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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.
Now we need them to play. Now we need SHARIFF FLOYD, XAVIER RHODES and CORDARRELLE PATTERSON to play and be high-end rookies like MATT KALIL, HARRISON SMITH, RHETT ELLISON and BLAIR WALSH were last year. Hit on all three of these cats and maybe one more and we have a fair shot at winning the division and doing some NFC-related damage.
I don't know what to think of the first-round picks because the NFL is an eye-opening experience on and off the field. I know now that I have chatted with the most significant people about them, met them and seen them twice, they are all very physically impressive and talented. Patterson has the best chance to be a star because of the position he plays (WR) and his somewhat untapped ability, Floyd should eventually command requisite attention on the inside that assists WILLIAMS, ALLEN, ROBISON and/or GRIFFEN, and RHODES truly has a chance and a chance very soon to be our best CB on the field.
I don't mind CHRIS COOK'S game but he never does anything splashy. No picks, FFs, FRs, TFLs but covers up most receivers pretty well. He also a sound tackler. JOSH ROBINSON, the second-year guy from Central Florida, is very fast and seems to have decent ball skills but might have to learn to play the "inside" spot WINFIELD used to occupy. That most likely would require some transition.
The NFL trenches will be eye-opening for Floyd, too, because at age 20 he's wide-eyed and still very much a kid going against grown men who are mean and have veteran savvy. Very difficult for rookie DTs to kick ass out of the gate because so much happens inside there it takes more than a minute to learn the trade.
Chatted with OC BILL MUSGRAVE after the presser today and he obviously is elated at the possibilities. He'll use CP all over the place, and with JENNINGS and RUDOLPH might have three very high-end options. The running game obviously is elite with MVP and now the passing game has a chance.
Yep, most of it still starts and stops with the QB spot and the maturation of CHRISTIAN PONDER. Best chance by far 7 has had to move the ball around the yard. Best chance 7 has had by far to go through his reads and handle the spot consistently like the really good ones do. The OL is very good and the protection will be there.
We have a legit chance to win a bunch of games next year if these kids come together and Ponder holds up his part of the deal.