Paul Allen Proudly Endorses:
Click here to view the WCHT photo gallery.
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!
follow jonny via twitter
“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.
Executed the bit today at Brothers Bar and Grill in Erotic City, and while most were there for the comped breakfast/Twins season opener, the majority of questions I fielded involved the state's most popular team and the upcoming first round of the draft. Not surprisingly because off a playoff season, the addition of GREG JENNINGS and the MVP in the backfield, Rubes are excited to take this thing from good to great.
The draft can do that, and last-year's process changed the culture around here, instilling upper-end talent at key spots like left tackle, safety and kicker. Until the Jennings acquistiion and jettisoning of PERCY it seemed like a cinch the team would use a first-round pick on a WR. And while I do believe one of those two will go the way of an outside-the-numbers guy, it's a very, very deep draft for guys we could use, and maybe filling other needs with 23 and 25 is what needs to transpire?
I took a peek at the first rounds of the last five drafts to see what kind of receivers were selected and what the bust factor was like. During said quintet of hope selling there have been eight receivers selected in the 20s and six of them have been very solid.
2012: KENDALL WRIGHT (Tennessee) at 20 and AJ JENKINS (Niners) at 30. Wright was serviceable but not spectacular. The topsy-turvy state of the Titans OL and QB play I believe contributed to his okay season. I'd take Wright on my team in a minute. Jenkins never got off the bench and so far is a whiff.
2011: JONATHAN BALDWIN (KC) at 26. Non-factor to this point with two career TDs and a first-round miss.
2010: DEMARYIUS THOMAS (Denver) at 22 and DEZ BRYANT (Dallas) at 24. Both wins; I'd take them both. Thomas is sitting on elite status, and Bryant, despite his mercurial ways, can be dynamic. I'd take them both.
2009: This is the best of the last five years for WRs taken in the 20s. PERCY came to us at 22 and became Offensive Rookie of the Year. He had a ton to do with us almost making the Super Bowl. HAKEEM NICKS went to the Giants at 29 and KENNY BRITT to the Titans at 30. Britt has 19 touchdowns and only has played 16 games once. There also have been some off-field flim-flams for the kid from Rutgers, but when healthy and happy is a pretty tough cover. He also is considered elite in the run game. Nicks is one of my favorite WRs in the game, is sneaky fast, and when not battling nagging injuries commands double coverage. He blew up for four TDs during the Giants 2011 postseason/Super Bowl run and stole the show.
In 2008 there were no WRs taken in the entire first round. THEGREAT JORDY NELSON went 36 to Green Bay. That second round was a total buzzkill for us; we took TYRELL JOHNSON at 43 and behind him went MATT FORTE (44), FRED DAVIS (48), DESEAN JACKSON (49) and RAY RICE (55). Mother!
So, of the eight WRs taken in the 20s the last five years six can change games, which means there are no tells on selecting them around 23/25. Bottom line, if the team selects a WR there it's because it deems the player the best player available and it also services a need. We need depth at DT, LB, CB and DE and 23/25 could be landing spots for those positions.
But the take good WRs are tough to find in the 20s is inaccurate and, personally, when Voxing the draft-party show I hope we move on a WR at 23/25. I'd like to grab a guy who starts week one with Jennings, JARIUS WRIGHT and JEROME SIMPSON. Then maybe tag another later and with one of those six picks we have through the first four rounds. If they truly covet a WR higher in the draft of course they have enough currency to move up, but I'd like them to chill and let the players fall where they may.