraser):

"First of all, I would like to say that you were one of the best referees in the NHL and it was a pleasure to watch games officiated by you. Recently, with a large amount of head injuries occurring in the league the instigator rule has been discussed in hockey circles as one of the causes of these type of injuries. Based on your on-ice experience, do you feel that the instigator rule should be removed so that players can "police" the actions of those that deliberately injure other players?

This blog has been great and has given NHL fans some insight into the officiating in the league!

Thanks,

Steve

Ajax, ON

Steve:

There are some who might suggest that like a fine wine; I am getting much more palatable the longer I sit on the retirement shelf but I sure thank you for your kind comments.

I cringe when I hear the “cavemen†who suggest that removing the instigator rule would reduce hits to the head. Why don't we remove seat belts from cars and take the visors and helmets off players while we are at it? Maybe people would drive more slowly and without head gear players wouldn't play so recklessly.

The suggestion that we reacquire the prototype “6'5†goon†that takes up a roster spot on the end of the bench to go out and fight his counterpart on the other side when liberties are taken is preposterous. How would this reduce head shots? Two monster gladiators banging each other in the head repeatedly during a staged fight until one submits, is knocked unconscious or they fall to the ice can only have grave repercussions to the combatants brain grey matter. The end result, given the new NHL protocol, is they will both likely spend at least 15 minutes in a quiet location under the stands being evaluated by medical experts. Have we already forgotten the irrefutable evidence of CTE found in Bob Probert's brain dissection conducted by the Boston pathologist? While our opinions might differ on whether contact to the head should be allowed medical evidence is not open to debate.

The key word that you mentioned in your question Steve is “police.†Self policing by players isn't the answer. The reduction (and hopefully elimination) of contact to the head of an opponent requires responsible “policing†of the game by League administrators (including the NHLPA) and game officials.

Some positive advances were made through the crafting of Rule 48—Illegal Check to the Head--which provides for a major penalty and game misconduct to be assessed for lateral or blind side hits to an opponent where the principle point of contact is the head. We saw suspensions and fines result from the enforcement of this rule by the on-ice officials and Colin Campbell's supplementary discipline process this season. While it was a great beginning to the NHL's attempts to slow one aspect of this dangerous culture of hitting, it is head and shoulders away from addressing this terrible problem that faces the game and its players.

The North-South hit to the head of an opponent that is deemed legal (most of the time) and some special hitting zone where the ultimate receiver of a head shot is somehow held responsible is incomprehensible for most. I always thought that the “hitting zone†was 200 X 85 feet and the manner in which one player hit another and not the location on the ice constituted an infraction or a suspension.

We have seen some confusing happenings during the Stanley Cup Playoffs to this point. Raffi Torres hit on Brent Seabrook was officially termed a “good hockey play,†while Steve Downie's launch on Ben Lovejoy of Pittsburgh resulted in a one game suspension. In case you forgot Lovejoy was aware of the impending hit and Downie didn't make contact with Lovejoy's head. Seabrook on the other hand was looking back for a slow rolling puck behind the net and didn't see Torres on the train tracks. There's that old victim should have known theory.

Problem is that the inconsistency with which this situation has been handled off the ice results in confusion on the ice for players and referees alike. In Game 6 of the Chicago-Vancouver series Bryan Bickell, listed at 6'4†and 224 pounds, left his feet and clocked Kevin Bieksa where the principle point of contact was to Bieksa's head. No penalty and certainly no suspension or fine occurred. I don't blame the referee one bit on these calls or non calls. Are we left to assume this was just another “good hockey play†in that same “hitting zone†that Torres and Downie ventured into?

In attempting to figure out what is legal I came to the conclusion that you can hit an opponent in the head in this special area only if he isn't looking (Seabrook) so long as you kept both skates on the ice (unlike Downie); that was until Bickell destroyed this theory by leaving his feet and making direct contact to the head of Bieksa. Mixed signals like this make it impossible for the referees to assess these hits on a consistent basis.

The only deterrent will be when players are held accountable (mandatory suspensions = loss of pay) for hits to the head of an opponent. Before that happens it will have to be determined what is allowed and what isn't. We can only hope that G.M's such as Jim Rutherford, Darcy Regier and others have a voice to redefine legal checking parameters. Stay tuned over the summer because at this point no one really knows for sure."

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