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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.
Three things to accomplish here before I go see "Lincoln" on a day it's set to house a bunch of Oscar-related awards: the continuing cultivation of new music for the kids that actually is quite old, PERCY and the draft and an evening last night with a bunch of old-school football players and how much different a couple of things are today than when HOF's like CARL ELLER and punter GREG COLEMAN balled.
The song is "Diamond Girl" and even though it's not funky and soul-music like it's very simple, effective and provides a good chill. The guys are "Seals and Croft" and the two-part harmony is strong. The words are cool and it has the feel of a song written for production in a basement. There are guitar solos and good pacing to the song. Add it to your music list and give it 20 listens before determining whether you dig it or not.
We all dig Percy Harvin and most of us hope he's on the team next year, doesn't hold out if he doesn't get a contract extension and shines like he did the first half of the 2012 season. BUT! if for whatever the reason they trade him we need to compensate and fix some things.
My gut feeling has not changed - if SPIELMAN gets a huge offer for Percy I believe he'd take it and there is a definite chance Percy is moved before or on draft day. The hope then would be to get at least a couple of selections through the first three rounds, giving us seven draft picks through the first four rounds.
Like last year, the GM then would put together a package to get in some kind of spot to get a guy they covet end of the first round or relatively early in the second round. I'd like to see the team take wide receivers with its first two picks, then use the next three or so on defensive players. And the feeling would be all or four of the five woud play immediately.
If the Vikings trade Percy Harvin I'd like to see them end up with West Virginia's TAVON AUSTIN or Cal's KEENAN ALLEN with the first pop, then wheel around and take USC's ROBERT WOODS, who I think is a REGGIE WAYNE-type and will be good in the NFL. Then keep SIMPSON at a low price as your third receiver and mix in JARIUS WRIGHT, too. Add RUDOLPH to the mix and we have some legit route-runners, speed and talent to determine what we have in CHRISTIAN PONDER.
My take on our QB is I fully expect him to have a more explosive season next year but am not totally sold on him as a long-term answer at QB. I do trust him more than others and am willing to grow with him but cannot possibly analyze his progress or lackthereof until he has better players to whom to throw.
I do not believe it's the right year to give JENNINGS, BOWE or WALLACE the cliched "farm" to come play here and would like to see them splash in free agency next year. I want to amass picks this year and draft the hell out of April like we did last year.
... NFL ALUMNI GALA: I had the privilege last night to host the local NFL Alumni Gala at the Minneapolis Hilton, and event that raises thousands for the Make A Wish Foundation, the YMCA and other charities benefitting kids. I had a great time and met a lot of unique listeners, contributors and former players.
The HOFs in attendance were RANDALL MCDANIEL and Eller. There also were a ton of former Vikes and NFL players, and some of the stories were terrific. There were two things I left thinking about as I departed around 10:15 p.m., and both play in to how football was then compared to now.
New-school fans don't realize it but back in the day players and coaches departed the 'Dome and some would head to your tailgate and frolic with you. Yep, before heading to their cars they'd find fans and drink with them, flirt with the girls and talk about the game.
Thanks to the Negatives and their pursuit of unique stores and breaking news and stuff these guys all have their guard up when the mingle with the public. GRONK goes to drinking and dancing in Vegas and it's all over the internet. With phone pics and Twitter and stuff they have too much to lose to stop by and have a pop with you and discuss the running back going for 250 against somebody. They sip a brew, a Rube takes a picture, it splashes on line and people formulate stupid opinions from Bangor to Brainerd to Bakersfield.
That's too bad for the fans, too, because chilling with coaches and players would be a second-to-none treat for you, and that the players would let down their cliched guard would help them better embrace the fans. Ain't happening anymore, though.
Secondly, Certified Athletic Trainers and their staffs are markedly more conservative than with days gone by. Our guy is ERIC SUGARMAN, and he's as good as it gets comparitively speaking. Eric and staff are conservative in that they never push players too hard to play realizing the other side of the rush is potential long-term damage.
Back in the day some trainers would jam a needle into the legs, hips or wherever on players and demand they get out and play on the high, looking past the fact long-term damage and life-changing scenarios may be developing.
I think because of the way many players were treated decades ago they are having problems now functioning and are in pain everyday. Thus, many of them become addicted to pain killers, and that becomes negative-ass, too.
There are many knocks on the NFL for its aggressive approach with player safety but one thing is certain around here - hurt players are given a fair and safe chance to return, and even though they all become frustrated they cannot play when they want to play they'll be more satiisfied in 20 years because they can patrol the sidelines of a grandsons' football game virtually pain-free.