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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.
"Good Times" for several on the sports front these days, and it's time to celebrate a tad.
THE WOLVES -- Team beat The OKC last Friday night, and has beaten Detroit, Phoenix and Boston by double digits. I attended last night's game against the C's and the adversary had no chance against PEK, who dominated. The offense ran though Nikola, he was crafty, he passed well out of doubles and went to the line 11 times.
ADELMAN is such an Elite Offensive Mind. Versus RANDOLPH, BASS and WILCOX it was clear the best route to winning was to dominate down low, and he milked Pek like it was a travel kid v. some in-housers.
The Wolves have been fun to watch of late, and I'd pay money to watch AK47 when he's healthy. He's one of the game's smartest players and when healthy does so many little things that impact the game it's impressive to the eye of the basketball snob. The only problem with the team winning games is sooner or later there will be those bitching we are messing up the draft spot, which is stupid given they are compensated to win games.
CARSON PALMER IN ARIZONA -- Good times for Cards fans because if protected I think Carson has some good stuff left in him. Clearly, he wanted nothing to do with Raider Nation and will bounce back to life getting out of that Black Hole.
The Cards have three of the first 69 picks in the draft and clearly have to focus on OL and speed WR outside to complement FITZ. Through injuries and poor talent the Cards got the QB sacked way too frequently last year. I put a lot of that blame on JOHN SKELTON, who held the ball way too long too often.
Carson Palmer is not fleet of foot, either, and will get pounded if they don't fix that line. He still throws a sweet deep ball, but with BRUCE ARIANS as the HC there will be some seven-step flavor to the passing game, and Palmer has to get rid of the rock and cannot afford to take hits like BEN did when he balled for Bruce.
Still, this is the best QB they have had in Arizona in like forever, and if they draft well will be a sneaky NFC West contender next season.
TAVON AUSTIN -- Good times for the St. Louis Rams if they take Austin at 16, and that's what I predict happens. I do not endorse the Vikings trading up to get the WV slot guy Austin but feel he will be a terrific replacement for BRADFORD when it comes to what they lost with AMENDOLA. Of course, at 23 I'd take him but we'll never get a chance.
I like Tavon a ton and his make-you-miss skills are very good, but Cal WR KEENAN ALLEN almost always makes the first guy miss and has some sudden to his game that reminds me of PERCY. Still honing in on Keenan Allen as one of our two first-round picks.
SCSU HOCKEY -- Good for MR. MOTZKO'S team, which is in the Frozen Four and, quite honestly, the team I hope wins it all.
All season I got the feel college-hockey snobs failed to give SCSU its proper credit, and when I would mash on WCHA stats, the SCSU special-teams stats were superb and from afar it looked like a quality team. Then it ended up as the four-seed in its region, and I didn't get it. Co-champs of the WCHA and disrespected? The wonks would tell me it was due to some non-conference flim-flams and some series against New Hampshire.
None of that matters now becaause hoisting the hardware after winning the Frozen Four would trump all the Pairwise Negatories dissing your season. Likewise for Quinnipiac, a team that for most of the season was number one in the Precious Pairwise and college-hockey snobs would make fun of it and said "it didn't matter because the team is not that good."
Put a Q around the Frozen Four because the team has a chance at immortality and an opportunity to show those who felt the numero-uno status via the rankings was legit.
MIKE RICE -- Somethingcalled Mike Rice for me, the HC for the Rutgers BB team. No "Good Times" here. This asshole treated his players like crap. The well respected TV show "Outside the Lines" released this stuff via espn.com and it's troubling to watch. I am -- like many -- surprised a player didn't slug him and go to the video to defend himself, claiming he was demeaned and just snapped.