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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.
I am so sorry to be so confused this walk-up season to the NFL Draft. Bugs the bleep out of me, too. I know, 9-to-Noon is the spot the last two years that guaranteed you last year was MATT KALIL and probably HARRISON SMITH, and the year before that we knew 12 was a QB spot, and talked about JAKE LOCKER, BLAINE GABBERT and CHRISTIAN PONDER every day.
This year we have gone from thinking it would be WR-MLB to CB-WR to DT-CB to BPA-BPA to, now, maybe CB-OLB. Yep, the from-the-gut call right now is cornerback and outside linebacker at 23 and 25. I have a right to change that up to the draft, which is two weeks away, and probably will two or three times.
LB ERIN HENDERSON was in studio yesterday and we talked out the chances of him moving to full-time MLB. He wants the spot. CHAVOUS and LEBER think he's best suited as a MLB. He seemed confidant he might get a chance to play there.
So, after machinating on TE'O and OGLETREE and MINTER the last three weeks, now do we have to investigate a 4-3 OLB at 23 or 25 because Erin's moving to the middle? Great, let's Book of VOX KHASEEM GREENE from Rutgers and SIO MOORE from UCONN. Great, The only thing I know about these athletics programs is at Rutgers the BB coach drilled players in the spot with basketballs and at Connecticut they play a mean game of womens basketball.
JERMICHAEL FINLEY, the speedy TE from GB, also was in studio this week, and he's an Elite FB Mind. Shoot, he plays against us. When I pressed him on what we should do at 23/25 he quickly fired "defense, defense." Jermichael lives a charmed life, so he'll probably fall into the right answer even though he doesn't mash on our draft every day.
CB-OLB? DT-OLB? OLB-DE (need a good one by next season)? What about the WR bit? Do we need to assume given the draft is as deep as I ever have seen with starter-type WRs we are housing one of them in the second round and/or deeper? GM RICK SPIELMAN is good at seeing what's coming down the road and selecting for it. To wit, even though we were paying PERCY he took JARIUS WRIGHT last year in the fourth round.
Good Lord, I have no idea what's coming in two weeks and do believe a trade back with a team picking high in the second round is a distinct possibility. Nab a second and a third for 23 or 25 and now u have seven selections through the first four rounds, a first-rounder, and can hit on a plethora of depth for years to come. That's my preferred route of attack in two weeks -- keep 23 or 25 and trade one to get into the early stages of rounds two or three. For this to happen we might have to hope all the QBs are available because teams may trip and overpay to beat an adversary to the punch.
I am not in favor of taking a QB early in the draft because while in the minority I do believe CHRISTIAN PONDER will be good enough to lead us to the playoffs and maybe a division title. Given how much I know he cares about winning I believe he learned a lesson last year when he was bad and the way he finished -- efficient, not explosive for now -- is who he will be the rest of his career. I am on record predicting the Vikings do not select a QB at any stage of this draft.
I have conviction with that opinion but cannot get a grasp on 23/25. I am sorry for that because devotees expect more, but it's bleeping tough this year because (a) the draft is sans superstars on paper, (b) we have two first-round picks and I expect to go 2-for-2 and (c) I keep changing my mind on what's best for Our Favorite Team. MOTHER!