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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.
That's what it is right now, Wild Rubes, right? "Don't Let Me Down." Jockey MIKE YEO is aboard a beast languising in deep stretch of the Postseason Stakes, and he needs to get crafty and find a way to coerce more run from the animal.
He's trying everything -- line changes, shaking the reins, motivational speeches, chirping at the horse, cracking the whip. We are taking a class drop tonite when battling the Calgary Flames, and this dip needs to lead to a win. The horse is giving up ground, has to sweat Dallas and Columbus, and needs to stride out POWERFULLY to make the playoffs.
It has to start tonite, right? Dallas is at The Speedy 'Hawks and Columbus is at Colorado, and they both absolutely can lose. We need to beat Calgary, a bottom-feeder playing better, and keep pace with the race.
This is pressure, man; team's not going well, has faced injury and cannot get over some hump. The tension needs to pop tonite because if Calgary scores first they will be tightening grips on the proverbial sticks. Seriously. BEN HANOWSKI debuts for the Flames tonite, and we are happy for him. Want the kid to have a prosperous career, but the hope here is we ruin his debut and make everything flamable look bad. We need the freaking game badly and for many reasons. We are on a negative-ass run but are not playing terribly. This team is worthy of the postseason and will get there. It's all about the schedules.
The Wild have seven left and five against bottom-feeders. Forget that because we can lose anytime at this moment. Dallas, which stole your identity years ago, is two points behind the team and only plays one NON-playoff team the rest of the journey. Columbus, which stole two from you at your spot Saturday night, is on game two tonite of a six-game roadie, and that just feels taxing while typing it.
I believe in the bit. I believe in Yeo riding this creature to the wire a winner. I believe in PARISE, SUTER, KOIVU, THE KIDS, THE GOALIE and CULLEN handing these pressure-filled moments.
It's the NHL, man, just get into the bit for your chip, chair and chance. Seriously. Don't give the Rubes a chance to rip you on Twitter, radio shows or chat boards. Finish what you started when you won six consecutive and gave zero points along the way.
Don't jack around with the Flames tonite. Give us reason to go to bed at 9 p.m. if possible. Otherwise, if you stay cold and the tension does not pop and you don't make the playoffs, that means the horse came up lame deep stretch, threw the jockey and gave THE OWNER reason to ponder big-spot changes. Good luck and good racing.