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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.
From 10-and-6, half of it sans PERCY, the MVP in the backfield, the best OL in the division, GREG JENNINGS, talented kids in year two of their careers, a QB who finished an otherwise incomplete-grade season efficiently and a loud-ass building housing a team for its final season, this will be a memorable year for the Minnesota Vikings.
We bookend the bit with a last-place team, should do damage early, middle and late and with a quality draft can win the division. I predict ADRIAN has five games that amass at least 1,000 yards rushing, which means he'll have the other 11 to sprint to like 2,400 rushing yards. Yeah, I said it -- Adrian will run for 2,400 yards.
The passing game might not be markedly more explosive but PONDER will take care of the ball and spread it around to a receiving group that will be markedly better than last season.
The draft is a week from today and we need a standout CB, a starting LB and depth on the DL and at WR. Hit on that stuff and win 11 or 12 games in your final season at the 'dome. Here it is, so dig in:
WEEK ONE -- at Detroit, Sept. 8: Win. They need significant help at OT and DE and will not be ready to slow Adrian. The M.O. again will be we don't lose at Detroit.
WEEK TWO -- at Chicago: We never win there. Maybe the TRESTMAN bit still will be a work in progress. Adrian goes for 225.
WEEK THREE -- Cleveland for the home opener: Good teams don't lose home openers to the Cleveland Browns. New coach, same vibe; we win.
WEEK FOUR -- Pittsburgh in London: No MIKE WALLACE, wobbly OL, still tough to beat. Should be one of the best games of the year.
WEEK FIVE -- BYE is Oct. 6. See you in Vegas! Seriously, not a fan of the super early BYE. Que sera, sera.
WEEK SIX -- Carolina at home Oct. 13: Here comes CAM. I think the Panthers take a WR in the first round next week. Former Vikes STC BRIAN MURPHY fakes a FG and executes an on-side kick. We win. Big one for Adrian, too.
WEEK SEVEN -- at Giants, Monday Night Football: Meatgrinder. Winnable but tough. Adrian will be pushing 1,000 rushing yards by this point and the NYG will hold him under 100.
WEEK EIGHT -- Packers here, Sunday Night Football: To win the division we need to sweep GB. We should have done it last year, and I mean 3-and-0. We never win on SNF. Huge one for Adrian.
WEEK NINE -- at Dallas: TONY ROMO will try to become more than a big boxscore. Like MOSS and HOARD Thanksgiving day in The Big D in '98, Adrian and Jennings steal the show.
WEEK 10 -- Redskins here Thursday Night Football, Nov. 7: RGIII should be totally squared away off the ACL by then. Wonder if they still will permit the face of the franchise to get smashed 30 times a game? CHRIS COOK secures his first NFL int.
WEEK 11 -- at Seattle:. Percy. ANTOINE. Enough said. Already excited. They come to see Percy and leave talking about Adrian.
WEEK 12 -- at Green Bay: Don't throw the ball right to MORGAN BURNETT in the end zone and we win. HONEY BADGER returns two punts for TDs. Just kidding. Sort of.
WEEK 13 -- Bears here: Trestman's defense will be battered, the OL will be in disarray and we sweep Bears for first time in forever.
WEEK 14 -- at Ravens: Meatgrinder. They are the champs. Respect.
WEEK 15 -- Philly here: Not high on the Eagles this year, and by this time the cute CHIP KELLY college bit will be figured out. Win.
WEEK 16 -- at Cincy:. No idea how this bit goes but it feels like a Vikings win.
WEEK 17 -- Lions, here, final game at MOA Field: Emotional. Can't lose this one. Adrian goes for 258 and closes the season with 2.401 yards and back-to-back MVP Awards. We finish with like 11 wins and house the division.
Winnersville, here we come!