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We celebrate the 1983 Wayzata Club Hockey Team and one of its stars, Jonny "The Mouse" Mikkelson, who once told me "Our team was so good the varsity wouldn't play us." When asked why he didn't play varsity Mouse said, "Too little." Cutest ever. So, we salute the greatest Club Hockey Team ever, a squad so vaunted even Jim Craig's Miracle team wanted nothing to do with it. Trottier, Bossy, Gretzky, Messier ... dead! Long live the 1983 Wayzata Club Hockey team!
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“If respect for the guy between you and the boards isn’t enough to stop you from running him, maybe what will be is the fear of the retribution that is sure to follow.” –Bobby Orr
This is an excerpt from the great Bobby Orr’s book, the chapter on fighting in hockey. I am not writing about actual fighting in hockey, but violence in hockey. If your worst enemy was standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon, would you push him over the edge?
No. Even if you hate somebody, you more than likely respect them enough as a human being not to push them down a cliff. I am disappointed in the lack of respect of players in hockey, mainly the NHL. There have been some recent cheap-shots in the NHL resulting in fines and suspensions. Even though it didn’t result in an injury (or so we think right now, who knows if it will re-surface), but the one that pisses me off the most is the James Neal kneeing incident at Boston against Brad Marchand. http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/james-neal-gets-nhl-phone-hearing-bit-joke-211433123--nhl.html Neal’s quote was “I haven’t seen the replay of anything. I hit him in the head with my leg or my knee or my shin. He’s already going down. I guess I need to try to avoid him,” said Neal.
This is bush league. James Neal is a very good hockey player, but should have gotten 20 games for this, not 5. (I say this even though he’s on my fantasy hockey team) In the same game, Bruin thug Shawn Thornton slew-footed Penguins Brooks Orpik, then kept beating his head into the ice causing the stretcher to come out.
There are other incidents being looked at by the league, but these d-bags need to start respecting their opponents. You can hate them all you want, but you NEED to respect them. They are your peers. I recently heard Doc Emrick talking about player respect, and hope this message gets through. With the newer equipment technology, players are feeling invincible. In a sport that sometimes needs to be policed by the players, the police need to know what they’re doing. Even in the wake of the nationally known tragedy of the Jack Jablonski hit, you still see players hitting players from behind into the boards. I remember when I was young, the normal penalties were tripping, hooking, elbowing, charging……etc… The one penalty that you rarely saw, and when you did it was a major penalty, was boarding. I reffed hockey for 8 years, and “boarding” was the cardinal sin. A major penalty. Now, boarding is a 2-minute minor. WHY?
I will also say on the other side, players need to do a better job avoiding these hits. Don’t stand 3 feet from the boards with your head down. When you ride a motorcycle on the freeway, you have to expect every car to potentially cut you off. You need to ride defensively. Same as being on the ice. You have to keep your head up, be aware of what’s going on, be aware that anybody at any time can run you into the boards. Play aggressive but play defensive.
Watch Zach Parise play. When he’s near the boards, he’s ready to be hit. He prepares for it. These cheap, near the boards incidents occur not only in the NHL, but at the youth level as well. Kids don’t start checking until the bantam level, which I think is too late. Junior High-aged kids get to check for the first time? Trouble!
I have gone in many directions here, but the bottom line is the players need to respect other players. There’s a reason why players shake hands after games, it’s to show respect. Players need to quit playing and acting so reckless and respect the great game of hockey. I HATE having to write negative things about my favorite sport, but felt a need to at this time.
Being "On the Radio" is such a treat when I get to do shows from the penalty box at The X. Just freaking love it. Wall-to-wall hockey doesn't please everybody but the vibe I feel is one of the most unique you'll ever hear because of the sounds. The skates coming to a screeching halt, the pucks off the glass in front of us, ZENON KONOPKA rolling up to the mike and adding to the show, ROBERTO LUONGO waving to us and pondering show inclusion before his hard-nosed HC says "No."
Very, very unique in that I never know what to expect when the guys hit the ice. I think we are the only show in the land that does a penalty box production during morning skate and, thus, players and coaches look at the group like "What the hell are you guys doing here."
The shows have broken hockey-related news two of the last three times, and given I laugh at those in my game who puff out their chests when they have stories first -- I knew about SULLY'S knee surgery 10 days ago and didn't say anything because I don't break news and didn't think it was that big of a deal -- it's funny how 9-to-Noon falls into breakers.
To wit, when X marked the spot a couple of weeks ago Nashville goalie CHRIS MASON skated over to the "Sounds" mike and I coerced him to concede he was starting that evening. Came home, flipped on NHL Network and on the crawl it read "Mason starts for Preds tonite, according to KFAN radio." I was like, "Dang, didn't realize it was that newsworthy."
Today MIKE YEO joined and said MIKAEL GRANLUND would be a healthy scratch tonite and that, too, was a breaker. Funny bleep how this happens to us when we broadcast from the penalty box.
Yeo, too, is superstitious; we told Wild PR to remind him his sqaud twice had won two in a row after 9-to-Noon chats, and even though he wasn't on the set list today opted to join at 10. That came out of nowehere. Cool guy this Mike Yeo.
All that aside, the thing I like most about bringing the Forechecking Feast to the Vox in the Box spot is to be emotionally right next to a team and to learn more about the only pro sport I never played as a kid. I can skate but never have played hockey.
I leave shows like today excited to watch the game that evening and hopefully Rubes feel the same. I learn so much in one day out there. You hear studs like WES WALZ talk about DANY HEATLEY being a pure scorer and how well it will work with a passer like PMB on the second line. I learned why Granlund needs to watch a game or two from the press box to help him. I met CHARLIE COYLE. In seeing the SEDIN twins for the first time I realized they are not as small as they appeared on TV. Very cool stuff.
Why was the majority of the Anaheim loss played in our zone? TENNA B said it was because The Ducks' forecheck was so good we couldn't shake free. I watched the game in Vegas and wondered why we couldn't get loose and his explanation made sense.
Good stuff these penalty box shows. I will be there a bunch this year and the hope is to develop equity/puck cred with the team so if it goes to the Stanley Cup Finals 9-to-Noon is right next to the emotion, and those morning skates days of games will be priceless. Maybe we'll break some news, too?!