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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.
Faith is the key word for me regarding the Vikings trading PERCY HARVIN to Seattle, reportedly for the 25th overall pick in the draft this year, a seventh-rounder this year and a third next year. Percy Harvin will shine next year for the Seahawks, he'll get the contract he covets and Seattle is a legit Super Bowl contender.
We are left with a questionable stable of receivers, a bleep load of rock-star draft picks and faith in an organization that the get-young-stay-good theme will work for the future.
This is a divorce and that's the only way to look at it. The marriage is dead, the assets split and there's sadness by many in our market. I get the pain because Percy was a very popular player who clearly was very good at what he does -- catch, run, return kicks and make people miss better than most in the game.
But as I have uttered 9-to-Noon since the season closed at Lambeau, if the Vikings trade Percy Harvin the behind-the-scenes tumult must have been so bad they had no choice. In fact, given I believe that to be true we should be happy we housed as much as we did given most of the league knew we were going to trade him. I was told today the Vikings fielded several offers for Harvin and the Seattle give blew them away.
The thing that still bugs me is that whatever had gone so wrong between Percy and the Vikings became so bad they had to opt for divorce. Be it on- or off-field conduct for the Vikings to move a player of his caliber indicates to me the marriage was beyond repair. They didn't trust him enough to load him up with cash via a new deal, he would not have played here next year in the final year of his rookie deal and probably had a problem with local authority.
I am not going to bash Percy Harvin here or 9-to-Noon tomorrow because I loved him as a player and never had a personal problem with him in our VOX-player relationship. But it cannot be denied from high school through college through CHILDRESS and now with LESLIE the young man has had conflict every step of the way.
Did he quit on the team after the ankle injury at Seattle? Did he refuse to play the second half of the season last year because he disagreed with the direction? Does he have a personality disorder that leads to perpetual unhappiness? Not sure on any of that but it is fair to put all questions into play.
The Vikings are set up to do some serious damage in the 2013 draft with 11 picks overall and six through the first four rounds. I fully expect RICK SPIELMAN to make deals, and owning 23 and 25 overall can get you exactly into the spot you want to select a player you covet. Maybe he goes receiver with 23 and 25?
I do not expect the team to get spalshy in free agency with MIKE WALLACE or GREG JENNINGS because they cost too much money. So, to rebuild this receiving group they'll need to draft well and raise JARIUS WRIGHT. Spielman's approach last year I believe was to chase WR PIERRE GARCON, draft well and grow the team for many years, not just the now.
Garcon went for nearly $22 million promised, and that was too much. The draft might be one of the best in team lore. That needs to happen again to stay good. The team went 5-and-2 without Harvin, finished with a flourish and made the playoffs. The serendipity sans Percy last year was ADRIAN received markedly more opportunities and ran the team to the postseason. So, it's not like we can't win without Percy but rebuilding the WR stable is a must.
I hope they are able to re-sign PHIL LOADHOLT before FA commences tomorrow because given our passing game is very much in question it would help to keep the best OL in the division in tact. I expect the team and Phil to come together on a deal before free agency. After that they may dabble in FA through the early stages, find a veteran LB and/or QB and guys like BRAD JONES (GB) and MATT CASSEL (might get cut by KC) could be some names to which we need to pay attention.
Spielman has a quality, long-term plan for this team. And moving Percy must have been difficult for the man who drafted him, stuck by him despite the tumult and mercurial ways and eventually peddled him to Seattle. For him to trade Percy, as mentioned, the strife between player and team must have been so bad it had to transpire. Now he's gone. Forever.