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Shout-out Monday – To the Shootout king

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Click on image to see the top 10 Shootout moves video

This week we give a special shout-out to the guy or gal on your team you always pick for the shootout. It takes creativity, mental clarity and a good deal of confidence to go face to face with a goalie, when your game is on the line.

Your shootout pro takes to this challenge like a duck to water, deking, weaving, cocking the leg or flashing the hands, all the while remaining composed and confident of their success.  What makes your shootout pro stand out from the rest however is not only that you can count on them to score,  but it’s the sheer audacity of the moves that thrills and solidifies their position on the shootout roster.

What’s your favorite shootout move or favorite NHL shootout moment?

 

Patrick Kane in Beer League?

Kane Celly

Yep – Patrick Timothy Kane, the Chicago Blackhawks right winger, has scored 10 points in his first game as a Piranha player. Wearing 88 he put 5 in net and got 5 assists.

The Piranhas play in the Performax Hockey League, a beer league based in Buffalo.

If you look at the boxscore (above in link)  however, Kane only just beat out fellow Piranha Vinny Scarsella by 1 point. Vinny scored 9 points by hitting 7 goals and getting 2 assists.

PX Hockey even posted an image to their twitter feed to prove its not a hoax.

Patrick Kane shows up to dangle….

I wonder who the dish master was???

If you had the choice – which NHL player would you have sub in at your next NCHL or Beer league game?

Detroit gets new arena.

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The Detroit Red Wings are moving.

Built in 1979 the Joe Louis Arena is now the 4th oldest in the NHL and I guess the Red Wings feel a move would be in the best interests of the team and the recently bankrupted city. “Motor City”, “Rock City” or “Hockeytown” as we know it, could use the boost, however it seems that of the $650M price tag, $450M will be coming from public funds in the form of state backed bonds and property tax revenues.

The $450M will go towards the development of an entertainment district centered around the arena, much like the $480M development under way in Edmonton for the Oilers franchise. Bars, hotels, clubs, restaurants and residential apartments and condos are all set to make an appearance, as well as a stunning new glass faced arena seating around 20,000 spectators.

Whether or not the investment can provide the city with the boost it needs to get its finances and tattered reputation back on track, will remain to be seen. One thing’s for sure – that glass faced arena design will look impressive in 2017 once it’s all complete.

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Which NHL arena would you like to see re-vamped or re-built?

Shout-out Monday – Your Goalie

As you all know, a good goalie is critical to your teams summer or winter campaign. When your wingers are tired, your center is injured and your defencemen just got burned by some puck weaving magic, your goalie is your last line of defence and potential savior. In this weeks Monday Night Shout-out, we’re looking for team tributes to your masked defender. Captains, players, team centers or hell – even goalies themselves, are invited to shower praise upon your “Bulin Wall” or your “Quicky”.  Check out this save and let us know if your goalie has pulled off an amazing save similar to this oneReto Berra’s Bicycle kick save

NHL Summer Watch: Three Very Different Teams

With the game’s greatest prize heading back to the beaches of SoCal for the second time in three years, the other 29 NHL clubs are dealt back in, and are preparing for a summer of business, and transactions to get them to the next level, to be a contender.

Let’s start by taking a look at the three of the most interesting teams to watch for now that the cup has been delivered.

Teams in the NHL have seemingly found themselves lumped into three separate groups. The first category being “Not Even Close” which would include teams like the Edmonton Oilers, Islanders, Sabres, and Florida Panthers, These are the teams that just can not figure it out, and won’t be close for awhile, if ever, or so it seems.

The second groupings of teams are “Close but not quite” These teams are good, always competitive, but when it comes down to things, they’re still a cut below the best.   Teams like the  St. Louis Blues, San Jose Sharks, Philadephia Flyers, This is the most populated group of the bunch, and these teams are itching to get into the next tier.

The final grouping of teams are the “We’re Here” teams.  Teams that contend seriously for the Stanley Cup each year.  The LA Kings, obviously.  The Boston Bruins and The Chicago Blackhawks. MA Fleury has officially dropped the Penguins into the middle pack.

Let’s take a look at one team out each of these groupings as the most intriguing to watch this summer.  Coming from the not even close grouping, has to be the Edmonton Oilers.  You’ve probably been saying this for the last half a decade, but at some point it just has to click for them… doesn’t it?  The Oilers seem to have fixed their crease, but continue to have a lowly group of defenseman, and the same forward cloned nine times.  Look for them to make some changes to fix the blue line, add some size up front.  Mactavish has proved to be a very active GM, and very open about the changes needed to be made.  They’ve made some changes on the bench this year, and upstairs already having added former Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson into the mix.  This group absolutely has to be eager to get going, and at the very least move into the “Close, but not quite” group.

Coming out of the “Close, but not yet” group is the newest team to join this party, the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The Penguins are continually the top of their division, 2005-2006 was the last season that the Penguins didn’t either win their division, or finish second being only a couple points shy of first.  Yet, they still only have one Stanley Cup in that time.  No question they have some of, if not the two best players in the game, but is it working anymore?  After another quick playoff exit, the Penguins have showed they’re tired of being first to the party, and first to leave year after year.  Winning divisions, and opening rounds is no longer acceptable.  Ray Shero, and Dan Bylsma were the first to feel the brunt of that.  But, can this team really win another Stanley cup with MA Fleury in net?  Hard to blame MAF for their woes this playoff, especially when you’re up 3-1 in a series but by now it’s as much a mental barrier, and a distraction with him back there.  He loves to let in bad goals, and the media is constantly talking about it around the Penguins.  The Penguins have to be careful to not change too much, too quickly, but look for them to add some secondary scoring, some depth in net, if not a new starter.  Penguins have wasted no time making headlines since their exit; look for them to continue doing so.  They won’t be content being in this group for very long, not with 87 and 71 on your team.

Now that flightless birds have slipped out of this group, were left with three teams that are rest above the rest.  Hawks. Bruins. Champions.  We’ll look to the LA Kings to be the most intriguing team amongst these three this summer.  Defending champs are always an interesting group to watch going into the next season.  How much hangover will they have?  There are a few key players that are without a contract for 2014-15 season.  Willie Mitchell & Matt Greene who were both quietly very effective for the LA Kings are now free agents.  These two will be sought after by many of the second grouping of teams.  They’re older, but still have some grit, and game left. You can’t win without these types of players.  But, with Mitchell having earned $3.5M last season, and Green earning $2.95M, something tells me these two will need to take a significant pay cut to remain with this group.  Secondly, up front the LA Kings will need to make a decision on Marian Gaborik who was phenomenal for them in the playoffs, and then as well Mike Richards.  Gaborik collected a cool $7.5M last season, which is more than Drew, and more than Anze.  Can’t see Lombardi signing Gabby for any more than his two best players, so alike the rugged defenseman, Gabby will need to be happy with a pay cut if he wants to stick around in LA LA Land.  Mike Richards will be another interesting issue for the Kings.  The guy knows how to win, no doubt.  All he seems to do outside of the nightlife, is win.  But, his role was decreased dramatically, centering the fourth line, scoring only eleven goals in the regular season, and three more in playoffs.  Richards will either need to open up his training program manual a few more times this off season if he doesn’t want to be bought out by the Kings.  The Kings also seem to do a terrific job developing players from Manchester and bringing them in at the right times to be effective with the big club.  See Toffoli, and Pearson.   There is going to be a new Stanley Cup banner raised at Staples Center come opening day, but there is sure to be some new faces as well.

Here comes the summer!

 

Oil Kings Big Win….

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The Oil Kings are Memorial Cup Champions for the first time since 1966. However, the history of the team has a compelling story of the years in between.

Hap Emms, the coach of the Niagara Falls Flyers, had just seen his team beat the Edmonton Oil Kings 5-2 in the fifth game of the 1963 Memorial Cup. However, he did not have a smile on his face.

It had been a rough, hard fought series in the Edmonton Gardens; game five being the  bloodiest. Journal columnist Hal Pawson wrote, “It’s gone beyond a joke. Grown men turned hypocrites, players bashing each other in the head, and fans have flipped their lids”.

Oil King Greg Pilling had whacked defenseman Rich Morin over the head with a hockey stick, sending the Flyer to the dressing room with a concussion and a dozen stitches.

Edmonton led the series 3-2 on that night. The list of casualties on the Flyers team injury list was longer than the game 5 scoring summary. Since the series had begun, the Flyers suffered a total of two broken legs, ( to wingers Gary Harmer and Gary Dornhoefer), Bill Glashen and Ron Hergott shared 32 stiches. There were three concussions  and two black eyes spread amongst Don Awrey , George Gardner, and Rich  Morin. Bill Goldsworthy had a torn solar plexus muscle, Terry Crisp was nursing a bad charley horse, and Wayne Maxner was suffering from a rib injury.

“If they want the Cup that badly, let them have it,” Emms growled, “My players can’t go on the way things are going right now and risk the chance of being crippled for life. I don’t want to comment of the refereeing at this point, but I don’t want to return to Edmonton, ever.”

As for Pawson, who had called for a cancellation of the series, all was forgiven when he reflected on the hectic minute of the final game.

“It was a minute of which Edmonton , and all Alberta, can be forever proud. It was an epitome of everything that is wonderful about true sport and sportsmanship.”

I believe the same could be said today; Welcome Home to our champions again, 51 years later.

 

 

 

 

End Of Season Report Cards Are Dumb…Except This One…

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I don’t ‘do’ end of season player report cards. I know they’re all the rage on sports radio and print media, but in my opinion, the Oilers all deserve a D-.

When it comes to the coaching grade, I will weigh in heavily.

It’s no secret I’m not a fan of Dallas Eakins. I didn’t like the way he came in, his performance during the season, nor the dismal finish. But that would be a boring ‘report card’ and a very short one. So, I’ll grade the Oiler media crew instead.

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Bob Stauffer D-

Not a fan. While playing both sides of the fence, (Homer (working for the team) and Hater (negative and blame shifter) I cannot sit through an entire show.

But lets be clear, he was the only viable option during the Dan Tencer era. If you can’t handle Stauffer, it is 100x better than Tencer’s hated evening show.

*Since Dan is no longer on sports duty (thank you, God), I will include him here*. Highlights include:  blaming  for the Oilers dismal season last year on ‘the  fans not cheering loud enough’, and the horrible shade comment towards Josh Harding playing with Multiple Sclerosis (‘Josh Harding. In net. This is going to be horrendus’). I have yet to hear anybody say ‘ I really miss Tencer”, but listening to Bob could possibly do that.

Reid Wilkens  D

Reid was Tencer’s producer for several years. He’s a young, fledgling radio guy, doing the best he can given the unfortunate inheritance of the crappy show before him. He’ll grow into it, I think, but he has shown the same ignorant and rude interactions with callers, and inappropriate  jokes and dead air moments as his predecessor. He’s from my mother’s home town, though, and my Uncle plowed his parent’s driveway for years.

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Neilson & Fraser A+

Desperately seeking a morning show for my drive to school and back every morning, these guys make my days better. Every. Single. Day. They are fun, honest, and creative. I literally ‘laugh out loud’ at the ‘Morning Mandate’ and ‘Sad Suter’ segments.

Jason Gregor B+

Gregor personally promised me I would ‘Be Entertained’ by his show when I went public with Dan Tencer’s MS comment. I have MS, and relented on Twitter that I ‘wish everybody would preface MY work with, “With MS” and, “This is going to be horrendous” like he did for Harding. Jason Gregor was astounded that anybody could be such an ass on air, and invited me to check out his show on 1260 in the afternoon. I happily obliged. I like it, and I don’t always agree, but I learn a lot and hear all kinds of points of view from him and his variety of guests. Happy to report that I am, indeed, entertained.

In addition, Jason rides the MS Bike Tour raising money every year for MS research for people like me. He is my hero for that.

Jason Strudwick D-

This might be an unfair assessment because it stems from a comment he made (and when asked about it, defended) about adoption in Canada. Jason and his wife have an AMAZING story of difficulties conceiving, and the adoption of their children. In a story printed by the Edmonton Sun, claimed they ‘adopted from the US because in Canada, there is no such thing as closed adoption, meaning “the biological mother has to be at every birthday, Christmas and holiday in our home”.

I am a former foster mother of 24 babies, and adoptive mom of 2. I was involved in  20 adoptions. None of the statement above is truthful nor factual. I have also spent my life traveling North America as a professional speaker on the topics of foster care, adoption, and FASD. I appeared on the Oprah Show and shared my story with Ellen.

When I kindly  asked him to reword his comment on the subject, he wrote me a very defensive, angry letter. I will happily continue correcting his myth of adoption in Canada, because it’s my passion and life’s work. I may as well, since I’m speaking to millions of people through my shows and media anyway. No problem.

However, commenting that he understood why the Oilers wouldn’t be trying very hard at the end of the season, and it would be understandable for them to ‘mail it in’ made me angry.

“Are you telling me none of you ever lacked motivation to do your job?” He asked. My reply, “I’m an OB nurse, I’m pretty sure you’d prefer I be ‘motivated’ for the birth of your child. Mail it in? That’s the Stork.”

I’m really tired of ex-athletes getting their own shows.

Bryan Hall

Much like my daughter’s first  assessment in French Emersion ; it was so bad, they couldn’t even give her a grade. I have one question on Hall; What time can I set my alarm that Bryan Hall WON’T  be on the radio? Answer: Never. You have to change the station.

If that wasn’t bad enough, (as of last summer), I now have a giant mural of Hall’s face that I can see out my back door.

If Oiler media and personnel don’t improve over the off season, (like I expect the team to), I may be forced to turn off my radio after 10 am in the future. Thanks to Nielson and Fraser, my faith will be restored until then.

 

Entering NHL’s Best Kept Secret; ‘The Quiet Room’…..

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It was meant to be an example of the more cautious approach that teams were supposed to be taking towards head injuries. The NHL quietly introduced a new protocol for assessing concussions coming out of the general managers meeting in March 2011, a time where they were under heavy scrutiny because of the injury that kept Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby on the sidelines for several months.

When I was competitively skating, I was practising a double Axel. I fell hard. I did not hit my head, but the way I fell and the motion of my neck alone left me with a concussion. I had no idea until the next day, when I was throwing up, dizzy, and had a pounding headache and trouble seeing.

Years later, in  nursing school, the neurology residency was fascinating, but scary. It is absolutely incredible what our bodies do, especially the brain. It controls EVERYTHING. It is soft. It is floating in fluid inside your head. And when you injure it, it may never heal. That is crazy enough.

The SCAT2 (Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 2) was introduced to screen players who have sustained a blow to the head. This is what the ‘Quiet Room’ is designed for; assess the player in an environment free of distraction. To use  the SCAT2 properly, the four page assessment should take nearly 45 minutes to determine concussion/probable concussion. That’s just the INITIAL screen that tests the player with questions, while noting how the patient feels. The physical, coordination and neurological testing  takes closer to an hour.

Lets face it; it’s in nobody’s best interest to take a guy out of a game ‘just in case’ its a concussion (except the player, who will inevitably deny any symptoms to get back on the ice). We demand a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer in 5-7 minutes to a question that isn’t so easy to answer.

I’ve seen the quiet room used four times now, and none lasted more than 8 minutes! ? Part one of SCAT2 takes at least 5 minutes alone, and grading takes at least 10!

Here’s an example:

Sideline assessment, (Maddocks Score) is what they are asking the player while attending to the athlete still on the ice:

1.What venue are we at today?

2.What period is it in the game?

3.Who scored last in this game?

4.What team did you play last week?

5.Did your team win the last game?

That is the primary test.

Once in the quiet room, more questions are asked:

-What month is it?

-What is the day of the week?

-What year is it?

The coordination and cognitive physical test is then done and an overall ‘score’ is given based on the performance of all tasks combined.

Research found that adrenalin spikes when the brain gets banged around and can actually assist in the memory of immediate details. That is why the second process of the SCAT2 is (supposed to be) used. The athlete should be tested again even in the days that follow to assess the possibility of a missed diagnosis, or degree of concussion sustained.

It looks really good on paper, and the NHL seems to have satisfied (in theory) the concerns of concussion in hockey, but I’m not convinced.